What Makes A Good (Pure) Co-Op Game?

You tell me.

Bu “you”, I mean the happy folk who particularly enjoy this style of play. As I said earlier, it’s not something I really get on with.

What would be both helpful and interesting is to know what mechanics you think work well. Much of the game is about social interaction and group dynamics, and that’s not something I can put in a box. What I can do is provide any rules which help this along. I have some ideas, but what’s more interesting is what you aficionados think works well.

Note that I’m talking about what I defined as Pure Co-op play, not Semi Co-op. As a reminder that’s:

Pure Co-op: all players on one side are working towards exactly the same goal and play as a group. Usually they either win or lose collectively, ie all win or all lose.

The distinction is important. Games where players win individually, even if they are all fighting for the same cause, are not what I’m after here.

So, rules for Pure Co-op style play. Which games and which specific rules work best for you?

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38 Responses to What Makes A Good (Pure) Co-Op Game?

  1. Arkham Horror works really well for what I want out of co-op play. As you said, the problem is that if people haven’t played before, then a lot of time is taken up as they learn the rules–me guiding them or getting annoyed at them making non-optimal choices isn’t a problem, as having other viewpoints and strategies is what makes such a game fun for me.

    I think AH works partly because even though each of us is working towards the same end goal, each player is also on their own path toward getting there. Hmm… which makes it sound more like your ideal of co-op except without the added element of competition between the players–i.e., each player/character has their own immediate goal in the game, but are fighting towards the larger shared goal (stopping the old one from rising).

  2. Mechanics? Hmm…

    Well, first of all I think the randomness needs to be effectively managed in a pure co-op. It’s one thing being defeated by your own or another player’s incompetence, but losing due to a bad run of the dice is just infuriating (in any game, but especially in a co-op, because *everyone* feels cheated). By-and-large random effects should be limited to the game’s AI and that, too should be managed.

    Most games use a deck of cards as at least part of the AI. That way the events can be ordered into “small”, “medium” and “large” impact, with the small events evenly distributed, whilst medium and large events are distributed more predictably in terms of when, in the game, they are likely to emerge. After all, there’s not much fun in running into Yog-Sothoth in the second turn before you’ve had a chance to gather any of the resources that might help you defeat her.

    Second, as you alluded to before, pure co-op games are annoying when one player ends up telling all the other players what to do (the “solo-game-by-proxy”). To that end, there needs to be a mechanic by which players are constrained from doing so. You can either be “blunt instrument” about it (“Players may not tell other players what to do”) – but that’s stupid in a co-op game and likely to cause frustration, or you can be more intelligent and design mechanics that make it more natural. For example, each turn could be played against a timer, with each player working on their own task independently each round. Good example: Space Cadets. The experienced players don’t have time to tell other players what to do, because they’re too busy doing their own thing.

    I could probably come up with some more, but that’s off the top of my head.

  3. diceplague says:

    I really like the co-op play of Gears of Wars Boardgame where you can use your cards to let the other player activate his character for free or even when it´s not your turn and you can use a card to make a specific move or action depending on what the turn owner player is doing. In GoWBg the player discarding a card really has to think about the strategy of using his card effect since the number of cards is also his life force (hit points). Sometimes you got some cool moments in play where a player has to decide to help the other(s) player(s) and sacrifice his safety or keep it safe and leave it to luck. Those rules can really add to the feeling of cooperation while keeping the strategy on the players hands. Worth a look imho.

    • PikaRapH says:

      +1 GOW really works. AI is one of the best I’ve seen. One downside : difficulty grows with the number of players, it would be best to have something equal, then players can choose to add difficulty with rules like to be killed if bleeding out and attacked by enemies. Another downside : only 3 kinds of monsters for each scenario, but this makes the game fast paced, monsters will move no matter what happens.

