Blitz Stop Mechanic: Area Control

March 21, 2018

Blitz Stop Mechanic is a new segment featured on The Dice Tower's bi-weekly Throat Punch Lunch videos about games where I pick a mechanism and then talk about games that use that mechanism in a cool, thematic way. 

Games discussed:
Three Kingdoms Redux

Hi! This is Ambie from Board Game Blitz, and this is Blitz Stop Mechanic, a segment where I pick a mechanism and then talk about games that use that mechanism in a cool, thematic way. This time, I’m talking about Area Control.

Area Control is a mechanism where you get points for having the most units or something in an area. There’s also Area Influence and Area Majority, which are lumped together with Area Control. I’m not sure exactly the difference between them, but sometimes you can have only one player per area and you have to kick the other players out, and sometimes there’s multiple players per area. The obvious theme for Area Control is with wars and fighting for territories with your armies, like in Risk, which is a really popular game. But there are lots of games that use the similar type of theme where you’re fighting over territories with your armies.

I don’t really like Area Control games that much, but there are some games that use Area Control with a slightly different theme, that I actually enjoy. One game is Three Kingdoms Redux. Three Kingdoms Redux is set in the Three Kingdoms Period in China, where there was a division between the states Wei, Shu, and Wu. And there’s fighting in the game, but the area control part isn’t in the war. Instead, there’s area control in the action selection in a sort of bidding war. To do actions, like recruiting, developing, and getting your support, you have to send your generals into the action spots. And only the player who has the most power gets to do the action. I think this is really cool because it shows that control is important not just on the battlefield but everywhere else when you’re fighting for control. And I think this is also really thematic.

Another game with area control or area majority is Adrenaline, which is a first person shooter themed game. And in this one what’s interesting is the area you’re controlling is the other players instead of a territory. Whenever you attack another player, you get to put damage counters on them, and then when that player dies, whoever has the most damage counters on them gets points. But there’s a twist on the area control mechanism in Adrenaline, because whoever gets the last shot on a player gets extra points. So there’s a timing mechanism added to the area control. I think this is also thematic because in a first person shooter video game, you get points for killing someone, so getting the last shot is actually the getting the kill.

Even though when you think of Area Control you think of fighting big wars and conquering territories, it can be used in other ways than just conquering territories, and that’s what makes it really interesting. Thanks for watching Blitz Stop Mechanic! Let me know if you think of any other Area Control games that use it differently.
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