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47 Gamification elements, mechanics & ideas Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


A list of mechanics, elements and ideas that can be used to support each **User Type" (Gamif­ica­tion: User Types). These are by no means all there are, but these are the ones that chosen to include with Gamifi­cation Inspir­ation Cards.
These cards (54 in all) are designed to help inspire ideas and build new and intere­sting gamified solutions. They have been developed to work hand in hand with defined user types, but they are not limited to just that.


On-b­oarding / Tutorials
No one uses manuals anymore! Help people get used to your system with a nice tutorial or a gentle introd­uction on how everything works.
Sometimes, even the best people need to be pointed in the right direction. Signpost next actions to help smooth early stages of a journey. Use “just in time” cues to help users who are stuck.
Loss Aversion
No one likes to lose things. Fear of losing status, friends, points, achiev­ements, posses­sions, progress etc can be a powerful reason for people to do things.
Progress / Feedback
Progress and feedback come in many forms and have many mechanics available. All User Types need some sort of measure of progress or feedback, but some types work better than others.
Give your gamifi­cation a theme, often linked with narrative. Can be anything from company values to werewo­lves. Add a little fantasy, just make sure users can make sense of it.
Narr­ative / Story
Tell your story and let people tell theirs. Use gamifi­cation to strengthen unders­tanding of your story by involving people. Think like a writer!
Curi­osity / Mystery Box
Curiosity is a strong force. Not everything has to be fully explained, a little mystery may encourage people in new direct­ions.
Time Pressure
Reducing the amount of time people have to do things can focus them on the problem. It can also lead to different decisions.


Random Rewards
Surprise and delight people with unexpected rewards. Keep them on their toes and maybe even make them smile.
Fixed Reward Schedule
Reward people based on defined actions and events. First activity, level up, progre­ssion. Useful during on-boa­rding and to celebrate milestone events.
Time Dependent Rewards
Events that happen at specific times (birthdays etc.) or are only available for set period of time (e.g. come back each day for a reward). Users have to be there to benefit.


Guilds / Teams
Let people build close-knit guilds or teams. Small groups can be much more effective than large sprawling ones. Create platforms for collab­oration but also pave the way for team based compet­itions.
Social Network
Allow people to connect and be social with an easy to use and access­ibile social netwok. It is can be more fun to play with other people than to play on your own.
Social Status
Status can lead to greater visibility for people, creating opport­unities to create new relati­ons­hips. It can also feel good. You can make use of feedback mechanics such as leader­boards and certif­icates.
Social Discov­ery
A way to find people and be found is a essential to building new relati­ons­hips. Matching people based on interests and status can all help get people started.
Social Pressure
People often don’t like feeling they are the odd one out. In a social enviro­nment this can be used to encourage people to be like their friends. Can demotivate if expect­ations are unreal­istic.
Compet­ition gives people a chance to prove themselves against others. It can be a way to win rewards, but can also be a place where new friend­ships and relati­onships are born.

Free Spirits

Give your Free Spirits room to move and explore. If you are creating virtual worlds, consider that they will want to find the boundaries and give them something to find.
Bran­ching Choices
Let the user choose their path and destiny. From multiple learning paths to responsive narrat­ives. Remember, choice has to be or at least feel meaningful to be most effective and apprec­iated.
Easter Eggs
Easter eggs are a fun way to reward and surprise people for just having a look around. For some, the harder they are to find, the more exciting it is!
Unlo­ckable / Rare Content
Add to the feeling of self expression and value, by offering unlockable or rare content for free spirits to make use of. Link to Easter eggs and explor­ation as well as achiev­ement.
Crea­tivity Tools
Allow people to create their own content and express themse­lves. This may be for personal gain, for pleasure or to help other people (teaching materials, levels, gear, FAQ etc).
Give people the tools to customise their experi­ence. From avatars to the enviro­nment, let them express themselves and choose how they will present themselves to others.


Challenges help keep people intere­sted, testing their knowledge and allowing them to apply it. Overcoming challenges will make people feel they have earned their achiev­ement.
Different from general rewards and trophies, certif­icates are a physical symbol of mastery and achiev­ement. They carry meaning, status and are useful.
Learning / New Skills
What better way to achieve mastery than to learn something new? Give your users the opport­unity to learn and expand.
Quests give users a fixed goal to achieve. Often made up from a series of linked challe­nges, multip­lying the feeling of achiev­ement.
Levels / Progre­ssion
Levels and goals help to map a users progre­ssion through a system. It can be as important to see where you can go next as it is to see where you have been.
Boss Battles
Boss battles are a chance to consol­idate everything you have learned and mastered in one epic challenge. Usually signals the end of the journey – and the beginning of a new one.


Meaning / Purpose
Some just need to understand the meaning or the purpose of what they are doing (epic or otherw­ise). For others they need to feel they are part of something greater than themse­lves.
Looking after other people can be very fulfil­ling. Create roles
for admini­str­ators, modera­tors, curators etc. Allow users to take a parental role.
Access to more features and abilities in a system can give people more ways to help others and to contri­bute. It also helps make them feel valued. More meaningful if earned.
Collect & Trade
Many people love to collect things. Give them a way to collect and trade items in your system. Helps build relati­onships and feelings of purpose and value.
Gifting / Sharing
Allow gifting or sharing of items to other people to help them achieve their goals. Whilst a form of altruism, the potential for recipr­ocity can be a strong motivator.
Sharing Knowle­dge
For some, helping other people by sharing knowledge with them is its own reward. Build the in the ability for people to answer questions and teach others.


Inno­vation Platform
Disruptors think outside the box and boundaries of your system. Give them a way to channel that and you can generate great innova­tions.
Voting / Voice
Give people a voice and let them know that it is being heard. Change is much easier if everyone is on the same page.
Deve­lopment Tools
Think modifi­cations rather than hacking and breaking. Let them develop new add-ons to improve and build on the system.
If you want to encourage total freedom and lack of inhibi­tions, allow your users to remain anonymous. Be very, very careful as anonymity can bring out the worst in people!
Light Touch
Whilst you must have rules, if you are encour­aging disrup­tion, apply them with a light touch. See how things play out before jumping in. Keep a watchful eye and listen to the feedback of users.
Sometimes you just have to burn it all to the ground and start again. Sit back, throw the rule book out of the window and see what happens! Consider running short “no rules” events.


Points / Experience Points (XP)
Points and XP are feedback mechanics. Can track progress, as well as be used as a way to unlock new things. Award based on achiev­ement or desired behaviour.
Physical Rewards / Prizes
Physical rewards and prizes can promote lots of activity and when used well, can create engage­ment. Be careful of promoting quantity over quality.
Lead­erb­oards / Ladders
Leader­boards come in different flavours, most commonly relative or absolute. Commonly used to show people how they compare to others and so others can see them. Not for everyone.
Badges / Achiev­eme­nts
Badges and achiev­ements are a form of feedback. Award them to people for accomp­lis­hments. Use them wisely and in a meaningful way to make them more apprec­iated.
Virtual Economy
Create a virtual economy and allow people to spend their virtual currency on real or virtual goods. Look into the legalities of this type of system and consider the long term financial costs!
Lottery / Game of Chance
Lotteries and games of chance are a way to win rewards with very little effort from the user. You have to be in it, to win it though!

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