Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
44 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Game Mechanics to stop the Quarter Back Syndrom / Alpha Geeking rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Sam Mercer
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
Hey team,

Thanks to these two great threads, my lust (!?) for fixing this damned problem has come back.

My original attempt in fixing this problem comes in the form of AtomPunk, a post apocalyptic game where players are leaders of a caravan, working together to try and get to their destination in a mutant infested retro-future nucleated fallout. (Tank Girl, Fallout, Book of Eli, Mad Max etc). As it is still on-going I want go into much detail about it (it has its own threads). But these are some of the principals the game uses to overcome Alpha Geeking (quarterbacking):

1. There are three ways to finish the game
a) Major Victory - you retire a hero of the wastes
b) Victory - you have reached your destination
c) Failure - you dead...

It's a co-op game in so much as all players know what the Victory goal is (eg: Free the slaves from the Oberon Slavers). But each player has a secret Retirement card. These will give challenges (kill 10 X, gather 15 Y, etc) for the players to complete secretly. If they manage to both get to the goal AND complete their retirement goal: its a major win. If the manage to complete their retirement goal yet the team does not win - they lose like everyone else. The point of this is to encourage players to work together but when Mr Alpha geek decides to dictate your moves: you are fully entitled to tell him to stuff off as it might impinge on your retirement goal.
"MATT, the only way we can win is if you do THIS!"
"Umm...im not going to do that..."


2. Players help other players better than they help themselves Snap cards will create an instant positive effect. They can be used to help the player who played them, but they have a greater effect when used to help others.

3. The pool of resources is shared in full by all players.
All players have equal rights to use (or not use) all players resources. It's down to each player to decide the good of the team as a whole.


4. Players hand of cards are hidden.
so the quarterback cannot simply say "so what do you have...", nor are players allowed to say what they have.

------

There are a couple more, but those are my main mechanics in AtomPunk to combat it. I will let you guys know of more mechanic ideas later in the thread, but I am very interested to know:

Does anyone have any other ideas for Game Mechanics that might stop the Quarter Backing / Alpha Geeking?


Edit - the other threads (and previously from approx 1.5 years ago) do a great job at discussing around this problem, in this thread I am trying to come up with novel mechanics to fix the problem.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Zaid Crouch
Australia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
First of all, AtomPunk grabbed my attention a while ago (although it did fall off my radar for a while, a situation that I've now rectified). Looking forward to finding out more about it!

I still think that a potentially big part of the issue is how much the game encourages quarterbacking. To that end, the less of a solvable puzzle you can make it, and the less the game demands perfect co-ordination, the better. Of course, there's a time and a place for that kind of game too, so if that's what you want to go for, go nuts, but I believe the more that is present the more there in an incentive for the players to work around any attempts to make to prevent quarterbacking.

On a somewhat related note, I think it's also important to manage the players expectations for how cooperatively or otherwise the game needs to be played, as I think quarterbacking can often become an issue once a player starts seeing another player making "dumb moves". The individual goals could be a good tool towards achieving this, as it can build in an assumption that each player does have slightly different priorities.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cogentesque wrote:

Does anyone have any other ideas for Game Mechanics that might stop the Quarter Backing / Alpha Geeking?


For what it's worth, the options we discussed in the first of those two threads were:

- Some winners are better than others / Hidden agendas (as you mention for AtomPunk's 'retirement goals': these give players a reason to act counter to the group's main goal on occasion, which makes it more difficult to plan for the group. This doesn't stop the alpha player from trying, but it makes it impossible to come up with a 'perfect plan' that people won't deviate from. It does, however, make the game less 'cooperative' and more 'euro-style competition', where the players may not be in direct conflict but are definitely out for themselves more than anyone else. Also potentially introduces the loser-sabotage, where a player who knows they have no chance of personally winning sabotages the game for everyone else so at least everyone loses equally, rather than just him failing to get a Major Victory.

- Introduce some physical element that requires a player's skill: This generally seems to mean 'dexterity game', but the fundamental point is that if the player's physical skill is an important factor, nobody can simply instruct them to do at least X well, it's up to them.

- Traitor: in a game with a traitor, you can't trust every player to be on the same team, so you can't come up with a 'perfect plan' which requires players to do everything you want in order to succeed. The traitor will abuse such a plan in order to foil the players!

