I believe that starting a game from the theme is impossible and untrue. When you say, “I’ll make a game based on Star Wars,” you’ve said absolutely nothing. All you’re doing is procrastinating the process of thinking about the mechanism.
So I prefer to be involved in the development process as early as possible. Publishers as well as authors don’t necessarily realize that we can contribute a lot through images, that it’s possible to work in depth on the link between mechanics and images. We can thus avoid having illustrations that only “paraphrase” the mechanics.
[…] There are many different factors a game reviewer has to take into account when it comes to developing an opinion about a game. Firstly, the game mechanics need to be examined for their originality, their coherence and their elegance. Flaws in this category often prove disastrous since the game will lack a proper backbone, but, on the other hand, a game which scores high in this area still is not necessarily a smash hit.
Often a mechanic hints at more than one potential theme, and some thought needs to be applied as to which will be most suitable. In the best instances, a good theme goes on to inform further refinements of the game mechanic. In some cases a theme is temporarily attached to a design […] before another theme subsequently emerges. […] Thus a design informs the theme and vice versa.