Almost a year ago, in November of 2014, I presented a piece entitled “Steal this Game Idea!” which became one of our most popular articles on the League of Gamemakers, receiving over 100 reader comments. The piece was simple, a list of ten game ideas, a few simple rules, and a requirement that readers had to give a little back – by posting their own game idea.

Now I present to you another round of Steal this Game Idea! This time, things will be very similar, except: some of the game ideas presented below were selected from reader submissions!

The Rules:

1) If you read this piece, you have to give back

– by posting at least one game design idea below in the comments. Your idea can be short and sweet, or fleshed-out with details.

2) Don’t tear down the ideas shared by other people.

You may think that an idea presented might be mundane or boring, or that it’s been done a hundred times before, but to someone else, that same idea may be an inspiration.

3) Keep us Posted!

If you manage to build something interesting from an idea you find here, make sure to keep us posted on how it progresses! (and if you built a game that was inspired by last year’s post – let us know with a comment below!)

Ideas for New Game Designs

  • 1) Group Worker Placement -provided by Seth Jaffee.
    “The basic idea is that you place workers in different locations, and then when it comes time to resolve each location, you zoom in and it’s another worker placement game. -So you have workers that are essentially groups, and you assign 1 group at a time to the areas, and upon resolution of that area, you reassign the members of that group to the worker spaces in that area.”
  • 2) Philanthropy -provided by Dave Armstrong.
    “A worker placement game where each player gives from the bounty of their game engine. The more you give, the better your engine. There are 4 scoring rounds in which the players must have the least resources on hand. Playing bonus cards to augment worker placement actions, a player can ‘gift’ resources just before a scoring round. E.G. blue player plays a CEO bonus card on the red player giving them a new car. Combining cards with worker placement more efficiently and at exactly the right time allows you to reduce your holdings for scoring. Lowest score wins.”
  • 3) Semi-Cooperative Building Game – provided by Nat Levan
    “A party/euro game, where every player generates resources, and you have to work together to create enough to build something. Players can choose to contribute or not, depending on whether the buildings being constructed support their private goals.”
  • 4) Real-time Resource Game – provided by Scot Eaton.
    “A real-time, turn-based game where you gain resources or currency based on the amount of time you waited for others to take their turns. The original idea was for an electric generator powering you up for waiting. Then, on your turn, you make your decisions as fast as you can, knowing that every second you spend making decisions is another dollar in your opponent’s pocket.”
  • 5) Hybrid Game – provided by Luke Laurie.
    “Pull three games from your shelf and take out the components. Combine the components and build something that works.”
  • 6) Unknown Identity -provided by Jamey Stegmaier.
    “A large-group secret identity game where the only identity you don’t know is your own.”
  • 7) Card Drafting-Building -provided by Royce Banuelos.
    “A card building game where you can pay for cards that you will physically use to build a structure. Very open ended on how the structure will turn out. You’ll bid for cards and plastic connector pieces, each player will have a secret scoring bonus like Troyes.”
  • 8) Open Source Board Game -provided by Jeff Cornelius.
    “A game designed by the community and anyone who desires to contribute to it. Similar to how Linux and Wikipedia are done. It would have a core group of designers who would act as “gateways” but everything that is submitted is evaluated by the user community and if it gets enough backing it is incorporated into the game. The game is ever changing. It would have to exist as PnP for the most part or possibly print on demand. You could “publish” for retail certain major versions of the game as you went along.”
  • 9) Amnesia/Hangover -provided by Seratonin.
    “My idea is a game based on mass amnesia, the TV version, not how it works in real life. Or maybe a “Hangover” scenario. Players are all working to figure out who they are or maybe what they’ve done.”
  • 10) Wormhole tile-laying Game -provided by Daniel Zayas.
    “Some sort of Wormhole tile-laying game (Interstellar much?) where players compete for solutions to earth’s problems using technologies on other worlds discovered through an almost Tsuro/Saboteur web of wormhole tiles with openings to other worlds. Something like finding artifacts in Forbidden Island/Desert and pick up and delivery to Earth for points. Simultaneous action selection like in RFTG, to be observe (flip tile), explore (movement), investigate (draw card from world) and event (playing card). Certain cards could only be played on certain tiles. I’d be happy to join any design team to make that a reality.”

    Now it’s your turn to give back:
    Leave a game design idea in the comments below!

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    Luke Laurie

    Game Designer at Luke Laurie Games

    Designer of Stones of Fate and The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire
    Game designer by night, and middle school science and pre-engineering teacher by day. He lives in Santa Maria California with his amazing wife and two unrealistically well-behaved children.

116 Readers Commented

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  1. Eric @ Devious Devices on October 26, 2015

    Real-time resource game. Wow, that’s a fun one to think about! While some electronic component would be the obvious choice here, the idea does spur some thought… How about a variable action game where you start with say, two Standard Action tokens per turn. You can take and number of actions per turn, but for each action you take that you do not spend an Action token, the next player will get a Bonus Action token. That player could then spend their Standard two and up to as many Bonus tokens as they had, without having to give the next player any Bonus Actions of their own. The board/mechanics would need to be designed in a way that returns are diminished for actions beyond your second or that you quickly end up blocking yourself, but it would definitely be an interesting take on turns! Anyone know if something like this already exists?

