Great Mechanisms that should be stolen
Brian Bankler
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San Antonio
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Games have lots of great ideas. And sometimes you get a great idea in a great game. But other times, you get a great idea in a game that doesn't quite work. For every We The People or 1830 you have dozens of titles that didn't spawn countless successors, but that should have.

I'm not including ideas from games where I think the mechanism has already been stolen (I'm looking at you, Verräter), but from ideas still waiting for their moment in the sun.

Add your ideas as well.
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1. Board Game: Dry Gulch [Average Rating:5.37 Overall Rank:12960]
Brian Bankler
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The inspiration for this list.

Players build up the various buildings of Dry Gulch, but the cute mechanism is that every turn the current player draws three events ... and resolves two of them. So if you build the Saloon, you know there are a few event cards that give you a big payday ... but other people will bury that card unless one of the other cards is worse.

So you get a nice amount of randomness, even though go through the deck 2+ times a game. It also provides a decent feedback mechanism, as if you have to help someone else you'll help a trailing player, instead of the leader.
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2. Board Game: Antike [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:568]
Brian Bankler
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I'm probably in the minority in thinking that the Rondel idea is great, but not actually liking any of the games that use it so far. They aren't bad, really. I just think that these are the Verrater's to the eventual Puerto Rico waiting to be made....
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3. Board Game: Blood Royale [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2900]
Brian Bankler
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In order to have a valid (enforceable) treaty, you have to have a marriage between the two families. Unfortunately the game bogs down in tracking which of your dozens of offspring live, die, produce heirs, etc.
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4. Board Game: Footmania [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:8676]
Brian Bankler
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I've actually designed a game to improve Footmania. Apart from loving the theme (I played United by Email in the 90s), I thought the game system was elegant. You buy and sell players and then resolve the game via some simple math, but each player gets three actions. Obviously the player "Winning" will just pass, but the loser can make substitutions or play action cards, but then his opponent may take one of his three actions...

The problem is that the game takes a bit too long to resolve, and the rest of the game is a hoary old roll and move. But I think the basic idea would work very well for a season long baseball game, where you quickly resolve a series via a few plays... or any sport management game, really.
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5. Board Game: The Republic of Rome [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:346]
Brian Bankler
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The Senate phase, where players wheel and deal and have to sometimes cooperate and sometimes compete? Brilliant. And it needs a complex system that's hard to evaluate (otherwise the decisions would be easy). But as good as Republic of Rome is, The system belongs in a 3-4 hour game, not a 2-12 hour game.
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6. Board Game: Super Giant Monster Showdown [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:9343]
Brian Bankler
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Man, building your monster is great. (You get 7 cards of Type A, and can keep as many as you want. Then 7 Type Bs, Type Cs, etc. But you can only keep ten cards).

But the actual rampaging around the city wasn't much fun.
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7. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:317]
Brian Bankler
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The re-issue certainly improves on the original (from what I hear), but it seemed a bit random as to how your character's abilities helped or hurt. Perhaps this one is just a matter of taste ...
 
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8. Board Game: In the Shadow of the Emperor [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:838]
Chris Flood
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Richmond
California
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This game is the only one I know of that has a "decaying pieces" mechanism, by which your pieces age and are eventually removed from play.
 
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9. Board Game: Cribbage [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:559]
True Blue Jon
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Vancouver
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The part where each players discards cards into the "crib" would be very cool in many different games that use cards.
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10. Board Game: Thebes [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:380]
Jae
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Bryan
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Thebes is full of great mechanics, and while the game itself is not great, it is certainly above average.

The specific mechanic I think should be used more is already used in another semi-popular game Red November. I speak, of course, of the timing track. Having players use actions based against a timing track that provides both initiative and a limitation of available actions...pure genius. I'd definitely like to see this mechanic used to perfect use.
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11. Board Game: Atlantic Star [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1167]
Davido
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California
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The "Scuttle" mechanic from Atlantic Star. Don't like any of the 4 available ships? Forced to leave a high value ship that you know the next player(s) need?

Well, pay 2 Marks to 'scuttle the fleet' and force a redeal. Or as we say, "Flush 'em, please"

Other neat mechanics:

The payoff track with its risk/reward ratios (higher payoffs run the risk of lower/no payoffs if your voyage doesn't hold up) is a simple but elegant push your luck element. You can also try to delay to see who pays off where before committing.

The 'only hold up to 2 cards' after a voyage plus not being able to discard other than to a voyage forces a "Sh*t or get off the pot" mentality that can be quite brutal for gameplay decisions.
 
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12. Board Game: Mammoth Hunters [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:3137]
Mike K
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Fairless Hills
Pennsylvania
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This was the inspiration for a recent list of mine. I haven't played the game, so I probably should not judge. But others who have commented have told me the game just doesn't really click.

That said, I like the idea of having two decks of cards, one of which you pay to gain improvements, one of which you collect to give improvements.
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