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Unusual game mechanics

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Juzek
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I've been thinking about unusual game mechanics and pieces lately such as:

Using a cup or mug owned by the players as an integral component to the game.

or

Using a spiral bound book that lays flat as a board that can turn pages.

Any suggestions for what to do with these or other strange ideas you may have?

Any games that exist that have clever use of non-traditional components?

let-off studios
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Components & Use

Mugs & Cups:

  • Dice cups and "Monster Cups" (to hold monster tokens/miniatures a la Arkham Horror) are the obvious uses here.
  • A variation on the "talking stick." Whomever hold the mug is the player that can take action.
  • Dexterity challenge. Keeping hold of and item/items/liquid/other substance in the cup. Requiring they hold as much as possible while doing some inconvenient physical action is a big challenge. Another variation is to deposit other objects in the cup, for example by throwing or tossing objects into it. Points can be earned by landing projectiles near it, or a "bullseye" by landing inside it.
  • Hidden object. The cup itself or something that can be hidden inside the cup must be discovered by players. The classic "shell game" is a variation on this.
  • Drinking contest. Drink out of the cup and empty it faster than an opponent. Either that, or (similar to the dexterity challenge) nurse your drink as long as possible. In either case, excessive spillage causes a penalty/disqualification.
  • As the subject of a drawing contest.
  • Hot Potato. The cup is filled with several smaller objects and passed between players. Each time they hold it, players must take a certain number of those objects out of the cup (maybe roll dice to determine the number). Players who can't take enough items from the cup or receive an empty cup at the start of their turn either lose, win, or steal items from their neighbours. At the end of the game (several rounds), the player with the most tokens is either the big winner or big loser.

Spiral-bound Notebooks

  • I remember the old-skool board game Key to the Kingdom. I played this a lot while drinking late at night with friends while studying overseas. We played until we were totally bored or passed out drunk. But anyway, it has this cool board-flipping mechanic which opens or closes, transporting players to different locations to explore. I could easily see someone attempting to use this mechanic in a roll n' write version of this, while cutting a hole in one sheet of the notebook. Game boards could be on both sides of the page, and/or extend to the facing page/next page in the notebook.
  • Telestrations uses this concept pretty well. The only difference is that their notebooks are reusable and have many fewer pages.
  • Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books and their variants are some of my favourite diversions of my youth, and absorbed me into the reading and gaming hobbies. I'd still like to learn a system on effectively writing them, personally. I imagine at the very least a notebook would be good for a first draft.
  • Paper Gauntlet. Similar to a choose-your-own-adventure book, but the goal is to make it from the front of the book to the back. Each page has a kind of challenge or bonus listed. Depending on how well the player does with the challenge, they move forward in the book or go back a few pages. This can be as elaborate and convoluted as possible, with player Ability Scores, dice throw results, or other factors influencing the player's progress.

That's plenty for now. I needed this break. :)

Tim Edwards
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Juzek wrote:I've been

Juzek wrote:
I've been thinking about unusual game mechanics and pieces lately such as:

Using a cup or mug owned by the players as an integral component to the game.

or

Using a spiral bound book that lays flat as a board that can turn pages.

Any suggestions for what to do with these or other strange ideas you may have?

Any games that exist that have clever use of non-traditional components?

I love the spiral bound book idea. Achievable component. Loads of scope for design. You could have irregularly shaped pages so that only parts of the board change. I can see the book themed as a magical tome. That could be absolutely amazing.

questccg
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Become Magi - Serpent's Tongue

Well the "Book" or "Notebook" concept was used by "Serpent's Tongue" which shutdown in July 2018. They had a "grimoire" with cards you could use to cast spells, lore and puzzles to unlock more elements within the game's universe...

I'm not sure how the "Book" or "Notebook" was produced but it reminded me of a "Bible" book ... With cards inserted on the pages (like a pocket for the various cards in the game).

The game was VERY "Ambitious" and I don't know WHY the game disappeared... TBD... Maybe RL got in the way, IDK. It looked pretty impressive. So if you are interested in a similar concept ... Serpent's Tongue looked cool in a book format... But it was unlike a Board Game... It was a CARD game primarily focused on the Language used in the Garden of Eden!

But definitely COOL (Serpent's Tongue)... Here's the Kickstarter Link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/500894669/serpents-tongue-a-new-mag...

Just have a look at the "concept" ... Sorry the website is DOWN and the game is no longer available... I really thought the "Book" or "Notebook" concept WORKED for this game... So it would be cool to see another adaptation, into something different using this kind of apparatus.

