I'm working on a website for asynchronous two-player games (mostly board games); as part of the site's development I'm hoping to use it to playtest new games I design. The good news is that this offers a much larger pool of playtesters; the bad news is that they'll be remote, so I have no easy way of gauging reactions or of directly watching them play. Obviously I can get a lot of useful information just by extracting metric data (e.g. How many moves games take, who wins more often, average margins of victory, etc.), but I'm wondering how much I can go beyond this too:
- What data particularly should I be looking to extract from completed (or even in-progress) games?
- What are effective means of collecting information from the participants themselves rather than just the games? In particular, will surveying players (e.g. with email or web forms) do me any good?
- What sort of essential information should I only expect to be able to garner from ‘local’ playtests?