Tips for Creating Inexpensive Tabletop Beta Testing Items

One of the challenges of developing a game is coming up with inexpensive and fast ways to create and have descent game components.

Game Setup

Legacy at Sea Beta components

  1. Use what you have. This may seem obvious, but it deserves to be mentioned. If you need wooden blocks, why not raid that old Risk game. Gold coins? How about poker chips?
  2. Playable Cards. Instead of heading off to an on-demand printer and waiting 2 weeks for your cards to arrive, just make your own. Your local printer (UPS Store or Staples) will get you high-quality printing. Your first run can be printed on both sides and on card stock. After that, use card sleeves and print on regular paper. The card backs can be the card stock. Just slide the lighter paper version in along with it. Easy to replace and looks good.
  3. Art. Use clip art “borrowed” from the internet. You can start working on making your components look nice without having an artist create it. If you use clip art or existing art, it will help your artist get the feel of what you want. It will also help create the environment that you are aiming for (or get you feedback that it doesn’t).
  4. Tokens, Playmats & Game Boards. We again use a local printer and regular grade paper. But then use a spray glue (Loctight makes one) and an old shirt box. A paper cutter chops pieces fairly accurately. You get the thickness you are going for.

Most importantly listen to ALL of the feedback that beta-testers give you. You can sift through what is important later. More than once, a tester had an idea early on in the process that didn’t make sense at that point. Later on, that same idea might fit in nicely. If you don’t at least listen, people will stop giving you feedback because it doesn’t seem appreciated.

Best of Luck

Dan

 

Categories: Game Development.
About Dan Hundycz

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