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Cooperation incentives in game mechanics?

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/18/2014

Hi guys!!

So, to give a bit of context, I have a 6-players game based on building a factory. The game is still under the first stages of development, so I don't have much in the way of details.

Each of the players assumes a specific role (e.g. Operations, Engineering, Quality, Finance, Human Resources, etc.) with special abilities that progress as they gain experience (or they can choose to acquire a new ability).

For this game, I ripped off most of the mechanics from Zombicide, as in there will be all sorts of problems (the majority of them will be in-jokes, of course) spawning periodically, that must be fixed within a certain timeframe, otherwise it's game over.

The players must also make progress to the next stage of the game in order to get resource replenishment. Another thing I managed to work into the mechanics is the business pressure for the project, as the resource pool gets DEPLETED each round due to expenses needed to cover the business while the factory is inactive.

Now, what I need to work into the mechanics is: how to incentive cooperation and to "punish" players who go too far ahead? My initial thought was to rip this mechanic from Zombicide and get an overpowered player to unbalance the game - consume more resources, spawn higher-level problems...and not being able to solve everything alone.

Any suggestions?

devaloki's picture
Joined: 01/15/2014
If it's co-operative, why

If it's co-operative, why worry about one player getting too far ahead though?
If they level up through experience, you could try out giving certain penalties to the character that reaches certain level thresholds first. Check out Mage Knight's rulebook sometime, that game has variants for limiting players that get ahead, you may get some ideas from it.
You could encourage co-operation by just making it a necessity for them to survive as a group. Perhaps have some cards/abilities that you could play on another player's turn to help them out.

Gabe's picture
Joined: 09/11/2014
I don't know if you've ever

I don't know if you've ever played Left 4 Dead, the video game, or not, but it handles co-op play better than any game I've played. A player can get trapped or attacked by special zombies and he becomes completely helpless and unable to escape on his own. The only way to get back up is for a teammate to help him.

What if you did something similar?

There could be events or problems in which it doesn't matter what level a player is or how far he's ahead, he's unable to accomplish a goal or move or take an action without the help of a teammate.

Joined: 09/18/2014
No, I haven't. This type of

No, I haven't. This type of video game is not exactly my cup of tea...

Your suggestion goes with my line of thought, and is sort of the "ripping off Zombicide" that was my first proposal.

In that game, the level of the randomly drawn events (in Zombicide, zombie spawns, in my case, unexpected problems) are defined by the highest level in the group, not the average group level - if you have only one high-level player the difficulty level of the event is so high that the entire group will either not be able to solve or they'll deplete the whole pool of resources for only one event - and considering that I planned for each round to have 4-5 events...

Of course that I also have special abilities, as suggested by devaloki, what I'm looking for is a way to make co-op a complete necessity (as in designing the rules in a way that makes impossible for an unbalanced group surviving for long)

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