Category Archives: Playtesting

IGA Releases its Third-Generation Playtesting Service

The Indie Game Alliance is proud to announce the launch of the third generation of its playtesting service, which went live August 25, 2020. This fully re-imagined service leverages IGA’s 1000-member international demo team to expand blind playtest opportunities for indie designers and publishers, and was built both with costs and COVID-19 in mind.

Under the new system, IGA’s volunteer Minions may earn upwards of $50 in game credit for completing just three play-throughs per month and collecting player feedback in IGA’s proprietary survey tool. We’ve even rewritten our default survey to ensure your playtests get great feedback out of the box, incorporating concepts from IGA founding member Doug Levandowski’s playtesting rubric.

Unlike our previous offerings, we now support not just physical prototypes, but also print-and-plays and digital adaptations on platforms like Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia, Tabletop Playground, Yucata, Board Game Arena and others.

We’re also greatly expanding the visibility of our playtest program, dropping the 25-hour demo requirement for volunteers to join the program and putting playtest games front and center on our newsletter and our website. We’re giving the power to manage the team directly to the designer in the form of an automatically-generated email list for communicating directly with playtesters, sharing feedback, game updates and suggestions.

Volunteers are no longer held to a deadline; rather, they are incentivized using dramatically-increased rewards to stick with a playtest through multiple iterations of the game. There is no longer a final report to compile and approve, as the detail level of the final report has been incorporated into the basic player survey. Crucially in the time of COVID-19, where scheduling online games can be tricky, we’re now allowing every Minion who participates in a playtest to record the play and earn credit, instead of one designated “demoer.” Minions can easily track all active playtests and how close they are to earning their bonus for a given game from their Playtesting Dashboard.

IGA playtest periods will now last 90 days, after which time they may be extended for additional 90-day periods up to three times. This ensures that only active playtests remain visible on our site, preventing “stale” playtests from getting in the way of the games that still are seeking active playtests.

All current second-generation playtests have been converted to third-generation efforts, so if we already had your prototypes on hand, there’s nothing you need to do to start using the new system. For everyone else, we encourage you to check out our guidebook entries explaining the processes to member designers and to volunteer Minions.

IGA’s revamped playtesting service is included at no additional cost in both its IGA Lite for Designers membership level, providing support for designers who are not self-publishing for just $10 per month, and its IGA Pro for Publishers level that supports indie publishers for just $30 per month.

This is the first major module launch since IGA’s early August announcement that founder and executive director Matt Holden was stepping back from day-to-day operations temporarily to focus on the development of new and redesigned tools for IGA members. Several more new features and a completely redesigned IGA member portal are planned for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.

Announcing IGA’s All-New Playtesting Service

Greetings! We hope you’ve been having a fantastic holiday season. Here at IGA HQ, I’ve been working on something to address a situation which I think we can all agree IGA has been less than stellar at in the past – playtesting. I’d hoped to release this in the first quarter of 2018, but I pulled out the stops and managed to finish it early!

In the past, we’ve set our playtest requirements pretty fast and loose. Send us a prototype, we’ll work on it when we can, that sort of thing. The issue is, IGA needs to hang on to a prototype for any game we work with, for a variety of reasons. So, when we only get one copy, that means Victoria and I have to do the playtests personally. As you might imagine, we’re pretty busy between day jobs and running IGA, and we don’t get out to run events anywhere near as often as we might like. This has lead to unconscionable delays in playtest feedback, and also slowed down IGA administrative work like shipping orders and developing new features.

Because we didn’t want prototypes just tossed out into the wild, we never added them to our reward store inventory. The big downside of this was that when we had extra copies of a prototype, we had no effective way to tell the minions it was available.

Well, today, we change all that. We’re announcing IGA’s new and improved playtesting service. Here’s the core of how it works:

  • Designers send us a minimum of four prototypes, and provide us all the required information for a successful playtest
  • Designers create a custom feedback survey for their game, to fine-tune exactly the sort of feedback they’re looking for from players
  • Minions who have earned a minimum of 100 loot points by running demos may join the playtesting team
  • Playtesters may select a maximum of two prototypes at a time from the IGA store, so they don’t cause a playtesting bottleneck
  • By taking a prototype, a Minion agrees to run a minimum of five playthroughs and collect a minimum of 5 * X player surveys over the course of six weeks, where X is the minimum number of players for a game
  • Once the above requirements are met, the Minion completes a brief final playtesting report for the designer
  • All of the Minion’s loot points earned as part of the playtest are tripled as soon as the playtest report is approved

We expect there will be questions. Please refer to the Studio Playtesting Guide and/or Minion Playtesting Guide for more specifics and frequently-asked questions.

For members who already have games in our old playtesting pipeline, Victoria and I will be working through these in the coming few weeks on the old system, as we don’t have enough copies to distribute to Minions in most cases. All remaining prototypes in stock have been added to the new prototype store. If you wish to discuss the specifics of your playtest-in-progress, please reach out to Victoria at vholden@indiegamealliance.com. (It still feels so good to type my last name as hers!)

Minions eligible to join the playtesting team will be receiving invitation emails today. Any Minion may learn more about the program and determine their eligibility at https://www.indiegamealliance.com/account/minion/playtesting.

As always, feedback is welcome in our IGA Developers’ Lounge and IGA League of Minions groups on Facebook. I’ll do my best to be available in both today to answer questions.