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Opponent Picks Action/Role

5 replies [Last post]
Taavet's picture
Joined: 08/15/2008

I have been playing with the idea of using a mechanic where your opponents choose your role/actions during the round and you choose theirs. Something like:

Between options A, B, C, D, E, and F; I choose B and D then you pick which of those I get.

Or something where I choose for the player to my left, they for their left and so on until the player to my right has chosen for me.

Thematically however I am having a hard time coming up with a situation where other people choose your decisions for you? Can anyone think of other games that do this or something in nature that acts this way? Something from human society? Government, Corporate, Economics??

Thoughts? Thanks!!

Rick-Holzgrafe's picture
Joined: 07/22/2008
Your boss

Your boss or manager tells you what to do. To use this idea, each player would have to act in two capacities: as "themselves", and as someone else's boss. I think those would have to be separate roles (each player plays as two different people) so your theme doesn't have to explain a circular ring of bosses. :-)

This is an idea I've had kicking around in my own idea-bin for a while, but I haven't done anything with it. If you do, keep us posted please: I'd like to see how it works out!

deFunkt29's picture
Joined: 01/04/2011
That's an interesting idea, I

That's an interesting idea, I like it! Another option to consider could be using an "I split, you choose" mechanic, wherein a player splits the available actions into two piles, and their opponent gets to choose which pile of actions they will implement on their turn. The player who splits would then get the remaining pile of actions. This gives both players an interesting choice, and is often seen as a pretty unrepresented mechanic (but could be tougher to implement in more than 2 players).

Thematically choosing another players actions is tough for sure, but anything that involves some sort of trading or cooperation could work, you may just have to play a bit loose with the theme. Another idea could be some sort of coding or robotics, wherein one player writes the "code" (available actions) for an opponent's robot, and the opponent gets to decide which action(s) to operate from that code.

Another way of thinking about it is not that you're choosing which actions they can do, but rather that you're taking away the other options. Just about anything where you are controlling what resources the opponent has access to could fit here - in a war game this could be sabotaging their operations/supply lines or hacking their communications for example, or in an economic game this could be having a monopoly on key resources they need.

Another thought I just had is if this was for a one vs. many game, where one player is an overlord who distributes actions to the many, and they try to use those actions to defeat the overlord. Could work for a government/dystopian theme. Mind control or hypnosis could also be something?

Anyway, just some quick food for thought!

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
I think it could work like a trade

Opponents want to remove the best options.
Players want to remove the worst options.

If possible, you could make it so that removing an option costs something. Resources, moral, intelligence, or whatever fits your game.

The best and the worst options should cost the most in this regard. The best costs the most for your opponents. The worst costs the most for you, the player.

For balancing purposes, you need to be able to guess the worth of a choice in general. And simply put this value on the card. A positive/green value, and a negative/red value. A good choice will have a low green value but a high red value. After all, players will not likely remove this option, so it will be cheap. But opponents surely would love too, so red will be costly.

To make it fair, have the player remove the "worst" options first. Then the opponent will remove the "best" options. What is left, will be the options for the player to play in the game. Maybe you could even have these have a cost to play. So that 2 cheaper ones out of 3 is possible. Maybe this could have the blue colour.

Good luck with your design.
Feel free to ask, regarding this system.

Joined: 06/09/2017
i second the "i cut you

i second the "i cut you choose" method. i recommend the ludology gametek podcast episode about this (it gives some good multi player variation ideas).
i would also say its important that if someone else is choosing my actions i still need a choice of at least 2. otherwise you might as well play a game normally and just shift final scores 1 place to the left and that means everyone will be playing as badly as possible.

Taavet's picture
Joined: 08/15/2008
Great Feedback, Thanks!

I think I am in the same boat as Rick. There is no design yet just an idea kicking around that is itching for a home! LOL.

To wob's point there will definitely still have to be player control over their own game, otherwise like you said it would be fairly pointless! That's partially how I felt playing Between Two Cities. You really only control half your victory, because the other half is the player to your right, and the player to your left.

Hmm, thinking more on the red/green value options to remove best/worst makes me think of a reverse auction. Players have one currency to vote for what other players can't take, and then a currency to vote for what they want out of the remaining. Not really choosing for your opponent but another interesting idea.

Thanks again for all the feedback. I will continue to brainstorm and when that amazing game design fit pops into my brain I will for sure share. Keep up the good work everyone.

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