How Jamey Stegmaier Convinced Me to Start A Blog (And Why You Should Too)
As a game designer, I used to think my main responsibility was making games. However, recently I have come to realize that my main responsibility as a game designer is to contribute to the tabletop gaming community.
This realization came about through a mixture of experiences but, basically it came from going to a ton of conventions, meetups, and board game developer groups. In these groups I met dozens of game designers, some who hope to get famous or rich, and others who have played a lot of amazing games and want to participate in making a new one. From the first group of people I found a large focus on "my game is amazing" or "don't steal my ideas." From the second I have actually found the opposite.
Many board game developers don't have a ton of faith in their design, which is extremely easy to do especially if they don't have experience, most of their play testers are their friends (and they would love the game no matter what), and/or they are a perfectionist. They are constantly looking to improve their game(s) and, while they are doing so, are happy to help other designers improve as well. This is the first industry I have worked in where everyone is helping everyone else win.
So this is where we come in. If you love board games you should start a blog. Whether you're going to weekly meetups, can talk to for hours about which Root faction is the best or, most of all, just play a lot of games to have fun, the community would be happy to hear from you.
How do I know? Well, for two months I have been posting daily to the Furtherance Instagram page. And, while my page has grown a lot in that time, I have realized that the ones who I follow who have grown the most and the fastest, are just board gamers looking to have fun and help share their experiences with the community. Following them has introduced me to new games, helped me find out about new shops and conventions, and even allow me to ask detailed questions about games I have been on the fence about. I get value from them.
So, how did this lead me to start a blog about my experiences? Well, for a long time other designers have encouraged me to start a blog, but I pushed back saying, "I'm a small developer, I have nothing to write about." So, while many other game designers and players add value to others, I have nothing to contribute. And, even if I think I do, I could be wrong and then I worry I might steer someone down the wrong path.
Then, as I was reading through Jamey Stegmaier's blog (the creator of Scythe) I started reading his "Brilliant Blogging" ebook (which I highly recommend; it's short enough to read in one sitting and very helpful). While reading, I came across this line:
"You’re not bothering anyone by starting a blog. Stop thinking about reasons why not to start a blog and just give it a chance."
That's when it hit me: I am not the only individual board game developer trying to get my first project off the ground, there are thousands of others out there like me all trying to navigate the crazy world of board game publishing. So, why not start a blog to share my experiences? Then, if I'm doing the right thing, others can come and be helped. And, if I'm doing the wrong thing then other developers can see it, comment, and let me know how to do better. No matter what, people will have a place to come and learn. And, even if no one else ever sees this then I'm "not bothering anyone" and I "[gave] it a chance."
And, if you do decide to start a blog (or if you already have one), please send me a link to it. I would love to read what you're contributing to this amazing hobby.