how to create creative games

Here at Monkeyshine, we go bananas for creative games.

Because here’s the thing: if you leave enough room for imagination, people will come up with ways to tackle challenges you would have never thought of yourself. Pictionary is the most well-known example of such a creative game, but there are plenty of titles that use a similar game mechanic and take it to the next level.

Creative games like…

creative games imagine

IMAGINE (2015)

transparant cards let you stack and animate them!

lacks variation (…and those cards get greasy very quickly)

CRANIUM (1998)

clay is so much more fun than just ink on paper

lacks focus, a bit all over the place

creative games cranium
creative games creationary


using LEGO® blocks, so simple it’s genius

showing a picture of what you have to build leaves little room for imagination

CONCEPT (2013)

proves you can make absolutely anything clear with just the bare essentials and some creative logic

the scoring system is both elaborate and unnecessary

creative games concept

But while all those creative games are great, there’s often still something missing. Some spice, oomph, je-ne-sais-quoi, something to make it go from A to A++.

We’re game creators ourselves (in case you missed it) and one of the many joys is seeing just how imaginative players get when given the opportunity.

Our next game, BILDER, fits right in the above list of creative games where you “make the other players guess the topic” … but we learned some lessons and added some twists:

add another dimension

  • we think there’s only so much you can do with flat shapes
  • that’s why we took it to the 3rd dimension, and work with components that allow you to really build something instead of just drawing it
  • kudos to Cranium for their use of clay, we love getting our hands dirty

then add ANOTHER dimension

  • we think static is boring. The world doesn’t stand still, so why should your game?
  • that’s why we let players use motion for a more… animated gameplay
  • kudos to Imagine, because you can use the transparent cards as sort of “animation cells” making everything so much more interesting

a scoring system that matters

  • we think the reason few people actually keep score in these kind of creative games, is because the scoring system lacks imagination (ironically)
  • that’s why we want our game to have a meaningful victory condition and scoring system. Each card features a letter B, I, L, D, E, or R (with some wild cards in the mix). When a player can spell out “BILDER” with their cards, the game ends. That player gets extra points, but the others can still win if they collected enough cards during the game.

keep it challenging

  • we think it’s more exciting when things aren’t easy as pie
  • that’s why we include “HOW to bild” cards that make players’ turns more interesting: e.g. you can only use X number of pieces, the others have to work with/against you, there’s a time limit, … and plenty of others

…but don’t make it frustrating

  • we think nobody likes getting stuck
  • that’s why the letters on the topic cards (“WHAT to bild”) also indicate category of topic, giving players a clue when they have to guess

variety is the spice of life

  • we think monotony is, well, boring
  • that’s why we introduced challenges, special rounds that let you do something out of the ordinary


  • we think it’s frustrating to be told what precisely to do
  • that’s why we want to offer player lots of choices: pick WHAT you want to bild and HOW, challenges are always optional, you can use your unlimited imagination when bilding, etcetera
creative game bilder coming soon

Now you’re all caught up on the creation process, do you want to see how we used laser to make our prototypes? We got the just the post for you.

Did we miss something? Got anything to add? Drop us a line, we’d love to hear all about it.