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Subject: Semi-cooperative? rss

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Kevin B. Smith
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The BGG page says "semi-cooperative", but that can mean various things. Will it be possible to play this game as a pure co-op, or will that mess up the balance?
 
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Johan Haglert
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Wasn't the idea to "offer" your companions to save yourself?

So no, I doubt it's pure co-op =P
 
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David Etherton
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I actually chatted with the designer briefly at Comic-Con, and I asked him what semi-cooperative meant.

I guess it's "semi" in that you have to work together to have any chance at winning, but sometimes you end up picking somebody else to bear the brunt of a bad event or attack -- if somebody's gotta die, well, better you than me!

-Dave
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todd sanders
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really excited about getting this for the solo capacity
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Will Schoonover
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Dave's right, it can be played 100% coop if you want, but we worked in lots of places where you will have to decide if you should do something that will harm another player in order to help yourself. At other times the game will force you to do something bad, and you'll rarely want to do it to yourself.

The main thing that makes it semi-coop is that even in the scenarios that require you to work together a lot to find the exit, once the exit is found players generally win or lose on their own. If you can make it to the exit, you escape. You can stick around to help others escape, or you can just abandon them.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Thanks for the info. I guess I'm still left unsure how well it would play as a pure co-op. Hopefully at some point someone who plays it specifically with that frame of mind can post their experiences.
 
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Reaper Steve
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peakhope wrote:
Thanks for the info. I guess I'm still left unsure how well it would play as a pure co-op. Hopefully at some point someone who plays it specifically with that frame of mind can post their experiences.


You could try to play it with a pure co-op mentality, but your chances of success--both of winning the game and of actually remaining co-op without opportunistically taking advantage of another player or putting them in a bad spot through your actions or decisions--are pretty slim, primarily because the game wasn't designed as a co-op.

A player's actions will affect his threat and fear, which drive the game's AI in determining which player(s) the enemies go after. Sometimes, your decisions will change other player's threat & fear as well. Also, sometimes you have to choose where enemies spawn or how they move. None of that can be done in a pure co-op fashion. If you lower your fear enough that the clones now see me as the priority target, I'm going to have a hard time seeing that as a co-op move. Likewise, if I get to move an enemy and just happen to move it closer to you, I didn't do you any favors.

All that said, players do have to work together for anyone to have a chance. But it's a tense cooperation; you have to whether you want to or not in order to establish the endgame conditions. But once escape is possible, my experience has been it becomes every man for himself. The 'no man left behind' mentality will end up with everyone left behind.
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LargeGoblin
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Man, I was hoping for a cooperative game. I'm not a fan of all the backstabbing. I keep hoping for a game where you really work together.
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James Deignan
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LargeGoblin wrote:
Man, I was hoping for a cooperative game. I'm not a fan of all the backstabbing. I keep hoping for a game where you really work together.


Pandemic
Ghost Stories
Forbidden Island
Arkham Horror
Yggdrasil

just to name a few.
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LargeGoblin
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Zestrenocya wrote:
LargeGoblin wrote:
Man, I was hoping for a cooperative game. I'm not a fan of all the backstabbing. I keep hoping for a game where you really work together.


Pandemic
Ghost Stories
Forbidden Island
Arkham Horror
Yggdrasil

just to name a few.
I don't feel like I'm really working together in Arkham Horror. You're each just kinda doing your own thing. I've seen people describe it as "multiplayer solitaire" and I think that's a good description.

I want a game where hanging out together provides some advantage, if that makes sense. I think the only two games I've played that come close are Wrath of Ashardalon (and its brothers) and Gears of War. I thought it would not be unreasonable for some survival horror game to have that.
 
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Jeff Dunford
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LargeGoblin wrote:
Zestrenocya wrote:
LargeGoblin wrote:
Man, I was hoping for a cooperative game. I'm not a fan of all the backstabbing. I keep hoping for a game where you really work together.


Pandemic
Ghost Stories
Forbidden Island
Arkham Horror
Yggdrasil

just to name a few.
I don't feel like I'm really working together in Arkham Horror. You're each just kinda doing your own thing. I've seen people describe it as "multiplayer solitaire" and I think that's a good description.

I want a game where hanging out together provides some advantage, if that makes sense. I think the only two games I've played that come close are Wrath of Ashardalon (and its brothers) and Gears of War. I thought it would not be unreasonable for some survival horror game to have that.


Zombicide?
It's purely cooperative survival horror that requires teamwork to win (at least, in most scenarios). Though if you missed out on the Kickstarter, I'd recommend waiting until mid-September when it can be purchased for < $60, rather than pay the current - and completely obscene - secondary market prices.

