Why I Blog


It’s all Jamey Stegmaier’s fault!

As you’ve probably heard me say on several occasions now, we’re planning to use Kickstarter.  You don’t need to spend long researching Kickstarter before you come across Jamey Stegmaier.  He is half of Stonemaier Games, the publishers of renowned games such as Viticulture, Euphoria and the superb Scythe (a strong candidate for most-hyped game ever, but rather surprisingly, the hype was well-deserved – it was my favourite game of 2016!).

Jamey has Kickstarted all of his games to-date and is an avid blogger.  In the course of doing my homework, I’ve been reading through his extensive blog of Kickstarter Lessons, which are excellent by the way.  If you are considering running a Kickstarter campaign yourself, I would consider his Kickstarter Lessons blog mandatory reading.

One of his lessons recommends starting a blog.  It fits in with his whole philosophy of developing games, namely (in a nutshell): build community.  He talks about the importance of connecting with people rather than just trying to get people to buy what you’re selling.

His approach has resonated so much with me.  Community is the reason I play boardgames.  I actually think connecting with people is key to satisfaction in life generally.  Life lacks something when it’s lived alone.  I don’t want to connect with people in order to sell games.  I want to make and (hopefully!) sell games in order to connect with people.

The Boardgame Opinions podcast has been great in that regard.  I found after most games that players would discuss what they thought of the game.  However, some people were always a lot more vocal than others!  Some people would rarely say anything, but I wanted to know what they thought.

So I thought, why not record these discussions?  Formalising the discussion in the way we do it means that everyone has a chance to share their opinion and the conversation doesn’t get dominated by one or two people.  The conversation often continues after filming has finished, but the video includes everyone.  I love that.

Blogging allows for a similar kind of discussion.  Hopefully, the initial blog entry provides some focus and a topic of conversation, but I think much of the interest for me lies in the comments.  It’s a chance to connect with people.

It’s also a chance for people to air their views who may not do so otherwise.  Some people aren’t going to speak up if there are two loud people discussing something, but the written format allows people to be heard.  Some people will always feel happier sharing their opinions in writing rather than in person.

When I first read Jamey’s suggestion to start blogging, I was initially reticent.  I could see the value of it, but it’s just so time-consuming!  Particularly for me.  I’m a slow writer.  I read and re-read what I write several times, changing bits here and there with each pass.  I think it’s the maven in me.  However, despite being very busy, I decided that since community was so important to me and blogging would be a very helpful component of it, I needed to do it.

So that’s why I started blogging.   But having started, I am actually enjoying it far more than I thought I would.  I enjoy writing, but more than that, it has made me think about things that I would never have considered otherwise.  It makes me more reflective.

For example, until I wrote the ‘Why I back Kickstarter projects’ entry, I had never thought about why I actually back projects.  Now that might sound a bit strange.  I obviously look at projects and then make a decision about whether to back them (I don’t just auto-back everything I look at!).  But I’d never analysed how I came to that decision each time.

This has helped in two ways.  Firstly, I can make that decision a bit faster than I could before.  I know what I care about in a project and being more self-aware in that sense I can more quickly identify to what extent those features are present in a project.

Secondly, it’s given me a greater appreciation of what people in general are looking for in a Kickstarter project.  I realise different people will look for different things potentially, but I think there are some things that everyone looks for.  Given that Maven Games is planning to use Kickstarter for our own games, thinking about these issues is very important for us!

Why do you read blogs?  Have you tried blogging yourself?

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Jonathan Hicks

Jonathan is the director of Maven Games. He blogs and records podcast episodes several times a week. Whenever he isn't doing anything else, he designs games.

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