Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
25 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Ties - To Break or Not To Break? (Poll) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jeremy Wright
United States
Hopkins
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Poll: Ties - To Break or Not To Break
Speaking generally, should it be possible for a game to result in a tie?
Yes. As long as the game is fun, I'm satisfied with the game ending in a tie.
No. I'd prefer there to be a clearly defined winner at the end of a game.
Either way. I've played both types of games and find either direction acceptable.
      90 answers
Poll created by jtrwright
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mr. Baron
Germany
Munich
Bavaria
flag msg tools
mb
I voted for either way. A tie breaker should make sense, it wouldn't be good to choose a minor factor for the tie breaker.

I guess the poll answers will differ between Europeans and Americans. Just think about popular sports with and without a tie.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gene Moore
United States
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I personally don't care if the game ends in a tie or not. If I can lose and still have fun playing, then I can tie with someone and have fun as well.

I also don't care for creating silly tie breakers just for the sake of having one. For that reason, all of my game rules will end with the sentence: "Ties are broken in a manner agreed upon by the players."
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Wright
United States
Hopkins
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
lwdgames wrote:
"Ties are broken in a manner agreed upon by the players."


Can I steal this?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Ties are fine. If the players want a clear victor then they also need to play well enough to ensure there is one.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My opinion is that if there's another measurable factor which generally means one player played better than another during the game, then there's no problem breaking ties with it. But there's no point putting something arbitrary to break ties just because you feel some players won't be satisfied unless the game pronounces a single winner.

One mostly-ready-but-still-in-progress game I have involves auctions, and if two players are tied at the end of the game then the one who won the most auctions (kind of) breaks the tie. There are a couple of other tie breaks for similar reasons, and then the rules end with "if there's still a tie, the game is drawn; deal with it" or words to that effect.

"The tied player who ended with the most unspent resources breaks ties" is fine, to me - it's not that much different to end-game scoring where various different accomplishments or resources are worth differing numbers of points at the end of the game. "Tied players roll a die each, highest roll wins" is awful; it makes the majority of the game up to that point meaningless.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip Becker
United States
Kentucky
flag msg tools
mbmb
I voted "No", but I would still prefer a tie over a die roll or person with the pointiest ears or whatever non-competitive factor you can dream up. I voted "No" mostly because I don't think any significant number of games should end in a tie. If it happens once in a while, no big deal. But my philosophy is that "It doesn't matter whether you win or lose, but it's more fun to win."
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Morse
United States
Stoughton
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Gengar in Hawaii
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm a Diplomat. A draw is the goal. A win only happens if someone screws up.

As for Eurogames, I'm indifferent. A tiebreaker that is well thought out and really does measure a finer gradation of success is fine. Obviously, games vary with how well they achieve that objective.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kuba W
Poland
Kraków
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Roter_Baron wrote:
I voted for either way. A tie breaker should make sense, it wouldn't be good to choose a minor factor for the tie breaker.

I guess the poll answers will differ between Europeans and Americans. Just think about popular sports with and without a tie.


I don't think so. I don't mind ties in a league competition, but I don't play boardgames with any league system, so why would I accept a tie?

I agree regarding the minor factors, though.
I don't like rules that say: "In case of a tie, the player with most X wins, if there is still a tie, the player with most Y wins, if there is still a tie...".
I like when the tie-breaker is something where players cannot be tied.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ptyx wrote:

I don't think so. I don't mind ties in a league competition, but I don't play boardgames with any league system, so why would I accept a tie?



Counter-question: when two players played equally well, why should one of them arbitrarily be declared the winner and not the other?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kuba W
Poland
Kraków
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bichatse wrote:
ptyx wrote:

I don't think so. I don't mind ties in a league competition, but I don't play boardgames with any league system, so why would I accept a tie?



Counter-question: when two players played equally well, why should one of them arbitrarily be declared the winner and not the other?


There are three options:

1. Both players remembered about tie-breaking rules and worked towards scoring in these areas.

- here one of the players is clearly better than the other, if only in one additional area.

2. Only one of the player remembered the rules and worked to score in these areas.

- and here as well one of the players played better, by putting an extra effort to the game.

3. Neither of the players remembered about the tie-breaker rules nor worked to score there and one of them just got lucky.

- this is the only case when the point of having a tie can be argued; in games with zero luck, ties are acceptable IMO (the best example being chess), but in all other games the tie-breaker can be considered an additional luck factor - there's not a big difference between a lucky win by one point and a tie with a lucky win on a tie-breaker.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jakub Marek
Czech Republic
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't care to win, lose or draw when playing with family or friends, but I also have long history with both playing and organizing various tournaments and not having a clear tiebreaker is as bas as having unclear rules.