Cheers!

larienna
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For the note book, pen and

For the note book, pen and paper games could fit the need. You just log your information in the book.

Else for a binder, I was thinking that each "page" could be a map or minigame that you must complete to pass to the next level (page). You could shuffle, reorder the page at the start of the game.

For the mug, it's already used for pools of tokens, and rolling cups.


I am sure there could be other unusual components lying around. I am curious what people could come up with.

Paper folding clip was one. It could be used as stands. Or the folding of each side could record information.

NomadArtisan
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The Zatch Bell tcg used a

The Zatch Bell tcg used a ‘book’ to hold your deck of cards. You could play either card on the currently displayed pages. Each turn you turned one or more pages and gained access to new cards while losing access to old ones.
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/18287/zatch-bell

The game itself wasn’t very good, but the book concept was so interesting, I’ve been wanting to see another system use this ‘deck as a book’ concept

questccg
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Very clever!

NomadArtisan wrote:
The Zatch Bell tcg used a ‘book’ to hold your deck of cards. You could play either card on the currently displayed pages. Each turn you turned one or more pages and gained access to new cards while losing access to old ones...

I like the idea of "designing" your OWN "book"! Like placing the cards in the book itself to figure out "what are your options". I would encourage something like "Hearthstone's" increasing Mana mechanic. This would mean that at the start you have less Mana and as you progress through your book, you gain MORE Mana! This could make some interesting card decisions like 1> Do you cast the "expensive" spell or 2> Do you favor several times of a "weaker" one???

Definitely an interesting concept worthwhile examining further!

Really COOL when it comes to "Deck-Construction" using a BOOK Format as suggested by the OP.

OR Something like the "20 Minute Dungeon Notebook" allows you to progress through several LEVELS of the "Book" without making the experience last like several HOURS or even DAYS... You could like "Save your progress" and continue at a later date/time.

Cheers!

X3M
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A book with cards

I like that idea.
This can be combined with designing your own units.

Piece on the board
Body (Body cost, Speed, Armor, Health)
Body addition #: (Addition cost, Addition cost per extra speed, Armor, Health)
Weapon #: (Weapon cost, Range, Multiplier, Accuracy, Damage, Special adjustments)

The pages itself will hold the combinations in place. Less fiddling. This is a great idea!!

Might as well ask this question:
"How many cards would you allow in a custom design?"

I know that a page could have 3x3 in cards. Which would mean that a design would allow only a maximum of 3 cards. Given that the piece on the board is put with the body design. I wonder if 4 would be a possibility as well.

Tim Edwards
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larienna wrote:For the note

larienna wrote:
For the note book, pen and paper games could fit the need. You just log your information in the book.

Else for a binder, I was thinking that each "page" could be a map or minigame that you must complete to pass to the next level (page). You could shuffle, reorder the page at the start of the game.

For the mug, it's already used for pools of tokens, and rolling cups.

I am sure there could be other unusual components lying around. I am curious what people could come up with.

Paper folding clip was one. It could be used as stands. Or the folding of each side could record information.

Yup, I was imaging maps. Turn the page to transport you to a new land - or reveal/ replace bits of the old map. A sort of magical story-time atmosphere.

questccg
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House of Hell: Fighting Fantasy

Tim Edwards wrote:
Yup, I was imaging maps. Turn the page to transport you to a new land - or reveal/ replace bits of the old map. A sort of magical story-time atmosphere.

Remember there is only so much you can put on a PAGE. I remember one Fighting Fantasy books, the House of Hell. This was to my memory the only one in the entire line of books that had a unique "feature". You had to "explore" the House and then at some point you would reach a WALL... And there would be nowhere to go... No more options like for "X" go to Page "Y" or for "W" go to Page "V"... Instead what it said was something like there is a LOCK and to unlock it, you must know the 3 DIGIT solution to the lock. And then to continue the book, you had to turn to page "ABC"...

I really thought that was a HARD book to PLAY. Because according to your choices, sometimes you would only find 2 out of 3 numbers. It took several times to READ the book to finally find the right combination and unlock the LOCK to continue your adventure.

So consider this ONE (1) way to ADD "depth" by requiring people to SOLVE puzzles and this particular GEM was real amazing. Really enjoyed that Adventure Book...

Here's a link to the book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Hell

Cheers!

questccg
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Dymino Monsters by Jesse Fernandez.

Juzek wrote:
...Using a spiral bound book that lays flat as a board that can turn pages...

