I Have a Board Game Idea – Now What? Part 38: 5 Reasons Designers Should Play Test Other Designer’s Games

Welcome back! It has been another busy week (hence the tardiness of this post), but it has also been a productive one. Back in part 25 of the series, I talked about reasons why I feel it is a good idea for all designers to attend as many play testing conventions, like Unpub and Protospiel, as possible. This passed weekend I had the opportunity to attend ProtoTo, a play testing convention that happens each year in Toronto, Canada. I was a great opportunity to have other designers, and random players as well, take a look at The Hackers Guild as well as a new design I’m working on currently called The Great Lunch Swap, as well as a chance to play some really neat games.

As a result of last weekends play testing, I thought for this week’s topic we would look at five reasons designers should play test other designer’s games.

Reason 1: Other’s games can be a source of inspiration

One of the things I love seeing in game design is all of the unique ideas other designer’s come up with. For example, while in Toronto I played a game about dogs marking their territory, a game based on the Storage Wars tv show, as well as a tile and worker placement game about building the best zoo possible.

Along with thematic inspiration, another designer could use a common mechanic in an unique way that can end up creating all sorts of ideas on how you could make your own unique twist on a common game mechanic. It really does go to show you that you can find inspiration from almost anything.

Reason 2: Other’s games can provide insight into solutions to challenges in your game

Each designer has an unique set of talents and experiences they can draw from when designing a game and resolving the issues that come up during play testing. Being exposed to a wide variety of designers can help you see solutions to problems that you might not have thought of on your own.

Reason 3: Helping identify the issues in other’s games allows you to hone your design skills

One of your jobs as a play tester is to provide feedback on the game that you are testing. Being able to provide well thought out and reasoned feedback is not only helpful to the designer it can also be a huge benefit to you as you strive to identify and resolve the challenges within your own designs.

Reason 4: It helps make it so it isn’t all about you

One of the things I love the most about being a game designer, and general board game enthusiast, is the awesome community that I belong to. I don’t think I’ve found a group of people more willing to help people who could ultimately end up being their direct competition. However, no one wants to feel like they are being taken advantage of, and play testing is a simple, fun, and rewarding way you can give back to the community.

Reason 5: Gives you a chance to meet other designers

One of the most comforting things I’ve discovered in this amazing journey I’ve embarked on is that I’m not alone. I belong to an awesome community that is more than willing to help me. Play testing other designer’s games gives you an excellent opportunity to meet other designers, each with their own story to tell, and advice to give. As I’ve play tested bother other’s games as well as The Hackers Guild, I’ve had the distinct pleasure to meet some very awesome people.

Well that is it for this week’s post. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and I would love to hear what you think and why you feel it is important we play test other designer’s games. Until next time, happy designing.

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