<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-collection.html>Collection</a>


The completion of several goals that together form a coherent unit.

Collection is a high-level goal requiring completion of several subgoals. Collection are common in games to give players a better sense of what goals they will have to fulfill, how they have succeeded so far, and how the goals they presently are trying to complete fit in the overall play of the game.

Example: WarioWare, Inc. is a Collection of small and quick games that have to be completed in sequence.

Example: In Decathlon, players have 10 events to complete.

Example: Pac-Man has to gobble up all the pills to finish a level. While eating each pill is a very low-level goal, the goal for each level is the Collection of all pills.

Example: In Lotto, the Collection is completed by getting matching numbers during the draw.

Using the pattern

The simplest case is to use the Collection as the end condition of the whole game, that is, to finish the Collection is to finish the game. Other possibilities are to have the completion of a Collection as part of a Hierarchy of Goals or give Rewards that give New Abilities or increase a player's Score.

Of course, the nature and characteristics of the subgoals have to be defined when designing a Collection. These goals can be of the same nature, for example Gain Ownership goals to have Ownership over several identical Pick-Ups or Eliminate goals in deathmatch games or Magic: The Gathering, but can also be of totally different nature as in WarioWare, Inc. and Decathlon. Adventure games often use Collection with different types of subgoals for progressing in the game. The player first has to travel to a castle, find the key to a treasure chest, get the magic sword from the chest, and finally kill the dragon. In these games, the sequence in which the goals are achieved is significant to ensure Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses, and usually the last goal in the sequence is an encounter with a Boss Monster. However, games using a Selectable Set of Goals to define a Collection offer players Freedom of Choice and a variety of tactics. Often after finishing one Collection, another one is offered to the player, which can be seen as an application of Dynamic Goal Characteristics.

Common instances of Collection include Last Man Standing and Configuration. Games using Last Man Standing, such as Magic: The Gathering and deathmatch games without Spawning, use Collection to achieve Team Elimination.


Achieving a Collection is done by performing Collecting actions so that players are the beneficiaries of Transfer of Control actions. A Collection is the easiest possible Hierarchy of Goals, a number of goals with an overarching goal. As Collections are Hierarchies of Goals, they allow the game progression to be structured into smaller sections and can be used to modulate Tension in Narrative Structures. Collection can be recursive so a Collection can be a subgoal of another Collection in order to create complex structures and hierarchies. The presence of a Collection makes the completion of all its subgoals into natural Save Points.


Instantiates: Transfer of Control, Team Elimination

Modulates: Narrative Structures

Instantiated by: Last Man Standing, Configuration, Collecting, Gain Ownership

Modulated by: Save Points, Pick-Ups, Ownership, Dynamic Goal Characteristics

Potentially conflicting with: