2 Comments

  1. Jesse Catron

    Great podcast as usual! I enjoyed your discussion of game mechanics and agree with most of your assessments. However, I’m still inclined to see Hand Managment as a mechanic and not just emergent behavior. The structure of your hand, it’s size, how cards are permitted to be added or not added, discarded and not discarded, and in what quantity can all be governed by the rules set forth by the designer. It is within that framework (ruleset) that emergent behavior emerges. Hand management often leads to emergent behavior but that doesn’t disqualify it from being a mechanic.

  2. Chris Norwood

    I guess it depends on how you define “Hand Management”. 

    I could find it reasonable to include things like hand size, how and when you draw or discard cards, how you can use cards, what order you must keep your cards, and of course, what effect cards actually have on the game.  But when I say it, I’m talking more about all those decisions a player makes about when to do certain things, in what order do they do them, why you would choose one option versus the other, and what do you think the other person is going to do. 

    In 1960: The Making of the President, for instance, the mechanics of card play tell you to deal 6 (or 7 later in the game) cards to each player, that you can play cards for either Campaign Points or for their event, that opponents can spend a Momentum marker to take advantage of “their” events that you play, and that you’re going to put aside 1 card (or 2) each turn for the Campaign Strategy event coming up (either debates or election day). 

    But, to me anyway, the hand management comes into play when you do things like: leading out one of your opponent’s events that isn’t too bad to goad him into playing his last momentum marker, so you can play a really bad even card later on; deciding whether a card would be better used for its event or for CP’s at this point in the game, making a choice about whether to bury one of your opponent’s events in your debate pile even though it won’t help you later on vs. sticking a good card for you there in order to win its issue in the debate.  

    So again, the mechanics of card play govern what choices you have to make in the game (how you can play cards), but the emergent decisions about hand management are all about why you make the choices and when you should make them.

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