I’d like to share some advice I gave recently that may seem narrow at first, but I believe applies to many parts of life.
As part of our push to promote our upcoming Kickstarter, Nathan suggested that I start an account on Board Game Geek and start posting to the threads. He said that not only would it help us connect with the community that is our target audience for the board game, but the conversations might be something I enjoy. After reading a few threads and writing in a few, I came across a new thread from a 19 year old wanting advice for becoming a game designer through going to college. After reading what everyone else wrote, I wrote the following:
“A lot of good advice precedes mine, but I do have my own take on your question. I would say that you should major in either mathematics or business and minor in the other. A business degree will help you fall into any job you might want or need. The mathematics will help you understand complex systems.
”As far as the game design part of your question, I'll paraphrase Adam Carolla, "If you want to do anything in life, just start doing it. You won't be good at it at first, but you'll learn. If you want to be a comedian, do every open mic you can do. If you want to be an actor, volunteer at your local theater."
”So my advice is this, if you want to design games, start designing games. But this is more important. Don't over design. Start play-testing as quickly as you can.
”My friend Nathan and I are about to start a Kickstarter for our board game in May 2013. We had one brainstorm session, I wrote a quick starter set of rules for us to test, and after the first play-test, we nixed about half of the rules. These were rules and mechanics that seemed like they would be fun, intuitive, or balanced. One play-test session proved that wrong for most of them.
”The extension of play a lot of games to see what works is to play your games a lot, and be honest with yourself about whether it's fun or not. Don't get attached to rules or mechanics because you created them. Be willing to test and revise to the point that the rules and mechanics that survive are a low percentage of the rules and mechanics that you create, because then you'll know you're playing with the best ideas.”
The truth is that this advice applies, in part, to various parts of life. Every step you take toward a project or self improvement goal tends to also help you lose a similar bad habit or unproductive activity. Lean in to something today, and see what just a little bit of work shows you.