Skip to Content

Another proposed TiGD series: "Game mechanics"

6 replies [Last post]
jwarrend
Offline
Joined: 08/03/2008

Ok, there are about a gazillion mechanics out there, so this could be a very looong series! I'd like to keep it to a list of 5 or 6 mechanics that are in some sense representative, and maybe we could come back to the discussion of mechanics every now and again.

The idea with this series would be to explore a specific mechanic each week. How does the mechanic work? What games use the mechanic? What kind of player experience does it create? What problems is it prone to?

Some possibilities:

Roll and move
Action point allowance
Simultaneous action selection
Auctions (possibly a series unto itself...)
Trading/deal-making
Trick-taking

Or, perhaps it would be interesting to focus on some of the "newer" mechanics that seem to be in the process of becoming popular, particularly the "role selection" mechanic from Verrater that has been extended to great effect in Citadels and Puerto Rico. Are there other mechanics that are "new" and used in several games?

Feel free to chime in with other "important" mechanics, or ideas about how these discussions could be structured to be maximally useful. Or, propose a completely different series!

-Jeff

DarkDream
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Another proposed TiGD series: "Game mechanics"

Jwarrend,

I think you have a good list of topics to discuss on mechanics. I would suggest making auctions a series on to itself. Auctions are such a common use in games and there are lots of variations (blind auction, once around and so on), I don't think one post would do it justice.

I think it would add a certain historical dimension as well to have the oldest types of mechanics discussed first. "Roll and move" started thousands of years ago, but the most well known game that uses this mechanic is Monopoly.

This is the approach I would use. Start with the basics (dice, cards, spinners and so on) and make a series out of it. For dice, my series would be:

1) Roll and Move
2) Decide an outcome based on symbols on dice
3) Highest roll wins plus modifiers
4) Roll many dice and pick one

I think you get the idea. Next I would go into cards:

1) Pick a random event card.
2) Card that indicates movement or action.
3) Cards as resources.
4) Highest card played wins.

I would start with the basics first and then incorporate them within specific mechanics.

Just some ideas.

--DarkDream

SVan
Offline
Joined: 10/02/2008
Another proposed TiGD series: "Game mechanics"

I'm not all that interested in the oldest of mechanics, especially roll and move, but I like DarkDream's suggestion that we focus on the mechanics of the part of the game, like the dice, cards, etc. I think instead of the discussion focusing on specific mechanics, it could be more of how the mechanics work with certain parts of the game.

However, I also believe there should be mechanics that deserve their own spotlight, as in the variable player powers, action points (a favorite of mine), choosing player's roles (as in Puerto Rico) and other unique or easily adaptable mechanics.

I was reading on BoardGameGeek a list that talked about mechanics that were used too much. I think there's a reason that these mechanics are used a lot, (in my opinion) is because they are easy to adapt to any game. Auctions and action points came up in the first three mechanics listed and their inclusion doesn't surprise me at all.

If there was to be a series on a particular mechanic, we could spend one session on variants, one session on why it is so popular (for the popular ones), one session on how adaptable it is (some of these could be combined as well), etc.

I'm very interested in discussing mechanics and all of the subjects we have going right now. Thanks for getting this back up here, Jeff!

-Steve

DavemanUK
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
tile placement

I'd quite like to see 'tile placement' in the list for its aesthetic beauty of a completed game (Carcassonne, Acquire, E&T, Fresh Fish, Metro).

Dave.

Caparica
Caparica's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2008
Another proposed TiGD series: "Game mechanics"

SVan wrote:
I was reading on BoardGameGeek a list that talked about mechanics that were used too much. I think there's a reason that these mechanics are used a lot, (in my opinion) is because they are easy to adapt to any game. Auctions and action points came up in the first three mechanics listed and their inclusion doesn't surprise me at all.

Action Points is such a clever concept that the first time I saw it I got a wow experience.
Does anybody know which was the first game to ever use it?

Caparica
www.2concept.com/games

Caparica
Caparica's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2008
Another proposed TiGD series: "Game mechanics"

caparica wrote:
Action Points is such a clever concept that the first time I saw it I got a wow experience.
Does anybody know which was the first game to ever use it?

So I will try to answer my own question...
I made a query at BGG and got that the oldest game to use action points is Summit. It is from 1961, I never played it, and to be sure I never even know that this game ever exists...
So if anyone ever played, it was really the first?

Caparica
www.2concept.com/games

jwarrend
Offline
Joined: 08/03/2008
Another proposed TiGD series: "Game mechanics"

I could be way, way off here but I *think* that Tikal is sort of considered as the principal innovator of what is commonly thought of as the "action point allowance" mechanic. I suspect that you could find older games in which a player has several choices of actions he can take, but Tikal, I think, moved this forward by saying, instead, that a player has a set number of *points* to spend, and different actions have different point costs. This is a huge aid to the designer in terms of being able to balance unlike actions.

A true "expert" of the German games scene could address this more fruitfully, but at any rate, we'll be talking about Action Point systems next week, with SVan moderating, so hope we can dig into it more then!

-Jeff

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut