The recent playtests for The Reality is Murder worked really well. We asked for playtesters via our newsletter, and eventually had four groups providing us with great feedback that really improved the game and ironed out a few kinks that we hadn’t spotted.
And even though we have been writing and publishing these games for nearly 20 years, I’m still learning new things. So amongst all the specific playtest feedback, there were a couple of issues that appeared that I think we need to carry across to other games.
While we already provide instructions for what to do if some characters aren’t used, it seems that one of our playtesters missed them, and got a bit confused.
So I made the following change: where items are reassigned, I added a handout to be added to the affected character envelope. This should make it clearer as to what needs to be done when not all the characters are being played.
Solving the murder
One of our playtesters noted that towards the end of the mystery some of the characters had finished their goals, and if they had had a goal to solve the murder, could have been working towards that.
I didn’t want to add a goal to every character to tell them to solve the murder because that’s a player objective rather than a character objective. But I realised that the host could remind the players of that objective during the game.
So added a note to the hosts’ introductory speech about solving the murder: “At the end of the evening I will ask everyone to indicate who they think murdered Jeff Thompson. So see if you can piece the evidence together and work out who murdered Jeff, and why.”
I also added an announcement in the timeline (and Quick Reference Sheet) towards the end of the game, reminding everyone to try and identify the murder.
That way the players are reminded that they can still solve the murder, while the characters are still the characters.
Our other games
And with The Reality is Murder finally finished, these changes now need to be added (where applicable!) to our other games.
That’ll be something we do over time as we update our games – starting with Hollywood Lies and Halloween Lies (both of which have now been updated).