You are on page 1of 39

This
deck
was
made
to
help
you
memorize!
It
lets
you
quickly...

Print your own version of

SCVNGR’s
Game Mechanics Flash Cards

This
study
guide
was
prepared
by
@EricJFernandez
to
help
out
anyone
trying
to
memorize
game
mechanics.

It
is
completely
free
to
share,
remix,
and
reuse
as
long
as
you
respect
any
original
copyrights.
All
images
except
logos
are
royalty
free.
This Is A Study Guide
It
was
made
to
help

you
make
flash
cards

out
of
each
Game

Mechanic
so
you
can

easily
study
and

memorizaBon
them.
How to use this study guide
Print pages 7-38. Set the printer
Pages
7‐38
Double
Sided
1. to print double sided pages.

Use a cutting board to cut pages


2. so that flash cards are created.

Have fun quizzing yourself


3. on game mechanics!
WHAT ARE GAME MECHANICS?
Game mechanics are rules and
mechanisms that make games
fun and addictive. They tap
into human psychological and
sociological tendencies.
Introduction Materials
New
to
Game
Mechanics?
These
videos/presentaBons
are
a
great
introducBon:

Jesse
Schell’s
Dice
2010
Talk Jane
McGonigal’s
TED
Talk

Seth
Priebatsch’s
TED
Talk Amy
Jo
Kim’s
Slideshare
SCVNGRʼS
47 GAME MECHANICS

All
content
within
is
directly
quoted
from
Erick

Schonfeld’s
Aug
25,
2010
Blog
post
on
TechCrunch

enBtled
SCVNGR’s
Secret
Game
Mechanics
Playdeck

The
TechCrunch
content
is
quoted
from

SCVNGR’s
Game
Mechanics
flash
cards

that
employees
are
given
to
memorize.
contingency

LEVEL
UP
response
reinforcer

Reward Schedules Contingency Response Reinforcer


Definition: The Definition: The expected Definition: The reward
Definition: the timeframe and delivery
problem that the player action from the player in given if the expected
mechanisms through which rewards
must overcome in the the three part paradigm action is carried out in
(points, prizes, level ups) are delivered.
three part paradigm of of reward schedules. the three part paradigm
Three main parts exist in a reward
schedule; contingency, response and reward schedules. of reward schedules.
Example: the player takes
reinforcer. the action to kill 10 orcs
Example: 10 orcs block Example: receiving a level
Example: getting a level up for killing 10 your path up after killing 10 orcs.
Source: SCVNGR
orcs, clearing a row in Tetris, getting
Source: SCVNGR Source: SCVNGR
fresh crops in Farmville

Source: SCVNGR
Reward
Schedules

Contingency

Response

Reinforcer
Behavioral Contrast
Definition: The theory defining how
behavior can shift greatly based on
changed expectations.
Blissful Productivity
Example: A monkey presses a lever and is
given lettuce. The monkey is happy and Definition: The idea that playing in a
continues to press the lever. Then it gets game makes you happier working hard,
a grape one time. The monkey is than you would be relaxing. Essentially,
delighted. The next time it presses the we’re optimized as human beings by
lever it gets lettuce again. Rather than Behavioral Momentum working hard, and doing meaningful
being happy, as it was before, it goes and rewarding work.
ballistic throwing the lettuce at the Definition: The tendency of players to
experimenter. (In some experiments, a keep doing what they have been doing. Example: From Jane McGonical’s Ted
second monkey is placed in the cage, but Talk wherein she discusses how World
tied to a rope so it can’t access the lettuce Example: From Jesse Schell’s awesome of Warcraft players play on average 22
or lever. After the grape reward is Dice talk: “I have spent ten hours playing hours / week (a part time job), often
removed, the first monkey beats up the Farmville. I am a smart person and after a full days work. They’re willing to
second monkey even though it obviously wouldn’t spend 10 hours on something work hard, perhaps harder than in real
had nothing to do with the removal. The unless it was useful. Therefore this must life, because of their blissful
anger is truly irrational.) be useful, so I can keep doing it.” productivity in the game world.

