2: Drive

2: Drive

What drives you to make new games? What gets you excited to create something that previously didn’t exist?

 

I’m always trying to make the players experience something different. Whether that’s an emotion, a feeling, a mechanism… sometimes one, sometimes it’s a combination of all three. There’s no point me trying to remake a game that’s already out there – someone’s done it, and probably better than I could do. New mechanisms are a rarity, but patching into previously untapped emotions is something that excites me. Now whether I’m successful at doing that’s another question!

Michael Fox

The reason I started designing games was a real dissatisfaction with the themes that were out there. I decided that I just needed to make the games I wanted to see in the world. My games are about things I love, that have some story that hasn’t been told before in a boardgame. I feel pretty safe predicting that I will never make a game that involves trading wood and ore.

Elizabeth Hargrave

I’m not always trying to find something that doesn’t already exist. I sometimes try to make something that already exists, but to make it slightly different, better, lighter, faster or more fun. 

Bruno Faidutti

With 5000+ titles published a year, it’s becoming increasingly likely that something like your new game already exists. A similar theme, a similar mechanic, a similar presentation, a similar experience, etc.The best I hope for, then, is creating something which hasn’t yet existed for me. So far, this seems to be working okay…

Trevor Benjamin

My games are about things I love, that have some story that hasn’t been told before in a boardgame. I feel pretty safe predicting that I will never make a game that involves trading wood and ore. — Elizabeth Hargrave

I am guilty of setting the bar far too high with my prototypes. I should be satisfied if people end up having fun playing my games, but I like to ensure the game is doing more than imparting fun. I aim to design a specific experience that may-or-may-not-be enjoyable, but should be compelling and should leave the player changed in whatever small way, even if it’s being left with a question they previously might not have entertained. I’m looking to generate a thought in the player’s mind that didn’t exist before.

Andrew Sheerin

For me, the flash of inspiration is as heady and exciting as donuts or chocolate ice cream. I love it. I love the thrill of a new idea. Generally speaking, it has to make me laugh in some way, or engage me intellectually in what it offers both from a design standpoint as well as what it can offer the player. My favourite games are thematically and mechanically intertwined, so a game where I can see myself or the players feeling and thinking as if they are in that world excites me. So, for my game Dragnorak, every decision that has excited me has been one where I can get players to feel like they are a dragon. It’s a good time.

Kathleen Mercury

My main objective when I design is to explore. Explore new concepts, components, player behaviours, mechanics, etc. Because, exploring is like a game in itself after all.

Eloi Pujadas

I aim to design a specific experience that may-or-may-not-be enjoyable, but should be compelling and should leave the player changed in whatever small way, even if it’s being left with a question they previously might not have entertained. — Andrew Sheerin

I’m driven to make games to create and explore new experiences. Sometimes I’m inspired by something I don’t quite like or something I do like, but want to see done differently. I’m excited by the prospect of bringing joy and/or challenge into someone’s life. As altruistic as that sounds, designing board games is also a very selfish endeavour for me because I get to create something amazing with my husband Will. My dream has always been to work with him in a creative capacity and board game design is it.

Sarah Reed

I’m always working on the game I want to play for myself. I try to create the exact game experience i need now. And then I try to convince people (publishers > distributors > gamers) to follow me on that way.

Bruno Cathala

I strive to share an experience with players. I want everything from popping the shrink and un-boxing to the final scoring to excite and elate, to fulfil the promise I made when I worked on the game. Being able to pare down complex concepts into an easy to understand user interface (UI) is a challenging puzzle that I endeavour to solve with each game. Delivering fun in a discrete box is what keeps me going, knowing that I’m making more than cardboard, I’m making family time, or date night, or a gathering of friends.

Adrienne Ezell

Often times when I play a game, even a game I enjoy, I find myself thinking “wouldn’t it have been cool if THIS part were like THIS?” Then I want to see how my version would play out. I think I get excited by the puzzle of putting together mechanisms in a new way, and seeing them perform in play the way I wanted them to.

Seth Jaffee

I strive to share an experience with players. I want everything from popping the shrink and un-boxing to the final scoring to excite and elate, to fulfil the promise I made when I worked on the game. — Adrienne Ezell

When I am conducting an extended scientific research project, I begin by doing a literature review and looking for the gaps that will ensure that my work makes an original contribution to the field. I try to adopt a similar approach to game design; the only difference being that here the literature review involves playing shedloads of games instead of reading academic texts, something which is infinitely more enjoyable.

Sam Illingworth

1 – Games are capable of so much more. I want to help broaden the scope of what’s available. I’m arrogant enough to believe that I am capable of contributing.

2 – Having people engage with something I made fills me with some validation and satisfaction. It gives me some sense of self-worth.

3 – It’s an interesting mental exercise. I get to think about the ramifications of things, build a better model of fellow humans, try things, and then see how folk react to changes. Iteration is immensely satisfying to me.

Bez Shahriari

The drive to create comes from the inside. After the first idea (boardgame or otherwise) comes to fruition, it is an unstoppable hunger. This feeling is even more intense when we talk about creating entertainment. The fact that people choose your game to play in their spare time and that it brings them fun, is one of the best there is. I don’t know what made me start, but I know I’m not going to stop!

Pini Shekhter

When I am conducting an extended scientific research project, I begin by doing a literature review and looking for the gaps that will ensure that my work makes an original contribution to the field. I try to adopt a similar approach to game design. — Sam Illingworth

I can be driven by anything to create a new prototype. I started some games because of the atmosphere of a particular show (I’m looking at you True Detective), a picture found on Twitter or some component which was lying on my desk. Anything can trigger my wish to start a new game.

Théo Riviere

It can be a sudden idea of something I would like to experience in a game : the way I use the components, the type of interaction it generates, a theme I want to explore, etc. It can also be, the thought that a game could address a subject in a way that no other medium could, allowing to experience it more deeply. Occasionally, it can be the frustration after playing an existing game. Other times, it will be the thrill of making different mechanics work together. And sometimes, it is just for fun!

Doria Roustan

I don’t think I look for something that doesn’t already exist because I don’t find different mechanics for different mechanics’ sake to be particularly interesting or inspiring. I’d rather spin a familiar mechanism (one that I personally enjoy) and/or set it against an unusual theme (as theme is something I engage with first when learning about newly-published games) – if I don’t like the tools I’m utilising then I won’t enjoy the design process! The whole “we want innovation” cry is, I think, fallacious: players say they want new ideas in their games but, time-after-time, they return (eagerly) to their ‘staples’.

Tony Boydell

A tabletop game has the potential to enter the culture as a known, shared, and passed-on experience. While very rare, some games become rituals that bring people together across all sorts of social barriers. Creating a classic game like this is a very lofty goal, but just the possibility makes game design exciting for me.

Phil Walker-Harding

Working with clients who don’t traditionally make games has helped me see a niche for educational games for adults. Taking serious world issues (like poverty, mental health, etc) and trying to make accessible games that communicate some of the reality of these issues has been both motivating and very difficult. I also get joy in solving a design puzzle, so trying to work on a novel mechanic or interpretation of a theme is exciting. Ultimately, the biggest drive is hoping that something I’ve created has given another person some joy is what motivates me.

Sye Robertson

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