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What Specific Game Mechanics Make You Say "Cool!"
Patiently waiting for the zombie apocalypse...
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Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Now, I've yet to create a GeekList that really strikes a chord here on BGG... and that is ok. However, I have a BGG goal this summer. So here I go again.

In my enthusiastic, though short, experience in the board gaming world, I have come to love many things about board games, but for many games I come to really enjoy certain specific mechanics or aspects. Now, I am not talking about generic mechanics, i.e. "I like auction games." I am talking about specific game mechanics that really make players say, "Now that is pretty cool...."

So I'm going to start a list, by no means all encompassing, of specific gaming mechanics that really stand out to me. I encourage all BGGers to add their items and tell why they enjoy said mechanic.


Edit: WOW! surprise I just want to say a big THANKS to all the contributors and comments added to this GeekList! This has truly been a lot of fun watching one of my first GeekLists really take off! ONE BIG thumbsup FOR ALL OF YOU!

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76. Board Game: Illuminati: New World Order [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1737]
Anders Gabrielsson
Sweden
Uppsala
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In the CCG Illuminati: New World Order, like in many card games, you have a limited hand size. But unlike many other games you can discard excess cards or put them back anywhere in your draw deck!

"I might need this card in a couple of turns - I'll put it eight cards down. This one? Probably not, but who knows? I'll put it at the bottom."
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77. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:31]
Neil Parker
United Kingdom
London (west)
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Strategy cards.

One of my favourite games with a number of mechanics i like. The main one for me to choose is the strategy cards mechanic. Simply put, each player gets to choose a main strategy advantage for the turn - 2 cards in a four player game. The cards give nice advantages which vary in theme, most of them give a secondary ability to other players to utilise.

Unlike old games where each player acts in turn, carrying out their whole turn, in sequence, the cards allow for varied turn order which will be unknown until players have chosen their cards which are numbered.

When you also add in the objectives and command counter mechanics, the game operates in a varied and flexible way. Strategy card choice is often dependent on turn order considerations as much as the actual card benefit itself.
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78. Board Game: Alchemist [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:1809]
Olav Fakkeldij
Netherlands
Beverwijk
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When I explain this game to new players, there's always the WOW! when I tell that, when you define a recipe,
you are free to choose the points you get for it!

For those who don't know the game:
you get points for defining and duplicating recipes. You can't duplicate your own recipe, but you can duplicate others as often as you like.
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79. Board Game: Walhalla [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2737]
Olav Fakkeldij
Netherlands
Beverwijk
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The winner of a battle in this game is determined in a very unusual way:
The player being attacked decides if he wins or loses.
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80. Board Game: Medici vs Strozzi [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1249]
Olav Fakkeldij
Netherlands
Beverwijk
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I really like the bidding-mechanism in this game:
You set a price and your opponent can get the item(s) for that price. If he don't want to, you have to take it yourself for that price.
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81. Board Game: Birds of Prey: Air Combat in the Jet Age [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:3155]
Morten Lund
Denmark
Århus
Denmark
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Using graphical tables (nomographs for the engineeringcally inclined) to get very detailed results for performance is sheer brilliance.

It makes a somewhat technical and math-intensive process into something like drawing two lines on a chart, see where they intersect, and finding the correct value on one of the scales on the side.

Nothing else I have seen even comes close! wow
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82. Board Game: 4000 A.D. [Average Rating:5.40 Overall Rank:10083]
Anthony Simons
United Kingdom
Royal Wootton Bassett
Wiltshire
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Distance Movement

If you're an older gamer you probably saw it here first; long since 4000 AD it has been successfully implemented in War of the Ring (first edition).

I call this mechanicm "distance moving"; it's a hidden movement system in which the distance travelled is recorded but the direction is not. A player's opponent can see the last recorded location and how far from that location the piece(s) has been moved.

This means an opponent can try and work out where the moving player is going but cannot be absolutely certain.

I find it works very well; it surprises me it has not been used more often.
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83. Board Game: TAMSK [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1070]
Gordon Yu
United States
Rego Park
New York
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First mechanism that came to my mind was the flipping of the hourglasses in order to keep your playing pieces alive. As unique as anything ever created for an abstract strategy game.
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84. Board Game: Cleopatra and the Society of Architects [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:562]
Gordon Yu
United States
Rego Park
New York
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This game is nothing more than a regular set collection game with beautiful pieces until the corruption system kicks in. It changes an average game into something awesome.
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85. Board Game: Wings of War: Famous Aces [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:548] [Average Rating:6.89 Unranked]
ketchupgun
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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In WoW ... I really dig the Tailing aspect....which allows you to follow an opponent and rearrange your moves based on what you know of his first move..because if you were tailing, you could be "reacting" to his movements.
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86. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:216]
Gordon Yu
United States
Rego Park
New York
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The way you score and the actual balance scoring system keeps the game tense at all times. It takes away from the luck factor of collecting better pieces and scoring tons on one color.
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87. Board Game: Zing! [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:717]
Gordon Yu
United States
Rego Park
New York
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The ability to play the Zinger and screw with everyone else is as fun as it sounds.
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88. Board Game: Quarto! [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:703]
Gordon Yu
United States
Rego Park
New York
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Your basic tic tac toe game until you add the fact that your opponent chooses your piece to play on every turn.
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89. Board Game: Space Hulk [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:266]
Mark Slater
United Kingdom
Newport
Newport, South Wales
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Marine Timer
The time limit on the Marine players turn, and loosing a leader, reduces the time you have next turn.

