What Are Game Mechanics? Part 4

Hey everyone! Welcome back for the final part our series exploring the ins and outs of popular board game mechanics. Wow, you know when I say it like that, it doesn't sound that exciting.  Never mind, onward!


Push Your Luck

The idea of Push Your Luck in gaming is nothing new, and can be found in some of the oldest games around, from traditional gambling games such as poker or Black Jack, to TV game shows, and of course, tabletop gaming.  The idea of pushing your luck in games is about risking an immediate small reward for the chance of a greater reward. For example, in King of Tokyo a player might decide to risk doing more damage to an opponent at the risk of losing victory points by re-rolling their dice, they cannot undo the roll so they can only push to the next roll of stick with what they have.  Push Your Luck creates great tension and can be a fun way of implementing a risk/reward system in games.

Some games that use some variation of Push Your Luck are: Codenames, Cubitos, King of Tokyo, Mystic Vale, The Quacks of Quedlinburg, and Tainted Grail.


Set Collection

Set collection as it refers to board games is any time players gain points by adding to a set of items resulting in a larger points gain for every item added.  For example a player may receive 1 point for the first item, 3 points for the second, 7 points for the third and so on.  This encourages players to approach the game with a certain amount of strategy in mind. Players may also forgo smaller immediate rewards for the promise of a much larger reward in the future, such as gaining 1 point for the first in a new set versus waiting for the opportunity to get 7 points for the third in a set in the next round.

Some games that use set collection are: Mariposas, Splendor, Ticket to Ride and Tokaido

Worker Placement

Worker placement is a popular choice of mechanic for modern board games, partly due it its versatility. Worker placement is when players have a number of workers, usually represented by meeples, but can be other items, such as dice or miniatures.  These workers are assigned to a space on the board representing an action, such as gaining coins, harvesting resources or adding to military strength. Some spaces can only be assigned a single worker at a time, making that space more valuable, whereas other spaces may accept multiple workers, increasing in value for every worker a player places there. Dice placement can add a different variation where the value on the assigned dice can determine the reward or benefit gained. Worker placement is a tried and tested mechanic that has opened up the design space in modern gaming.

Games such as Agricola, Architects of the West Kingdom, Everdell, Dune Imperium, Lords of Waterdeep, Paladins of the West Kingdom and Viticulture are all fine examples of worker placement games.

Thanks for joining me through these past few weeks. I hope you've found some value in this series and if you have any recommendations for future blogs topics, you can let me know at Brian@gamekings.co.nz, leave a comment below, or head on over to our excellent and friendly community of Game Kings Gamers on Facebook!  Until next time, don't eat those tokens!