Early Elimination

Early Elimination

There is a possibility that a player's game session may finish before the other players.

Early Elimination is usually considered to be an unwanted feature in multiplayer games with long play time, especially in the case of face to face board or card games, as the eliminated player remains outside the play for the rest of the game instance.

Example: it is possible, although quite rare, to eliminate one of the players in Magic: The Gathering in the early phases of the game instance.

Example: in Counter-Strike the players can be killed in very early phases of the game round and they remain outside the play for the rest of the round. Some configurations of Counter-Strike, however, allow the eliminated players to observe what is happening during the game.

Using the pattern

Early Elimination requires that there is Player Elimination in the first place. An easy way to introduce Early Elimination is to make the possibilities to complete Eliminate goals present from the beginning of gameplay. For example, in Counter-Strike one well-placed shot from the enemy is all it takes to Eliminate a player. The available actions do not have to instantly Eliminate players. The same can be achieved if the effects of harmful actions can be stacked or accumulated in a short time in such way that the player is taken out of the game.

Early Elimination, however, does not require that the fulfillment of Eliminate goal can take place in the early phases of the game. For example, Monopoly has Early Elimination because it is possible to Eliminate players while there is still potentially hours of remaining play time although more than an hour can already have passed. In case of Monopoly this amount of possible Downtime in social play is often far too long. The length of the possible Downtime is ultimately what matters and has different consequences depending on if the game is played in face to face situation with friends or anonymously over the net. Some of the downsides of Early Elimination can be avoided by setting known Time Limits for the game instances and letting the players modify this Time Limit according to their needs. Another way is to let the Eliminated players participate in the game in some manner, for example, as Spectators or as neutral Enemies for the rest of the players.


Early Elimination is, in one sense, just a more drastic version of Player Elimination. Early Elimination has a similar effect on Tension during the play, but in the end the concrete consequences of Early Elimination, that the player is outside the play for the rest of the game instance, in most cases reduced the heightened Tension. This effect, of course, is dependent on the average play time of each game instance. Short game instances with Early Elimination are quite similar to games with Spawning, but if the resulting Downtime for the players can be long it is worthwhile to consider carefully whether to introduce Early Elimination to the game.


Instantiates: Downtime, Tension

Modulates: Multiplayer Games

Instantiated by: Player Elimination

Modulated by: Spectators, Spawning, Time Limits

Potentially conflicting with: Spawning