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It isnt possible to create a deterministic co op game right? Because co ops need AI/puzzles to be generated for a challenge?

If I am wrong, what game can be a deterministic co op? Which games come closest?

I was thinking stuff like Spirit Island or Orleans Invasion may be the closest? I dont think Pandemic would quite be considered deterministic though, for example, right?

Is there any sort of way to make a co op deterministic? I was thinking on this and wasnt sure it was possible or how close I could get design wise because I think it would just be a lot less interesting/fun/replayable?
 
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Deterministic games only have player driven uncertainty, whereas every coop I've seen requires hidden information as well.

I think it is an interesting constraint to limit the uncertainty in a cooperative game to being a mix of player driven and hidden information.

But if you were to take out the hidden information I'm not sure it'd be interesting. I'm having a hard time thinking of a cooperative without it.
 
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Larry L
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You might try an approach that some co-op games use, which is to limit player communication. Then the uncertainty would come from the other players.

One problem you might run into, though, is the players might feel they have solved the game. You could strive to make the game so complex that players might try and beat their earlier score, or (more easily it seems to me) make the game completely deterministic, except for a random setup.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Puzzles could be scripted and made sufficiently difficult. Like if you play coop that old solitaire gsme with marbles that jump over other marbles and the goal is to have only a single marble remaining. I never won that game. Think that is what Costukyan calls Solver's Uncertainty. Just got to figure out how to camouflage the puzzles as being more like games (they would still be puzzles... although Crawford argued somewhere something like the illusion of opposition can make a game even if it is not).

With scripted scenarios, in addition to just make it possible to have difficult non-random puzzles you can have hidden information that is static and not random, but still add uncertainty in the exact same way that a shuffled deck or dice would do (more random, as thr range of possible outcomes can be hidden from players).
 
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Michael Van Biesbrouck
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BGG might consider it to be an activity instead of a game or you might need a time limit so that players have something to compete against.

Co-op Ricochet Robots might be fun. Or you could make players try to find good solutions to problems where the finding the optimal solution is NP-complete (travelling salesman problem) or undecidable (finding the shortest program that outputs a string). Note that there isn't a metric of success if you don't have a computer find an optimal solution (a serious limitation in the third case).

A sufficiently complex deterministic procedure is indistinguishable from randomness or an opponent to players of finite computing capacity. Generally one wants to have a computer evaluate the procedure.
 
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pelni wrote:
Just got to figure out how to camouflage the puzzles as being more like games.
So basically this.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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One can absolutely enjoy a deterministic cooperative game.

Once.

If the game is deterministic, then a given set of moves will always lead to the same outcome, so once you've won once, you can win 100% of the time by just repeating whatever you did. But that doesn't mean the first win can't be interesting.

Some scenario-based games aren't really intended to be replayable anyway, so making them deterministic isn't necessarily any harm.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is fully-deterministic and scenario-based (one might debate whether it is a "game" though). Other mystery- or puzzle-based games like Chronicles of Crime or Escape Room Games are frequently deterministic.

T.I.M.E Stories is not deterministic, but it's an example of a heavily-scripted scenario-based co-op that you're not realistically going to replay anyway; a similar game probably could be made deterministic without really hurting the gameplay (in fact, it might be improved).

"Legacy" games would probably be amenable to deterministic design (though it might exacerbate the positive-feedback problem where the campaign gradually becomes easier for the players who were already winning and harder for the players who were already losing).
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David
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What I could imagine is a sort of heavily branching choose your own adventure style game.

When the player wins you remove that branch from the tree and put it into an achievement board. So the next time the game is played different paths need to be taken in order to discover the remaining victory conditions.

Replayability would still be limited to the number of victory conditions you put into the game. But that shouldn't be a problem if the number is large enough. Consider Pandemic Legacy which has "just" 12-24 plays in it and then you're done. As long as the price point reflects this and the experience is compelling this shouldn't be a problem.

You could couple this with a sort of rogue-lite meta system where you need to learn about the world first before becoming successful. (Think FTL - Faster than light or TIME Stories) The problem with such a system is that without a game master to enforce the rules it's easy to be tempted into cheating your way through. I've played a bunch of TIME stories and I liked the idea of learning about the world to make the next playthrough better. But I don't actually have the patience to redo every scenario more than once (which very rarely is sufficient). It just feels more like a chore than a game anymore.
 
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Carel Teijgeler
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NowOrNever88 wrote:
It isnt possible to create a deterministic co op game right? Because co ops need AI/puzzles to be generated for a challenge?
What makes you assume that co-ops needs puzzles to be a challenge.

I would rather see randomness as the main factor for the challenge which also increases the replayability.

Pandamic and Freedom: The Undeground Railroad have this randomness.

Making it deterministic is making it into a puzzle with a fixed solution: find the right sequence of actions to win. And after that always win taking that same route again. Does not make the game fun to play, regardless of the theme.

