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Subject: How are mechanics included in the list? rss

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Geraldo Xexeo
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I am doing a research in game mechanics and BGG has a very stable list of mechanics that I am willing to use, however it is necessary for me to understand how these mechanics came to be.

Further on, there are some mechanics suggestions on BGG Suggestions Forum, that are discussed but never accepted. There is even a sentence from user herace in https://boardgamegeek.com/article/26191954#26191954.

herace wrote:
In reality it has been a long time since BGG added a new mechanic or category. The new method has been t"o add a family


Could someone enlighten me on:

1) How were mechanics included in the list?
2) How a new mechanic can be included?

Any further explanation or data will be wellcome (such as the date of inclusion of each mechanic, why the list seems to be frozen, etc.)

Thanks
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Are you doing research on games using a set of mechanics as part of the theoretical framework? If so, you should absolutely not use BGG's list.

Are you doing research on sets of mechanics and why and how people adopt them? If so, proceed.
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Anna F.
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A while back I had the thought that someone with way more free time and energy than me should start a wiki full of encyclopedic treatments of game mechanics.

......? ninja
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TJ H
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BGG subdomain, category, mechanics, and families are basically all broken and any discussion to fix that will receive following opinions.

1. Who cares?

2. It's impossible to come up with perfect list of game categories, mechanics and families. Every game is different.

3. It has been broken for a while so why fix it now?

4. You don't really need it.

5. If you don't like it, just don't use it.

6. Whatever you suggest, it won't be implemented anyways.

7. Just get used to it.

8. You don't pay for BGG. Stop whining.
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Olli Juhala
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xlist21 wrote:
BGG subdomain, category, mechanics, and families are basically all broken and any discussion to fix that will receive following opinions.


Yeah, BGG database has had all these rather loosely defined parallel categorizations that aren't maintained with any sort of regularity and consistency. It's part of the Frankenstein's database charm of the place.
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Wilbert Kiemeneij
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They're called mechanisms, not mechanics. I don't know what kind of research you're doing, but if it's academic research it's probably a good idea to use the proper term.
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Olli Juhala
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WilbertK wrote:
They're called mechanisms, not mechanics. I don't know what kind of research you're doing, but if it's academic research it's probably a good idea to use the proper term.


I'm sure that's relevant if there was an official definition of the term as such.
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Daniel Takai
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Xexeo wrote:
I am doing a research in game mechanics and BGG has a very stable list of mechanics that I am willing to use, however it is necessary for me to understand how these mechanics came to be.


That sounds very interesting! I guess the main difficulty will be context, because mechanisms will mean something different and also play differently depending on the type of game. I suppose this won't be a list, but instead a set of ontologies? I'm not sure if that comes off the current category or family of a game.

Very interesting, keep us posted!
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Geraldo Xexeo
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WilbertK wrote:
They're called mechanisms, not mechanics. I don't know what kind of research you're doing, but if it's academic research it's probably a good idea to use the proper term.


Actually, most of the game design literature call them mechanics. It is even on the title of a book!

It is also the term used in BGG menu, so I thought that it is proper term to use here and let things clear.

Beyond other authors, I am based in

Hunicke, Robin; LeBlanc, Marc; Zubek, Robert, MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research (http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.79.4...)

Eurogames : The Design, Culture and Play of Modern European Board Games
Stewart Woods - 2012

Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design
Por Ernest Adams,Joris Dormans

Meanwhile, I will be very interested in finding some author that use the term mechanism, since it would be nice to see if there are any conceptual differences between the two words.






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Geraldo Xexeo
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Kaffedrake wrote:
Are you doing research on games using a set of mechanics as part of the theoretical framework? If so, you should absolutely not use BGG's list.

Are you doing research on sets of mechanics and why and how people adopt them? If so, proceed.


Although my work (with others) is actually more of the second, I would like a further explanation why the first is not advisable. Actually, it seems that the BGG is the only widely accepted/used list of mechanics.

I point that I am using the list as a basis to the work, not as the final word. We actually already noticed that some mechanics are theoretically the same, such as the ones related to movement in maps or grids.

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Geraldo Xexeo
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takai wrote:
Xexeo wrote:
I am doing a research in game mechanics and BGG has a very stable list of mechanics that I am willing to use, however it is necessary for me to understand how these mechanics came to be.


