Mechanics I wish were in a good game (instead of their current game)
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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There are some games that I have trouble getting rid of, because I really like one mechanic or rule despite the gameplay being drab (or worse). I keep hoping that mechanic will show up in a newer (and better) game, so that the good mechanic will finally find a good home (and so I can get if the bad implementation).

There are two criteria for this list:
(1) There must be a mechanic in the game that is so good/clever/unique that it tempts you to play the game even though you know the game is bad.
(2) That mechanic must not have (to your knowledge) have been implemented in a game that you do like.
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1. Board Game: Modigliani [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:9503]
Robert Seater
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Ashland
Massachusetts
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There is an auction after each round of player turns, but only players standing in one of the two auction halls can participate. Other player can use a 'phone' card to join the bidding, but those cards are a limited resource. So player have an interesting choice about whether to stop at the auction hall to win paintings vs. spend time visiting gallery spaces where you can earn money. Since you know what painting is up for auction next and some idea of who is likely to participate, context can affect your decision to stop at the auction hall or move on.

Unfortunately, this interesting tradeoff is overtaken by the randomness of the rolls & card draws. None the less, it is genuinely neat auction mechanic that is impressive for a game from 1993.
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2. Board Game: All The King's Men [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:11559]
Robert Seater
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Ashland
Massachusetts
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The movement of a piece is a function both of the piece itself and of the space it is standing on. This create interesting situations where you try to lure an enemy off of a strong space, so that it will get quagmired in weak portion of the board (either to keep it out of your way, or to try to ambush it).

In practice, I find that the game just stalemates and/or turns into simplistic back-and-forth trading. But there is a potential for something much deeper.

(Spielbox recently had an article entirely devoted to games with this type of board-determined-movement mechanic, which was neat from an historical perspective.)
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3. Board Game: California [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:2510]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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On your turn, you either buy a face up tile, or you take one of the 4 coins from the bank. Taking a coin both gives you money and reduces the price of all remaining face-up tile for the rest of the round (meaning other players will get first crack at the newly cheapened tiles). This is a very interesting auction-like, draft-like market mechanic, that drive very interesting choices. The main way you may money is by lowering prices for everyone else!

Too bad the rest of the mechanics produced a simplistic dominant strategy, but the market mechanic still intrigues.
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4. Board Game: Gold Thief [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:12603]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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Each player has a goal card, which lists 2 different numbers. You have to hit that goal exactly (in terms of the number of gold coins you acquire), but you have to be satisfying it at the start] of your turn. This means that you often telegraph your goal to your opponents, who can then thwart you. However, since every goal has 2 numbers on it, if you realize you've been too obvious in your attempt, you can switch over to trying the other goal. A neat deduction mechanic paired with multi-use cards to prevent lock-out.

I find the rest of the game ok, but too complex for a kid game and too simple for an adult game. But the mechanics are genuinely interesting.
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5. Board Game: Sword & Skull [Average Rating:5.45 Overall Rank:14296]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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A roll-and-move game where you control two asymmetric pieces with different strengths. Choosing how to move the two, plus the fact that they share equipment, makes this game actually interesting. Pachisi & its kin had multiple pieces, but S&S makes them asymmetric which is really neat.

It's still very random, and a bit long for being so random, but it legitimately offers you a choice each turn.
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6. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:571]
Robert Seater
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Ashland
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Your guess can be based on (incorrect) guessed other players made. By making a guess, and being will to be called on it, you give away some of the shared hidden state in the game, so (in theory) the guesses become more informed as the game progresses.

I find that the guess are still based on so little information, that they are largely random and so the information they reveal is very limited. But in principle it's a neat mechanic about second guessing based on others' prior second-guessing.
 
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7. Board Game: Panic Station [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:2782]
David Tinney
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Hamilton
New Jersey
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In this game a traitor is designated anonymously within the group by a card draw. It is then this traitor's mission to convert the rest of the players to his/her team covertly. This is the grail mechanic that I have been waiting and waiting for a game to implement correctly!

Please please can someone tell me that there is a game out there that uses this mechanic without such jarring breaks in theme? How can a human and robot on the same team be affected simultaneously when one or the other becomes infected? How does trading a gasoline can stop an infection? Why would a combat team enter an infected base with weapons but no ammunition?! This list could go on but I will leave it at that.

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