Creation motivation

May 31, 2016

pic1996088_md I'm going to start off by saying that I'm am going to try to not go too negative with this post, but it is late and I'm a little rusty, so I may not be able to fully control my stream of thought. It will take us where it may, and it's possible I'll be asking your forgiveness by the end. Who can say "no" to a blog post that starts like that? Right, so, sometimes I think about what motivates people to make board games. These thoughts come more often when I am perusing the best BoardGameGeek thread ever, fittingly titled "Worst Kickstarter Ever?" Seriously, this is the thread that just keeps on giving. Over 100 pages of solid gold. But the mind inevitably asks the question, "What were they thinking?" You've got project after project of some ill-conceived idea presented with a single paragraph of text, a still image, and poorly thought-out pledge levels. Do these people really think that people will want to buy their board game? Do they have any passion for what they are doing when what they present to the world is so lazy? I feel like a lot of this comes down to money. People look at projects like Exploding Kittens, and they think that board game Kickstarters are an easy way to make a million dollars. Yeah, umm, they're not, but that topic is a whole other wall of text. The project, nay, the game itself, is a means to make money, and the entire design of the game becomes secondary. And, okay, look, I know. We live in a capitalist economy. We all need to make money one way or another, but I feel like there should be something more. And I'm not just talking about the worst Kickstarter projects. There are plenty of highly polished Kickstarter projects whose sole purpose is to separate people from their money. All you have to do is throw in pretty pictures of miniatures and Kickstarter exclusives, and you'll have people lining up to buy whatever poorly designed rule set you happen to throw together. Bonus points if it's for a popular IP. Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 12.48.21 AM My point is that a game should deserve to be out in the world. Sure, we can judge a game by plenty of different metrics, but to me, a game's mechanics need to justify its existence. I don't create games to make money - I could make a lot more money working as a physicist. I create games because I feel the games that I am creating deserve a place in the world. Games created in this crowded market shouldn't just rehash old mechanics under a different theme. They should do something unique. They should cause people to think about games in a new way. This is why Pandemic Legacy was my favorite game of last year - it changed the landscape of board gaming. That is the type of game that deserves to be made. When I see yet another Apples to Apples spin-off on Kickstarter, I can't help but think that these people just don't have good motivation for their product. Nothing is being added to the hobby, it is just being diluted. Board gamers deserve to experience new and exciting things and not be tricked into playing the same old game with new fancy packaging. I know I'm just being idealistic. People keep making crap and people keep buying crap, so the dynamics of the industry probably aren't going to change in that regard any time soon, but I just hope that there is a place for me within this community - that the games I create and am wholly passionate about can be respected amidst all the noise. I don't know, was this whole rant a little elitist? Yeah, I guess it was kind of elitist. Sorry, it's just that sometimes I really want to feel justification for sinking a good year and a half of full-time work into making Gloomhaven as amazing as it possibly can be. Don't worry, self. It's almost released. People will love it. You just have to be patient. Nobody is going to be talking about Ghostbusters 2 The Board Game in two years. I just hope people will still be talking about Gloomhaven - that it justifies a permanent place in the board game landscape. Because that is what motivated me to make it in the first place.


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