For my designs, I'm always doing tiebreakers to clearly state not just score but also ranking on given table. They may be slightly random at times, but I'm always thinking "what made your position more successful/harder to achieve". Sure, if both of you got all the same stuff with absolutely no difference, than there will be some random, but such is life. Even if two competitors are totally equivalent in all means, one has to win and random is sometimes the reason.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Eremiell wrote:
...organizing various tournaments and not having a clear tiebreaker is as bas as having unclear rules.


That is a flaw of the tournament structure, not of the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jakub Marek
Czech Republic
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It is a "flaw" of mathematics and human psychology. Math can do a lot of tricks, but more complex they are less believable they are. Our experience shows, it's much better for players to have some kind of tiebreaker at table, where they can see who's "better" and why than letting them in with "equal scores" into the tournament system and telling them one of them "did better" due to some complicated mathematics.

Of course, you're completely free to ignore all tiebreakers when playing at home, just as you can modify any rules to better fit your group.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nat Levan
United States
Glenside
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Hast ye seen the White Whale?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Some games are light enough that ending in a tie isn't important. In some games (like chess) reaching a tie can be an important alternative to winning or losing. And some games would be very disappointing if you have no clear winner after spending 4 hours trying to defeat an opponent. It really depends on what the game is trying to accomplish.

Tie breakers should only be included if there is a good measure of who performed best, and should not be arbitrary. For games with potentially unequal turns (like Dominion), the first tie breaker goes to the player with the fewest complete turns.

I like the idea of letting players bid for tie breakers, because people who care about it can care, and people who don't can ignore it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sivilized wrote:
And some games would be very disappointing if you have no clear winner after spending 4 hours trying to defeat an opponent.


*cough*Cricket*cough*
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Harper
United Kingdom
Wantage
Oxfordshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bichatse wrote:
*cough*Cricket*cough*


In cricket there is a difference between a tie and a draw.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As of this post, the poll results are basically a tie:

yes - 18
no - 17
either way - 30
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hans Moleman
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
I was saying boo-urns
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I enjoy a tiebreaker (even if it's arbitrary)

In fact, my favorite moment in a tied game is when no one remembers the tie-breaker and we have to look it up. That exact moment when someone realizes they have won is awesome!

Simply put, I like to put a definitive winner on games. But as mentioned before, in some games a tie can be quite fulfilling (ie. Chess; especially if you were in a losing position)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Rowse
New Zealand
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If there is a slight advantage (or disadvantage) to player order, a sensible tiebreaker is trivially easy, and I definitely prefer the closure of there being a winner.

When the tiebreaker is something stupid like 'flip a coin', that is worse than no tiebreaker at all.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nathan Bentley
msg tools
mbmbmb
I just leave a loaded revolver in the middle of the table. If someone wants to break a tie that badly, they know what to do.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Internet disclaimer: This post is a joke. Do not use firearms to resolve gaming disputes. Ammunition is expensive and brains are really hard to clean off of meeples.


2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
polyobsessive wrote:
Bichatse wrote:
*cough*Cricket*cough*


In cricket there is a difference between a tie and a draw.


On top of this, it sometimes takes five days to find out that you don't have a clear winner!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jannis Grimm
Switzerland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It’s perfectly fine if two player win by tie in a four player game (that’s fun to see, too!). But it shouldn’t end in an “everybody wins” tie.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mr. Baron
Germany
Munich
Bavaria
flag msg tools
mb
Every one's a winner baby, thats the thruth.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Gibbs
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It depends on the game.

In more detail... is the primary winning condition finely enough grained to mostly separate players, such that ties are unusual, then a tiebreaker probably makes sense. If not, not so much.

For example, in Power Grid the winning condition is the number of cities powered at the end of the game. Because of the way the game is structured, it is not uncommon for two (or more) players to all achieve the same number of cities powered. So, unspent money is used as the tie-break. Whoever was the most money-efficient in achieving that goal. This is a sensible (in context and theme) tiebreak, that is needed because of frequent ties.

Another game in which tie-breaks make sense is Samurai, where each player having a majority in just one of the three factions is common, so tie-break by way of most non-majority (then most total) still rewards the ultimate goal, which is to collect more faction markers.

While, in 1830 (and, I expect, most of the other 18xx games), the winner is the person at the end with the highest networth (sum of cash on hand, and stock values). With payouts measured down to the dollar, but finishing totals in the thousands, a tie almost never happens. Therefor, there is no need for a tie-break.

Finally, there are games where a draw or stale-mate is an explicit no-winner situation, and there should be no tie-break. Chess is a truly classic example of this, and a more modern, multi-player one would be Diplomacy.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.