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Survive together but only one can win

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#1 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2733

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 12:22 PM

I've been toying around with an idea for the last day or two its still just an initial concept but I'm trying to get an idea if there is anything similar out there I can look at.  The core idea is based on game theory specifically that idea that the players have to work together to survive but only player can win. 

 

The basic concept I have at this stage is that players are marooned on an alien planet. Each player has a character type each with a unique victory condition there are also a couple of chance base victory conditions that can occur once certain conditions have been reached.  

 

For example:

The Cultist -  Only wins if they are the last surviving character on the final turn of the game.

The Engineer - Wins if they have the parts to complete the short range teleporter and help arrives.

The Heiress - Needs to recover her lost heirlooms and help arrives

The Assassin - If their target dies in an accident and the assassin has the transponder then they win.

The Parasite -  Wins if all players become infected.

The Explorer - Wins if the secret of the temple is uncovered.

 

Help arrives is an event that can occur after the communications relay and distress beacon have been repaired. One character gets rescued promising to send help for the rest...

 

All classes have a bonus that applies to all events of certain type but only if the player has revealed their character.  Initially characters are kept secret players can choose if and when to reveal which character they are or may be forced to as the result of an event.

 

Players forage for supplies, which they can horde or share with group. They can work together to rebuild parts the ship and deal with events but in the end only one can win.

 

Its still very rough at the moment but that's the core of the game.


Edited by TechnoGoth, 07 July 2014 - 01:07 PM.


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#2 HappyCoder   Members   -  Reputation: 2604

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 02:42 PM

That is a cool idea. Just based on that description, I want to play that game. Would it be a computer game or a board game? I could see it executed well for both.



#3 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2031

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 03:42 PM

I like the idea - it kind of reminds me of Mafia/Werewolf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafia_(party_game)

 

I would emphasize that there are activities that require multiple people, so players don't try to kill everybody else first and THEN survive. It would also be interesting if there were pairs of characters who are natural enemies/partners (until the end of course). You also need ways for people to act but hide their activities. For example, the Explorer might be outed by always being out exploring. If they don't travel long distances, they can't achieve their goal. Perhaps scripted events which separate people occasionally?



#4 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3587

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 04:46 PM

Definitely check that one: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/96613/alcatraz-scapegoat (all BUT ONE wins :))


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#5 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2733

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 06:15 PM

I'm doing all my prototyping with cards and dice as its much easier and fun to play test.

 

Getting players to work together is key. They need to be working together and helping each other towards some goal while keeping their personal agenda a secret. 

 

One way I'm doing that is with a central stash of supplies.  When a player forages they draw cards supplies, gear, events, actions. Any supplies and gear they find they either keep for themselves or donate to the central stash where it can be used by everyone. Supplies are used to repair parts of the ships, buy gear, and consumed as part of events or every turn in the case. Every turn every character needs to consume 1 food from either the central stash or from their private stash.  Not eating results in the character becoming weakened and more likely to be injured as well as only being able to forage for half the number of cards as normal.

 

So in this way players are encouraged to share food but they'd be smart to keep at least 1 or 2 food cards to themselves.

 

Also at the start of the turn a shuttle event card is revealed these effect everyone and either challenges or opportunities.

 

For example:

 

Challenge – Hull Breach – Technical – Phase 0

The sound of screaming sirens and flashing red lights gets everyone running from their quarters.  Somehow during the night a puncture opened in the hall and oxygen levels are dropping rapidly.

Roll a d6 that is how many points are required or all characters suffer 1 wound.

1 point for each Mechanical Part Discarded

1 point for each player who spends the turn helping

2 points if the engineer has been revealed.

*The Engineer can reveal herself to resolve this challenge for free.

 

Opportunity – Ships Mascot – Biological – Phase 0

You found this little guy curled up in a damaged cargo hold isn’t he cute?  Let’s call him spike either that or dinner.

The survivors can choose to keep spike as pet if they do he consumes 1 food per turn or at the start of any turn can “convert” him into 4 pieces of meat.

