J Holmes
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Per the title, an idea is nothing without implementation.

I also appreciate an idea isn't great until it is actually tested.

Have others ever found themselves in a situation with a great idea that has idled, and then seen someone else develop a pretty good variation of it, that would make your idea unfeasible?

For an example, imagine I thought of a hex based resource trading game in the 80s on an island, with goats, metal, lumber, maize and clay ala Catan.
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marc lecours
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The following is true:

Back in the early 1980s I had an idea for a game about the cold war with the US and USSR placing influence on a map of the world. There was a possibility of nuclear war also.

My prototype game was OK but not that great. The biggest thing my game didn't have was cards with events. The use of cards in games was not as common then and it did not cross my limited mind.

Twilight Struggle is an absolutely brilliant game design. Ideas are a dime a dozen but it is the implementation that counts. Everyone has great ideas for games. Actually making a great game is a lot harder.

Twilight struggle brings together ideas from elsewhere:
1. The main part is the card driven game system from We the People.
2. There is also the area scoring system from El Grande.

Twilight struggle has many really neat (possibly original) ideas also:
1. In most previous games, when a nuclear war was triggered both players lost. This never worked properly because a player who was losing would trigger a nuclear war. But in Twilight Struggle, the player whose turn it was when the nukes started flying loses. Simple but brilliant. Especially since nuclear wars can still be accidentally started.

2.But the most brilliant innovation (variant on the card driven game) was that opponent's events are triggered when you play a card for operations points. Wow! I would not have thought of that.

3.Another great idea was that once a player has a certain amount of influence in a country, they have control and it costs two influence to break that control. This elegantly solves one of the problems my game had (the problem of back and forth influence battles over countries).

In conclusion, I had an idea for a cold war game in which influence is placed on countries on a map of the world. But the brilliance of a game is in the implementation. Ideas are not enough.
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Matt D
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I think you hit the nail on the head. An idea absent execution is a cloud.

I've seen a lot of people post in here complaining about an idea they had being published, and my question always is - if you couldn't make it work, why do you begrudge someone else who had the same idea because they COULD get it to work?

I have what I think is an excellent idea for an interesting mechanic for a game. I've struggled to think of a way to apply it, and it's really just the germ of an idea anyway - I literally have no mechanics to go along with it. I've been trying to generate a game around this one concept for a few months now, and haven't gotten any farther than "Carcassonne, but with this twist!" which sadly doesn't really make a game. Unless I could sell it to CundCo for a Carcassonne expansion, but it doesn't really fit with their themes anyway.

Eventually, someone will design a game that makes use of this twist. I'm sure it'll happen. And I'll be a bit disappointed that I wasn't the one to be able to do that, to be sure. But I won't be upset at them. I'll be upset at myself for not being original enough to craft the rest of a game around it.
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Haakon Gaarder
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Oslo
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I agree with Marc.

If you feel your game will be better, make it anyway. There is always room for a better version of an existing game.
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Jeremy Monts

Louisiana
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When someone else made a non-game thing I thought of making, I was happy.

If I have an idea, and someone has already made it, or makes it in the future, I'm happy, because it means my idea had at least some merit.

And I agree with some of the above posters, just because someone else has come out with the same idea shouldn't hinder you from moving forward. Make your game better, cheaper, faster, etc.
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Ideas without execution are just dreams.
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oystein eker
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This happened to a guy who was almost finished with a hex tile laying game of colored strings. A famous game, but I do not remember the name. Something like Tantrix I guess.

He was chocked to see his creation published.

But he knew for sure that his idea no way could have been stolen.
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Spencer C
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Rejoice! Someone made your game and saved you all the effort. Best of both worlds.
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Michael Coniff
United States
Springfield
Missouri
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"Behold, a treasure more valuable than gold."
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UanarchyK wrote:
Rejoice! Someone made your game and saved you all the effort. Best of both worlds.


Edited for an AMEN.

