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Honor System

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Squinshee
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I have this idea for a game where players roll a certain amount of dice and select a few to use during their turn as actions. However, I'm fiddling around with the idea of having players' dice-rolls be hidden. Players would then have to trust one another that they aren't making up or changing their rolls.

Is this a bad mechanic? Does that feel wrong and too abusable? I could achieve something similar with a deck of cards, but I prefer the dice because of true randomness – a deck can be somewhat predictable, unless constantly reshuffled...but that's a drag!

Thanks for your thoughts.

Noimage
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Trust

Honestly the only issue with using the honor system is whether you are able to trust the people you are playing the game with. In my experience most board gamers are reliable and trustworthy when they play the game but you always have to account for those few "cheaters". Just think about why you are making the game. If you are making it out of passion or personal reasons there is no reason to be worried about using an honor system. However, if you plan on trying to market the game, having an exploitable mechanic in the game tends to turn people off a little more.

Good luck and stick with your gut,
Noimage

questccg
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I think you asked me...

Why my cards were dual-sided. And the primary reason for this was to try to eliminate cheating. The numbers on the resource side are large enough to read from the opposite side of the table.

But do you know how "HARD" it is to get players to show their "points"?!

I think one (1) player even cheated saying she had 14 points to win the game - and then she did not reveal the points scored by her hand.

My guess: she didn't have 14 points to win. It's highly unlikely that the three (3) cards, that can score at most 5 points each, means she would have had to have two 5 point cards and one 4 point card to win...

So you better believe people DO cheat when they play.

Anything that is HIDDEN should only lead to partial information. Otherwise it could (and will) lead to abuse.

My opinion would be to openly roll all dice and take actions from the pool.

Can you explain WHY you would want the results of the rolls to hidden from the other players?

Update: The other possibility instead of "rolling" for actions, just let players choose what actions they want to take on their turn.

In one way this is more realistic than force randomness decide what you can and cannot do on your turn. People may be turned off that luck plays a part in deciding what you can do - as opposed to choice and strategy...

One thing for certain - you won't be able to blame LUCK as the reason why you lost ("All I needed was one 'X' roll ...") From what I understand, from the various designers here, they all dislike those type of outcomes/mechanics.

let-off studios
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Liar's Dice

I think Liar's Dice addresses this same issue by having dice cups that both conceal and "lock" dice. This prevents other players from seeing one's die rolls until the point they must be revealed, while simultaneously preventing the dice from being manipulated prior to the revelation.

Long story short: yeah, you need to worry about players cheating if you want to bring this game to the rest of the world. If you keep it among friends, then I guess don't worry about it too much.

Willem Verheij
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I don't think that hiding all

I don't think that hiding all dice would be the way to go since it does seem ripe for abuse and may lead to a lot of argueing instead of playing the game.

I think these kind of mechanics that allow lying work better when putting cards or chips face down. Maybe this could be one of the elements. With a board, chips might be better even.

One of the actions a player can do in their turn could be a choice of actions, each choice having a chip tied to the choice that you can put down on the table. After the chip is used it returns to your hand the next turn to be used again.

I don't know what kind of game you are designing it for, but let's say its a conquest game with all players having their own faction.
Green player needs help to not lose a territory to Blue player, so asks Red Player for support.

Red player puts a chip down in the mentioned Green territory and pledges their support. It is Red player's decision when to turn the chip around, but they MUST turn it around at the start of their next turn.

The chip's other side could be empty, meaning it was a lie.
But it can also show +1 soldier, +3 soldiers, +1 tank or whatever units the game uses that players can play from their pool thats ready for deployment.

However if the chip has a blue sky background it could mean support, while a burning flames background could mean treason, that you use the "reinforcements" to capture the territory for yourself.

If Red player pledges +3 soldiers support but only has 1 available, just 1 would be send. If he has nothing, nothing would be send.
It could be possible that Red Player did have 3 soldiers available when he made the promise but lost it due to other events. Wether Green player still trusts Red player after that is up to them.

And these chips could also be used to pledge resources to other players. Like gold, stone or whatever the game uses. Might even allow for some trade between players.