    • Eric Wakeman on October 26, 2015

      I liked that idea too – was more thinking an egg timer that every time it finished all the other players get a resource, then it flips to go again

      • robmacleod on October 26, 2015

        Or a game where each move you make requires giving up some kind of points to the other players, so you can do something that benefits you, but in the process is fueling your competition.

        • Derik @ Lagniappe on October 28, 2015

          I have been enamored with this idea of paying opponents in order to advance for a few years now. I REALLY want to see a game do this well (since I can’t get my head wrapped far enough around it to build it myself).

    • David Van Uffelen on November 17, 2015

      What about giving each player a timer? Each player has it’s own timer that counts down. If your alarm goes off during another player’s turn, you get a victory point.
      During your turn, you can play a card to influence your own time or the time of another player. Playing a card requires to wait a certain amount of seconds. This time is recorded on a separate timer. When you end your turn, you hit the reset button of the timer and pass it on to the next player.

    • Jared on August 8, 2017

      I was thinking players have their phones out with the timers going. When a player starts their turn they pause their timer, when they end their turn they start their timer again. So as long as they aren’t playing their turn they are focused on watching the timer to grab their resources at the proper intervals. This allows them to focus on what they are going to do on their next turn only so much as their attention is divided. If they start missing the cues (every 5 or 10 seconds) it could add up quick and be too hard to do the math to get the right amount of resources. Or make it a rule that if you miss your cue within a 2 second window you don’t get the resource.

      I like the idea of gaining resources to spend on your turn for time spent waiting more than the idea of getting free VPs for time spent waiting.

  2. Tor I. Wilhelmsen on October 26, 2015

    Action selection using a “grid” of spaces, actions are on the arrows connecting the spaces. Players take an action by moving their pawn on the board, two or more actions if you jump over other players’ pawns. Size of grid varies with the number of players.

  3. MartinBrandt on October 26, 2015

    You are a firefighter on a colony spaceship where a massive fire has broken out. You have to try and control the fire as it spreads, move people (workers), and use airlocks to cut off supply to the fire.

  4. Giovanni Bertaiola on October 26, 2015

    Sort of medieval-themed Agricola, with a strong theme about the rise of feudalism.As a landlord you first need to extend your domain authority at the expense of free farmers and such, then convert it to a sort of ‘land rent’ (called ‘mezzadria’ in medieval Italy) to farmers in order to make more money and afford new luxury goods (VPs). You can’t convert it too much or you’ll lose authority.
    Well, not a really full-fleshed idea, needs work.

    • Eric Spain on January 19, 2016

      I like this one. It would be hard to design though. I can imagine another facet: too many farmers pushed off their lands and you won’t have enough food to feed the people, and perhaps face a revolt.

  5. Jeff Smith on October 26, 2015

    I’m working on one with hidden identity combined with piece movement… Players select their moves on a generic card, then shuffle and redistribute. Each moves the piece dealt.
    Occasionally a player can make a guess as to another player’s piece, which can lead to player elimination.

    • Dan Purdy on October 26, 2015

      Jeff, I’ve been toying with a similar idea: instead of revealing direct knowledge about a player’s team, the concept is to have that slowly filter out through their actions. Specifically, how they manipulate secret, warring factions of characters on the board. Both the players and the characters have hidden allegiances. The concept is currently saboteurs on a ship with the players manipulating the crew to accomplish and block repairs.

      • Derik @ Lagniappe on October 28, 2015

        They both sound like interesting concepts. An AI driven game faction (the waring groups in your example specifically) would give players something to act against and a way to sort of mask their inebriated for a little while. Either way, I hope you guys go somewhere with thsee games 😀

  6. Peter C. Hayward on October 26, 2015

    “The Thing” as a party game – you have 2 (or more) rooms of people, and when someone comes back from another room you have absolutely no idea if you can still trust them, or if they’ve been infected.

  7. Dominic on October 26, 2015

    How about a transportation management game where you have to take a failing system and make it actually function? You’d need a couple of different scenarios, probably card driven, with events and issues for that particular city’s issues. Mechanisms could utilize something like Empire Builder where you draw right on the board.

  8. Rob Harper on October 26, 2015

    Worker placement + balancing.  Workers (preferably of uneven shapes) get put onto spots and can be balanced on top of those already there.  If you knock over (any of) the pile, everyone gets their workers back from that pile.

  9. Eric Wakeman on October 26, 2015

    One idea I have had on the backburner was to have the legacy element from an RPG but bring it to a board game – so each player starts with what they ended the last game with, but balance it so that there is no advantage to this – maybe by allowing people to exploit the pool brought by other players

  10. Shane Eversoll on October 26, 2015

    How about a worker placement where people start off being able to choose the actions their workers take as normal. Where these workers physically are placed may increase a meter which when maxed out , requires the player to now take a random action when placing one or more workers. I always thought this could represent animosity somehow.

  11. Al Caynes on October 26, 2015

    A dungeon/fantasy game that is a 3 in one.

    1: You can play it as a dungeon crawler via a monsters deck where you earn gold, you can camp and keep the gold after a monster and pass your turn or push on, if you die, you keep 50% of gold collected that turn.

    2: A bluffing game where you go around betting money from each player and have to defeat monsters equal to the total gold bet. So you can stop it when you reach an amount greater than one. If you fail, all gold is distributed among the remaining party.

    3: everyone works together to try and defeat all monsters in a co-op mode. Monster stats are increased by one for each player.

    2-4 players.

