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Mechanic of the Day, 10.01.08 Spacial Relations

Lets get this underway with Spacial Relations.

No, not friendship in space. I mean utilizing space on the board and sides of pieces in novel ways. When used properly, a mechanic that might otherwise be fiddly actually has a good tactile feel and creates an emotional connection to the action. Which is what we want, right?

-Two Sided Pieces. With two sided disks (both sides being different), you can track what has been activated for the turn, piece strength, numerical value and so forth. For example, Fearsome Floors has you turn over your pieces after you move to show which pieces have moved for the turn. Many military chit games, such as ASL, use double sided chits to show full and half strength squads, respectively, as units take fire and flip from full strength to half strength. Two (or more) sided pieces can also show ownership of a given piece by having the color of the player who owns it be face up.

-Game Board 'Switches'. Have areas of the board where a square bit sits on half of a rectangle. One half of the rectangle has one action icon showing, the other side has another action showing. During play, players may slide the square back and forth over the two sides of the rectangle to activate the actions (within limitations). Combined with the mechanic above, you could even show when a 'slider' has already been used by flipping over the square to the 'used' side as you slide it over.

-Tug of War. Have a track of varying resource amounts along one side of the board. As an action, you can move a marker toward 'your side' to gain resources. Also, if you manage to get the marker to the end of your side of the track, you get an added bonus. The catch is, focusing on moving the 'tug of war track' diverts your energies and attention away from other parts of the board, while ignoring it completely gives your opponent a decided advantage... what to do, hm?

My space has run out. So...

Keep on designing, yo!




Which games use your game board switches and tug of war mechanics? They both sound original to me - did you make them up?

Also these mechanics would appear to only work in 2-p games - any ideas on how to incorporate them to a multi-player game?

In the Shadow of the Emperor....

Io. In the Shadow of the Emperor uses a basic board game switch (among other cool things). The 'tug of war' is original.


Tug of War in Heir and Regent

My design-in-progress Heir and Regent has a tug-of-war system. It differs from Phil's notion in that it doesn't confer resources, but rather affects scoring.

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