IGA is proud to offer distributed playtesting services to its Pro members. We've worked to develop a structure that encourages maximum feedback from a variety of viewpoints in a short amount of time. Our playtesters are selected from the best and most experienced of our expert Minion corps, and their work is double-checked to ensure that feedback is valid, thorough and timely.
IGA Minions are heavily incentivized (via triple Loot Points) to complete their playtests promptly and effectively. Minions choose the games they want to test, so you don't get negative feedback based solely on a personal distaste for the chosen theme or mechanic. We limit the number of playtest games any one Minion can have pending feedback at a time to prevent bottlenecks that cost you time. Your entire playtest regimen will typically be completed within eight weeks.
If you wish to utilize IGA's distributed playtesting services, the following requirements must be met:
- The designer or publisher must be an IGA Pro member
- The game must be complete in the member's Game Catalog with I need play testers for this game selected
- The game must have a custom survey attached to it
- A minimum of four complete, distinctly packaged physical copies of the game to be playtested, shipped to the address in the footer of this page
- If the game to be tested is a tabletop RPG, we additionally require a learn-by-play game module that can be completed in an hour or less
While it is not a strict requirement, we request that designers utilizing this service credit the Indie Game Alliance in the Playtesters credits section of the game rulebook.
The Playtesting Process
Once we receive copies of a prototype, we will take one copy and store it in the IGA headquarters game library. The remaining prototypes will be added to the inventory of our IGA Prototype Store, accessible only by Minions who have been accepted into our playtester program. This means that a designer supplying the minimum of four prototypes can expect feedback chains from three different playtesters. These copies will be available to Minions at no cost, but must accompany a regular game order for shipping purposes. Minions may not order more than one prototype of any given game, nor may they possess more than two prototypes at a time for which a final report has not been filed.
Once the Minion receives the prototype, he or she has six weeks to report a minimum of five plays, and a minimum of five survey responses times the minimum number of players for a single game. For example, a game requiring a minimum of four players would require a minimum of five plays and twenty player feedback surveys entered. Once the minimum threshhold has been reached, the Minion may file their final report. Final reports are analyzed by IGA HQ staff, and if approved, are emailed directly to the designer and stored in our database for later access by the designer. Once a Minion's final report has been accepted, all of the plays logged of the game since the prototype was ordered will have their loot point awards tripled, and a slot will be freed in the Minion's maximum prototype checkouts so that they can order a new prototype of a different title.
Do you do playtesting via print-and-plays?
We've added a capability to share a print and play in your Game Catalog, and we will happily share that with Minions. However, to take advantage of our full playtest framework, we do require physical copies.
What about digital playtesting via Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator?
As with print-and-plays, we are happy to share digital playtest opportunities with our Minions, but at present, we have limited our formal playtest service framework to physical copies. Please consider joining our IGA Digital Playtesting group on Facebook to schedule games.
Do my prototypes need boxes?
Strictly speaking, no, although we've found that a box with art, even if it's a Goodwill puzzle box with a color photo taped to the front, does a lot to draw attention to the game at conventions and other demo opportunities, and that a game in a baggie doesn't have the same draw. At minimum, the games must come to us in distinct sealed bags so our warehouse staff doesn't have to play detective and try to figure out which loose components go to which copy of the game. It's tough for our Minions to playtest effectively if they're missing a critical component because it got mixed into somebody else's prototype.
What about the extra prototype that's kept at IGA HQ?
We know prototypes are expensive, and you want to get the most out of every copy. The extra copy we request has a variety of uses for us:
- We'll use it to validate the feedback from the other Minions
- We have it as a backup if one of the original Minions is unable to complete the playtest
- We have it available to use for development services, demos, publisher pitches, Kickstarter consults, and other services you may request
What happens if a Minion fails to complete their final report by the deadline?
Our system will send automated reminders via email for all requirements as deadlines approach. Minions that are delinquent in their reporting will receive one warning, after which they will receive a temporary suspension from the playtesting team. IGA will then utilize the HQ copy to ensure a replacement playtester is recruited to deliver the required feedback.