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Looking for mechanics in unusual places

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Joined: 11/12/2012

I've been developing a heist game and working though a number of challenges in handling the mechanics. The biggest challenge is avoiding making another Munchkin clone of flip obstacle, throw numbers at obstacle, next player goes. In looking for something new and unusual, I decided to look back at some games from my childhood to see if there were any mechanics worth mining. I came up with a few that seemed interesting (not all align with a heist game, but could be useful for other designers).

  • Memory matching (Concentration): This could be used as a way to uncover an opponent's assets or the layout of their base in a war game, perhaps.
  • Roll-and-move: Could be combined with a worker placement mechanic, or given more control with different dice sizes for more decision making.
  • Binary Question Deduction: "Is he wearing a hat?" "G5" Questions with a yes-no response maintain enough objectivity to not break a game, while giving players more freedom in what they're doing, all while finding a solution to a challenge.
  • Snakes & Ladders: Not the literal game, but the idea that certain points along your progress can be particularly beneficial or detrimental. You'd need a good reason for it, though (i.e., 5 pentacles summons a demon, setting you back 3 points).

What other games or out-of-the-ordinary mechanics have you encountered that could be leveraged into a new, more robust game?

Full article on my blog

Corsaire's picture
Joined: 06/27/2013

Dexterity... Kerplunk mechanic for seeing if you can snag an item during the heist. Or Jenga like retrieval. Or SlapJack to see who gets the valuable item

Construction... Mousetrap type of thing or one of those etch-a-sketch maze and ball things to determine an outcome

Multi-layered map with a clear plastic top layer

Pictionary... create a cooperative game where you can only communicate about game moves through picures (ooh, I like this potential)

Careers... record your intended score balance objective before the game starts

I could see any of these integrated into a heist-themed game.

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