On Brainstorms

Sometimes, games don't click right away. You may have 10% of an awesome game, or 90% of an awesome game already written. Filling in the last 90% might be really easy! Filling in the last 10% might be really hard. Design hits blocks and curves, and it's impossible to predict what will flow or what will trip you up.

I've been working on Gather. A LOT. But not necessarily on paper. A lot of it has been brainstorming and internal work, trying to hack out a reasonable solution to an issue I've been having with the rules. In this case, I wanted the end of the game to have some method of voting on both adding a new question to the game, and either removing a question or changing a rule of the game. But, I couldn't parse out how the voting would occur. 

I knew the voting system I had been toying around with was a little clunky and unnecessary. It involved a voting round with the tokens, then splitting them up evenly and voting again, while laying out every single card option for people to vote on. I worked on that and it shifted to an idea that those who voted on the question to ask and those to vote on what's removed/changed would be different. 

This is a hard design process to explain because the systems I'm talking about here are all very small mechanical systems. "How do I setup the voting phase". That's inherently a very tiny techy bit of the game, but I knew it was one that had been frustrating me. This issue has been what's held up Gather for literally five months because I just couldn't move forward on it until it was at least at a playable state I was proud of.

This morning I had a small breakthrough on that issue. I don't know if it's a perfect solution, but it will work for testing, and for getting the game to it's external playtest format, which I've been waiting for. 

Brainstorming is a very important part of the process, and sometimes a designer needs a lot of internal work time to crack a problem. Those stumbling blocks, sadly, can kill a lot of game ideas. But given time, they can be worked through. 

I say all of that to say, thank you for your patience as I've been working through this puzzle in my head ever since METATOPIA. Updates and content have been slower to produce because of it, but now with the Ten Candles Kickstarter complete, and the Gather problem solved (at least in some initial state) I think I'm in a good spot to dive back in. Thank you thank you thank you!