- One Versus Many: Similar to the traitor, but in this case one player plays 'the bad guys' and the other players are trying to defeat him. Players can't discuss and come up with a perfect plan because the bad-guy player will hear them and be able to plan a counter.

- Sheer volume of randomness: Arguably the approach games like Arkham Horror rely on, if there are too many random elements to a game you can't plan for them, so you can't come up with a 'perfect plan'. The huge downside to this is, of course, that the players also can't plan by consensus, and the game revolves more around reaction to game events than other co-ops. That's not necessarily bad, but it does lead to some describing AH as more of an 'experience' than a 'game'.

- Hidden Information: Having each player see a different subset of the game state, generally via a hand of cards that only they know about. This makes planning the 'perfect plan' difficult because the alpha player can't know all of the game state and thus can't know each player's capability well enough. However, then you have the problem of how to actually make the players keep their hands secret, where for a pure co-op they have every incentive to share as much information as possible. The easiest way to dissuade players from sharing everything is to introduce one of the non-pure-co-op options like a traitor, but even then games like Shadows over Camelot demonstrate that players will work their way around non-disclosure rules with abandon. (The 'Pure versus Traitor co-op' thread went on at length to discuss ways to restrict communication - in order to have hidden information - without destroying the ability of the players to co-operate in a pure co-op with no traitor, 'better winners' or one-versus-many.)


I've probably forgotten one or two, but those are the ones I remember.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andreas Krüger
Germany
Krefeld
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Simultaneous action + real time pressure (see Space Alert). There just is not enough time to boss others around, except maybe "you and you, take care of the space amoeba, and you kill the alien thing in our reactor room". There is no time to tell others how to do something.

Hidden Agendas have another disadvantage (maybe also an advantage, depending on how much you like negotiation): Skilled players will be able to guess them, and less experienced players may just tell the others their agenda. Then it is all negotiation plus quarterbacking: "OK, when you kill that monster and I pick up that equipment, Steve can rescue the girl and fulfill his agenda."
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sturv Tafvherd
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
th3rdraven wrote:

On a somewhat related note, I think it's also important to manage the players expectations for how cooperatively or otherwise the game needs to be played, as I think quarterbacking can often become an issue once a player starts seeing another player making "dumb moves".


This! Quoted for truth!

I've always thought that the big part of the "quarterback problem" is the way the "quarterback" player is allowed to take over. And that includes the other players who stand aside and/or enable him.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M J
Netherlands
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
you missed physical time-limits
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Brown
United States
University
Mississippi
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think there has to be a chaos factor in that the game itself will sabotage any group efforts regularly-I am directly thinking about Shadows over Camelot when I say that. The Grail Quest is a perfect example--inevitably the players split up, and one person will try to do the grail until the group realizes that the Progression of Evil cards are bent toward failing that quest outright. Only about mid-game does it seem to click.

Couple this with the fact that there are so many quests to tackle at once--each with their own peril/reward--and even the most seasoned Quarterback has significant trouble pushing others around to enact their "perfect strategy".

Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes does this by adding the line of enemies that you have to keep at bay. The game is already pretty unforgiving, with a string of bad luck draws from the token stack threatening to wipe out the party at any moment. Add to it another resource to manage--albeit for a victory condition if you can get through all 30 or so--and you have increased tension and a frazzled QB.

That's my two cents--multiple visible objectives with real consequences if failed and having the game push back on those objectives regularly.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mike_fantastic wrote:

Couple this with the fact that there are so many quests to tackle at once--each with their own peril/reward--and even the most seasoned Quarterback has significant trouble pushing others around to enact their "perfect strategy".


In my experience, all this means is that the leading player/s take a decision as to which quests are feasible and which are going to be problematic, and directs the split between "do this quest with X and Y" and "ignore that quest or just fend it off a bit until it inevitably fails".

