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Subject: a question on mechanics rss

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anevil giraffe
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I've been watching a lot of Rahdo (who doesn't?) and there are several instances where he refers to a mechanism being from another game - I can't remember exact details now, but there was definitely one refering to an auction mechanism (King's Abbey?).

Obviously, when it comes to the same designer (Pandemic and Forbidden Island/Desert), it's a bit clearer that the same mechanic can be used, but is there any IP or copyright to a mechanism? I'm not designing anything, just curious, as it seems to crop up a lot - I guess Yahtzee is a very good example. is there a stage when a mechanic becomes mainstream and accepted as just mechanic rather than that mechanic from that game?

If that makes sense, of course
 
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Nat Levan
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It's basically a function of how unique specific parts of the gameplay are. The mechanic is built from simpler actions, and when the same actions show up together as a group, that can become a mechanic
Deckbuilding is one of the easiest examples.
Lots of games use constructed decks, but Dominion was the first to make it into an entire game.
Several games took the concept and modified it slightly. Trains adds a board and changes how cards work, but shares the features of different card types, card piles, and a difference between money cards action cards and and point cards. The inspiration is clear, so you can say Trains uses Dominion's Deckbuilding mechanic.
But something like Valley of the Kings really only uses behavior of constructing a deck and a 5 card hand, but scoring and buying act completely differently.

There's no real official protection or designation. In theory, you can patent a certain action or set of actions, but you'd have to prove that you legitimately invented a new behavior, with no inspiration, that was unique enough and powerful enough to be identified and copied. In reality, it doesn't happen.
 
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anevilgiraffe wrote:
I've been watching a lot of Rahdo (who doesn't?) and there are several instances where he refers to a mechanism being from another game - I can't remember exact details now, but there was definitely one refering to an auction mechanism (King's Abbey?).

Obviously, when it comes to the same designer (Pandemic and Forbidden Island/Desert), it's a bit clearer that the same mechanic can be used, but is there any IP or copyright to a mechanism? I'm not designing anything, just curious, as it seems to crop up a lot - I guess Yahtzee is a very good example. is there a stage when a mechanic becomes mainstream and accepted as just mechanic rather than that mechanic from that game?

If that makes sense, of course


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