      DKH4 could have something like GOW : each monster has x specific cards in the AI deck that make them move, attack, heal, cast other monsters…
      There could be a mechanism to randomize a dungeon (rooms, treasures…) and to randomize monsters, how many types can be present (following the rooms selected for example) –> a way to have each time a new dungeon to crawl.

  4. hephesto says:

    I hear that, big fan of Arkham Horror & Eldritch Horror as well. Naturally a love for the source material helps, but they’re truly games where people come together to ‘fight the game’.

    It requires cooperation, but also negotiation about how to get the resources to meet challenges, which with the latest expansion for Eldritch Horror has become quite a bit tougher & more replayable. There is room for personal success, at the very least achieving things that are in line with your specific character’s background, but at the same time there is the driving force of a shared and ever looming fail or success state. Having more depth and background makes it stand out a mile from say Pandemic, which is essentially a wonderful coop as well but just doesn’t do much for me theme-wise.

    I’ve heard a lot of good about Space Alert as well, seems like a fun, fast coop with a cool scifi theme.

  5. Skraag says:

    I have more of a question than a comment. Maybe I just read it wrong, as english is not my main language. But the way you define pure co-op games seems to include games where one group of players cooperates against another player (the game master/overlord/whatever you call him). That’s not really pure co-op in my view and as I already have plenty of such games (and end up being overlord most of the time), it is not the type of game I need another one. Pure co-op games should pit all players (not just all players on one side) against a non-player controlled game mechanic. Maybe I just misinterpret your definition and you mean that anyway. I just wanted to be sure what level of co-op I can expect in DKH.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      DKH 4 is a game with two sides: the heroes and the dungeon full of monsters. One player will take the part of the Necromancer running the monsters. The other side can be run by one player or divided between 2, 3 or 4. My definition of Pure and Semi Co-op refers to the way that the heroes side is played, and has no bearing on the necromancer’s side.

      Having said that, I fully expect to be adding an AI system to control the necromancer’s side by the time the Kickstarter is over. This will then add yet another choice of mode to play with.

  6. Michael Kelley says:

    I already wrote quite a bit in my response to the last blog post, so here’s some summary and new stuff.
    My favorite co-op games:
    – space alert
    – hanabi
    – salvation road (my design, on kickstarter by year end hopefully)

    SUGGESTIONS
    1 – obfuscate the future. Whether it’s random card draws, dice rolls, or a combination, give the players randomness. This prevents the game from being a pure puzzle, or close to it. This is one reason I don’t like pandemic much any more, or flashpoint fire rescue. The randomness from turn to turn feels a bit too limited, and I can win the game in a similar way from game to game.

    2 – mitigate the luck. Everything listed above has to be somewhat predictable, so players have a chance to prepare and respond. Compare this to a competitive game. If you have an idea of the cards your opponent COULD have in his hand, you can form a strategy. But if the possibilities are endless, and his next card just says “I win,” well… Not much fun to be had there!
    Similarly, co-ops need to have fairly defined parameters to the effects of a given card or die. This was the problem highlighted by a few Eldritch Horror cards for example. Most of the cards had medium effects, but two (one azathoth-only) made you instantly lose a third of your progress in the game. You don’t want extreme results like that, hard to predict or prepare for when compared to the rest of the cards.

    3 – make the players feel individual. This is why so many co-ops have characters with disparate abilities and powers. Players in co-ops like to feel like they have a niche, a role to fill that they can excel in. Compare it to an RPG. Warrior smash, priest heal, thief sneak and lock pick, etc. knowing your part in a team helps to foster the whole cooperative dynamic. If each player can do everything at the same level, then no one knows where to go and what to focus on and it becomes easier for one player to take charge in a negative way.
    This can work with a war game as well. If you each have the chance to build your own army, specialize in something specific, you’ll enjoy taking charge of it more.

    4 – variably reward cooperation and individuality. Great co-ops walk a line between forcing players to work together, and giving them some chances to split up. Eldritch Horror sometimes achieves this, though splitting up is the better choice more often than I would like.
    If every character is forced to always be together to accomplish anything, then at least one player is left simply tagging along and not making real choices. If everyone is forced to always split up and do their own thing, you aren’t really cooperating much, are you?

    5 – offer a way to prevent an Alpha Player. I say “offer” because for a lot of play groups this is never a problem. I have five different groups blind playtesting my game right now and none have had Alpha Player issues. They give suggestions but everyone generally takes the action they think is best. However, I know some groups don’t have this dynamic, so we have added a variant to the game that puts a limit on table talk thematically without preventing discussion entirely.
    The variant is that players can only give advice to another player if one of their characters is standing in the same location. If you forget the rule, your character is assumed to be shouting and the enemies find you that much faster.
    Some games avoid this problem entirely through their core mechanics, like Hanabi, but that isn’t always possible. Our variant wouldn’t work for a lot of other co-ops like Eldritch Horror because there are too many locations to reach each other easily.
    But when possible, offer an optional variant or something. As demonstrated by the last blog post and comments, a lot of co-ops are broken for some groups because an Alpha Player insists on running the show.

  7. LexMajor says:

    Space Alert is a special kind of co-op, and the very best way I’ve found to prevent the “Alpha Player” problem. It’s just genius.

  8. Henry says:

    My group have been playing and enjoying a lot of ‘Zombies Keep Out’ recently – it’s incredibly simple to teach the mechanics of the game, so it doesn’t run into the ‘one player knows the game best’ issue – it also uses random card draws, but gives the player a choice of 3 options. Crucially though, the player drawing this ‘Terrible thing’ card is not allowed to tell the other players the options – only the one he selects, so the other players cannot dictate the game or second guess his decision.

    The players are all working together, and can discuss the best actions to take, but the terrible things add a wrinkle to the game. The social aspect is also played up with bite token mechanic, where plays have to talk progressively more like a zombie, the more tokens they get (they also lose progressively more options – trading part cards, performing certain actions, having to randomly choose their terrible thing option before drawing the card, drawing 2 terrible thing cards instead of taking an action) which adds some fun…

    It’s a pretty quick game really, but it’s held our attention quite well for a pure co op game…

  9. Maurice says:

    Michael Kelley offers some excellent suggestions leaving little to be added.

    Still some additional thoughts. Don’t worry too much about the alpha player. Co-op games are not for every one, so don’t make it less fun just to handle players who probably shouldn’t be playing co-op in the first place. Just as no rule in a competitive game is going to prevent my mother from favoring her grand children. The social aspect, the talking, working together, is one of the greatest things in co-op games. Loka has some artificially speech restrictions if you play it two to one. It makes the game less fun to play. So please don’t do that.

    As Michael already suggested, what works is unique characters with different capabilities and roles. It also helps if each player has unique knowledge, such as private cards they can use or not. And of course there must be no single best choice for each situation. You don’t need others to solve a puzzle.

    In its heart a great true co-op game is competitive in that each player can see his own contribution to the success or failure, it is just not measured and there is no individual reward for it, which makes those contributions all the better.

  10. Novajohn says:

    I’ve played a fair bit of Zombicide which plays the way you want to discuss. For me the draw is that ‘power gamers’ can be played with without you getting ROFLstomped by them. Everybody winning and losing together adds a challenge element. The whole group feels really good when they beat that hard mission that beat them 4 times in a row just before, there is more of a sense of accomplishment than if you were playing vs other players.

    Sure there may be a player with more knowledge of how the game plays and some will choose to ‘puppet master’ the other players but they can also choose to let the other players try things, win or lose on their decisions and craft better players for future games, rather than basically playing the game solo with some spectators.

    From my experience you can also lose a game of Zombicide and still have fun. “Winning isn’t everything,” if everybody is laughing along as player X pummels a zombie to death with a frying pan or stifling laughs as the power gamer with the chainsaw fails to hit a single zombie then the game did what it was supposed to do, didn’t it? People had fun. Co-op games aren’t tournament suitable (in my opinion anyway) so getting grumpy because player X ‘lost the game for everybody’ says more about your gaming attitude than about the game style.