Sure, the alpha player can't come up with a 'perfect plan' which guarantees a win if everyone follows it, but they can still come up with a 'pretty damn good for the next couple of goes around the table' plan which has the same effect for the duration. Shadows seems to me particularly prone to this when a quest is close to ending either one way or another. In my first game one event in particular stuck in my mind, as the prescient knight (Sir Mystic Meg or something? I forget) had realised that taking the next black card would fail the Saxons battle, heavily hinted as such, and a plan was quickly laid out to all around the table that ensured that the black card wasn't taken, sufficient people were destroying siege engines to prevent losing that, until the one player who "was really confident he could end the Saxon threat" could play his five.




I think there has to be a 'chaos factor', as you call it, in pretty much any us-versus-the-game co-op anyway, 'cause otherwise you never feel pressed for time/actions/whatever, and it seems like a walk in the park!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kārlis Jēriņš
Latvia
Riga
flag msg tools
I'm a sheep.
badge
A lovely, fluffy sheep.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thamos von Nostria wrote:
Hidden Agendas have another disadvantage (maybe also an advantage, depending on how much you like negotiation): Skilled players will be able to guess them, and less experienced players may just tell the others their agenda. Then it is all negotiation plus quarterbacking: "OK, when you kill that monster and I pick up that equipment, Steve can rescue the girl and fulfill his agenda."


Include many agendas and give everyone, say, three agendas and they need to fulfill all of them.

I wonder, what would happen if everyone had their secret goal and common goal as in OP's setting, but, if too many people fulfilled their secret goal, everyone loses even if the common goal was completed?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TheNameWasTaken wrote:

Include many agendas and give everyone, say, three agendas and they need to fulfill all of them.


I'm not sure how that addresses the issue. If it's OK for players to talk about their agendas then they'll just all tell everyone their agendas anyway, and the group will have to coordinate a few more tasks between them... and if it's not OK to discuss one's agenda, it just makes it more and more a competitive rather than a cooperative game.


TheNameWasTaken wrote:

I wonder, what would happen if everyone had their secret goal and common goal as in OP's setting, but, if too many people fulfilled their secret goal, everyone loses even if the common goal was completed?


That sounds a little too much like punishing good play for my tastes...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kārlis Jēriņš
Latvia
Riga
flag msg tools
I'm a sheep.
badge
A lovely, fluffy sheep.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bichatse wrote:
TheNameWasTaken wrote:

Include many agendas and give everyone, say, three agendas and they need to fulfill all of them.


I'm not sure how that addresses the issue. If it's OK for players to talk about their agendas then they'll just all tell everyone their agendas anyway, and the group will have to coordinate a few more tasks between them... and if it's not OK to discuss one's agenda, it just makes it more and more a competitive rather than a cooperative game.

It solves (at least somewhat) the issue of an experienced player being able to guess others' agendas. And if it were OK for players to discuss their agendas, they wouldn't exactly be secret, would they?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TheNameWasTaken wrote:

It solves (at least somewhat) the issue of an experienced player being able to guess others' agendas. And if it were OK for players to discuss their agendas, they wouldn't exactly be secret, would they?


I would say 'mitigates' rather than solves. I guess you'd probably also want to have a lot of overlap between agenda goals, as well, so one can't just say "Ah, Bob went to the refinery for no apparent reason, clearly his agenda is agenda 1", and you'd just be left with "Bob went to the refinery, his agenda is probably one of 1, 4, 5, 9, 12 or 16". Possibly have an inverse of each goal ("prevent X from happening" as well as "ensure that X happens") as well, which even allows for bluffs and possibly getting other players to achieve your agenda goals for you.

Still, to my mind this is pushing away from "cooperative" territory at a rate of knots.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Forrest & Ryan Driskel
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
No offense Sam, but isn't this thread going to degenerate into the same discussion in the other two threads? I already feel like they are one in the same (except for that whole "command decision" discussion).

Cogentesque wrote:

4. Players hand of cards are hidden.
so the quarterback cannot simply say "so what do you have...", nor are players allowed to say what they have.


This is true in Shadows Over Camelot as well, but it doesn't stop players from giving an obvious hint as to exactly what the player is holding. It is a grey line and should raise a red flag.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Vanish wrote:
No offense Sam, but isn't this thread going to degenerate into the same discussion in the other two threads? I already feel like they are one in the same (except for that whole "command decision" discussion).


