Reigns ($2.99) is a pretty fantastic game both in terms of it’s clever, Tinder-like mechanics and the silly storylines it creates. If you’ve played and enjoyed the game or even just want to learn more about the way developers come up with smart game mechanics, watch the GDC 2017 talk below by Francois Alliot, the game’s developer. He first talks about the combination of short- and long-game goals and then goes on to talk about the right things they did while developing the game and all the mistakes they made along the way. He talks about how they used the gameplay’s and tone’s constraints to come up with ideas and also how bifurcation were essential to designing both the mechanics and content.
The developer sees the approach that led to Reigns as messy and unstructured but also as very fruitful for indie developers. One of his main takeaways from designing the game was that constant iteration on a design—much like novelists and poets—works great for small developers. A great and insightful talk that’s worth your time.