That sounds very interesting! I guess the main difficulty will be context, because mechanisms will mean something different and also play differently depending on the type of game. I suppose this won't be a list, but instead a set of ontologies? I'm not sure if that comes off the current category or family of a game.

Very interesting, keep us posted!


We are aiming at ontologies.

When we started we expected BGG Mechanics list to be a kind of folksonomy, but after a short investigation this hypothesis was dropped.

That´s the reason of the original question: who created it? There were discussions?
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Geraldo Xexeo
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xlist21 wrote:
BGG subdomain, category, mechanics, and families are basically all broken and any discussion to fix that will receive following opinions.

1. Who cares?

...

8. You don't pay for BGG. Stop whining.


I don´t want to discuss it, but to understand how it came to be. Since it seems to be widely accepted, even if broken, it is a interesting source.

Our research has no interest in changing the way BGG works or push for an internal agenda. We are actually looking at other works at the same time, and even at discussions in the Forum that propose new mechanics.

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Geraldo Xexeo
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snapdragon23 wrote:
A while back I had the thought that someone with way more free time and energy than me should start a wiki full of encyclopedic treatments of game mechanics.

......? ninja


This is a great ideia that we have been considering, but some similar approaches failed in the past, others partially worked, meanwhile BGG is there for a long time.

Here is a list for videogames that could interest you: http://www.squidi.net/three/
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Adam Tucker
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Xexeo wrote:
Kaffedrake wrote:
Are you doing research on games using a set of mechanics as part of the theoretical framework? If so, you should absolutely not use BGG's list.

Are you doing research on sets of mechanics and why and how people adopt them? If so, proceed.


Although my work (with others) is actually more of the second, I would like a further explanation why the first is not advisable. Actually, it seems that the BGG is the only widely accepted/used list of mechanics.


Variable Phase Order

There are mechanisms that are not well defined, arguments over how mechanisms should be defined (component-based vs. game play-based), and likely quite a few missing mechanisms.

The mechanisms themselves do not seem to have designated forums, so any greater attempt at hashing out and/or defining mechanisms is just done through random threads/geeklists/whatever across the rest of the site. This makes them fairly difficult to track down for collating all relevant information and fairly likely to retread over the same arguments with little to no progress towards a well defined and actually useful ontology.

What remains is more useful to relatively new gamers for recognizing some similarities across similar types of games than for anything anywhere near academic scrutiny.

Xexeo wrote:
I point that I am using the list as a basis to the work, not as the final word. We actually already noticed that some mechanics are theoretically the same, such as the ones related to movement in maps or grids.
The way these are currently described, it does seem that Hex-and-Counter is a strict subset of Grid Movement. While I can understand players wanting an easily searchable distinction - mechanisms does not seem to me to be the best way to go about this; I would think "Category" would be a better place for listing different types of grid mapping/movement variations.
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Shush Ruth
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I've been interested in mechanisms for both theoretical and practical reasons.
The practical reason was for building up my game collection. How I defined mechanisms (and mechanics) to do so is detailed in this geeklist.

I used the BGG as a starting point. It's good for that, but as pointed out above, it has a few shortcomings like:
tuckerotl wrote:
There are mechanisms that are not well defined, arguments over how mechanisms should be defined (component-based vs. game play-based), and likely quite a few missing mechanisms.
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Geraldo Xexeo
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shruthless wrote:
I've been interested in mechanisms for both theoretical and practical reasons.
The practical reason was for building up my game collection. How I defined mechanisms (and mechanics) to do so is detailed in this geeklist.

I used the BGG as a starting point. It's good for that, but as pointed out above, it has a few shortcomings like:
tuckerotl wrote:
There are mechanisms that are not well defined, arguments over how mechanisms should be defined (component-based vs. game play-based), and likely quite a few missing mechanisms.


Thank you for pointing to the list. At this time we are more interested in mechanics (such as dice rolling and point to point movement) that in what you call mechanisms (such as Race Games). But, further on, I believe the ontology will grow to accept some kind of categorization as you propose as Mechanisms.

We have currently a very good understanding of BGG mechanics, and have developed then in both an type-of and a part-of relationship. We mostly kept BGG mechanics as basic ones, and created generalized concepts using references from the MDA Model and some compatible literature.

We are now thinking in how to publish it in a way that we can control collaborations. We are aware that other game ontology projects have somewhat failed.

 
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