Source: SCVNGR Source: SCVNGR Source: SCVNGR


Behavioral
Contrast

Behavioral
Momentum

Blissful
Productivity
+10 +10

Achievement Appointment Dynamic Avoidance


Definition: A virtual or physical Definition: A dynamic in which to Definition: The act of inducing
representation of having accomplished succeed, one must return at a player behavior not by giving a
something. These are often viewed as predefined time to take some action. reward, but by not instituting a
rewards in and of themselves. Appointment dynamics are often deeply punishment. Produces consistent
related to interval based reward level of activity, timed around the
Example: a badge, a level, a reward, schedules or avoidance dyanmics. schedule.
points, really anything defined as a
reward can be a reward. Example: Cafe World and Farmville Example: Press a lever every 30
where if you return at a set time to do seconds to not get shocked.
Source: SCVNGR something you get something good, and
if you don’t something bad happens. Source: SCVNGR

Source: SCVNGR
Achievement

Appointment
Dynamic

Avoidance
Cascading
Information Theory Chain Schedules
Communal Discovery
Definition: The theory that information Definition: the practice of linking a
should be released in the minimum reward to a series of contingencies. Definition: The game dynamic wherein
possible snippets to gain the appropriate Players tend to treat these as simply an entire community is rallied to work
level of understanding at each point during the individual contingencies. together to solve a riddle, a problem or
a game narrative. Unlocking one step in the contingency a challenge. Immensely viral and very
is often viewed as an individual fun.
Example: showing basic actions first,
reward by the player.
unlocking more as you progress through Example: DARPA balloon challenge, the
levels. Making building on SCVNGR a Example: Kill 10 orcs to get into the cottage industries that appear around
simple but staged process to avoid dragons cave, every 30 minutes the McDonalds monopoly to find
information overload. dragon appears. “Boardwalk”

Source: SCVNGR Source: SCVNGR Source: SCVNGR


Cascading
Information
Theory

Chain
Schedules

Communal
Discovery
:30

Real-time vs.
Companion Gaming Countdown
Delayed Mechanics
Definition: The dynamic in which players
Definition: Games that can be played Definition: Realtime information flow is
are only given a certain amount of time to
across multiple platforms uninhibited by delay. Delayed information
do something. This will create an activity
is only released after a certain interval.
Example: Games that be played on graph that causes increased initial activity
iPhone, Facebook, XBox with completely Example: Realtime scores cause instant increasing frenetically until time runs out,
seamless cross platform gameplay. reaction (gratification or demotivation). which is a forced extinction.
Delayed causes ambiguity which can
Source: SCVNGR Example: Bejeweled Blitz with 30 seconds
incent more action due to the lack of
to get as many points as you can. Bonus
certainty of ranking.
rounds. Timed levels.
Source: SCVNGR
Source: SCVNGR
Companion
Gaming

Real-time vs.
Delayed
Mechanics

Countdown
RANK

SituaBon
A SituaBon
B SituaBon
C

Cross Situational Endless Games


Disincentives
Leader-boards
Definition: a game element that uses Definition: Games that do not have an
Definition: This occurs when one ranking explicit end. Most applicable to casual
a penalty (or altered situation) to
mechanism is applied across multiple games that can refresh their content or
induce behavioral shift.
(unequal and isolated) gaming scenarios. games where a static (but positive) state
Players often perceive that these ranking Example: losing health points, is a reward of its own.
scenarios are unfair as not all players were amazon’s checkout line removing all
presented with an “equal” opportunity to win. links to tunnel the buyer to purchase, Example: Farmville (static state is its
speeding traps. own victory), SCVNGR (challenges
Example: Players are arbitrarily sent into one constantly are being built by the
of three paths. The winner is determined by Source: SCVNGR community to refresh content)
the top scorer overall (i.e. across the paths).
Since the players can only do one path (and Source: SCVNGR
can’t pick), they will perceive inequity in the
game scenario and get upset.