At the start of turn roll a d6

1 – Spike bites a random player they gain 1 infection token.

2-3 – Spike goes hunting and returns with d3 food.

4-5 – Spike follows one of the foragers they get a free foraging card. The first injury encountered while foraging that turn kills spike instead.

6 – Nuzzles a random player restoring 1 point of sanity.

 

Foraging is going to be a central mechanic to the game in zone 1 you can forage for up to 10 cards per turn rolling a d10 if you roll less then the number of cards you drew then you suffer 1 wound. Higher zones are initially locked but have better stuff and more risk.

 

All characters have 4 wounds except the heiress who has 3 which is not known until she's revealed, and the assassin who has 5 but he can play dead if he suffers 4 wounds and have not yet been revealed.

 

I'm also trying to figure out a way for players to give cards to other players without them knowing.   At present I'm thinking there is a central deck of personal event cards where players can add cards to they have found foraging.  These cards would be good, bad, or neutral.  The parasite character wants to give infection cards to other players. The assassin and cultist want to plant cards that injure other players.  But at the same time I need to good cards that players can plant that help the other player. Like the assassin can plant a 1 shot pistol that player can reveal at any time to give them a gun during an attack. Or the explorer can give out map fragment cards that let zones be unlocked earlier.

 

But I'm just not sure. 



#6 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1583

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 06:25 PM

Sounds like the Prisoner's Dilemma (game theory).

You have to consider this theory if you want to make it work.

I believe that defecting is a near dominant strategy except in the event a player has an incentive to not win.

If you give a player an incentive to not win (some payoff in the next round) then the game becomes more unpredictable (and perhaps more fun), yet more complicated.

Say that a player can play to prevent everyone else from winning (not trying to win himself). Then you have one of those guys like on the war games that kills everyone on his team just because he gets a kick out of it (not trying to win himself).

Etc. (there is a whole math to it)

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#7 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2031

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 06:44 PM

Giving people things without them knowing works better on a computer than in a card game. However here's a suggestion:

  1. Each player has a private deck of cards relevant to their character type, e.g. assassin has weapons and assassination attempts, parasite has infection, engineer has fixing, etc.
  2. Each turn, a player must give one card to another player face down (let's call it the event deck).
  3. Each turn that a player's event deck has more than x cards they must shuffle the event deck and draw one card from it.

Whether the drawn card should be public or not is up to you. Publicly would prevent cheating, e.g. not admitting death when drawing assassination or infection. Maybe cards have two types: public and private. If the back says public you must turn it over.



#8 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1583

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 06:49 PM

Yeah, there is also, "Perfect information", "Partial information," and "Perfect competition."

Perfect information assumes everyone has all the information they need to play optimally.

Partial information is, well, partial information. Everyone doesn't have all of the info they need to play optimally.

Perfect competition assumes that all players play optimally.

The reason these things have to be considered is because some game theory genius will prance along, solve your game, and make the game no fun, because they will win every time, because they know that such theories can separate a bad game from an ingenious game.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#9 Kryzon   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 2953

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 07:05 PM

It reminds me of Survival, a [very fun] Warcraft 3 custom map:
http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/maps-564/survival-1-357-a-82367/

1884645.jpg

Each player picks or loads a character with a class at the start of the game, and each class has a specific set of skills.
Then everyone lands on the planet and you gather with your allies to fight a wave of monsters.
The objective is to survive past all the enemy waves and levels that your team goes through. You are not supposed to kill your teammates, you have to work together.
Every time that I played and nobody went with one of two particular classes we would lose: it's very hard to win if you don't have one engineer and one alchemist in the team for a continued supply of defense towers and replenishing potions, respectively.
There's skill building with experience, there's the crafting of items based on materials that you gather. The smarter players craft items and potions and share around, especially with the "tank" players that deal and take all the damage from the aliens - you have to control your greed and share your possessions if you want to stay alive.

There's a lot of depth to that custom map but it is still inviting to new players.

