Question of the Month – Where are all the new game mechanisms?

This month’s question is a follow up to last’s month’s “What is your favorite game mechanism?”.  This question has been floating around the gamerverse for a couple of years.  You heard a lot of people saying that there are no new mechanisms, that all the new games are just retreading of old ones.  The underbuzz is that designers are not giving us anything new.

We are seeing a lot of new games being released (or not) thanks to Kickstarter and an increase in the general awareness of games.  But there has been talk in the gaming community that there really isn’t anything NEW.  Many games are old games with a new theme.  Or that have been updated to fix known issues.  New games are just mixing old mechanisms together to make a new game.  The feeling is that there are no truly new, innovative games/mechanisms being made.

What do you think?  Is this true?  Or is it just morning mist?  Or are we just seeing the same old tricks in new skins?  Is there anything new under the sun?

So, where are the new game mechanics/mechanisms?
Let me know what you think.  I’ll compile the answers and post them in November.


Tom G



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One response to “Question of the Month – Where are all the new game mechanisms?”

  1. pdowen3 Avatar

    I really don’t think a new game mechanism can be just conjured up because somebody decides to invent one. No designer says, “Let’s see, I could create something new, or I could make a cross between Dominion and Settlers. I guess I’ll be unoriginal today.”

    I believe that truly new, innovative, original mechanisms are like supernovae. The conditions that spawn them take a long time to develop, but you don’t see it coming until it happens. You can’t predict it. You can only enjoy it when it explodes onto the scene.

    It’s probably true that today’s web technology and Kickstarter culture make it easier for more designers to get more exposure to more people, so we see many more game designs in a year than we did, say, five years ago. And everyone is building on their own game experience, so most game design is evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. That’s okay, but it means we see a lot of variations on a few themes, and only the occasional, rare, truly original works.

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