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Why Tabletop Simulator is the BEST way to prototype your Board Game

Firstly, Tabletop Simulator (TTS) should not be the ONLY way you playtest your board game, but the vast majority of iterations would be best done with TTS, or a similar variant.

The reason for this is simple, speed.

I could put together a big list of pros for Tabletop Simulator, but it would look something like this:

  • Playtest quicker

  • Iterate quicker

  • Implement art quicker

  • Try new components quicker

Well, I pretty much listed them anyway. However, there is one other major benefit to playtesting in Tabletop Simulator which gets overlooked, and that's volume.

One great way to quickly balance your game is to create a workshop version of your game on Steam, and provide a link to a form somewhere on the table (or in the notes if you are feeling fancy). The form can have different questions relating to the balancing of your game. Unlike video game publishers, board game publishers rarely have access to playtesting on a massive scale (or at least to any comparable scale). Some companies like Stonemaier have a system set up to generate a lot of playtests to get empirical data, but when you aren't turning over millions a year, this is an alternative way. Now at the top, I mentioned that playtesting in TTS shouldn't be the only way you playtest. This is down to the quality of the components and the feeling of the game on the table. I have been burnt a few times with my earlier games, having playtested them entirely in TTS before a prototype print run, only to find out that the game is almost unplayable physically. Make sure after every few major iterations of the digital version, to cut some cards, pencil in some cards and get it played on a table, it's surprising what you might find wrong with your game when switching the medium.

If you are interested in seeing how I run my playtests, make sure to join the Crab Studios Discord community here!

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