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Subject: Genre-Creating Games rss

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Tom Scutt
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Obviously I should just concentrate on getting a game published, but in my fantasy life just winning the Spiel des Jahre is not enough... what I really aspire to is designing a game which sparks off a whole new genre...

It seems to me that this is a pretty rare event

The most obvious example is Magic: the Gathering, which launched a million CCGs.

Then there's Dungeons and Dragons, which kicked off RPGs.

I'd say they were the only two uncontroversial examples. But I think you could also possibly include:

Settlers of Catan, for bringing eurogaming to the mainstream (the trouble with this example is that it didn't really spark a new genre, it just made an existing one more visible to the masses)

Trivial Pursuit - This spawned a whole series of similar family trivia/Q&A games, and probably paved the way for games such as Pictionary

Possibly The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - although this was inspired D&D and there had previouly been "choose your own path" books (e.g. "Mission to Planet L", which I loved when I was a kid) the Fighting Fantasy series did start off a whole industry of similar titles.

So, my questions are:

Are there any other titles which really generated a whole new genre (Games such as Carcassonne or Puerto Rico, which just started a trend for a perticular game mechanic, don't count)

and

What's going to be the next one? (obviously if you can really answer this then you'd best find a publisher quick!). I thought it might be fun to kick some ideas around. To start the speculation off, I think it might be some sort of game that mixes up a board/party game with a mobile/internet element... where your local game somehow has a more global effect (you could imagine getting setup from your iPhone or Facebook app, and feeding results back into it at the end of a session). There might also be a Scavenger Hunt/GPS/Pervasive Gaming element to it. Can I have my millions now, please?
 
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Kent Reuber
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We the People started the card-driven game (CDG) genre.
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David C
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What was the first bidding-mechanic game? That's pretty big.

Scotland yard with having a 'bad guy' as one of the players, along with cooperative gameplay. I don't know if it was the first, but it's definitely a mechanic that's been used.
 
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Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
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1829 spawned the entire 18xx genre track-tile-laying train/economic game.
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Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
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And Civilization spawned the "Civ" genre, where the grail to this day remains to better it.

Interestingly, both games were designed by the same man, Francis Tresham. Quite an accomplishment for one guy.
 
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Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
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And let us not forget Alfred Butts, who created the crossword board game as we know it, by inventing Scrabble. Yes, there were some crossword games based on cards or dice that preceded it by several years, but he introduced the board and tile structure and in the process arguably produced the archetype for the majority of word-formation board games that came after. See the GeekList Scrabble Clone Wars for a detailed trip through the history of this genre.
 
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Danger Mike
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bippi wrote:
What was the first bidding-mechanic game? That's pretty big.


Monopoly...when played correctly.
 
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Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
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Charles Roberts designed the first consim in 1958: Gettysburg, and followed this up by also creating the hex-and-counter genre in the 1961 reedition.
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P.D. Magnus
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Steerpike wrote:

Are there any other titles which really generated a whole new genre (Games such as Carcassonne or Puerto Rico, which just started a trend for a perticular game mechanic, don't count)


Didn't Citadels introduce the role-selection genre? Of course, Cosmic Encounter had variable player powers earlier - but I don't know of anything earlier that involved picking a new role every turn.
 
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Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
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Selchow & Righter's Lightning was the first documented connection game, dating all the way back to 1892! Unfortunately, the designer appears to be unknown.

The game of Zig Zag (not listed on BGG) came next, in 1932, introducing the idea of playing chains of pieces to connect opposite sides of the board. It appears to have largely escaped notice, also failing to spawn the genre as we know it.

But the first "modern" connection game, to which many, if not most, of the subsequent designs can trace their lineage, was Hex, designed in 1942 by Danish polymath Piet Hein.
 
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Bill Barksdale
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The Lone Gamer wrote:
bippi wrote:
What was the first bidding-mechanic game? That's pretty big.


Monopoly...when played correctly.


There are many older trick-taking games that involve bidding. Auction Bridge for example dates to 1904. David Parlett documents the game of Speculation, mentioned by Austen and Dickens, which involved bidding cash for high cards.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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pmagnus wrote:
Steerpike wrote:

Are there any other titles which really generated a whole new genre (Games such as Carcassonne or Puerto Rico, which just started a trend for a perticular game mechanic, don't count)


Didn't Citadels introduce the role-selection genre? Of course, Cosmic Encounter had variable player powers earlier - but I don't know of anything earlier that involved picking a new role every turn.


Verräter did.
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Patrick Rael
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We see our role as essentially defensive in nature.
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Could one say that Clue started mass-production deduction games?
Richthofen's War inspired later games such as Dauntless and Air War: Modern Tactical Air Combat.
A bunch of racing games owe their existence to Le Mans.
Oh, and if you want to think of auction games, there's the much-maligned (but much-beloved by me) Masterpiece.
 
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Steerpike wrote:
The most obvious example is Magic: the Gathering

Magic was not the first CCG.
 
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Ben Carter
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E Decker wrote:
Steerpike wrote:
The most obvious example is Magic: the Gathering

Magic was not the first CCG.


I'll bite. What was it?
 
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Andrew Brannan
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I'd like to state that being first doesn't necessarily mean genre-creating. An obscure game that uses a particular mechanic first may not generate the publicity and popularity that leads others to expand upon the idea. Magic created the CCG Genre, whether or not it was first.

Another example from video games is Herzog Zwei, which was the first Real-time strategy game. But it didn't launch the genre, Dune 2 did.
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Alan Monroe
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bigbc79 wrote:
I'll bite. What was it?


Among others, Fighting Fantasy Battle Cards. I have an entire case in shrink if you're interested. Great collectors item! devil
 
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Chester
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Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815 maybe as the first block game (or rather as the genre-creating entry).

 
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John Kovacs
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PanzerBlitz, designed by James F. Dunnigan, founder of SPI (although this game was published by Avalon Hill), introduced tactical level combat to wargaming. Definitely a classic as well as a genre creator.
 
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