Game Mechanic For Hire

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Reactions, 9.3.08

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Wakka wakka wakka!   For today, I am to be doing the ‘reaction’, or action in response out of turn. There may be times when you want players to be able to act out of turn, be it to add to theme, for added suspense, what have you. Most commonly, acting out of turn means cancelling what an opponent did. While decent at adding suspense, there are other ways to use this mechanic…

-Salt the Earth. As an opponent is about to take an area, you destroy it/expend it to keep them from having the area at full capacity. This is better used in contentious area control games and military games. Opponent forcing your units out of your base? Burn it on the way out! For a more Euro approach, in a business game where hostile take overs are possible, just as your opponent is about to buy you out, you could wreck the company internally by reducing workforce or selling needed machinery. The cost for the reacting player is that it is resources wasted to do so, and the chance to regain what was lost is nil.

-Victory for Some. Just before an opponent is about to do scoring for an area/tile set/winning bid, you jump in on the scoring as well; either gaining points of your own or stealing what should have been theirs. This is best realized where the trigger for scoring is kept hidden in a player’s hand; allowing players to jump in unexpected. A good example would be an artifact set collecting game. At any time during their turn, a player could enable scoring once they think the current set of artifacts they are collecting can get no bigger. Other players may react with ‘Imitation Artifact’ cards from their hand to mooch off of the fame of the real deal the scoring player had actually played.

-I’ll do that FOR you. As a player is about to take an action, another player interjects and takes the action instead. If not done properly, this particular iteration of reaction can be quite inbalancing; the game this is used for would need to be really frenetic, with the theft of an action commonplace across the board. A good example of this would be a bank robbery game. Players would perpetually be stealing each other’s actions in trying to get the most money and get away before the cops show up.

-Parting Shot. Just as a player takes an action, an opponent interrupts and takes their own action first. The action taken will typically be of the ‘last grab at stuff’ or ‘hit and run’ variety. A military example would be activating bowmen to fire at advancing infantry out of turn. In the Euro vein, say it’s a street market game of selling goods to customers. Just as you are about to sell to a lucrative group of customers, your opponent activates his shop
cryer and steals some of your business.

Keep on designing, yo!

Phil

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Written by krinklechip

August 18, 2009 at 1:18 am

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