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Deadlock Ending

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Gamebot
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Joined: 07/30/2008

Hello,

I have a problem with my game that I've been racking my brain over for awhile now. It deals with the end of the game. I've boiled down the situation into this simple game:

"You have 2 players with multiple coins. There is a cup. When a player places the second coin in the cup, he wins the game. On a players turn he can either put a coin in the cup or pass."

My actual game has more issues in it than this, but this is the core problem. This situation will end in a stalemate with each player passing each turn knowing that if a coin is placed the next player will win. This is the essence of my problem. Frequently my game will end in a 2, 3, or 4 way tie for first place with one remaining method of scoring reamining to break the tie. This tie breaker ends up as a deadlock unless somebody makes a stupid mistake.

Does anybody know if there is a name for this dilemma? Do you know of any interesting game endings that may inspire me?

Thanks for your help!

Zzzzz
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Re: Deadlock Ending

Well based on what you have stated, I would think that the name that would apply to this dilemma would be Stalemate.

Unless I am misunderstanding you, and unless you are attempting to make a game that allows for stalemate as one possible end of game condition, I would suggest:

1) Assess your mechanics and figure out why this Stalemate is possible. This will allow you to understand how your game tends to end in this situation.

2) Then you need to decide if you want the end of game conditions to include the possiblity of a Stalemate.

3) If you dont want this stalemate to possible, then you have th bigger chore of fixing the "issue(s)" you find during item 1 above (figuring out why it is so *easy* to end in a stalemate). And you might realize a way to modify or prevent the stalemate from occuring by changing something simple, as a result of your findings.

4) if you dont mind the stalemate occuring, then you have to live with the multiple way tie, unless you can rework some scoring type values (if you have scoring in your game) so that it is less likely that multiple players will have the *exact* same score upon a stalemate occuring. This will then keep people from worrying about the end game condition of putting in the second coin. And it would be all the reason for the player with the most points to attempt to add the second coin, in hopes that they win.

With that stated, and since I really dont know enough about your game, I would worry about why you are getting into this stalemate situation. For the most part if you want the end of your game to result in a single winner, there must be something *wrong* with the combinations and\or interactions of your game mechanics. Also I personally wonder why you need to have this type of mechanic in your game, why do you need this second coin *solution*? It seems like you added it to mask/fix another issue in your game.

zaiga
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Deadlock Ending

It is important that players cannot indefinitely postpone the ending of the game. Every time a player does something, the ending of the game has to draw nearer. Some ideas on how to achieve this

1) Remove the possibility for players to "pass". This forces the game to always move forwards.

2) Players should always be able to take an action that has a net positive on their chances of winning the game.

3) Separate the ending of the game from the winning of the game (if I got a dime for each time I have said that on this board, I'd be a millionaire by now)! Let the game end when, for example, the deck of cards runs out, or after a fixed number of rounds, then count points and the player with the most points wins the game.

Gamebot
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Deadlock Ending

Thanks for your feedback! Zaiga, I went back and looked through your previous posts and found some interesting posts about game endings. It really helped me sort ot my ideas.

I really would like to separate the winning from the ending of the game, but I feel like I am so close to getting the game to where I want it. I feel like if I add a mechanism for the ending trigger, I will change the the game into something else. I am not ruling anything out yet, however.

Zzzzz, I do not want a stalemate in my game at all. I will however allow ties, but hopefully they will happen infrequently. The key to my problem is that I want the game to end. The reason that the stalemate occurs is due to the core mechanic in my game. I know that makes it sound like my game is built upon a bad concept, but it isn't. Eventually, I will post my rules and design here. I just want to address (or rationalize) all of the flaws in my game first.

After thinking about your suggestions and reading other posts here on BGDF, I've decided to add a mechanic that will allow players to gain a small amount of points for a relatively easy action. I hope this will prevent stalemates. A little testing will help me figure that one out.

Thanks again for your help!

Boisegamer2001
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Deadlock Ending

I think there are at least three outcomes in games that are undesirable:

1. Where if there are two perfect players, one player always wins no matter what the other player plays, (the game is solved mathematicly like Nim)

2. Where if there are two perfect players, the game always ends in a tie (Also mathematiclly soved like tic-tac-toe)

3. Where an endless loop happens because no player is willing to take the loss of the game. Example: I was playing a game of Slide-tac-toe (old game I picked up in a second-hand store) where a player can either place a piece down (like connect-four) or push the rows (pieces will drop off the board when they are pushed past the 3x3 grid), it ended up where we were in a 3 or 4 move loop (place, threaten a win, push, other player threaten a win, ect...) where we both were doing the same moves over and over. (Could this be a 2 person game's version of the kingmaker effect?) The game ended by a stalemate agreement between us.

Hope this helps in one way or another

BG2001

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