"New to you" mechanics in games

Owner

As much as I'm into the aesthetics or production quality of board games, they're usually more of a "first barrier" that allows me to ignore a lot of the games that don't meet the right requirement. After all, there are way too many games out there that have both great mechanics and the pleasing experience created by great production. Still, a game's mechanics are ultimately what compel me to look into it and make me consider buying.

With that said: What are some new game mechanics you've encountered lately and what about them fascinates you? Plus, what is a mechanic that's somewhat commonly used but you've yet to try out?

I'll share mine in the comments.

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Supporter7 months ago

I really enjoyed the bag building game #Hyperboria. That seems like a mechanic that isn't used too often. 
I also just played #Valeria Card Kingdoms. I hadn't played any games with the Machi Koro, Space Base theme. It was simple to pick up and a quick fun play. 

8 months ago

One that I've never tried but sounds really cool is Dice Worker Placement. Anyone have any favorites?

Owner7 months ago

I had that phase a while back and ended up with #The Voyages of Marco Polo. Great game! Simple and quick turns but I really like the decision making involved. Great ways to manipulate dice and low rolls aren't necessarily bad either. It's satisfying when you turn in the required resources and fulfill a nice contract to get the benefits. It's a tight game that plays relatively quickly and the unique character powers are compelling enough to make you go back for another session after a while. My only complaint about the game is that the production value is a tad bit lacking if you were to compare with other games like Viticulture which came out in the same year and is in the same price range. I've heard sentiments that the sequel (#Marco Polo II: In the Service of the Khan) is an overall better game but I didn't go with it since it had a lot going on on the board and I wanted to keep it simpler for my wife's first dice worker placement game. I should say though, because my wife and I don't get in too many game sessions, it's been a while since this has come out to the table. Our top 2-3 favorites tend to get prioritized when we manage to fit in a session.

Another great dice worker placement game I was very interested in getting was #Troyes. I'm pretty sure I'd like this a lot, and probably more than Marco Polo.

7 months ago

You know what, after making this comment, I went on a mini search and learned about this game! I learned about the sequel too, and watched a Tom Vasel video about it. The first one is one of his favorites, and he said he thinks the second one is a little better. I looked into prices for it and apparently it hasn't even released in the US yet, haha!

Troyes is a game I've been pretty interested in for a while! Even tried to get a coworker to try it with me on boardgamearena, to no avail, haha.

Owner7 months ago

You could take a look at Coimbra as well, which I believe is similar to Marco Polo

7 months ago

I'll do that! Yeah I can't sleep. Are you also having trouble sleeping, or do you normally stay up late?

Owner7 months ago

Lol I've been found. Yeah, it depends but I often sleep around 1am or so. In the past, pre-lockdown and when I used to work 60 hours (full time job + half time BGA), I often slept at 2am-ish, sometimes later as @Marshwiggle92 pointed out. It was funny to see his comment replies right after I make a super late post.

7 months ago

Haha! Well I hope you're able to get enough rest and stay healthy!

Owner7 months ago

Hahaha thanks! As weird as it is, the shelter in place has been good for me.

7 months ago

Haha, I think that's going to be the case for a lot of people. It's been nice to slow down.

Supporter7 months ago

It amused me too. 

Supporter7 months ago

I think he stays up late. I usually wake up at between 4 and 5 am.... and I often notice that @philryuh posted something less than a hour or two earlier...... I know we are a hour ahead of CA but still......

Supporter8 months ago

I have a few that I'll share. They are more subsets of mechanisms rather than completely new mechanisms to me.... but, be that as it may.

  • The slow deck builder. I have played a number of deck builders, and, I really like that mechanism. But, when I played #Star Trek: Frontiers the first time I was introduced to the concept of a slow deck builder. Most of the deck builders I have played have focused on deck turn, making a mean lean deck that would trump everything else. At the end of a game like #Dominion: Second Edition or #Star Realms etc.... Your ending deck is drastically different than your starter deck. But, at the end of a game of Frontiers your deck still contains all the cards you started with, and not that many new ones. It is a way to do deck building that I never would have thought of before. And it makes me want to play games that mess with this mechanic in new and different ways, games like #Rocketmen where the deck swells and shrinks during the course of the game.....
  • #Star Trek: Frontiers also was the first game I had played where my character leveled up. I like it there, but, I don't know that I would go out of my way to seek that in a game.
  • The inverted coop. Most coops I have played start out fairly "easy" and get "harder." For instance, in #Pandemic the disease is not out of control. In #Forbidden Desert the island is intact, and you don't draw that many cards at the end of each turn. These coops tend to ramp up and then have a fairly climatic ending. But in #Spirit Island you start out weak, and the enemy is very very strong. but by the time you choke him out, he usually goes out with a whimper rather than a bang. Sure, I have had some close games, but, the majority of the times that I have won, I have known that I would win several turns in advance. I find this concept a double edged sword. It makes the game much much more engaging to play than something like #Pandemic. But, the end is usally not as good. It is still one of my favorite games, probably partly because of the inverted coop nature of it. But that nature will also probably keep it from ever being my favorite game.

There are common mechanisms that I have yet to try out.

  • I have never played any sort of campaign game, or legacy game. In other words I have never played something where the results of one game influence the next game.
  • I have never played a game with a Rondel mechanism.
  • Never played a CDG.

