Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

[Icehouse] Re: Breaking rules....

  • FromDavid Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateThu, 05 Apr 2007 09:36:36 -0700
> How about breaking another rule:
> "You must compete against the other players to win."
> I searched "cooperative" on the Icehouse wiki and found 2 games.
> Are there others that just aren't labeled as such?

Please check out Stacktors!, which is the first "traditional" RPG (i.e.
task resolution, granular time, one character per player) on the wiki
that uses Icehouse pieces. As such, it is mostly "cooperative," in the
sense that the players will tend to work together to overcome enemies
and challenges, while the game master will try to make challenges that
are fun without being frustrating. In a sense, the GM is a lot like a
Zendo Master: too hard and folks cry foul; too easy and folks wonder
why they bothered.

Of course, part of the fun of RPGs is that they can become competitive
at a moment's notice. There's a potential (with the right GM challenges
and scenarios) to set the players at odds with each other. Can be fun,
but it takes a mature player to "enjoy" getting stabbed in the back
over some loot or a story element.

> Is Zendo a cooperative game, or is it competitive?

I am with the others: it is on some levels, but ultimately isn't, as its
endgame drives for a "winning" Student (or a "loser" Master). It can be
quite cooperative, though, with a tweak similar to this:

"The Master may decide to come up with a VERY difficult koan and tell
the players that if any one of them guesses it then they all win. This
is more of an "us against the Master" style of game, but it fosters
much more conversation and cooperation between players. Of course, it
puts the Master in a *seemingly* competitive position; but as always,
the Master can provide more- or less-informative counters to guesses,
to steer game play." (Yeah, I'm a bit long-winded....)

> How do you make a good cooperative game?

1) Do not play to an endgame in which there is one winner & several
losers or one loser & several survivors.
2) Include elements that provide greater efficacy through combined
actions ("synergies").
3) Include "niche protection"--all players have a specialty which makes
them valuable to the whole play group.
4) Penalize play that hinders other players.

...more to come, if I can think of any that expand upon those general

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