How can I make the most of a play test?

Hi Guys,
(couldn’t find this question here before, but if there was - point me in the right direction).
I’m test-playing my second adventure and I’m trying to improve the insights I’m getting from the playtests.
What I’m doing so far:

  • I ran the adventure myself and took notes.
  • I’ve set in as other GM ran my adventure
  • I wrote a “How to be a good playtest” section in the text that I’m giving playtesters (Attached below)

What else can I do? what worked well for you in previous playtesting in order to get good insights?

(also, if any of you have the time to playtest a new adventure that is meant to be “a how to guide to running comedy roleplaying adventures” drop me a line in uri.lifshi (at)


The "how to Be the Best Playtester section:

Hello dear playtester, who I suspect is a wonderful person,
Thank you very much for agreeing to playtest this adventure, you rock!
Please feel free to run this module to your gaming groups but refrain from sending it any other people as this is still a beta product.

What should you do?

  • Read through this adventure and add comments if you have any questions or if any segment is unclear.
  • Gather your roleplayer friends and run the adventure
  • BTW, If you can record the session and send me the recording - that would be great (Don’t worry about sound quality, recording with your phone is excellent, no worries. If you want to use something else you might want to consider this post).
  • Write me an email/FB message/twitter DM with your experience running this adventure .

In your input try and answer these questions:

  1. How was the writing (was everything clear? What would you add to make it simpler to run this adventure?)
  2. Did you encounter any Game Mechanic issues? (was the Dirty Dozens simplified system clear?)
  3. Were the “Narrative purpose” sections useful?
  4. Were the “Comedic devices” sections useful?

Please feel free to comment right here on the adventure, or send comments directly to me at


My gut reaction is that I think the feedback questions are not quite correctly phrased. To quote Neil Gaiman :

Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

That is to say, do not ask what they think should be improved, ask what they feel did or did not work. If your questions prime them to start thinking like a designer, they are going to think about the design and not the play.

I would also ask for some general background info about the playtesters themselves. Things like “what genres do you enjoy?”, “How experienced are you with RPGs?”, “What are your favorite games?” + general demographic stuff like age, gender, etc. If you get good info on what kinds of players they are, not only do you have a better explanation of why mechanic X didn’t click with casual players but did with hardcore ones but also what kind of players enjoy what you’re pitching so you can better tailor the experience to them.


The framework looks good. What I think is missing are more detailed questions.

If you’re changing established system and you want to gauge whether new stuff works, you have to ask precise questions (was the Dirty Dozens simplified system clear? is not focused enough).

I also suspect that you have strong feelings about certain things, stuff you think is gold and stuff you’re not so sure about. Ask questions about each. You may learn that you have to kill your babies or that something you glanced over is resonating with people.

Also keep a changelog. If you change something, note what, why and as a response to which feedback. If you realize you’re pingponging between two opions you may want to look solutions elsewhere.

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The first time I asked other people to playtest stuff for me I made quite detailed questionairres. The second time I just went with ‘What did you like’, ‘What did you find confusing’ and ‘What would you change’ as the questions, and the feedback was at least as good, but easier to work with.


That is so funny because after the feedback I got here that more or less what I changed my questions to :slight_smile:

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