  11. C says:

    Thanks for the discussion! I liked Myth’s “the Darkness fights back” mechanic, where the more damage the players cause (ie. the more powerful they get), the more deadly the game gets. Managing the Darkness (ie. maximizing kills and not causing indiscriminate damage) because a resource for players to manage. It’s not a critical mechanic, but most coops just make the game get tougher in some built-in way (eg. more difficult scenarios), rather than a game that adjusts itself to the players. IMO, Coops are tricky in that they have to be difficult enough to be a challenge, but still not too easy. fwiw, The Lort of the Rings CCG also used a “Darkness pool” (?) that work similarly to Myth’s Darkness mechanic.(as you played Good characters to your play area, your opponents received more Darkness points to play Bad cards against you).

    Speaking of semi-coop, though (: I liked Arkham Horror’s “Personal Stories” mechanic from the Innsmouth Horror expansion. Basically, each character had their own goals (and penalty conditions), which were sort of like side-quests in the game. The Personal Stories weren’t as disruptive as traitor mechanics, but added flavor to the individual character. Arkham Horror also had Tasks and Missions, which were more generic side-quests. I think the Personal Stories did a good job of dissuading players from following the alpha player.

    • Matt Price says:

      I’d second this. It’s a pity that just about everything else in Myth doesn’t work well (including, unfortunately, the rules – which makes researching and reading about it rather hard!), but I’d look into how the darkness works in Myth and think about whether that might work for DKH4.

  12. Jason Newell says:

    I’m not sure about what makes a good one, but I can suggest what to avoid. If the players lose, have it be for a reason, not just because they ran out of cards or something. Take a game like Forbidden Island; you lose if the island floods completely, or if one of the artifacts is unobtainable, or if one of the players drowns, or the way off the island is lost. All those are good thematic reasons for loss. But then, take Pandemic; an excellent co-operative game, but one of the loss conditions is a problem. Losing because there are too mant outbreaks to contain or one of the diseases runs out of cubes and thereby becomes too virulent to stop are fine, but losing because the deck runs out just seems artificial and too much like an arbitrary time limit.
    Make the loss conditions thematic within the game.

  13. Troy says:

    No disrespect intended, but why are *you* writing a co-op game? It’s good to expand horizons, break out of your comfort zone as a designer and all that – but it seems that the core function of this game is at odds with what you love most about gaming. Of course I’m not trying to troll you, and I appreciate you’re the man on the job.

    Back on topic; present the players with a number of simultaneous problems.
    (1) Eldritch Horror has a board too large for one player to fix everything so the players work as an international team grabbing clue tokens and closing nearby gates. You should play it once with a group and once on your own to understand the difference.
    (2) Dungeon Crawler RPGs (whether tabletop or MMO) force players to choose a party role which is dependent on others to succeed. Protector/Striker/Healer is the usual pyramid, although some games add Controller as a distinct role. The group of players are faced with simultaneous problems; who can take the damage and hold attention? / who can heal the damage being taken? / who is damaging the problem? Cooperation naturally ensues (or everyone /ragequits).

    There will always be Leeroy Jenkins and “Moar Dotz!” players but it’s not your job to police the playing table to ensure no one is a douche. Give the players problems to solve as a group and they’ll find their own way to cooperate.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Hey Troy. A good question. *I’m* writing this because I wrote the rest of the rules and am writing this new edition. Importantly, Pure Co-Op is an added bonus mode for DKH rather than its primary focus. The main styles of play are 2 player “versus” mode (like the original games), and a Semi-Co-op mode. Pure Co-op was only added because people kept asking. See my definitions from the previous post for the distinction. I’m entirely happy with writing and playing Semi Co-op, so that’s not an issue, and I’m sure I can write a Pure Co-op set too. However, I thought that it would be sensible to ask people that particularly liked that style to flag up anything that was stand-out in that area so I can add it to my research. Hence this post.

