Creating the Game – Part One: The Idea

I have recently found myself inspired to create something from the ground up. Something special. Something that I will pour time, effort and love into in an effort to make it a reality. It will hopefully be something that my wife, children and myself can enjoy together in much the same way we gather at the table to enjoy so many others of its kind.

That’s right folks, I’m creating a boardgame! And what’s more, I’m taking you along for the ride. And what’s more, more, no, we’re not nearly there yet.

The truth is I hadn’t really given any thought to creating something from scratch, and then inspiration shone a light my way. One autumnal evening, as we casually talked over the merits and flaws of various games, a friend dropped the following line into the chat, “I’ve designed a boardgame.”

Now, first instinct is to be a little dismissive. I imagined that said friend had an idea, a rough sketch in his brain about the theme and mechanics of a possible game. That was until he brought out his phone and proceeded to show me the actual game prototype in all its, quite unexpected, glory. And glorious it was. A real bona-fidé boardgame, complete with tiles and dice, cool markers, neat artwork, and, a brilliant mechanic that I honestly hadn’t seen in a game before. I was deeply impressed, and unbeknown to me, at that precise moment, the seed of inspiration was sown.

inspiration1In the days that followed I actually got to play my friend’s game. This can be a difficult situation to find yourself in. There’s an undeniable worry that if the game misses the mark, you have to somehow deliver a verdict that isn’t going to be too blunt. However, the game played so well that over the course of a couple of hours we enjoyed replay upon replay, and that little seed of inspiration that was sown a couple of days earlier, began to sprout.

During a quiet afternoon at work I debated the possibilities of our own game with my eldest son. It didn’t seem too far fetched. We talked about theme, as this seemed critical. Whatever we produce must have a solid theme. A few ideas went back and forth, and then it hit me. Ghost hunting.

As a sucker for all things paranormal, ghost hunting seemed perfect. Instantly ideas began to flow. A game based within the British Isles, using real life haunted locations, each player has a team of investigators, not just investigators though, this is live hunting, this needs a presenter, cameraman, sound guy, psychic medium, tea boy, a great dane with a taste for giant sandwiches! But what’s the hook? It’s a contest across three nights to capture the most compelling evidence, each team is live streaming, the score tracker is based upon viewers rather than points, some rich enthusiast has put up a prize for the winning team! You can gain and lose viewers, you can attempt acts of underhand fakery, you can hold faith that your psychic isn’t just a conman with a taste for the dramatic, you can pray the presenter doesn’t indulge in the whiskey too much between locations, each haunt you visit is depicted on a separate board, or card, or something, and there’s a clock that moves one hour after every team plays an action. Great Scott! It…might…just…work!

That is pretty much how the conversation played out. Me talking in rapid machine gun fire, like the guy who reads the small print at the end of the advert, and my son nodding slowly with that, “Yeah, okay Dad,” look in his eyes.

create_1But, the bones of an idea are in place. The flesh is being added, probably, as you read this. The breakdown of the rounds is under discussion, currently it goes something like teams choose actions for each member, a few dice are rolled, cards are played, and then they witness the consequences of such actions.

The game, or the idea for the game, is in its infancy at present. However, as each new avenue is explored I’ll be writing about it here on Lizard Lounge. There will be videos of play sessions, images of the artwork, ups, downs, problems and solutions, and I want to document the journey from start to finish. What the finish line looks like, I don’t yet know. It might be that the idea never gets off the ground due to it simply not working as an enjoyable game, it could be that I end with something that family and friends can sit and enjoy on particularly spooky storm drenched evenings, or, perhaps I’ll land something that could go a little bit further. Whatever happens I hope you’ll stick around for the journey. It could be a bumpy one.

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