Interestingly enough, I think @Stormyknight1976 (Jesse) might have a concept that lends well to the "book" concept... Let me explain a bit about what I know about his game "Dymino Monsters". He has "Playmats" which are modular and in a 3D perspective (like a Waterfall or a Forest Trail, etc.)

They are to be used in conjunction with cards that are characters players are playing. It's a multiplayer game ... So I can picture a TWO (2) player variant... Of some scaled down version of any of his "Playmats" Player #1 can start on the Left-Hand Side (LHS) and Player #2 can start on the RHS. The idea is I believe it's sort of a DUEL... But played out in a 3D isometric space.

Anyway I just wanted to bring up another game that might be compatible with the "Book" concept as we are discussing it...

Cheers!

Tim Edwards
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questccg wrote:Tim Edwards

questccg wrote:
Tim Edwards wrote:
Yup, I was imaging maps. Turn the page to transport you to a new land - or reveal/ replace bits of the old map. A sort of magical story-time atmosphere.

Remember there is only so much you can put on a PAGE. I remember one Fighting Fantasy books, the House of Hell. This was to my memory the only one in the entire line of books that had a unique "feature". You had to "explore" the House and then at some point you would reach a WALL... And there would be nowhere to go... No more options like for "X" go to Page "Y" or for "W" go to Page "V"... Instead what it said was something like there is a LOCK and to unlock it, you must know the 3 DIGIT solution to the lock. And then to continue the book, you had to turn to page "ABC"...

I really thought that was a HARD book to PLAY. Because according to your choices, sometimes you would only find 2 out of 3 numbers. It took several times to READ the book to finally find the right combination and unlock the LOCK to continue your adventure.

So consider this ONE (1) way to ADD "depth" by requiring people to SOLVE puzzles and this particular GEM was real amazing. Really enjoyed that Adventure Book...

Here's a link to the book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Hell

Cheers!

I'm imaging a book with large map-sized pages. :)

PS: loved the FF series and have been playing them all throug after 30+ years. That feature appears a few times. Great fun.

questccg
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Well the OP did say "notebook"...

Tim Edwards wrote:
I'm imaging a book with large map-sized pages. :)

Indeed ... That's what I figured. But the OP was talking about a "notebook"... Also I wanted to articulate that Dymino Monsters can be a multiplayer experience where 2 Players are Heroes and 2 Players are Villains and NPCs. See that's the thing with the 3D isometric maps in Jesse's game... You can have one player playing the opposition to whatever MAP is being played and you can play TEAMS (2 vs. 2) for example.

It doesn't mean that there are two (2) units... There can be one ... But the players converse and decide TOGETHER what they want to do... That's another way of looking at the CO-OPERATIVE game play... And you could have NPCs ... And a whole slew of "baddies", played by the opposing team. And the whole gist of the experience is to "simulate" a combative environment that has it "ALL" (Heroes, NPCs, Monsters, Bosses, etc.)

So I think this "could" be a FORMAT that Jesse (@Stormyknight1976) might like for his 3D isometric playmats... Again just sharing ideas with the group...!


I just wanted to ADD ... That ANYONE who has a similar concept in their game (Playmats) may also find the "book" idea novel. I mean it's a PRATICAL way to do it... Look at it this way. Let's say your original concept used a A4 playmat. That's a SHEET of paper. How are you going to "thread" together ALL these MAPS???

It makes sense to use a NOTEBOOK and divide them into two side for each faction (Good and Bad). And then as move along in the story, you switch to different pages in the "book".

I think it's great if you want to have PLAYMATS that's why I thought of Dymino Monsters (and Jesse). Because otherwise how to you TRANSPORT playmats from home to a FLGS for example? Okay so the playmaps need to be smaller... You can use meeples to move around the "board"... Meeples are TINY. Everything can get scaled down to a more "functional" format.

Again just some explanation why I brought up Dymino Monsters...

Cheers! Again just some more ideas...

Ekobor
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I'm imagining something like

I'm imagining something like this business card: https://www.instagram.com/p/42AciyqNUh/ for the spiral bound book...

So as you play you can't tell what is coming up next, but when you flip it it reveals.

Tim Edwards
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Ekobor wrote:I'm imagining

Ekobor wrote:
I'm imagining something like this business card: https://www.instagram.com/p/42AciyqNUh/ for the spiral bound book...

So as you play you can't tell what is coming up next, but when you flip it it reveals.

Oh, wow. I like it. The game design possibilities with that technology!

