Possibilities. That's the starting point. It's the moment where you can be as messy as possible. It's a chance for you to experiment with your ideas as freely as possible! Throw some game mechanics here and there, merge them together, or break them apart. Round up some friends and start bouncing ideas, or maybe go and find some inspiration from real life mechanics first! There are numerous ways on how to come up with ideas, and these are just a few of them.
Let's say that, out of that huge swarm of ideas swimming around your head, you fish out one or two that you really like. That's great! Reel em' in! What do you like about that idea? Can you visualize it more clearly than your other ideas? Is there something innovative about it? Or does it simply feel right? Ask yourself these questions and more. You may not have the answers for all of them at that moment, but it'll definitely help for the breakdown process of your game.
Once you've interrogated your idea at the detective's table, it's time to find something that'll keep your idea unified. The most viable way to do this is through themes, motifs, and concept statements. What's gonna be the core of your game? What's going to make it stick together when it starts branching out? Establishing a theme, motif and concept statement will not only help give your design unity, but something for you to fall back when making important decisions about your game.
Here's a personal example on idea generating and assigning a theme:
Inspiration- I'm really interested in systems that take place in the natural world. I was also really impacted by a game I played some years ago, called Cubivore. So one of my ideas was having a game that revolved around the "eat or be eaten" and evolution mechanic.
Idea merge- But there was another idea that seemed to be really easy to visualize in a board game format. Two to Four players would start from respective points of the board and proceed towards defeating a mothership that was in the center of the board. Other mechanics included upgrades for weapons and PvP mode. When I asked my Game Design professor for feedback, he echoed the same thought. This idea was much more easier to visualize, but he suggest to merge the two ideas and see what'd come out of it. The merge was simple and effective (or so I think). It was a matter of changing the wrapping of the box. The content is pretty much the same, but the way it's being delivered is visually different.
To tie this together I'll need a theme, some motifs, and a concept statement. Here's what's spawned from my head so far:
• Theme: Survival/ Survival of the Fittest
• Motifs: Eating another creature in order to become stronger, evolution/continuous rise to a stronger state.
• Concept Statements: "Devour and conquer."It's time to rival survival." "It's the arrival of survival."
There'll probably need to be fixes here and there, but I hope you get the gyst of it!
Oh before I forget: Here's a possible color scheme
Creating a board game will prove much more challenging than expected. Regardless, the learning experiences and process are proving to be worth the meticulously mechanical thinking sessions. Let's see how this continues.
Here's 20 possible ideas for a board game:
1) A game involving a simple goal that must be fulfilled within a time limit
2) A game where creatures must acquire points from other creatures and players in order to defeat a boss.
3) A game of cooperative gameplay where you must create the most interesting path towards the top of a mountain.
4) A 2 to 4 player chess game where you can customize your pieces to suit your strategy (Attack, Defense, Speed)
5) A tower defense game where one player must uncover the weak point of a base and attack it before the other player does
6) A game revolving around divergent thinking. Players find simple tools in-game and must make the most creative use of them in order to reach the end of a board.
7) A game about world building. Each player starts out as a small deity and must expand their influence in order to grow into a stronger deity. Whoever gains the influence of 4 major points wins.
8) Idea merge: A game involving a time limit where players must gain enough strength in order to defeat a boss before it awakens
9) A 4 player game where one player creates a message, encrypts it and breaks it apart, and shuffles it. The rest of the players must try to piece the message together.
10) A 2 player game where you must turn inanimate objects into animated creatures and fight each other.
11) A 2 to 4 player game where every player movement has an effect on the board placement
12) A game where you play as a pastor trying to defend a flock of sheep against predators in the land.
13) A board game where board arrangement, piece placement, and character locations change depending on the time of day you are playing
14) A game where you must use certain blocks and shapes in order to make a picture out of shadows (must be played in daylight or with a strong light source)
15) A word game where players break 1 word, turn it into 3 words, and create a story around those 3 words
16) A 4 player game where 2 people might cooperate with each other in order to take down the other 2. Backstabbing may be enabled
17) A game with a time limit where you must create the most ridiculous yet logical message using 3 pictures from a picture card pile
18) A game involving magnetic pieces where players must build a stable pathway towards the end of a board.
19) A game where you must build your way towards the other player's base in order to invade it.
20) A 4 player game where one plays as a traitor, and the rest play as member's of some sort of rebellion. Each turn, the player has a chance to change something on the board/environment. The traitor would have to find a way to sabotage the rest of the three players without being called out.