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But game mechanics are spreading to all kinds of apps, most famously Foursquare (which makes you check into places for badges and rewards).At our Social Currency Crunch Up in July, we had a panel which explored how game mechanics are invading everything.

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SCVNGR’s playdeck tries to break down the game mechanics into their constituent parts.

Some elements are as basic as “achievements,” “status,” and “virtual items.” But there are also more complex ones such as the “appointment dynamic” (a player must return at a specific time and perform an action to get a reward, like in Farmville), “free lunch” (a player gets something because of the efforts of other people,like in Groupon), “fun once, fun always” (a simple action that maintains a minimum level of enjoyment no matter how many times you do it, like Foursquare’s check-ins), and “cascading information theory (give out information in the smallest dribblets possible to keep players guessing and moving forward). Guide To This Document: This list is a collection of game dynamics terms, game dynamics theories that are interesting, useful and potentially applicable to your work here at SCVNGR.

SCVNGR employees are instructed to memorize the flash cards. Many of them have clear applications within the SCVNGR game layer (progression dynamic, actualization), many of them don’t… Many of them are just interesting for your general education on game dynamics theory (epic meaning, social fabric of games).

Some companies keep a playbook of product tips, tricks and trade secrets.

Zynga has an internal playbook, for instance, that is a collection of “concepts, techniques, know-how and best practices for developing successful and distinctive social games”.

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