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Discussion on: Interesting Board Game Mechanics

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Soren Baird

I'm a little late to the discussion, but I have some posts backlogged in my reading list that I'm just getting to now. Thinking primarily from a mechanics perspective, here are some of my favorites:

Dungeon Lords: Happy Anniversary
The unique take on Worker Placement in this game is genius. All players secretly pick the three action spaces they want to go to, but every action space works slightly differently based on whether you're the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd player there. And, if you're the 4th one to go there, you can't take that action. Furthermore, the first two actions you pick this round, you can't use next round. It becomes such a brain burn of trying to figure out what to do this turn, what order to do it in, plan for the next turn, and making educated guesses on where other players are going to go based on their current resources.

Five Tribes
This game takes the basic concept of Mancala and makes it a strategy game. A 5x5 grid of tiles is set up on the board and then meeples, in 5 different colors, are placed in groups of three on every tile. On a player's turn, they pick up a group of meeples from one tile and then drop them off one by one, moving to adjacent tiles. Different actions are triggered both by the color of the final meeple placed and the specific tile it's placed on. It's an ever-changing puzzle with lots of different ways to score points and several paths to victory.

There are a lot of things I like about this game. The primary action is a sort of push-your-luck draft. A player draws a card and then can keep it, or draw another one. When a player draws all the way up to a sixth card, they have to take it, but also get a pearl (which is the primary currency of the game). However, every time a card is drawn, before the player can choose whether to take it or keep drawing, the player to their left has the option of buying that card for 1 pearl. If they decline, the player to their left gets the option to buy it. Once an opponent chooses to buy a card, they can't buy another one for the rest of that player's turn, but then the other player's now have to pay 2 pearls, if they want to purchase a card. It's a very simple mechanism, but it keeps every player engaged, even when it's not their turn.

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Ben Lovy Author

Awesome write-ups, thanks for sharing! These all sound cool - I'd never heard of Abyss but it's definitely on my list now. I've been wanting to try Five Tribes for ages.