Somebody Copied My Game Idea…Years Before I Designed It

by Clint Miller on Friday, May 01, 2015


If you’ve dabbled in any game design before this has probably happened to you. You’re online and you discover a game with a VERY similar concept as yours. Sometimes almost eerily close. It’s already published and on BGG, silently giggling and mocking you. What do you do?

This is a common roadblock that can bring your design process to a screeching halt. It’s very demotivating to think somebody already produced your idea and you’ll be seen as unoriginal or, even worse, a copy cat. When this happens (and it most certainly will at some point), don’t lose hope!

Embrace it. Go ahead and read that game’s BGG page. Find out how the mechanics work. Find a video of it in action. Consider this research. Now look a little more. Filter BGG by your shared mechanic or category. Spend an hour or so finding as many games as possible that ARE similar to yours.

Now that you have this data, focus on what makes your game different. Can you add a twist to a common mechanic your competitors share with you? How can you change your flavor to be more unique? Is your target audience different? Maybe the games you saw are medium weight and your game is a quick-playing gateway. Whatever it is, find what makes your game special and lean into it. 

Ideas are a dime a dozen but execution is what really matters.

Leave a Comment

Nathan Thomson 12 months ago said...

This is great. This totally happens all the time. There are too many great games out there to know them all!

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