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Old 11-30-2010, 07:13 PM   #31
Pragmatic
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Default Re: Call for Playtesters: GURPS Social Engineering

(I'd never apply to be in a playtest. I'm a collector, not a player, and wouldn't want to take up a spot better deserved by someone else.)

Do Pyramid subscriptions get split into monthly allotments, or do they count as one lump sum?
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:31 PM   #32
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Default Re: Call for Playtesters: GURPS Social Engineering

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Originally Posted by Owen Smith View Post
But I was seriously under the monetary figure for E23 purchases. If ever there was a playtest I should have been in it was that one, but the pointless E23 rule excluded me. I have a shelf full of GURPS 3E and 4E physical books, but apparently I don't buy enough stuff. Right, sure thing...
I'm sorry you feel excluded, Owen, but I disagree that the rule is "pointless." There are several reasons why it makes sense.

For several years now, SJ Games has limited playtest participation to those who meet specific requirements, whether those requirements be "Must be a member of IO," "Must have a subscription to web-Pyramid," or "Must buy $X of e23 stuff." Among other things, keeping the potential playtest pool restricted makes it possible to get the playtest together in the first place! If literally anyone who wanted to join the playtest was allowed to apply, I'd estimate there would be 10-20x as many applicants for each playtest, which would make every playtest so difficult to even get off the ground that we'd probably have to stop doing them.

Example: Let's say the average playtest needs 20 people and right now we get an average of 60 applications per playtest. (Those certainly aren't the exact numbers, but it's close enough to reality for a simple example.) That means 40 people who need to be considered, vetted, and ultimately turned down. That's not an insignificant amount of work for no added playtest value. Opening it up to the public means we'd get somewhere in the range of 400 to 800 applicants per playtest. That means 380 to 780 people to consider, vet, and turn down, which is 9x to 19x as much work for zero gain.

In addition to the above, restricting participation to a specific group, where that group is determined by minimum GURPS-related requirements, means that the people who do apply are more likely to be decently familiar with GURPS.

Now, "I own a bunch of hardbacks" is certainly a sign that you're familiar with GURPS as well, but we can't verify that. It's easy to verify e23 sales to a customer, difficult to verify Warehouse 23 sales to a customer, and impossible to verify sales from anywhere else. (In addition, Warehouse 23 does not want to be in competition with the FLGS, and wouldn't want to do anything as rude as implying that you should shop from W23 exclusively just because you might get in a playtest. Since e23 is only selling PDFs, that's a different story; it's not in direct competition with the FLGS by its very nature.)

Put simply, e23 sales are the most pragmatic way there is to determine who should playtest. Consider that right now, for every physical GURPS book we release, we release about 10-15 brand new GURPS PDFs. In terms of titles, e23 is thus where over 90% of our GURPS business lies. Thus, even if it isn't an accurate barometer, its accuracy is at least 90%, which is better than any other yardstick currently available.
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:39 PM   #33
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Default Re: Call for Playtesters: GURPS Social Engineering

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Example: Let's say the average playtest needs 20 people and right now we get an average of 60 applications per playtest. (Those certainly aren't the exact numbers, but it's close enough to reality for a simple example.) That means 40 people who need to be considered, vetted, and ultimately turned down. That's not an insignificant amount of work for no added playtest value.
Just to jump in here, I was Lead Playtester for Tactical Shooting (and High Tech, but it's TS I want to discuss).

I asked for responses from people that covered several criteria, including whether they had a current GURPS game they could actually test rules with, and if they were an actual shooter or not. There were others.

I then put all that into a table and used "Relative Priority Notation" to come up with a score of how desirable each candidate was. There were a few who had tons of previous and credited playtest experience, had been actual tactical operators (or instructed them!), had an ongoing and relevant campaign, etc. We also then selected a few who had no previous experience (break 'em in), some who had zero shooting experience and had never held a gun, but they had an ongoing campaign that could test stuff, so that 'simple to play' had weight along with 'reasonable reflection of reality.' there were other criteria, and they were discussed with the authors and staff, who of course got the final word. I was merely a facilitator.

