Published on April 27th, 2015 | by Luke Turpeinen3
Does Innovating Improve A Game?
This week Broomstick Monkey games talked on their blog about innovation in game design, which is a subject that I’ve been discussing with my gaming friends and local designers recently. It seems as if there is a trend, perhaps taken from start-up culture, to pursue innovation in mechanics as one of the main focuses of game design. But is innovation really necessary to improve a product?
Broomstick Monkey argues (and I would agree) that inventing completely new mechanics can be a necessary way to solve design challenges, but it isn’t always the right choice to make.
Innovate to meet a need. Not to show off your ability to innovate. #gamedesign
— Robin D. Laws (@RobinDLaws) April 14, 2015
While it would be great to be the next Donald Vaccarino, who invented a new genre of games because of the popularity of his deck building mechanic in Dominion, the pursuit of popularity shouldn’t a designer’s goal. That’s not to say it can’t make a hell of a motivation!
There’s nothing wrong with taking someone else’s game and saying, “You know, I think I could do this better.” Dominion is not my favorite deck building game, despite being the one to do it first. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, so don’t be scared to use ideas from someone else’s game if doing so solves a design problem.
One of the most popular and successful computer game companies in the world, Blizzard, primarily follows this method of game making. Their games are never ground breaking or innovative, they always work within established game genres and usually the cash cows at that. But the one thing you can’t deny is that they put out a very solid, shiny product at the end. Blizzard is great not because it innovates, but because it can add so much polish.
Anyways, check out the whole Broomstick Monkey Games article here, and tell us what you think about innovation in board games by commenting below or tweeting at us @board_crossing