    • Derik @ Lagniappe on October 28, 2015

      This actually sounds pretty cool – like a 1-up system. “I bet I could bet 5 monsters.” “Oh yeah, I bet I could beat 7!” “I’ll take that bet!”
      I would totally play that.

  12. Richard Gibbs on October 26, 2015

    A legacy deck builder. Add or change cards from play to play.

  13. Paul Imboden on October 26, 2015

    4X game, based on rebuilding civilization after the world ends. Amazing technology resources up-front… but you need food and shelter for long-term growth more than the killer mech robots that everybody has.

    • Test on July 14, 2016

      I can see the title already: “Mechs Into Plowshares.”

  14. Steven Davis on October 26, 2015

    Take it outside. Change the physical scale and rules of your game so if can take advantage of being played outside.

  15. Steven Davis on October 26, 2015

    Physics phun. There have been a couple of games that have used light, there are dexterity games, there is Operation, … How about other ideas for games for adults with strategy using science.

    Extra points for biology or chemistry.

  16. Joe DeMarco on October 26, 2015

    I’m awaiting someone to create a Babylon 5 Armada style game. Basically the Star Wars Armada game, but with Babylon 5 as the universe. Originally I thought the Attack Wing would work fun for this game, but with Babylon 5 having capital ships, and not too many factions with fighters, the Star Wars Armada game covers that quite well. Could be a lot of fun, for a series that is due for revival. The same goes for a Battlestar Galactica Armada game as well. The nice thing with the Battlestar Galactica is it would be short run, as there are limited factions.

  17. Alex Totec on October 26, 2015

    A a multiplayer table-top competitive game with a tablet-app at the center of the table as a tool to determine random events that alter the game mechanics.

  18. Adam Blinkinsop on October 26, 2015

    Several concepts I’ve been saving for #UntestedThursday:

    1. Council, a co-op civilization drafting game: After each hand of drafting, the cards you don’t pick end up becoming the threats you face.

    2. Poison, a bluffing + ladder-climbing (think BS x Tichu) game. The trick starts face-up, but players may play to the trick face-down and just call out what they’re playing. If someone plays face-down, the next player (only!) may call their bluff or continue the trick. (Penalty is probably score-based, instead of card-based, but I haven’t tried it yet.)

    3. Wizard’s Tower, a multiplayer tactics game with a changing map. Each player has a pawn on the map, and there is a large cylinder (the Tower) in the middle. Your goal is to hold the tower for a number of turns. There’s also several sources of magical energy: new dice get pulled out of a bag, rolled, and placed each turn. The die’s color determines its element. Players may move (and collect all dice on their target location), draw cards (with spells and abilities), or roll and spend their dice to use a card.

    If you build any of these, let me know! I’d love to play them. 🙂

    • Marc S on October 26, 2015

      I love the idea of Council. I’ve been trying to figure out for a semi-cooperative artificial-intelligence-building micro game where the cards that are not drafted create the artificial intelligence that the players will fight using the cards in their hands that they drafted.

      • Adam Blinkinsop on October 26, 2015

        Yeah, in this case the cards would show the threat looming on the horizon, and it’d be based on the lack of the card’s main benefit. For example, if you leave a food card on the table, the peasants revolt. If you leave a military card, someone invades, etc.

        For your AI game, cards could be actions at a cost. Then the AI could take their actions for free, which feels like a nice balance. You’d want a massive swing of costs (with ramped effects), so players don’t want to take the expensive actions (for fear of wasting space in their hand/deck) but also do (for fear of giving them to the AI).

        Hm. Got a theme for it?

        • robmacleod on October 27, 2015

          This idea is genius and I would love to see if followed through on.

          • Adam Blinkinsop on October 28, 2015

            Thank you! Which one? I’ve been thinking about prototyping Council with a Decktet.

        • Marc S on October 28, 2015

          The theme I was thinking was actually engineers, scientists, programmers, and doctors building an artificially intelligent robot which becomes sentient. Depending on the cards used to construct it, it would either be “good” or “evil” and have a mixture of characteristics and abilities it would use to achieve a “good” or “evil” outcome. I was planning for the players to have a specific agenda depending on the cards they keep, aligning them with either the “good” or “evil” robot. And, of course, their choices also create the hand of cards they have to affect the success or failure of the robot. So in the end it’s a team game where the sides of the teams were chosen by the players organically through decisions they make about which cards to keep and which cards to give up, and then a bit of strategy to figure out how to best use the cards they selected.

          • Adam Blinkinsop on October 28, 2015

            Ah, cool — player-selected hidden role is an interesting dynamic.

            You could make it a massive mech, so it’s the thing actually acting from turn to turn. Players bid on the opportunity to control it, and can choose how the robot takes its next move. After the draft, you’d shuffle the remaining cards and lay them out in a line (because the robot is programmed). Players could use their cards to bid over control of each action somehow.


          • Derik @ Lagniappe on October 28, 2015

            This is spectacular! The player’s alignment being stenographer by the cards they choose and the robot’s by the cards left over is crazy clever. In conjunction with Mr. Blinkinsop’s response, this solved a fundamental problem I was having with a design where I wanted exactly that – players of different alignment would draft a serious of tasks (for the board) and then bid to change the order to best fit their needs. Fantastic thinking, guys!

