How to Playtest? #3: Your FLGS

This marks the third entry into the How to Playtest? series, and last week we proposed that we finally delve into the physical world by exploring your Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS).

TL:DR

Your Friendly Local Game Store is home.  It serves as the base of operations for your local scene most times.  It is the nerve center of the community and is often the place that Unpub Mini’s are held nearby.  Each has its own flavor and clientele that may or may not be receptive towards your vision for a game.

The Ups

The most obvious advantage that the FLGS has for playtesting is the built-in community you can tap into that is always shifting.  As long as you can avoid burning bridges, you can easily build an audience from within the community at the store.

The store also serves as a hub that attracts local designers through events like Unpub Mini’s and Board Game Nights.  These events can be an important tool to promote your game in a context where everyone has already given permission to be sold to simply by attending.  Networking and community building are the greatest tools you can hope to have access to when you are starting out, and your FLGS is the perfect place to do this .

Being present at your FLGS also helps you build rapport with retailers and gives you insight into what you can do to make your game more market friendly as well as preparing a palatable Kickstarter that is retail friendly.

The Downs

Despite the numerous upsides of being at your FLGS, there are some disadvantages to the store.  The most prominent of which is the inconsistent skill levels of the players you will be interacting with at events.  Understanding what audience the event is catering to can help prevent many headaches before they start.

Another facet of life at the FLGS for you to consider is that when you are dealing with other designers, they are likely trying to help design as much as help test.  This can open some doors you may have not considered, but it usually ends up with you receiving feedback on areas of the game you had no interest in testing.  Might I suggest avoiding this outcome altogether by focusing your test and giving the players a clear idea of what you want them to test.

The Final Word

I am confident that the FLGS is a great place to network, build the local community for your project, and get good feedback in a real environment that your game will commonly be found.  Understand your audience’s expectations and the event you are attending and I am confident that you will find this too.

The Verdict: 4.5 New Card Smells out of 5

There’s something uniquely exciting about showing people your work in the flesh.  Next week I’ll head back to the digital space with Roll20.  Also don’t forget to check out the new Fayfire Games Newsletter to receive the latest updates on designs and events being run.  And to provide some food for thought, how do you like to direct your playtesting?

Until next time,

Charles Weigand

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