I remember the time ticking away and frantically checking that I hadnt missed any moves or forgotten to assign Overwatch.
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90. Board Game: Ikusa [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:468]
Simon Harris
United Kingdom
Sutton
Surrey
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Drawing Samurai swords to determine turn order - how cool is that? Admittedly, it'd be better if they weren't made of plastic, but all the same ...
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91. Board Game: The Fellowship of the Ring [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:4246]
Morten Lund
Denmark
Århus
Denmark
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Limited intelligence movement:

In this game each group travellers for the forces of good (the fellowship among them) are represented by a counter that is the rumors about them. each turn each rumor can spawn new rumors, and the controlling player then redistributes the characters among them, thus keeping the dark forces guessing about which counter is the actual group of travellers, and which is false information
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92. Board Game: Ace of Aces: Handy Rotary Series [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1034]
Paul DeStefano
United States
Long Island
New York
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It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
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First person simultaneous movement dogfights without a computer.

The most innovative game mechanism I have ever seen. Implemented in various versions and degrees of success in Lost Worlds and similar systems, but this was the daddy.
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93. Board Game: Desert Rats [Average Rating:6.57 Unranked]
Elwyn Darden
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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What makes this simple game so interesting is the continuous movement mechanic. From an age of IGO/UGO games that never successfully captured the mobile nature of desert warfare, this game offered a radical turn structure. Units have movement rates ranging from 20 - 35 movement points. In Desert Rats combat does not end the turn or movement; you move and fight, move and fight, move and fight until you expend all of your movement factors. When you fight ALL of your units have expended movement factors equal to the most that any individual unit has moved.

You could conceivably fight 35 successive combat rounds in your turn, though of course that never happens. What happens is that you have the ability to make a series of attacks to break a defense. Sacrificial blocking forces, Thick Crust defenses without reserves, Strong point defenses that lack mutual protection, and, of course, open flanks are all vulnerable. Prepared attacks, offensive reserves, "crumbling", sequential timetables and armored exploitation are all important tools

This mechanic meant that Desert Rats could offer a accurate, non-trivial, Operation Compass scenario. Most Western Desert games begin with the arrival of Rommel in part because the game systems wouldn't work with Operation Compass. Try to reverse engineer a Compass scenario for Afrika Korps or PanzerArmee Afrika, either the offensive is flat out impossible or has to be collapsed into a single combat at Sidi Barani with one heckuva exploitation move featuring overruns of necessarily undervalued (otherwise you cannot overrun enough of them) Italian units.

I have used the Cyberboard image because it clearly illustrates how important the mechanic is in the game. You see the movement values of the units and the orange Movement Points Expended track
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94. Board Game: Before the Wind [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1077]
Christopher Seguin
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
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I like the mechanic mechanism of being able to extort money from your opponent if you really don't want them to play a specific card. I have played with game where I have seen people use the extortion feature strictly out of spite, even though a better card may be available.
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95. Board Game: Silent War [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:1178]
Steve Herron
United States
Johnson City
Tennessee
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Never play block wargames with a dentist, they have those little mirrors to peek behind the block.
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The cool aspect of Silent War is the way it handles the four columns of the Japanese ships. One draws from four different cups for each column placing each ship face down. You don't know what you have run into. The cup contents change depending what war period it is.
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96. Board Game: Blood Bowl (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:163]
Dan Shirley
United Kingdom
hemel hempstead
Herts
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You can keep giving orders to your players until one fails. Then your turn ends. There are various mitigations, but that's the principle.

I think the mechanism first appeared in this version. It also appears in Warmaster.
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97. Board Game: Eketorp [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:1684]
Timothy Hunt
United States
St Louis
Missouri
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I love the way combatting parties exchange combat cards - if you've got sucky cards, well, your opponents will have them soon.

I also like the way that if you want to swap any cards, you have to swap all of them, and it costs you a VP per card to do so.
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98. Board Game: Star Wars Customizable Card Game [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1215]
United States
Collegeville
Pennsylvania
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The way SWCCG implemented the concept of Force was truly innovative. It created a lot of tension and decision-making - do you spend force or draw cards? How are you going to manage your hand size so that you have enough options to deploy but still enough force left to deploy them? Do you save force for actions on your opponent's turn? Do you lose a critical card from your hand to absorb a force loss or do you deplete your deck? Do you activate as much force as possible or do you leave cards in your deck for destiny draws?

It's easily one of the best mechanics I've ever experienced.
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99. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:31]
Martin Larouche
Canada
Longueuil
Quebec
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Melting souls with cuteness since 2007
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Lovin' N-16
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The Tech Trees.

Done in numerous "civilization" games, if you decide to develop technologies, you can only start with lower techs, then evolve and combine those techs to get something bigger and better.

For example, in twilight imperium 3rd, if you can research:
- The deep space cannon, which is a big gun
- the sarween tools, which augments your production capabilities

you'll be able to eventually start researching the technology to be able to produce Death St... sorry, War Suns, which are the ultimate ships in the game.
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100. Board Game: EastFront [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:771]
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
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I love the HQ system. In a nutshell, you command your troops with HQ units - you activate the HQ and its current strength is the radius (in hexes) that it can command units or support combat with.

For instance, if you activate a "3" strength HQ, then all units within 3 hexes can be commanded to move (they can move out of command) and combat within that range is fully supported.

It beautifully abstracts supply/logistics without a lot of cumbersome rules.
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