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Game Mechanics

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Game mechanics are rules that dictate how a game behaves. They can be a simple as "roll a die to see if your sword hits the orc", to as complicated as an AI that stalks you through air vents. Be it a board game, a card game, a Tabletop Game, or a Video Game, these mechanics set games apart from other media, and unite them in their differences. From chess, to Dungeons & Dragons, to Halo, to Cards Against Humanity, these mechanics are what make games games.

See also "Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics" for one of the earliest formal definitions of the term "gameplay mechanic".