I saw Monster Factory at Gen Con and was immediately reminded of Starbase Jeff from Cheapass Games. Both are tile placement games with two types of “fittings” where you try to complete stations/monsters to bank points. There are some differences in the details, but the mechanics are 90% the same. Carcassonne is broadly similar.
How much of gaming is that? Same core mechanic, same basic flow of play, but we are trying to find the perfect variation on the details that makes it pop, or maybe the same game with a different theme that we favor. And, you know? Sometimes that little difference does make a big difference. I love the mechanics of LOL but will never play DOTA or Newerth because they include a creep denial mechanic, and I find it fundamentally absurd to have a game encourage you to kill your own troops so that the enemy cannot.
So maybe those little differences in how you select or score tiles means a lot. We have generated an entire genre of deck building games in the last decade, and how many of them start with something very like 7 copper and 3 VP?