Feedback loops (for those who aren't aware)
(A Negative Feedback Loop is the technical term for "comeback mechanics", akin to what you experience in Mario Kart. This is when the game makes it easier for the underdog to come back, punishes those who are winning, and causes games to always feel tense despite differences in experience.
In contrast, a Positive Feedback Loop is when winning encourages more winning. For example, taking one of your pieces in Chess isn't just tallying another point, but it actually makes the rest of my game easier and your game harder.)
I'm a sucker for negative feedback loops...
However, most of the popular PvP board/card games I've played were the opposite (Star Realms, Netrunner, MTG, Pokemon, BANG, Chess, etc), as these games encouraged uphill battles due to persistent board states.
I know that some games have implemented some N.F.L. mechanics, but I haven't come across a game that uses N.F.L.s as a trend. For instance:
- Monopoly has a Community Chest effect that makes players pay based on the properties that they own (a N.F.L. mechanic), yet is mostly defined by your early success and provides few options for catching up. The winner is generally the winner by a huge margin.
- Magic The Gathering has a few mechanics that reward a player for having fewer lands or creatures, but most mechanics become stronger based on synergies and landing a "win more" solution that your opponent can't respond to/interact with. Having a strong board state makes you more resistant to loss, rewarding winners with more winning.
- Munchkin has several cards/monsters that change how they interact with higher/lower level players, but since gear can assist with earning more gear, and your level contributes to your overall ability to kill monsters, and several low-level monsters have some severe penalties (which will only impact those who are doing poorly), Munchkin feels mostly as a P.F.L. game (although this can be heavily mitigated based on how cutthroat your table is, as agreements/relationships can be a major factor for success at later levels).
The only popular game I can think of that relies on a N.F.L. is Uno, as you start running out of options as your hand gets smaller (which can mean you end up drawing lots of cards and losing your lead). But I'm looking for something with a little more complexity and skill.
Are there critically acclaimed strategic games that regularly use Negative Feedback Loops?