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Subject: What different types of movement mechanics are there? rss

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Sara Winter
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Hi,

I'm sort of new to board gaming, but I have lots of ideas for games. However, I have noticed that I'm a bit behind on playing a variety of different types of games. To get updated I have begun watching/reading game reviews and have a few game evenings planned with friends.

Right now I have been thinking a bit about different types of movement mechanics. Or in other words, what are some ways to keep a game moving forward? I realize that that might be a very broad question, so I will attempt to break it down to the variations I have identified so far:

1. there is the classic "roll a dice to move", i.e. Monopoly
- this is very random and gives players little control and is most often counter intuitive to game strategy (?)

2. there is the building style where you gather resources in order to build or move out into nearby regions, i.e. Settlers of Catan
- needs a resource gathering or scoring mechanism and generally involves rather slow movement

3. RPG-type movement
- requires a GM and dice to control freedom/restrictions

4. limited movement/turn mechanism (I don't really know what to call this one)
- in Scythe for example, there are 4 different types of movement/actions you can choose between, except that you cannot make the same move/action twice in a row

It may be that I am mixing apples and oranges here, but I am looking to expand my game mechanism understanding horizon, even though my vocabulary to do it in is unfortunately rather limited at the moment.

Any help/pointers are welcome
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Radu Stanculescu
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I'd really name this "game advancement" mechanisms. Movement implies something more physical.

Also, you might want to take a look here: https://boardgamegeek.com/browse/boardgamemechanic

Not everything in that list is a mechanism that will advance a game (rock-paper-scissors is there for balance, just to give an example), but you can get a better feel of the different options. You can click on a mechanism in that list and then sort the games using it by rank if you want to see examples of that mechanism.
 
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Sara Winter
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carlcorey wrote:
I'd really name this "game advancement" mechanisms. Movement implies something more physical.

Also, you might want to take a look here: https://boardgamegeek.com/browse/boardgamemechanic

Not everything in that list is a mechanism that will advance a game (rock-paper-scissors is there for balance, just to give an example), but you can get a better feel of the different options. You can click on a mechanism in that list and then sort the games using it by rank if you want to see examples of that mechanism.


Thanks! That looks like a great list, I think it will be my new bed-time reading list for the next couple of weeks
 
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patrick mullen
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Yeah each of your examples is kind of it's own category, though I can see how you have related them. Roll and move is an option for how you move your tokens on a board that has spaces. You need not have a board, or spaces, to have a good tabletop game. But if you do have a board and spaces, roll and move was a popular option for how to move through them. Many of the old roll-and-move games, such as Life, did represent this movement along the board as movement through time, rather than movement in space.

You are right though in that roll-and-move has it's issues. The modern schools of design tend to stay away from it as much as possible because of this. But you still find it here and there. (Formula D where it's used well, Shadows of Brimstone where other options may have been better)

Catan has similar issues in it's use of dice as roll-and-move, in that random elements can screw up your game. However, roll-and-move is what has been called "output" randomness; settlers is actually more on the side of "input" randomness. That is, whether the random element happens BEFORE you make the decision (settlers) or after you have made a decision (roll-and-move). In settlers, the dice will give you a set of resources, but then after that you get to choose how to make do with what you have. In roll-and-move, after you roll the dice you usually have no decisions to make - you just move that number of spaces. Though this isn't true for all roll-and-move games.

Both types of randomness have their place; but of course random elements aren't necessary.

The system you describe in scythe is a form of actions. Many games use such a system. Sometimes they will give you action points, and let you choose from a list of options. In other systems, you have a single "main" action, which are usually the more interesting options, with some "side" actions that you might be able to perform for free. These make for interesting decisions for players on how to maximize their turns.

Keeping a game moving forward is sometimes harder than just your mechanisms for spacial movement, resource generation, or actions and turns. Chess for example has very simple mechanics, although you might say it uses a limited action system where you must move one and only one unit as your action. However, the cramped board space, and the fact that you HAVE to move a piece, makes the "movement" through the game usually result in many casualties especially early on. The fact that pawns may only move forward is another element which may have been added to the game to ensure that it has this momentum you are looking for. Imagine playing when pawns can move backward!

Games with cards have a kind of momentum as well, as usually when you play a card it means that card is discarded, not to be used again. With a limited amount of cards, that bounds the game and forces you to be heading towards some kind of end state.

