39 Game Mechanics list, Project And Its Features, Guide

The lesson of our gamification course can be called one of the most important and this because the information from it is purely practical and can be applied by you with the goal of successfully implementing a gamified system in any area of ​​your life. As the basis of the lesson presented the study of the process of creating special multimedia devices for entertainment called playbooks, as well as those involved in compiling collections of diagrams and techniques that allow you to create the best games. Game mechanics list is the best part of our lessons


This article discusses the Playdeck project, created by the developers of social games for mobile platforms – the company SCVNGR . It includes about five dozen game mechanics that can be used both independently and comprehensively, becoming the foundation for a wide variety of types of games. Therefore, before proceeding directly to the consideration of the game mechanics list, let’s say a few words about the project itself.

Playdeck project and its features

The Playdeck project aims to break the game mechanics as such into separate elements, some of which are considered as basic – these are virtual goods, statuses, and achievements. But there are more complex elements. Among them are:

  • “The mechanics of an appointment”
  • “Free lunch”
  • “Having fun once is always fun”
  • “The theory of gradual presentation of information”
  • Some others
Playdeck Project And Its Features

A number of game mechanics make it possible to understand the basics of the theory of game dynamics, and it is from them that their set that we will bring to your attention consists of. These mechanics were collected from all over the Internet, as well as taken from the experience of famous public figures, for example, philosopher and game designer Jan Bogost, inventor Jane McGonigal, inventor Jess Shell and others. In addition, some data was taken from the resource Gamasutra.com. Despite the fact that the set contains mechanics that are used only in SCVNGR developments and are not able to work outside the company’s system, you can draw analogies and create your own based on such mechanics.

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39 Game Mechanics List

Let’s move on to the main part of our lesson. 39 game mechanics. In order to reduce information for the convenience of perception and understanding, we will give only the essence of each technique and a few examples to them.

39 Game Mechanics List

1. Achievement Mechanics

It is based on material or virtual expression of the result of an action. Achievements can be considered either on their own or as a reward. The reward can be anything.

EXAMPLE: Points, levels, medals, bonuses, etc.

2. Appointment Mechanics

In this mechanic, to achieve success, you need to return to the game at a specific time and perform some action. Also, this mechanics is often associated with the interval schedule of awards and avoidance mechanics (we will consider below).

EXAMPLE: Games such as “ FarmVille” and “ Cafe World” can be noted here , where you need to return to the farm or cafe and do something useful. If this condition is not met, something bad will happen.

3. Avoidance Mechanics

In the case of this mechanic, the player is not stimulated with a reward, but with the help of avoiding punishment. This helps to maintain a constant level of activity according to the schedule conceived by the developer.

EXAMPLE: To avoid electric shock, you need to press the lever every 30 seconds, etc.

4. Behavioral Contrast Mechanics

The presented mechanics can be characterized as a theory that determines the sharpness of a player’s behavior change depending on his expectations.

EXAMPLE: An experiment can be a good example, when a monkey pressed a lever and received a banana for it. At one point, instead of a banana, she received grapes, which she was very happy about. Then she pressed the lever again, but instead of grapes she again received a banana. She was no longer happy, but threw a banana at the experimenter.

There is another experiment: along with the first monkey in the cage there was a second, but it was tied with a rope and could not interact with the lever, bananas or grapes. However, when the first monkey did not get the grapes that she liked, she began to beat the second, although she had nothing to do with the process.

5. Mechanics “Behavioral Impulse”

Designed for the tendency of people to continue to perform the actions that they did before.

EXAMPLE: Here it is appropriate to quote part of Jess Shell’s speech: in one of his speeches he said that he had been playing FarmVille for ten hours . He also noticed that he was an intelligent person and would not spend ten hours on a futile lesson. Then he concluded that playing this game is useful, which means that you can safely continue.

6. Reward for effort mechanics

The idea of ​​mechanics is based on the fact that, when playing, a person feels more happiness from the fact that he is working, and not from the fact that he is resting. By and large, we can say that humanity has reached a real level of development through work for a reward.

EXAMPLE: At a TED conference, Jane McGonigal said that fans of World of Warcraft spend an average of 22 hours a week playing a game and, in most cases, resting after a working day. So, she came to the conclusion that the players are ready to work hard, perhaps even harder than at real work, knowing that they will receive a reward for actions committed in the game.

