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Subject: Boardgames with pasted-on mechanics rss

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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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Complaints about boardgames with pasted-on themes are common but how about boardgames with pasted-on mechanics?

Take the number one thematic game (in my humble opinion and all other necessary disclaimers): Tigris & Euphrates. Tile-laying as a mechanic to gamify the theme of rising and falling ancient kingdoms is simply brilliant. Deck building, worker placement or whatever could never compete with this choice.

Then take a game with a high thematic rating (in the BGG opinion): Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. Here we have a theme about unknown traitors secretly cooperating with the enemy. This theme should invoke a lot of politics and paranoia but how was it gamified? Play colored cards to a deck, shuffle and reveal. To me, this feels about as exciting as dividing a restaurant bill.

OK, I'm raving a bit now but I do think that you should look at the fit between theme and mechanics before complaining about one or the other.

Do you have any examples of game where the mechanics support/ruin the theme?
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Pete
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Hogwarts: House Cup Challenge fits both criteria for me.

The mechanism of providing cards that require certain levels of skill and talent to complete captures the theme of the game really well. The cards are well thought out and convey the story admirably.

But...

The mechanism of having Harry, Hermione, and Ron fighting against each other, including maliciously sending the bad guys to harm one another, thematically just wrecks the game.

Pete (converted the game to cooperative play)
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Steve C
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Dice Forge

I think you are literally pasting on new faces of the die to replace the original ones, so...yeah.
 
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Balaji Iyengar
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According to SU&SD guys:
Trajan

It's a hilarious video. You've got to watch their review of Trajan
 
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