Source: SCVNGR
Cross
Situational
Leader-boards

Disincentives

Endless Games
Envy Epic Meaning Extinction
Definition: The desire to have what Definition: players will be highly Definition: Extinction is the term used to
others have. In order for this to be motivated if they believe they are working refer to the action of stopping providing a
effective seeing what other people to achieve something great, something reward. This tends to create anger in
have (voyeurism) must be awe-inspiring, something bigger than players as they feel betrayed by no longer
employed. themselves. receiving the reward they have come to
expect. It generally induces negative
Example: my friend has this item Example: From Jane McGonical’s Ted Talk
behavioral momentum.
and I want it! where she discusses Warcraft’s ongoing
story line and “epic meaning” that involves Example: killing 10 orcs no longer gets
Source: SCVNGR each individual has motivated players to you a level up.
participate outside the game and create
the second largest wiki in the world to Source: SCVNGR
help them achieve their individual quests
and collectively their epic meanings.

Source: SCVNGR
Envy

Epic Meaning

Extinction
Visit
 Visit

Visit

‐
5
‐
 ‐
5
‐
 ‐
X
‐

LocaBons LocaBons
LocaBons

Fixed Ratio Reward Variable Ratio Reward


Schedule Schedule
Definition: A fixed ratio schedule Definition: A variable ratio reward
provides rewards after a fixed number of schedule provides rewards after a roughly
actions. This creates cyclical nadirs of consistent but unknown amount of
Ratio Reward Schedules engagement (because the first action will actions. This creates a relatively high
not create any reward so incentive is low) consistent rate of activity (as there could
Definition: Ratio schedules provide a and then bursts of activity as the reward always be a reward after the next action)
reward after a number of actions. There gets closer and closer. with a slight increase as the expected
are two flavors: variable and fixed. reward threshold is reached, but never the
Example: kill 20 ships, get a level up, huge burst of a fixed ratio schedule. It’s
Example: kill 10 orcs, get a power up. visit five locations, get a badge. also more immune to nadirs in
engagement after a reward is achieved.
Source: SCVNGR Source: SCVNGR
Example: kill something like 20 ships, get
a level up. Visit a couple locations (roughly
five) get a badge.

Source: SCVNGR
Ratio
Reward
Schedules

Fixed Ratio
Reward
Schedule

Variable
Ratio Reward
Schedule
FIXED VARIABLE

Fixed Interval Variable Interval


Reward Schedules Reward Schedules
Definition: Fixed interval schedules Definition: Variable interval reward
provide a reward after a fixed amount of schedules provide a reward after a roughly
time, say 30 minutes. This tends to consistent amount of time. This tends to
create a low engagement after a reward, create a reasonably high level of activity
Interval Reward and then gradually increasing activity over time, as the player could receive a
Schedules until a reward is given, followed by reward at any time but never the burst as
another lull in engagement. created under a fixed schedule. This
Definition: Interval based reward system is also more immune to the nadir
schedules provide a reward after a Example: Farmville, wait 30 minutes, right after the receiving of a reward, but
certain amount of time. There are two crops have appeared also lacks the zenith of activity before a
flavors: variable and fixed. reward in unlocked due to high levels of
Source: SCVNGR
ambiguity.
Example: wait N minutes, collect rent
Example: Wait roughly 30 minutes, a new
Source: SCVNGR
weapon appears. Check back as often as
you want but that won’t speed it up.
Generally players are bad at realizing that.

Source: SCVNGR
Interval Reward
Schedules

Fixed Interval
Reward
Schedules

Variable
Interval Reward
Schedules
FREE

Free Lunch
Fun Once, Fun Always Lottery
Definition: A dynamic in which a player
feels that they are getting something for Definition: A game dynamic in which the
Definition: The concept that an action in
free due to someone else having done winner is determined solely by chance.
enjoyable to repeat all the time. Generally
work. It’s critical that work is perceived to This creates a high level of anticipation.
this has to do with simple actions. There
have been done (just not by the player in The fairness is often suspect, however
is often also a limitation to the total level
question) to avoid breaching trust in the winners will generally continue to play
of enjoyment of the action.
scenario. The player must feel that they’ve indefinitely while losers will quickly
Example: the theory behind the check-in “lucked” into something. abandon the game, despite the random
everywhere and the check-in and the nature of the distinction between the two.
Example: Groupon. By virtue of 100 other
default challenges on SCVNGR.
people having bought the deal, you get it Example: many forms of gambling,
Source: SCVNGR for cheap. There is no sketchiness b/c you scratch tickets.
recognize work has been done (100 people
are spending money) but you yourself Source: SCVNGR
didn’t have to do it.