Blue player could have lots of gold available and thus able to buy lots of soldiers while Yellow player could have lots of food and stone but not much gold.
They could make an agreement where Yellow player pledges food or stone every turn to Blue player, while Blue player in turn sends soldiers to protect Yellow player from attacks, or may supply Yellow player with gold so he can train his own soldiers.
Which would also be a neat strategy choice for Blue: Keeping Yellow safe with his own blue soldiers would make Blue player the dominant force in their alliance. While giving him gold to train his own troops would make it more of an equal alliance. Both options have benefits and risks.

Anyways, I really think tokens like this could help a lot. Would probably need player screens though where they can keep their tokens and resources behind. Does not need to be a big screen, could be something like Cyclades uses.

stevebarkeruk
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Have a look at Roll for the Galaxy

Roll for the Galaxy uses a system of dice rolled behind screens and assigned to actions, which I've never seen a problem with.

If cheating is ruining a game, that's a problem with the players, not the game. You can try and cheat at perfect information games as well, if you're that type of person.

Make it clear that cheating is not acceptable in the rules ("the player must work with the results that are rolled, and may not change them") and the large majority of people will follow the rules. The small minority who cheat will be dealt with by their group, you don't have to police it for them.

Squinshee
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Interesting variety of

Interesting variety of answers here. Ultimately I think I've come to the conclusion of ditching the idea because while I think most players wouldn't abuse it, I don't want to make a game where cheating is easy. Not exactly a behavior I want to help foster.

questccg
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No dice?!

Squinshee wrote:
...I don't want to make a game where cheating is easy. Not exactly a behavior I want to help foster.

@Calvin: how were you going to use actions based on rolling dice?

I ask this because - from the information that I have seen on other threads - most of the designers don't like game in which "actions" are determined by luck. I can't remember which thread - but I know there have been a couple where designers said that "actions" should be choices left to the player.

What you CAN do is have a simple "point" system. Again I don't know what kind of game your game is... But assuming something, it could be each player gets 5 Action Points. Some actions cost only 1 point. Other could cost 3 or 4 points, etc. Making it more strategic in deciding which actions a player may choose to take.

That's why I said maybe the use of dice for determining what a player can do on his turn - might "turn off" people from the game.

Whereas having a "point" system forces players to make meaningful choices... Again they could lose a game "had they not done X" or "should have done Y", etc. But that's purely game semantics. You effectively would become BETTER at playing the game with a couple losses.

Anyhow this is just food for thought. Best of luck with your game!

Update: Aside from this thread:

http://www.bgdf.com/forum/game-creation/design-theory/mathematics-vs-luck

I remember there being OTHER threads about LUCK and dice rolling. I got the impression that most of the other designers don't like dice. I of course mean different than Scrambo, where the primary mechanic is dice rolling and it's a question of category selection.

But I do admit that there have been some strong echoes about not introducing too much randomness into any design.

Squinshee
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I like the idea of dice but

I like the idea of dice but rarely the implementation. One game I liked was Seasons - one player rolls X dice + 1, where X is the number of players. The rolled faces represent actions players could take on their turn if selected. I like this because the dice offer players a choice.

I want to make a game that uses dice in a similar fashion, and what I'm leaning towards is one player rolls some number of dice. Then the players take turns selecting one from the pool. These faces represent actions you could take on your turn. So if the dice were 1-3, the number would dictate the type of ability, but not necessarily which ability. That way when you're essentially drafting the dice with players, you can adapt your strategy to what they're picking, or grab one that you don't want an opponent to get.

So yeah, it's like dice drafting. That's literally all I have. I usually design the other way around - big idea, endless trimming. I'm trying to challenge myself to do the inverse to see if it's a more effective method.

mcobb83
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Dice drafting could be a

Dice drafting could be a pretty good mechanic. It kind of reminds me of Dead of Winter, but for the group instead of the individual. Its also sort of reminiscent of Dragon Dice (but maybe only because of the dice mechanic)

I've noticed in my gaming there are 2 kinds of players- the ones who play for the fun of the game and the ones who play to win. Very rarely is honor system an issue with the first kind, but plenty of the second kind have trouble with it.

questccg
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Playing with the ODDs

Just a quick idea:

-If the values on the dice are weighted such as (1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3), there could be some favorable odds instead of equally likely results.

