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What do you think of a game with several mechanics?

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nonopanda
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Joined: 09/16/2011

I have a friend who is designing a game. The idea is funny. However, it is mixed with three kinds of mechanics, which make the game quite long. The first course of bribing for partners by both sides and second course of escape and chase on a map could be quite funny. However, he would like to put more focus on fighting, which he would like to make customized heroes.
I recommended him to remove the third part. Yes, by a mixture of three or even four mechanics, players can experience more in the games. However, they tend to be puzzled and lost. They could not find which part they should focus on. Though you want them to fight in the end, they will still think bribing and escaping is important. And more mechanics you have, more difficult for you to keep balance.
What's your opinion? Hope could get your advice.

JaffetC
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Joined: 09/19/2011
Multiple Mechanics.

when it comes to games having Multiple Mechanics can bring variety to the game. However too many options sometimes is just too many. If the idea is to get from point A to point B, by doing X mechanic, then the game is simple. If you give an alternative method of achieving the same goal. While interesting doesn't change the fact that the players are still achieving the same end result.

So, sometimes a Mechanic should be used in such a way that not only achieves the same end result but has the possibility of altering scenarios, advantages, or even who can and cannot win on any given point of the game.

What are the themes, how do the mechanics best reflect the theme placed on the game is often a question that a designer should ask them selves.

a great example of a game that has too many mechanics in order to get to the end result is Android by Fantasy Flight Games. Don't get me wrong, its a fun game, however, every time I look at how many pieces are involved I tend to think "maybe another day..." and one of the biggest complaints I've read online about the game is the fact that there are too many mechanics to work with in order to achieve the same end result.

No matter what way we look at it, all games end up being "Get from A to B", however as designers it is up to us to make the games turn from "Get from A to B" into "You will get from A to B however, you will have fun doing it."

nonopanda
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you will have fun doing it

JaffetC,you said:"No matter what way we look at it, all games end up being "Get from A to B", however as designers it is up to us to make the games turn from "Get from A to B" into "You will get from A to B however, you will have fun doing it"
Yes, I agree. The most important is not the outcome, but laughing, communication and bargain all along with the game.

JaffetC
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nonopanda wrote:JaffetC,you

nonopanda wrote:
JaffetC,you said:"No matter what way we look at it, all games end up being "Get from A to B", however as designers it is up to us to make the games turn from "Get from A to B" into "You will get from A to B however, you will have fun doing it"
Yes, I agree. The most important is not the outcome, but laughing, communication and bargain all along with the game.

correct, so as long as everything fits, the game should be fun.

rtwombly
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Joined: 01/17/2009
I have a similar challenge

I have a similar challenge with my current design, trying to blend all the different mechanisms to support my central mechanic, which is an auction. I want the transitions to be natural and appear organic to the players...it all works in my head, but that doesn't always mean it'll work in print!

Maybe it would be helpful to brainstorm some existing games with a combination of mechanics. I'll start off with Agricola, just because I played over the weekend.

In 'gric, you are really playing a bunch of different mechanics, all fairly simple in themselves, with the central mechanic being worker placement. You can use your workers to "build", "upgrade", "draw", "draft" or "play (cards)". That's quite a hodge-podge if you think about. The brilliance of the design is how simple it seems when the board is laid out in front of you.

From this example I'd argue that most games are a combination of disparate mechanics. Even Carcassonne, bastion of simplicity-in-repetition combines tile laying with worker placement. The key, if you accept my argument, is combining the mechanisms so elegantly that they appear to belong together.

nonopanda, it sounds like your friend's game uses different mechanics in sequence, like "bribe"->"escape"->"fight"->"game over". Is that accurate or do the mechanics recur in a cycle? If they're cyclic, my analogy stands. If they really are modular, that's a different level of complexity than the example covers, but I dare say we could come up with better examples where a linear progression does work.

Cogentesque
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Joined: 08/17/2011
Vinegar Icecream

Heya panda!

I am not sure I have seen you before in these forums - I may be wrong, but if not, welcome to bgdf! You too wombley! hehe

Ok so, there is always a bit of confusion about mechanics in games. Check it. We'll use a different example to more easily draw conclusions that would apply to both situations.

Cooking!
If I asked you "Are there too many ingredients in this apple pie" I would say "I have no idea, but now my job (as the eater of said pie) is complete, I think your pie is DAMNED tasty, and whatever the hell you have or have not put in it ,all I know, and all I really care about is that it is ... a tasty pie"

Sometimes, as we all know, the lemeon zest, warm olives, polenta, garum flour and the creamy sauce on it - may well be a little much. But that is secondary to "is it good or not" - two different questions and only one is really important.

But at the same time, I can factually tell you that Vinegar and Icecream NEVER go wel together. I can just tell this compared to all the food I have ever eaten - it doesn't work ...
p.s. http://cookistry.blogspot.com/2011/08/balsamic-vinegar-ice-cream.html *sigh* thanks internet...

I digress, the point is that the players do not care about what specific mechanics that hte game uses. Only if the game is fun. If the game is no fun, the mechanics need changing.

Remember that examples of mechanics are "Dice rolling" or "Hand management" or "tile placement" or "guessing" - these are kind of irrelevant (see above about the pie) and only become important if I LOVE apples, or I specifically HATE watermelon - which is something that you can't easily negotiate around. Some people just fuckin' love cards. Myself included. Fun goes up 20% if I can shuffle cards. That is less important in your example though.

The thing that we need to really ask with your friends game is "Is it too long" and "is it too long/hard to learn" and "does the environment change too much" - these will all depend on the game iteself mind. It can have 20 mechanics but be short, easy to learn, ergonomic, elegant, simple and fun as well but as I have said - it depends on the game itself.

Now if the answer to any of the questions is "Yes" the game needs redressing. If it is too long: then change it (n.b. I am interested to see how empires of the void does on kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/953146955/empires-of-the-void-board-... "Playable in 2-3 hours" ??) Likewise, if the game is too hard to learn: change it. And finally, if the game changes setting too much and confuses people: change it. Otherwise, it's no problem and should be fun! :)

So to sum up: Make sure your pie has cinnamon in it, get rid of the vinegar if it doesn't suit but if it's tasty - its tasty. Don't make me spend to long trying to work out how to eat your pie, and don't give me half a pie, half a stack of pancakes, and half a steak - it will confuse me. On the other hand, steak pie with pancakes for desert sounds nice, as long as it's in the right order. And also I fuckin' love cards.

Hope I've helped buddy :)

bbl, going to make some vinegar icecream ¬_¬

Cog

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