I am sure there are other mechanisms that I haven't played, but those are the main ones I am thinking about now.


Owner8 months ago

Slow deck building sounds very satisfying. I started looking into #Aeon's End and saw that it doesn't make you shuffle. Being new to deck-builders in general, I'm not sure exactly what that implies but I'm guessing it gives room for more control over your deck.

Supporter8 months ago

That whole concept is one that intrigues me greatly. 

8 months ago

The worker placement mechanic for #Reavers of Midgard is different, in that when one player goes to a spot, EVERYONE can take that action, if they can pay for it. But, the person who goes there gets a bonus, and the player next to them gets a smaller bonus, and so on. It’s a really neat way to do worker placement. 

Owner8 months ago

I do really like games where everyone can pick up something even when it's not their turn. I think that was one big reason why my wife liked Catan. Hearing this alone makes me want to check out Reavers now haha.

And this is unrelated but I checked out a runthrough of #Keyflower a while back. I was fascinated by the idea of how you can place workers on your opponent's tiles to gain the benefits, but you're also giving up your worker to them.

8 months ago

Yeah, Keyflower is really cool in that regard. I was actually trying to think of that one but couldn’t remember which game it was from haha

Supporter8 months ago

Wow, that is a cool take on it. 

Owner8 months ago

Recently encountered mechanics that I really like the more I play it:

#Architects of the West Kingdom - Worker placement with a twist. Many of the action spaces don't have a limit on the number of workers you can place. So when you place a worker, it's not that single worker's action you're getting the benefit of, but from the sum of your workers on that action space. It's the idea of how two horses can carry more than the sum of its individual strength. Examples include action spaces that give you basic resources (1 brick + 1 additional brick per worker in that space, or other spaces where it gives you an additional action you can perform per worker you have). Architects also introduces a way for players to capture a group of workers on an action space at a cost. This leads to an interesting choice of whether you should diversify your actions vs. investing on a single action space and see how long you can get away with it. One thing though--I think this type of mechanic lends itself to scale better at higher player counts to create a much stronger sense of tension in gameplay.

#Clans of Caledonia - Similar to the mechanic I mentioned above, here's another mechanic that's better for higher player counts--a dynamic market. Clans is all about securing goods, and you can either produce them by building structures on the map and expanding your territory (wheat fields for wheat, distillery to convert wheat into whiskey, etc), or get them directly from the market. Each type of good has a default cost in the beginning of the game and as the game progresses, the value of each good changes as a players send their merchants to buy or sell goods. It's the idea of supply vs. demand where when a merchant buys one type of good, the value/price of that good increases because there's demand. Conversely, the value/price of that good drops when merchants sell that good in the market and increase the supply. This can lead to a more tactical gameplay where instead of expanding your territory on the board to produce goods, if you see that cheese is dirt cheap in the market, it may be in your best interest to shift gears and purchase a bunch of them from the market.

Mechanics I haven't tried or have tried very little of (and want to get into the most at the moment):

  • Deck-building - This is the reason why I've been eyeing on a good deck-building game. I'm interested in #Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated at the moment.
  • Rondel - Not a commonly used mechanic but I'm interested.
  • I was fascinated by what @BenjaminK mentioned about #Rurik: Dawn of Kiev and its bidding mechanic. I don't know how compelling this would be when played at 2p though.


Supporter8 months ago

I really really really want a great deck building game.  The reason I've not gone near Clank is because I've heard it's essentially multiplayer solitaire.  

I would try Rondel but it's not in the, I have to play try it category.

8 months ago

Actually #Akrotiri has a small dynamic market mechanism. One of the things you do during your turn is place a new map tile, and place resources on it. Then throughout the game, players pick up the resources and return them to the center island to sell them, and their value is dictated by how many of that resource are already on the table and how many are still available. Kind of a neat feature that makes you think about which resources to place and which ones to try to pick up.

Supporter8 months ago

I still really want to try #Rurik: Dawn of Kiev sometime.

Supporter8 months ago

Have you considered #Aeon's End at all? Looks like a great deck-builder with the option to play solo...

Owner8 months ago

Oh, and it's a co-op? Now I'm intrigued....... will check out some videos this week. Thanks! (I think? Man.. this hobby is tough on the wallet). Will have to compare between Clank Legacy and this now.

Supporter8 months ago

Aaaand there are SO many flavors of #Aeon's End. They even have a Legacy one too!

Owner8 months ago

I started looking into them and I didn't realize there were so many hahaha. Seems like one came out this year too. I think I'll end up going with either the first one or the legacy (if I do get it).

8 months ago

The game is still really good at all player counts, including solo. The board scales with more players, so it’s smaller with two players. And yes, the auction bidding (I think it’s called?) is a lot of fun. He’s developing an expansion for it right now which I’m excited to see. 

I really like rondel games. I haven’t played a lot of them, but they’re good fun. #Trajan, #Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done, and #Scorpius Freighter all do the rondel differently, and each is wonderful in its own right. 

Supporter8 months ago

I have not played with Rondel's. I do have #Porta Nigra, which I believe to have the rondel mechanism but it is hanging out in Kansas. 

Owner8 months ago

Thanks for mentioning them, will make it easier to have some good starting points!

Oh, gotcha. Will have to see some videos and see if it's compelling enough to push it way up on my wishlist haha. One of my main priorities is always looking out for a great 2p option so that sounds good. Have you had a chance to play it with your wife?