Shvili Games Blog

Choosing a theme for the board game

Development of the Meenakshi Temple board game started in 2019. Pavel Atamanchuk, the designer of the game, came up with the idea of the strategy game of constructing an ancient Greek or Roman temple.
It came from 2 key mechanics. One of them was that players actually build the temple with several floors in it, using statues of the gods as columns. Because of these columns, Pavel decided that it can be for example Athenian style temple.
The second mechanic was about cards with 5 types of actions that players choose every turn. Every action has a different place on different cards with different bonuses. And the higher action is the stronger it's a bonus. it was decided to present it through astrology. Every turn planets move through the night sky and they favor different players' choices.
I liked the game mechanics and the theme of 3d constructing an ancient temple. But the problem was that all Greek and Roman temples were mostly white. They have 1 floor and all statues are also white inside them. But players were using different colors of statues in the game. And these colors were corresponding to the colors of the actions. So we had to find a more suitable theme for the game.
After a few days of web search of different temples and ancient structures I found this image. Several magificent and colorful towers with a different number of levels. The Meenakshi Temple, an ancient masterpiece of Indian culture. It was it. The perfect hit into our game mechanic.
This discovery not only changed the theme of the game but guideline all the development process. It happens sometimes that theme and gameplay work together and fulfill each other. And this is how it happened in our game.