While I was writing this comment I defined my interpretation of the difference between game design and game mechanics.
Here's the link to the article : http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/zarathustran-analytics-in-video-games-part-2-the-role-of-depth/
Here's my comment :
I know this is old, but I still feel like making this comment clears something up. The comment by Christopher J. Rock saying it's strange to divide games in player input, story and game design is definitely right. Though, I think that's not what the author of this article meant.
"player input, story and game mechanics"
That would be a better word choice. I would describe a game design as the description of how a game works, which elements are in it, etc. That includes story and takes user input in account.
Game mechanics though are the rules of how a game work. In that light, story and user input only are the citizens following the rules.
The game is the country, which consists of citizens and rules. The design is the description of that country. The user input and story are citizens. The game mechanics are the rules. --- Note that this is my interpretation. But I think this is where a misunderstanding came to life.