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Montague resident turns board game passion into thriving YouTube career

Rodney Smith, a resident of Montague, Prince Edward Island, has transformed his passion for board games into a flourishing full-time career with his YouTube channel, Watch It Played. Over the last 12 years, he has garnered approximately 350,000 subscribers and over 76 million views. Smith views his work not just as creating content, but instead as also fostering meaningful connections through the joy of board games, turning what might seem like a frivolous endeavor into something deeply valuable and enjoyable for people seeking fun and companionship in their lives.

Starting the channel after moving to Prince Edward Island with his family, Smith tapped into a niche but growing interest in board game tutorials online. With few channels dedicated to this type of content in the early 2010s, Smith’s love for teaching and sharing board games found a receptive audience. His dedication, supported by his wife’s encouragement and financial backing during the channel’s nascent stages, gradually built Watch It Played into a viable career path, underscored by a community that values his detailed and engaging game explanations.

The financial sustainability of Watch It Played comes from a mix of viewer donations, views, and most significantly, partnerships with board game publishers who hire Smith to create tutorials for their games. This model allows Smith to maintain personal integrity and enjoyment in his work, as he only features games that he is genuinely interested in. This approach ensures that the content remains authentic and engaging both for him and his audience.

Behind the scenes, Smith’s workflow involves a meticulous process of understanding and presenting board games. He collaborates closely with publishers to fully grasp the rules and nuances of each game before scripting and recording tutorials in his home studio. His aim is to make the rules accessible and engaging, transforming the potentially dry material into something that audiences can easily understand and enjoy.

Watch It Played has expanded beyond Smith’s solo efforts to include a team of contributors, including Chaz Marler, the video content director. Marler and Smith, having formed a strong friendship through industry events, exemplify the personal bonds and professional collaborations that have enriched the channel. This teamwork highlights the channel’s growth and the personal satisfaction both find in their work, blending professional admiration with genuine friendship.

Despite the challenges and potential for burnout inherent in the life of a YouTube creator, Smith has navigated these waters by establishing boundaries to maintain a healthy work-life balance. With the support of his family, viewers, and publishers, he remains committed to Watch It Played. Smith’s story is a testament to the power of passion-driven content creation, the importance of community in the digital age, and the balance needed to sustain such a unique career over the long term.

Watch It Played on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGK9n7svoIjuaQfRIBJXkqQ