It seems to me that the distinction between the threads is that the first one is trying to find a workable 'pure' co-op with minimised QBing, the second is asking what the problem with QBing is anyway, and this one is looking for anti-QB measures in any kind of co-op (which is an easier but also broader question).

AtomPunk sounds like it doesn't need anti-communication measures so much as - say - Pandemic, since it's not a pure co-op in the first place and players have at least one reason to not share their info. Whether it's a good enough reason would have to be playtested, I guess...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sam Mercer
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
Vanish wrote:
No offense Sam, but isn't this thread going to degenerate into the same discussion in the other two threads? I already feel like they are one in the same (except for that whole "command decision" discussion).


None taken man, thanks for prefacing as well. It may well degenerate into the same discussion as the others (these threads often go awry). The first of the most recent threads I thought was a "co-op vs tratior" thing and asked people to come up with ideas to stop players wanting to communicate all their information, the second is "Is it even a problem at all?" and I wanted this thread as a "Ok, well that may well happen, let's try and fix it guys!" type thread, to give people ideas to use (Specifically: Mechanics!) to try and make the most of this kind of situation. I always find it helps to brainstorm specific mechanics to solve problems, as I am very sure there are many yet to be discovered. And to confirm, I want to step away from pure traitor games here, this is co-op only.

The actual initial threads (that I chose not to link due to age) that made me start this thread were from about 1.5 years ago (back then it was called Alpha Geeking, hence my wording) and this is essentially one of the big basis' for AtomPunk. Hopefully it won't train crash and we can stick to mechanics (as the title says!)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sam Mercer
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
Bare with me, this Mechanic is quite abstract:

For this one, let's say Alpha Geeking is the manifestation of leaders trying to lead. If this is the case, let's encourage it and rule for it! Let's create a game where leaders lead, timers time, keepers keep, stragizers strategize (!).

In this way the game would be split into roles. The roles are different (asymmetric game play as dictated by highly specialised player powers), but all required to be played well in order for a game win.

The crux: every RANDOM amount of turns, players swap roles. Each player passes their role to the left, very much like pass the parcel. So the person who previously had the "Tactician" role, now has the "Leader" role, and the "Communicator" now has the "Producer" role. This changes the players game play drastically.

The hope is that, the leader would be the "Alpha Geek" and require other players to channel resource to him. But if he oversteps the mark, and steals too much of the effort given by other players - next turn, he may well be in the bad position that he put the other players in last turn. This would encourage each player to play the game as they are specifically directed to, and not over or understep the mark. Hence: being the Alpha Geek wouldn't be a bad thing, it would be a controlled part of the game.

I would love it if this game had a "non-talking" role, that was powerful but couldn't talk. And perhaps another one that could merely suggest moves and plays, so others could outrule him.

Bonus comedy points: The game has a voting system where the group can vote a certain player to take a certain role. eg, "Matt is the alpha geek, lets shut him up and give him the mute controller role!"
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cogentesque wrote:

So the person who previously had the "Tactician" role, now has the "Leader" role, and the "Communicator" now has the "Producer" role. This changes the players game play drastically.

The hope is that, the leader would be the "Alpha Geek" and require other players to channel resource to him. But if he oversteps the mark, and steals too much of the effort given by other players - next turn, he may well be in the bad position that he put the other players in last turn.


The problem with this - we talked about it in the first thread as well - is that politeness is really the only incentive for the alpha player to sit back and let the current 'leader' do their job.

After all, if you see the current leader making a horrific mistake that's going to cost you the game, you're going to point it out, right? And since you're talking, you may as well give your advice on how you'd deal with this other issue, you know, just hypothetically if you were the leader. And while we're on the subject, if you don't do what I just suggested, we'll probably lose this and that because of this thing and these odds, so it's a good idea...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Forrest & Ryan Driskel
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
1.) Giving a player a leader role does nothing to actually stop someone else from presenting the plan to follow that turn. "Joe, you're the leader, so you make the choice, but picking option A is the best move right now."

2.) Muting the person who would provide the strongest insight into how to win would probably be fun, but not a very smart move as far as winning is concerned.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
linoleum blownaparte
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmb
This is a disadvantage of having spinoff threads, a lot of these answers are things that were considered and dissected in the original monster thread... hidden goals, for example, seemed to be the first thought of anyone and everyone who was posting in that thread for the 1st time. There are a host of problems with the idea. Another example is the idea of designating a leader was also mentioned, and the problems with that were eventually pointed out (Jake and Vanish just re-hashed them).

