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Scythe» Forums » General

Subject: Fresh Mechanics? rss

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Charles Wellington
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Ever since I backed the kickstarter for scythe, I have been amazed at the mechanics. Most of which were new and fresh to me. One of the complaints I have read about is that the game doesn't do anything new and recycles old mechanics. I love the mechanics in this game and would like to explore other games that use similar mechanics.

Upgrade, my favorite mechanic: what other games have mechanics that increase outcomes while decreasing costs?

Enlist: What other games give me benefits if my opponents take certain actions?

Mechs: What games out there give you bonuses based on which units you build first?

The factory: In a game if limited actions, what games give you access to unique permanent actions?

As much I love this game, I am not trying to be a fanboy here, I would really like to experience more of the mechanics I like.
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Lawrence
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Many of the economy mechanics were inspired by Terra Mystica
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Nevin Longardner
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Failedhaiku wrote:


Enlist: What other games give me benefits if my opponents take certain actions?


Lords of Waterdeep lets you buy buildings that provide you with a bonus if another player places his worker on it.
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Paul Ferguson
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Failedhaiku wrote:
Ever since I backed the kickstarter for scythe, I have been amazed at the mechanics. Most of which were new and fresh to me. One of the complaints I have read about is that the game doesn't do anything new and recycles old mechanics. I love the mechanics in this game and would like to explore other games that use similar mechanics.

Upgrade, my favorite mechanic: what other games have mechanics that increase outcomes while decreasing costs?

Enlist: What other games give me benefits if my opponents take certain actions?

Mechs: What games out there give you bonuses based on which units you build first?

The factory: In a game if limited actions, what games give you access to unique permanent actions?

As much I love this game, I am not trying to be a fanboy here, I would really like to experience more of the mechanics I like.


Upgrade - Very similar to Hansa Teutonica. There are a lot of games that emulate the engine building/upgrade element of Scythe

Enlist - Terra Mystica, Building close to another player. Race to the Galaxy, you get to follow someones action.

Mechs - Quantum, not exactly the same. There are some others I have played that have an upgrade unit action but can't remember the names.

The Factory - Kemet, unique units. Eclipse, unique tech that enhance actions. Last Will, unique action cards.


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Trevor Schadt
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NevoGamer wrote:
Lords of Waterdeep lets you buy buildings that provide you with a bonus if another player places his worker on it.
That mechanic isn't new to that game, either; it was taken from Caylus. (And it probably wasn't new to that game either. Heck, if you interpret the scope broadly enough, you can go back to Monopoly, where you get a "bonus" (money) if another player lands on a space that you own.)
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Stephen Miller
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Failedhaiku wrote:
Ever since I backed the kickstarter for scythe, I have been amazed at the mechanics. Most of which were new and fresh to me. One of the complaints I have read about is that the game doesn't do anything new and recycles old mechanics. I love the mechanics in this game and would like to explore other games that use similar mechanics.

Upgrade, my favorite mechanic: what other games have mechanics that increase outcomes while decreasing costs?

Enlist: What other games give me benefits if my opponents take certain actions?

Mechs: What games out there give you bonuses based on which units you build first?

The factory: In a game if limited actions, what games give you access to unique permanent actions?

As much I love this game, I am not trying to be a fanboy here, I would really like to experience more of the mechanics I like.


I think most of those are based on a principle I think Jamey's mentioned as something he liked in another game, if not the exact execution - Having players do things that benefits them twice, which most of the bottom row actions do. (Maybe Terra Mystica? Does anyone remember exactly what he cited as his favourite mechanic from that?)

Upgrade - as you mentioned, lowers a cost while giving you more bang for your buck elsewhere.
Enlist - On top of giving you benefits for things your neighbors do (along with yourself), it also gives you a one shot boon.
Deploy - Gives you a mech on the board, powers up every piece of plastic you have on the board at the same time
Build potentially gives you more territory, but... That's the only bottom row action that really doesn't give you that double dip benefit for taking.

And on top of all that, most of them give you 1-3 points for the end of the game (which you can spend to do other things which towards the start of the game is more useful) each time you do them, and every single one of them contributes between 1/4 and 1/6 of your way towards getting a star on the board.

