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Subject: Player Elimination - How many chances? rss

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Tuuli Mustasydän
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I know player elimination isn't terribly popular around BGG, but I just wanted to hear your thoughts on this idea:

It's an RPG-ish sort of Ameritrashy game. Not actually a dungeon crawl, but I'll use it as a more familiar analogy. There's a mechanism that allows players to rejoin the game only after the first time their character dies (like a one-time resurrection spell, maybe). It wouldn't be a complete 'starting over' for the player, since there would be a point penalty for getting resurrected (and you lose all of your loot and equipment). But the second time you die, that's it. You're out.

Each player would be allowed to choose whether they would like this opportunity for a second chance at the beginning of the game, based on the character that they choose to play.

There is one particular character that is denied this chance of resurrection (maybe the character's an atheist so the Gods can't help or something like that). This is thematic, but is it fair?


Edit: added underline.
Edit to add: The game-end condition is a player reaching a set number of VPs.
Edit: typo
Edit: Additional question
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Jim Cote
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In RoboRally, robots that "die" go back to the last save point and conintue the game, but with a penalty. I find that acceptable.
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Hunga Dunga
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A lot of games allow you to restart as a new character.

This works fine unless the object of the game is "last man standing".
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Christopher Todesco
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Read it again, carefully...
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I think you need to first understand why we dislike player elimination... It's not because we consider it unfair that we no longer have a chance to win or our feeling are hurt because we get eliminated. We play board games as a social experience, usually in very small groups consisting of only the number of players we expect to be playing. Being eliminated is like being forced out and told "F' you, you're no longer allowed to be social." and you end up sitting around just watching/waiting for the game to end. (Large board game parties are a slight exception, but you'll still end up waiting for the next group of people to finish-- it's still not like XBOX Live or something like that where you can instantly jump into a new game.) Yes, games that do not have player elimination often allow a poor performing player a slim chance of winning, but more importantly, they still allow that player to participate and feel like they have some influence on the outcome, even if its obvious that player cannot win. It also allows the player to get more experience playing which is probably why they got eliminated early in the first place-- and on the off chance the other players all suck too, maybe the first player to die can catch up?

If you're going to offer an "eliminated" player one resurrection with penalty, why not two? Why not three? Why put any restriction on it at all? Give them the option to resurrect as many times as they WANT to (allowing them to quit if they wish) and they won't feel like they're being forced out.
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Jim Cote
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In games of elimination, I think it makes a big difference where that elimination is likely to occur. You could have players dropping out hours before the end of the game:

----------------------------------A
-----------B
-----------------------------------------------------C
----------------------------------------------------D

Or have players build up and have a final slugout to determine the victor:

---------------------------------------------------A
--------------------------------------------------B
-----------------------------------------------------C
----------------------------------------------------D

This latter design keeps players involved for most of the play time.
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David Winter
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Despite the rantings of the oblivious, player elimination isn't necessarily a problem, it has been done well, and there are many occasions where it works just fine.

Not being eliminated in a game where you are obviously out of contention, or left with very little to do, yet forced to play out regardless is often worse as far as I'm concerned.

Length of game is also a factor, being eliminated from a 20 minute game is no big deal, as game lengths hit 1 hour or more it becomes a bigger issue.

Titan is a highly regarded, long game featuring player elimination, it just requires the right time and place to play. (and for many there are more of those times and places than for others)
(also Formula D, The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow, Nuclear War)

A one shot resurrection would be ok with me, and while I agree eliminated players should be penalised, just don't over do it, If eliminated players are left with no chance of getting back in the running against a run-away leader, they'd be better off staying eliminated, also be sure that they are not left in a situation where encounter difficulty has escalated to the point where they can't get by without the loot and equipment they lose.
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James Hutchings
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In an adventure-type game, where each player controls one of a number of different characters, I'd prefer eliminated players to get a new character, rather than their old character to be 'resurrected.' In game terms it's basically the same thing, but it seems to fit the theme much better.
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Ryan Powers
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Desco wrote:
We play board games as a social experience, usually in very small groups consisting of only the number of players we expect to be playing. Being eliminated is like being forced out and told "F' you, you're no longer allowed to be social." and you end up sitting around just watching/waiting for the game to end.


