When working on a board game it can be very easy to get pulled into the detail work. What is detail work exactly? It is the art work, the card descriptions or the rulebook. All important things for a good board game for sure, but not what should be focused on when getting started. Mechanical changes tend to have ripple effects throughout the entirety of the game.
If you are spending a lot of time on cards that you end up deciding to eliminate, it can feel like wasted time. All creativity has value but it can still be a drag to channel energy into something that you end up getting rid of. Focusing on mechanics first, like making just the basic versions of things needed to test the idea, can result in creative efficiency.
Creative efficiency can help you build momentum on your current project. Higher momentum will make a huge difference on working through issues as they come up. I have been amazed at my ability to come up with solutions as I narrow my focus down to the base mechanics that drive everything else in the game.
Once you get the base mechanics locked in, you will be able to work within the constraints of those mechanics. With that in mind you will be able to get creative with your component solutions. This is such a game changer for coming up with awesome cards that you know that you wont have to trash. Focusing on mechanics gives you the freedom to make all of your other components all that they should be.