Lesson 5: Playtest and Iterate

At the end of this lesson students will be able to:
Gamestar Content related to this lesson:          
• Playtest games and give constructive feedback.
• Iterate on their designs.
Playtesting each other’s games in the Workshop or in Game Alley

What's on for today:

Students will playtest each other’s games and give effective feedback. Then they will iterate on their designs.

Materials Included:

• Playtester Feedback Worksheet (Make a copy for each student)


Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Discuss (15 minutes)

1. After creating a game, game designers ask players to test the game.

Introduce the idea that playtesters play an important role in the game design process, and that giving good feedback is the key to helping others design amazing games.

* Did you know: Playtesting happens many times during the game design process. After a game is playtested, the designer can improve it based on the playtester’s feedback. Then, they playtest again, and continue the cycle until the game is fun and balanced.

2. Work with students to develop a list of “rules” for giving feedback to each other. This list might contain rules like “be positive in your language” or “give a specific example of an aspect of the game you liked, or that frustrated you.”

You might develop a list of starter phrases your class can use when offering feedback. For example:

“I thought you did a good job with/of ___.”

“One area I thought could be improved was ___.”

“The core mechanic was ___. It made it fun to ___.”

“The visual design was ___ and it made me think/feel ____.”

3. Hand out the Playtester Feedback Worksheet to each student and give them time to read over the questions. Explain that these are the questions they should think about when they are playing each other’s games. After they playtest, the designers and playtesters will talk about these questions together.

Playtest (30 minutes)

1. Group the class into pairs and have one student be the Playtester and one be the Presenter.

2. Have the Presenter set up the game they made in Lesson 4 and invite Playtesters to play it. Tell the students that an effective method in playtesting is for the presenters simply to watch the playtesters play without giving any comments or suggestions. This way they will see what their game looks like to someone who did not design it.

Encourage the groups to spend a few minutes talking about the questions on the Playtester Feedback worksheet after they’ve played the game.

3. About 15 minutes in, have the Playtesters and Presenters switch roles.

Iterate (25 minutes)

1. After students have received feedback from a playtesting session with their classmates, instruct them to write a list of up to three changes they would make to their game based on the feedback they received.

2. Give them time to iterate on their design and make the changes that they listed in step 1.

3. Encourage students to ask for another round of playtesting once they have made changes to their game. They can have the same playtester as in the first round, or ask for someone new.

This activity should unfold as a casual iteration and playtest workshop. Some students may be iterating on their designs while others are playtesting.

If this is your last Gamestar class:

1. Before class is over, collect the names of the games that the students have been working on. These can be written on the board, emailed to the students, or even posted in a class blog.

2. Direct the students to Game Alley and show them the search function. Here they can find their classmates’ games.

3. Show the students where to rate the game’s fun and difficulty levels and to leave a comment.

4. Encourage students to comment on their classmates’ work. They can use some of the constructive feedback they came up with on the playtester feedback worksheet.
Students can also log in at home and leave comments, build games, and play the quest.

How did it go?

Were the students able to give constructive feedback?

Were the students able to successfully iterate on their designs?

PREVIOUS                                                                         NEXT
Apr 13, 2011, 2:58 PM