On the other hand I get that not everyone wants to read 14 pages of game-theory-arguing.

I think where we ended up, after those 14 pages, was on three points:

1. A game where the players do not have their own sets of information is not a co-op. One cannot play crosswords co-operatively, or a Rubik's cube. Chaos or luck does not mitigate the fact that if all the players see the same game-state, there is no reason for all of them to be there.

2. Asking the players to keep their own sets of information secret for long stretches of time is broken. This includes hidden goals, hands of cards, etc. We just could not arrive at an incentive or disincentive that would make players keep their information secret that didn't feel gamey, awkward, or tacked on. This is what we spent most of those 14 pages valiantly bashing our heads against and I suggest that anyone who tries will end up with skulls as sore as ours. There is just no way to stop players from communicating what they know, through hints and table talk, no matter how you try to set up the rules.

3. Therefore, include player-specific information in small, short bursts. An example is if a player draws 2 cards and immediately has to select one of them and discard the other face-down, without consulting the group. This gives decision-making power to the players and takes it away from the groupthink/quarterback; and at the same time, you are not asking a player to "pretend he doesn't know what he knows" for long stretches of the game.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
linoleum blownaparte
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmb
I'll repost one thing about point #2, just to make the point:

Linoleumblownaparte wrote:


Players will always try to communicate their hidden goals in whatever is the next easiest way after whatever the game specifically outlaws.

New Player: "Here is my hand. What should we do?"

Game Designer: No, no, players may not show their cards.

"Oh I see. OK, I have New Delhi, Baghdad and Cairo. You guys try to remember that because I'm not saying it all evening."

Well, c'mon, players may not name their cards.

"I have three Blacks. We need just one more cuz I'm the researcher, so let's do this!"

Uh... um... players may not use numbers.

"I feel pretty good about solving the Black disease. Like really good. I just need a little help if you know what I mean."

Players may not.. uh... players may not say how close they are to a cure?

"Wait, Bob, don't spend that Moscow card. For some reason I can't put my finger on (pointed glare at game designer) I'm getting a feeling we might need that card in the future."

Players may not drop hints about -

"I guess I'll just sit here silently, staring at my cards, and hope we solve this global pandemic by accident."

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Wojciechowski
United States
Aurora
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cogentesque wrote:
Hey team,

Thanks to these two great threads, my lust (!?) for fixing this damned problem has come back.

My original attempt in fixing this problem comes in the form of AtomPunk, a post apocalyptic game where players are leaders of a caravan, working together to try and get to their destination in a mutant infested retro-future nucleated fallout. (Tank Girl, Fallout, Book of Eli, Mad Max etc). As it is still on-going I want go into much detail about it (it has its own threads). But these are some of the principals the game uses to overcome Alpha Geeking (quarterbacking):

1. There are three ways to finish the game
a) Major Victory - you retire a hero of the wastes
b) Victory - you have reached your destination
c) Failure - you dead...

It's a co-op game in so much as all players know what the Victory goal is (eg: Free the slaves from the Oberon Slavers). But each player has a secret Retirement card. These will give challenges (kill 10 X, gather 15 Y, etc) for the players to complete secretly. If they manage to both get to the goal AND complete their retirement goal: its a major win. If the manage to complete their retirement goal yet the team does not win - they lose like everyone else. The point of this is to encourage players to work together but when Mr Alpha geek decides to dictate your moves: you are fully entitled to tell him to stuff off as it might impinge on your retirement goal.
"MATT, the only way we can win is if you do THIS!"
"Umm...im not going to do that..."


2. Players help other players better than they help themselves Snap cards will create an instant positive effect. They can be used to help the player who played them, but they have a greater effect when used to help others.

3. The pool of resources is shared in full by all players.
All players have equal rights to use (or not use) all players resources. It's down to each player to decide the good of the team as a whole.


4. Players hand of cards are hidden.
so the quarterback cannot simply say "so what do you have...", nor are players allowed to say what they have.

