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Bag-o-trik's

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Triktrak
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Bag-o-mechanics. In my years of trying to create games, I have come up with dozens of interesting mechanics that I have never been able to fit into a game. In fact I believe I have sabotaged various creative efforts of mine by not having an open mind, and trying to fit my precious mechanics in. Since I have only created 1 game (not including The Metagame, see journal), I seems that I am missing something, or going about things the wrong way; putting the cart in front of the horse and that sort of thing. Even though they inspire me, maybe cool mechanics are not the place to start? Where have you started planning on a realized game? Has anyone created a game based on a neat mechanic they have come up with?

Example mechanic: Imagine 9 playing cards laid out in an inverted pyramid fashion (none overlapping). Four on top, Three centered underneath those, and finally two centered underneath the previous three. Each card has a value and perhaps some other function (depending on where you want to take this mechanic). Players strive to be 1st at something (again this is flexible) allowing them to take their pick (one card) from the top row of four cards (more cards = more flexibility in getting what you want= relative advantage), the second place player gets to choose one card from the second row, the third place player must pick from one of the two cards in the third row. For the sake of simplicity let’s stop at 3 players. After the players make their selections, the cards all move one place down the pyramid. Starting with the bottom row, a card is placed to fill in the gap from the second row, this must be the lowest value card from the superior row. Next, the lowest value cards from the top row is used to fill in the gap in the second row. Finally a random card is placed to fill the gap in the top row from a face down pile. That’s it! What else to do with it I’m not clear on. What the cards “do” and how you get priority ranking seems to escape me. Suggestions accepted.

Challengers
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Bag-o-trik's

Triktrak wrote:
Even though they inspire me, maybe cool mechanics are not the place to start? Where have you started planning on a realized game? Has anyone created a game based on a neat mechanic they have come up with?

The ability to create a game from a mechanic depends on whether that mechanic reminds you of a game. Your brain is wired to categorize information as efficiently as possible. Perhaps you've heard about experiments that have proven the following:
It takes your brain longer to respond to a request for a member of a set, if it is first told to think of a super-set of the requested set, rather than the reverse. For example, think of the letter "P". Now, think of of a fruit that begins with the letter "P". Your response takes longer than if you had been asked to think of fruits, then asked to think of a fruit beginning with the letter "P". I believe it has to do with the fact that you've already filtered out things-that-are-not-fruits from your short-term memory.

Anyway, while reading your post, since I knew I was supposed to come up with a game, my mind was already on games. As I continued reading, Solitaire and tableaux filtered through. But, pyramids made me think of Nim. This allowed me to start thinking of deterministic outcomes.
when you mentioned "values", I suppose the "9" and "3" in your text subliminally confined my thinking until I came up with the following:

Here is a simple game using this mechanic.
Let's call it Triskedecaphobia
The object of the game is to avoid holding three cards whose sum is 13.
The deck consists of 36 cards, with the following distribution:

    four 1's five 2's
    six 3's
    five 4's
    five 5's
    four 6's
    three 7's
    two 8's
    two 9's
The first round goes the way you stated (A from top, B from middle, C from bottom).
The cards are move down according to the mechanic.
The right to move first shifts clockwise.
After the third round, players compare cards. If a player has exactly 13, he loses. If a player has more than 13, he must swap his highest valued card and swap it with the lowest valued card on the bottom row. (This has the effect of eliminating any advantage to the person playing third - who otherwise would always have low cards from which to choose). If this swap causes his hand to equal 13, he loses.

After any swaps are completed, each player secretly discards one card from his hand.
From now on, each round is played like the third round.
Play continues until two players have lost or the deck is depleted.
If there is no clear winner, the winner is the player with the highest
total.

Having just made this up, I have no idea if it "breaks".

I was actually wondering if I understand the mechanic:

6 7 8 9
3 4 5
1 2

Player A chooses 7, Player B chooses 3 and player C chooses 2

Before sliding cards down, the pyramid looks like this:

6 - 8 9
- 4 5
1 -

Now, it seems like 4 must move down, and 6 must move down.
So before plucking random card, the pyramid looks like this:

- - 8 9
6 - 5
1 4

After plucking a card (say "9"), the pyramid ends up like this:

9 - 8 9
6 - 5
1 4

Is this what you intended?

Mitch

[/]
Triktrak
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Bag-o-trik's

Very close, except that the pyramid should be completely filled in with cards, so I guess that means two cards must filter down from the top to the middle level, and that two random cards must fill in the top level. Otherwise, I guess it would be broken. I like your Trikadekaphobia idea, but wouldn't you always be able to get out of having a total of thirteen if you had two different cards to choose from? I guess if you had to pick from a row with all the same number, you might get burned, but that doesn't seem that likely.

Here would be the corret (improved version).

6 7 8 9
3 4 5
1 2

6 - 8 9
- 4 5
1 -

- - 8 9
6 8 5
1 4

9 2 8 9
6 8 5
1 4

Challengers
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Bag-o-trik's

Triktrak wrote:
I like your Trikadekaphobia idea, but wouldn't you always be able to get out of having a total of thirteen if you had two different cards to choose from? I guess if you had to pick from a row with all the same number, you might get burned, but that doesn't seem that likely.

Here is a possible refinement:

Deal the 9-card pyramid, then deal out 3 cards face-down to each player.
The remaining 18 cards form the draw pile.
Arbitrarily decide who goes first. The right to move first shifts clockwise.
Each player is responsible for the welfare of their hand and one set of cards during the round. Whoever goes first is responsible for the middle row. The person going second is responsible for the bottom row. The person going third is responsible for the three chosen cards.
The responsibility is simple: At the end of the round, neither your hand nor your set can total 13. Since your pick dictates which cards ultimately make up your set and/or your hand, you should choose wisely.

First player chooses any card from the top row. Next he must discard any of the four cards from his hand, face-up in front of the third player.
Second player does the same thing, except she picks from the middle row.
The third player chooses a card from the bottom row and discards one of the four cards from his hand, face-up onto the other two discards.
Now, according to the mechanic, the lowest card from the second row slides down to the bottom row. The two lowest cards from the top row slide down to the middle row. Finally, two cards are taken from the top of the draw pile and placed on the top row.

Now, players must reveal their cards.
If there is a total of 13 in any hand or any set, except top row, the affected player receives one point. The cards are gathered, reshuffled and a new round begins.
If nobody has 13, the cards are not reshuffled. The third player tosses the three chosen cards into a face-down discard pile.

In either case, the right to go first passes clock-wise to the next player.

Play continues until one player accumulates 13 points. The winner is the person with the fewest points.

Mitch

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