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New mechanic needs a name!

Jeff Warrender
United States
Averill Park
New York
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Although I've been blogging about a few broader topics lately, I haven't been idle in my own design efforts. Theme Park Game is progressing, Candyland + Bidding shows some promise but has endgame issues, The Cause is almost ready to be played by actual people, I've had a chance just this week to pitch "Greetings from Terra" (a party game we discussed last year), I've revamped Eleventy for 6 players instead of 11 (and gave it a chamber music skin), and I'm releasing a new game via PnP next week (related blog post on that next weekend).


Two new designs and one old one have some design points of interest so I'll fire off a few quick posts this week to explore these.

In a post last year I talked about my "selectman" mechanic, which is similar to the mechanic used in Isle of Skye and Santiago. The common thread is trying to get ahead in the game by making yourself useful to your opponents, but of course in doing so you're also helping them out.

I've recently come up with a new-ish mechanic that takes this to an extreme. Each player has a display of three cards. On your turn, you pick a card from another player's display, use its action, and then that player becomes the active player, and does the same thing, and so on.


Seth pointed out the Oasis has a turn order selection mechanic that works similarly; each player puts out an offer, then "player 1" picks an offer to accept, and gives that person the "player 1" marker, making them "player 1" in the next round, and so on. And Taylor Shuss mentioned Don't Mess with Cthulhu, a social deduction game in which we each put out "suspicion cards", and when you reveal someone's card, they now get to reveal someone else's card in turn. The most direct antecedent/inspiration for me was the trade system of Mare Nostrum, in which we each put a number of cards out for trade, and take turns claiming cards in similar fashion to the mechanic above, until all cards have been claimed.

So this mechanic has some existing precedent. My version differs slightly in that it's fully unfettered: if you don't put out cards that your opponents want, you won't get a turn. Some people will say, "but that's not fair!" This game has what I've described as bite; its response is, "Tough! Make better offers then!"


Anyway, the bottom line of this post is that there's no succinct and catchy name for "we each have a display of cards, one player claims a card from another and now that player gets to go," but there are at least these four games that do it, so It Needs A Name. The only thing I've come up with is "tag you're it", although the concept of what it means to be "it" is completely different in these games than in Tag.


A bit more detail on this game, working (bland) title "Realm".

sugar Each card has two actions from three possible action types.

From gallery of jwarrend

colonist Building: add the card to your tableau. The number on the building's icon tells how many cards you need to "complete" that building type.
colonist Region: place an "estate" (disc) in the indicated region, or place a completed building tile onto an estate of yours in that region
colonist Resource: draw 2 cards, plus one for each resource of the type shown on the card that you have an estate adjacent to.

From gallery of jwarrend

sugar Scoring is by region. A region only scores if someone built a church in that region. The "value" of the region is the total value of buildings in the region (estates without buildings are worth 1). Everyone with a presence in the region gets the full value of the region except the person with the lowest-value estate.

So as you can see, there are a few bitey elements in this one. I like it so far. And it only uses 54 cards, a board, and some cubes and coins, so it's eminently PnP-able.


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