A new tile placement project
As far as I can tell, this experience isn't unique, but I must say I still surprise myself when an amazing board game idea just sort of comes along and smacks me upside the head. It is apparently incredibly common for people working in a creative field to have more project ideas than they could ever complete.
And that is because completing project ideas takes so much more time that coming up with ideas. Coming up with a cohesive idea can take minutes once inspiration hits. Completing projects can take years. I've got at least 10 game ideas floating around in my head in various states of cohesion, all of them arrived on the scene after the initial idea for Forge War that I grabbed a hold of and ran with.
And I'm still working on Forge War - my other ideas languishing on the side lines. This can get really hard because the urge to pick up and work on something new can be incredibly strong, especially when your other option is this game that you've been with for the better part of the year and are totally tired of. But if you keep picking up new projects, however, you'll never actually finish anything, and then what is the point?
I've talked previously about working on a cooperative tactical game called Tribal Assault
. I spent a good amount of time designing the playable tribes and the monsters you would fight and I absolutely love certain aspects of it, especially how each tribe plays completely differently from each other, but at some point I realized certain mechanics weren't meshing with my goal of having the game be short, simple and easily approachable. It needed a major overhaul and to commit to doing that would take more time away from Forge War than I could spare. It's still waiting for a that overhaul, and there's a great game waiting to be found somewhere in the center of that mess.
All that is to say that a month or two ago, when I should have been programming, I was indulging a new idea instead. I won't go into the full story of its inception because it's a little silly, but I got it in my head that I needed to make a tile placement game (think Carcassonne). I don't know about you, but my best ideas end to come it me at two different times: when I am absolutely bored to death in a meeting and when I am half asleep laying in bed on a weekend morning. My brain is weird.
This was one of those half-asleep Saturday morning things and by the afternoon I had the general mechanics in place and a pretty bitchin' theme. And those were the halcyon hours of board game production, because then, once you've got a skeleton of a game together, then you've gotta sit down and start making things. Is this idea going to work at all? The only way to find out is to sit down and play it.
So I had to make 100+ flimsy tiles out of poster board - cutting them out and drawing all the various patterns and icons on them by hand. And then, of course, things don't work, so you've gotta revise and make new tiles and go back and balance various aspects and all of that takes time. I'm not sure why I thought I could pound out a game in a week, but it didn't really happen that way, and I eventually went back to working on what I should have been working on.
The tile placement project joined Tribal Assault and other prototypes in the graveyard, waiting to be picked up again once I graduate and get Forge War out the door. I still think about it occasionally, because it has the potential to be a great game and the main thing it needs right now is a balancing of the scoring mechanics, which shouldn't be too hard.
It calls to me from the graveyard, like a siren's song. "Put down Forge War and play with me," it says. I expect I'll be talking more about the game sooner rather than later.
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