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Strategy In Cooperative Games

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tdakanalis
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Joined: 10/20/2012

Hi everyone,

I am currently designing a post-apocalyptic coop game and I am struggling with how to strengthen the strategic thinking in the game.

My main issue is that the theme favors tactical thinking like exploration, scavenging, gathering etc. All these elements also increase the involved luck in the game.

Any ideas/direction on how strategic planning could work in a post-apocalyptic setting? Any games I could study or inspired from?

Thanks,
Themis

Corsaire
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Joined: 06/27/2013
To involve more strategy, I

To involve more strategy, I thnk you want to provide some framework. A tech tree is one way to do that. You can also push event timelines further out; so, players have like five moves to resolve a situation before it is really bad. Dead of Winter shows some of that with round event type cards and known zombie spawn rates; probably a good reference point.

In general, strategic is about lead time for planning and known quantities. For exploring and scavenging, rather than revealing as explored just place what's available on the board or provide an action of scouting that gives that information for future planning.

If you want to coax strategy, then you can provide positive goal cards like "achieve a source for water."

tdakanalis
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Joined: 10/20/2012
After some more research, I

After some more research, I have found two ways that fit the theme and can add some strategic depth.

Option 1: Cards Synergy / Combos / Engine Building

Technology/Equipment/Action Cards etc can interact in interesting ways that allow you to choose different paths to go down. For example, if you have this equipment your action card becomes more effective.

Option 2: Resource optimization

Supplies in my design are common among all players. This actually forces players to decide how to better utilize that common pool in order to deal with the threats, stay alive and complete their mission.

tdakanalis
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Joined: 10/20/2012
Corsaire wrote:To involve

Corsaire wrote:
To involve more strategy, I thnk you want to provide some framework. A tech tree is one way to do that. You can also push event timelines further out; so, players have like five moves to resolve a situation before it is really bad. Dead of Winter shows some of that with round event type cards and known zombie spawn rates; probably a good reference point.

In general, strategic is about lead time for planning and known quantities. For exploring and scavenging, rather than revealing as explored just place what's available on the board or provide an action of scouting that gives that information for future planning.

If you want to coax strategy, then you can provide positive goal cards like "achieve a source for water."

Some really good ideas here Corsaire !!!

Lowenhigh
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Joined: 03/20/2018
Hey man, fun topic

Hey man, fun topic :)

Resource scarcity is one thing I always think of when you consider post-apocalyptic themes, but have you considered the following:

Many post-apocalyptic movies have a band of misfits or heroes with a leader, and there is always someone that tends to disagree with that person's choices and try to take over the leadership position. Usually that guy ends up leading the band into captivity or getting eaten by a giant plant monster...

Relating back to games, if you're playing co-op, maybe the first player's choice of action or decision for where to travel limits the actions of other players. If you have an objective for each player that provides conflict on some level, you will make the game more fun and different than any other co-op. You win or lose together, but replicating that selfishness and irrational side of... (examples incoming)

- the guy that wants to detour to the center of the city to find his lost brother, or

- the woman that wants to get medicine for her sick child at the grocery store overrun by the biker gang instead of travel to the next town in the hope of finding a less dangerous store, or

- the dude that is older than the rest of the group and needs to stop and rest more frequently, or

- the guy that thinks you'd be better off splitting up to find resources and meeting back tomorrow.

I get excited about a game like that, because jockeying for the leadership position could provide a fun "king of the hill" mechanic that causes the players to be co-op but still compete against each other.

Just an idea.

DarkDream
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Long Term Goals

I think one of the easiest ways to add strategy in the game is to add some form of long term goals. In this particular post-apocalyptic setting you could have an overall group goal and individual player goals.

These long term goals should not be easy one that can be down with just one action but ideally multiple actions that lead up to it.

--DarkDream

the_mediocre_poet
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Joined: 04/11/2018
I'm not sure if you've

I'm not sure if you've already considered this, but it you placed a limit on much many resources can be carried by a particular character, you could add an element of resource management.

Players would then have to determine/plan out which resources are valuable and which are expendable at a particular time. They could also encounter NPCs that are willing to barter/trade one resource for another. Just spitballing.

pelle
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Joined: 08/11/2008
Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead

Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead (post apocalyptic digital game) has a few ways to learn of the locations of far away points of interest, so you can make more informed decisions about what direction to go scavenging in next instead of just randomly. Plus all sorts of different skills and parts to craft that requires that you set long-term goals about what to focus on.

Paul Ott
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Joined: 01/22/2018
Hand management seems like a

Hand management seems like a strong contender for a post-apocalyptic game.

Scavenging/exploring sometimes gives you a random hand of cards/resources, then you have to try to slowly use those to complete objectives, and to scavenge/explore again. Never quite enough, so you're slowly dying of hunger or radiation or monsters or whatever, and every card matters.

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