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10 methods to provide you with an excellent recreation concept (+2 bonus concepts)

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This text initially appeared on the Board Sport Design Course website about two and a half years in the past, and I’ve to say, my recommendation right here nonetheless stands up. Nonetheless, there’s at all times room to enhance, so I’ve added a number of extra notes, together with a few bonus concepts on the finish of the article. Get pleasure from!

Everybody loves a superb prime 10 listing, so I believed I might put collectively a listing of my 10 favourite (truly, 12 now!) methods to provide you with new board recreation concepts.

I’ve additionally talked about a few of these strategies in my first guide, The Board Sport Designer’s Information, however I am additionally going so as to add some new concepts right here.

1. Play a number of video games!

This would possibly seem to be an apparent step, however there are a number of recreation designers I’ve met who’ve performed only a few trendy board video games. In case your information of video games is restricted to Monopoly and Checkers, you will not have nearly as good an understanding of what kind of recreation will do properly in in the present day’s market.

However bear in mind: play all forms of video games. New ones, previous ones, good ones, dangerous ones. You may rapidly be taught many various mechanics and have the ability to acknowledge what works in a recreation and what does not.

Maybe there’s a particular a part of a recreation you actually take pleasure in. Perhaps you may increase this to make a recreation based mostly fully round this concept.

Or attempt mashing 2 of your favourite video games collectively and see what you provide you with!

2. Search for gaps out there

It may be useful to take a look at what video games at the moment exist and start to query what’s lacking.

What audiences or teams are being overlooked of the board recreation pastime? What group sizes or dynamics haven’t got a fantastic illustration of video games obtainable?

Is there a requirement for extra solo video games? Video games for teams of 10 or extra individuals? What about video games for youths with studying disabilities?

Attempt to assume outdoors the (recreation) field.

3. Have a look at different markets and industries

You too can get many concepts and be taught classes from different markets. You possibly can take a look at totally different leisure genres similar to video video games, music, and flicks for instance.

Video video games typically have save factors, energy meters, inventories, totally different problem ranges, and finish bosses. Many profitable video games spawn sequences.

DVD films have chapters, extras, and different options.

Maybe there are different industries we will be taught from and apply a few of their nice features to board video games.

4. See issues from a special perspective

Video games are additionally a fantastic alternative to permit gamers to tackle roles they usually would not dream of. Permit gamers to tackle the function of a villain or monster, as an alternative of the everyday knight in shining armor.

An awesome instance of that is Burgle Bros. It is a cooperative recreation the place all gamers tackle the function of thieves working collectively to rob a financial institution. This takes gamers out of actuality and right into a fantasy world the place they will act out in ways in which they’d by no means usually even think about in the true world. This may be actually thrilling and interesting to plenty of gamers.

5. Try recreation design contests

Hold your eyes open for board recreation design contests. You may sometimes see publishers or board recreation web sites announce contests for particular forms of video games. Perhaps one in every of these will actually converse to you and you will resolve to design a recreation and compete within the contest. This may increasingly get your recreation plenty of consideration, or probably even get your recreation printed!

I used to be impressed by a podcast with Jason Tagmire, who runs Button Shy Video games, to create my first 18-card recreation. He solely publishes video games of this measurement and typically runs contests. Whereas I did not find yourself submitting the sport I created to this contest, I did submit it to a different contest, and a writer who judged the sport took plenty of curiosity within the recreation and we’re at the moment understanding a contract. So, it was properly definitely worth the small entrance payment.

Should you’re searching for a listing of present recreation design contests, try

6. Search for inspiration wherever you might be

Concepts can come from anyplace. You need to be able to pluck them from the air wherever you discover them.

Whereas board video games are sometimes performed indoors, you might discover plenty of fascinating concepts ready for you outdoors, in nature. Animals interacting with one another; the way in which a tree blows within the wind; or anything you may think about.

You may’t simply sit by your pc or recreation desk and anticipate nice concepts to hurry to you. You need to get out and stroll round. Do one thing totally different. What do you discover? Speak to others, discover individuals’s conversations, and discover the world round you. Be open to any strategies that come to thoughts.

7. Brainstorm

There are many brainstorming methods that you need to use to provide you with a number of concepts.

Listed here are a number of you may attempt:

  • Write down all the pieces you may consider
  • Write down every letter of the alphabet and provide you with an concept for every letter
  • Consider the worst attainable board recreation concepts you may consider. Now flip this and see if any concepts reverse to those would possibly work.

Simply keep in mind that in the case of brainstorming, write down all the pieces. There are not any dangerous concepts. Even the craziest concept can result in one thing fascinating.

8. “That might be a recreation”

Typically once I’m speaking to another person, they are going to say one thing and I will remark “that might be a recreation”.

Nearly any concept would possibly make an inexpensive recreation idea.

I jot down these concepts at any time when I’ve them. Whereas lots of them won’t ever see the sunshine of day, I may come again to the odd one which later develops into one thing particular.

9. Use a board recreation concept randomizer

If all else fails and you actually cannot provide you with an concept, right here is the quickest manner I do know.

Try, the board recreation design concept generator.

It provides you with strategies for mechanics, theme, victory situation, and constraints.

Don’t love the concept it generated? Simply click on the button to get a brand new set of concepts!

Should you’re a part of the Board Sport Design Lab’s BGDL+ group, there’s a related randomizer obtainable inside as properly.

10. Cease fascinated about board video games!

What? I do know this goes fully towards all my different strategies above.

However typically, simply taking a break from what you are doing and never fascinated about it for some time will permit your mind to chill out and never be below the strain to carry out.

This will result in options for issues you’ve got recognized in your current video games in addition to concepts for brand spanking new video games.


I’ve thought of a pair extra concepts and added them the unique listing right here…

11. Be taught Extra Mechanics

Learn Geoff Engelstein and Isaac Shalev’s glorious guide, Constructing Blocks of Tabletop Sport Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms. It is a very complete information to recreation mechanics, breaking them down into varieties and subtypes, and consists of examples of video games by which they’re used.

I learn this guide from cowl to cowl and had a number of nice recreation concepts come from this. I do know that much more will evolve the subsequent time I leaf by means of it.

12. What If?

Suppose “what if?” What if Earth had no gravity. What if our legs had been the place our arms are and vice-versa? What if we had been the pets and animals dominated the world?

Consider your individual “what ifs.” What in case you turned one in every of these eventualities right into a recreation? What would that appear like?

That is one other nice solution to actually assume outdoors the field.

When and the place do you provide you with your finest board recreation concepts? What are your favourite methods to provide you with concepts?

What’s Subsequent?

Now that you’ve got an superior recreation concept, it is time to make it a actuality. The perfect and quickest manner I’ve discovered to do that is to develop the imaginative and prescient on your recreation so that you just at all times have one thing to look again on to maintain you on observe, because it’s very easy to veer off track with all of the suggestions and strategies you obtain.

So, if you wish to improve your possibilities of seeing your recreation by means of to completion, try my free 10 Minute Board Sport Design Blueprint.

It is going to get you began quick and maintain you on observe. By downloading the blueprint, you will additionally obtain my free weekly articles, full of methods and tricks to make your video games extra superior.


Joe Slack