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Subject: designing your own game rss

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Laura Elliott-Jones
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hey all!!

just wondering how you get ideas of what sort of game designs to use? Why do you think some games work better than others?

Laura
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Paul DeStefano
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Could be anything.

Could start with a grpahic, a theme, a rule, a budget, a dream.
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J C Lawrence
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I start with what I think might be an interesting problem. Then I figure out a way to measure incremental progress toward solving that problem (ie a scoring method). Next is determining methods that might be used to solve that problem (ie mechanisms). Then go back to the problem, the scoring and the mechanisms and iterate, refining each.
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Ken K
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Play a few games and you start saying "That game was good, but how could it be better?" or "I sure do love ice fishing. How come nobody's made a game about it?" and the next thing you know you're obsessed with your own game design.

The next logical step in a hobby is the desire to create and contribute.

 
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Simon Lundström
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Täby
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Now who are these five?
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I start with an existing game design, try to improve it and end up with doing something alike but from scratch.

A friend of mine thinks up abstract shapes and then tries to form a game out of putting them together.
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Andy Parsons
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The inspiration for my one completed design came from a fictional game described in a novel.

Why do some games work better than others? The answer is probably the same as for any product. Put together a designer with imagination, plus analytical and problem solving skills, testers to stretch the design to breaking point, and developers who can bring fresh ideas to refine the design. Add a publisher who gives the game the quality of production it deserves. You'll probably have something that at least some people at BGG will like a lot.
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Just like when I write characters, I start with a situation -- a problem. Then I ask the question ... "What if ... X ... was done in a ... Y ... way."

For instance, what if you took the train game design and applied it to shipping and trade in the Roman World? How would it work? What would you need? What would simplify the gameplay?

So, I generally start out with a High Concept. My version is a Theme with a Problem. This, in itself, generates too many ideas that I need to edit as I go.

Hope this makes some sort of sense.
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I only ever design wargames, so it's always "Which rules will make this conflict play out the way I want it to."

I'm working on some Star Wars fleet combat rules at the moment (since the minis rules are poor, but the minis are lovely). So it's all about getting it to play out like it does in the movies.
 
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Jonathan Leistiko
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There are lots of sources for game ideas...

Sometimes it starts with a message I want to deliver:
* Enlightened capitalism can coexist with environmental responsibility.
* Animal testing must make no sense to the animals being tested.

Sometimes it starts with a nifty mechanic:
* What if you had a bidding game where you bid dice, then roll those dice to determine your final bid?

Sometimes it starts with a "game feel" goal:
* I want to make a game where you start with a pool of resources and use them to build spaceships that you send into battle against your opponent.
* I want to build a diceless skirmish game with role-playing elements.
* I want to build a cooperative adventure game that plays well with 1 to 4 players.

Sometimes I take a game and just add a twist to it:
* What kind of special powers could you tack on to the different sides in a game of checkers?
* Imagine a Memory tile game, but you can cash in certain pairs for special effects.

Why do some games work better than others?
Aside from easy answers (like play balance, difficulty vs. reward, etc.), a subtle but important thing that makes a game good is making design decisions with the understanding that the mechanics you pick create the consensual metaphysical structure of the game being played. In short: The rules and components you pick create the *reality* of the game world. There's a big difference between the results from a d20 rolled 20 times, 3d6 + 1d2 rolled 20 times, and drawing 20 cards from a deck of cards numbered 1 to 20 one at a time. Each one of these implies a different odds structure and will have a significant effect on how the game plays out. Some games that do not play well pick the wrong "tools" for the job. The wrong tools create results which clash with the game's theme or structure, resulting in dissonance, imbalance, or dissatisfying game results.
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Mark C
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I start all my designs with a clove of garlic and some ordinary household bleach.

Maybe I don't understand your question.
 
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