  19. Frank on October 26, 2015

    Call it deduction/trator basic idea,is reverse clue where you have to plt to kill “Mr.Body without snyone cluing in to your plan

    • Jacob Kopczynski on October 26, 2015

      Have you heard of Kill Doctor Lucky?

      • Frank on October 26, 2015

        Literally only just yesterday but i know nothing about it beyond the name and a very generic description

        • Tor I. Wilhelmsen on November 15, 2015

          There is also “10′ to Kill” where each player is an assassin, but only you know who you and your targets are. The other players can try to deduce who you are based on whom/how you kill, because killing a rival scores the most points. However, killing innocent bystanders nets you negative points, whereas killing someone else’s target denies them a point. Very clever and quick-playing.

  20. robmacleod on October 26, 2015

    Group Worker Placement idea of zooming in is cool. I like the idea that once zoomed in you are on a grid board and can place the number of troops you have there (thinking risk) on the grid and kind of like an 80s nintendo game you roll dice and move and attack.

    • Test on July 14, 2016

      I’m personally curious how zooming in would work regarding game materials. Would there be a separate board for each zoomed in area? Never seen the idea in a game before!

  21. Jacob Kopczynski on October 26, 2015

    A deck-building type game with a Labyrinth-like board, where cards can only be bought at certain locations. Best variation I’ve had so far uses “hand-building”; bought cards go to the discard, everything goes to your hand on a reshuffle, reshuffle doesn’t happen until your hand is empty.

    • Eric Spain on January 19, 2016

      I like that idea! Deck/hand thinning would be even more important in this case, if there was a limit to how many cards per round you could play. There wouldn’t really be a reshuffle either, as you’d just be picking up your entire discard.

      I was thinking about a game where you start off with a lot of resources(cards), and as you played multiple rounds you would have less and less choice. So blow the good cards early, or hang onto them.

      Thinking more about this game, It could work where everyone plays cards facedown at the same time, then they are resolved when turned face up. Then the players compete among themselves. So going big could hurt, because you lose resources that you could later use to buy cards.

      This is interesting. I’m going to write down some design for it.

  22. Andy Grossberg on October 26, 2015

    Altruism: A worker placement game where you move and act with the other players’ pieces but the game winner is the one who ends in the worst position or the farthest back on the scoring track.

  23. Deepak . M on October 26, 2015

    Wow so many cool ideas to inspire from, i like to do an open story world which, all board gamers can make games on, genre can be steam punk, sci fi. The world will have a very detailed rule, detailed character arcs and all, each game designer can make any kind of game they want with in the world maybe a party game, a co op, or even a spin-off of a characters story and we can cross over, games characters to make mixed board game like marvel cinematic universe.

  24. Caoc Ocampo on October 26, 2015

    I have the idea of make a time loop game with some deck building mecánics. The board is divided in four circles the smallest represent seconds and the largest minutes. The goal is scape the time loop uisng cards from your hand as time. There will be four types of cards each one representing a time measure (Days, Hours, Minutes and Seconds). The players begins the game in the seconds área an try to escape to the other areas until he can reach normal time.

  25. Jon Perry on October 26, 2015

    Evolution Negotiation Game – You are a creature trying to survive various disasters and you have a hand of gene cards that determine your ability to survive. You can “mate” with other people at the table by mixing up your gene cards with theirs, hopefully improving your hand in the process. People can lie about the genetic traits they have.

    • Ben Moy on October 27, 2015

      I had a similar idea with some friends, Jon! We were also imagining a timeline of sorts to see how the creature would survive through the ages, e.g. prehistoric, medieval, modern, and apocalyptic. Great!

    • Jim McCollum on April 21, 2016

      This is a cool idea, going to try something similar.

  26. Mikael on October 26, 2015

    Evolving Dice Game, A game where you start with a set of basic dice. As you play the game you get to “upgrade” and develop each face of your dice to do specific things.

    Example: you customize your dice cheaply to constantly roll the number 1 maximizing your strategy that capitalizes on ending the game quickly and scoring before the player that developed their dice that roll 6’s.

  27. Captain Slinky on October 26, 2015

    Scavenger Hunt Card Game. The object is to find an item in your home that will, once modified, be worth more “Points” than anyone else’s object. Components are: a small food scale that can weigh up to ten pounds, a two-minute timer, and a deck of 60 Modifier Cards. Game starts with each person drawing 10 cards from the deck of cards, then discarding down to 7 cards. Modifiers will be either Positive or Negative with conditions; “If your item is edible, minus 4 points”, “if your item is the heaviest item at the table, plus 10 points”, “All wooden items at the table are worth an additional 3 points”, so on and so forth. Once you have discarded down to 7 cards, you then take *two* of your remaining cards and give them to any combination of other players (one to each of two players, or two to one player). As soon as the cards are exchanged, the timer gets flipped and everyone has two minutes to find an item and get it back to the table. Person with the highest amount of points wins the round! Play till you’re sick of the game.

  28. Lucas Gerlach on October 26, 2015

    An idea inspired by Diamond Dogs, a story by Alastair Reynolds. Players attempt to overcome a number of challenges. Failing a challenge results in some sort of penalty which can be overcome by receiving cybernetic augmentations granting specific bonuses. Going too far with cybernetic enhancements, however, results in never being able to return to human form. Players lose by passing the cybernetic threshold or perhaps by failing too many challenges. Players win by successfully solving a set number of challenges while still being able to return to their human form. This would have an element of push-your-luck and puzzle-solving, as well as other mechanics (perhaps dexterity.) It could be cooperative, semi-cooperative, or competitive.