      Your last line underlines why I don’t think my personal preference is a big issue: Pure Co-op is not about adding a special set of rules, more about removing some. making the game an interesting balance and challenge for each player is something that needs to happen anyway 🙂

  14. Quirkworthy says:

    Thanks guys! Lots of great suggestions and things to consider here. Some similar things are already included with other modes, and it will be intriguing to see how much needs to be done for each style individually rather than working as a core mechanic.

  15. Nick says:

    Hi Jake,

    I just discovered your blog and your question on coops really hit a nerve. I’ve only backed coop games on kickstarter and I hoping to add DKH to that list.

    Now to your question, what makes a good coop game? This depends on the reason for wanting a coop. I can see three main reason for wanting a coop and each result in different wishes (there are probably a lot more but my imagination is limited-:))

    1) To solve the nobody want to be the overlord/gamesmaster problem. These guys are quite happy playing a 1 versus n game. They like the idea of joining together to beat another player. There’s just one problem: nobody want to play the bad guy this time. Maybe the guy who owns the game and ends up playing the bad guy every time has had enough. He just wants to be hero for a change but nobody is willing to take his place.

    What they really want is an artificial human who is ok playing the bad guy. So basically you’ve got a month of two to create the world first true A.I. to please these guys! … And oh yes, he has to laugh maniacally as well:-)

    More realistically they want the game to supply an opponent, who:
    • Behaves somewhat realistically. The guys with sword try and attack you in hand to hand contact, the guys with bows stand and shoot, etc
    • Has a variable difficulty level you can adjust. While a physical opponent can pull his punches or go all out depending the opposition. A game A.I. needs to be adjustable in difficulty.
    • Has some mechanism for changing his behavior. You don’t want your opponent to be too predictable

    As for the mechanism to achieve this A.I? I don’t think they really care, as long as it’s not too complex/time consuming: Standard responses modified by a card deck seems to be popular: Myth, the not yet released SDE. Computer games could be an inspiration? I personally think that what these guys are looking for: the computer A.I. in a boardgame.

    2) The soloist. This guy is also quite happy to play a 1 versus n game, but just has nobody to play with. Just moved away from his friends, broke his leg and can’t travel, smells so bad nobody wants to play with him, etc.

    He is looking for the same thing as type 1: a good A.I. opponent. With several additions:
    • Having all the information for playing one side still results in an interesting game. If you play all the heroes you know what each one is going to do and there’s no risk/guesswork involved. This still has to be fun
    • Playing one side needs to be manageable. Both in time as as well as in game mechanics. For example the game should not depend on players having secrets from each other.

    3) True coop. These guys are really interested in working together to win the game. Quite a few of the responses so far have been of people interested in these types of games. The fun for these guys is working together to overcome a difficulty and win as a group.

    Other have written better and in more details regarding the wishes and mechanics of these types of games in previous comments than I can. However the wishes and desires of this type of player can conflict with the wishes of the first two, especially the soloist. For a good coop it often better to have some kind of secrets from each other.

    I personally think a lot of the requests for coop games is coming from the first two types of players and driven by their experiences playing computer games and wanting a similar option for a boardgames and not a desire for a true coop.

    Regards,

    Nick

  16. Danny says:

    In terms of PvE Co-Op, I feel that it can mostly follow other game modes that will no doubt include tasty hooks for players like character advancement and mechanics that encourage team work during the course of the game, however I feel a good AI mechanic to deal with monster and traps is the most essential piece of work here. This will really make or break a game mode like this, its definitely the engine room.

    This should have monsters acting realistically (melee orientated monsters getting in close to fight and ranged monsters staying at an optimal range to shoot/magic away). Monsters should also react realistically to what the players are doing, for instance, if a ranged monster has a melee character move towards him, the ranged monster may take an action to move further away etc. Also, the monsters should not always act the same in each encounter, otherwise it would be too predictable for players.

