Allan
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Hi guys,

I was personally designing a heavy strategic boardgame. My original goal was to make a game with the complexity of chess or go, but to actually feel thematic. Similar to how in agricola you actually feel like you are building a farm or in viticulture you feel like you are building a vineyard.

A problem that was brought up in the last thread that I made about punishing players was about what happens when there is a clear loser in a strategic multiplayer game?

Here is that thread: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1930767/punishing-people-st...

I wish that I could figure out how to quote people from a different thread because the ideas and the way they brought up the ideas really is very clear. For example; imagine playing Terra Mystica, and even though there are 4 other players in the game and you are only in the 2nd round, you know already that you are going to lose and yet you have to play it out.

The main ideas is that in a strategic multiplayer game at some point there will be a separation where it is more clear that a person can not win anymore. If the games are over very quickly this is not much of an issue, but in longer 1.5 hour games or so. It can be not fun at all to continue to play when you know you are basically not going to win at that point

Some of options that are available in this situation:
1. Hide scoring- this way it is harder to see who is winning, so you don’t know that you are in the losing position and it is harder to see how badly you are losing and still believe that there is hope so you continue to play and are engaged. I think that in a perfect information game, that you can still have an idea of who is winning (but it does take more effort with your memory)

2. Set an artificial timer – just have an hourglass timer so that you can limit each person’s moves by simply saying that people have to move by a certain time or something bad happens.

3. Set a large amount of end game scoring points – this way all players will still try to fight for those points and it is much harder to discern who is going to win.

4. Allow for a losing player the option to resign early – that because they know they are unlikely to win, they can resign out of the game without effecting the game results much (not many games I know do this)

What board games with the depth or complexity of chess, go, 5 tribes, or even terra mystica handle the AP in their games on a larger multiplayer format (4+ players)?
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Michael Oliver
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Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization has a resign mechanic. It is part of one of the phases each round, and allows a player to fully concede and withdraw from the game.
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Robert Bracey
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sadsayboo wrote:

1. Hide scoring- this way it is harder to see who is winning ...


Repeat after me, trackable information is not hidden information. Whenever you see this in a game, Nightfall is a particularly bad example, it looks like lazy design. If you want to design a game with hidden scoring then that is a genuine solution, but never use trackable information (a fundementally different thing) to do the same job - it is lazy design that insults the players by implying they are lazy.

sadsayboo wrote:

2. Set an artificial timer – just have an hourglass timer so that ...


Not sure how this helps...

sadsayboo wrote:

3. Set a large amount of end game scoring points – this way all...

This is good core game design. If you have an escalating contribution to the winning condition over time it makes it harder for a player to be out of contention and should also limit opening game problems. It is however really hard to do because if players can get into positions where they cannot get points it does not matter if those points escalate.

sadsayboo wrote:

4. Allow for a losing player the option to resign early ...


This I feel is not implemented enough. Games which allow players to leave elegantly for whatever reason are great. I feel this ought to be easier to do than 3.

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RobertBr wrote:
sadsayboo wrote:

1. Hide scoring- this way it is harder to see who is winning ...


Repeat after me, trackable information is not hidden information. Whenever you see this in a game, Nightfall is a particularly bad example, it looks like lazy design. If you want to design a game with hidden scoring then that is a genuine solution, but never use trackable information (a fundementally different thing) to do the same job - it is lazy design that insults the players by implying they are lazy.



This might be your opinion (and I know that this is also the opinion of many other people on BGG) but by no means lazy design or an insult to the players. If you want to, it is a mechanism which rewards people who are good with their memory or, if there is too much hidden trackable information, who have a good method of always having at least an idea about the game state.

