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Anti cheat mechanic

12 replies [Last post]
Joined: 02/18/2009

Hey everyone,

I'm working on a single/mulitplayer empire building game that is all done on sheets so players can take their empires to dfferent games and play them. I got some ideas done but before i take it further i need to work out an anti cheating mechanic or something along those lines so that the game can be played without cheating. I dont really know if anything like this is possible but thought id run it by everyone in case there are some ideas. The best i've gotten is an averages table which states what an empire could realistically fall between without cheating.


Joined: 07/08/2009
The best . . .

anti-cheating mechanic is probably to let other players take care of it. I've never seen that sort of thing go on too long!


Joined: 02/18/2009

Hahaha. That will not work. Thanks for your input.

Joined: 09/20/2009

Maybe with success there comes a price, and a larger price if the numbers don't match up on a "random" check... Sorta like speeding tickets, the faster over the speed limit you go the higher the fine. So getting caught cheating could knock you out of the game, and knowing there is a random check, it pays to play by the rules. Just a thought.


Joined: 02/18/2009
Thanks for the input.

Thanks for the input.

Joined: 12/01/2008
It's unclear if you're

It's unclear if you're intending people's empires to be brought into different games among a group of friends or if you'll be able to join a game with random strangers.

If the former, having some kind of a a centralized record keeping or leaderboard or somesuch would probably cover it.
If the latter, it's likely not really possible without some sophisticated technical controls and an online database.

And then there is the problem of people using past versions of their empires, which would likely survive any 'probability scrutiny'. For example, say someone has a legitimate and well run empire, then plays a game and it somehow gets trashed. What's to stop that player playing a new game for the older version of his empire?

With the ability to always keep your finest moment, no one will retain any other kind of progression, and this will likely lead to a run-away effect on empire power. This will lead to either 1) new players having no chance, or if there are some balancing controls in place 2) Everyone having 'maxed' empires with no room for improvement. Maybe there is a clever way around this, though. Perhaps making what is 'best' be subjective and depending on the game situation.

Now for a technical solution, you could have some kind of internet recordkeeping. People make an account and the results of the games are verified by all the players of that game. When you want to play game, you can pull the player's stats from the website. This kind of requirement could be a deal-breaker though. (If you are going to put everything online, you might as well just have played the game online too) It also should be noted it isn't going to stop a group of players colluding to feed fradulent data to the website. You could even argue that they even have more incentive to do so if everyone's stats are public.

Lastly, if you run a radiology department, give players an fMRI scan of their brain while they report how truthful the records of their empire have been. Or include a portable lie detector kit.

Joined: 02/18/2009
Haha fMRI

Well the game WAS intended to be played with randoms but i guess it not going to work like that really :P :D

But your comment has bought me to a new understanding of what the empire can be. It can be made in many ways and bringing them to games with other people is an attempt to show your empire strategy. So that cheating doesn't matter. This is far from my original idea however but i havent even begun to think of a truely logical way of negating all cheating so ill have to scrap this in favor of another unless anyone can come up with something. I wonder if such a mechanic exists or not. Probably not since even online computer games get hacked. Ill just give up now before i waist anymore time on it. :P

Joined: 10/20/2009
It could be done if...

Can you give a bit more information as to how it works? Do you create an empire once, then have battles which always begin with that static empire? So, kind of like the way you design your stack in MTG, you design your empire? Or does the empire accumulate change with each battle?

In the latter case, there is definitely nothing you can do, since people could create multiple empires, battle them against each other, and contrive the desired empire.

In the former case, it may possible to stop cheating.

Are there any random elements in the design phase? If so, you might want to consider removing them. The fact is, there is nothing you can do to oversee the rolling of dice in the privacy of one's own home. But it would be possible to design a completely non-random empire design mini-game...

Just an example to demonstrate.

Imagine a game of chess where each person makes 10 moves before the start of the game (in private - this is the empire building phase). To ensure the pieces do not overlap at the end of the empire building phase, no pieces may end the empire building phase on the far side of the board. Then, each player can take their chess "empire", and play out a game of chess against another person's "empire".

