Let’s Design a Game #1 Brainstorming for Our Project

I would like to introduce you to a new series, Lets Build a Game.

I have no idea if this is going to work but I would like to take you through my thought process as I design a game from scratch. My plan is to take all my notes on Google Docs and make the note available for you to see. (link to Goggle Doc) If you want to add your thoughts as we go along through this process, please feel free. I plan to add pictures of the prototype process and I would like to have video of play tests if I am able to make that happen. So without further ado, lets first figure out what project we are going to work on.

Potential Project List:

  1. Negotiation Game where potential deals move around the table and no one knows who they are negotiating with or bidding against
    1. I like this because it includes hidden information and it also takes away what I call “table politics”. I am not sure how the mechanics would work but the idea is that players will offer up contracts and players will need to bid on them. Maybe these contracts could be offered to the middle of the table in secret and the players will be bidding on these contracts via a bid hand or hands that moves around the table. At some point in the process, the offering player with the contract in the middle is allowed to accept an offer.
  2. A Game that includes a way to bid on or pay to get the cards that are revealed right after your turn is over.
    1. I would like to work on a game that allows players to bid on the dreaded card that turns over as soon as their turn is done and it was exactly the card they were looking for. I have not work out how this could be mechanically worked out, but I view this as a “problem” in games that I would like to offer a solution.
  3. A game where players can build orbital structures that allow players to save space on the planet’s surface and build orbital structures.
    1. I have been watching a play through of StarDrive on YouTube and I got the idea for allowing players to build orbital structures that would allow players to build orbital structures. I don’t have a lot of developed thought about this idea and it smells of “been done before” and it is a theme that has been done to death and I don’t know yet where the unique hook is located in this idea to give it legs? It stays on the list as a potential but this is low on the list of me having an idea of where this is going, if that makes sense.
  4. Players collect coins or things in order to gain temporary allies
    1. I have been watching a lot of Heroes of the Storm and Defense of the Ancients and a mechanic I like that is used in both, is the idea where players can expend time to fight mercenaries, and once they have defeated said mercenaries, they will fight for your side until they are dead. I think this makes for a really interesting choice for the players in the game. What worries me is that this works really well in a video game setting where real time is ever present. Not really sure how that would work in a board or card game setting. I also think this would very likely end up being a huge project. Not sure I want to add a big project right now as Aidan and I have a main project running right now, but I do really like this idea.
  5. Players move around a board Stratego style, but they can bluff what kind of movement a unit uses. Other players can challenge the movement but there are risks and rewards to calling a player’s bluff.
    1. When I wrote this idea down on a scrap piece of paper a couple weeks ago, I had a better idea of what I wanted and now that I am looking at this idea again and I can compare it to the rest of the list, I am not sure where I was going and I don’t think I want to take the time to try and figure it out. Especially when there are a few ideas on this list that I have a stronger feeling for right now.
  6. A worker placement type game where the more active players are in a particular area, the more difficult it becomes to complete the actions in that area of the board
    1. I am thinking that there is some kind of underground worker placement game where the dark powers of a city are working to ge their goals accomplished, but the more they use a particular spot on the board, the more attention is brought to that space on the board. I know that Lords of Waterdeep and the expansion kind of played with this and because of that I need to do a little research if this is the project we move forward with. I like this idea because it will take the high value spots on the board and make them more risky as time goes by.
  7. Carrier Captains: Players are the captain of an aircraft carrier and they need to run the ship. They need to deal with the logistics of supplies and they have major control over their ship and the battles they are part of, but not the larger war.
    1. I like this because there are overall war effects that players have little control over and they will have to deal with those events. Maybe this could be a co-op because I am not sure players would really like it if everyone else at the table was getting good news while they were getting bad news all the time and even though they played a tactically great game, they would lose. That isn’t exactly rewarding but that is closer to the reality of war. That being said, I really think this would work best as a co-op. This actually might be fun as a co-op

Do any of those ideas jump out to you? Would you like to see one idea developed over another? I have made the Google Doc open to comments or you can comment here.

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If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at c.renshall.tgik.games@gmail.com

If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.

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Posted in Lets Design a Game
2 comments on “Let’s Design a Game #1 Brainstorming for Our Project
  1. Reblogged this on Board Game Strategies and commented:
    Really looking forward to following this series. I’m partial to #6 – initial thought is that each time a space in one of the ‘areas’ is accessed by a player, a gauge increases by 1 – when it reaches the top, *something* bad happens. I really like the idea of no blocking, but making players choose to either trigger something nefarious or get in early at the possible risk of not getting something else.

  2. […] think by this point, if you are following from the start of the series, you have a rough idea of where this game is going. The way I work, at this point in the process is […]

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