So today I ran my first play test for the next version of D&D. And in a nutshell I had fun. There were a few nit-picky problems my players and I had but they were minor. By minor I mean most if not all of the complaints could have been rectified by a better character sheet. For example both myself and one of the players had trouble finding were to record hit points. Also there were no spots for some fairly important character information and while there are plenty of areas to record notes, we were left scratching our heads as to why this was the case.
Overall we all enjoyed the character creation process, it lends itself to helping players develop a background for there characters. As I sat with my two players they came up with some good back stories and plot hooks that I could use in developing a campaign. It took us 3 hours for my two players to each create two characters and before they sat down they had never seen any of the 5th edition materials. As we get more comfortable with the rules and are not looking through a half dozen different booklets I can see the time this takes being cut in half.
In this version of the rules there are not as many options available as there were in 3rd edition, but I was left with the impression that there was more customization than was available in the original release of fourth edition.
Once we had our characters created the players took a quick foray into the provided adventure. In the half hour we played we got through the equivalent of 3 encounters. In all the new edition rules play quicker than four edition did. In 4th ed encounters had a nasty habit of taking anywhere from a half hour to an hour and a half depending on the situation. It will be interesting to see if this speed remains at higher levels of play.
So far I have a good impression of the new rules, though I will reserve final opinions for later in the play test process as things can change greatly over the coming months. I will also continue to give my impression of the new edition as play testing continues, though I will not get into any specific mechanics. This is mainly because I am not completely sure at the moment what I am allowed to reveal here.
If anyone is interested in reading the rules they can get them by signing up for the play test themselves at https://www.wizards.com/dnd/dndnext.aspx