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Subject: How often should players win in a co-op game? rss

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Donald Brown
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I'm working on a cooperative game. Current, I have an easy, regular, and hard mode. Easy mode should win every time if the players aren't being extremely foolish. Regular requires good play, and with good play the players win a bit more than they lose. Hard mode requires very skilled play plus luck to win, odds of winning low.

Am I being too easy on my players? It's meant to be a casual game, runs about 30 minutes once you know the rules.
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Boaty McBoatface
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I have long thought that is what easy mode should be. I sit down and have a laugh kicking the living bejesus out of the opposition.

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Craig Stockwell
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I think for younger and/or less sophisticated gamers (or as a 'training mode') a co-op should run about 60% win.

For more typical/experienced gamers, the difficulty should be set to 30-40% win.

... and then for those who really like a challenge -- where 'statistically perfect' play is an expectation -- I think a co-op game should have a 10-20% win rate.

Of course, a single game can have parameters which support all three (e.g.: Legendary Marvel).
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John Swanson
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If the game rules call it "Easy", it actually should be. It is very frustrating to lose a game when it calls itself easy - it's almost an insult if you didn't do anything blatantly wrong.

And keep in mind, any playtesting you've done personally is from the perspective of someone who (presumably) knows the rules in-and-out, and knows the most probable path to victory. It's possibly the game is not as easy as you might think.
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ys xxx
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If I play really well I want to be rewarded for it.
For this reason I prefer games where I have a realistic chance at winning if I am a skilled player. I don´t see the point in a hard mode where it depends on luck as much or even more as on skill to win.
I have not interest in playing a game which I can only win when the star align.
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Harv Veerman
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Easy: win 80-90%
Regular: win 60-70%
Hard: win 20-30%
Epic: win?

EDIT: as an afterthought: share these statistics with the players, so they know what to expect.
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Perry Fergin
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I tried to stat a rating system for this.
How Hard Can It Be?- Difficulty Ratings for Solitaire and Co-op Games
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Greg
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When writing Wizard's Academy my research lead me to the conclusion that gamers like to win about 30% of the time, high enough to occur frequently but low enough to feel special.

The win rate for Escape the Nightmare on easy was recently about 5-10% so I wound up changing the old 'easy' to the new 'hard' and adjusting difficulty levels around that. I think it'll get away with a below average win rate due to games and restarts being very quick.
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Brian Herr
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Mad Math wrote:
Easy: win 80-90%
Regular: win 60-70%
Hard: win 20-30%
Epic: win?

EDIT: as an afterthought: share these statistics with the players, so they know what to expect.


I would agree with Harv, except maybe nudge the regular mode down to ~50%. Definitely tell the players what to expect.
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John Breckenridge
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I think for a thirty minute game it's acceptable to have a hard mode that comes down to luck for players that know what they're doing, but for a longer game that would be terribly disappointing.
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Brendan Riley
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jbrecken wrote:
I think for a thirty minute game it's acceptable to have a hard mode that comes down to luck for players that know what they're doing, but for a longer game that would be terribly disappointing.


The most brutal luck-based co-op is Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game. It's more like winning on a slot machine than winning a game. WHEW.
 
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Jonathan Challis
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Easy - 85-90% Win rate
Medium - 60-65% win rate
Hard - 35-40% win rate
 
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Fernando Pereira
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My specs stay with what most already stated.

Easy: 90-70%
Medium: 60-40%
Hard: 30-10%

But regardless of the chosen success rate, make sure there aren't harsh mechanics that can trigger frustration (unforgiving mechanics); let players control most situations to a certain degree. I personally hate sudden-death events which you have absolutely no control over them -- let players be the ones to decide whether they want to risk their lives for good profit or bonuses, assuming your mechanics can support such features
 
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Kai Bettzieche
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A good coop game comes with implemented rules for an adjustable difficulty ...
So, to learn it, you can set it to "easy" (say, 80% win chance), while the pros might go for hard mode (like, 20% win chance).

So, what you are doing there is perfect. Keep going ...



Kind regards,
Kai
 
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Electro Rush
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Game should be won as often as player makes a right moves. There is nothing more frustrating than playing single player game and lose because of bad luck. In fact if anything it tells how much I dislike co-op games. Their difficulty is ramp up not by opponents but by unfair game systems.
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Chris Mcpherson
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This thread reminds me of playing Pandemic. The times that we have won at the game have always felt hollow. We have looked back at the game and wondered if we did something wrong which caused us to win.

On the other hand, when we lose, everyone takes a breath and talks about how close we were or how badly we got demolished and leaves the game feeling very satisfied and complete.
 
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Chris D
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If the duration of the game is indeed only 30 minutes, I don't even see the necessity for an easy mode, unless we treat it like a tutorial, or the target audience is children, maybe.

That said, I guess I'd be ok with 50%-60% for normal, and 20%-30% for hard. Losses due solely to bad luck are acceptable once in a while but of course they shouldn't be the majority.
 
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Greg
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A lot of people are conflating win rates with the influence of luck in this thread. The two are related but not one and the same. For instance losing a game of Lord of the Rings often left us feeling that we made the best decisions we could in the situation that we were in but got screwed by the RNG. Losing Space Alert almost always ends with a "Damn, if only we'd done this other thing then we'd have won and we could've seen it if we'd been smarter and faster" I think that shows the need to think of things along two dimensions.

Essentially there is a difference between

"This game has a 30% win rate because players will very often make suboptimal moves."

and

"This game has a 30% win rate because in 70% of games the random elements make it impossible to win no matter what decisions the players make."

Win rate alone isn't the whole story, you need to determine the ideal win rate for the luck-skill balance in the game you're talking about.
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Electro Rush
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x_equals_speed wrote:
A lot of people are conflating win rates with the influence of luck in this thread.


Because original poster implied that it is about luck.

In my opinion there should be only one question in regard to board games:
Question: How often game should be won, assuming players did all the right moves?
Answer: All the time

And even if players did subotimal moves they shouldn't lose because they did it cause of hidden information problem.

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Greg
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I have made you a game:

"You and your partner both choose a letter. If you have both chosen 'f' then you both win, otherwise you both lose"

It passes the one question test so I think you'll like it.

I think that a high influence for skill is important, but I also think that there's more than one question to be asked and a whole host of tricky considerations that interact in order in complex ways that don't have simple "at a glance" solutions.
 
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Tony Go
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Casual game? They should almost always win, just at varying degrees. And I don't mean points.
 
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Asger Harding Granerud
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Did people win their first game of Pandemic? I can't personally remember, I think we lost.

If your first game is a WIN, won't you be discouraged about the game? Feel it is too easy. I think the sweet spot is a loss for 1st game, but with a clear sense of ability to improve on 2nd. There SHOULD be a win within the first 3 games (at least VERY close calls!)

I'm trying to balance a co-op currently. We've got two intro scenarios that are easy (80%+ win). Ordinary gamers can jump straight to the standard scenario/difficulty. I agree that here a win for beginners should be at the 50% mark, but I think first timers should be 20-25% or less. However my co-designer and I win 100% here.

Then there needs to be easy ways for players to ramp up the difficulty.

Asger
 
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