I have pondered playtesting a game but haven't had much of an opportunity. I could do some on Tabletop Simulator, but I spend all day at work on a computer and so playtesting a non-physical game just isn't too appealing. So when the opportunity to playtest Bag-O-Loot's 10th Anniversary ed...I jumped at it.
Bag-O-Loot is not the type of game I'd normally buy. It's a deck of cards and probably wouldn't catch my eye normally. This is a great game to playtest (IMO) as I start off somewhat non-biased. I try to be fairly impartial regardless of whether I'm judging beer or playing a game, but if a friend was asking me to playtest a game I could see the pull to be biased. That being said, the 10th Anniversary gold bag was attractive.
Though not a game I'd seek out, Bag-O-Loot was easy to get my family to play including my wife's parents. I don't typically invite them to play new games as they are more traditional with the games they play. Bag-O-Loot has very simple rules and mechanics: Cards are numbered 1-16 and there are 5 of each number. There are also 5 'Looter' cards that serve as wild cards.
The goal is to obtain "bag-o-loot" which are sets of five cards of one number (possibly a wild or two) turned over in front of you. These score 10 points at the end of the round. The 'looter' cards can be traded out from a bag-o-loot if another player has the correct number matching that bag-o-loot AND can remember where the correct bag-o-loot is turned over.
Players can lay out two or more cards face up to start a "bag" and other players can steal those by adding a card. Any incomplete "bags" score 1 point per card for the player who has them when the round ends. The round ends when any player has no cards in hand at the end of their turn. Play continues from round to round until someone reaches 160.
The rules were simple and I took the time to read them over, play the game, record our two plays, and communicate with the designer. I re-typed the rules to try and streamline some wording and make a few suggestions. In this case, the designer was quick to respond and very open to feedback, and positive about the whole process. While the videos took time, they were helpful and the designer caught an error we made on the first run-through.
I loved reading the rules and re-typing and tweaking them. I am such a nerd in this way.
Due in part to the simplicity of the game the experience was rather quick. I did enjoy it and have since gone over to BGG and subscripted to the playtesting forum. I see that most folks seem to have the playtest on a simulator which I will do at some point, but for reasons above, make it more challenging.
I believe a friend is working on a game and hopefully, time permitting, I'll get to help him playtest it. Until next time...
Have you playtested a preproduction game and what was your experience?
Have you ever struggled to find playtesters for a game you designed?
What are your thoughts on playtesting a prototype verse a simulation?
Would anyone else like to playtest Bag-O-Loot? I can mail if it's in the contiguous states.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6uy6f-T15o&t=2s (play with grandparents)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ponGH4A7KDY (1st playthrough)