Welcome to board games and design, I hope you enjoy it! The game 'Game Design' is definitely in my top 3 games
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Carel Teijgeler
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Other options:

- point-to-point movement
- cards that allow movement (Mage Knight)
- Move Points and Move Allowance
- Action Points Allowance that allows you to move (nice one in Amerigo)
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Martin Larouche
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- Move by rolling dice (Monopoly, Clue, Nautillion, Talisman, Runebound).

- Move automatically - all players / cards / etc. move after a condition is met (King of Tokyo, Sylvion, the diseases in Pandemic during an outburst, the UFOs in XCom the boardgame when the app tells you to)

- Move a specified maximum distance. (Descent, Imperial Assault, Chess, warhammer).

- By spending cards related to movement (the recent reprint of Stop Thief, Inis, Tragedy Looper)

- By spending a cost - money, tokens or resources (Catan, the provost in Caylus during the turn, all movement in Scotland Yard)

- Move anywhere you want that is accessible (Tokaido, Akrotiri, Via Nebula's resources)

- By programming - goes wherever a previously entered command dictates (Lords of Xidit, x-wing miniatures).

- Through physics - be it gravity or other means (the marbles in Potion Explosion, the fireballs in Fireball Island, Flick em up, Catacombs)

- The "mancala" movement - leave part of something behind in each space moved until you have nothing left (Mancala, Five Tribes)

- Through a referee (mostly in RPGs)

Nothing else comes to mind...
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Sara Winter
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saluk wrote:

Welcome to board games and design, I hope you enjoy it! The game 'Game Design' is definitely in my top 3 games


Thank you for the clarification, and thank you for welcoming me. I have posted a few times here now and am really grateful for the response I am getting
 
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Sara Winter
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anijunk wrote:
Other options:

- point-to-point movement
- cards that allow movement (Mage Knight)
- Move Points and Move Allowance
- Action Points Allowance that allows you to move (nice one in Amerigo)


Thanx for helping me continue the list
 
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Sara Winter
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deedob wrote:
- Move by rolling dice (Monopoly, Clue, Nautillion, Talisman, Runebound).

- Move automatically - all players / cards / etc. move after a condition is met (King of Tokyo, Sylvion, the diseases in Pandemic during an outburst, the UFOs in XCom the boardgame when the app tells you to)

- Move a specified maximum distance. (Descent, Imperial Assault, Chess, warhammer).

- By spending cards related to movement (the recent reprint of Stop Thief, Inis, Tragedy Looper)

- By spending a cost - money, tokens or resources (Catan, the provost in Caylus during the turn, all movement in Scotland Yard)

- Move anywhere you want that is accessible (Tokaido, Akrotiri, Via Nebula's resources)

- By programming - goes wherever a previously entered command dictates (Lords of Xidit, x-wing miniatures).

- Through physics - be it gravity or other means (the marbles in Potion Explosion, the fireballs in Fireball Island, Flick em up, Catacombs)

- The "mancala" movement - leave part of something behind in each space moved until you have nothing left (Mancala, Five Tribes)

- Through a referee (mostly in RPGs)

Nothing else comes to mind...


Thanks for all of the specific game suggestions
 
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Laura Creighton
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Aside from 'roll dice', 'draw/play card', 'plunk game piece down on a special part of the board triggering an action' and 'narrative' not limited to RPG and social deduction games, but there it is the dominant form of advancing the game -- there is the whole range of 'Do this thing which requires manual dexterity' that is common to dexterity games, and 'draw this token from a sack' (which doesn't get used nearly as often as I think it should). There are also games like Robo Rally where you basically are following a recipe, which you created in advance.

ps -- välkommen välkommen (welcome welcome). Have some geek gold.
 
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Sara Winter
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lacreighton wrote:
Aside from 'roll dice', 'draw/play card', 'plunk game piece down on a special part of the board triggering an action' and 'narrative' not limited to RPG and social deduction games, but there it is the dominant form of advancing the game -- there is the whole range of 'Do this thing which requires manual dexterity' that is common to dexterity games, and 'draw this token from a sack' (which doesn't get used nearly as often as I think it should). There are also games like Robo Rally where you basically are following a recipe, which you created in advance.

ps -- välkommen välkommen (welcome welcome). Have some geek gold.


Tack, och tack igen!

Right now I am particularly interested in the 'narrative'- and 'recipe'-constructed games.
 
