Game Mechanic For Hire

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Time, 8.19.08

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It’s that time again…. for TIME. We’ll have a looksee at mechanics to track time.

-Real time. There are no turns, and people take any legal actions whenever they want. This mechanic is somewhat difficult for board games to use; off-hand, I can only think of Space Trader, Falling and Icehouse games. The difficulty lies in keeping the game at a fairly fast pace, as everyone can act at once, which lends itself to a frantic pace.

-Sand Timers. Certain actions, or a particular turn phase are limited by sand through the hourglass… This is typically to keep people from taking too long in planning a move at the same time as creating tension. If there’s a potential for AP where it really doesn’t fit with the rest of the game, a sand timer flipped by the first player done is a good solution.

-‘Time Track’. Actions have a time cost, as well. This can be tracked by placing counters on a card as it is played and remove a counter at the start of each turn, or by setting up a ‘time track’ of the # of turns, and placing a marker on the turn it will complete.  Thebes and Red November are good examples of the latter

-‘Time Track’ variant. Actions take time. Rounds are limited to say, 15 time units. Actions have a time taken associated with them which moves the timer forward for the round. When the time counter reaches (or exceeds) 15, the round is over. This also creates variable round length.

-Set turn number and order. This is the most common form of time tracking, possibly minus the number of turns. Players play the game, one turn at a time, until endgame conditions are met. It is included for completeness.

Keep on designing, yo!



Written by krinklechip

August 17, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Posted in Game Design, Mechanics

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