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Phone call: an asymmetric 'co-opetition' game

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Joined: 02/06/2015

The theme is basically like the opening scene in the first Matrix movie, except with more people and some betrayal elements. Some group of coworkers or friends are being guided through some dangerous, randomly generated, puzzle like situation by an unknown omniscient caller.

One person plays the caller, and the rest play members of the party being guided. Each party member is trying to survive the situation with as many of their companions as possible, but will be hard pressed to do so without the caller's guidance due to hidden information . The caller knows everything about the game state and is attempting to guide certain randomly pre-selected members of the party to safety, while leading the others to their dooms. He can only communicate to the group as a whole, and only he knows which members he is supposed to save, and which members he is supposed to kill.

The caller must be clever in his guidance, in order to simultaneously lead his targets to death, and the others to safety. The party members must be discerning as to which of the callers instructions they will follow and which they will disobey in order to escape with as many surviving members as possible.

Each game will consist of multiple rounds, between each round the situation is regenerated and all eliminated players are revived. At the end of each round every surviving party member will receive a number of points proportional to the number of surviving players. The caller will receive points for each target which dies during the round, and each non-target which survives the round. After a preset number of rounds, the player with the most points wins.

What do you guys think? Has this been done before? Any feedback is appreciated.

Joined: 04/12/2015
Are they

escaping from a building or something? How will that be represented - a board?

Sounds quite interesting tho

Joined: 01/17/2011
Needs the right kind of group

The concept sounds interesting, though it's not something that I'd want to play with my regular group of friends. There's too much potential for bad blood if I told somebody, "Yes, it's safe to move forward" as they walk into a pit trap. But in the right kind of group it could be fun.

Also, I wonder how you would deal with a Caller who told people outright: "Jim, you're a target: You're on your own. Jane, you're safe: Go left." Assuming that there are enough traps to make Jim's chance of escaping through random chance very low, why would the Caller even try to disguise the identities of the PCs? If they all stick together in one group the Caller can just send them into a pit and score the points for the targets.

As it is, I think your points system will lead to degenerative behavior such as the above. But if you can adjust the points system / victory condition to incentivize the behavior that you want, I think you could have quite an interesting game.


Joined: 02/06/2015
Good point

I imagine the environment/puzzles will be represented by modular tiles, though I might go a more abstract route. I haven't really figured out the details yet.

Good point on the scoring system. Perhaps if the caller received points for saving non-targets, and killing targets, and lost points for letting targets live, and for killing non-targets. Then have the party members lose points for dying and gain points proportional to the number of survivors if they survive. Have it worked out so that if they all died the caller would lose points. That way the caller would have to be precise in with his killing in order to avoid losing points, and the party members would rarely have incentive to commit suicide since they would lose points.

Joined: 03/02/2014
I like this concept; it's an

I like this concept; it's an interesting variation of the killer Dungeon Master.

I agree that the rules have to make it such that the Caller gets no points if everyone dies or if everyone lives. He has to be selective, somehow. On the other hand, if he just gets lucky early and one of his targets dies, then he could just help everyone else to live and win. I think you should have more people who are non-targets than are targets, so if the players suspect that the Caller is winning, they might go for a suicide or two in the hopes of evening things up, again. This strategy should have a better than even chance of working.

You'd have to provide incentives for the players to split up at all, to give the Caller a chance to isolate some people. Perhaps a collapsing bridge that needs someone to hold a lever (which is in another room) to keep it from collapsing -- that sort of thing.

I'm still puzzling over how you could make the rules that prevent deviant approaches from working, but I suspect it can be done.

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