As part of the lead up to the Chicago Toy and Game Fair they are conducting a number of interviews with game designers and executives. In this interview they are talking to Laura Robinson the designer of the classic 80’s game Balderdash along with the new syndicated game show Celebrity Name Game which we covered here around a month ago. As a veteran designer of party and family games she offers a very unique perspective on this industry and truly does bring something different to the table.
I appreciated how she talked about using experiences from her growing up in her development of Balderdash. Additionally she offered a great piece of advice fo aspiring game designers.
I always tell inventors to thoroughly research their idea. Find out if there something else in the marketplace that is very similar. Make a simple mock up and play test, play test, play test! Do that before you spend a bunch of money on an elaborate prototype because it is in the playing that you will find out so much about your idea. And you have to do real “blind” play tests. In other words, you can be there to watch, but not to show people how to play or answer questions. You have to let them read the rules and play just like they would if they bought the game and brought it home. Make up a questionnaire and have anyone who plays it, fill it out anonymously so you can get candid answers to your questions. What did you like best about the game, packaging, design? What don’t you like? Is there anything that you think would make it more fun, easier to understand or play? Things like that. You can listen to the feedback, make changes and then make your professional prototype.
If you watched The Dice Tower’s top 10 list for things all game designers should know this was a major point that they hammered in over and over and over again. Playtesting and especially blind playtesting is very important. There is only one of you even if your a twin and you can’t be there for everyone that will ever play your game.
For the full interview head over to ChiTaG’s site here.