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Gamification - Top 10 Game Mechanics

Updated on December 17, 2012
Game Mechanics
Game Mechanics

There are 10 main game mechanics for all kind of games. Game mechanics are elements of the game or gamified system or various tools, that can be used to figure out how to move the action forward and to get players going from one state to another. Main game mechanics are:

  1. Challenges
  2. Chance
  3. Competition
  4. Cooperation
  5. Feedback
  6. Resource Acquisition
  7. Rewards
  8. Transactions
  9. Turns
  10. Win states

All of this list can be used to create a successful game or gamified system. We can make a great discussion in comments below of this post about which are more usable and which are not so good, but now let's goo deeper into each of one.

1 Game Mechanic - Challenges

The game sets some objective to player to reach. Challenges can be called quests, but quests usually are made of some challenges. Challenges are:

  1. Beat 10 monsters
  2. Sell 3 products per day
  3. Get 3 tens in raw from maths class

Quests are more like:

  • Rescue the queen (to make it you have to beat 10 monsters, collect 3 materials, go to some places and than climb to the tower to rescue the queen)
  • Finnish your school (to make it you have to do many things: collect all your marks, keep it high enough, do homework tasks etc.)

2 Game Mechanic - Chance

There should be some lock involved. Rolling the dice, flipping the coin or doing any action which gives random results. These actions are used to make game not only like a system where you control everything, this is a game, here should be some chance to succeed too.

3, 4 Game Mechanics - Competition and Cooperation

Both cooperation and competition. There are opposites, but both valuable game mechanics. Getting people to work together as well as getting people to compete against each other to have a notion of winning and loosing.

5 Game Mechanic - Feedback

It is very important for users to be able to see how are they doing in real-time, because that powerfully tends to drive them along to go further. It is very important to give feedback just in time, because otherwise user can misunderstand if he or she did something or not and if they did, was it successful or not.

6 Game Mechanic - Resource Acquisition

Game gives things to their players. Give them an opportunity to get things to move the game forward. Many games requires player to collect coins or materials to build houses or armies. At schools people are collecting marks to be able to get their final examination and they are collecting examination points to get their diploma.

7 Game Mechanic - Rewards

Some benefit that you get for some achievement in the game. Rewards can be from completing entire quest or just finishing a specific special task. It can be some in-game things, points or rewards like real money.

8 Game Mechanic - Transactions

Buying, selling or exchanging something with other players or with non-player characters (NPC). NPCs can be shops where players could buy things. There can be shops created by players who wants to sell something to other players.

9 Game Mechanic - Turns

Turns are when player moves after other player move. Moves mechanic is used in popular Tic-Tac-Toe game, where player can make his or her move only when other player is finished. Same in monopoly, poker and many other games.

10 Game Mechanic - Win states

The state which defines winning and losing. It can be winning or losing of all game, or just one specific task. All chance mechanism automatically includes win or lose states into the game. Game can have some player-versus-player mechanism or players-versus-players, where players would be playing against each others and winning or losing.

Game Mechanics and Mechanism Design lecture in Geeks Night


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