I Have A Board Game Idea – Now What? Part 28: 5 Reasons You Want to Consider a Co-Designer

Welcome back everyone! Even though I didn’t use a co-designer, a lot of game designers prefer to do just that. From Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim from the Bamboozle Brothers to Chris Renshall and Aidan Short from TGIK Games, a lot of the designers I know work as part of a team. So that got me thinking – why do so many people prefer designing with a co-designer? I reached out to the Facebook world, and got some very interesting insights. I have amalgamated all of the responses and have come up with the 5 reasons you will want to consider using a co-designer.

Reason 1: Allows each person involved focus on their strengths

Let’s face it – no of us is good at everything. Being able to assign the tasks that you aren’t good at, or don’t know how to do, to someone else frees you to focus on what you are good at and helps get more done.

Reason 2: Another set of eyes and a fresh perspective provides instant reality checks and keeps the project moving forward

It is really easy to get bogged down in all the details of game design, especially when you are filtering through all of your “good” ideas. Also, it is almost guaranteed that you will come up against more than one seemingly insolvable problem. Having another person to bounce ideas off of, to tell you when you’re being crazy again, or to provide another perspective to those inevitable problems is invaluable, will save your sanity, and will help make the game all that much better.

Reason 3: A Co-designer helps to keep you motivated

For most people, being accountable to just yourself isn’t enough to keep you on top of your to do list. For me, having another person that I’m accountable to helps keep me on task.

Another factor that will contribute is guilt. If I haven’t done very much one week and then I realise they’ve done loads then the next week I’ll make sure I’ll do loads as I’ll feel bad otherwise! Taking it in turns to do this basically means one of us is always working hard out of guilt.

Reason 4: Shared work load means you can be more efficient with your time, and are less likely to burnout

Having a second person to divide and conquer the many tasks involved in game design and marketing not only helps get more done, but can also prevent either from getting overwhelmed or burnt out. This strategy can apply to all faucets including convention attendance, play testing, actual game design, and social media outreach to just name a few.

Reason 5: Increase social reach and access to more play testers

Even the closest of friends don’t have exactly the same social circles, so having a second, or more, person means you have and increased social reach and friends to play test your game with. Co-Design with a relative stranger, and this is increased even more.

That is everything for this week. Whether you use a co-designer or not, I would love to hear why you made the decision you did. For me, it wasn’t something that ever came onto my radar. I’m sure it started with my “it will only take me a couple weeks to design the game” misconception, and then by the time I realized exactly how much work it would be, I was already invested and just continued on my own. That said, I still take advantage of the feedback and ideas of others through the Facebook groups I belong to, family and friends, and the other contacts in the community I’ve made over the last 2 and a half years which may be where you want to start as well. Until next time, happy designing.

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