To give you some context, I suffer from several mental health problems, including but not limited to anxiety, C-PTSD, and depression.
Although I have played a few TTRPG sessions over the years, I became known in my local community as the person who shows up (usually in person, now exclusively online) only to watch the session and not to actually play, and even that has become more and more difficult to do lately.
It is no secret within our community that I have these issues. Not only it’s all over my social media but I often also talk very openly about such issues on our Discord server. And yet, people keep pestering me to do playtesting. No matter how many times I tend to emphasize that I have no interest in GMing my games because I can hardly bring myself to be a player at other people’s tables, people keep insisting that the games must be playtested. Aside from the fact that unsolicited advice can be a trigger for someone with PTSD all on its own, this “problem” has been going on for over a month now, and it seems to have escalated these past few months, as I tried to become more active on both Twitter and Discord.
My first dodge away from this bullet was to hack existing systems (I’ve currently hacked Lasers & Feelings and [Push](https://capacle.itch.io/push and am currently trying to hack BitD because I can’t overcome my obsession with this system) and use “they’ve already been playtested by the original game designers” as an excuse. That seemed to work for a bit, but not long. I kept being told that, even if I was hacking an existing system, playtesting was “mandatory”.
As such, I recently tried a different approach: trying to have other people playtest my games. Once again, not enough: “You’re the author. You must be the one doing the playtest!”
Regarding who must do the playtesting, I very much disagree with this. For me, part of playtesting is seeing how other people interpret the rules. Will they run the game the way you expected them to or will there be surprises? But that is not what brings me here today.
What brings me today is this need to playtest everything. I cannot, and will not, playtest my own games. And, the more people try to pressure me into doing it, the more my mental health starts spiraling out of control and I start having thoughts of either “I will never be able to make my own games, I’ll be stuck with hacks forever” or, even worse, “I have no business publishing games. I should just delete all the games from itch and bring down the page.”
So, what I want to know is: Is playtesting that much of a big deal? Is it such a sin to publish a small indie game (and we’re talking small here, 2-3 pages per game) without playtesting it first? And, if it is, must the playtesting absolutely be done by the author?
Thank you in advance for your feedback.