BrettSpiel is a blog about board game design, written by game designer Brett J. Gilbert.

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The Pitiless Pursuit

Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.


I’ve been busy recently working with a publisher on the English rulesets for a range of new games. This is a rewarding pursuit for multiple reasons, but the best of it is this: that in forcing me to think critically and objectively about games in which I have — at least to begin with! — no emotional investment, it has allowed me to revisit some of my own designs with a similarly dispassionate eye.

For me — and I imagine for other designers too — it can seem all too seductively easy to stop working on a design when it reaches a point at which you can breathe a (small) sigh of relief and tell yourself: “Well, at least it works.”

Talk about damning yourself with faint praise! That point — the point at which you have at last made something whole; something that has become, almost miraculously perhaps, more than the sum of its parts — must only ever be a beginning, never an end.

Excellent point.

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