Those bottom row actions are pretty much boon on top of boon on top of boon, and as such they feel fantastic to take.

I do agree with the other posters in thread that Scythe is more a refinement of previous mechanics than innovative in and of itself, though, but... That's not a bad thing. In every field of art and entertainment, for it to be healthy and growing, there needs to be both titles that are innovative of new techniques, of mechanics in board game terms, and titles that instead of innovating, refine those that already exist, find new ways of using them, improve upon what works well in them, and develop those innovations into something more refined and potentially part of the general toolbox of the medium, etc. It isn't as 'sexy' as innovation (though scythe makes up for lack of mechanical sexiness with that art work), but it's equally important for the health of board games as a developing entertainment/artistic field.
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Jonathan Kinney
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I don't necessarily find the mechanisms new and unique, but HOW they are implemented excites me.

I love Waterdeep, but I don't feel like I e had a rich experience after playing it. I like Hansa Teutonica, but it really is a soulless puzzly euro (which is sometimes fine). I kind of like Terra Mystica (but I do find that it is often more complex than it needs to be). Scythe is a great balance that now that my friends and I know how to play it, can have a 4 player game done in an hour.

The one thing I find a little more unique about Scythe is the combat. It takes the more simplistic, majority, rules of Diplomacy or Max Gerdts games like Antike or Imperial, and tries to make people think a bit more. Getting into an even fight with someone isn't always about winning a combat. It could be about knocking down someone's power...or setting up a combat in another area. This is not about dice rolling and odds. It's about balancing resources (power and combat cards) and using the slight advantage of unit superiority to potentially tip the balance.

Is this game perfect? Nope. Few are. I think one of the systems that fails is movement. I understand that having it so that units couldn't go every is important. It's a small map. But creating a situation where I need to study everyone's mech powers is a constant challenge...especially with new players. I feel that because of the resource management aspects the Jamey was trying to prevent quick movement like in Kemet. But he could have probably borrowed the homeland protection elements that are in the game. Maybe either walls (as I suggested in another post) or allowed the building of fortresses (like another of my new favourites right now - Mare Nostrum). The fortresses could add something like 5 combat power to a fight OR could allow the defender to ignore one element of the fight (either one of the combat cards OR the power) - but the defender would have to choose before anything is revealed. Fortresses would start on the two hexes be t to the starting space and could be built by producing on the armoury space (you would then be allowed to place one fortress on a space where you have at least one worker). This isn't about increasing combat. It's about simplifying an aspect of the game that even experienced players find confusing, while allowing for more protection of home areas.

The flip side of this...river walk would allow mechs to go across any river into any space.

Just thinking out loud and when I have a few more games under my belt I may even try it out and see how it works.

Thanks to the OP and to Jamey for creating a gam that stirs my interest in the hobby.

Edit: One thing I want to make clear. I'm not making these suggestions after one or two games. I have played 9 games and will be playing games 10 and 11 tomorrow.
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Jason Brown
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jonocop wrote:
I don't necessarily find the mechanisms new and unique, but HOW they are implemented excites me.

+1 to this. For me it's the perfect blend of all these mechanisms.
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Tor Iver Wilhelmsen
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It should be pointed out that Scythe combat is inspired by Dune/Rex, though, with a few significant differences (no leader, combat cards are numbers not treachery cards, combat points instead of units as "resource").

The biggest "newness" to me is leaving resources on the board instead of magically port them off-board like in so many other euros.
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Kevin M
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JadedGamer wrote:
The biggest "newness" to me is leaving resources on the board instead of magically port them off-board like in so many other euros.


To be honest, that's actually one of my favorite things in this game. I just love seeing all those neat resources physically on the board instead of being hoarded in front of each player off board. Plus it adds one more little piece to the game where you have to worry somewhat about having them taken from you.

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Stephen Miller
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JadedGamer wrote:
It should be pointed out that Scythe combat is inspired by Dune/Rex, though, with a few significant differences (no leader, combat cards are numbers not treachery cards, combat points instead of units as "resource").

