This is part two of the interview I had with Geoff Engelstein. I encourage you to go back and read the first part. His insight into design and gaming with family was helpful and encouraging.
What gets a new game design started in your family?
Literally anything. There are like 8 different prototypes in different stages scattered around the house. And hardly any car ride goes by without someone throwing some type of idea out there.
What advice would you give a family that wants to start gaming together?
Play games that they want to play, at least at first. Don’t push them into games that are too complex for them. Also, don’t be afraid to change the rules if you need to for younger kids. We played Monopoly when the kids were very little with everything costing a dollar. Just play and have fun.
Having said that, my second piece of advice is, don’t let them win. They should earn it. You don’t need to crush them – by all means keep it close – but don’t deliberately throw games.
What advice would you give to budding game designers?
Just do it. I see a lot of people that have ideas, but aren’t always willing to put them out there and test, and tweak, and throw out the bad ideas. It’s a long road but can be very gratifying.
Also don’t expect to get rich. You’ll need to put out a lot of games each year to make a living at it, so do it, at least at first, because you love it.
The last bit of advice he gives about not making money was good for me. Several years ago, I considered getting into game design, but I was afraid I would be “unsuccessful.” We all understand the fear of failure. For some reason, I had linked making money with my desire to make games. I heard many designers share Geoff’s advice here. After that, I became convinced that money and success in this craft aren’t tied together. Sure, there are the Alan Moons and Richard Garfields of the world, but most designers have day jobs. That was encouraging and empowering for me as a designer. My hobby didn’t need to make me money. I just needed to make me happy. And it has.