I got over a mental block and managed to say "this game's done!" in design terms at least, so it was time to introduce Cosmic Zap to some intrigued people at Spelens Hus.
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I'd given some thought to this playtesting group, including how it had inadvertently stress-tested the lower limit of player number. Difficult as that was, because I do not like stress-testing, it wasn't the main thing on my mind. I was worried that the actual editor of the game and its interiors artist were still not quite in tune with how the game itself was played.
This is always the toughest time for playtesters, because it's no longer about "cool, an idea," but about "oh crap, saying/teaching it this way is pure miscommunication." The poor players are like my hands which are trying to read Braille but are unfortunately picking up the waffle iron instead.
Rod mentions at one point that it's the most self-indulgent role-playing he's done, either lately or maybe ever. That's why this time the lead image for this post is a link.
I call attention to a couple of things.
Here's the first of three games I led at Gauntlet Con 2018! A Cosmic Zap playtest. When I initially signed on for playing it months ago, I was unsure about how well-developed the game would be, or even how playable/failed at all. But it turned out to be a decisive validator of the project.
Here's the next round of seeing how Cosmic Zap is shaping up. It's an important phase because Ian is the project developer for Chaosium, and Rod and Juan are both artists who are very familiar with the source material.
Juan screen-shared during most of the session, allowing us to enjoy his emerging character sheet. I've pasted a few moments of the progress over his field in the video.
Here's the final session of Cosmic Zap, playtest epic #1! I'd intended to append it to the previous post in the comments, but then again, it'd be good to see a complete retrospective on the whole thing here.
Here's the last session but one of the epic Cosmic Zap playtest, which sorta actually worked, and shows why successful playtesting has nothing to do with wowing people with your genius. Far from it.
Mid-design playtesting is perhaps the most intensive intellectual stage, but it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like gutting out a highly fatiguing task whose benefit, upon completion, is looking mighty obscure. This is our sixth session for Cosmic Zap, and in a lot of ways, it might have been the last. You can see, I hope, how the content we gained from it yielded real gold, but it’s mainly evident in the final two sessions, not here.
I suppose that could be a promo tagline? "Psilocybin role-playing ..." no, probably not a good idea. But it's true that this session of Cosmic Zap was well-supplied with my little rules handout that finally made some sense, even if I have continued to change it up since, and the players were more versed in what the dice and numbers really did.