First Playtest Conclusions

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First Playtest Conclusions
« on: September 29, 2014, 10:34:19 AM »

There's been enough playtesting for Meg and me to draw some conclusions. Here are mine.

1. Do the battle moves work?

They do, as far as they go. They aren't adequate for the entire range of battles that'll come up in play. I don't have a plan for expanding them yet, but my guess is that there will ultimately need to be half a dozen or so moves for getting into battle, suited to different circumstances. We'll see.

2. Is choosing a season move enough to launch play?

Almost, but not quite. I have a solid plan for what to add.

3. Some of you did try co-MCing.

Thank you!

It seems to be working as I'd expect. You've pointed out some things that the future game will need to address, like "if you're co-MCing, who assigns XP?" and "never treat your PC as an NPC."

4. Which people sheet is the most useful?

This question was optimistic. The people system did do the thing I most hoped it would, but at too much cost in time, paper, and distraction from the game otherwise. It'll have to be revised pretty substantially.

5. Very many of you reached the limits of the so-far-designed game.

This includes bounties, the shield wall, undertaking labor, wealth, the sameness of all the weapon and armor choices, creating a shrine, and so on.

I wasn't sure this would happen. This means that you played the game kind of a lot, actually, early playtest though it is, which is a good sign.

6. Did the rights system work?

The conclusion I draw is that, yes, it did, but it's also maddening. I do like to publish maddening rules sometimes, but this isn't one of those times.

I have a plan for how to change it. I think I'll be able to keep what works but make it non-maddening.

7. But...

A lot of you didn't connect with what the game's trying to do. It's not because the game isn't trying to do something! My guess is that it's because the links between what the game's trying to do and how it's approaching it still rely too much on Meg's and my personal working relationships with the subject matter. The players who do connect with the game, I mean, connect with it only because their preexisting take on Dark Age fantasy is compatible with Meg's and mine, not because the game creates a connection.

How much will the game have to change in order to foster that connection for a broader audience? My hope is that some easy-ish design work and maybe clearer communication will do it. I have a solid plan for easy-ish things to try. If they don't work, well, maybe their failures will show better ways forward, or maybe they won't.

8. Going forward.

You should feel free to keep playing, if you're having a good time, of course. We're still interested in hearing how it goes. You'll increasingly find things we haven't designed, but if you're having fun with it, I'm sure you'll come up with good solutions of your own.

I'm no longer asking you to give the game a try. You've done awesome work and helped tremendously. Thank you.

If you haven't yet, please log in at and list the people you've played the game with, including yourself. This is how we'll know who to credit as playtesters in the book. We're relying on you!