  29. Jarett Melville on October 26, 2015

    Gone Too Soon – Each player has a board; a timeline of a famous persons life. Along the timeline are important milestones to that person, the last being their untimely demise (Jimmy Hendrix, James Dean). Players balance creating new timelines and hitting milestones on the original. Last player to not reach their character’s fatal misstep wins.

  30. Pat Marino on October 26, 2015

    First – Seth’s worker placement concept may be just the thing for a game I am working on – I’ll have to try it. Since I am stealing an idea I’ll share one too.

    A cooperative game about a shipwreck. The game starts aboard the boat, which has various supplies on it needed for survival. As the boat sinks players must collect as many resources as possible, choosing whether to dive into flooding cabins for valuable items, or play it safe and get off the ship safely but with fewer supplies. In the first half of the game ‘sink’ cards would determine how the boat capsizes, floods and sinks. In the second half players must use the supplies they gathered to survive and signal help.

    • Ben Moy on October 30, 2015

      Pat, I am a fan of this ‘double-deck’ idea you’ve got here! One game I am working on with my partners has the normal gauntlet to get through and an ensuing boss fight after. What I really like with your concept is that there is an in-game timer that propels the players to the second half; we are currently struggling with how to make the end faster in ours and this has given us some definite inspiration!

    • Riley Reed on December 29, 2015

      Consider this stolen 🙂 Fantastic idea.

  31. Craig on October 26, 2015

    I want a train game where all the players have separate goals. It would be 5 player. One player would be laying the route for the train, one would be working a stock market to make money on the company, one would be delivering good to cities along the route, one would be trying to rob the train, and the final player would be a marshal trying to foil the robbery. Balancing would be a nightmare, but if it could be pulled off it would be incredible.

  32. admin on October 26, 2015

    Great comments all! Everyone who has commented here is eligible to count those comments towards our Trick or Treat giveaway this week, which was asking for favorite mechanisms as part of it (those were for horror but some overlapped already by coincidence). You have to enter the online form but feel free to click “I commented” 🙂

    The trick or treat post is here: https://www.leagueofgamemakers.com/trick-or-treat-tabletop-2015/

  33. Burntpepperoni on October 26, 2015

    I’m a fan of RPGs and I really like most of the board game dungeon crawlers, but they all seem to be missing some depth. I wondered if it would be possible to create a board game where the focus is on character progression more than anything else. In a way that’s similar to the character cards in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, but with more depth — and the game would need to be faster to set up in general. Setup time is a complaint I hear alot when it comes to dungeon crawlers and I’d like to nip that in the bud as well. Perhaps their is a large map where players can decide where to go, but once they get to that location it’s a quick deck that is built for that scenario and they play through it — of course their characters are progressing a lot as this all goes on.

  34. J Oliveira on October 26, 2015

    Game where drunk dwarves after a heavy drinking night have to go home with a gift to their wives of they will be kicked out of the house , they need to mine for gold and silver to make enough money so they can travel to the town and buy something “romantic ” but stay away from trouble hold their confrontational personality while doing that .

    • Ed Cote on October 27, 2015

      What, we can’t just +1?

  35. Abdul Rahman Ibrahim on October 26, 2015

    Ticket to Ride Heroes: Instead of building trains on the tracks using colour cards, use them to score quests like in Lords of Waterdeep. Use the same coloured cards to do other stuff such as levelling up, gain new skill cards, etc.

  36. releasethedogs on October 26, 2015

    Cult of personality game: you’re a dictator of a small african/eastern european/middle eastern country. Your goal is to establish your cult of personality by building giant gold statues, publishing a national holy book and other odd self indulgent actions. The goal is to draw the other players citizens into your county by showing your “greatness”.

  37. Jason Greeno on October 26, 2015

    Worker Placement Zoom, called 3-2-1: Each player selects 3 worlds to be their starting point. On each, they have 2 empires, and within each of those are 1 hero. The game plays out like a Sim game (semi-autonomously) yet at certain points you can take control of your civilizations and pit them against your opponent.

  38. Ed Cote on October 27, 2015

    Here’s my take on #4, Scot Eaton”s idea.

    It would probably have to be a Facebook or mobile game to make tracking the time easier.

    Every second that it’s NOT your turn, you get a Point. The first player to hit 100 points wins. Maybe you’re eliminated if you hit 0 points.

    So you could just pass asap every time and stockpile points, but then the other players will spend their points to buy weapons with which to attack you and destroy or even steal your points. A new weapon chosen at random spawns at the beginning of each player’s turn. Do you pass on the laser knowing that someone else might use it? They have point costs that scale with their power curve. There might also be defenses like force fields or something.

    Turn order would have to be simple. A new weapon spawns, then you can buy any one weapon available if you have enough points, then you can attack if you want.

    Heh. Maybe there’s a big chaos blaster that hits hard but chooses its target at random.

    So you have to quickly decide not only how to manage resources, but also how aggressive to be. Erring too much in either direction can make you a target for the other players. Seeing an opening and being the first to seize upon it would help a lot.

    You could maybe play up the time theme and say that the players are all time travelers or time mages and the points are “tachyons” or something.

