12 January 2015 | 30 Comments
Have you ever had an idea you couldn’t let go of, even to your own detriment?
I’ve experienced this personally many times over. In fact, just in this past year I spent a huge amount of time trying to design a dragon-themed game (deckbuilding with a board). I went through dozens of iterations, and it never reached a point where it was fun. So I let it go.
I also got it in my head that I really wanted to design a large-group game in the vein of The Resistance. So in the last year I’ve designed at least a dozen games of that type, none of which have held a candle to current games in that category.
Sometimes we get so caught up in a specific project that we fail to realize it’s simply not going to work. No matter how hard you try, no matter how passionate you are, some ideas are not good enough. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not put a mediocre thing on Kickstarter just because you’ve spent a lot of time on it.
The key is to remember that you always have the power to get that idea out of your system–to pull the tooth–and move on to something better. By finally saying “no” to that idea that has dominated your time, you open yourself to all those little ideas you pushed to the side in the meantime. I bet you learned a lot in the process of pursuing the obsession that you can apply to those new ideas.
Kickstarter and crowdfunding will thrive if we use those platforms launch our best ideas (in near-finished form). I’ve said before that YOU are the last gatekeeper–there’s nothing stopping you from crowdfunding any idea. But every time you launch a mediocre product or project, you lose a little more of that hard-earned trust.
This is one of the reasons why Stonemaier has only run 4 Kickstarter campaigns. We’ve tried to crowdfund our best work, nothing more. And it’s why we’ve been incredibly selective about publishing the work of other game designers. We hope that will speak volumes to backers when Between Two Cities (designed by Ben Rosset and Matthew O’Malley, and developed by me) launches on Kickstarter on February 25.
There’s a powerful moment in Douglas Morse’s new documentary about this concept of recognizing and letting go of our mediocre ideas so we can continue to grow and evolve. This scene gave me chills, and since I’ve thought back to it many times. Douglas kindly clipped the scene so I could share it here on the blog.
If you’d like to watch the rest of the documentary, please visit Douglas’ website here.
Can you think of a time when you couldn’t let go of a mediocre idea? What happened when you finally did (or didn’t)?