June 13, 2024

Design x Dragoons: Stealing A Good Idea

Each week, our #DesignXDragoons panel will offer their thoughts on a talk about game design, game development, or gameplay.
You’ll see what they have to say, and get a chance to chime in yourself, either in the comments below, or in our forums

This week’s question:
What’s a great idea that you’ve seen in someone else’s game design that you couldn’t help but think “damn, I wish I’d thought of that first!” and did it inspire any of your subsequent design efforts?

Brian Train ~ Game Designer / Game Theorist

Oh, absolutely. I admit I snitch ideas, but I am always careful to name-check and give intellectual credit where it is due. One example is the Staff Card system that Joe Miranda introduced in Bulge 20 and BCT Kandahar. I really liked this, and took it and modified it to fit other situations… the Scheldt campaign of 1944 and a near-future invasion of Lebanon by Israel.


David Enteness ~ Designer/Owner, The Wargaming Company

Dice. They seem to have had a long term impact and a lot of flexibility to allow for various implementations. 😉


Steve Overton ~ Game & Scenario Designer

Card Assisted game mechanics. Combat Commander showed me that card driven games aren’t the way to go but that card assisted game mechanics can be a huge boost to the design.


Anthony Gallela ~ Game Designer / Convention Founder

I know I’ve thought that several times in my life but I can’t think of an example right now.


Jeff Horger ~ Game Designer / Owner, Labaratory H

I have not played it yet (I’m still finishing my design for Seas of Thunder) but I heard that Compass Games has a naval game where players randomly draw ports to activate the ships in those ports. We couldn’t use it in this game because it would destroy our balance. But it is something I want to get as soon as our game is off to the printer and play. Then see if I can use that mechanic in some other games.

In truth, I don’t even know if what I hear was true yet, but I think that is a great idea for a strategic naval system.


Dr. Mike Benninghof, PhD ~ Founder/Owner & Designer, Avalanche Press

Once Upon a Time, by Atlas Games.


Jim Werbaneth ~ Game Designer / Publisher, Line of Departure

There are really too many to count! My own philosophy is that it’s better to be effective than original, so I’m a shameless borrower.

Maybe the biggest case of this is in my Sadowa Campaign title for TPS. One of the last games that I developed for the company was Paul Rohrbaugh’s title on Vicksburg, and I liked the system so much that I lifted it, adapted it, and started over, using it for my game on the Austro-Prussian War. Paul knows exactly what I did, and as not only have I discussed this extensively so that he got full credit, but he developed my game!


Note: we are aware that this entire panel is made up of men.  We’ve reached out to multiple female designers, as well as the Women’s Wargaming Network that was brought together at Connections US this year.  To date, we’ve not heard back from anyone, even after holding the restart of this column for 3 weeks to allow for response time.

We appreciate you visiting the Armchair Dragoons!
Please join the discussion in our discussion forum, or in the comment area below.

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and once the plague subsides, perhaps at a convention near you.

Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

View all posts by Brant G →

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