Contracts are a game mechanic where players fulfill special goals to earn rewards. These goals require coordination, planning, and often go beyond simply being the first player to complete a task. Contracts can be either public, where all players compete to be the first to complete them, or private, where only the owning player may fulfill them.
Contracts often take the form of a special type of set collection, where players must collect and combine specific resources to obtain the corresponding reward. For example, in The Voyages of Marco Polo, contracts define an ad hoc set of resources that players must collect to obtain the corresponding reward.
Contracts can also be a special case of pick-up-and-deliver mechanics common in train games such as Empire Builder. With contracts, players must balance their short-term and long-term goals to maximize their rewards and outmaneuver their opponents.
This mechanic adds depth and complexity to gameplay, encouraging players to think strategically and carefully plan their moves to achieve their objectives. Contracts can be found in a wide range of board games, and their implementation varies greatly, making them a versatile and engaging game mechanic.