Playtesting, playtesting, playtesting

Playtesting Death Wish


So it’s been a few months since my last post but I have plenty to update about. As you are likely aware, the new website is now live complete with an online “how to play” and free 3-5 player print and play, check them out if you haven’t already!

Death Wish has been progressing in leaps and bounds since my last post with the main focus has been on playtesting and Kickstarter video shoot for which I shall be covering more in the next couple of blog posts.

Playtesting to death

My first phase of testing has mainly been centred around friends and family and this has been vital in ironing out any larger potential issues. This however, will only get me so far and the real test is in anonymous “stranger testing”. This essentially means I have been lending the prototype to external groups to receive anonymous feedback.

This kind of playtesting really provides an outside perspective of the game without the potential for biassed opinion, it also means that questions aren’t directed to me during gameplay. It’s not only the game that is tested but the focus on the rules is key in ensuring that playthroughs go smoothly.

Game changing feedback

Below are are just a few of the elements I have changed in the game since receiving feedback:


  • Created new optional advanced turn option called “Incubate”. Players have the option to put away and store 1-3 symptoms for later use but must use a turn to both store and collect the cards. This is great as it gives that extra tactical option to the player and allows them to plan ahead, giving them access to a small pool of quality cards.
  • Added 4 “Wild Diseases” that can only be contracted using one of each colour symptom and a specified colour afflcter (on the card). This means that combinations can be made outside the restrictions of the colour sets which has created some interesting tactics and also extends the possible range of diagnosis outcomes.
  • I have now increased the number of diseases with outbreak effects so these are more likely to occur. In addition, I have removed any lower end outbreaks (such as changing direction or resetting the symptom pool) and created newer, higher impact cards.


  • All red diseases require 4 symptoms to make them slightly harder to obtain.
  • New outbreaks added that players are able to keep and optionally use at a later point in the game.
  • Wild cards now have a full background gradient so they match the other cards. I have also opted for a horizontal gradient effect for wild diseases (instead of vertical) so they don’t appear as a single colour when stacked.
  • Changed “supplant a disease” to “add a disease” to make this less confusing.
  • Removed text orphans and widows from outbreaks and reworded some of them for clarity.
  • Added actual graphics of cards to the game set up section in the rules so it’s more accurate (instead of coloured cards with descriptions over them).
  • Allowed players to discard any number of cards they wish on their turn to allow more freedom.

Reviewing the game

Once this phase of playtesting is done, I will be printing sets of the semi-completed version of the game for external reviewing purposes. I have already been in touch with a local printers in Nottingham who have agreed to print 10 sets of the cards. The printer doesn’t explicitly print playing cards but they do provide business cards and have agreed to print these for a similar cost (which is great). Getting the game reviewed is very important for exposure and marketing, this also means I can have some genuine reviews on the Kickstarter and website.

Are you a game reviewer? Get in touch to review the game.

That’s it for now, more updates soon!

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