Popular Game Mechanisms and Themes That I'm Sick Of
Greg Nichols
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky (though 47 years old is suppose to be the new 37 according to the media). Or maybe it was enduring the long winter here in the Midwestern part of the U.S. which saw new accumulated snowfall records posted. Or maybe it's that I just have reached a new gaming place in my life that calls into question some things I've been accepting for awhile now.

Basically, I'm sick of certain popular game mechanisms and themes that seem to be dominating the game landscape these days. And I'm in the mood to call them out in the following list. So please join me in this therapeutic condemnation of tired mechanisms and themes.
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1. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Greg Nichols
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Theme: Quest for Raw Materials 1.0

This is the basically the "Alpha" game in terms of the obsession over raw materials or what I call the Wood-Wheat-Sheep syndrome. Somebody has to be responsible for initiating this obsession and I give it to Settlers.
 
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2. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:16]
Greg Nichols
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Theme: Quest for Raw Materials 2.0

This is the game that really ramped up the obsession for raw materials. Here we have the Corn-Coffee-Sugar syndrome. I mean how can we all be so obsessed over raw materials? How did being a Plantation owner become a hip gaming theme? And of course it didn't stop here. Next item please...
 
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3. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
Greg Nichols
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Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Theme: Quest for Raw Materials 3.0

Here is the recent "Big Dawg" of the quest for raw materials obsession. And the Wood-Wheat-Sheep syndrome returns! Well the wheat is now called "grain." It's been done and done and done. And people have spreadsheet the thing to death already just like they did Puerto Rico. It's tired. Give it a rest.
 
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4. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:226]
Greg Nichols
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Michigan
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Mechanism: The Auction 1.0

Did I have to pick on Modern Art? Naw but it seems the most logical game in terms of the origins of the auction as a breakout mechanic. This game is almost nothing but auctions with some paper shuffling in between. But it seems tame in comparison to...
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5. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:116]
Greg Nichols
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Ann Arbor
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Mechanism: The Auction 2.0

Then there was the beautifully illustrated PoF. A game that made the auction mechanism seem honorable and almost genteel on the surface as you spent your Florins and built-up your piazza. But under the surface, it was cutthroat and bloody. Another round, more bidding. And we weren't done drumming this mechanic to a bloody pulp. Because then came...
 
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6. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:28]
Greg Nichols
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Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Mechanism: The Auction 3.0

Then came hair pulling and hair loss. Power Grid makes auctions feel like dental surgery. Oh the painful joy of winning a #42 Coal Plant! Or going all Al Gore Green and getting a wind farm. And joy of joys, there's a quest for raw materials hidden within! A new Coal-Oil-Uranium syndrome has come into being. Let's listen to the four player rhythm:

"37-38-39-40-41-42-Pass-43-44-Pass-45-Pass-Yes!"

I'm sorry but I'm just plain sick of auction mechanisms. Give it a rest.
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