JewellGames
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I always wanted to make a

I always wanted to make a game that used thiose 9-card protector pages since they are translucent, I feel like there could be interactions between cards on different pages and positions in the sleeves.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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Binder pages

I had a similar thought of using a sleeved page to build a "super" card to play. I was thinking the 4 page style where each card slot had a specific purpose. For example:
Upper Left - Cost
Upper Right - Target
Lower Left and Right - Effects or actions

Each card would have an effect or action and either a cost or target and could be put in the upper or lower portion. The cards would have symbols to restrict which cards could be put with each other (to limit high cost for powerful effects/actions and low for weak). Once the card was built, you could play it repeatedly.

An alternative idea, was to have ingredients to purchase from a group of available cards. Then to put into a concoction (the sleeves) that you could sell (each configuration would sell for a different price). But the thought of the number of variations that could be produced was a bit intimidating.

Either way, neither of these really got off the ground for me.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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Glasses case

I have an idea that would utilize something like a glasses case (or something you can snap close and can hold multiple things) to pass secret info/bribes to other players. Still working out the details.

Tim Edwards
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What's that technology

What's that technology called?

It's blowing my mind.

questccg
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I believe they call it "Window Perf"

Tim Edwards wrote:
What's that technology called?

It's blowing my mind.

I not sure the business card tech is what it is called ... But I believe I know how it is made. If you see cars with a "skin" ... What they do is have "small circles" in the plastic material and on one side it's gray with the holes and it gives the impression of a "shaded yet transparent" looking glass. And on the OTHER side you have a full color "skin" with whatever they are selling or promoting.

I've seen it on cars and their windows and doors to shopping malls too.

It's the same thing just different application. Here's a Link/URL:

https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/See-Thru-Window-Graphics-for-deco...

You can see from the sample images how the "circles" are a part of the illustration ... If you scroll down, that page gives you different options and talks about car application too... (With an inside view too)

I've done some Googling and found nothing in the business card sector. So it may be called something different when it comes to card applications.

Note #1: There is also LENTICULAR 3D techonology as seen in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdqJdNoYcKU

Maybe this was used on the card also... Could be a possibility, not sure!

Note #2: Golem Arcana had something similar too: basically you had your normal color and a "pattern" which could be scanned to reveal the type or ID of anything in the game. Be it a terrain tile or a miniature, GA using it's pen technology could scan the pattern and know the ID. Was REALLY impressive too!

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/146725/golem-arcana

Here is Tom Vasal's review of the game. I pin-pointed the time he talks about your tablet or smartphone and then shows you the pen/pointer:

https://youtu.be/9xL1yEm2LZ8?t=140

Note #3: The BEST "matching" technology I could find was Window Perf. Because Lenticular uses both sides (I haven't seen anything transparent in the Lenticular space). Also same for the Golem Arcana, the paper and minis all are NOT transparent. So even if you could nest a pattern, I believe the paper would need to be colored NOT transparent...

X3M
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AdamRobinGames-ARG wrote:I

AdamRobinGames-ARG wrote:
I had a similar thought of using a sleeved page to build a "super" card to play. I was thinking the 4 page style where each card slot had a specific purpose. For example:
Upper Left - Cost
Upper Right - Target
Lower Left and Right - Effects or actions

Each card would have an effect or action and either a cost or target and could be put in the upper or lower portion. The cards would have symbols to restrict which cards could be put with each other (to limit high cost for powerful effects/actions and low for weak). Once the card was built, you could play it repeatedly.

An alternative idea, was to have ingredients to purchase from a group of available cards. Then to put into a concoction (the sleeves) that you could sell (each configuration would sell for a different price). But the thought of the number of variations that could be produced was a bit intimidating.

Either way, neither of these really got off the ground for me.


I like that idea.
Although letting players decide the cost??

I could do the same.
I would allow only 2 type of cards. Body and weapon cards.
Maybe modification cards as well.
But calculating costs would be tricky.

A body modification card could be, multiply the speed with 2 and add 3 speed, and double the body costs.

I could name many more examples. But keeping balance should be key here.

questccg
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Something similar has been done already: Yu-Gi-Oh!

Here's a page talking about Yu-Gi-Oh! The only thing I want to point out is the big Exodia (5 card combo):

https://hobbylark.com/card-games/How-to-Buy-Yu-Gi-Oh-Cards-Online

Here's an Amazon listing that allows you to scroll over each card and better read the "effect" or "flavor text" for each Exodia card:

https://www.amazon.ca/YuGiOh-Exodia-Forbidden-Premium-Return/dp/B00UW1Y89G

If you've ever watched the Yu-Gi-Oh! cartoon (which is on Netflix BTW)... In the very first episode Yugi uses this five (5) card Combo to defeat a very powerful opponent. To me it sounds a lot like what you guys are talking about combining cards together.