There are even games built around this! (Memory)

Anyway, an answer to the OP: What do you mean by 'the complexity of chess or go?' Both games are not complex at all on rules, but have perfect information etc, which is why any game state can be analyzed as far as the palyers' brains allow. Check out the abstract subdomain here or the Wikipedia page on combinatorial games (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combinatorial_game_theory). All the other games you posted are way more complex on rules, but not combinatorial games. If you want to design a combinatorial game with theme, you should stick to strictly two-player, perfect information, no randomness, sequential games. A good example of a recent game like this is Patchwork.
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Laura Creighton
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I don't think that hiding the scoring works for a heavy strategic game -- the whole point of playing such things is to work out neat and interesting successful strategies, and if you obscure things to the point where nobody can tell if their strategy is successful, you will find that your intended market isn't interested in playing the game. 'I won, but I have no clue why I did' is usually an indication, around here, that this game needs to get traded away, quickly.

Games with a timer -- unless they are games like Galaxy Trucker where the whole point is to assemble your spaceship under time pressure, i.e the
timing mechanism is an intrinsic part of the game design, not something added to remove a blemish -- aren't likely to be a hit with the strategic gaming crowd anyway. You are penalising those people who take longer to think, which quite likely is because they are winning and thus have more options to consider. If you are going to design a game, which for reasons of balance makes playing the leader significantly harder than playing in second or third place, then you need to do this with a good bit of subtlety. Otherwise it will just feel mean -- and your players will either stop playing, or house rule the timer away.

A great many people hate the whole 'lots of points scoring at the end', to the point that they just won't play the game. So while this is a successful strategy, you have to realise that it immediately excludes a lot of people. Plus your game runs the risk of not being that strategic at all. In a strategic game you want to pursue a strategy which will lead to a certain result at the end. In the 'victory point salad at the end' sort of games, one of two things often happen. Either, some time in the past you made a bad strategic decision which means when it is last round, you will not be in a good position to gobble up VPs. If this is the case then, once people have taken the time to analyse strategies, you will have the problem of 'it is round X, there are 2 hours left to go in this game, and already I have lost, and there is nothing I can do about it'. This is precisely the problem you are trying to avoid, but by making a long delay between the bad decision and the bad scoring because of the bad decision you have made the problem more likely, not less.

The other thing that can happen is that you end up making your game much more tactical than strategic. Which is ok if you are trying to design a game of tactical challenges, but not so good if you really want to make a stretegic game. If there isn't much strategy to the last round -- it is just gobble as much as you can get -- then your problem won't be the distance-in-time between the bad strategic decision and the outcome, but the fact that the outcome isn't determined by strategic decisions at all, but by tactical ones.

This may cheapen your game in the eyes of the strategic players -- people who were clearly doing well in the game before the last round feel badly used when they keep getting beaten on the last round. If only the last round or rounds matter, they reason, then why not shorten the game by chopping off the first X rounds to begin with. In your effort to make things better for a poor soul stuck playing X rounds of a game when it is clear he or she is already in a hopeless position, and nothing he or she can do will matter, you have now given everybody the problem of playing the first X rounds, where nothing anybody can do will matter, because nothing matters in the first X rounds at all. This is not progress.

This is why I am in favour of designing games where people can resign, even if it is not done much. I think the dogmatic belief that 'player elimination is a bad thing' needs to be re-examined. If the game only takes half an hour, or 45 minutes, then toughing things out isn't all that bad. In a family situation, eliminating the small child may get you an enraged small child -- and that child may need supervising which means that one of the children's parents had better get eliminated next, and quickly too. But family games are rarely very long. Mechanisms (usually involving luck) to level the playing field between people of different ages are well understood in this space. But it is not the space for the strategic gamer, who rightfully complains that such games have 'too much luck'.

And the success of Mafia and Werewolf social deduction games, which are all about player elimination -- and you get to execute them as well -- especially amoung children is an indication that even in family games, player elimination may not be such a bad thing.
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marc lecours
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random ideas:

1. Make the game fun even if a player is losing. The more abstract a game is, the less engaging it is unless you are in contention. Players like to build things: civilizations, point engines, economies, cities, patterns on boards, great combos, etc.

