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Long time gamer, first time forum-er

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facecheekwall's picture
Joined: 04/11/2014

Hey everybody. I'm Jonathan and I'm finally getting serious about my board game ideas.

I studied Comp Sci and Mathematics in undergrad, and I've done a lot of web development since graduation. I was also a high school teacher for a few years.

I am a competitive person, who enjoys logical thinking. I always appreciate clean design (especially regarding web sites). I'm also pretty social. For all these reasons, and more, I am obsessed with board games.

I very much love math, and I'm just starting a book on Game Theory. Would reading such a book help bring ideas or balance to my future game ideas?

I currently have two games ideas that I'm working on, that I'll describe briefly:

GAME IDEA #1 (more developed)

  • Board game is a city grid with different buildings.
  • Players control a team of delivery bicycles.
  • At the start of a turn, players decide how many dice to roll with, and how many dice to trash for more delivery mission cards.
  • Each bike has special abilities.
  • Successful deliveries earn bonus cards that can: improve bicycles, steal packages, swap cards, move traffic in the city to block others.

GAME IDEA #2 (less developed)

  • Worker placement style game.
  • Players each start as a type of small animal, in a particular region on the map.
  • These animals can be used to: reproduce more animals, move to other regions, influence predators, etc.
  • After a few rounds, a certain number of region tokens are pulled from the "predator influence bag".
  • Those regions are wiped out!
  • Rounds continue like so.

My biggest hang-up right now is deciding Game End. Well, my other hang-up is motivation, but that's been improving!

I'm going to be visiting this site daily for inspiration, and receiving/giving help. Very pumped.

Joined: 08/28/2012

Welcome to the forum!

Personally, I have not read any physical books on game theory or game design, so have no idea how useful it may or may not be. I do consume a huge amount of content from the web though, blogs, pod casts, articles, reviews, and encyclopedic overviews of topics. There's a lot out there, providing a lot of different perspectives on games and game design.

Nick Taylor
Joined: 03/31/2014

I like the sound of Game Idea #1...that could be very interesting.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Bikes & Predators

Hey Jonathan! Welcome to the forum.

Your game ideas had me thinking. I'm a huge fan of bicycling (daily commuter by bike to the day job) and I'd love to see more games featuring these fantastic machines.

As for the end of your predator game: why not have it be when the bag of predator tokens is exhausted? This would ensure that all the regions have a "visit" and it also lets players know which regions remain to be visited in the rest of the game.

In any case, best of success on your designs! :)

facecheekwall's picture
Joined: 04/11/2014

I know some people say that you should completely design the mechanics, ignoring theme until later. I can't help but think of theme along the way. Obviously there is no single correct way to game design.

All that being said, let-off and Nick, I totally would love to see bicycles used in more themes! Which is half the reason I'm into this game idea.

Joined: 04/30/2013
as long as you are fine with

as long as you are fine with the idea of paper-prototyping, and just jumping in to test your idea out, should be fine

Joined: 02/03/2009
Mechanics and theme

The synergy between mechanics and theme are key facecheekwall. Those two things not only inform each other but also help your players intuitively figure out how to play your game. Try to get both down right otherwise you'll get a soulless design with an obvious disconnect for players and a lot of confusion. Because of your theme for Game idea #2 for example I'm already thinking that your end game should be the arrival of winter. Because the theme lends itself to it you could split an entire game into seasons with thematic effects for each one. Thematically the player who has the highest, most distributed, or healthiest population has the best chance of surviving winter and therefore wins.

I'd even go so far as to suggest either random regional effects or player controlled negative/bonus cards. What levels of random or take that is up to you and will change the tone of the game of course. Nature can be cruel.

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