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Subject: Board Game Themes for the future rss

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Greece
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It's difficult for me to suggest something, when nearly everything has been done before in a way or more..
Perhaps it would be best, if you explained what type of game you have in mind in developing first!
 
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Jeff Warrender
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I'll answer somewhat obliquely.

You know how all movies have the same overarching plot? The protagonist scores some degree of success in the middle of the movie, but then suffers a big setback, his friends desert him, things look bleak, but then in the third act he pulls it all together and triumphs in the end.

A lot of games have this degree of samey-sameyness. We're competing to achieve the most [blah blahs] in [four or five] different categories so as to achieve the most [influence, prestige, whatever] over a course of [some number of] rounds.

I would suggest, pick any theme you want, but find a way to evoke it in a way that doesn't reduce to this formula. Have a victory condition that isn't just 'impressing the king'; have a game clock that isn't just an arbitrary number of rounds; have us compete in some way other than just trying to be the best in five different categories.

Or maybe more importantly, find a theme that allows for these boundary-stretching approaches. Even those tried-and-true themes can be fine if you can find a way to breathe some fresh life into them.

For example, off the top of my head -- 'trading in the mediterranean' -- but the ship is taking on water and a storm is brewing. What cargo will you save and what will you throw overboard to keep the ship afloat? Who gets to decide? How long with the storm last, and how much further do you have to go to get to your port? Is there a closer port that you could reach to save some of the cargo, and if so how does the group decide whether we go there or carry on to our original destination?

You could see making a game about that and it would be nothing like any of those other 'trading in the med' games.
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Jo Bartok
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:+1: for Paul S. comment.
Otherwise for me: Cyberpunk, Cyberpunk+Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi+Film-Noir
 
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Greece
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Ok then. These will generally sound as board game ideas and not only theme related:
A 'Heaven Vs Hell' or 'Griffins Vs Dragons' map based wargame.
A dungeon crawler with a theme similar to that of the freddy movie 'Dream warriors' (kids trying to escape from a nightmare).
A futuristic 'Risk' but against the AI (1-4 players) which includes destructible functional buildings.
KDM or gloomhaven 'lite', etc..
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Carl Nyberg
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Electrons racing down a cable. Whoever gets there first powers the computer!

edit: Everyone starts with a certain amount of electrons. Some end up powering the device, but watch out! Some are lost as heat! Don't forget, you need the "charge device" card to keep from running out of electrons!
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Perry Kleinhenz
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Continuing on Jeff's line of thinking you could get some novel ideas by considering familiar themes from the perspective of different actors. As examples:

Instead of being American gangsters during the prohibition competing over territory the players are party-goers trying to have a great night on the town while avoiding the police and not paying too much money.

Instead of being powerful traders buying and selling merchandise the players are slaves on a ship plotting their escape or workers in a warehouse trying to store cargo most efficiently or with the least amount of effort.

You can also invert or subvert common motivations.

Instead of working to impress the king by contributing the most to his great work players are lazy vassals trying to make the most money for themselves while doing just enough work to evade the kings wrath.

Instead of building a city that grants more and more power and ability to players they are turning an existing one into a nature preserve eating away at their ability to take actions as they do so.

Another source of ideas is to introduce mundane elements to fantastical settings:

The players Human resources managers for evil overlords. The players are a repair crew for damaged space craft.
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