What’s the Meaning of This?

I started working on a trick taking game and it reminded me of when someone said trick taking games are auction games. I have to agree with that statement. In a trick taking game each player puts a card into the center and the highest value wins. That’s an auction.

When I was trying to come up with a name for the mechanic in my Tempus games because they play like a roll and write but involve no rolling. Paper and pencil games was suggested. That’s such a broad category it hardly means anything. Yahtzee, Pictionary, and D&D could all be described as paper and pencil games. And since games where you reveal a card and then write are generally accepted in the roll and write category, aren’t my games just as roll and writey?

So now I’m wondering what any of these mechanics even mean. Should they be a list or would a tiered system with some parent categories be more appropriate? Why is “crayon rail system” it’s own mechanic and not just part of “route/network building”? Are “commodity speculation” and “stock holding” that different? Isn’t a worker just an action point when it comes down to it?

I like having concrete definitions for things because it makes communication clearer. But that seems pretty impossible with the increasing fluidity of language now. So I guess I’ll keep calling my trick taking game a trick taking game and my roll and write with no dice a roll and write with no dice.

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