This particular "flavor" of the anti-elimination argument always baffles me. Like you're somehow forced to become anti-social if you lose. If that's the case, it seems to me to be an issue with the players, not the game. The game has been what forces social interaction as opposed to just part of the interaction as a whole. "Being eliminated is like being forced out and told "F' you, you're no longer allowed to be social." is very much a player issue and not a game issue, and seems to go directly against the claims that A) they're not sore losers, and B) the game night is all about being social.

Now there are some games that are too intense to allow an eliminated player to continue being terribly social, so I'll concede that it's occasionally an issue, but as a blanket statement that it's by necessity the way it works... well I just find it somewhat sad.

In any case, I think a resurrection system can be made to work. Without more details it's hard to really say much more. # or resurrections (1, 2, unlimited) and the cost have to be balanced based on the rest of the game.
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David Winter
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apeloverage wrote:
In game terms it's basically the same thing, but it seems to fit the theme much better.


Really??
Ressurection has long been a staple element in countless fantasy RPG's, both pen and paper and computer based.
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Matthew Kloth
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When I design a game I try and make sure nobody is eliminated before 75% of the game is done. I even include hopeless players as "eliminated" for this purpose. There are many ways to stop somebody from being eliminated from the game. The most obvious, unthematic, and arbitrary is to just make a rule that says nobody can be eliminated before 75% of the game is done (measured by turn limit or score). Thankfully I'm able to think of much better methods.

The hopelessness problem is fixed by giving even the worst of players hope. It can be false hope, as long as the player really believes it. I don't find it necessary to give false hope to experienced players. It's incredibly hard to design and generally an experienced player shouldn't be getting his ass handed to him. Many Eurogames have this false hope. The usual player response is "I like how every game ends with close scores; I feel like I always have a chance".


OP, for your example I think you have a large design space with a fantasy adventure game. You can thematically excuse just about anything if you shape the mechanic in the right way. Just choose the method that creates the most fun game. For me that would mean keeping all the players in the game at least until the final stretch of the game.
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James Hutchings
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dedindahed wrote:
apeloverage wrote:
In game terms it's basically the same thing, but it seems to fit the theme much better.


Really??
Ressurection has long been a staple element in countless fantasy RPG's, both pen and paper and computer based.


Yes, but not so much in fantasy. Characters often have 'lucky escapes' or 'actually I was only wounded', but characters being able to routinely and unproblematically come back from the dead as in D&D is pretty rare.

In fact I think that's the trouble with a lot of fantasy-themed board games. They want to imitate D&D, not imitate fantasy.
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Dan Keith
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The real key is does it matter? Does eliminating a player do something for the game? If you penalize and resurrect or reroll a new character in the game does this in some way ruin your in a way that requires elimination? I would suggest unless your game requires elimination as an integral part don't use it.
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David Winter
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apeloverage wrote:

Yes, but not so much in fantasy. Characters often have 'lucky escapes' or 'actually I was only wounded', but characters being able to routinely and unproblematically come back from the dead as in D&D is pretty rare.

In fact I think that's the trouble with a lot of fantasy-themed board games. They want to imitate D&D, not imitate fantasy.


It's FANTASY that means that what is thematic is in the mind of the creator, not that they have to align their world to a pre-conceived vision of fantasy.

The fact that one of the characters can't resurrect already suggests there are thematic considerations in place
 
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Jon Anderson
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[RANT]

There's nothing wrong with player elimination. In fact, I rather like it. Player elimination, if done well, gives the looming threat that "if I don't do well enough I'll be kicked out of this game". In my opinion, the idea that there's always a second (or third or forth...) chance has permeated our society and deluded us. I'll take a few more games where I know that poor performance leads to a seat in the peanut gallery.

[/RANT]
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Jim Cote
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Dirg wrote:
The real key is does it matter? Does eliminating a player do something for the game? If you penalize and resurrect or reroll a new character in the game does this in some way ruin your in a way that requires elimination? I would suggest unless your game requires elimination as an integral part don't use it.

Role-playing is fun and exciting in part because you can die, and when you do it sucks. You always have to worry about how you approach combat. Are these foes beyond any of us? Is there a deadly trap just ahead? How do we weigh the risk of damage and death against the boredom of "checking for traps" every 10 feet.
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ɹǝpun uʍop ʞǝǝƃ
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Any chance for a 1-UP mushroom?
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Tuuli Mustasydän
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dedindahed wrote:
The fact that one of the characters can't resurrect already suggests there are thematic considerations in place

Yes, this fact is indeed a thematic consideration. (see below)

mr_lunch wrote:
Any chance for a 1-UP mushroom?

