Follow on mechanics
Having read all the stuff that Phil and Trent have been putting out about #Fort recently, I was thinking about follow on mechanics in games: where the active player does something and then other players also get to do a similar, but often watered down version, of that same action. This can either be the central mechanic to a game or a nice addition to others.
I think these kind of mechanics are great additions to games and have generaly felt they made a game better for the following reasons:
- It keeps other players interested and engaged during their 'down-time', this is especially true in heavier games where you can spend 20 minutes between turns. By having follow on mehanics, it encourages players to be constantly assessing the board state so they can make smart decisions when the opportunity arises. It also gives players tings to physically do inbetween their turns which, even if it is a small thing, keeps you feeling engaged and gives you some agency in response to a players actions.
- It helps prevent AP as it adds a layer of uncertainty due to you not being in control of which actions will be available to you on other people's turns so you just have to hope that good ones come up.
- It adds an interesting level of strategy as you know that you potentially beenfit another player more or less depending on what option you chose and this can influence which action you take.
Some notable examples of games:
#Tiny Epic Galaxies - In this you can follow any action by spending one of the games resources, this is very cool as players have to be constantly following other people's turns for the right opportunity to follow. However, as that resources is fairly limited, it doesn't slow the game down too much.
#Rising Sun - Has the active player pick an action from a small hand of four they draw, and everyone else gets a watered down version. Has two interesting twists:
- First all the options you don't chose will be passed to the next player (who will draw one extra to make it back up to four) so you might take an action to deny your opponent the bonus as you know it will help them a lot.
- Second, every round there is the option to make an alliance with someone, these have a couple of benefits but one is that you both receive the better version of the action when one of you chooses it. This allows for some interesting tactical decisions where you can help each other out while also bearing in mind that you are still competin.
#Empires of the Void II - A game I have only played once but has a similar system of one person chosing an action and then everyone else getting to do the same action. However, this has an interesting twist where you get bonuses for being the first person to chose that action, so if someone has previously chosen 'building' and you would like to build again ideally but are also tempted by getting the bonus for being the first to chose antoher option. Similarly, everything you do costs resources so when you run out you can instead chose to 'refresh' to get more. You also have the option of paying to do a completely different action if that is worthwhile to you which is a nice option.
I think all of these games benefit from this mechanic, it keeps downtime to a minimum and increases the impact that other players have on you. However, the one potential downside is if the other players are specialising in one area or you just get out of sync with your opponents you can get into trouble. But part of the game then becomes trying to ensure you can benefit from other people's actions as much as possible and not back yourself into a corner. That said, I dont own any of these games or like them enough to need to buy them, so that may be telling.
What do you all think? Have you played any games with this mechanic and did you like them?