Drop the deteministic approach, learn to accept randomness.
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I just remembered Long Live The Queen. AFAIK the game is completely deterministic but has multiple paths to victory. But I've never played it much...
 
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I think everything that helps deal with alpha gamer issues also helps with deterministic coops:
- do not allow communication
- restrict time to decide on actions
- make the game so complex (e.g. introduce special player powers), so nobody can overlook everything

Replayability can also be increased by introducing randomness during setup, even though the rest of the game is 100% deterministic.
 
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Laura Creighton
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I'm busy this morning, or else I would do this myself but you might want to take a look at the work of Dragon Phoenix -- Games for Friends and Lovers:

https://dragonphoenixgames.com/friends-and-lovers

In addition to designing their own games, they have made 2 player co-op adaptions of existing non-co-op games.

A quick scan didn't find any that I was certain had no hidden information, but of course there are games I am not familiar with on their list.

Some of their adaptations play a lot better than others do, so if you are looking to learn how to make a co-op you could do worse than printing out the rules and playing their variants of games you already own. Often you learn a lot more from flawed things -- by figuring out what the flaw is, and what makes it a flaw than you learn from things where the blemishes are small enough that they are hard to find, or easily outweighed by the consideration that the game might not be to your taste, rather than flawed.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Kempeth wrote:
What I could imagine is a sort of heavily branching choose your own adventure style game.

Great example! There was a series of gamebooks from the 1990's called Virtual Reality that were fully deterministic, but still had a "game system". You had a character with skills, kept track of remaining life points, inventory, money etc, but you never rolled dice. The entire system was built around things like "if you have the archery skill see 123, otherwise see 456".

Those books are pretty well-known in the gamebook community and you will often see mentions of them, and some hobby gamebooks (e.g. entries for the Windhammer Prize, when that existed) that are explicitly made in that style.

One great thing about the Virtual Reality books is that I do not feel like I am cheating if I backtrack. Going back few steps to try something else is just a way to save some time compared to starting over, as you can get to the same point again anyway.

Those have pretty high re-playability actually as there are so many different branches you can explore. You could make boardgames from them same way other gamebooks have been used for paragraph-driven boardgames I guess.
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I own a number of deterministic logic puzzles sold as games. One is Rush Hour, there is also a pirate one, code something or other that behaves like Robo Rally, one with lasers and mirrors.

Any of them can be co-op by taking turns and maybe limiting communication. But as mentioned above, they only support a single playthrough but contain dozens of levels.
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anijunk wrote:
NowOrNever88 wrote:
It isnt possible to create a deterministic co op game right? Because co ops need AI/puzzles to be generated for a challenge?
What makes you assume that co-ops needs puzzles to be a challenge.

I would rather see randomness as the main factor for the challenge which also increases the replayability.

Pandamic and Freedom: The Undeground Railroad have this randomness.

Making it deterministic is making it into a puzzle with a fixed solution: find the right sequence of actions to win. And after that always win taking that same route again. Does not make the game fun to play, regardless of the theme.

Drop the deteministic approach, learn to accept randomness.

I wrote AI/Puzzles not just puzzles. AI deck = randomness obviously, as in Pandemic etc.
 
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Antistone wrote:
One can absolutely enjoy a deterministic cooperative game.

Once.

If the game is deterministic, then a given set of moves will always lead to the same outcome, so once you've won once, you can win 100% of the time by just repeating whatever you did. But that doesn't mean the first win can't be interesting.

Some scenario-based games aren't really intended to be replayable anyway, so making them deterministic isn't necessarily any harm.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is fully-deterministic and scenario-based (one might debate whether it is a "game" though). Other mystery- or puzzle-based games like Chronicles of Crime or Escape Room Games are frequently deterministic.

T.I.M.E Stories is not deterministic, but it's an example of a heavily-scripted scenario-based co-op that you're not realistically going to replay anyway; a similar game probably could be made deterministic without really hurting the gameplay (in fact, it might be improved).

"Legacy" games would probably be amenable to deterministic design (though it might exacerbate the positive-feedback problem where the campaign gradually becomes easier for the players who were already winning and harder for the players who were already losing).

Yes, that's why I mentioned Replayability being a factor. You could make great one shot experiences that are finely tuned and exact. Adding randomness makes it replayable but also removes the deterministicness.
 
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Well, I believe 1001 Odysseysis a fully cooperative fully deterministic "game." It's more of a co-operative story telling system. From what I saw at the demo I had it is fully cooperative.

Tales of the Arabian Nightsis almost deterministic. You have a deck of cards that create randomness and there are some die rolls. The die rolls could be eliminated. The deck of cards could be done away with by having some conditional selection mechanism. You could deal out cards to each location, it would be a random setup, but fully deterministic game at that point. This would allow for replay-ability.

