Gerrymandering (which can trace its origins all the way back to Cheese It, but is more accurately descended from Shyft) was an abstract game that I was looking to put a theme to. It wasn’t working out; it was technically functional, but it simply wasn’t where I wanted it to be. There was lots of brainstorming for a fix, but, as pointed out, there was a certain theme (three guesses, first two don’t count) that could fit. Finding the theme lead the game to what it is now. I kept refining the game to fit the theme over and over again until it actually resembles the effects of real world gerrymandering.
Brain Freeze is a recent creation, thrown together in a few hours. I started with a theme (eating at an ice cream eating contest while trying to mitigate brain freeze) and made a mechanic around it. It was functional, even somewhat fun, but the scoring was needlessly complex. So I had to fix that… but in fixing the gameplay the theme no longer fit. So I have to scrap the theme to fit the new game.
So, funnily enough, the game I started working on sans theme only came together when I attached a theme while the game that started with a theme eventually had to have the theme scrapped to save the game. Ironic, but that's how these things go.
Now for what I've been playing:
Slide 5, 4 players X2
Brain Freeze (title change pending), 3 player playtest X1, 4 player playtest X2
Suspend, 2 players