    The AI mechanic should also cater for the increasing power levels and abilities of the characters so as the characters rise in power, so too do the monsters, or perhaps tougher types of monster become included.

    I think the best way to handle this would be a series of cards for monsters that offered several ways the monsters will react. Cards could also provide a random element to each dungeon, something that would perhaps include special abilities or effects monsters may have or perhaps slightly changing their behaviour.

    It would also be nice to have a random dungeon generator included for those times when players would prefer to play a one-off game that is not essentially tied in with a predetermined scenario or campaign. These types of game sessions are excellent for a pick-me-up-and-play session. I feel Warhammer Quest did this rather nicely with a set of cards being shuffled and including an objective room somewhere towards the bottom of the deck. Each time the players explored a new area, a random room or corridor was placed down and this would continue until somewhere near the end of the deck the objective room would be reached. This created a different dungeon each game and always kept the players in the dark about what was coming up next. It was a good concept and I think one that would be worthwhile investigating for a game like DHK 4.

  17. Jan says:

    Something which I really like is the mechanic from D-Day Dice where players can exchange dice. The basic mechanic of D-Day Dice involves each player rolling dice (simultaneously) to create sets of symbols. When certain conditions are met players can actually exchange dice between each other to help get more advantageous sets.

    For me this mechanic where each player acts as an individual, but can mechanically affect another player’s action is vital for a good coop game. Each player acting toward the greater good as individuals is not enough in my opinion.

  18. Jason G. says:

    I play a lot of pure co-op games, and there’s a number of things that make one game stand out more than others.

    1. Avoiding complete player elimination – If one player dies and there’s nothing that the rest of the group can do to bring them back into the game, it’s going to hurt overall acceptance of the game. If you look at something like “Sentinels of the Multiverse” when a player dies, they still have actions they can do (granted weak, but it’s something) that keeps them in the game and playing rather than sitting there silently waiting for the game to end so they can play something else with everyone.

    2. Minimal Downtime between players – If there’s excessive downtime between players taking actions you’re going to run into the problem with players getting bored and wandering away between their turns. If each player has to take 4 actions a turn, have each player taking 1 action each going around the table 4 times before the turn is over, as opposed to each player taking 4 actions, then the next player goes and so on.

    3. Interaction between players – You want the players to have an affect on the other players. You don’t want it to end up where every player is playing a solo game and just happens to contribute to the success of the game. Buffs to the other players, being able to intercept attacks to protect everyone else, or weakening enemies so other players do more damage are all concepts you’ll want to include.

    4. Challenging and Dynamic AI – You want the enemies to present a challenge, but not though raw power being higher than the players. When the players roll 1 dice for damage but the enemies always roll 2 it’s not much fun. A good example of a dynamic co-op AI is what Galaxy Defenders uses with their Alien cards.

  19. Jack Trowell says:

    For me, to work a pure-coop game must have some form of random and/or hidden mechanism, like rolling dice at the start of the player turn (like in the Elder sign dice game) or having a hand of cards that only you can see. Both are to prevent one player from seeing the options available for the others and de facto telling them how they should play they own turn. I know, because I am this player. Rolling dice don’t prevent me completly from this, but it prevent me from thinking on the options possible before the turn has even started.

  20. Pingback: Pure Co-Op Games Are . . . Well, Games (a Response to Jake Thornton) | The Law of Game Design

  21. Vermonter says:

    What drags co-op games down for me is predictability. Once you know the A.I. Deck, you also know what to expect, and what it’s limitations are. It’s a bit like computer game A.I. in that way – once you understand it’s behavior patterns, you out-think it easily.

    What I would like to see is a mechanic that borrows some of the randomization possibilities of Living Card Games / CCGs, etc. If at least a portion of your 60 card A.I. deck was randomly drawn from, say, a larger pool of 120 cards for each game, then you could still memorize all 120, but you’d never quite know exactly which combination you’d get in any given game. In this way co-op players could be kept in some suspense concerning what tactics their A.I. opponent will have at its disposal from game to game.

