Included in Create set/collection.

A subsystem of the game that regulates interaction with a game state.


One informative aspect of a mechanic is its relation to the rules which are elementary parts of a game system. You often need a few rules to define a single game mechanic, but that's not a crucial distinction, as sometimes a single rule introduces one mechanic, or takes part in formation of multiple mechanics. Mechanics are distinguished from one another rather when their specific aim or effect is recognized (usually by both designers and players), and when such subsystems at least potentially seem like good building blocks to be used in different games.

Designers deliberately apply and invent new game mechanics all the time, but the term has some subjective and customary aspect to it. It is technically possible that one mechanic will be a part of another in a different context, although in general it is useful to approach them in as much detail as it's practical.

An example of a relatively well-known mechanic would be betting, appearing in both classic and modern games. There are many different rulesets that may implement it, but the essence is clear, and we may grasp some functions for the experience, even if giving an exhaustive list is not easy (emotional thrill of risk, revealing player's intentions, resource sink, …).

Existing mechanics (great, bad, situational) is a vast area of knowledge which probably will be just touched at Games for Music. Check out the article Board Game Mechanics for Music for a few more examples.

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