Source: SCVNGR
Fun Once,
Fun Always

Free Lunch

Lottery
Game

Within
Game

1st
Meta Game
Definition: a game which exists layered
within another game. These generally
are discovered rather than explained
Loyalty (lest they cause confusion) and tend to Micro Leader-boards
appeal to ~2% of the total gameplaying
Definition: The concept of feeling a audience. They are dangerous as they Definition: The rankings of all
positive sustained connection to an can induce confusion (if made too individuals in a micro-set. Often great for
entity leading to a feeling of partial overt) but are powerful as they’re distributed game dynamics where you
ownership. Often reinforced with a greatly satisfying to those who find want many micro-competitions or desire
visual representation. them. to induce loyalty.

Example: fealty in WOW, achieving Example: hidden questions / Example: Be the top scorers at Joe’s bar
status at physical places (mayorship, achievements within world of warcraft this week and get a free appetizer
being on the wall of favorite customers) that require you to do special (and hard
to discover) activities as you go through Source: SCVNGR
Source: SCVNGR
other quests

Source: SCVNGR
Loyalty

Meta Game

Micro
Leader-boards
+10
Moral Hazard
of Game Play
16. Envy 17. Epic Meaning
Definition: The risk that by rewarding
Definition: The desire to have what people manipulatively
Definition: players willin abe
game you
highly
others have. In order for this to be remove the actual
motivated if theymoral
believevalue
theyofare
the
effective seeing what other people action and replace
working to achieveit with an ersatz
something game-
great,
have (voyeurism) must be employed. based reward.awe-inspiring,
something The risk that by providing
something
Ownership
Modifiers toobigger
many thanincentives to take an action, the
themselves.
Example: my friend has this item and Definition: The act of controlling
incentive of actually enjoying the action
Definition:
I want it! An item that when used affects Example: something, having it be *your* property.
taken is lost.From Jane McGonical’s
The corollary to this is Ted
that if
other actions. Generally modifiers are theTalk where
points she discusses
or rewards are takenWarcraft’s
away, then Example: Ownership is interesting on a
earned after having completed a series of theongoing story line
person loses and “epic meaning”
all motivation to take the number of levels, from taking over places,
challenges or core functions. that involves
(initially fun on itseach
own) individual
action. has to controlling a slot, to simply owning
motivated players to participate
Example: A x2 modifier that doubles the popularity by having a digital
Example:
outside Paraphrased
the game and from Jesse
create theSchell
points on the next action you take. representation of many friends.
“If second
I give you points
largest wikievery time
in the you to
world brush
yourhelpteeth,
them you’ll stoptheir
achieve brushing your teeth
individual Source: SCVNGR
Source: SCVNGR
b/cquests
it’s good
and for you and then
collectively their only
epic do it
formeanings.
the points. If the points stop flowing,
your teeth will decay.”

Source: SCVNGR
Modifiers

Moral Hazard
of Game Play

Ownership
PRIVATE

16. Envy 17. Epic Meaning


Definition: The desire to have what Definition: players will be highly
others have. In order for this to be motivated if they believe they are
effective seeing what other people Privacy
working to achieve something great,
Pride
have (voyeurism) must be employed. something awe-inspiring, something Progression Dynamic
Definition: The concept that certain
bigger than themselves.
Example: the
Definition: my feeling
friend has this item and
of ownership and information is private, not for public Definition: a dynamic in which success is
I want
joy at anit!
accomplishment distribution.
Example: FromThis can
Janebe a demotivator
McGonical’s Ted granularly displayed and measured
(I won’t take an
Talk where sheaction because
discusses I don’t
Warcraft’s through the process of completing
Example: I have ten badges. I own them. want to share
ongoing storythis) orand
line a motivator (by
“epic meaning” itemized tasks.
They are mine. There are many like them, sharing this I reinforce
that involves my own has
each individual actions).
but these are mine. Hooray. motivated players to participate Example: a progress bar, leveling up
Example: Scales that publish your daily from paladin level 1 to paladin level 60
outside the game and create the
Source: SCVNGR weight onto Twitter (these are real and
second largest wiki in the world to
are proven positive motivator for Source: SCVNGR
help them achieve their individual
staying on your diet). Or having your
quests and collectively their epic
location publicly broadcast anytime you
meanings.
do anything (which is invasive and can/
should be avoided).

