MoonSylver
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Here's my dilemma:

There is a theme that I haven't seen 100% represented in a way that I'm totally satisfied with.

I have a game in my collection that I realized would be perfect for realizing this theme, mechanically.

Realizing this game me an "itch" that hasn't gone away for about 4 days now to tackle it.

All of the "fluffy" bits would be re-written, everything renamed/re-theamed, there would probably be lots of "little" mechanical parts that would be changed on individual cards, variable player powers & such, etc.

Still, I have a strong suspicion that if anyone were to play this, who were familiar with the already existing game, would immediately make the connection as to the inspiration for the game.

To be fair, there's really not much, if anything about any of the mechanics in said game that are "innovative". I can even safely change some of the parts mechanically just to differentiate them further with no trouble. The combination of mechanics in this game might be fairly unique, if not the individual elements.

But I still feel like the deepest core mechanic that would make the two of them the most similar/recognizable as being of common decent is also the only one that would allow me to implement the theme to my satisfaction.

SO: the question is:

Is it worth pursuing, if what it ends up being, on some level, is a "retheme"?

How different does something have to be before it ISN'T a re-theme?

I only came up with this idea out of a desire to see a popular theme expressed in a way it hasn't been before. If someone else already had, I would pick up their game & play it instead!

That said, if I DO pursue this any further, should it just be something for my own amusement? Give it away as a PnP? Seek a publisher? Go Kickstarter?

It's a well liked theme, & I feel like this expression of it would be popular enough that others would enjoy it, but I'm not sure if it would be different enough from Game X to prevent them from saying "Oh, this is just like Game X".

And to be fair, even in my head, they probably would both play the same. Only them flavor & theme would be different.

Opinions?
 
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Rob Harper
United Kingdom
Wantage
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As you aren't giving any details, your question basically boils down to "I have an idea for a game that is mechanically a lot like an existing game, should I work on it?"

I'd say the answer is unequivocally yes.

Don't worry about how you are going to distribute it, just make a prototype and try it out. If everything goes well, then you can start thinking about whether to sell it, give it away, or whatever. You may also find that the game sucks, or the theme doesn't match the mechanics as well as you had hoped, or you think of an even better way to implement things. What I do know is that you will get practice and your skills will get better.
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dennis bennett
Germany
back in Frankfurt!
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Go for it!
have some fun!
And if, somewhere along the way of retheming the game, you stumble upon some original ideas of your own that you can add to the game, do it!
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Jörg Wollinger
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I say it might be worth it - depending on the theme, of course, but since we know nothing about that...

Take a look at Dune and Rex: Final Days of an Empire. Rex is a rethemed version of Dune. Well, we know that they did this, because they couldn't get the license for Dune, but that doesn't really matter, because they didn't stop there. They changed some bits here and there. And Rex was/is a succesfull game.

Now, this is just speculation, but I can't believe that the succes of Rex came just from "Hey, I can play Dune again". The Twilight Imperium universe had its own fanbase and I guess it was the theme more than the mechanisms that drew them to it. Other people, like for example me, had never heard of Dune before, and it was the gameplay that made me buy it. And it was set in an universe with aliens and stuff! I loooove sci-fi!


Long answer short: Go ahead. Give it a try. If you really believe that your theme is a good fit, there might be other people who have the same opinion and may enjoy your new, maybe even improved, version.
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Paul Sztajer
Australia
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As others have said, it's probably worth a try - if nothing else, you can then play that game with the theme you like.

If you're wanting to go further with it, I'd do the basic skin and then see if your new theme gives you any inspiration for mechanics that you could add/alter. There's also a decent chance that the small mechanical changes you have to make will uncover new possibilities for better play. Just play with it - you'd be surprised by how much you'll end up changing it if you do.
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Christian Link
United States
Snowmass Village
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This is common. The reason its never mentioned: after you work on it from concept to product, you probably would have changed so much that you'll abandon the notion of any guilt associated with 'ripping off another game'. Make it for yourself first and the rest should follow...
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