But truthfully, I would sort of take it as a compliment. Sort of confirmation that my idea was a good one. But if the game tanks, then you can just sit back and whistle
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Scott McKay
Canada
Ottawa
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The way to prevent this is to come up with absolutely terrible ideas that nobody else would ever implement.
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wayne mathias
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First, apologize to that idea for neglecting it to the point it had to go elsewhere for proper care and attention. Neglect is also abuse!

Second, teach yourself how to properly feed and care for an idea and create a welcoming space.

Finally, see if any ideas are willing to trust you enough to come around again. Perhaps try at a shelter rather than just luring strays - many shelters hold adorable ideas that will just have to be put down if not adopted and they have already had all their shots when you get them.
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James Herzing
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Darth Gamer wrote:
The way to prevent this is to come up with absolutely terrible ideas that nobody else would ever implement.


That must be why no one ever comes up with my game ideas!!! I think I might be onto something this time though....
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B C Z
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Maybe make a game about the experience of coming up with an idea but not fully fleshing it out, only to discover another player made your idea first.
 
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Matt D
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byronczimmer wrote:
Maybe make a game about the experience of coming up with an idea but not fully fleshing it out, only to discover another player made your idea first.


I was going to make a game like that about procrastination, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
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B C Z
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hestiansun wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
Maybe make a game about the experience of coming up with an idea but not fully fleshing it out, only to discover another player made your idea first.


I was going to make a game like that about procrastination, but haven't gotten around to it yet.


I hear ya.

Tomorrow

The Day After Tomorrow

12 Days

Seven Weeks

Nine Months & Counting

Four More Years!

Decades

Two Hundred Years

Millennium



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Adam P
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If someone takes your idea and makes a board game, you can turn around and make the digital version knock-off.
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Damn Dirty Ape!
United States
Houston
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I just endlessly brag that I had that same idea years before, but naturally the implementation was going to be sooooooo much better....
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Freelance Police
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j_holmes wrote:
I also appreciate an idea isn't great until it is actually tested.


There ya go.

Whenever I read game history or design notes, there's often a comment that the game changed quite a bit during playtesting. So, unless your game idea has actually been playtested, nobody has "created" it, because you don't even know what your game is! You may even design a very different game and go back to designing your original idea all over again!

Also, as someone who plays dungeoncrawlers and roleplaying games, I see *so* many published similar games that have small variations, that there's always room for one more. Whether or not there *should* be... well, don't let that discourage you!
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Crazed Survivor
France
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Curse your own name?
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David Griffin
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Marietta
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The idea is probably the easy part. Making it into a game is the hard part, and then getting it published is probably the really hard part, and then marketing it is probably the super really hard part.

Seriously at that description's level of detail you could describe lots of games at once but somehow when you play them, they are not all the same. Look how many Mars games are out there this year! I'm not sure you're stuck. I mean maybe your game offers something different from what is out there right?
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Charles Ward
Japan
Matsumoto
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What to do when your "Great idea" has been sitting idle for years and someone else creates it?

Suck it up and/or start working on the next great idea.
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Family Gill
United States
Michigan
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I will say this - one thing that board games has that's different from video games is people don't do the whole "so this is just another blah blah blah MOBA?" or "this is just a scifi Age of Empires/WoW/insert game name here?" It seems to me in the board game world, even small variations are recognized, and people are much more open to playing a very similar experience to another game if it offers something slightly different. I think it's because in board games those slight variations make a world of difference, and can really be the difference between fun and tediousness.

I'd say go for it - if you feel like the game is an exact clone, then congratulations on having had a good idea - now find a new hook and make it different, or know that you're a genius and get back to brainstorming
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Chris O
United States
New Jersey
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Take it as an affirmation that it was a good idea, learn from their mistakes, and then make it yourself but better.

More easily said than done, I know. I've never experienced this myself, but I feel its only a matter of time. I have so many ideas kicking around at once in various states of incompletion that its all but guaranteed to happen, in fact I'm surprised it hasn't happened already. Thankfully, only 1 or 2 of these ideas mean enough to me that I would actually be devastated if someone beat me to the punch.

Usually what I find happens however is that I cook up something that sounds really cool and unique and innovative, etc. only to find out that someone else already beat me to the punch years ago.
 
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