2. Avoid hiding points. Unless the points are random (in which case it diminishes from the skill of the game). If the theme works well with random points then maybe (for example: A pirate captures a random treasure like in Jamaica). But random points makes a game lighter, so its OK in short games.

3. In general, the more points in a game the more this will be a problem. If a game needs only 8 victory points to win, then each victory point will be a challenge to obtain. In that case the leader may have trouble obtaining their last victory point. It keeps everyone in the game. In games where you need 80 victory points to win, then each victory point is easy to obtain. In that case the leader usually has no trouble obtaining their last 10 victory points (a point here, a point there).

4. Games where everyone can gang up on the leader tend to keep everyone involved until the end. BUT this raises another problem. In such games the early game becomes meaningless. In such games skill becomes meaningless. Since no matter what you do, the winner will be decided by who gangs up on who.

But a small amount of being able to hinder other players normally helps keep the weak players in contention.

5. Handicapping ! ! ! I never understand why handicapping is not used more often in games. If you win a game then in future games you have to work harder. I played Go like that for decades and it works great. Since players change from game to game, you have to have a system of pluses and minuses.

For example: If you lose you go up 1 point. If you win, you go down a number of points equal to the number of players who lost in a game. There is a special list to keep track of this in the game box. You start the next game with the number of VPs equal to your handicap. A player that has a -5 score would start with -5 VPs. A player that has lost 4 games would start with +4 VPs. A newbie would start with the points of the worst player.

6. Overall the problem is that a game can reward the most skillful player with a win (a skill game) or a game can randomly assign a win depending on luck (or on who gangs up on who) (lets call this a low skill game ).

A skill game cannot be won by a much weaker player no matter what. When a player falls behind it becomes impossible to catch up. If the game is short then no problem. In a long 2 player game, you can resign and start another game. In a long multiplayer, you are stuck for an hour or more in a losing position.

A low skill game is winnable equally by all players regardless of their skill level. Usually these games are shorter, so falling behind is not so bad. Some of these games are designed so that you can catch up right until the end. This means that taking a lead in the early game has little meaning. Such games work well if they are short. But if they are long then the first half of the game will seem pointless.

7. Players being allowed to resign and withdraw from a multiplayer game works well in a game club. The player that resigned can move on to another game. It works really badly in a gathering of friends at someones home. The player that resigned can watch, take out their cell phone or go home. Either way they are excluded from the gathering of friends.

8. I repeat my first idea: Make the game fun and engaging whether you are leading or behind. Often this is done by making the game very thematic. I play a lot of wargames where even though I try to win, what I really like is seeing history ( or alternate history) unfold before my eyes. Another way is for the mechanics to be fun in themselves. Or as I said before "players like to build things".

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Laura Creighton
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Other things to consider -- you may want to have different winning conditions for each player. In Here I Stand (500th Anniversary Reprint Edition) each faction has a different objective, so it is quite likely that more than one player will be doing very well at any point in time.

It is also the case that your experience while not doing so well is still varied and interesting. War may be going badly for you, but Exploration is going ok, and you are really racking it up in the religious debates.

Another thing that helps is that while the game takes 6 hours to play, you do not play it all sitting around a table togther. You cannot plot in public, so you need to wander around the house, so you can have those vital private conversations.

This breaks things up, and we like things even more broken up than this -- play the game over a week of family vacation, where you play for 30 minutes or so in the morning, then in the afternoon and finally at night with skiing, kayaking, rock climbing etc. in between and with lots of good food consumed. Games designed to be played in chunks over a longish period of time play differently than those designed to be played constantly in however-many-hours straight.
 
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Leah Tracy
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I always know that I am going to lose. I am not particularly good at strategic thinking. Does this mean that I never play strategic games? Heck, no! My purpose in playing a game is to have fun, interact with others, and engage my brain in interesting activity. I have played "heavy" strategic games that are incredibly boring. I have played some that keep me interested all the way to the end. Someone is always going to lose. Just make sure PLAYING is FUN and then, who cares if you lose? After all, winning isn't everything.
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Dave Platt
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It's difficult to get right, because it depends on player expectation. For instance, If you have a serious game played by serious gamers who expect the outcome to be decided on skill, then no amount of good design is going to make up for different skill levels and thus players losing early.

