Game Mechanic For Hire

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Turn Order, 8.23.08

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Oio, designeroonies. Here’s another overlooked mechanic for today: turn order. Often times, simply going around the board to the left (or right) is just fine. Every once in a while, though, you need to shake things up…

-Money determines play order. For a particular phase, money could be what allows players to act first. For a stock market (or ‘rich people’ game), the player with the most dough gets first crack. Or, if an action costs progressively more for each player to use it on their turn, the poorest player could go first to have access to inexpensive and free actions before anyone else.

-Bid for turn order. This can be BRUTAL. For games where turn order really matters (and not necessarily going first), this can be an effective way to determine turn order. Players bid to place their marker in the position they want. The caveat here is that turn order must really make a difference, or it is chaff instead of potential chrome.

-Random turn order every turn. More for lighter games, randomly determining turn order every time can create more than a little chaos. Be mindful, though, that this can be a fiddly mechanic if the rounds are short. A good example of how this is done well is Cutthroat Caverns. Every room, turn order is dealt out to each player for the encounter. It’s quick and not too fiddly.

-Points determine turn order. Either the leading player goes first, or the trailing player goes first. This mechanic is often used as balance to combat runaway leader; the leading player goes first if it is detrimental to do so, the trailing player if it is advantagous.

-Determined by ‘faction’. This is more for a game with variable start conditions between players. The less set up player (or more set up in play), often goes first in an attempt to prepare for a meatgrinder or to capitalize on a blitz attempt. The best example of this is Axis and Allies. Germany goes early to run rampant with its tanks and to try to press the advantage while Russia goes late as a thematic element and because they start in Stalingrad with HELLA
DOODS.

That’s all I have today. Keep on designing, yo!

Phil

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Written by krinklechip

August 17, 2009 at 9:52 pm

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