The biggest "newness" to me is leaving resources on the board instead of magically port them off-board like in so many other euros.


Yeah, I can't think of many games - not just Euros, either - that does that, except those which are about the logistics of transporting goods and/or who produced the goods being used matters.

...Navajo Wars's corn between being planted and harvested is the closest equivalent I can think of, but that's more a special case than a standard practice for resources in that game?

It's still abstracting the logistics of using 3 oil to upgrade my machinery, or 4 steel to build and deploy a mech, but it's less abstracted than I'm used to logistics being, both in Euros and Amerithrash. And, yeah, sometimes you look at your opponent's version of river walk, that they've got +1 speed, that they didn't just use their move action, and the position of their character compared to your worker and just go "Nope. Not producing oil there, even though not doing means I'm wasting part of a produce action, that'd just accelerate his engine." (this... May have happened in the last game I had with my husband.)

Really like that aspect of the game, and I'd like to see more done with it, even though it's only a subset of these hybrids that it really makes sense for.
 
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Clyde W
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No one has mentioned it yet, but the game seems awfully similar (conceptually) to Roads & Boats, but Scythe is way less mean than that classic Splotter title.
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Adam P
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The feel for the game overall, felt a lot like Antike, with different paths to score and a rondel of choices, and various upgrades. Antike is much more streamlined.

People have been comparing this game to everything. Overall, I felt the game was pretty average, nothing excited me.

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Robin Zigmond
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Terra Mystica has been mentioned a lot already (and justly so imo) - but no-one seems to have pointed out the TM connection for the question about Mechs. The Mech abilities seem to me to be very similar conceptually to the Stronghold abilities in TM, in that it's an additional ability that you only get when you build a certain thing.

The mechanic is implemented very differently in the two games, but there's definitely a strong kinship there.
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Robin Zigmond
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clydeiii wrote:
No one has mentioned it yet, but the game seems awfully similar (conceptually) to Roads & Boats, but Scythe is way less mean than that classic Splotter title.


I've only played R&B once (and enjoyed it), quite a while ago - so I could be off base here, but I don't see any real connection at all. If I recall correctly, R&B has no combat at all (instead you can just pick up any resources left lying around, hence the potential for meanness), and is primarily a game about production chains and of course transport. I just don't see any real similiarities, conceptual or otherwise.
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Clyde W
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robinz wrote:
clydeiii wrote:
No one has mentioned it yet, but the game seems awfully similar (conceptually) to Roads & Boats, but Scythe is way less mean than that classic Splotter title.


I've only played R&B once (and enjoyed it), quite a while ago - so I could be off base here, but I don't see any real connection at all. If I recall correctly, R&B has no combat at all (instead you can just pick up any resources left lying around, hence the potential for meanness), and is primarily a game about production chains and of course transport. I just don't see any real similiarities, conceptual or otherwise.
There's definitely combat, in some sense. You only "own" items if your units are "defending" them. If you leave them undefended, opponents can come "attack" "your" property and "steal" it from you. That is exactly how Scythe is as well, only in Scythe you can additionally boot away enemy units from a hex by spending some resources. You can also build walls to block your enemies, and your enemies can come blow up those walls.

The very fact that there's hexes that produce resources and your units can move around those resources definitely harkens back to R&B for me. Sure, it's 2016 and 17 years have passed, so Scythe has some more modern things going on, but under the hood they're pretty similar.

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Charles Wellington
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Thank you everyone for your input, I have a few more games to track down now.
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James Williams
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ryudoowaru wrote:
NevoGamer wrote:
Lords of Waterdeep lets you buy buildings that provide you with a bonus if another player places his worker on it.
That mechanic isn't new to that game, either; it was taken from Caylus. (And it probably wasn't new to that game either. Heck, if you interpret the scope broadly enough, you can go back to Monopoly, where you get a "bonus" (money) if another player lands on a space that you own.)


Not to mention you can Upgrade that space by building houses or a hotel on it.

