What I’ve Learned so far About Tabletop Design (Part I)

Full disclosure, I’ve been working on this game for a year and a half at this point and I’m still only about halfway finished. What I’m trying to say is that I’m not an experienced or veteran designer. I do not have the wise wealth of any published games under my belt.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to let my inner critic ask me questions for a multi-part article series as I divulge the major challenges I’ve faced so far as I navigate this odyssey of tabletop game design—take it away!

It’s a war of attrition

This is first and foremost for a reason. When you’re in it, you’re in it for the long haul. Remember up there where I stated that I’ve been working on this game for a year and some change and I’m still only about halfway through? I’m aware (albeit vaguely) of the challenges in store for me and I’m rushing to meet them.

What happens when you feel burnout?

It’s going to happen. It’s happened to me loads of times. It’ll happen to you. The worst that you can do when you feel burnout is feel like you’ve failed. Your mind will flood with harsh statements about your project—

Like that time I told you that your stories are lamer than your game?

Yes, that’s a great example of—

What about the time I said that experienced publishers actually somehow feel physical pain whenever you print a new prototype?

Yeah OK, I think—

Oh, and that time I mentioned that fact that you’re allowed to design a game is proof that there’s no god?

We get it! The point is that you might beat yourself up in order to make yourself hate your current game so that any other idea seems attractive. When that happens, take a short break and then set a time to come back. Make yourself come back to your game no later than two weeks from your break. Even if it’s just to look at your game and playtest.

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