Thanks so much for your interest in testing for Spirit Island!
Spirit Island playtesting signups are currently paused. When they start up again, they will be limited as discussed below, both to keep the volume of testing feedback manageable and to correct for demographic skew in the testing group.1
If you’re also interested in playtesting other games of mine (which is a medium-term proposition at best, since Spirit Island is currently consuming most of my time), you can sign up for that via the newsletter link at in the sidebar at right.
Requirements for playtesting
[Last updated 2023-03-21]
As mentioned above, signups are currently paused.
When they re-start, open signups will be available for folks who EITHER:
- Identify as Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latine, Pacific Islander, African, or Middle Eastern;
- OR, meet any two of:
- Identify as BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, or a person of color);
- Identify as female, non-binary, or otherwise not male;
- Play mostly or entirely at low-to-mid Difficulties (from 0 through 6)
This restriction applies only to the primary point-of-contact for testing, not to the entire playgroup. If you’re a white guy with an Indigenous woman in your gaming group, you can ask her if she wants to playtest; if she does, then she can get in touch with me. Supporting her by, e.g., pledging to do the work of printing out + physically assembling playtest materials is fine, but being the point-of-contact is not – it would defeat a large part of the purpose.2 And obviously, don’t pressure anyone into testing who isn’t actually interested!
The primary point-of-contact also needs to:
- Be broadly familiar with the rules of the Jagged Earth expansion (tokens, Events, Isolate, etc), or be able to learn those rules on their own time;
- Have access to a modern web browser, to provide feedback via a playtesting website;
- If playing physically:
- Have access to both the base game and Jagged Earth (or be able to proxy JE’s components, like tokens and element markers);
- Have access to a printer (to print playtest materials).
- If playing virtually:
- Own a copy of Tabletop Simulator.
Once signups re-open, send me an email at ereuss+playtesting, at that email service run by Google,3 explaining how you meet the signup criteria, and copy-pasting the above list of requirements for the primary point-of-contact and affirming that you meet each of them.
Please also mention:
- If I already know (or might know) who you are – via a convention, Discord, or Spirit Island activity on BGG/Reddit;
- If you are already in a group that does Spirit Island playtesting.
Depending what else is going on in my life, it may take me some time to respond; I apologize if the wait is excessive. Worst-case, I do a sweep for folks who’ve gotten in touch near the start of each month. (So if it’s been longer than a month, please feel free to email again.)
Level of Commitment
Playtesting is a volunteer effort (that I appreciate immensely!) – you get to choose your own level of involvement, and can drop in/out as the rest of your life permits.
Just realize that it does takes more time/effort than “play Spirit Island occasionally” – there’s some up-front work in preparing playtest materials, and some after-play work in noting feedback then later typing it up for the dev team.
1 = The original pool of Spirit Island playtesters grew organically & without much deliberate direction, and as a result ended up somewhat overrepresenting men and notably overrepresenting folks of white/European heritage. It’s a lot better now than it was, but keeping it so is something of an ongoing process.
2 = Part of this purpose is that the point-of-contact’s voice is apt to be the most consistently represented in feedback, but part is also because this sort of participation is a path via which some folks end up getting more involved in the industry. “Playtest groups that are almost entirely white guys” is one of the factors contributing to “an industry that’s almost entirely white guys”.
3 = If your email client refuses to put a + in an email address, just send to
ereuss, and make it clear what you’re emailing about in the Subject. (And re-email me if I haven’t responded in a month or so.)