While researching my current series on playtesting, I discovered an excellent example in the Looney Labs playtesting workshop page here.
Awesome and wonderful folks that they are, I secured their blessing to share it with all of you. Question Answerer 1st Class Alison Looney tells me that it has been working well for them.
This form was obviously designed to collect playtest data on several games at once. You will have to make a some adjustments If you’re only working on one or two games. Setting that particular detail aside, I think there are several things any of us us can learn from the Looney Labs approach.
Notice that it asks few specific questions but instead has been designed to be open ended. Notice that a huge amount of space has been dedicated to “comments,” including the back of the page. Keeping their form open ended will encourage Looney’s testers to be sincere. Some will share many impressions and comments while others may offer few. This is a good thing. In both cases, the feedback will be sincere.
I have seen several feedback forms that attempted to cover every conceivable question. I created a several of these myself. The problem with this approach is that it presupposes the creation of such an exhaustive list to be possible. But no matter how hard we try, there will always be questions we missed.
At the other extreme, a blank piece of paper gives your testers limitless freedom but no guidance. The tabula rasa approach to data gathering is more likely to lead to the creation of paper airplanes.
Looney Labs has found an excellent balance. They make sure to ask the critical questions–what did you play? What did you like best? Second best?–and left the rest to the tester’s creative mind to offer.
We would all be wise to follow a similar model.