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Laura Creighton
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winterGamer wrote:
lacreighton wrote:
Aside from 'roll dice', 'draw/play card', 'plunk game piece down on a special part of the board triggering an action' and 'narrative' not limited to RPG and social deduction games, but there it is the dominant form of advancing the game -- there is the whole range of 'Do this thing which requires manual dexterity' that is common to dexterity games, and 'draw this token from a sack' (which doesn't get used nearly as often as I think it should). There are also games like Robo Rally where you basically are following a recipe, which you created in advance.

ps -- välkommen välkommen (welcome welcome). Have some geek gold.


Tack, och tack igen!

Right now I am particularly interested in the 'narrative'- and 'recipe'-constructed games.


I don't know how the latest version of Robo Rally changed the gameplay, but it is hard to imagine that it gave up the 'recipe' idea altogether. But you never know. If you don't have access to Robo Rally, or you do, but it is the latest reprint and doesn't seem to have what i am talking about, then, if you ever get to Göteborg you can come over to my house and play or borrow my copy.
 
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Hedyn Brand
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Memoir '44 has a variation on movement cards which dictates movement for units only in a portion of the map. I dunno if this applies to all Command & Colors games.

There's also a gravity-based placement system. To drop in parachute troopers…you actually drop them in and place squads in the hexes they land on
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Will Beckley
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saluk wrote:
However, roll-and-move is what has been called "output" randomness; settlers is actually more on the side of "input" randomness. That is, whether the random element happens BEFORE you make the decision (settlers) or after you have made a decision (roll-and-move). In settlers, the dice will give you a set of resources, but then after that you get to choose how to make do with what you have. In roll-and-move, after you roll the dice you usually have no decisions to make - you just move that number of spaces. Though this isn't true for all roll-and-move games.

Both types of randomness have their place; but of course random elements aren't necessary.


I actually can't think of any roll and move games that use it as a form of output randomness, though I'm sure they exist. Input randomness being randomness that occurs before a decision point that usually constrains the decision space, and output randomness being randomness that occurs as a result of a decision that determines the outcome. Examples of roll and move as input randomness:

Monopoly, where movement is not optional. The input randomness determines which space you move to, and the decision point, if one exists at all, is whether or not to buy the property landed on.

Clue, where the die roll is the input randomness to determine how many spaces you may move, and the decision point is where to move on the grid (and making an accusation should you have rolled high enough to make it into a room).

Backgammon/Parchesi/Aggravation/Sorry, where the input randomness of the roll/card flip determines the number of spaces to be moved and the decision point is which piece(s) to move that number of spaces.

Formula De, where the input randomness of the roll determines the number of spaces moved, and the decision points are which specific spaces to move into and whether or not to upshift or downshift to mitigate the next turn's random roll.

Etc.

Roll and move is *usually* a form of boring or bad design, but in most applications it is input randomness nonetheless.
 
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Martin Larouche
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Wiyum wrote:
saluk wrote:
However, roll-and-move is what has been called "output" randomness; settlers is actually more on the side of "input" randomness. That is, whether the random element happens BEFORE you make the decision (settlers) or after you have made a decision (roll-and-move). In settlers, the dice will give you a set of resources, but then after that you get to choose how to make do with what you have. In roll-and-move, after you roll the dice you usually have no decisions to make - you just move that number of spaces. Though this isn't true for all roll-and-move games.

Both types of randomness have their place; but of course random elements aren't necessary.


I actually can't think of any roll and move games that use it as a form of output randomness, though I'm sure they exist. Input randomness being randomness that occurs before a decision point that usually constrains the decision space, and output randomness being randomness that occurs as a result of a decision that determines the outcome. Examples of roll and move as input randomness:

Monopoly, where movement is not optional. The input randomness determines which space you move to, and the decision point, if one exists at all, is whether or not to buy the property landed on.

Clue, where the die roll is the input randomness to determine how many spaces you may move, and the decision point is where to move on the grid (and making an accusation should you have rolled high enough to make it into a room).

Backgammon/Parchesi/Aggravation/Sorry, where the input randomness of the roll/card flip determines the number of spaces to be moved and the decision point is which piece(s) to move that number of spaces.

Formula De, where the input randomness of the roll determines the number of spaces moved, and the decision points are which specific spaces to move into and whether or not to upshift or downshift to mitigate the next turn's random roll.