Suffice it to say that having several dozen potential applicants made this vetting process worth the time. Having a HUNDRED of these, or more...yeesh.

So it's very worthwhile to have some sort of self selection going on around to keep the pool large enough to be varied, but small enough to be siftable.
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:48 PM   #34
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Default Re: Call for Playtesters: GURPS Social Engineering

And another question:

Does total e23 purchases matter, or only the GURPS stuff? Because there's a lot of stuff in there that's not GURPS.

(And again, I'm just asking for curiosity and clarity. I'm not now, nor will I ever be, an applicant to join a playtest.)
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:06 PM   #35
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Just FYI for all of you: I've submitted my second list of playtesters for e23 verification. This is not quite the final list; I've got one place left open, or maybe two if I get two really brilliant applications. If you're debating whether to apply, drop your nickel in the slot; you won't get a better chance.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:16 PM   #36
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Default Re: Call for Playtesters: GURPS Social Engineering

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BUT, you haven't addressed my concern that the particular nature of that pool might be skewing the results of the playtests. This is a wider issue than my own annoyance at being automatically excluded, which is a pain but I can get over it.
I don't understand that concern, to be honest. So far, the one example you've raised is that the playtesters might be in favor of, "rules that fit on screen for easy pdf viewing," which doesn't register for me. PDFs are laid out 100% identically to print books -- I can't see how that would affect anything.

As near as I can tell, you seem to be suggesting that people who buy PDFs will treat the rules differently than people who only buy physical books. I don't understand how this would work, but I'm willing to listen if you have specific examples with logical explanations.
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:31 PM   #37
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Default Re: Call for Playtesters: GURPS Social Engineering

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I don't have specific examples, I'm just asking the question as to whether any thought has been given to whether this self selecting limited pool may be influencing the playtest results. It sounds like the answer is "it didn't even occur to us to consider it".
Playtest files are pre-layout, there are no ToCs, no indexes and so on. A person that tends to buy deadtree and a person that tends to buy pdf are going to be looking at the same .doc file (whether they choose to print it or not) and the same playtest list discussions.
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:33 PM   #38
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Default Re: Call for Playtesters: GURPS Social Engineering

Take a look at my GURPS collection. Notice that there's a table covered with PDF printouts? Well, those are for table use. Personally, I print and bind my PDFs. Things may change when I get a tablet, but I don't expect to get one until the end of 2011, when tablets become a mainstream technology, the way smartphones are now.
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:27 PM   #39
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Default Re: Call for Playtesters: GURPS Social Engineering

I think I've found two questions that weren't answered elsewhere...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragmatic View Post
Do Pyramid subscriptions get split into monthly allotments, or do they count as one lump sum?
Pyramid subscriptions count at the moment of purchase, as a lump sum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragmatic View Post
Does total e23 purchases matter, or only the GURPS stuff? Because there's a lot of stuff in there that's not GURPS.
I'm fairly certain that all e23 purchases count. However, prospective playtesters still need to list their gaming experience (ideally with GURPS), so "I buy a bunch of stuff on e23 but I don't ever play this GURPS thing" might not be well-suited for many GURPS playtest.
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:53 PM   #40
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Default Re: Call for Playtesters: GURPS Social Engineering

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Originally Posted by Owen Smith View Post
I don't have specific examples, I'm just asking the question as to whether any thought has been given to whether this self selecting limited pool may be influencing the playtest results. It sounds like the answer is "it didn't even occur to us to consider it".
Exactly. It didn't even occur to us to consider it, and now that you've raised the point . . . well, quite honestly, it still doesn't occur to me that's it's something we should consider. I can't think of a single way that this spending prerequisite would skew a playtest, sorry. As far as I can tell, this is simply a non-issue.
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