I recently started following a blog called Inspiration to Publication, all about two game designers and their quest to publish their games. They've already had moderate success, and their newest game, Train of Thought, looks to become a "new classic." I know it's an oxymoron, but apparently that's what you call such things.
Anyway, one older post, they provided a game design challenge for budding game designers. They gave it just after a post about where inspiration comes from. The challenge was to come up with a game concept drawing inspiration from five different categories: theme, mechanic, title, genre, and components.
I thought I'd take them up on their challenge, so here are my ideas.
Theme: Using small robots to prevent a mine from completely caving in
This would be a cooperative board game with a lot of randomization. The players are miners who have become trapped by a cave-in, and need to use their remote-controlled robots to move to different areas of the board and prevent various disasters--flooding, cave-ins, damaged power cables, etc. A disaster deck would pile on the tension while players try to coordinate their efforts and free themselves from the cave.
Mechanic: Multiplayer card game where cards flip when players change sides/roles
This is a sci fi/horror themed game for three to ten players. One player starts as the Host with a Host deck and goes around infecting the other players. All other players start as humans, with Human decks. Their cards are split down the middle width-wise, and when they become infected, they turn the cards over and use the Infected side to help the Host.
Title: Counting Coup
A chess-like game on a six-by-six board where pieces represent Native American warriors attempting to gain the most coup by showing their bravery using different maneuvers and tactics. Certain moves are very risky but earn a great deal of coup, while others are safer but earn less coup. The player with the most coup at the end of the game wins.
Genre: Party game
A card-based version of musical chairs. Players each have a starting hand of four cards, except for one player who begins an extra card. Players must rapidly exchange cards on a one-to-one basis until someone has a complete matching set of four cards. That player wins bonus points, but cannot have a starting hand of five for the rest of the game. Each player gains points for having a pair or three of a kind. But watch out! The player with the Dud card gets no points that round! Play continues until all players have had a starting hand of five cards.
Component(s): Rubber bands
I have a few ideas for using rubber bands in a game. The one I like the best is a building game. Players take turns rolling a D3 (a six-sided die with two 1s, two 2s, and two 3s) and balancing that many blocks on top of each other. Then each player takes a turn shooting a rubber band at a particular stack to try and knock it down. They must shoot from the opposite side of the board, and their hand cannot be over the board when they shoot. The first player to successfully stack five blocks atop each other wins.