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Subject: Favorite elements of negotiation & shared victory. rss

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Ben Rubinstein

Long Beach
California
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Hi all! I'm kicking around a game design (really only my 2nd attempt at this) and I'm looking at some feedback, mostly from people who like negotiation. Here are my two questions.

What games implement negotiation best? What specific mechanisms do you think make for the successful implementation of negotiation?

Do you like shared victory in games? Games which come to mind are Cosmic Encounter, Cyclades: Titans, and Rex, although all do it very differently (fluid & emergent, rigid & pre-selected, rigid & emergent). If you like this element, do you have a preference for one style over another (or perhaps an entirely different style)?

If it matters, what I'm currently playing with is inspired by Revolution! and Dominare: seizing control of a city by influencing districts (area control) & powerful personalities (granting unique powers), but with a win condition more like Cyclades (accomplish X board state to win). I'm envisioning the game plays with 4-6 players in about 45-90 minutes. However, I want the game to definitely have negotiation & possibly shared victory.

Thank you for any feedback!
 
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Alex Stanmyer
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I think that the idea of a shared victory can offer some interesting choices and dilemmas for players. Do you ally with someone you've been at odds with all game? Do you go down with your proverbial ship or take the extended hand? Do you trust the other player's word that they'll be able to secure a shared victory in 2 turns if you just help take the planet, or give them a resource, or lay off that one victory point that's within reach of both of your grasps? Do YOU lie to another player about wanting to secure a shared victory, only to snatch it away from them at the end of the game?

I know that my gaming group, at least with Cosmic Encounter, often looks at a shared victory as a something "less" than a solo win (not to say that some of us don't jump at the chance for it if we know it's that or losing). Also, previous player-interactions (and if we're being honest, spite) can play a part in our decisions. Do I share a victory with someone who has been attacking me all game, or focus my efforts on making sure that they *don't* win?

So, I guess to answer your questions, I definitely like the opportunity for shared victories if implemented well, especially in a fluid and emergent way. I think it works best in games that are inherently fluid and social and allow for opportunities at convincing, bartering, allying, and betraying.

I'm interested to see what direction your game ends up taking! Good luck!
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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My group mostly plays negotiation games.

I'd say the big question to decide on is whether you want open or structured negotiations. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. It's really about how you envision the game.

Done well, I think that shared victories can be a lot of fun. Especially when you have it so it's possible for them to betray themselves at the last moment.

I also like the prisoner's dilemma of "everyone loses conditions" though I think they can e hard to implement well.

In terms of games I think do this kind of thing well:

Both Cosmic Encounter and Illuminati: Deluxe Edition do the shared victory thing effectively.

The Republic of Rome is very good at the everyone loses condition, although it's a very different type of game then what you're looking at.

The Republic of Rome and Virgin Queen are both nice examples of structured negotiation.

Nothing Personal and Junta do open negotiation very well.

In general, I really like how Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery handles the negotiation. Because it's generally necessary to have other player's help to play the higher level Schemes it strongly encourages players to make and break alliances, without it feeling forced.
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Ben Rubinstein

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AlexStanmyer wrote:
I think that the idea of a shared victory can offer some interesting choices and dilemmas for players. Do you ally with someone you've been at odds with all game? Do you go down with your proverbial ship or take the extended hand? Do you trust the other player's word that they'll be able to secure a shared victory in 2 turns if you just help take the planet, or give them a resource, or lay off that one victory point that's within reach of both of your grasps? Do YOU lie to another player about wanting to secure a shared victory, only to snatch it away from them at the end of the game?


Thanks for the feedback! I agree that those are interesting questions. But what games do you think ask them meaningfully? I think that's what I'm getting at. Or, if games don't make them meaningful questions, how do you think they could be more effective?
 
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