Inspiration for game designs comes to me in all times and places. In fact, I think a designer could make a game from just about anything. Although most of my game ideas are still in the boardgame realm, I occasionally think out of the box about other types of games. Call them "indie" or "alternative." Whatever they are, I think it's a healthy exercise, whether they get developed further or not. After all, it's this kind of thinking that brought us Facebook games, and most of us know how those turned out.
Following are two ideas I've been playing around with in my head for awhile:
HOW MANY LINKS?
A game that utilizes the internet and our familiarity with following links when searching for information online.
Players must have a computer with internet access. Two players or teams compete against each other. Each round, two topics are randomly drawn (from old-fashioned cards?) and the players bid, "Name That Tune"-style, on how few links each needs to reach the goal topic from the starting topic.
Once one player or team passes, the other player or team must prove they can do it, allowing them a certain number of "take-backs," as links do not always lead where you want to go. If they succeed, they score points (10 minus the number of links needed), and if they fail, the other team scores (10 minus the number of links bid).
A game that can be used to promote a group of area businesses, such as in a city quarter, small downtown or shopping mall. This can be a stand-alone event or part of something bigger.
Each participating shop has Maps of the area with the names and locations of all participating shops on them.
Each shop also has a stack of Goods Cards picturing one Good they sell (or service they provide).
Each shop also has a stack of Contract Cards, each card showing 3 alternative contracts that can be fulfilled. Each contract shows a Good/Service and a location where it must be delivered (another participating shop). The Maps also show which Goods/Services are available in which shop.
And finally, each shop has a stack of point cards or tokens for fulfilled contracts.
The players are customers who choose to participate in the game. Each player must start with 3 contract cards, go to the shops to get matching good cards, and deliver them to the correct shops. Each time a player makes a delivery, the shop takes their good card and contract card, and gives them a point card along with a new contract card.
Point cards can be traded in for discounts on goods/services from the shops, etc.