7. Mechanics “Gradual return of information”

Such mechanics can be interpreted as a theory based on the idea that in order to fully understand the gameplay, a player must receive information in a dosed manner.

EXAMPLE: At the beginning of the game, basic actions are demonstrated, and as progress progresses, access to more complex stages and actions opens.

8. Mechanics of the “Chain of Events”

In this mechanics, the reward is used as a link making up a chain of related events. In many cases, players view these events as separate elements. When one link in the chain is unlocked, the player perceives it as a reward for the perfect action.

EXAMPLE: Again, you can give an example of the game ” World of Warcraft”. After killing a dozen orcs, the player enters the dragon’s cave, into which the dragon himself comes every half hour.

9. Mechanics “Joint research”

In this mechanic, all players are united with the goal of finding a solution to problems together, overcoming obstacles and accepting the challenge that the game throws. A distinctive feature of mechanics is that a pronounced “viral effect” is observed in it.

EXAMPLE: A great example would be a network game in Counter-Strike, as well as game methods for solving problems, such as brainstorming.

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10. Random Event Mechanics

In the case when this mechanics is applied, the player needs to overcome several obstacles in order to receive various rewards.

EXAMPLE: An example here is absolutely any game in which random events follow one after another, as a result of which several problems need to be solved. A great example of such games are quests for finding items.

11. Countdown Mechanics

Applying the presented mechanics, it is necessary to create situations where limited time is given for solving problems or overcoming obstacles. Using this method, you can stimulate the activity of players and increase its performance relative to the initial ones. However, it is important to understand that activity increases only by a specific time period.

EXAMPLE: Any games with bonus levels and time levels according to the type of Bejeweled Blitz game , where 30 seconds are allocated for accumulating points.

12. Mechanics “Combined rating of winners”

Mechanics are used when you need to use one rating system for a number of game scenarios, and they can be completely heterogeneous and unrelated to each other.

EXAMPLE: Participants in the game act according to one of three options at their discretion. The winner is the one who scored the maximum number of points throughout the game, regardless of the degree of its complexity. It should be borne in mind that players can choose only one path each.

13. Mechanics “Constraints”

Using this mechanic involves penalties or a change in scenario. This is done so that the player changes his behavior.

EXAMPLE: Depending on how the participant plays, more obstacles may come in his way (for example, in many games the player’s character is deprived of health for mistakes made), he may be given more complex tasks or his actions may be limited.

14. Mechanics “Endless game”

Such mechanics suggest that the game has no end. In most cases, mechanics are found in casual or social games where infinite development takes place. In addition, it is also characteristic of static games in which the main reward is a positive state.

EXAMPLE: Remember the game “ Sim City”.

15. Mechanics “Envy”

The mechanics are built on the desire of some players to have what others have. For the effective application of the method, it is necessary to provide participants with the opportunity to see what their opponents possess.

EXAMPLE: Games in which there are visual displays of the progress and status of participants, for example, badges that provide privileges and bonuses.

16. Mechanics of “Epic Importance”

In this mechanics, the emphasis is on the fact that the participants will be as motivated as possible if they believe that they are involved in the creation of something impressive and great, something more important than themselves.

EXAMPLE: Mentioned above Jane McGonigal at the TED conference said that the motivation for fans of “ World of W arcraft” is supported by the fact that they create the second largest Wiki in the world after Wikipedia. The resource has more than 80 thousand articles in its database, and more than 5 million people visit it per month.

17. The mechanics of “non-award”

In this mechanics, the basis is the termination of rewarding players in order to cause them anger. The main motivating factor is resentment because the expected reward was not received. Mechanics can be used to reduce the overall activity of the participants.

EXAMPLE: In the same World of Warcraft game, a player who kills ten or more orcs cannot move to a new level.

18. Mechanics “Rewards at fixed intervals”

Here rewards are issued to players regularly after a specific time period, for example, in half an hour. The main difference between the method can be called the fact that after a player receives a reward, his activity decreases, and by the time of a new reward it increases, and so on over and over again.

EXAMPLE: The notorious “ FarmV i lle” or familiar to many “Defenders of the garden” – in order for sprouts to appear or the plant gave a coin, you need to wait a certain time.

19. Mechanics “Remuneration for a specific sequence of actions”

In this mechanic, players receive a reward by completing not one, but several consecutive actions. First, the technique can reduce the activity of participants, because one action of the reward does not bring, but after that it rises, because the moment of receiving the reward is approaching.

