|I neglected to take a photo while at the meet, so here's a recreation of the scene. The actual players on the day might have been a little larger and, you know, not made of Lego.|
I will admit to being very nervous on the way down, but I found the pub venue easily and the one guy who was there before me was very welcoming, and very enthusiastically discussed my game with me until everyone else turned up a few minutes later. The everyone else was just as friendly and comprised a good mix of people ranging from seasoned veterans with several published games to rookies like myself, and the atmosphere was very relaxed throughout.
The afternoon was divided into ninety minute sessions, during each of which there were two or three tables running, and organised so that each designer who wanted to run something had the opportunity to do so, though to make time, some tables ran a couple of shorter games, one after the other. Boogie Knights, being a short game, got to share a slot with another game (a chaotic dungeon crawl), but benefited from having a five-player game where I could just sit by and watch.
Pleasingly, once I had explained the game, everything flowed along quickly and I only needed to clarify things on a couple of occasions. The game was played with good humour and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves (despite one player grumbling comically about the dice). I've come to the opinion that one of the most useless questions you can ask playtesters is "did you enjoy the game?" as, certainly if you are present for the game, it should be pretty obvious just by watching who is engaged and who is drifting.
What is really encouraging was that once the game finished, we were instantly into some very interesting (to me) discussion about various points about the game. The magic still seems to need work and the difficulty-to-reward relationship for challenges may be off, for example. We even got into some really interesting suggestions that I really like and will see if I can work them into the game, like that these players would like to see reactive cards that you can play off your turn, possibly to give yourself a temporary bonus in a challenge. This thought developed into having special moves like, for instance, having a special dance moment where you moonwalk and gain +2 disco.
All this has resulted in me having a sizable list of comments and ideas which I will have to think about. I think I would like to have another test or two with this set of cards (maybe with slightly tweaked rules) before I do another iteration of the card set.
So this was a great experience overall and has fired me up about the whole game design process. Getting to sit in with some far more experienced designers was also really instructive as everyone seems to have their own way of going about playtesting, so just observing the way some of these guys work is helping me to figure out how to improve my own methods.
I'm certainly hoping to get along to another of these meetups in the not too distant future, and I am even more determined to take more opportunities to test locally.