Just wanted to introduce this Yu-Gi-Oh! concept ... Because I thought it was similar and relevant to this thread.

Cheers!

Note #1: One other point is that Yu-Gi-Oh! is very card combo-ish... There are many plays on having several cards in your hand or in play. Exodia is the only 5 card combo that I know of...

So rest assured that IF you guys want to pursue some of the presented ideas ... The ideas are of value. This is just one implementation of said ideas. But if Yu-Gi-Oh! did it... That means plenty of other games could be more closely examined and have similar mechanics.

It may have already been done... But that's a good thing. It proves that there is some MERIT in the idea(s).

X3M
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There is a fundamental difference

Combining card parts before a match is different than gathering the 5 cards during the game.

Also, 5 is a weird number if you ask me.
I think that a 2x2 or 2x3 field would be better. Meaning 4 or 6.

Also, having different combinations is a very cool idea. You can change your entire set, every game.

Example:

Body
Body modification
Weapon
Weapon modification

You always need a body.
But you can add 1 to 3 body modifications, with lesser weapons.
You can add 1 weapon with 2 weapon modifications.
You can add 2 weapons with 1 weapon modification on one of the 2 weapons.
Or you can add 3 weapons.

If you have to design a deck of only 5 cards.
You would be needing 5 body cards.
But you could add like up to 15 body modification cards.
Or 15 weapon cards. Or 10 weapon modification cards.
For just 5 cards, you could gather 45 little cards which you can combine in any way you like.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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@X3M

To clarify the cost aspect, the symbols would limit the more powerful affects to a higher cost range of compatible cards. Then within the range, more powerful or versatile cards would be the ones that would make a lower cost if put it in the cost slot instead. That way the player has to choose, in order to reduce the cost, they have to sacrifice a more powerful effect or action to fill that slot of the supercard.

To eliminate confusion as to what the cards do, I'd design them to rotate 180 (for text) and make the bottom half of the sleeves on the page opaque. That way you only see the relevant info on the supercard.

If anyone wants to run with the idea, I'd love to help.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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@questccg

I am aware of that game, cartoon and combo. Never played and only ever saw a handful of episodes.

I'm actually an MtG player (which I know some on here groan at the game). It is very combo-centric as well. I was thinking you would either have a shared deck with some sort of buy mechanic from a variety of cards flipped up, or each player could build a deck. As you acquire cards (through either method) you then start building your super cards. Once a super card has all slots filled, you can start playing it's effects (repeatedly if you have the resources). The currency for the buy mechanic could double for the play cost so there is only one "currency" to track (if you go with the single deck idea). Sort of like a build your own magic card game. (Note, the build your own deck idea would have to have some serious build controls put in to force players to limit the powerhouse cards, otherwise this would quickly turn into a pay to play. I'm talking Mage Wars level or more strict.)

As for the symbols, I was thinking they could represent factions. A single card could belong to multiple factions (but doesn't have to), but all cards in the supercard must share at least one faction. Here are the factions and focus I had so far:

Galioths - Create large creatures with high cost range. Little in special abilities, mainly brute force.
Elites - Upper mid-range power and cost creatures. Fewer ability cards.
Rebels - Lower mid-range power and cost creatures. More ability cards.
Hive or Swarm - Create weak creatures with low cost.
Horror - Focuses on killing creatures, little on creating them.
Void - Removing cards from opponents supercard or hand.
Mercs - Can be put with any faction.
Lab - Swapping out cards in your own supercards.
Bank - Improve "currency" for purchase of cards in single deck or playing supercards.
Tech - More ability focused than creature focused.

I'd try to come up with some better names for the factions, but these are place holders.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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Another mechanic

There is a dice mechanic I've wanted to see. There are lego dice that can have different 2x2 panels placed on each face. I think it would be cool to have a set of dice that you can upgrade each face individually as you progress through the game.

JewellGames
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Pencils

I've literally been working on this game since May 2014 and haven't published much about my progress, but I use pencils with 3 different results per side (depends on your opponent's pencil type) as the only component of the game.

Having just these components with all the information on them allows for portable, scalable, simultaneous play with no score keeping required.

Here is a mockup of Giraffite, Erasaurus, and Scribull:

X3M
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I wonder

If there is also room for a "Unusual game design" topic. Where one tells a story of designing a game in an unusual way.

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