<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-capture.html>Capture</a>


Capture is the goal pattern where the end result is the elimination or change of ownership of an actively resisting goal object.

The Capture is done directly by the actions performed by game elements under a player's control; thus, shooting an opponent in a first-person shooter is not an example of Capture.

Example: Go allows Capture by completely enclosing an enemy group of stones.

Example: Qix allows the player to catch computer-controlled units by enclosing them in the smaller area of the two areas that are created by outlining a path in the unmarked part of the game area.

Example: Priests in Age of Empires can convert pieces controlled by other players as their main offensive action.

Using the pattern

The prime design choice regarding Capture is to decide if the aim is to Eliminate or Gain Ownership, but can in both cases be seen as a struggle over Ownership. As Capture is most often done through the actions of a game element under a player's control, determining what game elements can be used to Capture is usually a part of defining the goal.

The game design must support some action that facilitates the Capture. In the case of Real-Time Games, this typically is Combat, Maneuvering, or Aim & Shoot promoting skills in Dexterity-Based Actions. Turn-Based Games favor the use of Puzzle Solving, and thereby Stimulated Planning, but can also make use of Investment or Bidding. The first type of game usually has the subgoal of Contact (with Qix as an example of Enclosure) while the second type of game commonly has subgoals such as Contact, Alignment, Enclosure, Configuration, and Connection.


Capture goals are very often related to Overcome goals in the Hierarchies of Goals. How they are related to each other depends primarily on their individual Reward structures and on players' tactics. Capture is often achieved by Movement but in Real-Time Games, this depends on Timing, while in Turn-Based Games, it more often is a form of Puzzle Solving, as players have to take other players or Agents actions into consideration due to Turn Taking.

Captures combined with Eliminate of game elements that are Non-Renewable Resources can quicken gameplay as fewer game elements remain and promote Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses since each element represents a greater part of players' Resources. When Capture allows Transfer of Control, this causes Preventing Goals such as Evade and can trigger retaliating Capture goals by an original owner to regain control. The control of a new game element through Capture can motivate New Abilities, possibly Privileged Abilities, to become available.


Instantiates: Combat, Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses, Transfer of Control, Gain Ownership, Timing, Movement, Preventing Goals


Instantiated by: Overcome

Modulated by: Aim & Shoot, Connection, Enclosure, Turn-Based Games, Contact, Alignment, Configuration, Evade, Puzzle Solving, Real-Time Games, Maneuvering, Turn Taking, Ownership, Eliminate

Potentially conflicting with: