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Subject: Just come up with a new theme already (fun exercise) rss

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Rocco Privetera
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Another zombie game? Another dungeon crawler? Why not come up with a new theme?

Sure, everybody has genre's they love. And everybody has ideas for a game they love. It's very easy to follow the path of least resistance to re-use genre's and mechanics.

My guess is: most of us come up with game concepts because you are playing a game you like, or would like if it were slightly different, and so you decide to fix it, or make a new version. So you take something, you tweak it, make some modifications and you have your game.

Yeah sure - people buy games based on themes they know, the same way people go to movies about subjects they know. Oh, it's a WWII action movie? OK, I like those, I will probably like this, so I'll go. A teen sex comedy romp, I know what that's like. Horror, sci-fi, etc. So this translates to games as well. Oh, a generic fantasy dungeon crawler... that uses some new mechanic? OK, I like the setting, so I'll probably like the game. You all get it.

But seriously, as a creative exercise, come up with a new theme.

You can certainly choose a theme that's been done, just not as much, and develop off that. Wild West, Gangsters.

But there's something to be said for picking a random thing and exploring the theme. People who are into the niche will be driven to it, especially if they are searching for it on the web. Oh, I'm into whiskey bottling. What's this, a whiskey bottling game? Cha-ching!

But me as a gamer, I like to see different themes. I'm sure I'd play any game brought to me, but I do get extra excited for themes that are little-used or never used. I imagine off-beat themes probably have a harder start to get picked up, but the staying power and "unforgettability" if they are good is higher. Oh, you have a generic fantasy deck builder? Ho hum - two came out this year, and yours will be forgotten in a few years. Oh, you have a whiskey factory deck builder? Five years from now you will probably still have the only one of those.

Here's a fun exercise, I'd like to see some examples of to stretch our creative game designer minds:

Go to Wikipedia's random article generator (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random) and see what article comes up. Post the article and use it as a brainstorming point for a new theme. If the article is about a really overdone theme (zombies, WWII) then you have to find the thing on the page that hasn't been done before (a WWII train game, maybe). No refreshing over and over to find a better article. Ad if it something already done, it's up to you to come up with a better way or mechanic to do it.

Here's a few, random generator away!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persidem_Demak
Article about an Indonesian football (soccer) club. Eh, not my favorite, but there aren't a ton of soccer games out there. What about a Soccer Deckbuilder, played in the abstract (not on a field)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Kappl
A bass player in a band. Boring, but the second sentence mentions a music conservatory. A game where you run competing bands in a music school, where the resources are musicians, and you are competing to get them in your ensemble and do performances that win you acclaim. Certain musicians have skills in instruments and you could have them play different instruments with lesser skill but to fill holes (a trombonist might play tuba, for example). I went to music school and this was a common thing. Resource management with a twist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_Don%27t_Impress_Me_Much
The Shania Twain song. While I suggest pop culture articles are harder to mine for ideas, they aren't impossible. The article mentions country radio stations. What about a game where people are running competing Country Radio Stations? Again, maybe not my cuppa, but some folks out there would eat it up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_historical_and_fictiona...
Ok, looking down the list, there is an entry on homing pigeons. That leads me to think about issuing orders to units. What about a robo-rally esque game based on a light WWI wargame, where units are given orders, but the order carriers have to be managed? Something like a grid, units on it, and you send pigeons/bike messengers/horseback messengers and have to move them, roll for them being shot, etc. If the messengers fail to arrive the units do nothing. Sending orders to important front lines troops (further away) is harder than the close ones. Valuable pigeons can fly overhead but are harder to replace.

Anyway you get the idea. Have fun, generate some ideas some designers can get a spark to create something unique!







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Michael Barlow
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If you people would stop buying zombie games, I'm sure the shine would wear off.

There are lots of "odd" themed games out there. Do your part. Buy an odd game, support those oddballs!
Games with Weird, Odd, Unusual, or Unorthodox Themes
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John A. White
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~~TRASHED~~
Garbage in Garbage out

In the game you get junk cards you must make a decision.
Throw it away in the trash or recycle for VP.
The trash moves through a trash truck that a player owns and fills up a dump that each owns..Overfill you lose points to ship to others fills. Under fill you loss points on the lack of completion.
Look out for chemical waste if unreported (Bluffing) it could cause problems.

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Sturv Tafvherd
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My favorite but unusual theme: Weird Wild West. I played a good amount of Deadlands RPG when it came out. I even playtested the card game. So it's a theme I just want to see more.

Another theme I'd like to see: Swashbuckling and Swordplay, but no Sorcery. I had played a little bit of 7th Sea, but if there was no magic involved, I'd probably like it a but more as a refreshing change.

 
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John A. White
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!!Park Amusement!!

A beautiful board full of Rides, Bathrooms, Food concessions
where the waiting lines are the focus!!!

Who had the most fun?
Did you fight through the Best Ride line? or did you pick off 10 rides on that old boring log ride? Make sure to manage your bathroom breaks and the FOOD you bought to get an excitement multiplier.
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linoleum blownaparte
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I can't agree with this enough.

What's particularly embarrassing is when a fun new game comes out with an innovative mechanic, and it is then followed by one or two or three new games that not only re-implement the mechanic but don't even change the thematic setting
 
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John A. White
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!!ACUTE OBSERVATION!!!
A world map with north pole
Where you build the following
Super Collider
Observatory
Science Lab
Tech School

All of this in order to make a fictional future break through in science. Make sure you chose your path wisely... because you never know if your discovery is going to get written up or even the Pulitzer prize.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaspidiconus_roatanensis

Predatory venomous sea snails, huh? Awesome. How about a game where snails attempt to trick unsuspecting humans into thinking they are delicious edible shellfish, with the snails killing those foolish enough to try to harvest them?

I can see snails with a notch on their shell for each kill...
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John A. White
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The Royal Butterfly
This one is too good to share...


 
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Alan Gaskell
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Self Decapitation

You must strive through the pain barrier to hack off your own head with a wooden spoon.

The winner is the player with the most decorative blood stains on the ceiling.
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M J
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stamp collecting, does your rare chinese specimen from 1893 have any barely visible specks on it?

you lose
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John A. White
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VALIS13 wrote:
Self Decapitation

You must strive through the pain barrier to hack off your own head with a wooden spoon.

The winner is the player with the most decorative blood stains on the ceiling.


Not very good replay-ability...
 
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VALIS13 wrote:
Self Decapitation

You must strive through the pain barrier to hack off your own head with a wooden spoon.

The winner is the player with the most decorative blood stains on the ceiling.


Take my money now.
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John A. White
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munio wrote:
stamp collecting, does your rare chinese specimen from 1893 have any barely visible specks on it?

you lose

um, Not sure if this will be picked up.
But I guess playing along is encouraged.
 
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John A. White
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Kittyhawk
You build a plane in 1890 something.
then test on a grass meadow game board.
The correct construction of the plane parts (and order) is hidden and you use deduction after flight test(s).
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John "Omega" Williams
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Hindenburg

Players are passengers on the great airship on a transatlantic flight. But one amongst you is a saboteur seeking to destroy it!
Allready working on this one actually.

A really neet idea for a game theme that was never quite finished by another player was Watergate, about a reporter trying to sneak through the building to find the evidence while avoiding security patrols and surveillance cameras.

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John A. White
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!!Blood Sell!!

You are a Blood Cell and you must travel through the stream after you picked out all kinds of good/bad stuff. you deliver to the organs for VP.
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John "Omega" Williams
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aVoidGames wrote:
!!Blood Sell!!

You are a Blood Cell and you must travel through the stream after you picked out all kinds of good/bad stuff. you deliver to the organs for VP.


That would make a nice expansion for one of my earliest microgame designs. "Best Defense" about antibodies defending against viruses and bacteria.
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John A. White
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HURRICANE ALLEY

Dexterity game
It's Late Summer Early Fall again!
Set up your investments along the eastern seaboard only to have other player take aim at them with a HURRICANE top or flicked coin.
Cities further from the coast risk less.

Maybe the board is uphill inland or furry to slow the cane down.
 
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John A. White
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Omega2064 wrote:
aVoidGames wrote:
!!Blood Sell!!

You are a Blood Cell and you must travel through the stream after you picked out all kinds of good/bad stuff. you deliver to the organs for VP.


That would make a nice expansion for one of my earliest microgame designs. "Best Defense" about antibodies defending against viruses and bacteria.

You can have it!
If I have a big breakthrough I hold it back.
 
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James Scott
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VALIS13 wrote:
Self Decapitation

You must strive through the pain barrier to hack off your own head with a wooden spoon.

The winner is the player with the most decorative blood stains on the ceiling.


laugh

Saw VII: The Board Game
 
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John A. White
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The Sea of Written Word

Base on a poem by yours truly
As Dust all players must land on a book in a library.
The deck of cards are of the books being taken out. you must not leave the library in order to get end Game VP.

Decks could be partitioned by isles. Lots of ideas to this one.
Lost books, Librarian's job, adding in new books.
some sort of popularity levels (card counts, risk reward)
Noise Level
Newspaper & Magazine mechanic
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Bernhard W
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Pot holes

You’re running a delivery service in the wet season where pot holes multiply by the second.
Bribe the city council to fix your main delivery roads or hold up the ones of your opponents.
Buy shares of a tyre shop near you to get your flat tyres fixed for cheaper. You get some of the money if an opponent buys from a shop near you.
The player with the most money (earned by deliveries, tyres sold to your opponents –tyre/share/bribery cost) wins.
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Bernhard W
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aVoidGames wrote:
~~TRASHED~~
Garbage in Garbage out

In the game you get junk cards you must make a decision.
Throw it away in the trash or recycle for VP.
The trash moves through a trash truck that a player owns and fills up a dump that each owns..Overfill you lose points to ship to others fills. Under fill you loss points on the lack of completion.

The theme sounds really funny, although I think it'll be more about the trash talk than the game

aVoidGames wrote:
Look out for chemical waste if unreported (Bluffing) it could cause problems.

TRASHED, the social deduction game?
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John A. White
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BIG OIL

you are the real owners of the world... you must balance the price of oil. You must play excuses to justify the price of oil like: "forgot keys to Refinery Door" price up $1.00 a Gallon.

Be careful if you drop the price people will vacation and cause global warming... Green peace will cry.
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