Games that successfully keep all players engaged and in with a chance to the very end will usually do so by pushing the deciding factors towards the end of the game by using ways back into the game for those who have fallen behind. This can by done by escalating gains towards the end or gains through luck. Hidden state of play can also be used to keep players guessing. However, all this falls flat if the game is being played by the serious group I discussed earlier.

In conclusion you need to first decide which type of gamer you are pitching your game towards. If it's the deadly serious group then you're probably going to have to accept that they are going to see through any fancy mechanism you put in there to even things up and they will likely disapprove.
If it's clever folks who want to have fun playing a game then you'll need to use some clever tricks that even things up without giving too much away about their purpose.
If it's a party game then you can just throw in a huge amount of luck, because when people are drunk they think that luck is a skill.
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Chris Ferejohn
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RobertBr wrote:
sadsayboo wrote:

1. Hide scoring- this way it is harder to see who is winning ...


Repeat after me, trackable information is not hidden information. Whenever you see this in a game, Nightfall is a particularly bad example, it looks like lazy design. If you want to design a game with hidden scoring then that is a genuine solution, but never use trackable information (a fundementally different thing) to do the same job - it is lazy design that insults the players by implying they are lazy.



Repeat after me: Design choices that don't work for you might work for other people. If you want to houserule that trackable info is always public, great (most folks I play with do so), but dismissively calling it lazy design is ridiculous. Many popular games have that as a rule, including Ra, Power Grid, Small World, and 1830(at least per AH rules you don't have to disclose how much money is in a company charter).
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Mike Cosgrave
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Couple of possibilities which I don’t see mentioned elsewhere:

Variable game end: once you get close to the endgame, roll a die to determine exactly when the game ends. This makes it harder to predict the end

If you win by too much, you lose! This is seen in Churchill, which is a three player game set in WWII. If you win by too big a margin, then you lose because the game assumes that the other two powers will ally against you. Therefore, the player in the lead has a reason to help out a player who is falling behind. Depending on the specific setting, this actually seems a perfectly reasonable condition in a strategy game.
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I think one of the biggest design hurdles you will have with this is your thought that players should play the same game--thematic abstract strategy, no less--for an hour and a half. Abstract strategy games are well known for their short playtime. You can play a game of Hive in under 10 minutes. Chess is known for timed play, where each player has 5 minutes to win. Even very thematic games, designed to keep players interested in the story, even if they aren't winning, sadly don't regularly make it to the table if they play for much more than an hour. Think Twilight Imperium, long held by thematic gamers as one of the best games ever, which generally doesn't get to many tables since it's so long to play.

I did see a mechanic you may find intriguing. I believe it's in Archipelago (please forgive me if I'm wrong; I watch a lot of playthroughs)wherein players each have a secret objective (lots of games do this) but also a secret end condition. Only 1/4 of the ways this game ends is known to each of the 4 players. You always wonder, "if I do this, will I inadvertently cause the game to end in someone else's favor? Perhaps if you stash a bunch of points here, even the player in last place might propel ahead if the other players make the wrong decision. It might be worthwhile to play for the intrigue factor alone.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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sadsayboo wrote:
Some of options that are available in this situation:
1. Hide scoring- this way it is harder to see who is winning, so you don’t know that you are in the losing position and it is harder to see how badly you are losing and still believe that there is hope so you continue to play and are engaged. I think that in a perfect information game, that you can still have an idea of who is winning (but it does take more effort with your memory)

Really, don't. By removing visible scoring to smooth over ruffled feathers you gut the ability of players to team up and do something about a leader.

Quote:
2. Set an artificial timer – just have an hourglass timer so that you can limit each person’s moves by simply saying that people have to move by a certain time or something bad happens.

What would this accomplish?

