Let me cast my memory back to Tuesday night where Ian, Dan and I huddled around a collection of gems as we played Dan’s As Yet Unnamed abstract bead game. I had given the rules a once over (easy to understand, just a few clarifications needed) and then we started to play. An elegant game, beautiful in its simplicity, like Othello. Dan wondered if the rules were clear. At the end of the game, I opened my hand to reveal the most gems. Yes, the rules were very clear. ;)

We discussed the fact that it might be hard to pitch a game which is essentially a sheet of rules one could use with spare change or common household objects. Dan said the hook would be cool, customized pieces. Zombies, perhaps. I agreed with his thinking.

Then Ian set up a game he had thought up on the drive over. It was actually more of a marketplace/resource generation mechanic that might be useful as part of a larger game. It involved a wheel of rotating prices. Buying an item made other items cheaper for other players. It had glaring problems, but the concept was cool and I could see it work as part of another game, as Ian suggested.

I had never played Salvage, so Dan brought that out. Marc arrived shortly thereafter and witnessed Ian’s vast Tool farm. I thought Salvage was well put together, but it failed to engage me like the brilliant Monkey Lab. Dan set the bar pretty high with that one. So if it were *monkeys* scrounging around a post-apocalyptic landscape, I’d totally buy into it.

Afterwards we discussed GenCon and Ian held forth about his deep love for Reiner Knizia. He shared a few poems he had written in the designer’s honor and we all kind of had a moment.

Ian brought up the idea of a Flywheel podcast. A monthly program in which we all dissected a game from a designer’s point of view. Rather than reviewing a game, we would deconstruct it, explaining why we loved or hated specific mechanics in the game. The podcast would also be an avenue for advertising our own games and raising awareness of our projects. We all seemed very interested in this idea. Once a month would have a small footprint on our busy schedules. Ian has the equipment, we’re all pretty tech savy, and I’ve actually done podcast work before.

Marc whipped out his Pangaea game and I was soon humbled by Dan and Marc’s wicked deployment of little blocks. Since there are so many games on the market involving settlers roaming about an island, I suggested that the game be re-themed to take place on a microscope slide, a world of amoebas and paramecium. Blank stares. Then I think Ian mentioned dinosaurs. Everyone loves dinosaurs!

At the end of the evening a design challenge was posed: Take your favorite game and transform it into a dungeon crawl. The components and essence of the original game must remain, but game play must involve “kicking in the door, killing the monster, taking its stuff.” Dungeons of Puerto Rico, anyone?