My RPOL play by post play-test game has pretty much floundered. There are three active players, and by active I mean they maybe post once a week at best. My schedule is chaotic, and I keep having to cancel, delay or postpone the live, G+ Hangouts games (session this Saturday, fingers crossed it happens!).
It makes me wonder if play testing was such a great idea after all. I didn't really play test Flying Swordsmen. I did some masturbatory number crunching/die rolling on a few things, but mostly since I was cloning Dragon Fist I figured the mechanics were pretty sound. With Chanbara, I'm designing a lot myself, so I wanted to play test it. And so far, it's done well for what I want it to do. I was hoping to get to play through all 10 levels with the G+ group. And maybe we will before I get this thing ready for release.
So while I was a bit down on the whole slog of play testing a game I barely have time to play, I got an email a few months back from a guy who'd read about Chanbara and found the players' playtest document I'd put on the web for the RPOL group. And he ran a session with his group of players.
He gave me some very useful feedback on the game, and since they found some things problematic that my groups haven't, but also found some things unproblematic that one or the other of my groups have, I think it may be less of problems with the rules themselves than in player preference.
The areas of concern from Stefan's group that match with things my groups have mentioned are areas I should address. Other things that have seemed like a problem for only one of the three groups may be the sort of thing DMs should address for their table's preference, not necessarily flaws with the game.
That's got me excited to give Chanbara one final revision, have some outside editing done, and then move on to formatting it! I'm working on my dissertation this summer, trying to get a first draft written, so that comes first, but when taking breaks from it, I'll likely be putting the finishing touches on Chanbara.
No promises of a release date, but this will be released in both PDF and print sometime this year or (more realistically) next.
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