Quote:
3. Set a large amount of end game scoring points – this way all players will still try to fight for those points and it is much harder to discern who is going to win.

An incredibly annoying solution because all too often the road towards those points is made in small increments. So no, players will not fight for those points; they will instead be bored stiff.

Quote:
4. Allow for a losing player the option to resign early – that because they know they are unlikely to win, they can resign out of the game without effecting the game results much (not many games I know do this)

An obvious solution. Unfortunately it's very hard to implement because the game balance started out at n players, and now there are n - 1. If you have some sort of AI in the game which opposes the players while keeping the player count constant, then you could just 'subsume' the resigned player's position. But this trick will not always work.

There are at least two solutions I can think of: handicapping (which all too often carries strong negative emotions because people feel themselves 'too dumb' to play the game) and introducing strong temporary cooperation so that players who have nothing to lose can team up and reign in wayward leaders. And that brings me to solution #3: multiple ending conditions which are mutually exclusive. A leader will want to make sure he wins, but opponents needn't win the way he does.

Basically: give players something meaningful to do, ideally by giving them an alternate means to win the game. As long as you control their motivation for playing the game (i.e., playing to win!), you're fine. But don't try to hide or sugarcoat their position.
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patrick mullen
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I like to call this hidden player elimination. It can be worse than actual player elimination because the player is stuck playing but would probably rather leave. It's also not that easy to fix. I'm pretty bad at games and it is not uncommon to find myself as the locked out player. People have brought up some convincing issues with trying to fix this.

I think the best solutions probably lie in game balance. If this is something that happens a lot with a particular game, there may be ssome issues with it's feedback mechanisms. If early good plays put that player in a better position to make more good plays, the game is decided by whoever makes the right decisions during the first X plays.

It's probably pretty hard to get this right. You want some negative feedback so that players who are doing well will have to make harder decisions, while still rewarding them enough to make it clear that they are doing something right. Or conversely, have some positive feedback for players who are behind, but not positive enough to convince them to stay behind. And if any of these feedback mechanisms feel artificial players will get annoyed.

Chess can be very one sided with people of varying skill levels, but something elegant about it is that many decisions that seem to give you an upper hand put you in a more dangerous position. If you aren't looking to solve vast differences in player skill level (which might be better tackled with handicaps or leagues), these kind of behaviors might be worth exploring.
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Ken Bush
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mikecosgrave wrote:
If you win by too much, you lose! This is seen in Churchill, which is a three player game set in WWII. If you win by too big a margin, then you lose because the game assumes that the other two powers will ally against you. Therefore, the player in the lead has a reason to help out a player who is falling behind. Depending on the specific setting, this actually seems a perfectly reasonable condition in a strategy game.

I was thinking along these lines, make getting closest to a score the objective, like going over a cliff, don’t go to far.

But I agree with another poster that your objective should be to just make the game fun and full of interesting decisions. If you try to balance a game too much it becomes luck.

The conflict I hear from you is how do I keep a game strategic but have all the players, regardless of relative skill level, be in contention until the very end so that no one feels bad about losing early. My answer is you can’t. By definition in a “Strategy” game highly skilled players will beat lesser skilled players, they can see better strategy & tactics.

Changing the game each time you play to allow different strategies to be better might keep the same player from winning every time. Random setup and random goals (either common or individual) may allow different ways of thinking to win. I’m not big on individual goals, I much prefer game goals as they to some extent allow the table to reign in a run away leader.
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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Multiple victory conditions. If you're losing in one way, you can still win a different way, so most players can still remain engaged and threaten to win. Liberté lets you win via accumulating points over multiple elections, for which the moderate party is most useful, or via supporting the royalists and getting them to control key provinces, or via supporting the radicals and getting them to win a single election by large margin. In Mare Nostrum: Empires, you can win economically by building a few big wonders or a single giant wonder, militarily by conquering enemy capitals, or by establishing board dominance through owning lots of small buildings.
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Nathan Tolman
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Lisboa is a good implementation of #3, IMHO. If you watch the Heavy Cardboard playtrough, you can see how a player that was consistently behind came back to win through good use of end game scoring mechanics. I have experienced this myself while playing the game.
 
