I've got a little list...

I said that one of my resolutions for this year was to develop four ideas from my "game hooks" list into playable games and that I would post the list.  Well, here is that post.
Grabbed from openclipart.org

My hooks list is a file of a bunch of ideas that I think of at various times and remember to make a note of.  They aren't necessarily original ideas, but they are something that I think might be a decent thing to try out at some time.  Similarly, they vary dramatically in scope and detail, but they are what they are.

Actually, now I look back at the list in a different format, it doesn't really look very long.  I know I have had many more ideas than this, so I should probably make more effort to write things down.  I also need to do something about the ideas -- but that is what this resolution is about.

Anyway, enough rambling.  Here's my current list, as it stands today...
  • A fantasy adventure (like Talisman, Runebound, etc.) with little or no downtime. 
  • Players are on secret teams and have to figure out who their teammates are. 
  • Three cards each: all players simultaneously play one, pass one left, pass one right, then draw one.
  • Or slightly different: put one into a stock for the end game, put one into another other player's stock, and play one now. 
  • During play, one player can request a boost and, if other players agree, can take a special ability, XP boost, money boost, or whatever, but the other players all gain a VP boost if they allow it. 
  • Cooperative game where at the start of each round the players agree turn order. Or possibly there is a "captain" role, who assigns turn order. 
  • You spend a resource to buy stuff to enhance your position, but that resource is also your "life", so run out and you're gone. (A bit like pool in V:TES.) 
  • One player (maybe more) has a victory condition (possibly hidden) related to attacking the first other player to attack him.
  • Game with just a few tiles or cards, with different colours and paths/patterns on each side.  Players take it in turns to flip cards (can put back any way around, or maybe choose axis to flip over) trying  to complete their own pattern.
  • Use "Mastermind" style guessing/logic mechanic in a more themed game.
  • More than one player taking a turn at the same time.  (Check out http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/14812/camelot)
  • Auctions based on Loot tricks... several things to acquire, each player bids (or adds to a bid) on a set number each turn (maybe just one bid), and wins the auction on anything that they are ahead on at the start of their turn.  
  • Dungeon crawl (or similar) based on stealth.  Actions create noise. Noise above a certain level attracts attention, which is bad.
  • Tower defence/assault game where you acquire (maybe 2-sided) tiles which can either be used to build up/defend your castle or as attackers to assault your opponents.  I'm picturing queues of attacker tiles on each side of a castle.
  • A game that requires no table - all play is cards in hand (see Top Trumps or Oddball Aeronauts).
  • Dutch auction variation.  Resources sit on a price track.  Each player, on their turn, buys one resource at its current value, moves 2 (probably) resources one space down the track, and adds one resource to the top.  (Maybe attach this to purchase of Splendor-style cards or something like that?)
  • Something like Left-Centre-Right, but with some sort of tactical decision to make.
  • Something like LCR, where instead of passing chips you pass the dice themselves.  (Can this have some skill element?)
  • A game with player elimination, but where the first elimination triggers the endgame (maybe one last round?).  Possibly with eliminated player taking a new role for endgame?
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors liar's dice.
  • Queueing worker placement.  Place workers at the back of a queue in a production spot, then when enough workers are in the queue, the one at the front can be popped off to complete the action.  (Maybe also allow "neutral" workers to be placed in order to stop workers getting completely stuck.)
  • Diplomacy plus Dune/Rex style (temporarily) binding alliances.
  • Dexterity + area control/majority...  Flicking, catapulting or dropping counters onto a map and scoring areas at times. (El Grande + tiddlywinks?)
  • Base something on Cribbage
  • Combat: make combat dice rolls in secret (in cup or behind a screen) then alternate with opponent adding or removing troops before resolution.
  • Musical chairs (but not Midnight Party clone).
  • War/conquest game, where you declare your objectives ahead of a number of turns ahead of invading; the value of a region to you is related to how far ahead you made the declaration.
As you can see, this list is very much a "note to self" sort of thing, and I haven't elaborated on the items so they make more sense to anyone else.  

I am sure I will be extending the list as we go along, but I will do my best to create my four games from this list as it currently stands.


Back on the horse

It has been far too long since my last post.  Other factors (not least of which laziness) have got in the way.  I have not been completely idle from a game design perspective, though.

Much of the time I have spent on game design has been tinkering with possible games to pitch to A Chap I Know who publishes games and let me know that he is open to pitches for an IP he has.  I don't feel able to discuss this further at the moment, but I have worked through three designs so far...
  • One looks the most promising at first glance and uses a similar card-following mechanism to Sherlock Holmes: The Card Game, with different objectives and scoring, but I hit a bit of a wall with marrying this to the IP in a way that I am happy with.  I'll get back to this later, because I'd really like to see this game happen, even if it ends up being re-themed.
  • I also tried a hidden role/deduction game, which was massively flawed in playtest: the biggest problem in my view was that it requires an absolute minimum of 6 or 7 players to work, and I think this would kill it for its intended use even though the other flaws (which were basically down to many player turns feeling dull or pointless) are certainly fixable.  I've shelved this for the foreseeable future.
  • The current project probably counts as a microgame (I've been testing it with an 18 card deck, though it'll need more), and basically involves each player playing a small number of cards (about 4), which affect the game balance between good guys and bad guys, and scoring at the end of each round depends on which side is dominant and what cards each player has in front of her.  Initial tests on this have been promising, though it'll be a long path of streamlining and balancing.
Apologies for being a bit cryptic about all these projects.  I may well re-theme the last game for testing and public discussion, which is probably a good idea overall for two major reasons.  Firstly, if the game isn't picked up in its intended form (and, frankly, that is the most likely outcome), it would be nice to be able to complete it and distribute it.  And secondly, I want the game to work well on its own merit, even without any connection to a licensed property.

Other than that, I *nearly* took part in a games design competition on Board Game Geek.  I had the necessary ideas and had started writing stuff down, but then got distracted, so I am a bit disappointed in myself.  An objective for this year is to actually take part in at least one of these as they are a great incentive to complete something and put it out there for scrutiny.  There is a monthly 24-hour competition which I think would be fun to join, even if I don't do any others.

I'm not generally one for New Year's Resolutions, but I'll make an exception for the purposes of this blog...
  1. I will be more consistent with this blog.  I would like to post on a weekly basis, but being more realistic, I will consider this a fail if there aren't at least two posts each month.
  2. I will take part in at least one game design competition, probably one on BGG.
  3. Create 4 playable games from my "game hooks" list and make them available online (I'll post this list shortly).
Right then, we'll see how I do this time next year...