Gen Con Online was an incredible experience, and we’re extremely thankful we were able to jump in at the last minute and have our game played by over 30 people. In this post I’ll walk through some of the things we learned last weekend, both about our game and about Tabletop Simulator (TTS).
For starters, we were very happy to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback for the game. We know our game is far from finished and nowhere near perfect, but it was reassuring that there weren’t any glaring issues or super negative feedback.
Our playtesters generally said the game was unique, fun, and (perhaps most importantly) tense. Remember that phrase I’ve been saying over and over? No? I’ll say it again: The Stifling Dark is a horror board game designed to bring true tension to the table. Don’t just take it from me though! Here are a few of the comments from our playtesters:
Positive feedback is always great, but negative / constructive feedback is even more important. We heard common themes that we should update the names for both the Victims and the Stalker, which we will be doing. There was also some confusion around the Adversary’s abilities and movement, so we will work to make that more transparent.
It also came through loud and clear that there is a fairly steep learning curve to start the game, which we very well may have lost sight to with how many times we’ve played the game. One fantastic suggestion that we will be implementing is creating a “tutorial” version of the game to try on your first playthrough that limits the rules while still introducing you to the core mechanics and preparing you for the full game.
There were a host of other comments and feedback that we will be reviewing over the coming weeks. Some of the feedback were things we had actually already discussed (like weapons to fight back against the Adversary or additional maps / Adversaries), but many of the comments were things we had not thought of before. Either way, all of the feedback was helpful and will be a huge asset going forward.
The feedback wasn’t just about our game though – we also learned a lot about TTS! We learned about the Search ability within a deck, which means we don’t need to lay all the cards out face-up anymore and try to hide which cards we take from the Adversary. We also learned about the Team Chat, which will give us a way to communicate without the Adversary cheating - I mean listening. PS why is there no strikethrough option on here?
Another great TTS nugget we learned was that you can hit U to force an object underneath other objects, which is super handy for flashlight placement. This is quite useful when you have a bunch of players near each other and you have to place a flashlight on top of them. No more flashlight juggling!
Scripting was also discussed a bit, and we’re honestly still on the fence about that. We fully acknowledge it would make the TTS implementation go much more smoothly, but at the same time it might hide real-world problems. Since we can’t playtest in person at the moment, we want the TTS version to match the real-world version as much as possible. As such, we’re leaning towards leaving scripting out for now but adding it in for the official digital version when that comes out.
All that said, we want to thank the team at Gen Con, the folks at Double Exposure, and all the amazing people that tried out our game. While we wish our company’s first Gen Con experience could’ve been in person, this was the next best thing that could’ve happened and we are thankful for that. We will definitely be back next year, online or not!