Not in this design. Designer says it's to keep the game length short. I have little idea of how fast or how well the game actually plays but it's intended to be a 2-hour(-slogfest?).

Actually the one-resurrection idea fits better thematically in a fantasy setting than a sci-fi setting, in my opinion.

The actual theme of this game is sci-fi, and the way it works "thematically" is that you manage to get away in an escape pod when you first ship blows up, but your second ship doesn't have lifeboats escape pods. That seems weird to me.

The no-res ship is too old-fashioned to have emergency exits, which is plausible.

If anyone's got a better way to integrate "one-resurrection" into a spaceship setting, please let me know - I'm responsible for the in-game writing.
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Eric Jome
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From what you've described about your game, I would suggest you not bother with a limit and just let a player whose character has died start again from scratch.

There is no reason in your game to eject a player permanently; it is a race to the victory point total. Being sent back to the start is penalty enough.

Note, if this is a fantasy type game, a good item might be a potion that lets you keep some of your accumulated assets through death... the equivalent of resurrection, though perhaps your items or gold or experience points or whatever have been taken from you.
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Eric Jome
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kyrasantae wrote:
The actual theme of this game is sci-fi, and the way it works "thematically" is that you manage to get away in an escape pod when you first ship blows up, but your second ship doesn't have lifeboats escape pods. That seems weird to me.


A thematic suggestion - a person who makes it out of an exploding ship via an escape pod doesn't always make it. The pod could be destroyed or lost. So, instead of one guaranteed escape, consider perhaps rolling a die when punching out in the pod - 1 to 3 you make it, 4 to 6 you die for good. That's a bit of a safety hatch and makes more sense thematically... and you could always adjust the percentage chance down with repeated risks and so forth.
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James Hutchings
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kyrasantae wrote:
If anyone's got a better way to integrate "one-resurrection" into a spaceship setting, please let me know - I'm responsible for the in-game writing.


A software version of your memories and personality, which can then be downloaded into a (biological or robot) body. It only happens once because it's very expensive or rare.
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James Hutchings
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Instead of giving players one chance to resurrect, would it be simpler to make them twice as hard to kill in the first place? Or have players control two characters?

EDIT: Although it sounds from your post like you don't have input into the rules, which is a shame.
 
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James Hutchings
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kyrasantae wrote:
There is one particular character that is denied this chance of resurrection (maybe the character's an atheist so the Gods can't help or something like that). This is thematic, but is it fair?


I noticed no one's addressed this directly.

My answer is that it's impossible to say, without knowing what this character has to compensate. Are they likely to live twice as long / get twice as many VPs than the other characters?
 
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B C Z
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Player elimination in 15-20 minute games is fine.
Player elimination in Werewolf is fine.
Player elimination in 60+ minute games sucks.
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David Winter
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kyrasantae wrote:

If anyone's got a better way to integrate "one-resurrection" into a spaceship setting, please let me know - I'm responsible for the in-game writing.


Easy

Ressurrection happens by uploading memory to a pre-grown cloned body, already kept in frozen storage
After the first resurrection it would take time to re-grow a second clone, so resurrection is not immediately available.
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Tuuli Mustasydän
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apeloverage wrote:
A software version of your memories and personality, which can then be downloaded into a (biological or robot) body. It only happens once because it's very expensive or rare.

dedindahed wrote:
Ressurrection happens by uploading memory to a pre-grown cloned body, already kept in frozen storage
After the first resurrection it would take time to re-grow a second clone, so resurrection is not immediately available.

Both of these are really good ideas - currently there seems to be something in the rules that sounds like there's supposed to be a difference between your ship being destroyed (in battle?) (wreck may be scavenged by others, VP loss) or your ship being blown up into a zillion bits, along with your character (not salvageable, no VP loss).

I personally find this detail of distinction completely ridiculous but he's my client so I have to do what he says, right whistle

[Disclaimer: the above is just my interpretation of the rules draft as given to me; the writing is very difficult to interpret a lot of the time.]
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