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.
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.
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.
|6||Industry||31||Art||56||Loud noises||81||Action Movies|
|21||Retro Videogames||46||Religion||71||Superheroes||96||The Moon|
|22||Smart phones||47||Roller blades||72||Illinois||97||Fairy Tale|
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.
|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|
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!
|1||Most points / resources|
|2||Last person standing|
|3||First to the finish line|
|4||Use up all assets|
|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!