Setting: You are a gnome scientist helping to map the gnome GNA. Teamwork is the best way to advance your research, but gnomes are grumpy and uncooperative, and besides only one scientist can win the Gnobel prize.
Background: we wanted a partnership mechanic of having to work with your partner to beat the other teams but still staying ahead of your partner. The tension we were looking to create is once you start to beat the other team you then think of competing with your own partner which in turn reduces your team's ability to beat the other team.
G.Nome is elegantly simple - it's not a deep strategic game and doesn't take the dynamic very far - but its a very nice tactical filler with a new mechanic and its lovely simplicity is what allowed us to test it fast enough to publish in one year.
I have to give total credit to my long time friend James Dickinson (and gaming partner from the age of 11), who came up with the core system. It instantly got table time and enough players excited that it has been well tested.