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TechnoGoth

Survive together but only one can win

21 posts in this topic

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.

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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. :(

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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.

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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.

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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

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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
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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.

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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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Using game mechanics to guide a decision is fine. It depends on what the game is.

It's a design choice. It's the same reason people make games linear versus open-world. Even in level design, you might put alternate paths in the mix, but you can design the game to feel more open and still guide the player to the "right" or "intended path."

Otherwise, the game becomes more random, and thus more complex.
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I really like your concept, but I feel you should also consider the theme of your game. "Survive together" implies that it is a cooperative game. From the win conditions that you've provided, I can see that it is, in fact, reasonably possible for at least half of your players to win. So is it necessary to include the element of subliminal competition?

 

In my opinion, you should allow your players to decide whether or not they want to work together instead of including it in the package. If some want to compete, they will compete. If some don't, they won't. If you are making a survival game, the objective should be to get as many players as possible to the end of the game. The gameplay would still be interesting, because the players have conflicting goals and the freedom to choose their allies based on that.

 

Someone mentioned game theory, and that brings up thoughts of the Prisoner's Dilemma. I would look into that.

 

Again, that is only my opinion. If you release this game, I would be interested in playing it. Best wishes!

Edited by Mia.
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