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Subject: What the heck is an "engine"? rss

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Steve S
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This term seems to have some into common use pretty much out of nowhere over the last few months in podcasts, video reviews, etc, and nobody has ever explained what exactly they mean when they say this.

I'm guessing an "engine" is something like a placement game where you can place semi-permanent tokens that collect resources, points, every turn?

What else is there to it?
 
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Scott Hill
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Not come across the term myself, but, at a guess:

Is it a part of a game that 'runs itself'?

E.g. the zombies in Zombicide.
 
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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An engine is a collection of game assets that allows you to produce something you need to produce in order to succeed. For example, in the following post, the writer is referring to the fact that I was gaining 9 cards in hand every time I produced, allowing me to operate a Produce/Consume cycle without suffering from a card shortage (the most common weakness of such a strategy):

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/145611/item/2250284#it...
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suPUR DUEper
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It gets used a lot in card games.

An engine is a machine and a machine does work. In Dominion, for example, your deck of cards is your "engine"". You start with a small deck full of cards that represent money. Each turn you deal cards and can use that moeny to buy more powerful cards (i.e. cards with greater purchasing power and/or special abilities) and add them to your deck. As you play, you are creating a more powerful deck or "engine" if you will.

In many games (like Dominion) there comes a time when you are forced to wreck your engine by purchasing cards that garner you VP's but lessen your purchasing power (thus corrupting your "engine").
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Nim Chimpsky
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I first heard it used when reading up on Agricola.

In that game, the "food engine" refers to establishing a way to produce food more efficiently (through the use of stoves, ovens, etc. and a steady supply of resources). The penalty for not having enough food can be enough to cost you the game, so having enough food is always of utmost importance. If you can establish an "engine" to "produce" food more efficiently, you can instead spend your later turns on doing other things in the game, to achieve a better score.

So when applied to other games in general, I assume it's something similar. The well-crafted "engine" more or less automatically takes care of part of the game for you, allowing you to focus your attention on other aspects of the game.
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K H
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In game geek parlance, an engine is a system of assets acquired for the primary purpose of efficiently producing the resources needed to power all the other actions. Building an engine won't win a game directly, but having a working engine early in the game makes it possible to do the things that will win the game.
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Justin
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TheFlatline wrote:
Slounger wrote:
In game geek parlance, an engine is a system of assets acquired for the primary purpose of efficiently producing the resources needed to power all the other actions. Building an engine won't win a game directly, but having a working engine early in the game makes it possible to do the things that will win the game.


Best definition of the thread


Agreed
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Jason Hinchliffe
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A series of parts that work in conjunction to produce an effect.

For example, in Puerto Rico, purchasing an office, selecting high value resources, purchasing a large market and hospice to create a money generating engine.

Office allows sale of any good, high values give you more money, large market provides additional income with sale, and hospice provides you free colonists to settle your plantations to save you a phase. All work in conjunction to produce more money.
 
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Jason
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TedW wrote:
In Dominion, for example, your deck of cards is your "engine"". You start with a small deck full of cards that represent money. Each turn you deal cards and can use that moeny to buy more powerful cards (i.e. cards with greater purchasing power and/or special abilities) and add them to your deck. As you play, you are creating a more powerful deck or "engine" if you will.

It does make sense to compare a deck in Dominion to an engine, but that's not the typical use of the term.

An example of a simple engine in Dominion is Smithy and Village. Because Village grants two additional actions, an action drawn by playing Smithy after the Village can still be played. Thus, if you've got a lot of each in your deck, and get lucky, you can keep playing Village and then Smithy to draw a lot of cards.

Also, in general, an engine is not something that happens as a result of the normal course of the game. It's effected with intent by a player.
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I'll think of something witty to put here...
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binaryeye wrote:
It does make sense to compare a deck in Dominion to an engine, but that's not the typical use of the term.

An example of a simple engine in Dominion is Smithy and Village.


Semantics, but I'd call 'Village-Smithy' a combo or strategy.

The Dominion deck is the engine. The first two-thirds of the game are spent building an engine (in vanilla Dominion this is a deck that can frequently produce turns with 8+ treasure), while the later turns are spent running the engine buying Provinces and Duchies.

Puerto Rico has a 2 stage engine. First you build an income engine that will give you a steady supply of money, then you shift focus to build a VP engine which provides steady VPs (this could be a shipping strategy, a building strategy or a bit of both).
 
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Slounger wrote:
In game geek parlance, an engine is a system of assets acquired for the primary purpose of efficiently producing the resources needed to power all the other actions. Building an engine won't win a game directly, but having a working engine early in the game makes it possible to do the things that will win the game.


I've seen the term 'VP Engine' used quite a bit. e.g. In Race for the Galaxy, several production worlds plus consumption powers (producing 6-8 VPs each consume phase) would constitute a VP engine.
 
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Lacombe
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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paulclarke339 wrote:
Slounger wrote:
In game geek parlance, an engine is a system of assets acquired for the primary purpose of efficiently producing the resources needed to power all the other actions. Building an engine won't win a game directly, but having a working engine early in the game makes it possible to do the things that will win the game.


I've seen the term 'VP Engine' used quite a bit. e.g. In Race for the Galaxy, several production worlds plus consumption powers (producing 6-8 VPs each consume phase) would constitute a VP engine.


Not only that, but there exist games where you are scored directly for the working-ness of your engine [e.g. Age of Steam, Power Grid, etc... any other game where the income statement rather than the balance sheet determines victory].
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Matthew Tadyshak
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Or this.


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Warren Smith
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And what become of her new straw hat that should have come to me?
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NBAfan wrote:


Or this.


In more general terms, 'engine' is a word in the English language. As such, it is spoken or written to refer to something rather than being the thing itself.
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