Game Idea a Day – Week 15

This week was mostly about board game ideas for me. I’ve still been thinking about that two-player abstract from last week pretty much every day, and I’m working on a prototype. I also missed my second day, again as I was traveling.

I was definitely influenced by some of the great Kickstarter projects that are happening right now. Looney Labs has finally launched Pyramid Arcade, the next iteration of their awesome pyramid game system. I’ve been intrigued by the pyramids since I first played Zendo over 10 years ago, and I’ve designed a few games for them over the years, including a few using a custom deck of pyramid themed cards that I conceived.

Also notable is the two (or 3) player abstract strategy game Santorini. Abstract Strategy doesn’t usually fare all that well on Kickstarter, but that project has a lot of things going for it. First thing is that the game has been around for a LONG time, like 30 years, I guess. Secondly, it’s sporting some fabulous new artwork and custom components. It’s already on the “wildly successful” end of the spectrum, I think.

Here are the game ideas from this week:

4/8 – I was at an indoor playground when I started thinking about games you could play in a ball pit. I sketched out a few ideas, but probably the most notable involves laying a blanket or a jacket on top of the balls, and everyone throwing balls onto that surface, with the aim of having the most of their color on the fabric at the end of some specified time period.

4/9 – Missed a day. :(

4/10 – Thinking about the name “RememberBall”, (and maybe also about the ball pit ideas), I sketched out some rules for a memory game you would play with plastic easter eggs.

4/11 – I had the idea somewhere after (or during) the writing of this post to make all the rest of the week’s games Pyramid games. So this one was a 2-player pyramid game with very specific movement rules dictated by the color the piece. It’s sort of a chess variant, I guess, since it takes place on a chess board, and red pieces move like rooks, green pieces move like bishops, and blue pieces jump like knights. The different size pieces dictate how far they can move, and that’s where the blue piece movement gets a little weird. You may stack your pieces to make a piece that moves like both pieces. Win condition right now is just capturing a set number of your opponent’s pieces. (From this description, you may wonder how you can tell your pieces from your opponent’s, and my idea for that was to have some custom bases that indicate which player’s pieces sit on each base.)

4/12 – I’ve done some thinking previously (over a year ago) about a pyramid simulator application. Something 3D, where you could play all the pyramid games in a sandbox, a bit like Tabletop Simulator. This brainstorm expanded on those ideas to make it a VR experience. I imagine being able to shrink myself to the size of an ant and walking around in a surreal landscape made of pyramids. It really would be fun to work on such a thing.

4/13 – Another abstract strategy pyramid game I’m calling Pyramid Piggyback. This actually went through a couple of iterations, and deserves some playtesting. In this one, the gameboard is made of different colored LARGE pyrmaids, and each player has two different colors (not used for the gameboard), but they only use the medium ones. You play your pieces with caps (SMALL pyramids) made of all the different colors. You can move in a direction only if there is a gameboard (LARGE) piece matching the piece’s cap color in that direction. You can spend a turn to add one of your medium pieces to the board, or a cap to any of your pieces, or swap around two large pieces. Capture an opponent’s piece to take their caps as victory points. The pool of caps is shared, and when it’s gone whoever has the most victory points wins.

4/14 – This entry is borderline abandoning the pyramid game constraint, and it was already the second video game in only 4 entries. So I’ve decided to abandon that constraint for future entries. Essentially it’s a lemmings and/or pikmin inspired swarming game… where all the little characters are looney pyramids. The anthropomorphized pyramids run around where you tell them to, stacking when you tell them to, and operating doors and switches based on their sizes and colors. In general, I would love to see some video games with the pyramids in them, I’m not sure if we ever will, given potential legal issues, sadly.