Every game starts as an idea, often vastly different from what the game looks and feels like once it goes through the design process. Some designers come up with a sweet mechanic and build around that, others claim their start is usually a theme that interests them. Most will agree, regardless of what comes first, their guide eventually becomes what they want players to experience. How do I want players to feel when they play the game?
Nucleostasis (which I called a working title, but it’s not really working for me, so I’m thinking I want to change it to ReGenesis, assuming it’s not already a thing) as with most of my designs, starts with theme. It’s a game about returning a nuclear winter to a livable environment. At this stage in the game, that’s all I know. (Cheery huh?)
Usually at this point, my brain is going much faster than I can note anything. I’m making arbitrary decisions knowing I may very well go back and change them, and I’m missing stuff. I don’t really worry about it too much, it will usually come back around. What I’m focused on in all the noise, are the signals about what I want, knowing full well some of it will get cut.
- I want the game to be hard!
- I want players to look at the beginning state of the game and wonder if it’s doable
- I want the tension of knowing they could lose, and the triumph if they win, or wanting to play again as soon as they are done.
- Visually I want the board to transform from devastation to beauty, and feel the same as the game state.
- I want the players to work together.
From here, I will build.
May you achieve in your game, to include the many things you want, AND have a great game,