I'm not sure if that would be the same if it had character backstories and win conditions like you proposed.
A potential player would have to take their time to study each backstory and win conditions in order to reach victory if you have win conditions based on the interactions between the players themselves as opposed to the interactions between the team of players and the NPC enemies, and this may limit the amount of casual players enjoying the game.
There may be balancing problems related to some players being completely familiar with the backstories and win conditions of your game and taking advantage of the ignorance of new players. In a way, metagaming.

#10 Leartes   Members   -  Reputation: 177

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 04:35 AM

I'm toying around with a similar game concept for a while now, but it doesn't really work out for me. If players want to win they don't care if they lose hard (all die) or if they lose soft (everyone survives, but one player wins). So in the end everyone tries as hard as possible to win and doesn't care about cooperating.

 

I don't know how to fix that because if I remove the individual goals of the players then it often boils down to one player telling everyone else what to do. :(



#11 gorogorosama   Members   -  Reputation: 173

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 08:48 AM

I'm toying around with a similar game concept for a while now, but it doesn't really work out for me. If players want to win they don't care if they lose hard (all die) or if they lose soft (everyone survives, but one player wins). So in the end everyone tries as hard as possible to win and doesn't care about cooperating.

 

I don't know how to fix that because if I remove the individual goals of the players then it often boils down to one player telling everyone else what to do. sad.png

 

The key will be making sure the players both depend on each other to survive, but at the same time need to win by being the last one left.

 

Just off the top of my head, if there was a monster that once per round would randomly attack one of the players, well then everyone wants there to be as many players left alive for the monster to choose from.

 

Or if nobody can win until there is enough material in the communal stash or whatnot, then each players would want everyone to contribute as much as possible until you decide it's time to kill them off :P

 

Each player would need incentives to keep the other players alive, until they think they are secretly prepared to face the end-game on their own.



#12 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2733

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 10:04 AM


Giving people things without them knowing works better on a computer than in a card game. However here's a suggestion:
Each player has a private deck of cards relevant to their character type, e.g. assassin has weapons and assassination attempts, parasite has infection, engineer has fixing, etc.
Each turn, a player must give one card to another player face down (let's call it the event deck).
Each turn that a player's event deck has more than x cards they must shuffle the event deck and draw one card from it.

 

Performing hidden actions is definitely a lot easier on the computer then it is in a board game but I like your suggestion. 

 

Each turn every player gives 1 story card from their story pool to a player going around the table clockwise . That player then shuffles those cards into their story deck. Every player draws at least 1 story card from their story deck each turn. To keep everyone playing even dead characters get to hand out cards.

 

I've got 3 types of cards that can exist in the foraging decks and what I'm now calling personal story deck.  Cards with a red eye on them indicating events, cards with a black spot on them which are mystery cards, and grey boxes which are supply cards.

 

Event cards are always flipped over and shown to everyone and take effect immediately there is also an added rule that if you reveal that top card of deck to be an event card you must play even if that would mean drawing more cards then you were originally suppose to.  This makes foraging extra dangerous because the more cards you draw in a turn the more likely you are to get injured.

 

Mystery cards are placed in front of the player and depending on the card are either face up, face down, or player choice.

 

Supply cards are held in the players hand and consist of gear, supplies, and actions.  The play can put any of these cards into the central stash or keep them for themselves. Gear is only useful once in play and can only be played at the start of the turn unless you have a special action.  So its up to you if you want to let other players no you have that gun or not.  Having it in play lets you use it but keeping it hidden might be useful later on.

 


The key will be making sure the players both depend on each other to survive, but at the same time need to win by being the last one left.

 


m toying around with a similar game concept for a while now, but it doesn't really work out for me. If players want to win they don't care if they lose hard (all die) or if they lose soft (everyone survives, but one player wins). So in the end everyone tries as hard as possible to win and doesn't care about cooperating.
 
I don't know how to fix that because if I remove the individual goals of the players then it often boils down to one player telling everyone else what to do.

 

Yes, I don't want player just going around attacking each other they should be working together at least for a while. So I'm going to have to come up with a system were players can't directly attack each at the start you need a reason first.  Like someone hoarding food while others go starving, someone being revealed as dangerous alien parasite.

