I think the #1 mistake most new designers make is overvaluing their ideas. Heck, even NaGaDeMon tells you to spend a lot of time on your components, but you only need to play once.

I say this is a load of honk. Game ideas are worthless. Rules to games that have never been played are worthless.

People don’t play ideas for games. They play games.

So, I propose the 4P challenge for all of us, myself included.

I want all of us to playtest a new game four times in the month of January.

If you don’t have a regular playtest group, this might be hard. But part of the idea of this challenge is to give you an incentive to build a regular playtest group. Maybe there are designers living near you after all? It’s not outside the realm of possibility. There are a lot of people with ideas for games. Let’s start making it a reality!

Here are the rules…

  • Four playtests. You must playtest your game four times in the month of January.
  • Each playtest must incorporate changes from the previous playtest’s feedback. This is the whole core of iterative playtesting. It’s what makes 4P tick. If you do two sessions in one day with no significant changes in between, that’s one playtest! (I’ll leave it up to you to define “significant”.)
  • Feel free to discuss your playtests, but don’t substitute discussion for playtesting. As I’ve said in the past, talking about playing your game is never a substitute for playing your game. But if you want to share playtesting stories, I’ll set up a new page on this blog each week for discussion. You’re also welcome to talk about it here, on the BGG game design forums, on Reddit (/r/tabletopgamedesign), the BGDF, Twitter, Facebook, and/or your own personal blog.
  • 4P will not give you a completed game. But it will get you on the path to a completed game. It will give you experience in iterative playtesting. And it will help you connect with other game designers.

You’re totally welcome to put your NaGaDeMon entries into 4P, but don’t be surprised at how radically they will change by the time they’re done.

Are you in?