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The Multi-Player Problem

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Author Topic: The Multi-Player Problem  (Read 584 times)
Calandale
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« on: July 17, 2014, 04:53:57 pm »

Multi-player games run into a series of issues. Each  seems to be a duality.

For example, there's the question of whether to allow interference between players.
If not supported, a game is just a shared solo competition, like Golf or Bowling.
But, when allowed, it opens up issues of kingmaking, revenge moves, alternate
interpretations of the endgame spoiling play for some, and the like.

There's the balance between allowing for runaway leaders (and losers), or having catch-up mechanisms.
A somewhat related issue of close games decided by what may amount to small amounts of luck,
or games which reward good play (by causing runaway leader issues). And another: where sandbagging
can be more effective than trying to achieve a leading position.

The problem of turtling, in games where the best strategy may be to avoid taking action, so as to
not expose oneself to attacks. Is there a dual here? Games which promote always attacking to
gain bonuses immediately can also feel unsatisying, but I can't think of a term nor real rationale
behind that impression.
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LuckyDiceRolls
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2014, 06:09:04 pm »

I've never been attacked by turtles
theyre very peaceful creatures and we should never do any turtling at all

wtf is turtling?
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anarchy
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2014, 06:34:16 pm »

I've never been attacked by turtles
theyre very peaceful creatures and we should never do any turtling at all



Not sure if embedding that video worked, here is the URL: m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5BBIIlWLeM

Quote
wtf is turtling?
Hiding while the other players fight it out.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 06:36:21 pm by anarchy » Report Spam   Logged

Meh.
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2014, 07:24:43 pm »

ahhh, thank you very much
an apt phrase
and that pigeon was just asking for it
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2014, 08:25:35 pm »

I have a few issues with multiplayer games

1 - I don't like strangers.  I am approaching near hobbit levels of disinterest for leaving my house.  Game conventions, which I want to attend, will be a true battle of wills for me.

2 - I don't trust anyone and believe that what motivates all humans is a deep sense of self-preservation above all else.  Therefore, the notion of multiplayer games is less about people's willingness to play the game, but rather about the meta-game opportunity to kingmake and just waiting for your stab in the back or timing your stab to someone else's back.

3 - I also believe that there's little to no common decency among gamers in a gaming setting because the environment encourages it because that's the nature of competitive gaming.  I play for the experience and enjoyment which is an odd mix in multiplayer games.  For example, RoboRally is a game about seeing how much chaos I can cause rather than a racing game.  That's how I like to play that game.  Hansa Teutonica and Russian Railroads(ways?) are games about trying crazy strategies to see how other players react and adjust.  I simply don't care if I win.  I like to see what happens when people are confronted with unexpected tactics and how that affects the game as a whole.  I tell myself I'll play later and then I'll have a chance to use the gained information to work it into a potential strategy....that never happens...
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Calandale
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2014, 08:27:05 pm »

I have a few issues with multiplayer games

1 - I don't like strangers.  I am approaching near hobbit levels of disinterest for leaving my house.  Game conventions, which I want to attend, will be a true battle of wills for me.


The problems still can arise if you do multi-player games solo....
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Carl Marl
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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2014, 09:22:29 pm »

Problems I've experienced with multi-player games. I'm talking about games with diplomacy elements in them, not games with two fixed teams. To me that's a two player game.

There's the king of the hill syndrome. Whoever gets the lead gets ganged up on leading to nobody ever wins until exhaustion sets in. Being a turtle is the way to not be king of the hill.

Then there is the king maker syndrome. You have no chance to win. You can only play to make somebody win, so who do you chose. Your choice will make nobody happy.

There is also the problem with cliques. The same people no matter what the game team up even when circumstances in the game make no sense they should be allies. You may have something to offer them in the game, but they won't let you in.

All of which means no fun sometimes.
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Calandale
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2014, 11:41:11 pm »


There is also the problem with cliques. The same people no matter what the game team up even when circumstances in the game make no sense they should be allies. You may have something to offer them in the game, but they won't let you in.


I don't blame the game itself here. What I'm pointing to is a fundamental design issue.
One has to balance those dualities, and it never is going to be perfect.
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2014, 07:12:35 am »

I like the idea of a multiplayer game in which players end up regularly shifting sides through a forced rule mechanic.  In effect, you must be the best steward possible whatever you're doing because you might end up playing from that perspective in the end.
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2014, 07:53:24 am »


There is also the problem with cliques. The same people no matter what the game team up even when circumstances in the game make no sense they should be allies. You may have something to offer them in the game, but they won't let you in.


I don't blame the game itself here. What I'm pointing to is a fundamental design issue.
One has to balance those dualities, and it never is going to be perfect.
Yes it's people being, well, people. It's a good question to ask if a game's design can overcome these things. The old Avalon Hill game, Dune, where the factions have such unique characteristics, I think overcame somewhat the things I mentioned.
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2014, 11:42:19 am »

I tend to lump multiplayer games into two categories: "jump on the leader" games and "feeding frenzy" games (thinking from more of a wargaming perspective here - some Euros I call "mulitplayer solitaire").  I avoid the feeding frenzy games because either you get off to a good early start or you're fodder - not much fun there. I think turtling is more of an issue in these games because people don't want to become food. I find the jump on the leader games tend to be more engaging for everybody, even those who fall behind, so there's less turtling, though sandbagging and kingmaking can be an issue.
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2014, 11:50:39 am »


There is also the problem with cliques. The same people no matter what the game team up even when circumstances in the game make no sense they should be allies. You may have something to offer them in the game, but they won't let you in.


I don't blame the game itself here. What I'm pointing to is a fundamental design issue.
One has to balance those dualities, and it never is going to be perfect.
Yes it's people being, well, people. It's a good question to ask if a game's design can overcome these things. The old Avalon Hill game, Dune, where the factions have such unique characteristics, I think overcame somewhat the things I mentioned.

Except that by the rules as written, it made alliances able to easily win. I'm not sure, but I think everyone could
win together - like some sort of coop.
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2014, 09:33:59 am »

coup?
what kind of rules would you write to deny the players from 'turtling'?
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2014, 11:01:03 am »

co-op, as in cooperative game.

It's a type of game where everyone is on one side playing against the system.
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2014, 10:39:19 am »

I like the idea of a multiplayer game in which players end up regularly shifting sides through a forced rule mechanic.  In effect, you must be the best steward possible whatever you're doing because you might end up playing from that perspective in the end.
I really like this idea.  Though it takes away from seeing your game spanning strategy come to fruition for one entity.  Are there any games in the consim variety that use this mechanic?

Most of the multiplayer opportunities I get are with two of my nephews.  It always ends up that whoever jumps to the perceived lead is blown back to the dark ages by the other two banning together.  Most likely it's just our family dynamic.  Cheesy
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