That brings up the suggestion, that you could have set of modules that react differently and would be deterministic in and of themselves but the fully experience could be emergent. For example boss A could require an Item of type X which would normally be available by completing quest a1. But if boss B were in the game, defeating him would provide an item of type X as well. Still fully deterministic, But by mixing the modules together you could have some replay-ability.
I think Betrayal Legacycomes close to this in that you are choosing from a finite number of outcomes based on randomized setup. There is quite a bit of randomness in the resolution of haunts, but I could imagine a similar system.




 
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NowOrNever88 wrote:
It isnt possible to create a deterministic co op game right? Because co ops need AI/puzzles to be generated for a challenge?

Co-ops do not necessarily need an AI or puzzles. As other have noted.

But.

They can though benefit from some sort of randomizer to mix things up. Not necessarily an AI.

That could be something as simple as a random map layout with tiles.

HeroQuest actually pulls it off without any AI. But does need one player to handle the monsters and adventures.

Much the same with Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel where players rotate who plays the mutants. But you could play it full co-op as the layout is pretty obvious. Perhaps port in the system from the next game.

Warhammer Quest This one has a random map and enemy gen system. But the actual enemy actions do not use an AI.

And and long ago there was an obscure PNP co-op dungroncrawler that was purely deterministic. The players took turns determining what each room had in it. Traps, monsters, treasure, with a point system. And then worked to deal with these things and advance.

Then there are solo-and co-op RPGs. Some are very deterministic or even totally so to interpret an oracle system's answers. Two that come to mind are Mythic Role Playing and FU: the Free, Universal RPG.
You could apply that to a board game too.

And lastly, while not usualy co-op. There are Fighting Fantasy pick your path gamebooks. Or co-op paragraph games like Damocles Mission. Or Mice and Mystics.
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Interesting thread,

The example I would have cited is spirit island because it is complex and not deterministic but quite predictable: only two stacks of events (invaders exploration and fear cards) are drawn randomly. Now if you would allow the players to look at these stacks you would get a very complex game where players do not use much the possibility to go through these stacks but that would be purely deterministic (with a random setup for variability). The best players would find it a bit easy but it would already be quite a challenge for most players and you could always increase a bit the difficulty.

The game would not be the same but not that different (but even more planning and computation!)

So to answer the original questions, like most of the answers, I would say it is not impossible, and it would still, to my mind be a coop game. After it might in fact be less interesting if things were entirely deterministic .... but I appreciate when coop games are almost deterministic so that you can try to control the unpredictable

Nice thread anyway
 
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If "randomness only for setup" interests you, IIRC the Dresden Files cooperative game does that.


In Spirit Island, knowing the upcoming fear and invader cards is actually pretty valuable for advanced players.

The spirit Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares has an innate power whose main effect is simply to reveal fear cards that haven't been drawn yet, and I know from experience this is often a significant help. A lot of fear cards have a good chance of being "wasted" unless you know they're coming (e.g. defend effects tend to fall on lands you've already adequately defended).

The spirit Shattered Days Split the Sky in the forthcoming expansion has a power that can do something similar for the invader deck, except apparently that was considered too powerful, because after looking at the top card you have to shuffle the top 2 cards so you're not sure which is the one you just saw. (The power of this effect will partly be because of the new "isolate" effect some cards have in that expansion, but I can also say from experience without the expansion that I am often forced to hedge because I don't know the next invader card.)

In normal (non-newbie) play, there would also be some important randomness coming from the direction of the minor and major power decks.

Overall there aren't a huge number of random variables in Spirit Island, but they still have a fair bit of impact. There was a discussion thread at one point where someone asked how much harder Spirit Island would be if you had an opposing "player" who could control all the random outcomes instead of determining them randomly, and I believe the popular opinion was that this would make the game at least 3 difficulty steps harder. I was a bit skeptical of this and tried playing a game "against" myself at my usual difficulty, but I lost convincingly.
 
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For the Dresden Files the setup includes player decks from which you will sometimes draw cards. Then throughout the game you roll Fudge dice.
 
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Of course there could be co-op games that are completely deterministic once the game starts -- as long as they include a randomised set-up, they would still be playable many times.

And these do exist -- the example that I can think of is Color Wheel (I hope that's the right one).

Even a game like Legends of Andor is fairly deterministic in how the game progresses; the randomness is mainly in the specific set-up and the dice-based combat (but by having sufficiently high fight values, you can basically eliminate randomness there).
Legends of Andor is pretty puzzly, but the puzzle is different from game to game.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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mlvanbie wrote:
For the Dresden Files the setup includes player decks from which you will sometimes draw cards. Then throughout the game you roll Fudge dice.
I stand corrected.
 
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Since deterministic doesn't exclude hidden information (Stratego being a great example), you can still make co-ops with fixed non-random set-ups, although you can only play each set-up once with the same people.

 
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Kevin Salch
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Of course candy land is a deterministic competitive game that could become a cooperative game by simply having the goal of getting someone to the end.

It would not be a good game...
 
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