Most upgrade (and other) mechanics boil down to a Cost/Benefit Analysis. You're weighing up the costs (money, resources, turns) of the upgrade vs. the likely benefit you'll get for the remainder of the game. Generally they're better played earlier in the game (more benefit), but then you have to weigh it up against the other available actions (opportunity cost). That ties in with your overall strategy and goals.
 
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Ian Liddle
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I've not played Kemet, Dune or Terra Mystica, so any mechanics they share were completely foreign to me... but I have played / own a lot of games, and I actually have a hard time thinking of games that are really similar, mechanically.

Upgrade and Enlist in particular (Deploy and Build to a lesser extent) are fascinating because of the way that they provide two distinct benefits but also allow for two discrete decisions to be made. The fact that the potential for AP to be mitigated by letting the next player pay while you mull through... That's just genius. I can't think of another game that (explicitly) does that.

Le Havre and Keyflower are wonderful games that have the Caylus / Waterdeep "build something to rent to other players" mechanic, but I think it's of tenuous similarity to choosing a recurring benefit that happens when another player does a particular action. I can see the Race for the Galaxy (Mission to Mars is in the same vein) connection a bit more, in the way Race rewards for predicting the opponents' next priority so you can piggyback rather than duplicate... The role cards of Puerto Rico and Twilight Imperium are also similar in that respect. In all of those cases though, they seem to just 'feel' somewhat similar, but definitely don't have the same implementation or game-long implications--enlisting the Deploy recruit, for example, will have wildly different implications based on timing, player count, and your ability to infer the direction of the game.

And at the same time, that immediate bonus can be just as impactful as a defensive tactic or allowing for an extra star or last-minute popularity bump.

If your lumping mechanics together for the way they feel though, can anyone think of another game that does 4th generation combat / creates the 'cold war' feeling? Nexus Ops 2-player is the closest thing I can think of, as the winner is determined by accomplishing secret missions and winning battles but only as the aggressor, rather than simply holding the most hexes or having the most money / stuff. It's territory control is also somewhat similar, being mostly limited to a central, special territory, (king of the hill style) and it does combat-card-as-consolation as well.

While it seems to bother some folks, I actually found the "go back to your home" consequence for losing combat to be really refreshing compared to just taking the pieces off the board. It reminds me of Viticulture, in that you're building tactile elements up, continuously, till the end of the game, which is the only thing which can destroy what you've physically built. At the same time, combat carries very heavy costs (power, cards, time, territory) which have nearly all been realized as conceptual / intangible losses. This also really helps bridge the gap for players that wouldn't ever sit down for a confrontational / high smite experience.

Another mechanic I love (that it seems many don't) is the way the pacing escalates and just explodes at the end, often unpredictably. It's the complete opposite of Brew Crafter or Power Grid (both start relatively light and interactive, and end with you and your calculator predicting the winner before you've even begun the final round) and the closest parallel I can think of is Dominion, with that tipping point when you realize you've got to stop putting chrome on the engine and just get the damn VPs before anyone else noticed the game's nearly over.

And while it's not really a mechanic, I also love the juxtaposition of wood and plastic. It's one of many manifestations of an unbelievably rich, pervasive fidelity to the game's core theme and artistic underpinnings. The variety of metaphors both obvious and subtle which reinforce "giant mecha looming in the background of pastoral agrarian scenes of early 20th century Eastern Europe" is simply astounding. That kind of treatment almost universally finds itself coinciding with sacrifices leading to unenjoyable novelty, so it's just as remarkable how skillfully it's been crafted into a highly (re)playable and approachable board game.

At this point, if Jamey has ripped off mechanics or traced anyone's path, it's Steve Jobs' work on the iPhone. If you were a techy in the know, or spent any time in Japan, it was easy to sneer at the iPhone when it was first released for not being anything new, but it was that highly polished, well-designed refinement of so many other products' innovations coming together to create a seamless, beautiful product that made it the success that it was / is.
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razordaze wrote:
While it seems to bother some folks, I actually found the "go back to your home" consequence for losing combat to be really refreshing compared to just taking the pieces off the board.
Yup, that's something I appreciate: Imho, it's bad enough to lose a decisive combat, but at least it doesn't completely destroy your chances to win the game. You still have a good chance for a comeback.
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