A question I get a lot is, “How do you create a stable and productive playtesting environment?” It’s a fairly simple question that has a somewhat complicated answer. There’s a lot of variables to consider when trying to answer that so let’s try to dive in to some of them.
Get an Enthusiastic Group Together
The absolute best way to create a productive playtesting environment is to get a group of enthusiastic players together. Never be afraid to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. The more people you have willing to run crazy decks, the better chances you have of finding what works for you. Have a wacky idea for a deck? Go for it. You might find that it doesn’t work, but you might also find that part of it does work and that it’s just lacking partner synergy or something similar.
Break the Game
A great way to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your deck and your playstyle is to break the game. Start the game with the best possible hand you could have and see what happens. Then, do the same with the worst possible starting hand you can have and see if you can work around it. At some point, you will draw a terrible hand. Does your deck have what it takes to work its way out of that hole?
Share your decklist with the others in your playgroup. You never know when they will see something that you missed when deckbuilding. It happens to me all the time and I happily take suggestions from my fellow players in regards to filling gaps in my deck. Sometimes it’s as simple as forgetting that Hidden Motive is a thing. Sometimes it’s a bit more complex, like switching out a weapons package for a Holocron package. Never be afraid to try your deck with a different configuration.
Sometimes, the best way to get a feel for your deck is to see it from the other side. Swap decks with a member of your playgroup and see what happens. When playing against your own deck, it is sometimes easier to see what needs to change in it. This can also be very helpful because you already know the best ways to exploit your deck’s biggest weaknesses. This is a great way to shore up the weaknesses of your own deck.
Having fun is really a huge part of the game. Yes, being competitive is great. But every now and then, you need to take a break from super competitive decks and re-calibrate. Play something you know is just silly and fun. Plan a day where no one brings “top tier” decks and just build something fun and run with it. Put Awakenings Finn on the table with some Separatist Landing Crafts or break out that eJarJar/eEzra/eRose deck you’ve had your eye on. Take a day off and play some wacky jank that you’d never consider running competitively. Not only is it just fun to break out crazy stuff, you might actually find some combos worth exploring when you step outside the normal comfort zone.
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