On Playing Games With Strangers
I’m at a gaming convention this weekend, and that means I have played a bunch of games with total strangers. Nor were all of them any form of D20 game, or even RPGs. I played, and observed the play, of a broad range of people of different ages and backgrounds.
It was exhausting, but also amazing.
I think it’s really important for game designers to play games with people they don’t know at all, outside of a formal playtest, at least from time to time. Especially in a “fellow player” capacity, where you aren’t the facilitator or teacher of the game. You can learn things it’s hard to pick up with this kind of empirical experience.
This weekend, I have been reminded that if you have a game that *ever* requires someone to add three numbers, and the sum is going to be a double digit or higher number, there’s a segment of competent, reasonable adults you are excluding. Those people will never, ever, enjoy any activity that has that basic level of math as a requirement. And the more often you require that in the game, the bigger that segment of people is.
That doesn’t mean no game should do that math. It’s okay for a game not to be for everyone.
But it’s important to remember that our individual experiences and preferences are far, far from universal.
As a game design, I am adding “Play Games With Strangers” as one of the critical activities I need to make sure I engage in from time to time.
I ALSO have a list that tells me to Boost My Patreon” fairly regularly, so…
Support My Patreon!