Flip-a-Card: Playtest Feedback

April 26, 2020 - 2 min read

My editor and I both put together notes on the recent playtest. I’m presenting rewritten versions of them here, both to make sure I heard what was said, and to formulate a plan of action.


  • The rule about “if you need a rule or ruling, write a card” needs to be up front and clear
  • It needs to be clear who has authority to do this

Character creation

  • The card prompts were helpful in kickstarting character ideas
  • Creating a custom character card instead of using the stock cards worked great
  • The cards work well as prompts for “how does your PC view/interact with this thing?”

Temporary or add-on character cards

  • Address questions about how, why, when, etc. new character cards come into being
  • Address emphemeral or situational benefits like “X person likes us now”

GM roles

  • The GM role cards need better names, to clearly indicate what they do (e.g. “NPC guy”)
  • The divisions of responsibility might not be the best ones - we’ll reconsider
  • The functional distinction of roles feels hazy right now

The Facilitator

  • “Spotlight” is a good start
  • Introduce post-Forge concept of scene and scene framing:

    • The scene’s overriding source of tension
    • The scene’s location (place, time, etc.) and occupants
    • What closes the scene out?


  • Encounter generation is a good start
  • The specific cards need tightening
  • The open-ended nature of the cards is a strength. Find ways to yoke that strength into a generator without giving up the free-form nature of it.
  • Encounters should come with some kind of stakes
  • Difficulty resolution is vague - how many times can we pose a challenge before we say “yeah that did it”?

Next steps

I think the next steps are as follows:

  1. Write up the meta-rules clearly (“you can create new cards at any time”)
  2. Start looking for new terms for the GM role cards
  3. Start looking at other divisions of labor for those cards
  4. Write an article on how to frame scenes using encounter cards
  5. Think about how to pace or manage difficulty

Image source