Really want to compete in Season 5 of CUDO Plays but none of your ideas are quite coming together? Got yourself a bad case of game-designer’s block? Well this blog post is for you!

As anyone who has been to our Board Game Bootcamp events knows, we at CUDO Plays think the best way to get those creative game juices flowing is to pull random game themes and mechanics out of a hat and see what you can make with them. Well, this blog post will let you do just that! You’ll have to use your own game pieces to make your prototype though. Sorry, I can’t upload actual wooden meeples to the blog.

Board Game Bootcamp bits box

How to use this Board Game Brainstorm

The following are three tables for randomly generating game themes, mechanics and win conditions. To make your selections, you’ll need a one hundred sided die (generally folks just use two ten-sided dice for this), one twenty-sided die, and one eight-sided die. Or you can just use the dice links I’ve placed before each table to roll some virtual dice.

Game Themes

For best results, always roll on this table TWICE and combine the themes. If you get the same result twice, keep rollin’ until you get something different. Many of these themes have multiple meanings. For instance, “Space” may mean outer space, or possibly inner space if you want to interpret it that way and make a game about interior decorating.

ROLL ‘EM!

1 Steampunk 26 Anime 51 Shopping 76 Family
2 Office 27 Woodland Creatures 52 Duel 77 Beauty
3 Math 28 Fantasy 53 Treasure 78 Natural Dissasters
4 Zombies 29 Horror 54 Monsters 79 Sasquatch
5 Space 30 Mystery 55 Emotions 80 Music
6 Industry 31 Art 56 Loud noises 81 Action Movies
7 Cooking 32 Cars 57 Big city 82 Garbage
8 Fashion 33 Wizards 58 Language 83 Merchants
9 Babies 34 Caves 59 Ducks 84 Politics
10 Secret Agent 35 Kittens 60 Sports 85 Insects
11 Farming 36 Spiders 61 High School 86 Crime
12 Construction 37 Computers 62 College 87 Bathroom
13 Inanimate Objects 38 Swords 63 Costumes 88 Hillbilly
14 Sea Creatures 39 Plants 64 Dancing 89 Friendship
15 Ocean 40 The Olympics 65 Hair 90 Dragons
16 Robots 41 Volcano 66 Clothes 91 Rebellion
17 Dinosaurs 42 Celebrities 67 Jewelry 92 History
18 Construction 43 News 68 Guns 93 Aliens
19 The 1920s 44 Gangs 69 Comics 94 Unicorns
20 Books 45 Drugs 70 Science 95 Murder
21 Retro Videogames 46 Religion 71 Superheroes 96 The Moon
22 Smart phones 47 Roller blades 72 Illinois 97 Fairy Tale
23 Romance 48 Holidays 73 Party 98 Television
24 Pirates 49 Flying 74 THE INTERNET 99 War
25 Ninjas 50 Science Fiction 75 Millennials 100 Furniture

Game Mechanics

This next table is of common game mechanics. Some of these are self-explanatory, the rest are pretty heavy gamer jargon, so if you’re confused, make sure to look at the Board Game Geek list of common game mechanics, and also check out CUDO Plays’ helpful document on the subject which both go over these terms and give examples of popular games with each mechanic. One roll on this table may be enough for you, but if you’re into mashing up different mechanics, now’s your chance.

ROLL ‘IT!

1 Area control / influence 11 Route building / network building
2 Auction / bidding 12 Speed / real time
3 Card drafting / hand management / set collection 13 Dexterity
4 Deckbuilding / whatever-building 14 Action programming
5 Dice rolling 15 Performance (singing/acting/charades etc.)
6 Movement 16 Team-based or asymmetric
7 Memory / pattern recognition 17 Bluffing / hidden role
8 Tile placement 18 Trading / negotiation
9 Worker placement 19 Betting / wagering
10 Press your luck / risk management 20 Simultaneous turns / actions

 

Win Condition

Without a win condition, your game would never end! We can’t have that. Honestly though, depending on what mechanic(s) you rolled, you may not need a random win condition. Alternately, I recommend sometimes just doing themes and a win condition and then developing mechanics from there. Do whatever works best for your creative brain!

ROLL ‘EM!

1 Most points / resources
2 Last person standing
3 First to the finish line
4 Use up all assets
5 Popular vote
6 Solve the mystery
7 Collect a set / build a thing
8 Complete quests / assignments

 

Ponder and Prototype

After you’ve rolled some random stuff from the above tables that you take a liking to, take some time to brainstorm what your game might look and play like. Don’t spend too much time thinking though! Grab whatever is around you and start prototyping or your awesome game will stay trapped in your head FOREVER!

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