Monday, May 21, 2012

1 year of madness

More and more people are asking me lately how did I start making board games and why. Most of them end up saying the same few words in the end, "dude, you're crazy..."

So, why did I give up a well paid job to start an adventure, against all advice from friends and family? You see, I've been asking myself the same question over and over again, almost every time something unexpected happens, every time things get so hard that all I want to do is quit and start over, just do anything but my own business. And yet, here I am, I keep designing games, writing, complaining of how unfair the world is and then thanking the world for being the way it is.

Like any other business, designing and publishing board games is a difficult start-up. Not because of the board game "detail", but because it is a start-up. It is not my first attempt to put together a business, but it is my first adult one. Every time I want to give up and admit defeat, I tell myself that any start-up need at least 3 years to start being a business and cease being just a game. Until then, it is a game, but one with very high stakes, one of them being my future and the future of those around me.

If I learned anything in life, it is not to quit in the middle. There is always the possibility of going beyond the line of no return, a threshold below which it does not make sense anymore to continue, but that is not the case. The day to day stress, the amount of work and the overall degree of risk in the gaming industry are the things to factor in when I ask myself "what I am doing here?"

It has been roughly 1 year since NSKN is "alive" and somewhere along the way I expected things to get easier. Somehow, they didn't. After putting first game on the market, I expected that the learning curve will flatten and with organizing the company and better distributing tasks and responsibilities, everything will be simpler and less stressful. Obviously, I was wrong! The learning probably will never end, but for now it is still exponential.

I take pride in not repeating the same mistakes - this does not always apply in the day-to-day life, but it does when it come to business. Nevertheless, I seem to be able to always find new mistakes, new traps I fall into, new things to struggle with. Like in any other industry, experience is the key and enthusiasm can only take one so far... the rest is the know-how which we are slowly accumulating.

It is still hard, sometimes harder than in the beginning because now we know what awaits us. Yes, I was crazy to give up a career to start making board games, but I do not regret it for a second! I gave up being safe financially and I gained the satisfaction of doing something I love and I can take pride for.
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  1. Well, if I remember well, some friends said good for you and still say so :-)