Game Mechanic For Hire

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The Board, 9.8.08

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Too often, the bits and mechanics get all the credit for being a board game. Well, it wouldn’t be a board game without the board, right? To assuage the board’s lament, this mechanic of the day will focus on the humble board, which can create mechanics in themselves. A vast majority of board games have static boards that don’t change from one game to another, but there are those that are a bit more dynamic…

-Modular Board. The board can be built each game to suit the players OR is randomly generated every game. This is one of the better ways to improve replayability with a solid rules set; instead of making tweaks to the rules for endless variants, have the board randomly generate or be built by the players each time. This is best exemplified in Settlers of Catan. The resource tiles are always the same, but are in a different position with a different number on
them. And a game where the brick is mainly 2, 12 and 11 is an ANGRY game, indeed when compared to a more even distribution of numbers.

-Board Destruction. The board is removed from play piece by piece as players play, limiting resources and options available. A variant of a Modular Board, this has the players take apart the board, instead. This can cause serious tension, especially if players intentionally remove the most productive pieces from the board first. Say you have
a archeology game where you explore a long, lost tomb. Upon getting the artifact in the center of the temple, the temple starts to collapse and the players must escape. Things that could be removed/covered up on the board are straightforward passageways, causing players to take a longer path than may be ideal; stairwells could be destroyed, causing a need for rope to continue; etc.

-Variable Board Size. The board scales in size based on the number of players. This helps ensure that games are more balanced with more or fewer players. Games with fewer players will have smaller play area than games with more players. For example, in an island tribal territory game, the board for a two player game may only have three
islands, while a five player game may have seven. This increases the number of available resources and potential expansion space, making for a different dynamic within the same rules.

Keep on designing, yo!

Phil

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Written by krinklechip

August 18, 2009 at 1:45 am

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