A few weeks ago one of the Council members ran the first blind playtesting of Grisleigh End with friends of the group. None of these people had been exposed to the game prior to this session and knew little about it other than what they had heard from comments we had made in their presence. They found out the game is definitely fun for various ages.
The group who played the game was an odd number, five, something we had yet to test. The ages also varied from mid-teens to mid-adult as well as male and female players. The initial setup of the board and reading of the rules took more time than anticipated but, once that was done, the rounds went fairly quickly; about 10-15 minutes each. This matches our target pace to run around 2 hours, the game being 12-13 rounds total.
A comment sheet was provided to the players so we could gather their thoughts on the game itself. Most of the players really got into the game within the second round but a few took a little longer. However, none of the players thought the game was too long or too complicated once they understood the rules. There were a few requests for clarification that we have addressed with minor rewording. An encouraging bit of feedback; most players stated that the game was simpler than they expected it to be, as well as more fun.
All in all, we are pleased with the reception we received. While these were friends, even friends can be brutal about something being terrible and can actually state it in harsher terms than a stranger would. For anyone still interested in a playtest, we will be scheduling more as soon as we finish producing the newly refined game board.
You can also join us at CincyCon for a chance to play the game.