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Andrew Bruhl
United States
Pennsylvania
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Hey everyone,

I'm new here but I'm curious if anyone else has run into the same problem that I just did.

Several years ago my cousin and I designed a fantasy world from the ground up when we were going to write a few short stories (the lore is more in depth that the stories would have been). Due to time restraints for being a new father at the time the story world faded

A few weeks ago I decided to start developing a game that has a feel towards a few games (smash up, smallworld, hearthstone esk) that I've played over the last few months. There was enough unique qualities that I could say it felt new and fresh.

Last night my friend said, " hey check out this game. It looks and feels a lot like yours! "

The mechanics behind it are so similar it's almost like I was reading someone's mind about it. Not to mention that I've never heard of it before. Granted a few reviewers said it lacked depth where the factions felt awfully similar but it's daunting to know that a design I've worked hard over the past few weeks has been pretty much done already.

What would you do? Tweak it even more to make it more your own or abandon and start again?
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L S
Germany
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First of all, I would probably play >>this game<< a couple of times to find out if there's something I could do better in my own design.

If not, then there's no point in tweaking just for the sake of being different - on the upside though, I would get to play "my" game without putting in all the effort of designing it myself. If yes, then I'd collect all the ways in which my version would be different than the one that's already out there and then try to ask around whether others think that these changes warrant a new game (or maybe just a "variant" instead).

Also, I would recommend doing some research on the appropriate databases here on BGG... on the one hand for inspiration, but also to avoid being surprised by a hithero unknown game yet again.
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Brendan Riley
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl
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Randombias wrote:
First of all, I would probably play >>this game<< a couple of times to find out if there's something I could do better in my own design.


This, for sure. Often, a game that appears to be the same as your game isn't, in fact, as similar as it appears to be.

Good luck!
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Richard Keiser

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Wisconsin
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MeurigVIi wrote:
Hey everyone,

I'm new here but I'm curious if anyone else has run into the same problem that I just did.

Several years ago my cousin and I designed a fantasy world from the ground up when we were going to write a few short stories (the lore is more in depth that the stories would have been). Due to time restraints for being a new father at the time the story world faded

A few weeks ago I decided to start developing a game that has a feel towards a few games (smash up, smallworld, hearthstone esk) that I've played over the last few months. There was enough unique qualities that I could say it felt new and fresh.

Last night my friend said, " hey check out this game. It looks and feels a lot like yours! "

The mechanics behind it are so similar it's almost like I was reading someone's mind about it. Not to mention that I've never heard of it before. Granted a few reviewers said it lacked depth where the factions felt awfully similar but it's daunting to know that a design I've worked hard over the past few weeks has been pretty much done already.

What would you do? Tweak it even more to make it more your own or abandon and start again?


I have over 600+ games in my closet. Amongst them, I could probably point to 5% that are uniquely singular from the rest, and that may be debatable - where in reality it may be much smaller.

All games share a large portion of the same DNA from theme, mechanic (s), aesthetic, etc., that trying to design something uniquely singular on all counts would be challenging to say the least. What you should do is continue to develop the game as you want while trying to understand the competing, "like" games out there, so you understand them.

Good luck.
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Ryan Byrd
United States
Griffin
Georgia
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It seems to me that this can be turned into something good. If this game is truly almost identical to yours, then you have the opportunity to make your unique details as custom content. This would save you all the development time and allow you to spend your time on developing other games.
 
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Craig Stockwell
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It's happened to me several times in the past couple years -- and I think it's both encouraging and discouraging. It means someone else, with a similar game, convinced a publisher the game was good enough to bring to market! Sure, that other game arrived first ... but is it the same? Is it perfect?

As others have said, play this other game (or at the very least, watch play-through videos and read a copy of the rules). Check out some reviews of it -- if it's really similar, the criticisms in reviews could be ways to improve your design.

As far as changing it to 'steer clear' of the other game -- that's debatable. If you've been working on the world and mechanics for a while, and they're pretty well-rounded, I don't think a publisher will mistake your game for a 'rip-off' of the other.

There's an argument that if one such game made it into the market ... then another, better-crafted one could find space too.

Even if you take the game design to "completion" (at least to being pitch-ready), and no one picks it up, there's still value in having done so. Every prototype I've designed has taught me something useful about game design (in most cases, multiple useful somethings!)

Maybe you pitch it, no one picks it up, and you set it aside for a while. Then six months, one year, two years later -- with fresh eyes, and having played more [new] games -- you come back to it, make some serious changes, reiterate, and end up with a much better game. And then you pitch that game (with better pitching skills, and more publisher contacts than your first time around). And maybe it sells then.
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philip selesky
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Massachusetts
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I just experienced this last weekend. While developing my current project another user mentioned that it was like a combo of Robinson Crusoe and Alien Uprising.

I'm so glad he did.

Finding those games let me see the similarities and focus on the areas of my project that were different. It also became very clear to me that I needed to focus on my theme.

I wouldn't abandon a project unless after fully developing it it wasn't fun. And even then I would keep on that back burner to see if I could come up with anew aspect for it in the future.
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Jay Sears
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It happens all the time. Most games these days have lots of simuilarities. Just like most things in the world these days. I came up with a vampire game only days later to see a suggested ad on Facebook for Vampire Hunters which was almost identical to what I came up with. I will still be pursuing with my suggested game idea and seeing how I can do it differently. As long as the whole game isn't exactly the same in design or mechanics I wouldn't worry about anything.

Just go ahead and design it, playtest it and see how you can make some of the mechanics a little different and better. Be positive about your whole project and don't let these things put you down.
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