I’d like to hear from designers about their experience with locating and utilizing playtesters for games.
I mostly use innocent children. I take advantage of trips to places with very bad Internet connectivity. Or I bribe a friend with a beer and a meal.
My experience has been a mixture of local gamer friends, through gaming communities and platforms including via social media, and at gaming conventions. The overall experience seems to be hit or miss over the years.
I mostly playtest on conventions and in my gaming groups. This is Pulp have had more than 100 playtesters, but with me as game master, and a couple of sessions where I attended as a player. I tried villages.cc for external playtesting, where you exchange time as a currency, but it backfired with me having to read through 500+ pages to even begin to playtest where my game were only about three pages long. I also think external playtesting requires recording.
I do take in amateurs as editors—fellow forum visitors or game designers—to give feedback on the text. Especially important when I write in English, because I’m not a native speaker.
My creation progress is a little bit different, however, because I create games through playtest. I write a skeleton, that my players then interpret and expand upon; almost like a scenario. The archetypes in This is Pulp only had a name and a tagline, and after the players (my group or at conventions) played with the archetypes, I used their actions as inspiration to write down two moves for each archetype.
 You will get the best feedback after you released the game, so one thing to consider is to release a cheaper and limited early beta for print. People that paid for your game are more inclined to give feedback. You basically having people paying to playtest for you.
what do you mean here? was it the website?
Initial playtesting with groups which I already know. Wider playtesting for me would normally happen at conventions (although that has been very difficult for the last couple of years)
Nah, I met someone there and we suggested to exchange each other’s games and playtest tehm. His had 500+ pages filled with setting without any notes of how I should use it.
oh no that’s BS!
And sorry to bother but the site description wasn’t clear: on that platform you exchange time, right? You’re not paying money, you’re spending time, is that right?
Yeah, exactly. You earn “time” by helping others and can then hire others by paying that time. I haven’t used the service in years (they changed from .cc to villages.io, for example), but I’m still really fond of the idea.
My regular group of players were up for play testing.