What you could do is have the player rolling the dice (his turn) and wait until all the OTHER players select their die. Making the player get the last dice to select from.

This could be quirky, fun idea. It would add a lot of tension, since people will no doubt be messing with your plans on your turn.

The other idea I had, is that you could vary the probabilities on each die such that some are more likely for one thing, others another thing, etc. Like the RED die has a lot of 3s (3x) and the GREEN die has a lot of 1s (3x), etc.

Soulfinger
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Squinshee wrote:Interesting

Squinshee wrote:
Interesting variety of answers here. Ultimately I think I've come to the conclusion of ditching the idea because while I think most players wouldn't abuse it, I don't want to make a game where cheating is easy. Not exactly a behavior I want to help foster.

A friend of mine surprised me by cheating at a friendly game. It turns out that this was habitual from how she was raised. Cheating was a viable strategy within her family, and she just assumed that everyone did. I've dealt with all sorts of unscrupulous gamers over the years, but she caught me most off-guard, because this was just part of her style of play, so she didn't meet any of the criteria that typically make me wary.

In my experience, at least 10% of players regularly cheat and will do so even if there is a fair risk of their being caught.

questccg
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Ruins a perfectly good pass time

Soulfinger wrote:
...In my experience, at least 10% of players regularly cheat and will do so even if there is a fair risk of their being caught.

The problem is what happens when you catch someone? Does the game end? Because you can't be certain how many times a "habitual" cheater has actually cheated during a game.

And what if they reply: "I only cheated on this turn, and you caught me."

Do you believe them? In my opinion the whole game experience gets ruined and most likely you will not want to play another game (any game) with them.

@Soulfinger: Please don't tell me you married her?! Just a joke! LOL :P

questccg
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Actually cheating poses an even greater problem

Generally speaking, does this mean that a person who cheats at games, can/cannot be trusted? Think of it for a moment. What if this "friend" was given the opportunity to screw you over, in exchange she moves forward (I know this is hard to define - but it's just an example so humor me...)?

Would you be able to trust your "friend" not to screw you over?!

I "dropped" a lot of guy friends - because they were having women on the side. It's not that I am very religious, it's more that I am very moral.

I don't know if I would want to be "friends" with someone who "openly admits he/she cheats"... As a viable strategy...

Sorry I'm biased... I know plenty of people that are "good" and yet they are willing to "screw over a friend - to get ahead". You'd be surprise on how people can be when "forced to choose between their job and their friends". Won't delve into more details - but it happens. Sad but true.

Soulfinger
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questccg wrote:The problem is

questccg wrote:
The problem is what happens when you catch someone? Does the game end? Because you can't be certain how many times a "habitual" cheater has actually cheated during a game.

@Soulfinger: Please don't tell me you married her?! Just a joke! LOL :P

Out of all of my female friends, I only married one, whom I generally refer to as my wife. I'm not cagey in that way. This is a mutual friend of my wife and me, and the wife of one of my best friends.

We had a good laugh about it, expressed our attitudes about how a friendly game works, and that was that. I don't care how much people cheat, because I always win. Everyone teams up against me just to have a chance. It's just a game though, so I still trust her with my life and that of my children. Your equation of shrewdness and amorality is way off-base. This obviously isn't the place for me to psychoanalyze my friend, but to keep it simple, you jumped to a lot of conclusions based on what equates to cultural differences. Cheating at a board game isn't a byproduct of being a sociopath.

Back when I used to run a 100+ player LARP, it worked out that about 10% of the players cheated. Many, like you, considered themselves not religious but moral. In most cases, the players didn't have an adequate sense of control or authority in their everyday lives. A couple were predatory narcissists. Sometimes, they were just flat out dumb or immature and gave in to childish impulses. The more transparent the attempt, the more likely it was that the player felt very clever. In almost every case, the objective was validation. Winning gave a sense of self, something we called "Prince of the City, Fry Cook at McDonalds." In-game accomplishments easily dwarfed some players' real lives. It was a problem straight out of a Jack Chick pamphlet.

questccg
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A good friend in-deed!

