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Seeking a list of mechanics...

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InvisibleJon's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008

Howdy All,

I've been tasked with creating a list, "as complete as reasonably possible with no more than a couple of hour's thought," of popular game mechanics for board and card games. I've been given a seed list to start, and I've scarfed the list from BoardGame Geek (both included at the end of this post). There's also a web tool that automatically generates board game design challenges that I'll try to find again.

Can y'all help me out, either by pointing me at a list or essay, or by offering additional mechanics? Cast as wide a field as you wish to. More is better than less.

Thanks! I sincerely appreciate it. I'll check back again in about six hours.


The Seed List:
Combo building (poker, Yahtzee)
Piece capture by replacement
Piece capture by surrounding
Piece capture by jumping
Simultaneous play
Real-time play
Trick taking
Tile laying
Roleplaying / individual victory conditions (these are probably actually separate mechanics)
Matching high dice (as in Risk combat)
Point attrition (as in MTG or Cthulhu Dice - this probably has a formal name but I don't know it)
Target score
Die-roll result table (which has some specific cases like CRTs which it might be worthwhile to enumerate)
Rules-writing (as in Nomic)
Tech tree, as in Civilization/RTS (the concept of improved powers and abilities was introduced along with the tech tree, but are the two inseparable?)
Last man standing
Catch-up mechanics
Leader-favoring mechanics

The BGG List:
Action Point Allowance System
Area Control / Area Influence
Area Enclosure
Area Movement
Campaign/Battle Card Driven
Card Drafting
Chit-Pull System
Co-operative Play
Commodity Speculation
Crayon Rail System
Dice Rolling
Hand Management
Line Drawing
Modular Board
Pattern Building
Pattern Recognition
Pick-up and Deliver
Point to Point Movement
Role Playing
Roll and Move
Route/Network Building
Secret Unit Deployment
Set Collection
Simultaneous Action Selection
Stock Holding
Tile Placement
Variable Phase Order
Variable Player Powers
Worker Placement

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010
Sub categories

Well, John, that's quite a list you have! But, as it always happens to me, I find it difficult to get it all at once, I tend to get mixed up and confused right about by the middle. I think is because there is no order among all of them, just alphabetical, wich is good if you are looking for the meaning of a word, but not if you are trying to cathegorize a game or viewing how many mechanics could there be regarding some specific element of a game. So,

I wonder if it could be arranged by sub-categories to make it simpler to use actually. For example,

- Hex-and-Counter
- Tile placement
- Modular Board, etc.

- Set collection
- commodity speculation
- combo building
- Last man standing, etc

- Voting
- Auctioning
- RPG, etc

Action "Issuance" (¿?)
- Worker placement
- Roll and move
- Card Drafting, etc

Action Resolution
- Area (all)
- Matching high dice (as in Risk combat)
- Rock-paper-scissors

This is a cathegorization right from the top of my head. I honestly doubt that BGGs have thought of it this way. I know there have being much debate over some of them. But, if you have the opportunity to rewrite history, maybe some order other than alphabetical would be appropiate.

Keep thinking!

InvisibleJon's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008

Thanks for the input, Pastor_Mora. I've accumulated a few other resources and I'll put them here later today, or perhaps tomorrow.

Later on, when I have time, I hope to use the information I've gathered to flesh out the Game Mechanics section of the BGDF.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
New hotness

Conspicuously lacking in your lists is the new hotness of game mechanics... Deck Building!

Ascension (saw it at GAMA)
Eminent Domain (Coming soon from Tasty Minstrel ;) )

There may be more I can't think of offhand. I'd wager a number of deck building games will surface in the next year or so.

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010
That a headline!

You are publishing Eminent Domain??? Good work!!! Do you have a release date?
Congratulations :)

red hare
red hare's picture
Joined: 11/09/2009
great resource

Go go Invisiblejon... I was just using BGG's search function to find specific games by category and it made me think of your project. Whatever list you come up with, I think it's important to consider how you want people to be able to access the information. Half the time I know a game or a group of games that use a game mechanic but I don't know what the mechanic is called. Being able to find out through a search is really valuable... just a thought...

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