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Subject: Games with team switching? rss

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K S
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An idea occurred to me, and I was wondering whether there are games where players can move between teams during play.

I don't mean games where players are free to form and break temporary alliances, or games where one player temporarily "controls" another player's turn. I mean games where the rules obligate players to play together co-operatively on teams, but an individual player's allegiance may alternate between teams (either due to their own actions or not) throughout the course of the game, or across the course of a campaign.

I imagine there might be some relatively minor effects that cause this to happen in some games, but I am especially interested in games where this is a more frequent and major mechanic, if they exist. If you know of any other games where something similar happens, please let me know. Thanks!
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Battlestar Galactica comes to mind. One Night Ultimate Werewolf is another.
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K S
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Thunkd wrote:
Battle star Galactica comes to mind. One night ultimate werewolf is another.


I knew BSG had a traitor mechanic, but I haven't played it and didn't realize how it worked. Looking at the description, I see that a player's loyalty can change from human to cylon during the game; can it go the other way (cylon->human) as well? And are the cylon players aware of each other and coordinating together?

How does the team-switching work in One Night: Ultimate Werewolf?
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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wamsp wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Battle star Galactica comes to mind. One night ultimate werewolf is another.


I knew BSG had a traitor mechanic, but I haven't played it and didn't realize how it worked. Looking at the description, I see that a player's loyalty can change from human to cylon during the game; can it go the other way (cylon->human) as well? And are the cylon players aware of each other and coordinating together?

How does the team-switching work in One Night: Ultimate Werewolf?
I'm not that familiar with BSG but I don't think Cylons can become humans. Thematically I'm not sure how that would work. I am not sure if the Cylons know each other or not.

In ONUW some players are randomly assigned werewolf roles and they are on a team against the villagers. But random shenanigans happen during the night and no one is really sure what role they have in the morning (with a few exceptions). It becomes a game to figure out what really happened during the night and who's team you are really on in the morning.
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Mike Smith
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Struggle of Empires by Martin Wallace is rather like this. There is an Alliance system where you can bid money for the right to place a player (yourself or another player) into one of two alliances. During the bidding process all players end up being placed into one of the two alliances. You cannot attack the players in your own alliance. Next turn (there are 3 turns) this process is repeated and you can find yourself in an alliance with a player who you attacked the previous turn.

Its a rather great game!
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wamsp wrote:
An idea occurred to me, and I was wondering whether there are games where players can move between teams during play.

I don't mean games where players are free to form and break temporary alliances, or games where one player temporarily "controls" another player's turn. I mean games where the rules obligate players to play together co-operatively on teams, but an individual player's allegiance may alternate between teams (either due to their own actions or not) throughout the course of the game, or across the course of a campaign.

I imagine there might be some relatively minor effects that cause this to happen in some games, but I am especially interested in games where this is a more frequent and major mechanic, if they exist. If you know of any other games where something similar happens, please let me know. Thanks!

Battlestar Galactica with the Pegasus and/or Daybreak expansions, playing as the Cylon Leader. The CL doesn't get the standard Loyalty card at the start, and then another one midway point which will set your team as either human or cylon. Even though you may end up favoring one side or the other, your Agenda card or Motive cards (depending on which expansion you play with) will have you to do things that are helpful for the humans in order to meet those win conditions that are more favorable to cylons, or vice versa. However, you can still win independently of either side. Hmm, this may be cutting it too close for your definition


Two Rooms And A Boom... in odd numbered player games, there's one role that's "team gray". When you play the game normally as that role, you masquerade as either side, although if you card/color share, they'll know you're on the "gray team", as opposed to the standard red or blue. At the end of the game, before the President and Bomber roles are revealed, as well as any other information that reveals which side won, this role needs to choose team red or blue, and will either win or lose with that chosen team.
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Will Moller
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Rick and Morty: Total Rickall Card Game
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K S
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Mantuanwar wrote:
Struggle of Empires by Martin Wallace is rather like this.


Thanks for this! I hadn't heard of this game before; I see that it has been reimplemented by Age of Reason and Conquest of the Empire; do you know whether these later games carried over the same team-switching element?
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K S
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I appreciate all the responses. I see that people are mentioning a lot of games with hidden roles. I have to admit that is not precisely what I had in mind when I posed the question: I was thinking more along the lines of teams whose composition is open information at any point in the game, but which are subject to change. I wonder if the plethora of hidden roles just means that this design element hasn't really been used in the way that I'm thinking of.
 
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Isaac Shalev
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Coup Reformation has this mechanism. Players are assigned one of two teams, and can't target teammates with aggressions. However, players can shift alliances or even cause other players to change alliances.
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Dillon Nestadt
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Betrayal at House on the Hill and Dead of Winter are both games where it goes from fully cooperative to having one random player betray the rest to form their own "team" midway through the game.
Coup's expansion Reformation soooooorta has shifting teams, but they're teams basically in name only, more just a mechanic that temporarily prevents you from attacking certain players.
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Ryan Witmer
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Days of Decision III allows this as an optional rule, although it comes at great cost to the player switching teams.
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Adelin Dumitru
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It might not be what you're looking for, but the Saboteur 2 (expansion-only editions) expansion to Saboteur provides playes with cards that enable them to switch their team or others' teams.
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PJ Cunningham
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Mike Smith
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Conquest of the Empire II (there is also a very different Risk-like game in the box) is the same game model with some different elements to represent the thematic differences. I think, on memory, that it has the same alliance mechanism. Its also a good game, but some of the card wordings need some clarification/precisions, making it a less tight rules set than SoE. I have not played Age of Reason. Plastic Soldier Company are talking about producing a remake of Struggle of Empires.

