Bots! Playtest, playtest, playtest!

What’s in a game?

I cannot stress how important I consider playtesting. I remember creating games growing up and immediately having my brother try them out. Thanks to his suggestions, I was able to make many otherwise mediocre games into something we had fun playing. Isn’t a memorable experience what we want when we create a game anyway? Playtesting makes that happen, and this is why I playtest to this day.

Playtesting bots! has made it a much better game than what it was just a few months ago. Two major changes that come to mind are the removal of the defend option, and the splitting of attacking into two directional attacks instead of an area of effect.

During a playtest I was asked to explain each action and why a person might want to use it instead of an alternative. When I was asked about the defend option I simply said that a player would use that when they think the opponent might attack them on the next turn (The defend option was meant to deflect an attack and nothing more). i was then asked to explain the reflect option. Before I finished, I realized that no one would ever choose the defend option if they could choose reflect. Both options protected the player from being hit, however, a reflect had the additional advantage of sending the attack back, killing the other player. Knowing this, I decided to remove the defend option from the game.

The problem of attacking having a one block area of effect had already raised it’s ugly head at the beginning of development, but it wasn’t until I had a few playtests that I found out how broken it was. During this particular playtest Player 1 stood next to the block with the coin and proceeded to only use the attack action. as a result, Player 2 couldn’t get close to Player 1 or the coin. As a result I split the attack into two actions. One that hit anyone unfortunate enough to be above or to the side of the attacker and one that dealt damage diagonally.

Although these changes have made Bots! a stronger game, I’m not done with yet, and I expect to have a lot of revisions before I am.