An idea hit me (as seems to happen often) while driving home from my weekly session with The Greenville Mafia, my gaming group. When I got home I spent the next three hours writing the design document for (working title) CASTLE KEEPER.
The premise is that players represent companies that run tourist operations at European castles. The objective is to become the dominant company in that niche. To do that, players need to acquire control rights to properties in strategic countries, becoming the leading players in them and the regions of which they're a part. They get a cash infusion to start; after that, they must fund expansion through revenue from operations.
I had an inordinate amount of fun making this game! I constructed a mathematical calculation to determine the cost and value of specific castles, based on their actual condition and current use - so all the numbers are derived from real-life information. Each castle has a portrait from its Wikipedia entry on its card, making the card something of an education and an advertisement to the players.
I screened perhaps 400 castles and selected 200 as game candidates, based on having enough potential tourism potential, enough information, and a suitable picture. I later trimmed the list to 126 for inclusion. I perhaps jumped the gun a little by including Scotland as a country - the citizens decided otherwise while my game was out to be printed! Oh well, I can fix that when I do revisions.
My copy of PhotoShop Elements got a workout as I designed the cards, and eventually I sent the files to Print & Play Productions of Vancouver, WA (shout-out to Andrew Tullsen, the owner!) to make my prototype.
Comments from the Mafia are very positive. This one might have legs!