One thing about SoE that does not quite fit with your initial post is that the Alliance members are not compelled to work together - they only cannot attack each other. They are not temporarily forced to share some common objective.
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Mike Smith
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Dune (and Twilight Imperium: Rex) has a mechanic where you are free to form an alliance during a "Nexus" event. But having formed it you are not free to break it until the next Nexus, and it is not predictable when that will happen. While you are allied you can only win together.

Blood Royale has a marriage mechanic involving written treaties of alliance, which are sancrosanct and cannot be broken. However, death can easily come to a marriage partner, suddenly dissolving the previously inviolable alliance.

Neither of these are exactly what you are looking for, but in practice they produce rather the same effect.

I like multiplayer games with some lasting structure to the diplomacy rather than just a fickle free-for-all.
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K S
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Mantuanwar wrote:
Dune (and Twilight Imperium: Rex) has a mechanic where you are free to form an alliance during a "Nexus" event. But having formed it you are not free to break it until the next Nexus, and it is not predictable when that will happen. While you are allied you can only win together.

Blood Royale has a marriage mechanic involving written treaties of alliance, which are sancrosanct and cannot be broken. However, death can easily come to a marriage partner, suddenly dissolving the previously inviolable alliance.

Neither of these are exactly what you are looking for, but in practice they produce rather the same effect.


Actually, it seems like both of these may fall into exactly the sort of thing I was talking about; thanks for this!
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Mike Smith
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Blood Royale is a great, great, but hugely long game (its more like a campaign taking up at least a weekend, than a single sitting game). The basic rules work very well (Derek Carver), but the optional rules, added by people at Games Workshop, were largely untested, and while full of great ideas, throw up major rules holes. I have played it three times, and I count them as amongst my most memorable games ever. If you have a group of friends with the time and patience I would say go for it. Otherwise....

Dune is not like this. Indeed with some poor play by one or two players who don't get it, it can end very quickly with an easy win for an alliance.

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Mike Smith
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The Melee format of A Game of Thrones: the Card Game (2nd Edition) is for 3-6 players. Each turn each player must choose one Title card from the pool. Most of those limit who you can attack and encourage you to attack a particular player(s). With less than 6 some of the six Title cards are removed from the pool each turn, and you are constrained in your choice by those taken by earlier players. The result is something like the situation you are referring to.
 
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John Breckenridge
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Red Rover
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jbrecken wrote:
Red Rover

Are you sure? Red Rover looks to be full competitive.
 
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Domenic
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I was working on a game design for a while where this would be one of the core mechanics, in part because it was something I hadn't really seen done before. I had to move onto other things before the game got to a point where I was really happy with it, but the core idea for this bit was:

Each player has five cards. Each card indicates Team A or Team B. While a player has more cards for a particular team, that's the player's team. Through various game actions, players could force other players to trade cards with them. So if I had a 3/2 split for A and you were 4/1 for B, I could give you an A card and take a B card. Then we would both be 3/2 for B, and on the same team.
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Drew
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+1 to Two Rooms and a Boom! We have played several games with the gray player(s) and it adds a lot to an already fun game.
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Chris
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The Resistance: Hidden Agenda expansion has this, but it's even more twistily implemented. There are two defector cards -- one for each team. One player starts off blue and might switch to red; the other vice versa. The spies know who the spy defector is -- but the spy defector doesn't know who the spies are. Nobody knows who the resistance defector is. At the beginning of the third round (and for all rounds thereafter), a 'global' card is flipped from a deck that has cards which say 'switch' or 'no switch', and applies to both defectors. The way the deck is configured they may switch once, twice or not at all. We don't play with it that often -- it works better in larger groups -- but it makes for an interesting change.

ender7 wrote:
Coup Reformation has this mechanism. Players are assigned one of two teams, and can't target teammates with aggressions. However, players can shift alliances or even cause other players to change alliances.


I was going to mention the Reformation expansion. The mechanism in that game was introduced to solve a genuine problem with the endgame in Coup, and it actually worked. When coup got down to two players, it essentially became a race for a hit: Who could get to 7 gold (or 3 with the assassin) first? The way to solve that is to take steps when you're down to the *three player* game to try and take out the leader *early*, so that if you're in second or third you increase your chances. This lead to a state (or 'charge' / accusation) of permanent kingmaking in the three-player final stages as the third-placed player suddenly became a powerful force (to the point of frequently deciding the outcome) even though they rarely won themselves. The allegiance switch provided a mechanism for each player to try and manoeuvre their way out of that impasse.

 
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Suzan
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In Frank's Zoo you can play in a different team every round.
 
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