Ingredients for invention

Ingredients for invention

I invented Cooperation Cube on a flight from Tokyo to Syracuse.

When I think back to that flight, three key ingredients stand out that I believe can be generalized for anyone trying to invent something new:

  1. Have a High-Level Concept
  2. Articulate Your Taste (What Do You Like?)
  3. Put Yourself in a New Environment

Have a High-Level Concept

I knew I wanted to create a "3D board game" - something physical, not just a flat board, and not merely an RPG or tabletop game with miniature characters.

If you don't have a high level concept, it's like playing charades without an initial word to act upon.

Articulate Your Taste (What Do You Like?)

There were elements and game mechanics I appreciated about the games I had played in the past:

  • Hearts: I liked that you could "shoot the moon". What might seem like a stroke of luck, going from last to first right at the end, is often well-thought-out strategy from start to finish.
  • Catan: I appreciated the high level of interaction between players through trading and cooperation.
  • Mafia: The elements of trust and deceit provided an interesting dynamic.
  • Dominion: I enjoyed that there wasn’t just one path or strategy to victory, offering various approaches to explore.

Having this list of ingredients in mind provided me with a starting point, a puzzle to solve, intertwining these favored mechanics into a new, cohesive gameplay experience.

Put Yourself in a New Environment

It's vital to stimulate your senses with something new - a new place, sounds, and smells. However, it's not only about introducing new scenery. The environment also needs to be conducive to focus, enabling you to be alone and distraction-free so you can enter a state of deep concentration. For me, 13 hours alone on a flight did the trick.