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Spliting a game up

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Joined: 10/02/2008

On Sunday or Monday night, right before we went to sleep, my wife and I were talking about random things like we usually do. Well, I was asking my wife her opinion on some of my games and since she did not know anything about eurogames before I met her, I feel that her opinion would match more of a normal American gamer (one who thinks Monopoly is the king of games) than my other friends. She doesn't mince words with me either, she tells me if she likes it or if she doesn't. That's what I like most about when I talk about games with her.

So while talking about my games, I asked her if she liked my game, Overstock, a game built around mechanics with a warehousing/shipping theme tacked on. She said she thought it was interesting but the theme was boring. I could understand that, the theme was pretty dry. So I asked her what a better theme was and we discussed a few, and the one that she came up with that I liked the most was based on the trading during the 1400's. After just a few minutes, I had a completely different theme that I loved but didn't know how to incorporate into the game without totally destroying it.

Since my brain got it's creative juices flowing, I had to work on it right then. Which I did until 3:30am in the morning (yes, I still went to work the next day, how I don't know...) When I was finished, the same mechanics were used with some great changes, that matched with the theme.

The problem that I begin to have is the feeling that I had lost the old game. I loved playing the game the way before. I loved the changes as well. So I didn't know what to do.

Until today. I finally decided to keep both ideas as seperate games. Since they would share a lot of the same mechanics, I decided that they would be "sister games," one that encouraged more fun and the other that encouraged more strategy.

It didn't take too long to make the changes to the new game to make it different enough from Overstock, and I kept Overstock almost exactly the same (all I did was simplify the scoring, while keeping the same winning conditions.)

The reason I think this is worthy of sharing, is the fact that some of you may have playtesters that give you ideas that you cannot incorporate in the game they are testing but you cannot think of a better place for that idea. Maybe a spin-off may be the best thing for that idea.

I've heard people call some of Reiner Knizia's games as a trilogy, like the tile-laying games and the auction games. I believe those are great examples of taking a mechanic and expanding (or adapting it) to another game.

Anyone else have simiilar experiences?


GamesOnTheBrain's picture
Joined: 07/24/2008
Spliting a game up

I frequently have a similar experience.

While I'm thinking about mechanics for a particular game, I'll come up with a mechanic that won't work with the game I'm working on, but might work very well for another game.

I keep a log of these oddball mechanic ideas so I can refer to them in the future.

In fact, one of the most unique mechanics that I've ever come up with (and my favorite at that) simply wouldn't work with the game I was working on at the time. I was so inspired by the new mechanic that I started working on a new game based on it.

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