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what makes a board game designer

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Tj
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Joined: 04/14/2011

Currious,
At what levels of board game design can one refer to oneself? IOW...there is a concept but only in ones mind..is that person a board game designer? OR, the game has been put to paper..does that make a board game designer? OR the board game has been built and is playable but no one knows about it OR the board game has a patent on it...etc...get the picture. when does one refer to oneself as a board game designer? or is it just someone who designs board games for fun? Is there a certain number of games that must be designed and must they be on the market? what about if a game has been patented? Does that make someone a board game designer? and lastly, I know there is a difference between "board game designer" and "game board designer" but would like to know your thoughts...

thank you.

Willi B
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Rank - Amateur

I feel one should use the terms "amateur" or "hobbyist" in front of the term game designer until one has 2 published credits. Self publishing and web publishing count only if you have sales over 100 per game because in the POD world anyone can do it.

I am an amateur designer.

That's why I don't have the microbadge.

ReneWiersma
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Joined: 08/08/2008
I'd say you are a "board game

I'd say you are a "board game designer" when, at the very least, you have actually made a tangible and playable prototype and have played it with other people.

The distinction between a professional and amateur board game designer is whether you are doing it for a living, or not (any money you make is just a bonus).

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Most board game designers are

Most board game designers are self proclaimed designers. Since a game designer's maturity should always evolve with time, it's hard to determined when you are officially a game designer.

The only way I see it is through recognitions. If people recognize that you are making good games or that you are making the world of games evolve, then you are an official game designer.

InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008
A little comment...

larienna wrote:
...or that you are making the world of games evolve, then you are an official game designer.
That's a very interesting qualifying condition. I like how it says that what you're contributing to the board game community is important.

My 2 cents on calling oneself a "game designer":

If you engage in an activity - any activity - to a reasonable extent on a regular or semi-regular basis, it's fair to label yourself as a member of that group. For example, I used to rock-climb, but I haven't for a while. I used to call myself a rock climber, but now I'd have to call myself a lapsed rock climber.

If you engage in an activity for fun and are not paid to do it, it's appropriate to call yourself a "hobbyist" or "recreational" member of that category. Continuing the above example: I was a recreational rock climber. I was never paid or otherwise compensated to rock climb.

If you engage in an activity for fun, but occasionally make money at it or have been recognized once or twice as an authority in that area, it's appropriate to call yourself "semi-professional." For example, I ran a PnP website for 10 years, had games published on other websites and in books, did paid game design work for several companies, have had two games licensed and published, self-published another game, have spoken at several conventions, and run Protospiel South. I consider myself a semi-professional game designer.

If you engage in an activity and it is your primary source of income, it's appropriate to call yourself a "professional" member of that category. Continuing the above example: I was employed by Steve Jackson Games for a period of time as a Game Developer. During that time, I was a professional game developer. At another time, I was employed to design educational games for students in grade school. During that time, I was a professional educational game designer.

All of this is a little like splitting hairs, though. What you want to label yourself as is up to you, and what you think of as one thing, I may very well think of as another. What's described above is simply the way I choose to look at the world. Your mileage may vary. Nonetheless, I hope this helps you set up a framework that works for you.

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Quote:That's a very

Quote:
That's a very interesting qualifying condition. I like how it says that what you're contributing to the board game community is important.

I think that it is something important. It reminds me of the author of the book "Rules of play". There have been many critics that the authors never published any game. In my point of view, if you can teach game designer how to make better games, then you are a game designer yourself. It's just that you have a different objectives than the common game designer. Instead of making games, you study games and teach how they work.

Yamahako
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Joined: 12/01/2010
I think if you've made a game

I think if you've made a game that other people play you're a game designer, as you've designed a game.

As long as you continue to make games for other people to play, you continue to be a game designer.

Once you've stopped, you are no longer a game designer, you've just designed some games. You *were* a game designer.

If you sell a game, or get paid for it - you're a professional game designer. Otherwise you're an amateur game designer. I personally don't think of either of those as better than the other - just different in focus.

If you've designed a game that went to print, and sold enough games to make a profit - then I'd say you're a successful game designer.

EvilC
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Joined: 09/10/2009
I design games therefore I am...

I design games as a hobby with the hope that one day maybe one will get published - I think about game ideas all the time, I chat with other 'designers' - some published, some not, I prototype, I play, I tear things up and start again, I get lost in ideas, I have crappy ideas that I think are good, I have good ideas that I think are crappy, and sometimes I have good ideas that are just plain good! - I think game design therefore I am a game designer!
:)

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