Post by: Grant Rodiek
I intended to write a more substantial and useful post about play testing and iteration, but I’ve been so busy doing just that with Field Marshals that I haven’t had time. Perhaps for Friday?
Instead, I thought it’d be fun to share one of my worst design ideas. Hopefully, others join in and we can all have a good laugh, followed by a private, deeply shaming cry.
What is the worst game you’ve ever designed? What is your worst idea? Here’s mine.
For some bizarre reason, I decided to build a prototype based on driving home during rush hour. Right there, I should have said “wait, this is a terrible idea.” Who wants to play a game about commuting? Nobody, that’s who.
The goal of the game was to accomplish errands given to you and get home first. The game featured traffic, bad weather, wrecks, and other things to get in your way and hinder you. The primary mechanic, which is something I’d like to explore again at some point, was that people would pre-plan their turns, somewhat like Robo Rally. The idea was that you would need to anticipate the moves of your opponents, who may block you, either deliberately or accidentally.
In reality, everything was dictated by the player who pulled in front first. I was behind a friend who tends to be an incredibly cautious person. The result, was that for 3 rounds I didn’t move AT ALL. Meanwhile, my third friend was zipping around the board completing all of his errands. After the third round of zero movement I stood up, threw my cards down, and shouted “MOVE YOUR <EXPLETIVE> CAR!”
Everyone grew quiet.
My friend then broke out laughing. After a minute, he calmly stated “I think your game is too accurate. It perfectly brings out all of the joy of driving in traffic.”
I immediately threw the prototype in the trash and went elsewhere with my thoughts.
What’s your worst design?