Continuing with our acronym, let’s delve into the second letter. Another aspect I attribute my success to is having Versatility.
I like almost all types of games – party games, strategy/Euro games, word games, family games, video games. There are a few types of games I’m not interested in like military simulation or miniature wargaming or collectible card games (though I was a huge Magic geek back in the day).
When Sen and I decided to make our own games, we didn’t really talk about this, but neither of us cared what kind of games we made – as long as they were good ones. Some of our ideas would be kid’s games and some would be serious “Gamer” games. Our goal was to get a game published – any game, so we made a ton of different games, in a ton of different genres.
Being Versatile also went a long ways to keeping us motivated as I mentioned in my previous post. But there are even more benefits to being versatile.
We had one game called Bertolt Lost his Marbles and was a kid’s game that had four animal characters running around a board picking up marbles and trying to avoid a troll. The game wasn’t working for us because it was just too many things going on for a kid’s game.
This lead us to think that we should move this game into a more gamery game. Of course the theme didn’t make any sense any more so we changed it up. We changed the four animal characters into four wizard apprentices and the marbles were turned into Dragon eggs. The Troll was obviously turned into the Dragon and we now had ourselves a more gamery game called Night of the Dragon! We shopped it around (more on this in future posts), but it has yet to get picked up.
Years later I was working on a game design competition (the benefits of these will also be in a future post) for ToyVault’s release of the Piecepack game with another partner. Piecepack, if you’re not in the know, is a specific set of components that can be used to make any number of your own games. Since every game uses the same components, the games are often more abstract and less themey.
We were stuck on a design for this competition and eventually I thought of Night of the Dragon. We borrowed the movement mechanic from that game and fit it into this Piecepack game. It worked perfectly and this game, called Cream of the Crop, won the competition and is coming out in the latter half of 2010.
By being Versatile we were able to leverage our ideas and use them in other genres and styles of games. Think about your game ideas currently. If you’re stuck on one of your ideas, maybe it’s in the wrong genre and you should try seeing if the mechanics would be better suited elsewhere.