Etc.

Roll and move is *usually* a form of boring or bad design, but in most applications it is input randomness nonetheless.


In Nautilion, you roll 3 dices and then decide where to assign those dices. 2 of those are going to move according to dice allocated.
Roll and Move as output...

Claustrophobia might also apply. Roll dices, then assign them to specific characters to determine their stat, one of which is the maximum distance you can reach in your move.
 
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Will Beckley
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deedob wrote:
In Nautilion, you roll 3 dices and then decide where to assign those dices. 2 of those are going to move according to dice allocated.
Roll and Move as output...

Claustrophobia might also apply. Roll dices, then assign them to specific characters to determine their stat, one of which is the maximum distance you can reach in your move.


I can't tell if you intended these to be counterpoints or additional examples, but both of these are definitely input randomness, at least if I understand the examples properly. If the turn begins by rolling dice before the player has made a single decision, then it is definitionally input randomness; the result of that roll defines what choices a player can make.

Output randomness would be something like:

1 can assign 5 action points to various pieces during my turn. These action points can be assigned for Move, Build, Harvest, or Attack actions. I assign 1 AP to one of my workers for the move action, then I roll a die to see how many spaces he moves.

In that example, I've made the decision to move before I know how many spaces I will be moving. The decision point occurs before the random element, so it is output randomness.

An attack in Risk is also output randomness. I decide to attack before I know the outcome, and only after I've committed to that action do I encounter a random element to resolve the consequences of that decision.

As I said initially, I'm not aware of any games where roll and move is an example of output randomness, but I'm sure it exists somewhere.
 
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Adam Tucker
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Wiyum wrote:
deedob wrote:
In Nautilion, you roll 3 dices and then decide where to assign those dices. 2 of those are going to move according to dice allocated.
Roll and Move as output...

Claustrophobia might also apply. Roll dices, then assign them to specific characters to determine their stat, one of which is the maximum distance you can reach in your move.


I can't tell if you intended these to be counterpoints or additional examples, but both of these are definitely input randomness, at least if I understand the examples properly. If the turn begins by rolling dice before the player has made a single decision, then it is definitionally input randomness; the result of that roll defines what choices a player can make.

Output randomness would be something like:

1 can assign 5 action points to various pieces during my turn. These action points can be assigned for Move, Build, Harvest, or Attack actions. I assign 1 AP to one of my workers for the move action, then I roll a die to see how many spaces he moves.

In that example, I've made the decision to move before I know how many spaces I will be moving. The decision point occurs before the random element, so it is output randomness.
Depending on how movement works in this game it could be both input and output randomness. For example if you can decide where to move, or at least in what direction among some number of options after the die has been rolled, then it would be both input and output randomness.

There are some times where this type of roll and move can effectively be output randomness, such as Merchant of Venus (second edition), where you can be started along a path (you could choose to divert from this path, but for this game those can often be false decisions), and your dice roll just tells you how far along that path you can move and occasionally if you can take the path you want at all (whether you rolled the proper die to allocate to navigation), plus you can encounter hazards in the game (both known, i.e., printed on the map hazards; and map sections where you need to draw a card that may or may not reveal a hazard) which can end up stopping your move (this is usually a second die roll that is more a form of output randomness than the roll to move, but there are some times where not getting the roll (navigation) that you want can make you risk this secondary output randomness.
 
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Billy Lumiukko
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When it comes to AI movement, there is:
- the cubes in Pandemicas mentioned previously (they go to the location indicated on drawn card or spread from there if location is full)
- monsters follow arrows on map in Legends of Andor
- the monsters in Warhammer Quest(they go to the active player or the next player and sometimes they retreat)
- ...

There is also a lot of variety when you consider moving several pieces:
- moving all (or some) units from one region to another (Blood Rage)
- moving pieces from all adjacent regions to one region
- moving pieces from one region to any adjacent region (can separate into several smaller groups)
- giving orders to each regions in one phase (secretly) and then resolves all orders in specific sequence - Game of Thrones
- there is the very particular case where units can carry other units (Mechs in Scythe, the car in Specter Ops)
- in case of movement points, you have to consider whether units can move several times or not and if not, what if they move into the region of another group of units and that group moves afterwards does the player need to remember which unit was from which group...
- I don't remember the details for other games but you could check some more games that are all about movement: Small World, Risk, Diplomacy...
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