“Game Mechanics are constructs of rules and feedback loops intended to produce enjoyable gameplay. They are the building blocks that can be applied and combined to gamify any non-game context.“
— The Gamification WIKI
In video games, gamers have a well-defined notion of what is considered gameplay. This is:
- What the player can do
- What other entities can do, in response to player’s actions
What a player and other entities can do within a game would also fall under the mechanics of a game.
On Styx some of the game mechanics include cards, mana, xp, trading and studying the narrative. Look out for icons like:
However, from a programming or overall design perspective, basic gameplay can be deconstructed further to reveal constituent game mechanics. For example, the basic gameplay of fighting game can be deconstructed to attack and defense, or punch, kick, block, dodge and throw; which can be further deconstructed to strong/weak punch/kick. For this reason, game mechanics is more of an engineering concept while gameplay is more of a design concept.
Some games include situations where players can “press their luck” in optional actions where the danger of a risk must be weighed against the chance of reward.