Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses

Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses

Closures that occur progressively become more important as the game is played.

Having Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses is a way to ensure that gameplay can vary and continue to be exciting or challenging. The closures can become more important either because they represent the completion of more difficult challenges or because their completion has greater effect on the game state or the game story.

Example: Boss Monsters in single-player first-person shooters are classic examples of how the enemy met at the end of a level can provide a stronger closure than the earlier enemies.

Example: The first stones placed in Go are extremely important for the development of every game session but do not represent high-level closures, as their impact on the game is still uncertain. Examples of higher-level closures in Go are instead when groups become with absolute certainty dead through the opponents actions or become alive through gaining two eyes or connecting to another living group.

Using the pattern

Common ways of creating Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses are through Hierarchies of Goals, as can for example be found in Tournaments and especially in those primarily concerned with Combat or other Overcome goals. Other ways are using the same goal several times but making the consequences of succeeding or failing the goal more important each time, for example by having Non-Renewable Resources or using Balancing Effects to make important outcomes be decided near the end of game sessions. Examples of this latter way are Eliminate, Capture, Collections, and Last Man Standing goals where simply fewer goal objectives, and thereby a more Limited Set of Actions, make the closure more important.

Reuse of the same goal often requires increasing the Tension, for example, by Shrinking Game Worlds, or that completing the goals become more difficult for Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses to exist. In the latter case, the Right Level of Difficulty can be maintained if players successively also are given Empowerment within the game. A common example of the latter is introducing Boss Monsters as targets for Eliminate goals after players have had Eliminate goals for easier Enemies.

Red Queen Dilemmas by their nature create Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses, but since the changes may be incremental, the different between closures may not be perceived as large.


The primary use of Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses is to maintain Tension in games that otherwise would become repetitious. The closures can become higher-level either because of the progression of a Narrative Structure or because challenges become more difficult. As Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses changes the gameplay, having the presence of the pattern in games promotes Varied Gameplay to a certain degree.

The occurrences of Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses are usually linked to Closure Points. For example, Boss Monsters are often presented as the final challenge players have to overcome before completing a Level and the replacement of most of the game state.


Instantiates: Varied Gameplay


Instantiated by: Hierarchy of Goals, Combat, Capture, Last Man Standing, Empowerment, Balancing Effects, Narrative Structures, Closure Points, Boss Monsters, Eliminate, Non-Renewable Resources, Shrinking Game World

Modulated by: Limited Set of Actions, Overcome, Right Level of Difficulty

Potentially conflicting with: