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Suggestions on Preventing Cheating

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Toa Lewa
Toa Lewa's picture
Joined: 10/31/2013


This is my first forum post.

I would like to see if I can get some ideas on how to prevent cheating in a game I am designing.

First, let me give some information on the game. The game is a board game with some light role playing features. Each player controls a lost dwarf who is navigating a maze of underground chambers. Each player can also spawn and control monsters to attack and kill the other player’s dwarf. Players gain points by killing monsters and collecting gold. As the point total increases, more difficult monsters start spawning, and eventually a dragon will appear. The game ends when one of two victory conditions is met.

Victory Condition 1. Kill the other player’s dwarf with your monsters.
Victory Condition 2. Navigate your dwarf out of the maze after killing the dragon.

My game uses incomplete information to simulate being lost in a maze. Each player has a hidden board that contains his or her opponent’s dwarf. Think of it like a reverse game of Battleship. Instead of being able to see your ships and have your opponent’s pieces hidden, you have no idea where you are, but you know where your opponent’s pieces are. Whenever a player wants to move, he or she tells the other player to move north, south, east, or west and the other player moves the player’s piece and will tell him or her what happens.

During a typical turn, a player will spawn monsters onto a space on the board to try and kill the other player’s dwarf. Once spawned, a monster is required to stay on the same space until it is activated and allowed to move. If the monster is in a chamber adjacent to the dwarf, the player is informed that a monster is in the vicinity.

Here is my problem. Because each player’s board is hidden and a player doesn’t know exactly where his or her dwarf and where the monsters are located, the other player can easily cheat and move a monster without activating it. This seems to be a natural consequence of the incomplete information aspect of the game, but I would like to create some kind of system that prevents the cheating if possible.

I look forward to your suggestions!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
This is what I got

So your own dwarf location is *unknown*? Even if you have a mat that is let's say 9 x 9, how do you control where the players moves and what the player encounters.

I get the *spawning* concept. But I'm not too certain about the moving concept.

Let's say my assumption is somewhat value (9 x 9 mini mat). If I go one space South, what does that do for me???

How is there any PROGRESSION? Are there walls that prevent me from going in a certain direction?

This game seems a rather *light*... How do you simulate the MAZE? If the player wants to go South and there is a wall, do you say: "You bumped into a wall!"

Okay so my ONLY idea has to do with Spawning: It always occurs ADJACENT to the player (North, South, East, West). Then you can say: "A monster is nearby..." And the player can try to attack in ONE particular direction (like a GUESS) and if he chooses WRONG, then the monster can attack the player, etc. Once a monster attacks a player - he should be made aware of the monster's position (only reasonable).

Then the player has the choice to "run away" or confront the monster... Obviously as more monsters spawn, the odds of getting BLOCKED in the maze go up... So the player can't run away for ever...

The monster will always FOLLOW the dwarf, if he chooses to move away.

To recap:

  • Spawning Monsters IMMEDIATELY around a Dwarf is the simplest solution.
  • If the player runs away, the Monster will ALWAYS be ONE square away...

The player who runs away KNOWS there is a monster 1 square away. When he gets attack he knows the POSITION (relative) of the monster... No cheating is possible with these conditions.

I think this solution KEEPS the *unknown* in terms of the maze and movement. But also is rather REAL in knowing that a Monster is following you and is NEARBY at each step...

zmobie's picture
Joined: 11/19/2008
This is probably not a

This is probably not a terribly useful comment, and for that I apologize in advance...

But, I recently purchased love letter, and in it, there are a couple of rules that rely on the players telling the truth. Their solution for preventing cheating is, they tell the players not to cheat.

Sure, it seems inelegant... And with a simple game like love letter, it's pretty easy to figure out if someone did cheat, but I found that little piece of the rulebook quite refreshing. It shows that they understand and trust their players. They need to actually say 'don't cheat' to just clarify that this is not a game about bluffing and lying. From there they trust that you and your friends want to have a good time with this game, and that you'll all follow the rules and have a good time.

I have also thought about this ''don't cheat" rule as an actual mechanic and feature in some of my games. What sort of cool hidden information stuff can you do in a game if you implicitly trust your players to do the right thing?

Corsaire's picture
Joined: 06/27/2013
Using Battleship as a guide,

Using Battleship as a guide, I think making things mechanically fussy can curtail cheating. If there is some sort of clicking into place, or flipping a card,tile whatever that requires telling motions. An opponent will notice those. I think the desire to have people keep playing with you and the motivation to enjoy a game counters a lot of cheating. My seven year old tried to cheat at a game and we spotted it and my wife and I stopped playing the game immediately and refused to play any games with him for a week.

Toa Lewa
Toa Lewa's picture
Joined: 10/31/2013
Your on the right track, and

Your on the right track, and I like your idea about monsters spawning adjacent to the dwarf.

So your own dwarf location is *unknown*? Even if you have a mat that is let's say 9 x 9, how do you control where the players moves and what the player encounters.

I'm sorry if I was a little vague in my post. You are correct, your dwarf location is unknown to you, and the actual dwarf piece is located on the other player's board. When you move, you tell the other player the direction you are moving, and he or she moves your piece. After movement, your opponent will then give you any necessary information about the chamber you are in (i.e. adjacent monsters, treasure in chamber, monsters in chamber, etc.)

How do you simulate the MAZE? If the player wants to go South and there is a wall, do you say: "You bumped into a wall!"

Actually, there are only a few instances where you can bump into a wall. The maze simulation comes in the way that the chambers are connected. I am not using a typical grid where each square is connected to the adjacent square. Chambers can warp around in weird directions. For example, you may be able to get to the same chamber by going north or south. I don't know if you have ever played a text based game, but my maze is similar to the maze of twisty little passages in Zork or Colossal Cave Adventure. It's also modular, and the maze will be different every time.

How is there any PROGRESSION?

As the player moves around the cave, they will literally start creating a map to figure out where they have been before. As you explore the cave, and learn where chambers are located, you can navigate the maze much more safely (some chambers will contain pits, traps, and other hazards). In addition, progression also comes from leveling up by killing monsters and by gaining armor and treasures.

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