Blog - Motora Dev Diary: The First Playtest

The Prototype

So last week we left off with the idea for Motora starting to shape and me feeling like it was time to make a prototype. Now the one thing every board game design blog or advice column will tell you NOT to do is spend too much money or time on your first prototype.

  Not a sponsor or anything but definitely a life saver in the beginning!

Not a sponsor or anything but definitely a life saver in the beginning!

I... did not follow that advice. I actually spent over ten hours working on the first version of my prototype, not any rules just the physical components. I was lucky in that I found the site www.spielematerial.de , this is a German site that is a great place for sourcing standard game components. Especially for someone who's EU based and doesn't want to pay for shipping from American services like the Gamecrafter. 

  Later in the development process I would regularly stress out one of my artists with my excessive use of Word for image editing.

Later in the development process I would regularly stress out one of my artists with my excessive use of Word for image editing.

For the custom components like cards and tiles I used a good amount of Google Image Search combined with a solid understanding of the fantastic image maniulation possible in Microsoft Word. I must have spent the most time trying to wrestle everything into aligning properly but after all the struggle I ended up with the prototype you can see on this page.

 The first prototype in all its janky glory!

The first prototype in all its janky glory!

I might have bucked the trend in spending more time and money on my prototype than would be advisable. However I don't regret it. Seeing the game that had only been an idea in my head on the table gave me a sense of confidence that this could work, this game could be a real thing if I did it right.

I really needed that confidence going into the first playtest because that game... did not go well.

The Playtest

  The first ever game. This was taken at around the one hour mark, we had no idea how long it all would take.

The first ever game. This was taken at around the one hour mark, we had no idea how long it all would take.

So armed with my fresh new prototype (with some glue probably still drying) I rounded up a group of hapless victims/friends and lured/met them in a cafe to try out my game.

More than four hours later I left the cafe feeling pretty dejected about how things had gone. In the very first iteration of Motora the only way to win was to eliminate all the other players and this took foreeeever. It got to a stage where one player was only alive because a more successful player was paying them in food and water to attack the other players as a mercenary. We never even fully finished the game, based on how everyone was doing we just decided that one player was going to eventually win and called it a day. 

While this wasn't exactly the first game I had been hoping for, there was plenty that I learned which made it all worth it. I needed a new win condition and a whole bunch of new mechanics but one thing that the playtesters said kept my spirit up.

The game was fun. So even though I knew I had a lot to do, I was pretty sure that if I worked at it I could still make a game I could be proud of.

 

Next week I'll be talking about what this playtest taught me about components, and what I realised had to be changed. I'll also show how the components in motora developed to make the game play as smooth as possible.

 

See you next time! 

- Calum

Calum TaylorComment