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Subject: Upcoming Changes to BGG Mechanics / Mechanisms: "STR-04 Solo Game" and the 1 Player Guild... rss

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Corey Mayo
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I'm pretty happy about today's news that BGG will be updating their Game Mechanisms feature, primarily because they will now include a solo label: "STR-04 Solo Game."

Here is the link to the news and an excerpt: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2277587/upcoming-changes-bg...
"Recently, Geoff Engelstein and Isaac Shalev wrote Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms. As the title suggests, this book is an encyclopedia of about 200 mechanics, categorized into thirteen broad categories, like Movement and Auctions. After reading the book and speaking with the authors, we realized that adopting the organizing framework set out in the book could help make BGG’s mechanics list more useful and accessible."

And here is the page for "STR-04 Solo Game": https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamemechanic/2819/str-04-solo...

While its true there is a label for Solitaire games (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamefamily/5666/solitaire-gam...), it is designated as a "Family" of games, not a mechanism offered by a game. But let's not get bogged down here...

With this update, I propose that members of the 1 Player Guild take it upon ourselves to add the "STR-04 Solo Game" to games we play solo. I have just submitted an addition of the "STR-04 Solo Game" mechanism to the list of mechanisms already present in the entry for Mage Knight Board Game. When adding this mechanism, I was asked to "Provide more details about your correction" in the "Note to Admin" field. Here is what I entered: "Rules for solo play, as well as scenarios, are included in the rulebook."

I think as the largest guild on BGG, we owe it to ourselves to tackle this task for the benefit of current and future solo board gamers, thus creating a valuable resource containing a comprehensive list of games that can be played solo, either using rules in the rulebook, playing a cooperative game with multiple "characters," using user-created solo variants, etc...


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Imaginary Thomas
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In case anyone is as lost as I was:

STR-04 is shorthand for "Structure related mechanic with ID 04" relating to solo gaming as a structural mechanism. Not something cool like a droid or a strength value of 4...
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Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
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Who's ordering STR-04 shirts this instant?
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Malachi Gardner
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Done! My Strength stat is now 4!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
And I added the mechanic to all of my solo games
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Jamel Rha
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skeletonhat wrote:
In case anyone is as lost as I was:

STR-04 is shorthand for "Structure related mechanic with ID 04" relating to solo gaming as a structural mechanism. Not something cool like a droid or a strength value of 4...

Strength of 4 is weak in D&D. What are we, a merry band of mages?

/inserts pictures of a mage playing alone in his magic tower.
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Corey Mayo
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Razoupaf wrote:
Who's ordering STR-04 shirts this instant?

Heading to Zazzle.com to order STR-04 boxers...

oh, wait...
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Jeremy Yoder
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Say what!? This is... odd. Honestly, I thought it was some strange BGG prank-joke... but apparently not?

So now games are getting so "unwieldy" (or gamers are getting so full of themselves) that we need to start applying IRS-type labels to ID our games?

Uh... no... this won't look odd to newbies. Not at all.
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Ken Shogren
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There's an entire thread on the issues with prefixes.
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Jessica
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I'm intrigued by the book and may pick it up, although the suspicious part of me really hopes this isn't an attempt to increase sales. I think it can definitely be useful, though! I've ignored the mechanisms aspect of games for ages since they never really meant anything.

Something probably needs to be done about the presentation of these labels, as I agree that leading with the coding seems really confusing. Just reordering it seems like an easy compromise that should be helpful.

I'll jump on board and help out with this classification, too! To be honest, I didn't see this in the list. I hope it will work out nicely to make solo games stand out and be a little more comparable, at least for recommendations and the like.

These codes almost make me think of personality quizzes... I'm definitely an STR-04, in that case. Ha ha!
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Corey Mayo
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Audacon wrote:
There's an entire thread on the issues with prefixes.

Yes, and for the sake of clarity, please know that it displays as "STR-04 Solo Game" not "STR-04." But "STR-04" is what us cool kids will be saying at all the parties.
If we ever get invited to parties...
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Good idea, terrible implementation.

STR-04 means nothing to me and I bet to almost everyone new to the site, looking for a solo game.
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cmmayo wrote:
Audacon wrote:
There's an entire thread on the issues with prefixes.

Yes, and for the sake of clarity, please know that it displays as "STR-04 Solo Game" not "STR-04." But "STR-04" is what us cool kids will be saying at all the parties.
If we ever get invited to parties...

Being that this is the 1PG, I think we all get invited to parties.

Parties where we have the correct number of players to play our games.

Parties of one. whistle
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Dave B
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Personally I think it would be a mistake and disservice to label EVERY game anyone plays solo as a solo game. I'd rather limit it to games that are designed to be soloable, have a solo variant included with the game, or co-ops that can reasonably be played solo. If the term/label is applied too broadly it can become almost meaningless. But that's just my personal opinion and I'm not looking to start an argument. Of course, everyone is free to approach it however they see fit.
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Jessica
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cmmayo wrote:
If we ever get invited to parties...
That's what SoloCons are for, Corey! Then we can brag about how everyone else in the world missed out on the greatest party of the century. Which probably just involved setting up Mage Knight or something... But we're cool here. The COOLEST.

