If you are one of the few people that have followed Board Simple since the time of its conception, there’s one thing you can confirm, Board Simple has gone through a lot of changes. With each change came lessons, and a deeper appreciation for the power that games can hold in our lives.
The Early Days
In the early days, Board Simple was far less simple. In fact, I kind of laugh now at how complicated the process was for a site called Board Simple. In the early days, I not only made all of the tutorial videos, I also made cheat sheets, which were intended to be a companion guide to use as you played. Each cheat sheet was complete with images and descriptions of how to play the game. But wait, that’s not all! To top it all off, I also had a glossary page, complete with definitions of terms and components, and even more images. To complete one game’s Board Simple page took a ridiculous amount of time. The time commitment, along with a failed Kickstarter campaign, and a lackluster Patreon attempt, made it easy to give up on Board Simple in the beginning. For awhile, that’s what I did.
I still checked in on the YouTube page from time to time. Besides that, I had simply resigned to just leaving the few videos I had made up on YouTube and not continuing. As I checked in on YouTube, I noticed something in the comments. People were leaving some comments about how they liked the videos, but they couldn’t find the next video in the series. Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t always make it easy to find the next video, unless it is in a playlist and someone seeks out the playlist from my creator page. I realized I was sending those who found my videos on YouTube, outside of the Board Simple website, on a wild goose chase. I felt a drive within me, also known as perfectionism, to fix the problem. With that Board Simple evolved, and with that I jumped back into it.
The Middle Days
The middle days of Board Simple were about learning from my earlier mistakes. They were about adapting what I was making to what my audience was telling me they wanted. I ended up sitting down one day and smashing all of those individual tutorial videos into one single video for each game. It was a tedious process, but I did it. That way everyone could find what they needed. I had initially intended the videos to be short clips. My thought was that a person could easily find the information they were looking for without having to watch a long video. As it turned out, I could just keep the videos as one video and just put points of interest in the video descriptions. That way users could find the specific information they were looking for by clicking on the time listed in the description, but they didn’t have to hunt for the next video.
My reflections also made me realize that Board Simple was a side project, but it was taking a lot of time to complete a single game guide. With that in mind, I scrapped the idea of the cheat sheets and the glossary pages. When I actually looked at these pages critically, they were far less valuable than I had initially thought they would be.
I jumped back into it for awhile, but then YouTube changed their rules. I was only really making a little bit of money for all of the work that went into Board Simple. I had not pushed to get subscribers very hard, so I was below the new threshold they had set for creators and my monetization rights were taken away. This was a giant setback in my plans to start up Board Simple again, and once again, I quit working on it.
The Recent Days
Despite me giving up on Board Simple for a second time, my subscribers on YouTube continued to slowly grow. I’m no YouTube star, but I did hit that threshold of subscribers and my monetization rights were put back in place. I just casually added new videos to YouTube when I had the time to make them. I didn’t bother with the website, and eventually I shut it down.
Recently, I decided to start the website again, so I’m currently on the 3rd iteration of the Board Simple website. I’ve learned a lot and have tweaked the way information will be presented. Through this process, I have not only learned more about how I should present Board Simple, I have also learned more of the true power of games. Board Simple will still have the main focus of providing game tutorials to teach people how to play, but the ultimate goal I have is to reach out to others and help make games accessible to everyone. There are games you can buy and drop $100 for, but there are also a lot of cool games you can play with just a deck of cards. And that $2 deck of cards has far more value than its cost leads you to believe. Ultimately, my dream for Board Simple is to use it to help others learn more than just the rules of the game. I would love to eventually be able to work with teachers in schools, families looking for ways to make family time more meaningful, and those struggling with other life issues. I strongly believe that games have great power, and I would love to help others see that!
If you have any ideas of how Board Simple could be used to help others, please drop me a message on the contact page. I would love to hear from you!