A theme and a name.
As discussed in the early entries of doing these makeovers, I prefer to start a game design from a theme, but by their nature, these makeovers start with one or more mechanics. Finally, though, I am theming this game as the last improvement for this first stage of development.
There is contradicting advice available in the marketplace of game design ideas about whether to present a game design to a publisher with or without a theme. In this case, I can see that basically, the game is an abstract and any theme is to make it more interesting. Obviously, the theme is not integral to the mechanisms since it is being applied to a mostly completed design. However, I have been thinking about the theme for this game over time and the theme I have in mind is not a wholesale paste-on. I think it fits quite well.
The theme came to me when I had the unfortunate experience of finding a packrat living under the hood of my truck in May 2014. (I don’t drive the truck often, especially in in the winter, as it is expensive to drive and I bought it primarily to tow trailers with horses or ATVs and that doesn’t happen often in the winter).
Unfortunately, I do not have the graphics skills to prepare a prototype that represents the theme well, but I do have some changes that are an attempt at evoking the theme while maintaining playability. At the same time I will try to apply some colorblind-friendly practices that my Uno-based prototype was lacking.
Working It Out
At last I have entered this game into the games section on the website as “Picky Packrats.” You can read the description and instructions there, but for those who have read this far, here’s the pitch!
In Picky Packrats you are packrats arranging the treasures you have collected in your middens (nests); adding treasures that you find by raiding the house or other packrat middens. You are very particular and want everything "just so." Unfortunately, you, like most packrats are forgetful, so you need to remind yourself of what treasures you have already packed away, while you try to arrange them in your midden to near perfection. When you really like where the treasures are, you can cement them into your midden. Once you or another packrat has either revealed everything or cemented everything in your midden, you compare middens. The pickiest packrat; the one with the most organized midden, wins!