EXAMPLE: In “Naval battle”, to move to a new level, you need to destroy 20 ships, and in quests for finding items the player, finding hidden objects in each location, receives “Achievement”, which opens bonus content.

20. Mechanics “Free lunch”

This mechanics is a scenario in which the player understands that he can get something for free, because his work is done by someone else. But here it is important that the finished work is perceived by the player as already completed, which allows you to maintain confidence in the game process. The participant of the game should feel that luck smiled at him.

EXAMPLE: A cool example of this mechanics is the Groupon system . Thanks to the hundreds of people who completed the transaction, a participant in the system can get something for free or at a very low price. The participant knows that the other 100 participants completed the work, and he did not have to do it.

21. Mechanics “Fun once – always fun”

The presented mechanics can be interpreted as a concept where some action delivers positive emotions to the game participant, regardless of how many times he repeats this action. But almost always, these actions are extremely simple.

EXAMPLE: An example of mechanics is tasks for participants, which include actions such as starting game mechanisms, pressing buttons, visiting specific places, etc.

22. Scheduled Reward Mechanics

This mechanics includes the provision of such awards that are issued to players in specific periods. Awarding the same awards can both constantly and periodically.

EXAMPLE: A good example is the Millionaire game (an analogue of Monopoly ), where for each lap completed the participant receives a certain amount of circular income.

23. Mechanics “Lottery”

Such mechanics is characterized in that the winner in it is determined by a random selection system. This creates a high interest of people, because everyone wants to get an “unaccounted for” award. But there is one drawback: those who win enthusiastically continue to play, and the losers leave the game almost once or twice immediately.

EXAMPLE: You do not need to go for an example for a long time – these are slot machines, gambling, lotteries, sweepstakes, etc.

24. Loyalty Mechanics

The mechanics of loyalty are based on establishing a non-verbal connection between a game participant and game reality. This connection is achieved by instilling in a person his involvement in the game world (for example, he can possess his real estate in the game), and is subsequently supported by visual images that other players can see: badges, awards, statuses, etc.

EXAMPLE: As an example, the status of a special client in some institution can be very good, expressed in such things as a club card, a photo on a clients board, etc.

25. Mechanics “Meta-game”

The meaning of this mechanics is that an additional game is built into the main game. During the game, the participant can find it by accident, because the author does not advertise its presence, so as not to create a welter. But the developer’s benefit is that players, finding meta-games, are very happy with it, because the effect of a pleasant surprise is created.

EXAMPLE: Once again, you can mention the ” World of Warcraft” with its hidden quests, as well as quests for finding objects, literally to failure filled with meta-games.

26. Micro-Competition Mechanics

It is used in working with mini-games. It allows you to create mini-ratings and is most suitable for games with several game mechanisms, as well as for situations where several mini-competitions are held. Using a diverse reward system for winners in mini-games, it is easy to increase the participants’ loyalty to the game.

EXAMPLE: A life example familiar to many of us – order sushi and beautifully arrange the table, then take a photo and send it to the page of the sushi bar on the vk social network – on the next order, who completed the task one roll as a gift.

27. Mechanics “Modifiers”

In the mechanics in question during the game, a certain object or artifact is used, the use of which affects the results of any other actions. It is called a modifier. Often a player earns it by completing a set of tasks or completing a chain of important actions.

EXAMPLE: In the game, you can use the X2 or X3 modifier, which increases the number of points scored two or three times or allows you to earn more points in the next step

28. Mechanics “Private property”

In such mechanics, the emphasis is on the player feeling that he has control over something in the game, and also on the fact that the game object becomes the player’s personal property.

EXAMPLE: In games, it may be possible to capture territories, control movable and immovable objects, and even leadership in leaderboards, as measured by the number of virtual objects.29th

29. Pride Mechanics

The basis of the presented mechanics is very simple – it is built on a sense of possession and joy for what has been achieved.

EXAMPLE: Any game where you can collect or receive something as a reward. The fact of owning something causes positive emotions, which contributes to cognitive activity, increase interest and desire to continue the game.

30. Mechanics “Personal life”

The idea of ​​this mechanics is that the participant in the game has information that is inaccessible to outsiders. The dissemination of such information can have a demotivating effect (the player does not perform an action because he does not want to share information) or, conversely, motivating (the player performs an action, shares information and strengthens his position).

EXAMPLE: A wonderful example from life is virtual scales on the social network Twitter . Every day they show a person’s weight and can serve as an incentive to maintain a diet. An opposite example is the publication of a person’s location. Not everyone is happy that everyone knows where he is, moreover, this is an interference with his personal life.

