Your Top 5 Game Mechanics
Gary Goh
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Every board/card game player would have developed a liking for specific game mechanics after having played a variety of games. Love some, so-so for others, and 'meh' for the rest.

The first category is what this geeklist is all about. What are your top 5 game mechanics that you would like to see in your games? It is not necessary for a single game to contain all of your favourite mechanics, though there is always hope (or even better, an actual game that does!)

In addition, post a picture of the game that features your most favourite mechanic, or one that encompasses most of your favourite ones.
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1. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:266]
Gary Goh
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1. Variable Player Powers
This mechanic definitely add a dimension to gameplay by providing different abilities/benefits to the players, which allows for differing strategies to be used in a single game. Granted, it is likely that players with specific powers/abilities would be more inclined to adopt certain strategies, though this tends to be slightly more prominent in competitive games when each player is trying to achieve individual victory. Though this is also true for co-operative games, players are able to tap on the dynamics and interaction of the powers/abilities that are being used to beat the game which is a significant difference.

2. Co-operative Play
This was the mechanic that drew me to the boardgaming world, in the form of Shadows over Camelot. I was admittedly intrigued about how the game would pose a challenge to players during play, and was pleasantly surprised by how the game was designed for this purpose. It was from there that I ventured onto other co-operative games like Arkham Horror, Pandemic etc.

3. Campaign/Battle-Card Driven
Personally, I find that this mechanic is particularly well-done in games such as Twilight Struggle where players are forced to play cards that can either help or hinder them. Here, the challenge lies in the players’ ability to minimize the bad effects of hostile cards by playing them at suitable times, and maximize the usefulness of friendly cards in the same way.

4. Dice-Rolling
Though skill-oriented players may not enjoy the randomness of die rolls, I like this mechanic because it helps to prevent the problem of the runaway leader occurring. Though bad dice rolls can really frustrate a well-executed strategy, it also increases the odds of winning for leisure gamers who are less inclined to lay out detailed strategies in order to win every round.

5. Hand Management / Card Drafting
I have categorized these 2 mechanics together for this purpose, as hand management games usually involve players having to manage the cards in their hands and adding to them by drafting cards from a draw pile. I like the challenge of having to optimize the use of my cards to execute game strategies, and where the unpredictability of the card draw ensures that each game plays out differently.
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2. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:192] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Toms Leikums
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Variable Player Powers
Definitely the mechanism number 1 for me. I really enjoy players having their own possibilities for game and not following one pattern. Favourite games involving this mechanic: Small World, Neuroshima Hex! 3.0, Citadels. Really looking forward Rex: Final Days of an Empire(owned, but not played yet).

Set Collection / Hand Management
Like everyone I also enjoy collecting something and combining it to do some actions. Although these 2 are different mechanics in database, I perceive them to be very close. Favourite games involving this mechanic: Dominion, Thurn and Taxis, Memoir '44, Catan, Acquire.

Modular Board
Same as with Tile Placement mechanic, Modular Board guarantees that each game will be different. Favourite games involving this mechanic: Catan, Memoir '44, Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game, Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island.

Area Control / Area Influence
Although I haven't played the classics and dinosaurs of this mechanic, I highly value it. Favourite games involving this mechanic: Small World, Blue Moon City, Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery. Really looking forward Rex: Final Days of an Empire (owned, but not played yet) and maybe Dominant Species some day.

Variable Phase order
As you may find out from my preferences in this post, I like everything that is variable and changes the pattern of game. So comes in Variable Phase order. Favourite games involving this mechanic: Citadels, Puerto Rico.

Close to TOP 5
Grid Movement
Mechanic itself isn't very promising, but combined with other mechanics it can be quite interesting. Favourite games involving this mechanic: Chess, Mr. Jack, Blue Moon City, Quoridor.

Tile Placement
This mechanic always guarantees thet each game is different. Whether it's popular Carcassonne, or Acquire, but every game feels unique. Favourite games involving this mechanic: Neuroshima Hex! 3.0, Acquire, Vikings. Looking forward to try Suburbiasome day.
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3. Board Game: Cockroach Poker [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1172]
Dorks GoneWild
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Wheat Ridge
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Mechanic - Is this a cockroach?

I know, I know, so many games use this mechanic, but Cockroach Poker does it the best.

When I am at work, I often wonder...Is it a cockroach?

I work in a very dirty place.
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4. Board Game: Shitenno [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:3149]
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1. I-Split-You-Choose

Way under-utilized mechanism that is, without a doubt, my favorite. This forces player interaction without the need for direct conflict.

Games that do this well:
Shitenno
Piece o' Cake
Dragon's Gold (as my preferred method to play)
Dragon Valley
San Marco

Games that do something similar:
Biblios
Coloretto/Zooloretto/Aquaretto/Monster Café
Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King


2. Dice Placement

To be honest, I love any game that uses dice in an interesting way. If done correctly, dice can add a level randomness to a game (adding to replayability and limiting runaway leader problems), but still be mitigated through careful planning. I also love worker placement games in general. Mixing dice manipulation with worker placement is a match made in heaven.

Games that do "Worker Placement with Dice" well:
Kingsburg
Alea Iacta Est
The Voyages of Marco Polo
Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia
Madeira
Praetor
Alien Frontiers
Artifacts, Inc.
Bora Bora
Troyes
Dark Horse
The King's Abbey

3. Simultaneous Action Selection

Another mechanism that forces player interaction without necessarily requiring direct conflict. I love the idea of guessing what your opponent will do, and adjusting your own decisions accordingly.

Some games that do this well:
Glass Road
Broom Service
Libertalia
Roll for the Galaxy
Dungeon Petz
Jamaica
Pirate's Cove
Lords of Xidit
Diamant
Dice Town
Edo

4. Engine Building

I love a sense of escalation in a game. Engine building games allow you to go from barely able to do anything, to having grand impressive turns by the end of the game. Another thing I like about games with a good engine building element is that it allows players to take drastically different paths (in essence giving themselves variable player powers...another mechanism I adore).

Some great engine building games:
Dominion
Puerto Rico/San Juan
Race for the Galaxy/Roll for the Galaxy
Uwe's Harvest Series of games (Agricola, At the Gates of Loyang, Le Havre, etc)
Seasons
Rialto/Macao/most of Feld's games
Splendor
Elysium
Deus

5. Route Building

I'm not sure why, but I'm a sucker for a game with some route/network building. I can't put my finger on just exactly why this mechanism gets me excited every time... but it does.

Some excellent games with route/network building:
Ticket to Ride
Hansa Teutonica
Keyflower
Thurn and Taxis
Saboteur
Trains
Macao
Gold West
The Voyages of Marco Polo
Relic Runners
Rolling Freight
Milestones
Subdivision
Kingdom Builder
Spike
Airlines Europe
Power Grid


Honorable Mention: Social Deduction

Most of my gaming is just my wife and I, making social deduction games a no-go. However, whenever I have a game night at my house, these games are the highlight of the evening. This is a category that's getting flooded recently... and I'm a sucker who wants them all.

Some great social deduction games:
Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition/Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition
The Resistance/The Resistance: Avalon
BANG!/BANG! The Dice Game/Samurai Sword
Shadow Hunters
Blood Bound
Coup/Mascarade
Good Cop Bad Cop
Spyfall
New Salem First Edition
The Last Banquet
Two Rooms and a Boom
Saboteur
Lifeboat





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