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  Mechanic #034 - Magnet Arena
Posted: 06/11/07

A four player arena fight where controlling magnets outside the playing field will attract or repel obstacles, keeping the field in a constant state of movement.



This is a game where four players fight it out in an arena. How they fight it out doesn't matter. This mechanic is about a board that shifts as you move magnets around. Each player, in addition to their avatar, also controls a large magnet that exists outside of the gameboard's space. Depending on where those magnets are placed, they will attract or repel elements on the gameboard.


The way it works is that each magnet attracts all the metal blocks on the same two rows or columns as it. If two magnets are placed directly across from each other, equilibrium is made and the blocks do not move. The magnets affect two rows and can be moved around outside the field, and can even double up behind another magnet, increasing the effectiveness in that same row or colum.

Only metal boxes are affected, not the wood ones. Large metal boxes that take up more than two squares requires the combined strength of at least two magnets (with no opposing magnets). Some metal boxes move along tracks in the ground, which typically will only provide a slide limit, but can also have turns in it so that blocks can follow quite complex paths


Old wooden boxes can be moved indirectly, by slamming a metal box into it.


Some metal boxes are attached to strings. If you apply one magnetic force, it is pulled away. Remove that force and it will spring back quickly, likely squishing anything behind it. If you apply double the force, the string will stretch, allowing the box the travel even further - and the elastic return force will be even faster and stronger.

Now, apply these principles in two dimensions, where magnets can be above and below the playing field as well. Add in some powerups that can shrink, grow, weaking, or strengthen one's magnet, and figure out some interesting ways to squish, impale, or otherwise destroy your opponent, or simply modify the terrain to better suite your tactics. Team play has potential for when you need to manipulate equilibriums to your benefit too.

Some ideas for metal objects magnets can manipulate:

  • Spiked Walls - Pull the walls towards a player and watch him go splat.

  • Switches - Pull switches with metal handles to make things happen.

  • Platforms - Get across the lava pit by using magnets to pull a metal platform.

  • Metal Balls - Takes a bit to get rolling, then momentum takes over.

  • Magnets - Like metal objects but with poles, such that they may be attracted or repeled depending on facing (or perhaps even spun around if magnetic force applied to only half of it).



Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.