Nobody ever talks about the mental/emotional aspect of making your first board game

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Nobody ever talks about the mental/emotional aspect of making your first board game

Is it just me or is there a butt-load of advice/guides on how to make a board game, how to sell your board game, how to pitch your board game, etc. but nobody really talks about the mental / emotional hurdles of making your first board game. Or maybe it’s just hard to find.

Let me explain what I mean–

  • The ever-present imposter syndrome. Who the hell am I and why would anyone buy my game? Nobody’s gonna want to buy this. They’ll know I’m a first time creator. I’m nobody.
  • Jealousy the ugly green monster. Holy shit that game looks AMAZING. Why does my game look like crap while theirs looks like a modern work of art?
  • Feeling like a tiny tadpole in the ocean. Who is game designer XYZ? Why are they famous? I’ve never heard of them…What? They made THAT game?
  • First day of school and everyone else did their summer reading. What game is that? Why haven’t I heard of that? It’s apparently the most popular game in the same genre as mine! Why does it seem like EVERYONE knows about it but me?
  • Watching your classmates eat steak while I’m sitting here eating PB&J. Holy shit, they raised HOW MUCH on Kickstarter? In 24 hours? How is that even possible??? How the hell am I even going to do anything remotely close to that?
  • The teacher asks a question and everyone raises their hand except you. Why does it seem like everyone knows what they’re doing? Why does everyone know about all these industry terms and insider secrets?
  • Losing the popularity contest–every single day. Why does it feel like every other game is super fun but mine feels so dull? How do other people come up with such unique and amazing mechanics / ideas?

I could really go on and on about this topic.

The above italicized text is probably something I’ve asked myself many many times in the last 2 or so years since I started making my board game. At first it was easy to keep my head down and to just focus on making my game the best it can be.

I’m sure once my game is finished and turns out amazing, these thoughts will automatically go away, right??? Right?!?!

Turns out that’s not the case. These thoughts don’t just magically disappear just because you have a “complete” game. In fact, if you let these thoughts overwhelm you, you might never “complete” your game.

Making a game is hard. Wait scratch that. Making ANYTHING is really hard. It’s also much more emotional than you’d expect. You are literally creating something from nothing but your efforts. Of course it’s emotional. You poured your soul into this project.

With every step of the way, the fear of failure gets bigger and bigger. The above thoughts grow louder and louder. Until you give up and quit.

Or you say no.

No, I’m not an imposter. I made a game. That makes me a game designer and creator.

No, you ugly jealous monster. Their game is beautiful but there is no limit on how many beautiful things can co-exist. They are them and I am me.

No, you don’t need to know about every game designer and board game. Not everyone knows everything. You just help each other fill in the gaps and always be looking to pay it forward.

No, nobody knows what they’re doing. They just keep trying and trying. Some get lucky, others make their own luck.

No, they didn’t just receive that money out of thin air. It’s from hard work and effort.

No, your game is unique. Maybe some people may not find it fun, but it’s yours and nobody can take that away from you. Your game is unique because you made it and it’s the culmination of your experiences.


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