Board game design diary #2 O mechanic, where art thou?

The board game design diary of “Movie Empire” (Part 2).
So a lot of ideas were written on tiny papers. Tiny papers were torn. More ideas were written on more papers. The papers were getting bigger.

The first version I was following for weeks was a good representation of the movie production process. The golden production management triangle, lots of resources, many phases during one round. I thought I’d cracked the code and that felt preeeeetty good.

Especially the idea with the production triangle seemed great. You always have the 3 attributes fast, good and cheap. But with any movie you can only have 2 attributes at a time. This state (“ok, in this round there’s only cheap and good movies, but they’ll take a while to make”) could be triggered by the game itself but also by other players.

Oh, and by the way, on the image you’ll see the first version of Mr. Grumpy. Just a licensed stock image that did fit my vision of the old, unsympathetic movie producer – months before I hired illustrator Allan Ohr, who gave Mr. Grumpy his now iconic look.

But after some playtests it was very obvious: the whole game was way too bloated. There was too much to keep an eye on and also too much downtime for players between turns. I was devastated. And then I scrapped much of the mechanics and started over.

I just had to find a way for integrating mechanics that were interesting and not bloated but always in accordance to the theme of movie production.

All game design diary entries

Follow me along on my journey on a bumpy road from the first idea to the (hopefully) delivered board games.

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