The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Hidden Goal Game Mechanics

So I was thinking about Clans. This is one of those games where scores are public, but you aren’t sure who is backing which team. Normally, 3-4 (out of five) clans score at once.

If you have four players, then you can’t make it obvious which clan you are. Normally you want to score your clan + all the others (but one) and then rotate which one you don’t score. You need to score your clan (of course), but if you score another clan each time, then you’ll probably lose when someone rotates your color out of the scoring.

But you can’t eject too many of the other clans, because if people guess your color, they’ll be sure to eject you from scoring whenever possible. Since they control 3/4 of the actions, that’s fairly easy.

Like a fair number of other games, the points escalate as the game continues. Which means even if your clan builds up an early lead, being revealed is terrible.

Clans needs a ‘twist the knife’ mechanism.

If the scores decremented towards the end game, at some point you could go “Fools! I was yellow all along!”, make a score for yellow, and have a shot at winning. I guess eventually it happens, but more because of “Hm, he’s left out everyone but yellow twice.” [Actually, given how scores inflate, it may be worth leaving out yellow as your first score …]

This is how Shadows over Camelot works, but the number of teams is much reduced. If you are revealed as a traitor, you are outgunned. Unless the situation is bleak when you are revealed, you’ll probably lose. But the traitor can often ‘twist the knife,’ so the game (somewhat) works. I’ll have to think about it more; but this may be a necessary part of designing hidden goal games.

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Written by taogaming

October 1, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Posted in Ramblings

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