The Game Mechanic - Dexterity

    Dexterity in board games is about incorporating the real world as part of the challenge. The sweat on your palms, the strength of your muscles, the speed of your reflexes. These things are different for everyone and change regularly. Does relying on the dexterity of the player create too much chaos? Does removing abstract systems change the experience?

"Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent." - Arthur Conan Doyle


    Jenga was made in the early 1970s and has players build a tower of unstable wooden blocks. It requires nerves of steel and a steady hand. The enjoyment here comes from the tense moments as the tower wavers when players remove and place blocks. All the blocks are the same, however subtle differences occur during manufacturing that mean every Jenga tower ends up different. It's these varying levels of friction and size that adds continued enjoyment.


    Catacombs is an adventure game where heroes battle monsters in a series of catacombs. This mix of theme and mechanic works as players physically control their characters on the game board by flicking them. Dice rolling that is common in these types of games has been replaced by physical chance. Success and failure is obvious as players can see if the hero or monster has been flicked correctly.

Cube Quest

    Cube Quest is a two player game of taking out your opponents king by flicking cubes. Not knowing the precise strength of your own finger leads to incredible events. It adds in elements of tactics as you allow players to arrange your cubes to defend your king. Depending on your hand to eye coordination, players will change their tactics. This reminds me of playing a game of snooker but with your fingers.

    This is a fantastic game for anyone who wants to try something different. I love how this game brings out greatness in friends. Some people shine when chaos occurs in every move. When I do play, this is usually the first game played on a night as it gets the blood boiling and everyone screaming. As it's only two player though, it doesn't see the table that often.

Jungle Speed, Snap

    This kind of mechanic tends to be great for games with little to no theme. Jungle Speed has players pattern match symbols in front of them and grab a wooden totem in the middle. The physical component of the totem captures everyone's interest. This is a great party game for up to eight players. Snap requires quick reflexes to be the first to slam your hand down onto a pile of cards. As it uses a standard deck of 52 cards, it can be a great introduction into the mechanic.


    All of these games show how to challenge people using physical components. These games use your own hand as a game mechanic allowing you to feel wholly responsible for any victories or defeats. Players tend to start off quite bad and progress. It's this progression that leads to a sense of accomplishment. Try adding dexterity to a game you play to see if it adds value, e.g., Chess, Monopoly, Carcassonne, Coup