<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-guard.html>Guard</a>


Guard is the goal to hinder other players or game elements from accessing a particular area in the game or a particular game element.

The nature of a Guard goal may range from simply detecting when another play is actively trying to achieve the goal, for example being within a certain prohibited area, to actively trying to preempt the other player's actions. This blocking of another player's goal may be of an ephemeral nature, e. g., standing in a doorway when there are other doorways, or it may be more permanent, such as killing the player's Avatar so the player is out of the game.

Example: The goalkeeper in Soccer must Guard the team's goal so that the ball does not enter it.

Example: Chess and Stratego are games that one loses if one fails the mission to guard a specific game element: the king in Chess and the flag in Stratego.

Using the pattern

Creating a Guard goal consists of two components: choosing the objective to be guarded and the means by which the objective can be guarded. A Guard goal may be made easier through the use of Alarms to give the Right Level of Difficulty.

The means of guarding can be divided into two main categories: passive and active. Passive actions include changing the environment, e. g., through placing Deadly Traps or Alarms, or making certain activities impossible for the other player, e. g., by occupying a space and thereby hindering the other player from entering that space, but do not affect the actual game value associated with game elements under the other player's control. Active guarding actions are those that change value of game elements, e. g., reducing hit points by attacking an intruder. Of course, passive actions can have second-order consequences that affect game elements under the other player's control, e. g., setting off an Alarm may call Guards that hurt the other player's Avatar.

To make the Guard goal more complex, some activities to defend the goal may only be performed after certain requirements have been fulfilled, e. g., an Alarm has been tripped or an Avatar or Unit has to be within a forbidden area. Typically, the distinction is between active and passive activities, before the other player has performed certain "forbidden" actions, only passive actions may be used. Another way to complicate Guard goals is to make the area that is to be guarded too large to be watched at one time and using Fog of War; forcing players to have Reconnaissance goals.

If players are free to position game elements used in the task of guarding, the positioning of them promotes Stimulated Planning and allows players to make use of Strategic Knowledge about Strategic Location s, e. g., elevated positions.

If the goals opposing the Guard goal are Optional Goals to the opponents, i. e., if they can choose to Traverse to the guarded area and Capture the guarded game element or do something completely different, the Guard goal may never be fulfilled. However, not actively trying to ensure that the Guard goal is fulfill compared to pursuing other goals is a Tradeoff to the player with the Guard goal between the perceived Risk/Reward of the different tactics.


Guard requires observation of specific areas, game elements, or players in a game and is thereby affected by how players perform Camping actions. The Guard goal is a Preventing Goal, and as such automatically gives rise to Conflict. Further, as it is only completed after there is not a chance of the guarded game element being stolen or a part of the game area entered, it is a Continuous Goal. By giving several players the same Guard goal, it can be transformed into a King of the Hill goal.

Guard goals often make those that have them feel they have Ownership over what is guarded, even though it may not be the case in either the game system or the Alternative Reality of the game.


Instantiates: Continuous Goals, Risk/Reward, Preventing Goals

Modulates: Stealth, King of the Hill

Instantiated by:

Modulated by: Deadly Traps, Strategic Knowledge, Fog of War, Rescue, Reconnaissance, Strategic Locations, Camping, Ownership

Potentially conflicting with: