The mess that is a play test version

Published on 2018-10-21

Many companies produce beautiful play test documents that have been jointly written by a number of talented game designers then edited to correct problems, then played around with by people in the office before it goes out to the play test teams.

I try to do something similar but don't have a staff, so I follow this model:  (this is a little behind the scenes but we discuss more juicy bits in those posts)

Write concept, if concept seems feasible and cool then I consult with my buddies.  If they seem interested then I go to the initial draft step.  If they don't seem interested, it goes on the pile of projects to develop another day.

Once first draft is done, I show it around to the buddies I play with.  The writing is usually only notes and game mechanic ideas, themes and short narrative bits, but it serves as the foundation the book will be built upon.

 It usually doesn't go well, but that is fine.  This is that first stage where glaring issues I might not have seen are pointed out, inconsistencies are called out, and we generally do a good job of destroying my confidence as a writer (lol).

The book gets a re=write, then its back in front of my group for another round of beatings.

After that rewrite, it gets stuck in front of a select group of game masters for their use at home.  These daring souls tell me what they like, what they don't, and what they think of the book.  This is the first they've seen of it so its a good measure (to my thinking anyway) of what the person buying the book will experience.


Put in front of the play test groups.  I have an invite only group on Facebook where people I know, whose judgement I respect, take the third/fourth/last round of play test material and put it to use.  This is something of a final shake down for the book and I usually receive a wide spectrum of likes and dislikes for each title.  People see things differently and a lot of people see a lot of differences.  

Final write out !

Edits (thank God for Pat!)


In a nut shell: the play test documents I put out are usually a mess.  For those of you who have read finished product of mine, this may take the polish off the apple a bit.  But in order to create the best books I can, I depend on the honesty of a great many folks to help point out problems.  I am very grateful to the play testers, as without them every book would suffer.

So, what is this all about?

Well, today one of the KickStarter backers asked about getting hold of a play test version.  I had sent out play test version (3.5) to handful of game developers I communicate with, a few reviewers, the Venture Maidens!, and those podcasters I associate with.  

I hadn't intended on making it publicly available, but I'm told that folks may be interested in having it.

So I'm making the Whispers of Persephone play test version (3.6)  available for all Subscribers at the "Just the News" level and higher.  This is a text only document, copyright (c) 2018 by Sinopa Publishing, and has all the OGL licensing at the back.  

Be advised, this document does suffer from the fact that it hasn't been through edits, and this is the last version before the Final write out so it doesn't yet have the changes that are coming to the final version. It also doesn't have the stats for the Acolytes of Death or other Kickstarter reward tier content. There is a place holder page to remind me where those pages are going. 

This is a 'text-only' PDF and some game content that is going into the final version is NOT in this draft.

I'll be sending those out by email, this weekend.  

As stated in prior posts and discussions/live streams, I planned to release play test material for subscribers at the existing subscriber tiers anyway.  Whisper's KickStarter campaign was already live when I got the invite to join DRIP. I think material like play test documents count as "behind the scenes" and I have no problem sharing that, though all rights are reserved so don't distribute that material. 

For any subscribers who subscribe after those PDF have gone out: you may contact me and I'll send that PDF out to you. 

For anyone wanting a print copy of the play test copy, version 3.5 was the version I displayed for the KickStarter campaign and the version I show on the live streams.  I can make those available by a print code through drivethrurpg, but those will not be made publicly available for sale beyond subscribers. Contact me directly if you want one. Only the black cover will be made available this way.


The Monthly PDF

I'm expecting the post cards this week. They will go out to the Magic in the Mail tier the day after they arrive (so long as the Post Office is open that day), which is to say they will be going out to you before the end of month just as promised. :-)  

Ol' Jack is available for everyone who subscribes at the "Monthly Supporter" or "Magic in the Mail" subscription tiers through November 1st, 2018. 

November's Monthly subject is being Illustrated by Alexia Veldhuisen, and I believe its going to be a wonderful addition to your game.


Whispers of Persephone's KickStarter Campaign

Wow!  This campaign is going incredibly well.  WoP is now the most funded of any of my KickStarter campaigns.  Thanks go out to all the backers and friends who have been sharing the link to the campaign and spreading the word far and wide.  You all have my gratitude.

New subscribers welcome!

This page is new and still in its founding period (at the time this post was written).  Every new subscriber helps me fund the creation of cool new stuff.  I think you'll like the material available here.  

W.S. "Sam" Quinton