Thursday, 1 September 2016

Game Ideas

Okay, so thanks to going to the Halifax Gaming Co-op, which I didn't attend last night due to having a game scheduled via my Warhammer 40,000 league, and various other avenues to discuss games, I've had several ideas taking root in my mind. The first is a development of Rock-Scissors-Paper that I've shopped around and even written on Twitter. It's an interesting idea, but let's face it, people aren't interested in ideas, they're interested in products. So I'm starting to consider how I can make a product hinge on this idea. The second idea is a development of Snakes and Ladders, aka Chutes and Ladders.

This is one result of thinking about how to make widgets to sell to people under the premise that they're buying a game. Which is the interesting thing in that people don't buy games. They buy the stuff used to play a game, and so if you're not supporting your game by a subscription model, or perhaps via some sort of Patreon-style busking, then you're using that game to drive sales of a widget or set of widgets. I think it's probably best if you actually have several different games that can use your widgets, in order to broaden the market beyond people that might use that one thing in that one game. I also think that's why various people produce historical gaming miniatures despite there being more historical gaming lines than one can comfortably waggle a branch at, because anyone can produce a game and a line of miniatures for it, and people have existing lines of widgets with which to try out a game. The relation of games to widgets is certainly complex.

Anyhow, here's the notion of a card-driven trump-style game. Take Rock-Scissors-Paper. Players can play using cards. Two players both place cards face down on a gaming table, and then reveal them. Rock beats Scissors, Scissors beats Paper, and Paper beats Rock. Where you play multiple iterations, strategies develop from what someone has played before, and what they can be anticipated to play next. However, since the cards are returned to the player's hand, consisting of three cards, after every round, each player has the same set of choices each round. Furthermore, if both players play the same card, say Rock, it's a tie. There's all sorts of space to develop this notion of Rock-Scissors-Paper as a card game.

Firstly, imagine that instead of the players purely playing rounds of Rock-Scissors-Paper, instead they're using it to resolve conflicts in another game. Moreover, imagine that each unit or element in that game has its own hand of cards, and as that element plays its cards, to resolve conflicts involving the element, those cards are discarded rather than being recycled back into the player's hand. The element can also accrue new cards to its hand. The Rock, Scissors, and Paper cards in the deck also have numbers, so that Rock 2 beats Rock 1 rather than returning a tie. The game elements can come into conflict with one another, in which case they spend a card from their hands to see which element wins, or they can cooperate, in which case they accrue a card to their hand from the player's deck. This accrual itself can be affected by what the element has in its hand, such as requiring that it must try to have an equal ratio of Rock to Scissors to Paper, or that it cannot have Rock 2 without also having Rock 1, or simply no doubles.

Secondly, imagine that a Snake and Ladders board does not have the snake and ladder end-points fixed on the board. Players would have the ability to accrue a resource, or perhaps several resources depending on which end-point they want to affect, to move the end-point of a snake or ladder. The turn sequence, previously a matter of rolling the dice, moving a marker, and then moving the marker again if landing on the starting point of a snake or a ladder. In general Snakes and Ladders involves very little agency, and allowing players to affect the shape of the board via the snakes and the ladders. In fact, I'd be surprised if someone hasn't tried this already.

So some game ideas to put into my funnel to keep my head up and motivated as I head into the final lap of Titanomachia where I try to figure out how to get it produced. I'd love to go the Kickstarter route, but the problem with that is that if you have all of your ducks in a row then traditional funding means that there's to be fewer fans to piss off when it inevitably delivers over-budget, late, and not exactly as ordered. In fact I think I would use Kickstarter to drive development of an online store where the product could be bought or something similar rather than the actual product. But that raises the question of whether I want to try to produce this myself, which is tantamount to madness, or whether I want to try and shop this around various producers in the hope that they can do it justice because once it's sold I can't make it again (not mine!).

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