Game designer Stone Librande works at EA/Maxis as a game designer, and we mean he designs games quite literally. Whenever developers run into problems, they'll bring Stone in to create paper versions of the project in order to solutioneer a fix. He worked on Spore in the early days of the Cell Stage development, and had so much stuff rattling around in his head that he created a cell level game on the side of his refrigerator. For free.
He said they might not always turn out to be fun, but they do aid as a tool in the development process, especially since it's hard to get everyone to gather around a computer screen to check a problem out... but they'll actually come out of hiding to check out paper gaming pieces. We want to design a board game to fix issues at Joystiq, and then fight over who controls the pewter Justin McElroy gamepiece. Check out his "Aperture Science meets Left 4 Dead" board game above, and a gallery of more of his creations below. Just imagine what his board game collection must look like.