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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Design Queries and Problems

Subject: Cheaters. rss

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Jordan Philip
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Nanaimo
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Hey guys,

While playtesting a game im working on a friend asked told me that you could easily cheat during a certain phase of the game. I showed him how its not quite as easy as it might seem but it got me thinking. Do you design a game so that people cant easily cheat? Or do you design a game for the people who want to play it the way its meant to be played and accept the fact that there are people out there who are just cheaters?
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Andrés Bellocq
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I think it depends on the situation and play. In my country there is a traditional card game in which the player is encouraged to cheat or trick the other player (and the penalty if caught is big if they catch him) but the game itself seeks to test the luck and the player's ability of trick his opponents or even his partner..
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Jordan Philip
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I would be awful at that game. Im a stickler for rules.
 
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Gláucio Reis
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Cheating is a problem of the players, not the game. However, mistakes happen. I would avoid the kind of hidden info that might lead to undetectable mistakes.
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Christopher Dearlove
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I've noticed some games recently in which cheating is easy. An obvious case is Roll for the Galaxy.

The solution is one of the rules in Love Letter. "Don't play with people who cheat."
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Magnus Carlsson
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GSReis wrote:
Cheating is a problem of the players, not the game. However, mistakes happen. I would avoid the kind of hidden info that might lead to undetectable mistakes.


+1 on this, cheating is cheating and that is really hard to avoid without being really pesty looking up everything and recounting each other all the time.

For mistakes I would try to make the hidden parts of the game as clear and simple as possible. Adding good explanations or information can go a long way. Helping players with the rules are always good, so they can focus on taking good decisions.
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Russ Williams
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In normal gaming I agree with others upthread: I don't cheat and the people I play with don't cheat, so playing games where easy cheating is possible (e.g. block wargames like Julius Caesar, games with lots of recordkeeping done on paper privately like Space Empires: 4X, etc) is not a problem.


However, if a game is intended/desired to be a serious strategy game which will attract a serious tournament scene, then the ability to easily cheat unfortunately does become a real problem. When real money or other prizes/fame/etc can be won playing a game, unfortunately cheaters will be attracted. :/
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John
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Byshocker wrote:
In my country there is a traditional card game in which the player is encouraged to cheat


Presumbly there are limits on how a player can cheat? Is it Cheat or something else? Cheat is also know as "I doubt it" or various less polite ways of saying that. Cheat is the best name as it's snappy and inoffensive.

If the rules permit & encourage something then it's not really cheating, rather bluffing or something. If someone pulled 2 aces out of their sleeve and played 6 aces when playing cheat with a single deck that would be cheating* but playing some random cards and claiming they are 4 aces is part of the game.

* Though I wouldn't mind too much if someone did that whilst playing cheat since it's not the kind of game that people usually take very seriously and it'd make the game more fun (I don't particularly like cheat so it's unlikely I'd be playing it anyway).
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John
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If you can make it more difficult to cheat in your game without having a negative impact on the game then it's almost certainly worth doing. If not then it doesn't really matter unless as Russ says it's intended that it can be played in a serious tournament.

Yes, some people don't like Roll for the Galaxy because it's too easy to cheat, people don't like Archipelago as they think semi-cooperative games are flawed, people don't like legacy games, dexterity games, speed games, card games, abstract strategy or high luck games. THat doesn't mean any of those types of games shouldn't exist. I doubt Rob Daviau spent much time worrying about what people who dislike legacy games would think of Seafall. Focus on making your game the best it can but don't try to please everyone because you can't.
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Jeremy Lennert
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It's preferable if cheating is difficult, but it's not essential.
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Michael Brettell
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It's not just cheating - presumably its also possible to make a mistake. With no other players able to verify someone's actions, its possible that you could win through such a mistake. I think its important that these possibilities don't exist.
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Jordan Philip
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brettellmd wrote:

It's not just cheating - presumably its also possible to make a mistake. With no other players able to verify someone's actions, its possible that you could win through such a mistake. I think its important that these possibilities don't exist.


The possibility of making a mistake and/or cheating are not one in the same in this situation.
 
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Andrés Bellocq
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Daggerleep wrote:
I would be awful at that game. Im a stickler for rules.


its a very funny game.. and its stickler for the rules... you have to be careful to speak, because you can not lie, and some words trigger events that you can play against ... it's hard to explain , but for example if someone says "flor" (flower) inadvertently and does not have the cards that make it up loses three points ... but you can say " clor " which means nothing , but sounds like flor and can made a mistake on your opponent...

its like a poker, but you always need say the true and get infortation of your opponents..
 
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Russ Williams
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Daggerleep wrote:
brettellmd wrote:

It's not just cheating - presumably its also possible to make a mistake. With no other players able to verify someone's actions, its possible that you could win through such a mistake. I think its important that these possibilities don't exist.


The possibility of making a mistake and/or cheating are not one in the same in this situation.

Can you elaborate with more concrete details about the rule mechanism you are thinking about? As far as I've noticed, places in games where someone could easily cheat (because they're doing something opponents cannot observe and verify) are certainly also places where someone could make an honest mistake which is not detected.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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russ wrote:
Daggerleep wrote:
brettellmd wrote:

It's not just cheating - presumably its also possible to make a mistake. With no other players able to verify someone's actions, its possible that you could win through such a mistake. I think its important that these possibilities don't exist.


The possibility of making a mistake and/or cheating are not one in the same in this situation.

Can you elaborate with more concrete details about the rule mechanism you are thinking about? As far as I've noticed, places in games where someone could easily cheat (because they're doing something opponents cannot observe and verify) are certainly also places where someone could make an honest mistake which is not detected.


Roll for the Galaxy is actually a counterexample to this.

For those who don't know, you roll your dice in secret. Without turning them over, you allocate them mostly to what you rolled, but with some exceptions. You don't change their faces when you move them.

So cheating is simply turning the die over. Mistakes happen when you misallocate the dice (moving more than you are allowed). Mistakes can be checked - and it's common to do that with people in their first game (in fact let them reveal first, so they can correct). That's because you can retrace the dice movement.
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Ian Stedman
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Since you mentioned you were playtesting, I thought I might chime in.
In my experience with developing new games, this comes up quite a bit. If you have an opportunity to change the way things interact with each other so cheating [isn't/is less] possible and it doesn't negatively change the game itself, then I strongly recommend doing that.

But sometimes (Love Letter) it just isn't possible to avoid and trying to do so would detract from the experience. In these infrequent cases, I don't think it is a bad thing to put some accountability on the players to not play with people who cheat, but you should be very careful in doing so, especially if this is one of your first ~10 designs.

If the problem is that a player could ostensibly cheat very easily and go unnoticed I think you should try to identify if there is a way to correct that before it becomes a problem. (Because it will invariably be seen as a negative aspect at least by some people no matter how hard you try. Don't take it personally.)

To say for sure I'd have to know a lot more about the game, but if it is a fixable issue, even if you personally don't feel it is a problem, I think you will save yourself as lot of debate with players by correcting it from the getgo. meeple
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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It's one of those factors to balance. It's a bit like advice I once gave on player elimination - it will immediately exclude part of your potential customer base. But if your game needs it, and you can live with that, OK (and that's from the perspective of someone so removed). If cheating easily is possible that will remove part of your customer base. Etc. In this case you won't lose me.
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Aaron B
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When you play "Battleship" with this friend of yours, do you ever hit any of his ships?

I wouldn't concern myself too much with cheating... unless your game involves people betting or competing for real money?
 
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