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'Euro' abstractions in traditionally theme-heavy genres: are they worth it?

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andrzej.probulski
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Joined: 05/14/2019

tl;dr Do you find it more difficult to get your ideas across (both in terms of teaching the rules and conveying a desired feel/theme) when using mechanics that are a) abstract b) usually not associated with a particular game genre? Is the choice worth it especially if it allows to use a single more abstract mechanic in a couple of situations rather than coming up with a different and more 'simulationist' mechanic for each of them?

For a while now I've been fascinated with the 'Euro-American hybrids' - GF9's Sons of Anarchy is one of my all-time favourites and I found games like Adrenaline, Theseus: Dark Orbit and Escape Plan to be much more interesting than, say, Frag, Nemesis and Perfect Crime, respectively.

I've been thinking about going the same route with one of my wargame designs, eschewing the 'traditional' grid-based movement in favor of Mancala-style 'redeployement' action, so rather than pushing the units around you gather their pieces and redeploy them in a line/area according to the rules for unit cohesion. My main concern is being accused of novelty for novelty's sake and/or making the rules unintuitive because they resolve a situation well-known from other games in an 'untraditional' way.

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