  39. Jeremy on October 27, 2015

    A soap-box derby downhill racer, featuring a moving mechanic similar to Star Wars X-Wing. Movement follows specific line pieces similar to X-Wing, though on each players turn their speed increases, meaning the lines get longer and longer, implying they are going faster down the hill. Players can choose to decrease speed to gain more control (sharper turns), however the game is still a race and the first to finish wins.

    • Derik @ Lagniappe on October 28, 2015

      That sounds remarkably reasonable to build! Like a hand management or file placement game. I LIKE IT!

  40. Ed Cote on October 27, 2015

    How about a worker placement game where you have to consider payroll, morale, honesty, and laziness etc? You have to complete projects like the quests in Waterdeep, but beyond needing just X Engineers and Y Marketers you also have the other factors in play. I wouldn’t be surprised if this has been done, but if so I haven’t seen it.

    • DaPaladin on November 3, 2015

      I’ve been thinking along similar lines – essentially untrustworthy\picky units. Another twist was a war game whose focus is more on managing the different personalities of our officers, NCOs, and soldiers than being strategic or tactical. Want to attack that phalanx of Goblins? Captain Roth is afraid of Goblins. They’re in the woods? Lt. Pobst doesn’t do trees, they talk. Its at night? Well Sgt. Miller’s out, can’t see in the dark you see. The puzzle is how to get them to do what you want.

  41. Conrad on October 27, 2015

    Just throwing this out there; a semi cooperative game where cards dictate the actions you can take on a game board. You pass a card anonymously to the person who’s turn it is and they selects their actions from the cards received. Not all actions have to be taken (one less than the number of cards handed to you) and some actions have consequences. Each player has hidden goals which lends towards a traitor mechanic. The idea would be to encourage someone to take your action to further your hidden agenda even if it is not in the best interest of the group.

  42. Arron on October 27, 2015

    My idea is based on Calvinball from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips; the premise of Calvinball is that you can never play the same way twice, rules were made up on the spot. My game would be tile laying and deck building, the tiles would be randomly stacked face down and would form the playing surface; the deck is the rules the players use to try to craft a way to win the game.
    The tiles (probably squares) would form a free flowing maze, each one would have three or four spots for connecting to the next tile. The first player into a tile lays out the next one. The first player through the tile plays a rule card over any of the unused connections.
    The cards have the various rules on them (usually some task that must be completed before moving onto the next tile; discard your hand and draw three cards, each other player gives you a card, etc.). The cards are also used as movement, so you can play them to travel across the board, but the better cards (the ones that hurt your opponents the most) are also the ones that help you move across the board the fastest.
    Each player starts with 10 cards, draws one for each card they use for movement. Game ends when a player is out of cards or the board cannot be built out anymore. Winner is the first player out of cards.

  43. Luke Laurie on October 27, 2015

    Amazing contributions! The willingness to share ideas and collaborate in this community is what sets gamemakers apart!

  44. Evan Shultz on October 29, 2015

    A cooperative game with the ability for players to drop-in and drop-out in the middle of the game. When a new player wants to join, he chooses his character and draws an Entrance card, which he then plays on his first turn. Entrance cards adjust the scenario difficulty up to balance the game for the extra player. Each player also receives an Exit Strategy card, which they can play to remove their character from the game and adjust the difficulty down in some way to compensate.

    • Mike Carpenter on October 29, 2015

      How long would this game need to be? Could you apply this to a civ building game and the entrance and exit cards could be themed to be like reasons why a civilization became extinct (other than the typical eradication by another race) or reasons why a new race has ventured into that area of the world? Drop-in, drop-out is cool and I think it would fit into co-op, just curious about Civ stuff too.

  45. Mike Carpenter on October 29, 2015

    I’m not sure what you could call this mechanic and it’s not fully developed but what if you had multiple dice, each different to a certain degree to balance the distribution of actions in the game. The dice faces would represent different actions available in the game. Upon the initial roll of the dice (number of dice to be determined) the actions rolled are what the player may perform but… the twist is that once the original action rolled on the first die is used the player must choose which direction to turn that die toward (thereby showing a new action). Once that direction is chosen that die must be turned that direction each time its face-up action is used. Each die would be on a track of a specific number of uses so once a die reached the end of the track it could not be used anymore. The player could choose freely each as to which dice to use based on what face-up actions were currently showing.

    • Mike Carpenter on October 29, 2015

      once a die has reached**
      player could choose freely each turn**

  46. Ben Moy on October 31, 2015

    A dice drafting game where everyone starts with white, maybe 4, and rolls to see how many points they can spend in purchasing other dice of other colors, each with different effects – red gives an opportunity to reroll one die, green reduces a target player’s roll by one, yellow allows the roller to ‘steal’ the point value of one of the target player’s dice, etc. Objective would be the first to x dice or maybe x of each? Not certain because I haven’t played any card drafting/deck building games. Theme..I don’t think I’ve done any roleplaying games so classic classes – mage (wizard), mischief (thief), might (warrior), etc., all starting with m. =)

  47. Henrik Larsson on November 2, 2015

    Reverse drafting – Players take turns picking a card to give to an opponent until everyone has gotten the same number of cards.

    • Eric Spain on January 19, 2016

      I like this one. Instead of keeping track of which opponent which card was given, they could just be placed in front of them until the round is finished, then all the cards are given to the person at once. That way each player gives exactly one card to each other player.

