“Ideas are overrated. Don’t get attached to them. People don’t play ideas, they play games.”

“Just start playing your ideas as quickly as you can. A game isn’t a game until someone plays it.”

“Ideas don’t have to be perfect to be tested.”

I hear this kind of advice often. It is meant to encourage designers to move past the idea stage as quickly as possible since execution is where you will find your game and thus, its worth. Ideas without execution are really worth nothing.

Or are they? It depends on your situation.

Most board game designers are hobbyists. We have full time obligations that come before our hobbies. My faith, family, and job all come out of my allotted 24 hours/day before my board game hobby gets any. I am at a family stage in life where I have next to zero time for hobbies. I am also at a very busy job stage which leaves me very little creative energy when I get home. These situations will change someday as all things do. As my children grow up they will (hopefully) begin to participate with me in my hobby. My job won’t always be so draining. Ebb and flow is what life is made of.

We all have times like this in our lives. So if we listen only to the above advice we will begin to beat ourselves up or feel anxious because we aren’t doing anything with the ideas flowing from our brains.

I have come to accept that this is how my life looks right now. Busy with almost no time for hobbies. I found that I could either accept this as a temporary place or turn myself into an anxious ball of ideas. Instead I am embracing my ideas as fun and precious, and as a reminder that my creative designer-self is still there. And that is encouraging. When execution on my hobby ideas would get in the way of my life priorities is when ideas become worth everything to me.

For those who have time and energy to invest in their hobbies, by all means, execute. Don’t sit on those ideas. Get them working. But if you don’t have that time and energy then embrace your ideas and be satisfied with them. They are what you have for the time being. But that will change someday as all things do, so be ready to execute when you have the chance.

Originally posted on BoardGameTheory.com