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Jeremy Morgan

Written by Jeremy Morgan, tabletop games editor, gamer, and software developer.
About | Planescape4E

Feedback Hurts Sometimes

5 May 2014

Today I want to talk about feedback. You know, when you’re designing something and you get other people to play it and tell you what they thought?

Terrifying.

Saturday night, I ran the first playtest of Iron Edda: Memories of Metal and Bone. The players were fantastic, and great fun was had by all. I had spent quite a bit of time trying to craft pre-generated PCs that were diverse and had skills that would apply in a variety of situations. I nailed that part. I went in with no prep, and the system worked well (which isn’t surprising, considering it’s Lady Blackbird and Always/Never/Now).

There was a major problem, though. It wasn’t an Iron Edda game. There wasn’t anything that made it really stand out in that regard. What is a designer to do? Making an Iron Edda game in another system was pretty much the whole point.

Write it Down

Take the feedback and write it down. It might be hard due to emotions, but do it anyway. You need to get it down because our memories (see what I did there) aren’t as clear as we’d like them to be. Mine in particular are not that great when complicated by emotion.

Let it Simmer

After the playtest, take some time and do something else. Then come back to what you wrote down. You need that distance to come back in with a fresh perspective. If the emotions are still raw, take more time.

Prioritize

Take the negative feedback and prioritize it. For me, top priority is making the game feel like Iron Edda. First off, thanks to one of my player’s suggestions, I’m going back to the source material. I’m currently watching Vikings Season 1 and enjoying it quite a bit. That, coupled with another suggestion (find the themes you want the game to have) is giving me plenty of direction in what to do next.

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