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Allan
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charrm wrote:
Anyway, an answer to the OP: What do you mean by 'the complexity of chess or go?' Both games are not complex at all on rules, but have perfect information etc, which is why any game state can be analyzed as far as the palyers' brains allow. Check out the abstract subdomain here or the Wikipedia page on combinatorial games (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combinatorial_game_theory). All the other games you posted are way more complex on rules, but not combinatorial games. If you want to design a combinatorial game with theme, you should stick to strictly two-player, perfect information, no randomness, sequential games. A good example of a recent game like this is Patchwork.


Hi charrm, thanks for your link. I honestly am not going towards perfect information but more complex rules. I think patchwerk is a great example. Imagine if patchwerk had 5 players instead of just two. You can still plan for when it gets to your turn, but it is still quite far off and the game state can change dramatically before your next turn. After some point it might become much more clear that you are no where close to winning. How do you keep those people motivated to keep playing?

The only reason that I could think of is that if it is a thematic game, then there should be some type of intrinsic fun to being able to either build something or feel like you are fighting evil or something along those lines
 
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lacreighton wrote:

A great many people hate the whole 'lots of points scoring at the end', to the point that they just won't play the game. So while this is a successful strategy, you have to realise that it immediately excludes a lot of people. Plus your game runs the risk of not being that strategic at all. In a strategic game you want to pursue a strategy which will lead to a certain result at the end. In the 'victory point salad at the end' sort of games, one of two things often happen. Either, some time in the past you made a bad strategic decision which means when it is last round, you will not be in a good position to gobble up VPs. If this is the case then, once people have taken the time to analyse strategies, you will have the problem of 'it is round X, there are 2 hours left to go in this game, and already I have lost, and there is nothing I can do about it'. This is precisely the problem you are trying to avoid, but by making a long delay between the bad decision and the bad scoring because of the bad decision you have made the problem more likely, not less.

The other thing that can happen is that you end up making your game much more tactical than strategic. Which is ok if you are trying to design a game of tactical challenges, but not so good if you really want to make a stretegic game. If there isn't much strategy to the last round -- it is just gobble as much as you can get -- then your problem won't be the distance-in-time between the bad strategic decision and the outcome, but the fact that the outcome isn't determined by strategic decisions at all, but by tactical ones.

This may cheapen your game in the eyes of the strategic players -- people who were clearly doing well in the game before the last round feel badly used when they keep getting beaten on the last round. If only the last round or rounds matter, they reason, then why not shorten the game by chopping off the first X rounds to begin with. In your effort to make things better for a poor soul stuck playing X rounds of a game when it is clear he or she is already in a hopeless position, and nothing he or she can do will matter, you have now given everybody the problem of playing the first X rounds, where nothing anybody can do will matter, because nothing matters in the first X rounds at all. This is not progress.


Dear Laura,

You have some of the best well thought out answers that I have seen. You always seem to cover points that either I agree with or shed a different perspective. I think that your point about limiting the scoring at the end is valid. I want to make a game that is strategic, where your decisions in the beginning and each step of the way matter. I do worry though that towards the end and especially in the last round, people's strategies have already been mostly resolved, that each choice in the last round almost entirely becomes tactical, trying to get the most points as possible. I am wondering though if it is worthwhile to have a resign mechanic as suggested earlier where someone can withdraw at the end of the round if they no longer want to play.

I never liked hidden information since I wanted everything to be trackable and everything to be as close to perfect information as possible.

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Walter Greer
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The first question you should ask is who is this game for? Once you know that, ask yourself what is the core mission of your game? What emotions do you want the players to feel? Dont add things to your game that take it away from those aspects. For example, your game is for strategic gamers (the who), where players control points on the map (the mission), and creating feelings of dominance, intellectual arousal, etc. (the emotions).

