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Subject: Co-Op Games - Important to decide a winner? rss

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A. B. West
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What do you think? I've seen different games approach this different ways. Here's the question:

In a cooperative game where the players are playing against the game, is it important to determine a *single* winner? Or is it sufficient to just leave it where everyone wins?

What do you think?
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David Gregg
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Depends on the game / mechanics. Games like Arkham Horror creates interesting choices that could be rather bad for the team if a player goes for the individual win. Games like Ghost Stories or Space Alert are too frantic to bother with a single winner.
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John Peterson
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In my opinion, if it really matters to someone that they be declared "winner" in a co-op game, you're playing with the wrong person/people.
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Brian Morris
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You can if you think it adds to the enjoyment of the game for your group. My group doesn't because it's kind of a team sport when it comes to co-ops. In my mind the individual "winner" is sort of like being the MVP of a football game. It's nice but the important part is the team win.
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Jae
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Co-ops should be just that, cooperative. either you were successful cooperating, or you weren't. I'm okay with team coop as well such as seen in cat & chocolate, Shadows over camelot and BSG.

Individual win conditions break coop games, IMHO.
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Dr Edward Locke
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scubadawg1 wrote:
In my opinion, if it really matters to someone that they be declared "winner" in a co-op game, you're playing with the wrong person/people.


Yep, agreed.

Co-op games aren't for every group.
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Ian Toltz
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A co-op game with a winner isn't.

(n.b. I hate co-op games)
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S Pozun
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It's a TEAM GAME. A lot of people play co-op games since competitive games dont work for their group for whatever reason, so the last thing you want to do it turn a co-op into a competitive situation - especially with your wife!! devildevildevil
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Corporal Dave
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Asmor wrote:
A co-op game with a winner isn't.

(n.b. I hate co-op games)


Reminds me of: "Friendly fire... isn't."

I'm with Ian.
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E D
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i personally don't like it. we tried it with castle panic and it really slowed the game down reverting to hidden cards and not always playing for benefit of the group. i guess that's the point though and makes it even harder to win in case someone would rather we all lose if they were to lose.
 
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Aaron Tubb
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I find rules for individual winners in otherwise completely co-op games pointless and out of place.

We've never bothered with the individual winner rules for Arkham Horror, for example; it just doesn't make sense to declare a single winner of winners.
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Brian M
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Quote:
In a cooperative game where the players are playing against the game, is it important to determine a *single* winner? Or is it sufficient to just leave it where everyone wins?

I disagree with Ian in that I love co-ops.

I absolutely agree that a co-op with only one winner isn't a co-op at all. Its basically just a competitive game with an AI player that can win. I'll take my face to face competitive gaming without an AI, thanks.

Co-ops: We ALL win together or lose together!
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daniel mueller
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Isn't it more fun to debate about the winner after the fact rather than have a systematic way to calculate a winner? Then you're likely discussing the adventures you had too, which just adds to the fun (in my opinion).

After rounds of Arkham, it is always fun to discuss who was MVP and what they did tipped the tides in favor of not being devoured by the ancient one.
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Philip Migas
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unveilmyeyes wrote:
i personally don't like it. we tried it with castle panic and it really slowed the game down reverting to hidden cards and not always playing for benefit of the group. i guess that's the point though and makes it even harder to win in case someone would rather we all lose if they were to lose.


I actually did this the last time I played Castle Panic. It was close, toward the end of the game. I had only killed like 1-2 monsters. Instead of taking my turn to kill the troll one step from our tower, I passed. I didn’t think there was any way to recover, because it put the troll into the main tower area with only 2 sections to knock down. The other players were able to pull it off and kill the troll. It added some interest to the game which for me was rather boring.

So I am on the everyone should win boat.
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Kevin B. Smith
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pmigas wrote:
I actually did this the last time I played Castle Panic. It was close, toward the end of the game. I had only killed like 1-2 monsters. Instead of taking my turn to kill the troll one step from our tower, I passed.

That sounds more like a traitor variant.
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Christian Marcussen
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It seems most are against having a winner. I would say it depends.

Theme is king. So to me the answer is simple. Do what makes sense thematically. Given the theme and the role of the characters, having an individual win in a game like Pandemic seems odd. However if a game is about foreign intelligence services working together to prevent a terrorist attack then it might make fine sense. So if the roles the players have imply some kind of fight over credit, prestige, or power - then have a winner in addition to the joined win.
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Chris Fee
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I'd say that depending on the game/theme, it may make sense. But to me it stops being a co-op game.
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Brian M
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marqzen wrote:
So if the roles the players have imply some kind of fight over credit, prestige, or power - then have a winner in addition to the joined win.