    I’m not saying that would be an easy thing to design and implement. But done well, it could ameliorate the repetitive predictability some Co-ops have.

  22. Hakon says:

    having a deck of cards determining the “opponents actions” can make the game different anytime and by having add on packs that increase the difficulty it can also lengthen the replay ability of the game. anything thing necessary to add randomness is dice being used in conjunction with the cards.
    i dislike when you need 1 person to play the bad guy, that is not a true co-op game

  23. mattadlard says:

    Biggest issue really here is that everyone has a preference, and whether its pure Co-op or V’s or AI everyone is different.

  24. Chris Gough says:

    I haven’t had a chance to read all of the above comments so I apologise if this is a repeat but an important element for me in that players can go “down but not out”. One of Zombicides’ (few) faults is that, if a player does die early on, they are out of the game. That’s not much fun (however you define it). I suggest it would be far better for a player to be incapacitated or similar with a chance to recover (perhaps with the assistance of the other players and probably suffering some form penalty for having gone “down”) than it is to be out of the game.
    Note, that is not to say it should be impossible to lose; just that the game is lost when all players are down (for example) or some other such condition is met (turn limit etc).

    • mattadlard says:

      This is something one also was considering and about to ask as well, hence previous question about henchmen and such over in DKH area, but it does raise the difficult question.

  25. Timotheous says:

    I like some mechanics from ‘Mice and Mystics’, which is an ‘everyone against the board’ game with no DM. If a player ‘dies’ they are only out of action until the current room/tile is clear, then they come back into play (aka “rescued”), but the game clock advances an extra tick (effectively making the game end one turn sooner). This prevents the problem where someone dies early and has to watch everyone else have fun, but also penalizes the players. Additionally, difficulty ratchets up in a semi-random way. If enemies roll a special symbol when attacking/defending (basically a 6 on the dice), then a token is added to a meter, when the meter fills up, then more monsters spawn (either more minions, or a boss depending on the scenario and room). This makes each room/tile less predictable and puts some pressure on the players to fight quickly. Also character abilities that affect other heroes, encouraging working together.

  26. tiborvadovan says:

    1 – Make it hard. Or at least create a difficulty scale ranging from easy to hard (but really, it should begin at hard and go all the way up to impossible).
    2 – Hidden information – makes the sure any Quirkworthys playing the game cannot so easily dictate the turn of other players 🙂
    3 – One guy loses, everyone loses. Although this can be modulated (e.g; players can be revived, a countdown begins, whatever), the idea is that no one is left out of the game (at least for long).
    4 – Smart AI – Too vague, but AI should be challenging and slightly unpredictable. But at the same time, keep it moderately simple, so that players spend most time planning their moves rather than. No complex flowcharts please….So, smart but simple! Should be a breeze, right? Good luck with that.
    5- Variability – Yeah, playing the same thing twice is bad. Since you don’t have a human opponent on the other side, you must make sure two games cannot just play in the same way if players make the same actions.
    6-Keep it pure coop – ok, i guess that’s the idea, but just ditch any temptation of including any mandatory “semi-competitive elements”. Just say no!
    7- Player interaction – Coop does not equal multiplayer solitaire. Make sure there is interaction density and options for interacting with other players.
    8- Moderate to High Complexity – Try to avoid scenarios where the best course of action can always be easily determined. Between interaction with other players and the game “environment”, there should ample possibilities available to each player in their turn.

    • PikaRapH says:

      AI from Gears Of War the boardgame is a really good one, the feeling for each monster is accurate (according to the videogame) and gives each one a specific behaviour.

  27. Quirkworthy says:

    Loads of great suggestions here. Thanks guys. I already know some of the games mentioned, and I’ll check out the others.

    🙂

  28. Pingback: Getting Along Famously |

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