when you see a game just like one you've thought about...

edited November 2009 in Story Games
So the wife the kid and I left the house on friday to brave the crowds and mourn over how little money we truly have. While browsing through Barnes & Nobles I noticed that the one I went through that day had some different games available. Two of which were The Tomb and Cosmic Encounter. After looking at the back of these boxes I remorsed on how similar these ideas were to ones I already had but with attractive game pieces and published and in a major chain. Disgusted, I threw an internal hissy fit and resolved to find out more so that i don't mimic an existing game that i'm aware of.

1. do you know anything about these games? fun? as good as the box looks?

2. what's your reaction when you see something in the market similar to what you've been thinking about?


  • Cosmic Encounter is teh awesome, and the Fantasy Flight edition is both beautiful and resolves a number of awkward rules questions that had cropped up over the years.Here is a review of the game.

    And when I discover that a game has been made that was similar to something I was thinking about, I rejoice, because I can skip straight to the "playing the game" bit without having to do the "designing the game" bit. This was my precise reaction to Annalise: "Someone made the vampire game I've wanted to design! Now I don't have to!"

    Seth Ben-Ezra
    Great Wolf
  • I'm with Seth. If someone makes it, I can go on to another idea confident in the knowledge that I'm taken care of.

    On the other hand, if it's an idea I really care about and I'm really into, I forge ahead. The chances of two people designing the same component-heavy dungeon-crawl game is pretty low. If you're truly inspired and work your ass off, you'll probably make a good game, and there's always room in the world for another good game.
  • Cosmic Encounter is a classic. My high-school D&D group used to play it a lot circa 1980. I believe it invented the notion of variable player powers that create exceptions to the basic rules, and of add-on packs that create more of these exceptions, which makes it a direct ancestor of the collectible card game as we know it.

    BoardGameGeek.com is a good place to research board/card games — the games are indexed by all sorts of criteria, so you can look up whether something already exists that combines particular mechanisms or themes or whatever.
  • Actually, I had a similar experience to Seth, but it wasn't as exciting.

    I had been working on a wuxia game for a while when I heard someone describe Mist Robed Gate and I thought "Wow. That's everything I want to do, only it sounds like someone else did a better job."

    My disappointment might have something to do with the fact that I wanted to enjoy designing the game and maybe even impressing people with the cool thing I made. I guess I could still make my game, but it seems sort of pointless now.

    Although, I might go back to it after I get a copy of Mist Robed Gate, so I can make sure I'm doing things differently.
  • I think I'm with FigureFour in that the thrill of designing the game is in the mix of emotions. I would probably get a great thrill out of both the games I mentioned but there I was riding the wave of pride for fun ideas in my head. I'll probably still jot down my similar ideas at least with the knowledge that something else exists and think about that fact in the design process.

    I ran across a similar feeling when writing/designing Gear Crazy. There are lots of game similar already even though they weren't pen and paper rpgs. At least in my brief research. Curse you, Pride!
  • If you Must. Design. The. Game. then you will, regardless. It's a demon you have to exorcise.

    Otherwise, yeah, what Seth and Tony said. I usually* design a game because it doesn't exist and I want to play it. If Vincent** has already made the perfect game for that idea (he's always doing that, the fucker) then I can move on to the next thing and enjoy playing right now. Saves me a lot of headache.

    *I said usually. There's been the occasional demon.

    **Or Luke.
  • The original Cosmic (with all the expansions and Lucre thrown out) is awesome. The slightly-more-recent version is mediocre, but very pretty. The actually recent version I haven't played yet, but is probably better since it has more alien powers (or "the fun part," as I think of things).
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