YOUR BEST WORK FORWARD
  • Providing outcomes that represent the best efforts for the task at hand
  • Going the extra mile to deliver completed assignments to co-workers and customers
  • Refusing to be satisfied with incomplete or inferior work

COMMENTARY:
In a previous blog, I mentioned that I was part of the in-house review team for Everything Board Games. In this role, I sometimes receive early copies of games before they go live on Kickstarter to write a preview that the designer can use in their Kickstarter campaign. Many of these review copies are understandably still be in development stages, and as such, may not be finalized. In these cases, I usually add a disclaimer to my readers that the review is based on a preview copy and some of the components are subject to change. For example, the dice that came in my preview copy may be white and black, but the final version may be blue and yellow, or the art is going to be in color rather than black and white. The potential changes aren’t usually things that would change the game. This is common practice for Kickstarter previews across the industry and something that reviewers and readers have come to expect. 

The other day, I stumbled across a review that took the disclaimer to whole other level. In short, the review included a disclaimer that read something like this (Author’s note: I redacted and edited some of the information as my goal here is not to shame anybody for following their game designing dreams. Creators, create.):

This is a preview copy of (the game). At (the designer)’s request, readers should note that all game components and art, including game theme and name, are subject to change prior to launch. 

I was taken back upon reading this. How is a reviewer supposed to offer an opinion on a game that, with the expectation of game mechanics, may be different in every way by the time it becomes available for purchase? Imagine being asked to write a preview of Monopoly without using any of the distinguishing characteristics of the game because everything except mechanics could change prior to launch. 

Player one rolls the dice and moves that number of spaces around the board. The player then has the option of exchanging something for possession of that space. Player 2 takes the same action, and has the option of exchanging something in exchange for possession of that space. Player 3 takes the same action, as do Players 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, if applicable. Results of dice rolls may make a player stop on spaces that are not available for possession. These spaces may offer a bonus or penalty.  If a player lands on a space currently in possession of another player, they are penalized. Possessing a set of like spaces results in the player receiving a bonus and these spaces can be upgraded, which may result in greater penalties for opposing players that land on the upgraded spaces. One complete trip around the board will result in a bonus for that player. Players will need to manage their possessions and items for exchange in order to force their opponents to use their exchangeable items. Play continues until all but one player can no longer offer anything in exchange to offset penalties.  
   
You may think that this synopsis sounds worse, or maybe better, than the Monopoly you are familiar with, but regardless of which side of the fence you reside, you can agree that it doesn’t sound like Monopoly. Stripping away all the distinguishable characteristics, stripped away the soul of the game. The remainder wasn’t a game, it was just a set of mechanics. It may have potential, but it would be far from ready for store shelves. 

The designer sent his prototype to a reviewer for a preview, when it appears that he may have been looking for a play-tester to make certain the mechanics of his game worked since that was the only thing finalized. Unfortunately, he sent a far from finished product to go in front of the masses by asking a reviewer to write something up as if it was a finished project. The reviewer’s comments about the game echoed this sentiment, suggesting that the game mechanics were good, but with everything else still in question, it was hard to recommend the game in its current uncertain state. 

While the designer’s game may have reflected his very best work and enthusiasm for the mechanics, it was far from complete, and as a result, he probably didn’t get the feedback he was hoping for. 

*****

It’s important to resist the temptation to see one aspect of a project or assignment that we may be excited about and ignore the other parts that make the project or assignment complete. 

The best-looking car in the world is worthless without a transmission. 

The greatest football play ever drawn-up is worthless if the offensive line doesn’t know who they are supposed to block. 

The greatest Form 470 ever certified is worthless if the contract is signed on day 27 of the 28-day waiting period. 

To do great work means doing great work completely. Take time this week and consider how well you fully complete assignments before calling them done, and whether these completed projects reflect your best work. 

*****

Key Words and Phrases
Excellence; Greatest degree of good; Maximum effort; Highest quality service; Do your best; Top performance; Finest; Complete, lacking in nothing.

Opposite Terms
Lacking; Incomplete; Unprepared; Shoddy.

*****

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