I’m sure that at some point in time, someone has probably said something to the tune of “The trick to running or making a game is to steal material from enough different places that you look original again,” and if no-one’s said that before, then i just have. Since IPD is more geared towards game creation than GM’ing, i thought i’d mention something that i like to turn to in my eternal quest for New Game Mechanics.
Whether you’re making a a game system or just a little one-off board/card game, new mechanics are the breath of life to your creation. M:tG, Pokemon, and Yu-gi-oh have existed for years and years now, so you’ll need something more than “tap MANA/ENERGY to play MONSTERS/SPELLS, make your opponent run out of HIT POINTS to win,” to create an interesting card game. Which is to say nothing of the monolithic nature of old tabletop systems like the deeandees.
So, where can you turn for new ideas? One of my personal favorites is Flash games, because flash games are a goldmine for two things. First, new ideas, and secondly (and more importantly), half-finished new ideas. For every time-waster masterpiece like Sonny, Steambirds, or Monster’s Den, there’s a dozen games with an inventive new idea that the creator, in his/her rush to grasp internet fame and glory, didn’t think all the way through. Which means, of course, that you can steal and modify said idea! :3
Now, obviously, lots of games built originally to run in computer / videogame format aren’t going to translate well to the dead-tree-based media we know and love, but if you spend an occasional afternoon looking through the top-ranked lists of various websites, you’ll probably come across something like Adapt or Die here.
AoD, for the time constrained, is an okay way to pass most of an hour in which you control a squadron of robot bugs with a half-dozen stats, like armor, attack range, move speed, and attack damage. However, you can, based on the amount of territory you control, tell an existing bug to lay an egg which hatches into a new bug with stats mutated off of the old one’s. The reason why i bring AoD up specifically is because it ultimately fails as a flash game. It fails because it moves too fast for you to do anything tactical or strategic, like selectively ‘breed’ your armies to adapt to and defeat your opponent’s forces, limiting you to just mashing out more bugs as fast as you can. Which is exactly the kind of thing that moving over to a papery, turn-based format could fix!
Next indeterminate-future post from me: idea stealing in action, and maybe some details about my Reclamation setting.