 

That's why half the class are light co op classes.  The engineer, heiress, and explorer need the other players alive and well if they want to have a chance at winning.  There cards and play style are aimed at aiding the other players.  

 

The engineer is extremely useful when dealing with technical challenges and is the only character who can repair and operate certain devices on the ship.  But a clever engineer gets to play the ultimate trump card.  If help arrives unless the engineer has been played badly they will always win.

 

The heiress needs the other players to recover her missing heirlooms. Its impossible for her to find them all on her own. Her cards are about helping friends and hindering others. Her and the engineer also have the opportunity to share victory.

 

The explorer needs other players out foraging and clearing the way if they want to reach the temple in Zone 4.

 

The dark classes need the other players to but also have to try and remain secret.

The Parasite grows stronger the more infection tokens are on the board and once revealed they can attack or be attacked by any player.

The cultist wants everyone to nearly get saved before they all die.

The assassin needs to stay alive long enough to arrange an accident for their target.

 

hmm...  Now I'm wondering if the dark classes are going to work.  If you have 4 player game and 3 players are revealed as the engineer, heiress, and the explorer and everyone knows that there is a parasite player then its going to be obvious who that is.  I suppose I could change the initial set up and have the dark classes be dark pasts instead, and add more dark pasts and classes.  That way every player has a combination the heiress might also be a parasite.  The explorer might also be a thief.  



#13 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2031

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 04:11 PM

I like where you're going with it. Personally I would ensure that secrecy is both possible and desirable. A few examples of ensuring secrecy:

  • It's difficult to tell which story card was given by whom, e.g. there is a minimum number of story cards so you never have someone drawing the one and only card from their deck which was given by a specific person.
  • It's hard to tell if the donated story cards are to help or hinder. For example supply cards might be viewed as always good and event cards usually bad.
  • A player can claim to have a particular role, but cannot always prove it. This allows faking other players out.

A few examples of desirable secrecy:

  • Revealing your class may expose you to danger, e.g. the heiress is the assassin's target.
  • Conflicts between classes may vary per game, e.g. in one game the heiress may need to get an item that the explorer wants.
  • Dark classes may have a special attack or sabotage card which can only be played publicly. If they are revealed then they can play that card at any time, so unmasking people is dangerous.


#14 GoCatGo   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 1633

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 07:03 AM

This may be a little late to the party, but I suggest you take a peek at the tabletop game Combat Commander for it's really interesting random scenario generator.  It includes a really nice mix of hidden, public, and neutral objectives for each player.

 

Allow me to suggest that knowing some of the objectives (the "public" or visible ones) your opponent is chasing adds greatly to the gameplay.  For instance, in a recent game of CC my Russians were fighting the Germans and we were both trying to gain control of a farmhouse.  Little did I know but my opponent was actually just diverting my attention while moving other units to a Victory objective.  And it worked.

 

Granted, Combat Commander is a war game, but these ideas make for almost endless gameplay using the same maps and units.  I think it can be applied very successfully to what you describe:

 

Public Objectives:  Win State, Equipment/Resources Specific to Each Player

Neutral Objectives:  Same as Above, but Open to All Players (win state not applicable)

Hidden Objectives:  Known Only to a Specific Player, Win States, Bonuses, Resources, Info, etc.

 

It then becomes easy for each player to say, "Well, we need this [Public] job done, so I'll be out there doing it (and also working on my [Hidden] project)."

 

There was a silly TV show called Siberia that had these elements.  It was made to look like Survivor or some reality show, but was actually a found footage/horror drama.  The people all had "angles" but they were forced to sneak around and undermine each other. 

 

All in all, though -- yours is a GREAT idea!  I hope you can get something moving on this game!  Best of luck.


Indie games are what indie movies were in the early 90s -- half-baked, poorly executed wastes of time that will quickly fall out of fashion.  Now go make Minecraft with wizards and watch the dozen or so remakes of Reservior Dogs.


#15 zebrakiller   Members   -  Reputation: 292

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 12:40 AM

Sounds like a RTS version of town of salem!