  48. Richardtempura on November 15, 2015

    A grid of 3×3, 4×4 or even 5×5.
    A pawn of some sort moving in the grid.
    That grid has actions to be selected.
    The action in a space also has a value, which is the number of players that at allowed to do that action, in turn order.
    The player to the left of the last player to have executed the last action becomes the new first player.
    Each time an action has been selected, place a marker on it; it is blocked.
    The first player must move the pawn to an adjacent space, selecting a new action.
    If the pawn cannot move (markers all around it), it’s the end of round and you score points (or something else).
    Remove all markers on the grid, start a new round.

    It was part of a game I designed a few years back.
    It didn’t work out like I wanted, never got picked up by a publisher.
    Take it!

  49. Jens Alfke on November 15, 2015

    A card game with a “software development” theme, based on contributing to a big project. Players are submitting patches to the code, reviewing them, finding bugs and assigning them to other players. Could be serious or satirical (there’s plenty to satirize, from slavish devotion to processes like “agile”, to endless “bikeshedding” arguments over how to fix something.)

  50. Adam Redwoods on November 15, 2015

    Programmable dice. Roll dice (say 5 dice), secretly set each die in an ordered placement, left to right. All players then reveal. If the total of the dice from all players on that ordered placement reach a specific threshold, that action triggers, and the action before it. Players can manipulate the thresholds for each placement. Thresholds very according to player count.

    • Ben Moy on December 7, 2015

      Adam, I would like to ‘steal this game idea’ and apply it to an RPG; I see the rolling of the dice, instead of being used for an action, help the party decide from a number of scenarios, similar to a choose-your-own-adventure book!

  51. Frpzzd on December 8, 2015

    How about a labyrinth game made of tiles where one player plays as the board and slides the tiles as if it was a sliding puzzle, trying to keep the other players from reaching a goal.

  52. Riley Reed on December 29, 2015

    I really like the game Hanabi, a cooperative game, where you hold your hand of cards backward so that you know other people’s cards but not your own. A lot of the problems that arise a based on its being cooperative and so there is always the temptation to give other people hints that are not allowed. I want to make a game using that same mechanic, not knowing your own cards, but it would be competitive, not cooperative. I think this could make a fantastic game, eliminating a lot of the problems that Hanabi has, while retaining this great base mechanic.

  53. Garrett Watson on January 18, 2016

    My idea is open-ended and perhaps more of a capitalization on a mechanic:
    Use the Winston Drafting style as the central mechanic for a game.

    • Luke Laurie Author on January 19, 2016

      My son and I have been Winston drafting for years playing Magic the Gathering from a Cube. Recently, I came up with a method borrowing from boardgame design concepts. I deal out a 3×3 grid of magic cards face up. We take turn taking either a row of 3 or a column of 3 cards. Makes for some pretty awesome drafting.

    • Jim on April 21, 2016

      I have a on-going challenge to myself to make a game for every draft variant. Here is the list I’m working from: https://foodbedgames.com/2015/04/27/is-it-drafty-in-here/

  54. Michael Janse on February 24, 2016

    I’ve been sitting on an idea I admit was stolen from an episode of Star Trek TNG. Each player is a faction in an advanced but doomed race trying to populate worlds with intelligent but primitive species. The catch: there’s not enough planets and each planet can hold more than one. Factors determine population growth and players score based on the population of their species.

  55. Alex Wilkinson on April 1, 2016

    Great ideas here! Wanted to throw in a recent worker placement mechanic I thought of the other day. Players are placing as many workers as they can to make more resources, but if a certain threshold is exceeded, an event will trigger a worker revolt. I was trying to imagine what Puerto Rico might be like if the workers on your plantations or in your factories could revolt against you.

  56. Jim on April 21, 2016

    A game based on the “never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” scene in The Princess Bride. There is a row of cards and each turn you take the one in the first position. You can then play other cards that shift the order. One of the cards is the poison and if you are forced to take it, you drink it and die (they lose).

    • Chris Raba on September 27, 2016

      Wow, what a great idea – I love it. Consider it stolen. Now, to come up with my contribution….

      I’ve been dying for a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-esque game that utilizes a sort capture the flag mechanic in combination with an engine-building mechanic. You choose your style of “Rig” (light/fast, medium, heavy/slow), outfit it with different weapons, crew, engines etc. as a way of choosing a strategy. In the first part of the game, you race/fight each other to a center “flag”, in which its every man for himself. And then the second half of the game, the person who picked up the flag becomes the “boss-monster”, getting a bonus, but now its everyone else versus them. They are trying to return the flag to their home-fortress and everyone else is trying to steal the flag from them.
      I can also see this as a racing game, rather than a capture-the-flag mechanic, not sure which style fits better.

  57. Senno on April 23, 2016

    A dual-layered tile laying game that takes place in two phases. Phase one is worker placement, building resources. Phase two is expending resources and surviving elimination while the tiles are slowly eroded.

  58. Behrooz 'Bezman' Shahriari on April 24, 2016

    A game all about genetics and artifical selection. Each creature is represented by a deck of cards. When they have offspring (they always have 2), you shuffle 2 decks together and deal out 2 new decks, representing the offspring.

  59. crinaya on May 29, 2016

    Action selection mechanic where all the actions are laid out on a grid. Each player has a set of pointers, one on each axis, and the action you take is the spot on the grid where the two pointers meet. You can only move one pointer per turn, so you need to plan ahead to make your moves efficient.

    Possibly a more chaotic variant of this could be the group of players all sharing one set of pointers and you must move the pointer the previous player didn’t move.

