[Next] An infected discussion on BGG


  • Wednesday folks looked at my M$ in Terraforming Mars and said wow you have a lot of money and I said yep 'cause my engine was rolling. A minute later I said wait that does seem like a lot, we checked, and I had exactly 20 too much. Game designs that prevent cheating also help catch regular good-human mistakes.
  • edited August 2019
    I don’t think the DM changing stuff is cheating. The 5e DM guide states they get to determine what happens, the rules are just suggestions really. Now I think the 5e guide is dumb, laughably bad design and socially corrosive but there you go.
  • Most posters behave from what I see.
  • edited August 2019
    I don't think "don't play with cheaters" is quite as hopeless as you make it out to be, but it can depend a lot on environment and social circles.

    Playing with strangers or a variety of people... it's true, there's not much you can do. But it's not always that hard to figure out who in your circle of gamer friends isn't interested in cheating in the first place. Chatting about gaming and your philosophy of gameplay and design can get you on the same page.

    It also helps to play games where cheating wouldn't help you; that takes a lot of the stress out of the whole thing.

    Aside from that, though, I agree: there's a huge design advantage to making games where cheating can't happen. It makes them more robust and more accessible to a wider population of gamers. I support that message! And I also agree with everything else you wrote. Great post!
  • edited August 2019
    Very often, rules or book keeping mistakes happen : unknowingly making a (reading, writing) mistake in your favour or writing down a benefit (healing, spell, equipment, etc.) you believe you didn't write at the time but no one has witnessed you didn't. Not reducing these opportunities for cheating is bad design : a good game helps the player handling the tasks it requires. However, rules redaction is an asymptotic process. Terraforming Mars designers went a long way in order to help book keeping, and they came up with some good ideas to cope with the variety of resources. The attention span of players just can't hold for that long : length is the main default of the game.

    Duplicity is a social contract and agenda thing. I am baffled that someone would cheat to win in a collaborative game. There's a spectrum, and also a place and a time, for collaboration or competition. The rules can only clarify that. However, relying on good faith in a dominantly competitive context is absurd.

    How competitive is the context of hidden dice throws in Lovecraft Letter ? Is it a GM vs player sort of game ?
  • Good points and thoughts, DeReel. I definitely think that exploring clever ways to make “mistakes” (or cheating) easier to spot and correct is a good aim for any designer.
    However, relying on good faith in a dominantly competitive context is absurd.
    This seems overly harsh, though, to me!

    When I play Chess with a good friend, I’m not afraid that they will move a piece or add a pawn to their side of the board while I’m in the bathroom.

    I’d agree that competitive games that rely on good faith limit their potential audience, though, absolutely.

    If you think about most D&D-type adventure games, they generally have a competitive component, and allow the GM or referee a lot of latitude to cheat. In other worlds, they totally rely on good faith to play! All the time. And they can be totally fun to play.

    However, there are a few balancing factors. One is that the GM or referee usually has nothing or little to gain by “winning”. That takes a lot of the pressure off.

  • edited August 2019
    Our opinions match for certain values of "dominantly". It's true that when you play chess, there's often a winner and a loser, and that could be seen as a competitive context. I would call this emulation. To me, "fierce competition" is a tautology. I think maybe I should reintegrate the norm on this matter.
  • I’d still argue that it depends a lot on the people involved. Can you have a public tournament with nothing in place to prevent cheating? Probably not, because there’s no way to prevent cheaters from joining the tournament, and just one is sufficient to ruin the entire enterprise.

    On the other hand, if I have small group of friends who get together to play Chess, and we all got together because we share a common desire to improve our skills... I’d feel pretty confident that no cheating will happen. It’s a group of people who is committed to playing as well as possible (which means do everything to can to make the best moves and to win) and there with the express purpose of getting better at the game. They know that they won’t improve at the game if they cheat, so they won’t. It would be undermining their own goals.

    There are parallels to Creative Agenda and RPGs, of course. When you’re on the same page about why you’re playing, cheating can stop being a concern.
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