#16 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1722

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 02:20 AM

I wish I had something mind blowing to add to this idea other than that I really, really like it. Failing that, a couple of random thoughts:

 

1) Assassin playing dead: There needs to be some natural way of playing from beyond the grave for this to work, otherwise all players automatically know who the assassin is-- the player who keeps playing after the huge rock falls on them! It might work to have some kind of rule that allows players to reenter the game if they've been killed (as a monster or some other force), which might allow someone playing the assassin to successfully play while "dead."

 

2) I think the game would be stronger the more you can either have actions or strategies that look similar but are ultimately different. If, for instance, you're the explorer and you're constantly widening the radius of the known map area when nobody else ever seems to have a legitimate reason to do this then it'll be pretty obvious who you are. But if all characters somehow benefit by doing something the explorer does it'll make it harder to peg who the explorer is.

 

3) One thing that might help secret actions and the idea of players playing cards against each other would be if along with your foraging idea you classified event cards by color. Each player would have a chit denoting their current color. Players could add helpful or harmful cards to the event deck which corresponded to a color (trap against white, sanity affect against blue, etc.). Some events, however, would cause two or more players to swap colors, adding a bit of randomization and possibly throwing a monkey wrench in the plans of players as they try to cooperate with or contend with other opponents.


--------------------Just waiting for the mothership...

#17 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2733

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 11:06 AM

One things I'm trying to do is find ways to keep all the players involved with out adding too much complexity. Whether its having them still pass out story cards or by leaving options available for them to come back to life or other means.  One idea I might steal from the board game Tales of Arabian Nights is status cards which in my game would be mystery cards but in ToAN you can get status like insane which means the player to your left decides how you respond to an encounter from the list of options, or cursed where the player to your left decides on what the outcome of your dice rolls will be instead of you rolling.

 

Things like that would let players interact even if their character has died off.

 

A lot of the challenge at the moment other then finding time is getting the cards right. And I still have to tackle the secret actions side of things



#18 wodinoneeye   Members   -  Reputation: 768

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 10:21 AM

Need some differentiation  to include an ALL LOSE result to give reason to cooperate -- although the 'sour grapes' reasoning of "If I cannot Win, then Nobody else does either" might poison cooperation or lead players to sabatoge each other early (or catastrophicly, if the rules/game-mechanics allow it, once they figure out THEY cant win).... very disruptively to the gameplay.

 

Partial win of surviving, as a goal - how does that fit into such a game? 


Edited by wodinoneeye, 02 August 2014 - 10:22 AM.

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#19 traghera   Members   -  Reputation: 420

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 08:01 AM

Giving people things without them knowing works better on a computer than in a card game. However here's a suggestion:

  1. Each player has a private deck of cards relevant to their character type, e.g. assassin has weapons and assassination attempts, parasite has infection, engineer has fixing, etc.
  2. Each turn, a player must give one card to another player face down (let's call it the event deck).
  3. Each turn that a player's event deck has more than x cards they must shuffle the event deck and draw one card from it.

Whether the drawn card should be public or not is up to you. Publicly would prevent cheating, e.g. not admitting death when drawing assassination or infection. Maybe cards have two types: public and private. If the back says public you must turn it over.

 What about adding a discard cost of some kind to some actions, that require you to discard a card and shuffle it in a common pile of cards, from which people either need to draw from in order to use an action, or simply as a general rule of the game, or discard.
The general pile can consist of all events and actions as well. Having such a drawback as discarding some cards you hold to use others without revealing the dropped card will also ensure a multitude of different moves.



#20 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1455

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 03:53 PM


Need some differentiation to include an ALL LOSE result to give reason to cooperate -- although the 'sour grapes' reasoning of "If I cannot Win, then Nobody else does either" might poison cooperation or lead players to sabatoge each other early (or catastrophicly, if the rules/game-mechanics allow it, once they figure out THEY cant win).... very disruptively to the gameplay.

 

So ? Let the leading/winning player make sure the others still stand a chance so they'll help him.

Coöperation should not be enforced by game rules.







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