Playtesters: What They Do & Why They're Important to Making Great Games

Playtesting is an important part of designing incredible games, and playtesters are vital members of the game development process. They are not just playing a game, but working with the development team to make the game better.

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What does a playtester do?

In a nutshell, a playtester’s role is to play unpublished games to offer feedback that enables the developer to test concepts and mechanics, make improvements, identify potential problems, and ultimately determine if a game is fun.

These games can fall into different stages of completion, from early prototypes that are still heavily under development, to nearly-finished games that just need a bit of fine-tuning before heading off to the printer. Their goal for each playtest will vary based on the developer’s needs for that session, and may not even involve playing a full game.

Playtesting may be local (conducted under the observation of the developer at the Renegade studio or at a convention space) or it may be remote, and require the playtester to make a print and play version of game. In the latter case, playtesters are also responsible for learning the rules, forming a group that’s appropriate to the style of game, playing a specified number of games over a specified period of time, and then filling out a response form after each session.

No matter where they are, a playtester’s input helps shape the game into being as enjoyable an experience as possible.

Playtesting to get your foot into the door in the tabletop game industry

Many aspiring designers and developers in the tabletop industry have some background in playtesting games; having passion and a desire to learn about the process of making a game makes playtesting a great way to start the journey into game design and development.

Participating in playtesting offers aspiring designers and developers a chance to observe the incremental development cycle of a game, to see how it evolves from one iteration to the next based on player feedback. It’s also a chance to distinguish themselves in the value and content of their reports, thereby making themselves an invaluable asset to the publisher.

For gamers who just love to play games, joining a playtesting group offers the opportunity to be a part of the story at an early stage, to play games months before they are released, to have their name in the credits, and to know they played a valued role in shaping the final product.

Thank you to all the amazing playtesters who help make our games as fantastic and enjoyable as they are. Renegade Game Studios is looking for more enthusiastic gamers to join our playtest group! Visit the Renegade Tabletop Playtesters Facebook group for more information.