Game Idea a Day – Week 5

Hard to believe we’re already 5 weeks into the year. For ease of finding these later, I added a category called Every Day to the blog and went back and re-categorized the old posts, so you can find them all in one place.

Last weekend was the Global Game Jam, and I’m surprised I haven’t written about the experience yet, but here’s the game I made with some friends over the weekend: Life is Hard.

1/29 – two ideas:
The idea was to come up with a “pool” building game (like a “deckbuilder” or “bag builder”) where the thing you are building would not normally be possible in a physical game. (Making it a digital-only affair.) The first thing that came to mind was to have the board be the thing you are building. I imagine it where you play a gameboard (or more than one) from your “hand”, then move your pawn on them to collect resources or victory points or something. Got into a few specifics, but it’s not probably an idea ready to think about building just yet. (Incidentally, I did propose something like this to my GGJ team, and it wasn’t as popular as the minigame idea that August came up with.)

The second entry on 1/29 was while I was writing up the previous week’s entries, and specifically the entry from 1/22. I did some more thinking about the opposite of Carcassonne, and how it could work to have tiles with goals or objectives on them (maybe in player colors), and also little wooden “walls” that you then place on the tile you play.

1/30 – Didn’t spend much time on this (since I was busy jamming), but I wrote up the only real idea I’d had for the GGJ theme of “Ritual”. Basically a game about the ritual of drug use, possibly a treatise on addiction.

1/31 – A combination of match-3 and “programming game” genres. Essentially you have a grid of gems (or whatever), and “program” some movement, then choose which tiles will make that movement. The more matches (sets of 3 or more) you can make with the same program, the higher your score for those matches.

2/1 – Another day with two entries this week, but both were pretty minimal entries (and likely influenced by my playing Realm Grinder in the background while I was working). Both also ended in “etc…”.

First was A collapse! variant with idle elements. Essentially you can upgrade the grid to make it grow, upgrade the number of colors, etc..

Second was another idle game idea where you start off as a barista just selling coffee, and end up owning everything on the planet earth, launching into space, populating other planets in the solar system, fighting intergalactic space aliens, etc..

2/2 – I had the idea to make a board game played on a computer keyboard. The game I ended up flushing out a bit was an abstract strategy game.

2/3 – Sometime last week I spent about an hour playing the new iOS game Open Bar!, which I would highly recommend. This Wednesday brainstorm I was thinking about its similarities (and differences) to Strata, a game made by my friends over at Graveck.

Similarities:
– lines must take up the whole width or height of the grid
– irregular grid shapes
– puzzles must be worked out backwards
– order is important
– both games have a fabulous aesthetic on top of a very simple puzzle
Differences:
– lines are put on the grid all at once, versus one square at a time
– simplicity of strata is only one row or column
– Open Bar is more about sliding hole puzzle, and/or placing one tile at a time

Then I came up with my own game idea that uses some similar mechanics. I then spent the rest of the day (and yesterday) prototyping it. I’ll post more about it if/when it gets farther along.

2/4 – I woke up from a dream where giant dice were chasing me. It was clear they were rolling, and when they touched me, the number facing me was how much damage I was taking. First dream that I can recall where I was actually inside a video game. The aesthetic was pretty similar to the cover of the Escape board game.

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