In this chess game example, the anti cheat mechanic that comes to mind is to record the moves that made the empire in a list, then have each player actually set up the board for their opponent by following the recipe on the list. It works in this example because chess moves are fast to execute and there is a standard notation which is easy to write down.

The point is, an anti-cheat mechanic can be done if the circumstances are right.

Joined: 02/18/2009
Thanks for feedback

Initially i had in mind a civilization type game but with alot more research paths and no board, just dice and sheets but as you have mentioned this is not going to be possible so i had decided to switch to something similar to what you are mentioning Shiraz except with collectable cards being set out in some particular way. Instead of having an evolving empire im gonna just have heaps of different options the empire can be set up as. This is a starting strategy that players can mix up and learn from, perfecting their strategy with each battle/game to find the ideal.

Anyways, thanks for feedback and i do agree: an anti-cheat mechanic can be implemented in the right circumstances, but these circumstances need to be limited in scope.

Joined: 10/28/2009
I'm not sure this would be a

I'm not sure this would be a anti-cheat mechanic, but it would be a balancing factor that would render such cheating irrelevant. Figure out a point system for gauging an empire's success. Then when a player want's to take his empire to another game, it will have to be within that other game's point range.

If the player "Cheats" and ups his empire too much, then it will no longer fall into the point range.

But you should also consider using this point system for creating empires at various strengths for different games.

Joined: 12/15/2009
Anti cheating

She says, "ignorance my girl friend Cheated on Me™
But when he asks her name
She must fumble for an answer
She’s been called so many
But now she can’t remember
So she just makes up another my girl friend Cheated on Me™
And she don’t even know she cries cuz she’s so tangled up
Now the dirty deed is done
She heads into the bathroom
She washes her hands in the sink
And thinks it could clean her conscience
If only she could find one Lies my girl friend Cheated on Me™
And slowly she turns and heads
For the door as if this were all a dream
She has seen her sweet
But only like a fleeting glimse
Of all those bridges she’s my girl friend Cheated on Me™
All those bridges she’s been burning
And she donâ
Wife keeps her distance
Have I said too much?
There's nothing more I can think of to say to you.
But all you have to do is look at me to know
That my girl friend Cheated on Me™
I cheated in Argentina
The truth is I up and left you
Flew to Buenos Aires
Straight to my mistress
Didn't keep my promise
Wife keeps her distance
I Hate cheating
The truth is I up and left you
Flew to Buenos Aires
Straight to my mistress
Didn't keep my promise
just sweat, gotta go hard.
Where those i hate cheating on women thats
really willin to take it off!
Where them girls at. Cheating is Criminal
That like to be in charge.
When the heat gets too hot, just keep turnin’ it up.
Never let ‘em cheat-sheet, they
just sweat, gotta go hard.
Where those women thats
really willin to take

Taavet's picture
Joined: 08/15/2008

Right, there isn't anyway to prevent people from cheating or trying! Even professional played games/tournaments will have cheaters.

So as you were saying you want people to bring their empires and be able to play against other evenly matched opponents.

The solutions currently in use are to create a template that must be followed. MTG uses deck size or allowed expansions. Many other games assign point values to units and only allow so many points to be used.

Either of these could work for your game. Have them preconstruct an empire deck to play with.

Or give everyone the same Empire Cost sheet and they can allocate their 1000 points towards whatever they want: Technology, Army, Agriculture, Trade, Religion, ect.

Bottom line is players will preconstruct their Empire, whether from a previous game or in the leisure of their own home.

I think the 'new' idea you are trying to add in is having your empire be the same one that you stick with (good or bad) through several (all) games.

There aren't many fans of it for various reasons but playing for 'keeps' could be a way to do it. At the end of any game damages are litterally lost and winnings are acquired. Even with this though someone could 'cheat' and buy a bunch to make their own custom Empire. But if they do buy a bunch then you make more money!

That's my 2 cents.

Joined: 02/18/2009

Thanks for feedback everyone. There really is no way to prevent cheating, though curiosity pondered whether it was just something that hadn't been tackeled, like is everyone just not digging deep enough. But it is seen now how cheating is a given. Your feedback has triggered some great ideas that hae sparked motivation. Thanks again and have a good 2010!

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