Soulfinger wrote:
...to keep it simple, you jumped to a lot of conclusions based on what equates to cultural differences. Cheating at a board game isn't a byproduct of being a sociopath.

Well that's good to know! I've been presented with the "option" of doing business with a person that cheated while playing my own game... I don't know if she was trying to make me "paranoid" because she ask me "Have you patented your game?" And then she went a explained that a "friend" had created card copies for one of his games after they had been damaged.

I asked her "are you going to copy the box too?" She agreed the box would be a problem, she was only thinking about the cards.

Still not certain if I can trust someone like that...

Soulfinger
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questccg wrote:Well that's

questccg wrote:
Well that's good to know! I've been presented with the "option" of doing business with a person that cheated while playing my own game... I don't know if she was trying to make me "paranoid" because she ask me "Have you patented your game?" And then she went a explained that a "friend" had created card copies for one of his games after they had been damaged.

I asked her "are you going to copy the box too?" She agreed the box would be a problem, she was only thinking about the cards.

Still not certain if I can trust someone like that...

Yeah, that's why I am a fan of non-disclosure agreements and such. They feel unnecessary until you get blindsided. It's not as though you or I are actually going to pursue legal action, but it creates a gentleman's agreement that lends a certain sense of gravity to what they are doing. Really, the people most likely to steal IP respect legality since they rarely understand how any of it actually works in practice. I feel I can rely on that.

Just last week, I found a few chapters of one of my unpublished manuscripts on Scribd. Turns out a friend I'd asked to review it had accidentally posted it (or one of his kids did, I imagine, since it's a quid pro quo site and several of his files were unexpectedly up there). I'm shopping that novel to agents soon, so the last thing I want is for it to be online. Frankly, my biggest concern is just that somebody is going to beat me to the title, because I can't believe it isn't already in use. I'd hate to find someone using it for their Twilight fan fiction. I've had a business name stolen out from under me by no less than Electronic Arts, or rather a legal contractor hired by them, so I take this stuff more seriously than most.

It's hard to protect things nowadays. One article that I wrote was copied verbatim on someone's website without any attribution, and this was from a print magazine, so it wasn't a simple cut-and-paste. I'd sold all rights, so it was more flattering, I suppose, but it would have been less so if there had been a single penny left for me to wring from it. I have kids to feed!

Still, having playtesters cheat is a bonus in my eyes. They are there to break the game, after all.

X3M
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I for one. Allow "cheating"

I for one. Allow "cheating" in my game.
All is fair in love and war.
And my game is a war that I love.

I even state from time to time in the manual: "Players may abuse some rules if they see the chance."
Like saving up all the Event Cards to make the game different. In a 3 vs 3, this goes very fast. And the team that does it has often a sharper M/S ratio in their armies.

If you don't want cheaters to act as cheaters, make some rules against them.

The Professor
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Back on topic

Squinshee,

Several games use this mechanic including Dark Moon in which one (or more members of your ship's crew is infected) while the others are not. During the course of the game, those infected are trying to destroy the ship while those unaffected are doing their best to keep everything up-and-running. You keep your rolls secret, so you don't know who's really sabotaging your efforts and who is simply suffering from bad rolls.

Cheers,
Joe

adversitygames
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X3M wrote:I for one. Allow

X3M wrote:
I for one. Allow "cheating" in my game.
All is fair in love and war.
And my game is a war that I love.

I even state from time to time in the manual: "Players may abuse some rules if they see the chance."
Like saving up all the Event Cards to make the game different. In a 3 vs 3, this goes very fast. And the team that does it has often a sharper M/S ratio in their armies.

If you don't want cheaters to act as cheaters, make some rules against them.

That's not cheating, that's exploiting.

Cheating is when you knowingly act against the rules, often including lying to the other players (in ways not made part of the game). This is a problem, and sets up the game to dissolve into chaos as the rules cease to mean anything. I don't play with cheats.

Exploiting is just getting the most of the rules as written, even if the "spirit" of the rules implies that it's wrong. I consider this the best way of playing games, especially as a playtester.

X3M
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Forgive me for my limited

Forgive me for my limited knowledge of english. Exploiting is indeed the better word. Although some would still consider it cheating in spirit of the game. I also love it to combine it with bluffing.

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