I’m an amateur, and it’s ok

I have this board game I’m creating. It’s fun to develop it and I think the game is turning out really well. I would love to see it published – because I think it is a game that many would enjoy, but also because I would like to have a pro looking at the game and say this is good.

When I started creating the game I was mostly going on gut feeling. I’ve been playing board games for many years, and even read a bit about creating games – and like most also dabbled a bit with a number of not-so-serious attempts at creating or tweaking board games. Since the start I have listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts, read a lot of blogs and discussed board game design a lot online. I’ve learnt a lot about creating board games and things that go along with it.

I think I’m good at some parts of board game design, such as writing rules and analyzing board games from a mathematical perspective. I know I’m not good at some parts, such as graphic design and illustrations (not to mention all the business parts of printing, shipping and marketing board games). There are some parts where I have come some way but still have miles to travel, such as playtesting. And there are parts where I don’t know where on the scale I am, such as writing in-game texts.

The other day I realized that I had somehow gone from being a happy amateur, doing the game I want to create, to trying to become a professional. I wanted to read up on various aspects of board game design not primarily because it was fun and interesting, but because I felt that I needed to continue to polish my game and also that I really should know as much as possible about board game design. I needed to feel that I know my stuff.

I don’t want board game design to be something that I should do. I don’t want to cling so much to the game I’m creating that game design becomes something that I should do and shouldn’t get behind on. I don’t want to turn it into work, that I must do whether I feel for it or not.

The original meaning of the word “amateur” is “one who loves”. I want to be an amateur. I want to continue to create this game of mine as long as I love doing it.

I hope that I am wise enough to put the game on the shelf and do other things (board game design or not) if I can’t find a publisher interested in publishing the game. A publisher who says that this game is good, and is willing to develop it in the ways I can’t do on my own.

I will continue to learn about board game design, listening to podcasts, reading blog posts and discussing online. Because I enjoy learning new things, creating things and getting to know others. I will try to prioritize enjoying what I do before chasing dreams.

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Design Theory
Carla Kopp

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