Player Elimination

Player Elimination

In games with Player Elimination, the players' game sessions can be finished without the players consent, often as a penalty for failing to achieve something.

Player Elimination determines the evaluation function for an end condition in the game in such way that the player's game session is terminated.

Example: Many arcade games finish the players' game sessions when their lives are exhausted.

Example: In Magic: The Gathering, the players whose health level drops below zero are removed completely from play, thus ending their game sessions. Here, the end condition is that the health level is below zero and the evaluation function terminates that player's game session.

Using the pattern

Player Elimination, as the name implies, requires that the players or the game system have a possibility to Eliminate other players. This consists of either the explicit goal to Eliminate other players or that the players fail in Survive goals. Overcome basic goal with Combat actions is one of the most used compounds for Player Elimination and gives rise to Conflict, but also other end conditions as basic goals are possible for determining the elimination, for example, completing Connection or Enclosure goals or the side effects of Bidding. For example in Tetris, the end condition for the game session is that there is a Connection of blocks from the bottom to the top of the game area. Player Elimination is an Individual Penalty, and quite a heavy one, for the player. In games with Team Play, the elimination of one of the team members is also a form of Shared Penalty, as the performance level of the whole team suffers from it.

Lives and Parallel Lives can be used to give the players, in one sense, additional chances in the game and at the same time have more varied Tension structure in the game. Letting eliminated players continue as Spectators allows them some compensation for not being able to play since they at least can follow the continued gameplay.

In games with Closed Economies, the use of Player Elimination may be the only way to ensure that Resources are gathered in larger and larger groups as gameplay progresses.


The risk of Player Elimination naturally raises the Tension level for the player, as the players essentially lose all their efforts and the time invested in the game if the game session is finished without their consent. Many arcade---and other games, too---base the overarching Tension and struggle in the game on Player Elimination. In these games based on the goal to Survive, the players must lose in the end anyway, and their performance is measured by how long they have been able to stay in the game, for example, by using a Score. The gameplay of Multiplayer Games with Player Elimination can force extended Downtime on eliminated players, especially if there is a possibility of Early Elimination. Player Killing is a special case of Player Elimination where there is a possibility for the players to continue their game session even after initial elimination. The Last Man Standing higher level goal is based on a player completing a Collection of goals of eliminating other players; that is, by being the last surviving player in the game instance. The same principle applies to Team Elimination, as the other team has to eliminate the players of the team. Player Elimination is also the most drastic version of Ability Losses; the player loses the ability to participate in the game.


Instantiates: Early Elimination, Conflict, Individual Penalties, Downtime, Team Elimination, Tension

Modulates: Last Man Standing, Shared Penalties, Multiplayer Games, Survive

Instantiated by: Combat, Bidding, Closed Economies, Ability Losses, Eliminate

Modulated by: Spectators, Overcome, Lives, Parallel Lives, Score, Player Killing

Potentially conflicting with: