My own game of choice is role-playing games, and that’s a field that presents a problem that’s somewhat unique – whether as a player or an organiser, you actually have to come up with ideas for your own games. When you think about it, that’s quite a taxing project; in some ways it’s surprising that the concept took flight and managed to become as popular as it did. Many people think improv theatre is fun to watch, but many fewer would be prepared to be on-stage themselves, yet that is almost what role-playing games asks them to do.
So the question then becomes how can you produce enough interesting ideas? I recall hearing once that savants (aka “lightning calculators”) weren’t actually working out the answers when you ask them, they were constantly performing calculation after calculation, and then recollecting the answer when you ask. And the book Talent is Overrated makes the case that becoming good at something really is largely a function of practising it (albeit practising “the right way”), rather than a question of innate talents. Perhaps then by creating a stockpile of ideas and practising playing around with them – combining, extending, changing them – we can learn to become creative geniuses. Or at least amusing people to spend an evening with.