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Building Game-Defining Mechanics

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GamesPrecipice
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Joined: 12/19/2013

How can we create "game-defining" concepts? These elegant mechanics and impressive components can hook an audience and can be a significant selling point to new players.

What makes these concepts work effectively in games? What are a few areas with largely uncharted territory for innovation? Let's look at some ideas:

http://www.gamesprecipice.com/building-gdc/

Questions for discussion:

What other areas exist that are ripe for innovation?

How else can we create these player-favorite mechanics?

NomadArtisan
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Joined: 12/12/2011
I think of game-defining

I think of game-defining mechanics as the 'core' of any game, not necessarily what makes the game unique or innovative. For this reason, I think that every single game has at least one game-defining mechanic.

That's more semantics though and not answering your question.

I want to challenge the status quo of customizable card games.
Decks for 40-60
Pure random shuffle
Draw limited cards per turn
Card effects exist to help you draw/dig through your deck (why do you need cards to fix a 'problem' caused by the rules?)

I'd love to see a customizable card game that does things differently. Blue Moon did this in my opinion, but I'm hard pressed to think of any others.

I think a good brainstorming exercise is to take a genre you like, analyze what all games in that genre have in common, and then see how you can change aspects of the archetype.

DifferentName
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Joined: 09/08/2013
Interesting topic

Interesting topic. I love thinking about how to do things differently to make something fun and unique. You can come up with a good start to a game simply questioning how things are usually done, to come up with a new twist to it.

NomadArtisan wrote:
I want to challenge the status quo of customizable card games.
Decks for 40-60
Pure random shuffle
Draw limited cards per turn
Card effects exist to help you draw/dig through your deck

I recently saw some stuff where Rob Daviau (creator of Risk Legacy) was talking about an exercise where you list all of your assumptions about a game, and this helps you to get ideas about breaking some of those assumptions.

Like your list of things people tend to do in card games. You don't have to break every one of those assumptions, but breaking one or two can lead to some innovative ideas. You mentioned drawing limited cards per turn... Maybe you can draw as many as you want, but doing so has a potential drawback? Costs more resources, or damages you? Maybe you still only get to keep one, and the ones you didn't keep are discarded, which can lead to you running out of cards.

Summoner Wars did an interesting thing with cards, where you can discard cards to get more magic points to play cards, and you draw back to a full hand every turn. This way you always have a choice between holding onto more cards so you don't run out too soon, vs spending many cards to get strong fast, with the risk of running out and having nothing left to finish your opponent in the end.

Masacroso
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Joined: 05/05/2014
I think the more important

I think the more important part to design a game, or maybe one of the more important, is imagining what situations and feelings you want your game create.

After this trying different mechanics you can see how much to get close where you want. Of course in the process you can discover new feelings/situations that are funny and fit the game on this.

By example: what makes people play poker? And chess? And baduk? And insert-your-game-here?

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