Do you feel that adding hidden scoring will appeal to the who, the mission and the emotion in your game? Are you satisfied that your game will not appeal to everyone?

You ask a great question and there have been many responses. Only you know the journey of your game. Make a game that you would play, because if you are serious about game design, you will play it to death with multiple versions over a long time.
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f s
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I do not know of a single multiplayer game that does not have kingmaker issues.

Hidden scoring does not work either, since that just means that players will have to memorize more stuff, i. e. makes the game harder to play, but similar result.

End game scoring just means that you have to calculate more.
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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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Many great advice in this thread!

My humble contribution is that the game should end when everybody still have fun. How often haven't you "complained" that a game ended when you finally got your engine up and running? To me, this is a sign of an excellent design. There is no need to play one more hour to accumulate a lot of end game points if you can already tell whose engine is the best (or worst).

There are many examples from classic euros that solve this problem without having to resort to your solutions. Take Puerto Rico as an example. The two basic strategies are building and producing. There is no best strategy but it all depends on the game state which in turn depends on the player actions. Eventually you will find yourself in a position where you undoubtedly will win (or lose) and at that point the game is about to end. (The problem about a weaker player giving away the game to the next player in turn is another issue.)

You don't need different goals, you need different paths towards the goal that give each player a sense of accomplishment. When it's obvious which path is best, given the unique conditions of the specific game, end the game and reward the player who took the right tactical and strategic decisions with the victory.
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Kim Williams
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sadsayboo wrote:


I wish that I could figure out how to quote people from a different thread because the ideas and the way they brought up the ideas really is very clear.


If you want to quote something from a different thread, make a post quoting them on that thread, copy it before you post, then cancel that post rather than submitting.

Then you can go to the thread where you do want to post it, and then just paste it into a reply.

Alternatively you can manually type what you need to make quotes appear [q="their username" then close square brackets, then copy and paste their comment directly, then [/q followed by closing the square brackets.

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Jimmy Hensel
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Glencannon wrote:
The first question you should ask is who is this game for? Once you know that, ask yourself what is the core mission of your game? What emotions do you want the players to feel? Dont add things to your game that take it away from those aspects. For example, your game is for strategic gamers (the who), where players control points on the map (the mission), and creating feelings of dominance, intellectual arousal, etc. (the emotions).

Do you feel that adding hidden scoring will appeal to the who, the mission and the emotion in your game? Are you satisfied that your game will not appeal to everyone?

You ask a great question and there have been many responses. Only you know the journey of your game. Make a game that you would play, because if you are serious about game design, you will play it to death with multiple versions over a long time.


Deviating from this is like playing your first turn of a long strategic game so poorly that you can't possibly win.
 
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Allan
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rubberchicken wrote:
random ideas:

1. Make the game fun even if a player is losing. The more abstract a game is, the less engaging it is unless you are in contention. Players like to build things: civilizations, point engines, economies, cities, patterns on boards, great combos, etc.

8. I repeat my first idea: Make the game fun and engaging whether you are leading or behind. Often this is done by making the game very thematic. I play a lot of wargames where even though I try to win, what I really like is seeing history ( or alternate history) unfold before my eyes. Another way is for the mechanics to be fun in themselves. Or as I said before "players like to build things".



Hi Marc (and also Leah),

Thanks for your well written reply. I think that your first and last points are the most pertinent (though I also did like your ideas on handicapping - I had not considered that at all actually) I think that at the heart of the matter the game has to feel thematic and fun. I worry alot about what feels fun so that people feel engaged even when they are losing.

I am not making an epic game. I hope that my game takes 60 to 90 minutes tops. It is still not a small amount of time. I fully intend to make a high skill game with as little luck or randomness as possible. I don't want to hide points, while it works for games like memory, I want people to be able to focus on their game play and their edecisions, not having to remember what resources other players have, all of that information can be tracked and if it can be tracked, everyone should just be able to see it. I don't want people to feel like they need to bring a pencil and paper to write everything down when everything should be open information in a strategic perfect information game.

 
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