  60. Test on July 14, 2016

    A mechanic themed around a fleet of ships conquering space, though I’m sure it can be re-fluffed easily. Every player starts with a fleet of X big ships, which gives them X actions per turn. However, every time they want to occupy a planet, they need to leave a big ship in orbit around it. In exchange for the lost action, their range of abilities they can use are enhanced in some way (new attack cards for them to use, additional action options, powered up versions of their starter actions, etc.). Making for a trade-off between whether they want more actions or more abilities.

  61. Gwen on July 22, 2016

    While I don’t know the majority of side scrolling beat’em ups, I do like the idea of one where you start with a weak character, and as you do challenge modes with varying degrees of ranks you unlock more and more powerful characters with longer combos and the like that add at least a little variety to the game.

    The whole thing would be a sort of throw back to arcade gaming in its last gasp in the 90s.

    And then, of course, in true 90s gaming fashion, when you unlock all the other characters through their various means, and get a perfect in all of the challenge games, you unlock the bragging rights character that is just boring to use, invincibility, limited combos at best, always kills things in one hit.

  62. David Dickerson on August 4, 2016

    War of the Ronin: a card game based on samurai combat, which doesn’t focus much on dexterity or reflexes, but strategy with a side of luck. Win condition could be getting rid of all of your cards. Players would have their own decks, and would draw a set of cards into their hands. Cards could represent different styles of attacks, feints, blocks, dodges, and a player could “chain” the cards together to build an attack. The opposing player would have to play a defensive sequence to successfully block (or possibly turn the play to offensive), or would be “wounded”, having to then pick up cards and add to his deck.

    A timer set at the beginning of the round could keep the pace moving quickly to add tension, as the player with the least cards in hand at the end of the timer wins.

  63. Michael on October 16, 2016

    A Police Officer rpg where you are an officer in the police force of a random city, dealing with very realistic challenges that real life officers face. – Idea came to me with all of the reaction to the police shootings happening.

  64. Mimarik on October 31, 2016

    A game, where the story of what happened to you yesterday unfolds.

  65. Jay on December 13, 2016

    Thieves’ Cant. A group of 3-4 players (“Thieves”) are trying to steal a prized heirloom before the last player (“Sheriff”) finds the King of Thieves amongst them. Thieves either work together to get out as a group, or use the group as a larger body to get away with the heirloom to obtain their own riches for themselves.

  66. John Ilkka on April 29, 2017

    A 3 board board space representing past, present, future. You play in the present, and things that happen in the present affect the future board. There would be a way in which the past was interacted with which would affect both the present and the future boards.

    • Feast on July 3, 2017

      That is a cool idea. The third board (future) would emerge as result of the interactions of the first two boards (past and present). Once the future board is completed it instantly becomes the new present board, and the previous present board becomes the past board. Now the conditions are set for the creation of another future board. I envision secret goals for up to six players…each trying to have the final iteration of the board match their goals more closely than anyone else’s does.

  67. Corry Damey on May 23, 2017

    I’ve had a loose game idea that is similar to the “Wormhole Tile-Laying Game” that places players in a home that is in the process of becoming haunted. Room tiles are randomly laid out in a gride to form a house and players examine rooms trying to find key items to prevent the condemnation of the house. As turns go by, corruption in the house spreads, turning tiles over to their tainted side where malevolent spirits try to stop players. Certain items can only be attained from tainted rooms, but if too many tiles are flipped to this side, the house will become condemned and the players lose the game. Players may be able to explore the crawlspace or attic to avoid tainted rooms, but may stumble upon other hidden terrors. Getting all of the items to a specified room in the house will grant the players victory.

  68. MordorTroll on May 28, 2017

    Create a game using a Winchester Draft (google Magic the Gathering Winchester Draft) style mechanic. I think it could be very interesting if done right.

  69. Darrin Lauritzen on November 29, 2017

    Co op game where you have unknown powers. The other players can see what you can do but you cannot. Each turn you can take two actions to help the team, and one if them is to try and use your power, like ok, I’m going to try and fly to this place… Other players will give you the ok or not. To make it diabolical, there could be conditions on the powers like roll extra combat dice when… Or copy another player’s power when close to them or whatever.

  70. Fly-Eagles-Fly on April 5, 2018

    A worker placement game where the actions help you conquer territories and attack other people.

  71. A Crazy Newfie on November 5, 2018

    Risk + Monopoly money + Settlers of Catan buildings. Instead of getting troops, players get money, which they can spend immediately at a rate of $1 per soldier, or save it for a rainy day. They can also buy towns and cities (at significant cost) which provide an income bonus to the owner of the territory they are in.

  72. nave21 on February 17, 2019

    a game where the cards you play determine the pile you pick up the next round.
    I’m working on this as a nano game.

  73. Haplo-dBiggs on May 3, 2019

    Simple mass combat, for battlefront scale wargames.
    All units have a size. Each size increases the dice they use by 1 type. So a unit size 1 uses d4 and a unit size 6 uses d16. Dice = 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 100
    When units clash, each unit rolls their dice and compares the results. The highest score wins, with attackers winning ties.
    Each point over that the winner wins by removes a size from the loser’s unit, so winner rolls 3 and loser rolls 1, loser removes (3-1=)2 from their unit’s size. If this reduces a unit to under size 1, it is considered destroyed.

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