So if the roles the players have imply some kind of fight over credit, prestige, or power - then have a winner in addition to the joined win. design it to be the competitive game it really is.

Restoring a great Fresco, building a cathedral from the The Pillars of the Earth, rebuilding the ruined Blue Moon City, freeing the land from a Runebound dragon highlord - essentially cooperative themes on competitive themes work just fine.
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Kevin B. Smith
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manyslayer wrote:
I'd say that depending on the game/theme, it may make sense. But to me it stops being a co-op game.

I am ok with some kind of "winner among winners" MVP award, but only if the mechanics and theme fit.

For example, in Castle Panic, the award goes to the player with the most *kills*, instead of *hits*. That rewards killing a harmless wounded monster instead of wounding one that is a bigger threat. Plus CP is highly luck-driven, so even if there were a true valid MVP award, an individual player wouldn't really *earn* it as much as they would fall into it.

Thinking about it more, I am not aware of an existing cooperative game that is really structured to award a fair MVP prize. However, in principle, I'm ok with it.

Encouraging a post-game meta-discussion about awards sounds good to me. Which player came up with the brilliant insight that allowed a win? Which player did the best job of encouraging cooperation? Which player made a personal sacrifice to save the team? Which player is "most improved"? Which player (such as a first-timer) exceeded expectations or their abilities the most? Which player added the most "fun" to the gaming experience? Those are all subjective awards that would have real value.
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Vince
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I think the scoring round is often an interesting and important part of the game, even if you don't have a winner who beat everyone else. It sort of brings closure, and people (even gamers) like to feel like individuals and receive recognition for their contribution, rather than just being a face in the crowd. Also, the scoring segment at the end of the game can be an opportunity for an entertaining recap of the action.

If it doesn't naturally fit into the game, tacking on an additional scoring mechanic may end up seeming needlessly contrived and slowing down or over-complicating the game, but it could also be just the thing to bring a theme together, or even out the flow of the game.

I suppose ideally you would provide an optional scoring round for those who are interested. It shows you care, so to speak.
 
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Adam,

when I see a coop game that can be played where it can be played one winner among many or pure coop (like Castle Panic) I end up thinking to myself, well, which one is the game balanced for?

Clearly if it's balanced for one winner among many, then the pure coop game will be too easy (since one winner among many encourages selfish play, which will make winning harder to do).

Or alternatively, if it's balanced for pure coop, then I figure that the one winner among many version will be too hard (since a well balanced coop game should be difficult to win if everyone is playing cooperatively, get them playing a bit selfishly and you've just made a a difficult game even harder).

But more likely I get the impression the designer never even thought about that and what I'm actually getting is a poorly balanced game without enough development time spent on it so I just skip it instead.

And this is coming from someone who loves coop games and plays them more (in terms of time spent playing games) than competitive games even though there are way more competitive games in existence than coop games.

_____

On another note, I tend to call the one winner among many games, coops for people who don't get coops.
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mfl134
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"Lose together, win alone" creates interesting situations.

I think it is definitely a different breed of co-op game, but definitely can be a really unique playing experience from the "win together" coops.
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Brian M
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Quote:
I think it is definitely a different breed of co-op game, but definitely can be a really unique playing experience from the "win together" coops.

What could we call such a game? Perhaps...a competitive game surprise
A game where a bunch of players compete and one of them wins. Such a novel concept.

The fact that everyone can lose has nothing to do with cooperation. If, for example, in Chaos in the World, its looking like I can't win, I'm sure as hell going to be happy to wreck your plans so we all lose when time runs out rather than letting somebody else rule MY world.
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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For games like Pandemic, or Forbidden Island; I'm perfectly fine with "everyone wins" and "everyone loses".

For games like Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, or The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow; I'm perfectly fine with the cooperative / team / secret traitor(s).


So I guess if the way the game is played fits the way the game is "scored", I'm okay with either way.



Sidenote:

Unless there's a variant ruleset that radically changes the way the game is played, I wouldn't want a "this guy scored better" with the regular games of Pandemic or Forbidden Island.

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Eric Jome
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adamw wrote:
In a cooperative game where the players are playing against the game, is it important to determine a *single* winner?


Not important at all. Probably self-defeating - a cooperative game by definition should not have a single winner.
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