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Subject: Where to Start? New user with new game idea rss

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Phil Goyette
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Hi all. I am new to the forums. I've long played the Strat-O-Matic series of sports games, which I enjoy. I've also been a fan of the Olympic Games for quite some time, inspired by reading the big Summer Olympics book that David Wallechinsky compiled. I've long thought about how great it would be to have a game in which I could 'replay' the Olympics as a means of waiting out the 4 years. I also long for a management aspect that is missing in the stock versions of the Strat-O-Matic games.

So...my idea has been to make an Olympics board game that combines the two aspects.

The first part of the game would be the "management" aspect of the game. You would get a pool of athletes for your country rated across the same athletic categories. You've got to decide which events you want to apply them to based on their strengths/weaknesses. You also get a limited amount of "training" you can apply to improve the athletes.

The second part of the game would be the "replay" aspect. You make a strategic decision on how your athlete approaches his or her event and then watch the event unfold based on the athletes' skill and luck.

The game would be designed for myself to play solitaire.

Outside of this basic framework and a notebook full of ideas I've jotted down, I don't really know where to start. Can anyone suggest good books and/or guides of how to approach the initial development of a game? Or even feedback on what I've got thus far and what I've left out would be appreciated.
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Pete Belli
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Welcome to BGG!

Take a peek at the solitaire titles produced by Victory Point Games and you will find inspiration.

Good Luck.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Try this game. Not quite the same as your idea, but it feels close to the mark:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/800317/wip-2024-an-olympic-u...
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Nate K
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I would honestly suggest starting out by designing a different game. This is because game design, like any art form, takes practice. If this game idea is really important to you, save it until you have stretched your design muscles a bit.

Start out by designing a really basic game, like a simple racing game. (We can certainly help you with that, if you like.)

Then design something a little more complicated, like a game that involves combat in addition to movement.

Finally, try to design something that has some similarities to the Olympic game that you want to make. A solitaire game that involves resource management, perhaps.

Even if you end up with three really lousy games (and let's face it, you probably will, because no one designs a really good game on their first try except
John Gibson
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) you'll learn a lot about your own design process and about game design in general.

Once you get to that point, you should be ready to take on a more challenging design, like your Olympic game.

:twocents:
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CM Boyd
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I've found that it's best to start small and simple. Make a simple prototype of the core aspect of your game. If it's fun, build it up from there, and start to add in complexity.

As an example:

For this I might say that each athlete has 2 attributes: Fitness and Skill. Fitness representing their physical condition and skill representing their training in whichever event they compete in.

Each event (maybe there are say... 10 events) has a certain threshold for success for Fitness and Skill. So, say Archery requires a low Fitness (3) threshold and a high skill threshold (8), whereas weightlifting requires a much higher fitness(8) and a much lower skill(3), and swimming requires medium fitness and medium skill (6s).

You roll 2 dice to determine the attribute scores for your Athletes. You then assign them to the various events. Once assigned to an event, you roll again to determine whether or not that athlete "wins" that event.

Example: You roll a 2 and a 5 for Fitness and Skill, you name that character Arty the Archer, and send them to the Archery competition, once there he rolls a (3) on for fitness and a (4) for Skill giving him 2 + 3 > 3 and 5 + 4 > 8, so he wins the event, and you get a point.

After trying out that concept and seeing if it's fun, then try building on training aspects or things like that (maybe roll dice to try and improve one skill or another or something) or add in a 3rd attribute, or cards or whatever.

TL;DR Start small, and iterate to add complexity.

PS: It could probably expand to a multi-player game fairly well as well, with people competing against each other in events to try and win the most medals ( in that case it wouldn't be a threshold, it'd just be about beating the other persons athlete)
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Phil Goyette
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CM you're not far off from what I'm thinking. Instead of rolling for attributes, however, you would be provided player cards with a set blend of attributes based on the country you select. Then each event would weigh those attributes in a different manner to determine the winner.

I hear the advice about starting small though. My idea is to start by creating two "teams" with two player cards each and have them compete in two events requiring different "blends" and seeing how it plays out. (USA vs. China, 100M dash and diving) Then I'll think about adding a strategy decision to each of the events.

In the past I've created a field lacrosse game and I've tried working out an indoor lacrosse game. The field lacrosse game was a simulator which resolved games in 5-10 minutes, very different from Strat-O-Matic, but lacked much strategy, which disappointed me. The indoor lacrosse simulator was becoming more and more like SOM Basketball the more I tweaked with it, so I put it down. It's hard to get those game engines out of your head when that's what you're so used to playing.
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CM Boyd
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mrgoyette wrote:
CM you're not far off from what I'm thinking. Instead of rolling for attributes, however, you would be provided player cards with a set blend of attributes based on the country you select. Then each event would weigh those attributes in a different manner to determine the winner.


I agree, in the long run I think that having player cards would be what you'd want to aim for. I was mostly suggesting trying it out with dice first, to see if you were enjoying the mechanics of allocating people and what not, and then "upgrading" to index cards or post-it notes for the next iteration etc. What I've discovered, from working on a card game before (and currently) is that writing a bunch of things down that you're going to change a whole bunch later is more useful when you have a much better idea of how things are working out.
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