Game Creation Series 02: The Epiphany


It may hit you in the shower. It may hit you in the middle of a meeting at work. It may hit you in the middle of the night. Epiphany can strike at any time and you have to be ready for it.

I realize that I have another epiphany series that I have started on this blog, but honestly, I felt that this particular epiphany warranted a Game Creation Series post instead.


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Game Design Epiphany – Take out the Theme!

I am going to pop in here with some game design epiphanies from time to time. Most likely it will simply be a short paragraph or two describing the epiphany that I had, and then, ideally, it will spark some discussion.

I had a game idea percolating for a long time. I decided yesterday that I would make it a simple card game instead of the massive board game that I had initially envisioned. That in and of itself was truly an epiphany and got me from concept into actual design… really, in my Google Docs folder I moved it from the Brainstorming folder it was in to its own game folder!

However, that isn’t the epiphany that I wanted to write about today. As I sat down to design the cards for this game, I got hung up on the theme. I was trying to come up for names of rooms and names of components and resources, and in the end I didn’t need to. Even though the idea for this game was born from a theme, it can be boiled down to letters or numbers alone. I have cards that require resources. I have  cards that create resources. Those resources don’t need names, they can just be “A” through “E”.

This early in the design process all you should be doing is testing the desired systems to ensure they aren’t broken. Theme, characters, resources and the like can all wait until you  are ready to play-test with a wider audience.