Gatekeeping: Worker Placement Mechanism

Here's a little game mechanism to chew on. Let's call it gatekeeping. It's a model for one group getting access to a resource first, then establishing the terms by which any newcomer may get access to that resource.

This is a heavy, complicated topic and definitely not my normal design space. Instead of a heavy-handed metaphor, I wanted to explore the mechanisms so that you understood the phenomenon without predispositions and a real-world bias. I find a safe comfort in the abstract.

So here's the idea: Place a worker. That worker establishes terms for the subsequent workers placed there. Those terms are inspired by any number of other worker placement games like Keyflower, Bruxelles, Coal Baron. Terms might be:
  • Placing a worker costs $1.
  • Must place +1 worker here.
  • Must keep workers here an extra turn.
  • Workers must be same color.

I think it would be easiest to translate this to card play, with each card representing a "worker" and its terms printed right there. In fact, it led me back to this old pinwheel planet idea from a while back. I can see a game about a group colonizing a planet, then setting the terms for immigrating to that planet.

Worth exploring!


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