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What if the premise of your game is already taken?

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BenMora
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I came up with what I thought was a very solid idea but then did a quick google search and found a game that has almost the exact same premise as mine, though I can tell by looking at pictures of it, they took a very different route than I would have taken the idea, as far as game mechanics and style goes. What does the game community (players, developers, and publishers) have to say about making a game where the basic premise is already out there?

Here's my idea...

(written before I discovered a similar game): Each player is a god, and they are trying to gain influence and followers in the land. The people are not controlled by the players directly but will do things like persecute heathens, convert new followers, rebel, worship, and give offerings to the gods.

Now, when I google searched "boardgame players are gods" (which is kinda funny without punctuation) Google came up with a game called "Playing Gods" which after reading the description SEEMS exactly the same as MY idea, BUT again looking at pics, I can tell it is completely different game mechanics than I want to use, and it is using real world religions and mythos, whereas I want to make a completely new fantasy world and mythos for this.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Silverdreams
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Go right ahead

I say develop it! If the fundamental game mechanics and design are completely different, there should be no problem with a theme that, on the surface, appears similar.

starflier
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BenMora wrote:I came up with

BenMora wrote:
I came up with what I thought was a very solid idea but then did a quick google search and found a game that has almost the exact same premise as mine, though I can tell by looking at pictures of it, they took a very different route than I would have taken the idea, as far as game mechanics and style goes. What does the game community (players, developers, and publishers) have to say about making a game where the basic premise is already out there?

They didn't stop making Empires of the Void or Eclipse because Twilight Imperium existed.

I'm currently making a steampunk-themed train game. And then I saw Kings of Air and Steam. But whatever, you know? I think the world is big enough for both games, and mine's different enough mechanically that someone could play both of them in one game night, and feel like they are completely different experiences.

kos
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Just make it

Like the others above, I say just make it.

How many superhero comics are there?
How many fantasy adventurers save the world from dark forces?
How many space explorers stumble upon ancient civilizations?
How many detectives solve grizzly murder mysteries?

None of these pre-existing works stops people publishing dozens, nay hundreds, of new superhero comics, fantasy adventures, space explorers, and murder mysteries every year. The key is in the execution, not the premise.

Regards,
kos

gabrielcohn
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Go for it...

..as everyone said above, plus, this: how many goddamn trading-around-the-mediterranean (usually in-the-renaissance-era) games can there be. and a whole bunch of them are pretty decent too. if both the theme AND the mechanics are the same, then you have a real problem. until then, don't worry.

(Besides, i looked up "playing gods" on BGG--I don't think you have a lot to worry about.)

pelle
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do it

Besides there are already many computer god games based on that idea. Im surprised if there is only one board game.

lewpuls
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Details

"The devil is in the details." Many games can come from the same premise. (Heck, I now have FIVE from the premise of Britannia, two quite different from the other three.)

Furthermore, virtually no idea is new, so if you wait to find a premise that "hasn't been used" (which actually means, that you haven't found to be used yet) then you'll never make a game.

Occasionally a novelist will say that all stories have already been written. But there are lots of unusual executions of well-known ideas/plots. Same with games.

dameonunleashed
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Go for it! There's a good

Go for it! There's a good chance any of us could find another game in progress or on shelves that overlap in one or more areas such as theme, aesthetics, setting, etc.

Just remember "Nihil Novi Sub Sole" : There is nothing new under the sun.

pelle
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second is plagiarism, third is just another in a popular genre

My unscientific theory: If there are already several similar games by different designers, you can make a new one heavily inspired by those, and worst thing that happens is a little whining about it being boring with another game in a genre. But if there is only a single game you almost-copy then there is a risk of bad reviews for plagiarism.

Being the second designer to make a god-game, 4x, civ, zombie-survival, deck-building or card-driven or worker-placement or hex-and-counter-wargame game etc must have been risky from a geek-cred pov, but now I don't think anyone would react at all on a new typical game in those genres. Eventually I think most even forget what the first game or designer was. Or a new popular game replace an older one as being remembered as the original (eg Civilization starting like another game in the Empire-genre, but now other games are seen as civ-games and Empire is almost forgotten).

BenMora
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This is all good advice and

This is all good advice and points of view! Thanks! I will definitely be seeing this project through to publication!

Shoe
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I have a very similar game

I have a very similar game that I have been working on a bit. I have done quite a bit of research and I haven't seen a published game that I would consider to be similar enough to make it not worth developing. It's really mechanics that decide if a game is too similar IMHO as opposed to theme. How many friggin dungeon crawl games are there floating around and successful!?

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