I Have A Board Game Idea – Now What? Part 45: 4 Sources of Inspiration for Game Designers

sources-of-inspiration-featured-image Welcome back! Can you believe that December is just around the corner? Where has the time gone?

Yesterday I was going through my email and came across a notification of a new post on one of the blogs I follow. The subject of the post was real-life mechanics and talked about taking real-life processes and turning them into board games. Reading this article got me thinking about other sources of inspiration that are available to game designers. For this week’s post I thought I would share 4 of the sources that I came up with.

Source 1: Personal experience and/or personal knowledge

Often our own lives and interests can be an excellent source of inspiration. My background in computer networking certainly has had an impact on The Hackers Guild and has helped me make it as realistic as possible. This past January, I met a designer at ProtoMN who volunteered for an organization that dealt with the reality of human trafficking and used his experiences to design a game on the subject. Inspiration can be all around us if we are willing to look for it.

Source 2: Other board games

Board games can be one of the most valuable sources of inspiration when you are designing a board game. Seeing how other designers implement different game mechanics can give you lots of different ideas for your own games. Another game could give you the solution to a problem in your game you are struggling with. This certainly was the case for The Hackers Guild, as its design has been influenced by other games such as Pandemic and Elder Sign, and I purchased Fuse so I could experience how the designers of that game approached a timed cooperative game.

Other games can also be a starting point for your own game. Start with an existing game, and then add on to its mechanics to come up with a unique, improved game. Even if you don’t fully develop the game, this can be an excellent exercise that helps improve your design skills.

Source 3: Existing Intellectual Properties

Existing intellectual properties can be another excellent source of inspiration. In the case of The Hackers Guild, Mr. Robot certainly was an inspiration for the underlying lore of the game, but also for the artwork itself. Existing IPs can also provide you with a framework to work in, with a lot of the bigger decisions already made. Some examples of IPs to consider could be books, comics, TV shows, and movies.

Source 4: Nature

One of the core parts of any great game is the introduction of some type of conflict for the players to resolve. Nature has a wide variety of built-in conflicts that can be used to build a game around.

So that is everything for this week. I would love to hear what you think about today’s article as well as about any additional sources of inspiration you may have found. Until next time, happy designing.

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