Personally I'm a big fan of hidden traitor and screw-your-neighbour games, not to mention the survivor horror theme, so I'm really looking forward to giving Level 7 a try.
 
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David Knepper
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Kevin B. Smith
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Quote:
once the exit is found players generally win or lose on their own. If you can make it to the exit, you escape. You can stick around to help others escape, or you can just abandon them.

I know Will said that earlier in this thread, but it didn't sink in for me until I watched the BGG news demo video.

This is not a "one player wins or all players lose", which is typical of most semi-cooperative games. This is "Each player can win or lose independently". So although you may have to act selfishly, there is absolutely no in-game incentive to deliberately hamper the progress of other players.

A few of us have been discussing the possibility of designing such a game, not even realizing that one was about to be published. Although I prefer pure co-ops myself, I am actually quite excited to see how this game works out. It could be the first of many games of a new style.
 
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Reaper Steve
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peakhope wrote:
So although you may have to act selfishly, there is absolutely no in-game incentive to deliberately hamper the progress of other players.


Not true. Hampering another player may be exactly what needs to be done to ensure your safety.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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Reaper Steve wrote:
peakhope wrote:
So although you may have to act selfishly, there is absolutely no in-game incentive to deliberately hamper the progress of other players.

Not true. Hampering another player may be exactly what needs to be done to ensure your safety.

I wasn't clear. There is no incentive to hamper the other progress UNLESS it benefits you. That is different from other semi-cooperative games, where there can only be one winner. In those games, if I have the choice of taking a move that is me +1 and you 0, or a move that is me 0 and you -5, the latter is probably my best move. In Level 7, I would have an incentive to choose the former.
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Jeff Dunford
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peakhope wrote:
Reaper Steve wrote:
peakhope wrote:
So although you may have to act selfishly, there is absolutely no in-game incentive to deliberately hamper the progress of other players.

Not true. Hampering another player may be exactly what needs to be done to ensure your safety.

I wasn't clear. There is no incentive to hamper the other progress UNLESS it benefits you. That is different from other semi-cooperative games, where there can only be one winner. In those games, if I have the choice of taking a move that is me +1 and you 0, or a move that is me 0 and you -5, the latter is probably my best move. In Level 7, I would have an incentive to choose the former.


The more I read/hear/watch about this game, the less I see how Level 7 [Escape] is "semi-cooperative". That is, how is this game in any way "cooperative" at all? It seems to me that each player only acts selfishly with a goal of escaping the level. There is no reason to ever help the other survivors. It seems to suffer from the same prisoner's dilemma issues of other so-called "semi-cooperative" games: it is always better to screw the other players than to cooperate with them (see Dungeon Run, Zombie in my Pocket, Saboteur 2, etc).

Am I missing something? Is there ever a reason to cooperate in this game?
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Kevin Kolk
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iNano78 wrote:

Am I missing something? Is there ever a reason to cooperate in this game?


I bought the game at PAX Prime this weekend. I can't see how you could complete most of the scenarios without playing cooperatively.

The semi-cooperative nature of the game basically boils down to this, you play the scenarios cooperatively, but you win or lose individually. It's not that everyone can't win in a given scenario, it just means not everyone will win.

For example, scenario 2 of the game requires that you find multiple control pads and activate them to power a lift in order to escape. You start the game on the lift, but it's unpowered.

So you search around for the panels, once you activate the last one facility "lockdown" occurs and there is only a limited number of moves available to reach the lift.

In the game I played this meant due to the positioning of the panels that of the two of us who were playing only one would be able to make it to the exit, the person activating the panel had no chance of also reaching the exit, it just wasn't physically possible.

So one of us (me) ended up dead. However, given how many times we had already failed together at getting out of this scenario so far, I was pretty happy that at least *someone* managed to escape.

I've played other games of it where individual players purposely gain threat/fear in order to manipulate the guards/aliens activity in order to support other players fulfilling mission goals (such as activating panels).
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Kevin B. Smith
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I finally got the game, and tonight my wife and I played the first scenario, as a pure co-op. It worked great. Our mentality was that ideally we would both win, but if someone ended up sacrificing themself to save the other, that would still be a win (as is the case in some pure co-ops like Knizia's Lord of the Rings).

Playing this scenario cooperatively meant we *had* to stick together, whereas if we played competitively, it would be optional. We didn't actually have a chance to assist each other with cards, but appreciated that rule being present. Placing vents and locked doors are also opportunities to be selfless.

I'm not sure how much we'll be able to use fear adjustments to try to help the other player. If future scenarios encourage us to split up, then I can imagine using that trick to lure enemies back and forth between us.

We are looking forward to trying scenario 2 as a pure co-op.
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