Belle of the Ball Prototype M Sent to Playtesters

The truth is that I'm completely making this up as I go along. Case in point: I don't know what the proper protocol is for sending out prototypes to blind playtesters, so I just assume I gotta make it as neat and tidy as I can.

Above, you can see the packet I sent out to Prototype M playtesters yesterday. It includes a half-letter staple-bound rule booklet, prototype cards in penny sleeves, a pre-sorted deck for easy first-play. I also included the following letter.

Dear Playtesters,

Thanks very much for playtesting Belle of the Ball! It’s taken a long while to get the game in its current state, but I feel more confident about the core mechanics. Please play the game aggressively, casually, logically and randomly. Give it a real testing to find any peculiar bugs or game-breaking problems.

If you have opportunity or inclination to do some A/B testing, try these variants:

  • Basic charms cannot be affected by STEAL or LURE.
  • You may only use one charm on your turn.
  • There is no limit on the size of the group.
  • You may only have three groups in your party.
  • EXCUSE has different ability: “The caller may discard a group from her party and score its points. The other players may do the same with one of their own groups in their party.”

Do you prefer any of these variants to the basic game? Are there any other issues or improvements that you’d like to discuss? Please email me at

Thank you!

Again, I don't know if that's an appropriate letter. Have you sent out prototypes for playtesting? How have you packaged them?
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.