Today, I was watching a video on YouTube as part of Geek Week and one of the people stated that if you have created a game then you are an Uber-Geek! Well, I have created several games over the years and have notes on so many more that if I could ever get a gaming company off the ground we would have material for years and years to use. So, I thought I would take a moment and share some of my gaming ideas that have amounted to nothing … so far!
Before I venture into games that I created that would be played around a tabletop, I thought I might discuss a little history. I actually created my first game back in what would be middle school. It was eighth grade (about 1984) and I was introduced to the Commodore PET computer. My school had gotten a “Computer Lab” and I immediately signed up for the after school classes. Within a couple of weeks, I was programming BASIC programs and saving them on cassette tape. Yes, cassette tape! The first game I created was a “Pong” clone. After that, I created a clone of that game where the snake goes around gobbling up food and growing until you hit yourself and end the round. I even toyed with an ASCII drawing game that would save your “designs” to the cassette tape. It was a fun time and I totally blew away the teacher. All I really did was read the instruction book which included instructions on how to program in BASIC and I was off.
After that, I went to high school and discovered the “Ultima” game series which I loved. Over the next couple of years, I would create two different Ultima clones each with their own story. One was written in Prolog and the other in PASCAL. I caught the attention of some people but it never really went anywhere.
That brings me to the late 1990s and my playing of Magic: The Gathering. I loved the idea but sought to find a way to make the game more accessible to players who did not like it’s Dungeons and Dragons roots. I then created my first tabletop card game.
GOSPEL THE GAME:
This was the first game that I created that you could play around a table with actual people. The first iteration of this game involved a close to Magic clone where someone would be a demon players and someone would be christian players attempting to win the souls of man. It was OK but suffered from something that most Christian games do. What I mean is that most Christian games either are heavy on game-play and really light on Christianity (many times to the detriment of the Christian concepts) or the other way around (leaving horrible to play games). I have yet to find one that gets the balance right. I created the cards and we did play-test but this first iteration needed work.
In early 2000s, I decided to retool the game. I think I was ahead of the gaming curve on this one as I changed the game to be a semi-cooperative in that you can help yourself win the game by helping other players. The concept of cooperativeness is something that only recently (circa 2006 forward) has had a big grip on board and card gaming. In the game, players would each have their own deck that they would draw from and play cards out of into the play area. They would then use the cards played (like characters) to attempt to overcome adversities. If you could not overcome then you could ask people to help you and there were even special “FELLOWSHIP” cards that aided in helping other players. If the adversity was overcome, all players involved increase their SPIRITUALITY until one player reaches MATURITY. The graphics and game play were tweaked over several passes and the game was play tested extensively. In addition, this game was pitched to several companies but they all felt it was too nitch to go to market. And they were probably right.
STARGATE : CUSTOMIZABLE CARD GAME:
Somewhere in the mid-2000s, I came up with a new card game mechanic concept and decided to use that concept to create a Stargate card game. At this time, Stargate had two series on the then SciFi channel. I took the first season of Stargate SG-1 pilot episode and scanned images for the cards. I then created something like a hundred cards in two player factions; the Humans and the System Lord Apophys. the concept was a head to head battle for the overarching struggle between humanity attempting to free the universe and the system lords attempting to enslave it. I had thoughts of creating other system lord decks like Anubis and Ba’al and so on. I pitched the card game idea to MGM. I actually sold the concept to them but the rights had been sold to another company. I contacted that company and they were accepting submissions. In the end, they accepted a ton of submissions and had a competition. Mine was one of the five finalist selected. They took the five finalist and put them out to play test groups to vote on a winner. I am told that I came in a very close second (which as my daughter points out is the first place LOSER) and they proceeded with the other design. I don’t mean to knock the other design, but one of the things it missed was the Stargate itself. My concept included a special STARGATE card that potentially altered the game-play to similate how the battle could shift in different directions depending on what planet they had crossed through the stargate too. But alas, my Stargate card game ended there.
SPACE BATTLES CUSTOMIZABLE CARD GAME:
Following on the disappointment of coming so close and yet missing the mark, I decided to take the card game design concept that I had created and make my own game. Back then Kickstarter was not around and I am not sure how I would have ever produced it. But there it is.
At first, I created an entire universe called “Alliance” (then later “Sundered Stars“) that included an intergalactic counsel of twelve ruling houses (and humanity was the new kid on the block with no seat on the counsel to start) that bickered amongst themselves and have many squabbles. These squabbles would be the basis for the game in the creation of faction decks that would include starships as the basic unit and then characters would be starship upgrades and go from there. I was able to hand write out the cards and play test this and it was cool. However, my lack of artistic ability to create all the artwork for the cards of starships and alien races stopped me from following through on this theme.
At that time, there was a big push in the fan films to create Star Wars fan films and submit them to the Fan Film awards. I decided that I would take my game concept and apply it to the greater JEDI/SITH war and use images from all the Fan Films as the basis for the cards. It was going along really well when things in life just got in the way. I think this would have been awesome idea if I had continued with it and today you could get permission from everyone and then use Kickstarter to get the game out there. cards,However, I hear Disney is not as open to Fan Films as Lucas was and it might not have gotten far. But I think it is a cool idea and I think the overall game mechanics would provide hours and hours of fun for people.
After that I focused on other things for a while but would make notes whenever I had a game idea. I have a lot of notes.
Oover the last year or so, I have toyed with the idea of retooling Gospel: The Game into a fully cooperative game with a single player deck that all players draw cards from to play collectively attempting to defeat adversities called CHRISTIANITY. I actually think this would work well, but I have gotten a bit discouraged when my lack of artistic talent has left many of the cards without good artwork. So at the moment it sits. In addition, I had what I thought was a great idea for a combination alien invasion and mafia/werewolf style game but again my lack of talent in the artwork department has put the game on hold. I can envision what the pieces should look like, I am just unable to create them myself.
In the end, none of those ideas made it into the market and they sit in a box somewhere in my house or on my computer. As mentioned earlier, I have a ton of ideas that could be made into a huge series of games. For example (to name a few): Christianity (Card/Board Game), Sundered Stars (RPG,CCG/LCG/Board Game), Invasion (Card/Board game), Adventure Chess (Mixed Card and Board game), and many many more. I am constantly coming up with ideas and making some notes here or there. All I really lack is the money to put together a team to take all of these from concept to design to market and maybe one day I will have that. For now, these ideas just sit but it has earned me the Uber-Geek Achievement!
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