Source: SCVNGR
Pride

Privacy

Progression
Dynamic
16. Envy 17. Epic Meaning
Definition: The desire to have what Definition: players will be highly
others have. In order for this to be motivated if they believe they are
effective seeing what other people working to achieve something great,
have (voyeurism) must be employed. something awe-inspiring, something
bigger than themselves.
Shell Game
Example: my friend has this item and Social Fabric of Games Status
I want it! Example: From Jane McGonical’s Ted
Definition: a game in which the Definition: the idea that people like one Definition: The rank or level of a player.
Talk where she discusses Warcraft’s
player is presented with the illusion another better after they’ve played games Players are often motivated by trying to
ongoing story line and “epic meaning”
of choice but is actually in a with them, have a higher level of trust and reach a higher level or status.
that involves each individual has
situation that guides them to the a great willingness to work together.
motivated players to participate Example: white paladin level 20 in WOW.
desired outcome of the operator. outside From
the game
Example: Jane and create theTED talk
McGonicgal’s
second
where shelargest
suggestswiki in the
that world
it takes to of
a lot Source: SCVNGR
Example: 3 Card Monty, lotteries,
help
trust tothem
play aachieve theirsomeone
game with individual
gambling
questsyou
because andneed
collectively
them totheir epic
spend their
Source: SCVNGR meanings.
time with you, play by the same rules,
shoot for the same goals.

Source: SCVNGR
Shell Game

Social Fabric
of Games

Status
16. Envy 17. Epic Meaning
Definition: The desire to have what Definition: players will be highly
others have. In order for this to be motivated if they believe they are
effective seeing what other people working to achieve something great,
Viral Game Mechanics Virtual Items Rolling Physical Goods
have (voyeurism) must be employed. something awe-inspiring, something
bigger than themselves. Definition: A physical good (one with
Definition:
Example: A mygame element
friend that
has this item and Definition: Digital prizes, rewards,
requires multiple people to play (or
I want it! objectsFrom
foundJane
or taken within the real value) that can be won by anyone
Example: McGonical’s Ted
that can be played better with multiple course of a game. Often these can on an ongoing basis as long as they
Talk where she discusses Warcraft’s
be traded meet some characteristic. However, that
people) ongoing storyorline
given
andaway.
“epic meaning”
characteristic rolls from player to player.
that involves each individual has
Example: Farmville making you more Example: Gowalla’s items,
motivated players to participate Example: top scorer deals, mayor deals
successful in the game if you invite Facebook gifts, badges
outside the game and create the
your friends, the social check-in
second largest
Source: wiki in the world to
SCVNGR Source: SCVNGR
Source: SCVNGR help them achieve their individual
quests and collectively their epic
meanings.
Viral Game
Mechanics

Virtual Items

Rolling
Physical Goods
!
EPIC
WIN

16. Envy
Definition: The desire to have what
others have. In order for this to be
effective seeing what other people
have (voyeurism) must be employed.
Urgent Optimism
Example: my friend has this item and
I want it! Extreme self motivation.
Definition:
The desire to act immediately to tackle
an obstacle combined with the belief
that we have a reasonable hope of
success.

Example: From Jane McGonical’s TED


talk. The idea that in proper games an
“epic win” or just “win” is possible and
therefore always worth acting for.

Source: SCVNGR
Urgent
Optimism
THANK YOU!
For
the
latest
updates
on
what’s
happening
in
the

world
of
gamificaBon
you
can
follow
this
twiZer
list:
hZp://twiZer.com/#/list/EricJFernandez/gamificaBon

Hope
you
enjoy
this
study
guide!
Feel
free
to
send
any

comments
to
@EricJFernandez
or
Efern211@gmail.com