Different Types of Game Testing

When you’re launching a new soft product, whether it’s a game, an app, or a rulebook, you want to hit along multiple axes – especially if you want your product to get market penetration. This applies maybe double to wargames and RPGs. The planes may well be:

  1. The Novice. How does a person who has no field knowledge of you or your competitors fare? Are they able to figure the whole thing out? Are the casual users getting it, or just those destined to work their way in? Do they have any clue how to begin playing?
  2. The Seasoned User. How does someone who knows the field react? Does a Warhammer player see Hordes and immediately walk away, because their miniatures aren’t valid in the long term? Are they sold on the benefits of your product?
  3. The Expert. How does an experienced user react? Do they gawk at the repetition of your game, or do they notice and appreciate the new twist you’ve provided? Are you making depth, and are you making that depth noticable?

It’s tough to design anything for all three groups, but some organizations manage to focus on one and let the others trickle in. Apple focuses on the novice, and Adobe focuses on the expert. The other users tend to slide in.

Since “Games are software for the human brain”, who does what here? Chess doesn’t market itself at all. Connect Four has marketed itself to Novices alone, and Settlers makes millions off of expansions for Experts.

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