Category:Game Mechanic

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A Game Mechanic is a rule that provides some degree of objectivity in determining the course of events in a game. In the often-referenced game of Cops-and-Robbers, there are no game mechanics and thus resolution to all actions must be determined by negotiation between the players. This produces the famous debate “I shot you!” “No, you didn’t!”. A game mechanic allows this situation to be resolved largely without recourse to debate.

The vast majority of role-playing games (RPGS’s) use some type of dice mechanic. The roll of the dice represents luck, chance, fate, or something else on that order. At its most basic, the dice result is then computed through the dice mechanic to determine if the action succeeded or failed and/or the quality of success or failure. Less frequently, cards are used instead of dice and at least one game uses a roulette wheel. There are also several games, usually called diceless which have no randomizer, and which rely on resource allocation mechanics. Some hold that a further type of mechanic exists, called a Drama mechanic, in which it is agreed that dramatically appropriate events occur and inappropriate events do not; this is, however, extremely close, conceptually, the negotiation resolution discussed above.


The relationship between a Game Mechanic and a Game System is contentious. One definition would have a Game System being the sum of its component mechanics. Another definition would have a Game System as a coherent unity with which one could, with little effort, play the game; while game mechanics are more like tools with which the players must assemble a playable game.