STR-04 cool, OK? Ha ha!

I like the direction of this idea, but reading some of the threads does make me wonder why major decisions are made without community input. Just announcing this upcoming change without implementing it could have helped solve the issues with the prefixes ahead of time.

Once upon a time I used to try to update and improve game pages, but stopped because it was too much work and not everything was entirely covered, like the mechanisms. At least this is a step in the right direction!
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emodiu5 wrote:
cmmayo wrote:
Audacon wrote:
There's an entire thread on the issues with prefixes.

Yes, and for the sake of clarity, please know that it displays as "STR-04 Solo Game" not "STR-04." But "STR-04" is what us cool kids will be saying at all the parties.
If we ever get invited to parties...

Being that this is the 1PG, I think we all get invited to parties.

Parties where we have the correct number of players to play our games.

Parties of one. whistle

The most exclusive parties
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Jeremy Yoder
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I dug around a bit more. Wow. I guess to each their own as some are really excited and into this. Bizarre.

So I randomly picked a game I figured people have worked on, Agricola, and I see these are the now listed mechanics...

ACT-02 Action Drafting
ACT-12 Variable Player Powers
ACT-15 Gating and Unlocking
Area Enclosure
Card Drafting
ECO-08 Always Available Purchases
ECO-17 Increase Value of Unchosen Resources
Hand Management
TRN-05 Claim Turn Order
VIC-01 Victory Points from Game State
WPL-01 Worker Placement
WPL-03 Acquiring and Losing Workers
WPL-05 Adding and Blocking Buildings
WPL-07 Building Actions and Rewards

I'm too stunned to laugh. As I'm looking at them, I didn't even track what the 3rd item ("Gating and Unlocking") might mean, so I click it and find this is it's description...

"At certain points in the game, different actions are made available to the players. Actions may become available by a variety of means, including reaching a certain turn or game stage. Depleting a shared pool or bringing some track past a threshold level through the cumulative effects of the actions of all the players is another common approach to triggering unlocks."

Wowza. I'm not even sure how to respond... laugh blush

I guess to each their own, but at least now when I want to conveniently look for any game that I really want to have ACT-15 (you know, "Gating and Unlocking", of course) it'll be a cinch.
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Albia wrote:
I'm intrigued by the book and may pick it up
I thought that before but I looked it up and it's like $80. cry
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JW van der Meulen
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So many classification terms wow

Also I don't understand how "solo game" is a mechanism. But I didn't look into it. Are all player counts mechanisms now?
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Malachi Gardner
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Jamelrha wrote:
skeletonhat wrote:
In case anyone is as lost as I was:

STR-04 is shorthand for "Structure related mechanic with ID 04" relating to solo gaming as a structural mechanism. Not something cool like a droid or a strength value of 4...

Strength of 4 is weak in D&D. What are we, a merry band of mages?

/inserts pictures of a mage playing alone in his magic tower.

But what if we changed it to +4? As in a modifier of +4. Or we could be a group of lonely mages.
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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JYoder wrote:

Say what!? This is... odd. Honestly, I thought it was some strange BGG prank-joke... but apparently not?

So now games are getting so "unwieldy" (or gamers are getting so full of themselves) that we need to start applying IRS-type labels to ID our games?

Uh... no... this won't look odd to newbies. Not at all.

Agree... the nomenclature is ASI-09.

Seriously, the odd looking codes should be parenthetical AFTER the human readable text.

"Solo Game (STR-04)"
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Marty "TIRED" Malone
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So are we forever STROFERS?

I'm a STROFER, You're a STROFER, We are all STROFERS!!!!!!!
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Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
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maloma wrote:
So are we forever STROFERS?

I'm a STROFER, You're a STROFER, We are all STROFERS!!!!!!!

We can all have nicknames.

Mine Kata. Kata Strofer.
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Brent Schleicher
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I just read this blog post that I think brings up some very interesting points about some of the potential downsides to this new classification scheme.

Shakedown: Tabletop Game Classification and the BGG Database
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Chris E
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jwml wrote:
So many classification terms wow

Also I don't understand how "solo game" is a mechanism. But I didn't look into it. Are all player counts mechanisms now?

Agreed. How is a player count a mechanic? We already have a perfectly good classification for this: Player Count.
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Jessica
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I've seen a recommendation to have some sort of voting system in place, similar to what happens when you look further into the player count, age range, weight, language dependence, and type.

This would be weighted so that the one person who misinterprets one of the mechanisms won't affect anything. Mechanisms that reach a certain threshold of voters would then be shown, while others could be seen in a more detailed breakdown.

This makes so much more sense to me! The example of Agricola above shows why having a set list that shows everything can be problematic. Show the top ones as voted on, trust that the majority will be relatively correct (or at least not horribly wrong), and go with that.

Ah, and before I forget, this idea originally appeared in this reply by apertotes. I have nothing to add, aside from my support and agreement!

Thinking on this further, it's almost making the hobby seem a little too mathematical and complex. Not exactly the best to get people involved. It could work, but usability and approachability really need to be near the forefront of this change.
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