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Subject: Buffered/pipelined mechanics rss

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Sanae Hanekoma
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Hi all, I've recently noticed a few games that involve a slight twist on "typical" resource management/action point allowance/worker placement mechanics and I wanted to see if anyone knew of other games with similar mechanics.

The concept involves a pool of resources (in some form) that move along a pipeline which will determine what actions/benefits are available to the player as they buffer through. Depending on the implementation, a player may or may not require more than one resource unit (potentially of different "ages") to achieve a result, but the core mechanic that determines the available results relies on the "aging" of the resources and not the quantity. The resources may or may not expire after spending "too long" in the pipeline, and it may or may not be possible for a player to introduce "pre-aged" resources to the pipeline. The pipeline may not involve explicit intervention by the player, and players may have individual pipelines or may share a pipeline. A few examples are listed below, ordered by release date.

I'm not sure if it would be useful to come up with a name for this type of mechanic, but right now it seems like there's no common label among the games I've seen that use it. In any case I'd love to hear input and get other names of games that use similar mechanics. Thanks!

* Stronghold (2009): The attacking player manages waves of units which buffer along a branching pipeline to any of the walls of the defending player's fortress. There are units of varying types and player actions determine the number and distance moved by the available units on each turn. The defending player can attack units stationed in buffer zones along the pipeline or can otherwise adjust the pipeline to deal damage to certain units as they progress along the paths.
* Tzolk'in (2012): Workers can be placed onto several shared pipelines, which enable them to perform different actions as the pipelines advance. When an available action is performed, the corresponding worker is retrieved from the pipeline. Workers which are left on the pipeline when it advances beyond the final action are retrieved without performing an action.
* Viticulture (2013): Grape and Wine tokens appreciate in value/age each year, one or more grape tokens may be converted into wine tokens of combined value, and various types of tokens are removed to satisfy various orders and other actions at different points in the game. Resources of higher value may be used to satisfy requirements for lower values of that resource, but resource types cannot be substituted. The game features separate pipelines for each player and for each type of grape/wine, and all resources cap out at a max value/age until spent. Max one resource of each value allowed for each pipeline.
* Boss Monster (2013): Each player constructs a pipeline that will "bid" for heroes (read: enemies) that will enter and progress through their pipeline, and players will be able to activate various abilities as the heroes pass through different stages in the pipeline which deal damage or produce other effects. Killing a hero in particular rooms may result in various effects, and failing to kill the hero before it reaches the end of the pipeline will result in damage to your character.
* Tuscany (2014): Cheese, cider, and other farmable resources are produced and aged analogously to Viticulture, some resources can go bad after aging past an allowable limit, at which point they are worth less/worthless.
* Heavy Steam (2015): Steam cubes are distributed through combat mechs/titans to enable various actions. Each player manages a branching pipeline with buffered stages, and on each turn players choose how many tokens will be spent to activate the actions corresponding to their buffer, how many will be left in place to contribute to other mechanics, and how many will flow further down the available branch(es) in the pipeline to fill available position(s) in later stage(s). Each connection of the pipeline has a limit on the number of tokens which can flow along it each turn, and the buffers at each stage in the pipeline have respective maximum capacities which can be increased or decreased by other mechanics.
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Shane Larsen
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Dungeon Pets has the aging element. The food types age at different rates and the pets themselves age too. As they get older, they get more demanding. There's a big aging/timing element to selling your pets and scoring points too.
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