------

There are a couple more, but those are my main mechanics in AtomPunk to combat it. I will let you guys know of more mechanic ideas later in the thread, but I am very interested to know:

Does anyone have any other ideas for Game Mechanics that might stop the Quarter Backing / Alpha Geeking?


Edit - the other threads (and previously from approx 1.5 years ago) do a great job at discussing around this problem, in this thread I am trying to come up with novel mechanics to fix the problem.


I don't want to discourage your quest, but
1. What is your name?
2. What is your favorite color?
3. What is your quest?

Seriously, though, my own personal solution to the "Alpha Geek" problem in cooperative games is to employ the meta-Alpha Geek. The first time I brought out Pandemic, my son immediately assumed the role of Alpha Geek. One turn was enough to start annoying my daughter. I stepped in as the meta-Alpha Geek. "When it is another player's turn, you may offer a suggestion. You will then shut up unless asked. The player whose turn it is may take your suggestion or may ignore it. You will make no more unsolicited comments for that turn, otherwise, you will not play. Understand?" The result was that we all now enjoy the game. We all offer suggestions and plans. We all have fun.

Seriously, if your group doesn't like having an Alpha Geek, but is unwilling to shut him down, you do have problems redesigning games isn't going to solve.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hogan Brimacombe
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I know that their is much hate around here for Frag, but it does introduce something that could be helpful here. When you win a game of frag you get an experience point that can be used in the next game. If you can make a game short enough (Half hour or so) one thing you can do is make it so that the person who won the best (also creating a won the best scheme, kind of like a major victory) gets a tangible effect or advantage for the next round of gameplay. For example in a game like pandemic, the person who discovered the most cures gets one bonus action for each epidemic played. That way people will want to get the most cures because it allows them to do more in the next game (my group always plays at least two games of pandemic). Some people may not like this route and it does not work for long, one off co-ops.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Forrest & Ryan Driskel
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
danwojciechowski wrote:
Seriously, if your group doesn't like having an Alpha Geek, but is unwilling to shut him down, you do have problems redesigning games isn't going to solve.


As we identified before, they are not one in the same. The QB problem promotes the Alpha Geek.

The "QB problem" is when the design of a co-op game allows for the strategy (or even every event of the entire game) to be dictated by a single person.

The "Alpha Geek" is the person who abuses that design.


What we're trying to figure out is a co-op design that doesn't have the "QB problem" and therefore doesn't help foster the "Alpha Geek".
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew O'Malley
United States
Takoma Park
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Additional mechanics:

- Sheer volume of information - If there is simply too much information for one person to manage all at once, then it has to be divvied up. (this was recently mentioned on a bgdf thread about cooperative games)

- Requiring a particular mental skill - Much like requiring a particular physical skill, this could have certain parts of the game rely on memory, certain parts on spacial relationships, certain parts on communicating nonverbally, certain parts on mathematics, etc.
1 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
aggaire wrote:

- Sheer volume of information


This was proposed in the first thread as well, and I don't believe it to be a real solution.

- Firstly, for logistic reasons - assuming that there is a volume of information which is enough to overload a single individual but can be processed by multiple individuals, how much information do you include in your game design? Do you aim it at persons of lower information-processing capacity and have the QB problem still exist for groups with people of higher information-processing capacity? How do you vary the information load for different player counts? How do you ensure that the game is enjoyable more than once?

- Secondly, because I don't believe that there is such a threshold of information, and my belief is that instead, it will just take a few more turns for the potential-QB alpha player to work it all out and offer people the perfect plan. Even if there is, you'll still get the QB problem, just focussing on subsets of the game rather than the whole thing.

aggaire wrote:

- Requiring a particular mental skill


Unlike physical skills, you can't easily rule that other players don't think about parts of the game, though. The QBs-in-waiting will still process the puzzle, still work out what the 'right' answer is and still be on-hand to provide the perfect plan.

The only way you can prevent other players from thinking about parts of the game is to not let them know about those parts of the game, and then you're back to hidden information.

(Not to mention that the more specialist you make these mental tasks, the more likely it is that nobody in the group can solve them; the more general, the more likely it is that everybody can. Especially since a lot of social groups contain people with similar skillsets, as they have been formed at work, at school or university, or due to shared interests.)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.