31. User Progress Mechanics

This mechanics is a mechanism that displays the progress of the game participant in the process of completing the tasks assigned to him by the game.

EXAMPLE: Any game in which a player’s performance is visually reflected – his achievements, status, etc.

32. Mechanics “Instant reward or reward over time”

Such mechanics can be used in two modes. If this is an instant reward mode, the player receives all the information about his position in real time. As a result, he reacts instantly – rejoices or is upset. If the reward delay mode is applied, both the reward itself and the information on its receipt are provided to him some time after the action is taken. This technique contributes to the introduction of ambiguity, stimulating greater activity due to the fact that the participant in the game is not sure that he made enough efforts to get a reward.

EXAMPLE: An example in this case will be all games where rewards are issued immediately or with a delay.

33. Mechanics “Distribution of real prizes”

This mechanics is characterized by the presence of real awards, i.e. awards with real value and value that can be received by each of the participants in accordance with specific requirements or achieving outstanding results.

EXAMPLE: Any game where players are given the task of being the first in anything, including sports competitions.

34. Mechanics “The Illusion of Choice”

The considered mechanics allows you to create games where players are offered the opportunity to choose, which is actually an illusion, because any move, any decision, any action will inevitably lead to the same ending, naturally planned by the creator of the game.

EXAMPLE: Topical gambling, most lotteries, thimbles, etc

35. Mechanics “Calculation of trust”

In the presented mechanics, the calculation is made on the social component. The point is that after joint participation in the game, people become prettier to each other and imbued with trust in other players. By the way, this method is effectively used in team building .

EXAMPLE: Network games, team building, brainstorming, etc.

36. Mechanics “Status”

At the forefront is the status, level or rank of the game participants. Using this mechanics, you can motivate people and increase their activity, because many people are far from indifferent to statuses.

EXAMPLE: Computer games where a player or virtual characters that he controls earn credibility as they complete tasks ( Generals, World of Warcraft, and many others).

37. The mechanics of “Unstoppable Optimism”

The decisive role is played by a high degree of motivation. In games where this method is applied, the participants strive to act as soon as possible, the reason for which is not only a desire to overcome obstacles, but also a belief in their own success.

EXAMPLE: Games in which the correct actions of a player are guaranteed to lead him to achieve the desired result, i.e. almost all games.

38. Mechanics “Virus”

Games built using this method can be played and achieve great success only by attracting new participants, and the more players, the more fun and exciting the game.

EXAMPLE: Here you can name not only games like FarmVille, which we already called , but also various contests and promotions in large trading networks or social networks such as VK or Facebook, when you need to invite as many friends as possible to receive the award.

39. Mechanics “Virtual Products”

In the latest mechanics, we are talking about digital awards, gifts, and other objects obtained by participants during the game. Very often, such objects can be donated or sold.

EXAMPLE: Gifts in Facebook, etc.

list of game mechanics

So, we have reviewed a list of game mechanics. Naturally, most of them are talking about computer games, but this should not confuse you. You need to understand that it is very simple to apply any of the above methods for non-game activity – for this you just need to project the game mechanics on a non-game situation.

Let’s take the “Calculation of Trust” mechanics as an example – today it is used in almost every area of ​​human life. Large corporations hold corporate events, accompanied by games, as a result of which there is not just team building, but the creation of a team of professionals and close-minded people. Employees come closer, get to know each other better, find common interests, set common goals, etc. In the same way, in the field of education, it is much more effective to acquire and acquire knowledge when it is interesting and exciting. And if the process is accompanied by fun, communication with other people and the possibility of self-expression, then the results can be truly stunning.

What about the mechanics of the Virus? In many ways, the very same system of multi-level marketing (MLM), better known to us under the name “Network Marketing”, is built on it. Distributors attract and invite people, tell them about the benefits of goods and services, introduce them to the marketing plan and other specific features. Interested parties, inspired by the prospects, run to tell everything to their friends and acquaintances, thereby creating a “virus”, and if this is backed up by money (remember the mechanics where there are rewards), more and more people are connecting.

There are many examples, but even these few are enough to understand that the advantages offered by game mechanics are undeniable. In addition, you can gamify anything and do it very easily. So go for it – everything is in your hands. The main thing is to believe in yourself and your success. Well, of course, continue to study our course.


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