Mechanic #226 - Assholes and Allies|
|Posted: Jun 22, 2016|
A gaming league where promises and betrayal are part of the game.
This is a campaign system intended for multiplayer board or miniature games. Basically, you've got a group of players who are competing to win and a group of players who are helping them (or betraying them).
The major players are the only players who can win the tournament. They are the only real contestants with any incentive to win or lose. The minor players have smaller armies that cannot, themselves, win a game, but who can ally with these major players get nothing based on who wins or loser. However, they are allied to the major players and the major players can convinced them to ally with them using any means necessary.
For example, Major player Tom finds out that the next game with be against Major Bob, along with two minor players Jill and Alice. Before the match, Tom meets privately with both Jill and Alice and promises them a share of the profit. Jill agrees to ally with Tom, but Alice goes to Bob's side with a better offer. During the game, Bob and Alive battle against Tom and Jill.
About halfway through the match, Bob tells Jill that he will give her 80% of the victory pot if she betrays Tom. Tom tries to convince her to stay by offering her a better reward too, but Jill is a troublemaker and decides, then and there, to join Bob. Now Tom has to finish the battle against three opponents.
By breaking the different players into major and minor players, it creates a power imbalance. The major players have the incentive to win and the money/influence to win over allies, but the allies don't care about winning, only what the major players can offer them. The ally players also have their own power, as the major players generally can not win against three opponents, so they have the ability make deals to better their position.
The money won from each match is used to buy new units, resurrect fallen units, and buy upgrades. If a player, major or minor, keeps going for too long without money made from victory, their power will dwindle. An ally which is completely destroyed during a game doesn't have to be paid by the winner, and so could potentially be out of the tournament as a result. One valid strategy would be to pay an opponent's ally to simply sit there and do nothing.
Major and Minor players are not set in stone. A Major player could choose to become an ally if they feel they no longer have a chance at winning the tournament, or if they just really want to team up and defeat the player who betrayed them in the past. Minor players can become Major players once their armies reach a certain threshold. This means ally players who do well at winning and negotiation could ultimately come from behind to destroy those they previously helped. And finally, two ally armies can band together to create a single Major army. It's still treated as a single player as far as the tournament is concerned, but the two leaders each control only their own units (and can thus betray each other or become allies of enemies in mid-game).
All of this happens irrespective of what the game actually is that they are playing. It's a sort of campaign system designed to purposefully create the foundation for betrayals as a way to make multiple games over a long period of time into something more than just a series of one off matches. It could result in some lost friends though.
Click for Prototype Note.