Symmetric Resource Distribution

Symmetric Resource Distribution

The resources are distributed symmetrically and evenly among the players, that is, the players have similar access and ownership rights to the resources.

One of the requirements for players to have the same basic chances of succeeding is that they have equal access to resources, at least in games where no information about player skills is known. This Symmetric Resource Distribution eliminates one possibility for inequalities in players starting positions in games although they may exist due to differences in goals and abilities.

Example: the players have sixteen pieces each under their ownership at the start of the game of Chess, with each piece having a counterpart in the other player's setup.

Example: the players have the same amount of money and no other possessions at the start of the game of Monopoly.

Using the pattern

Symmetric Resource Distribution is easy to achieve by just providing the players the same kinds and amounts of Resources. This is usually done only in the starting phase of the game, but, for example, in the case of Budgeted Action Points the Symmetric Resources Distribution can continue throughout the game whenever Resources are produced. Symmetric Resource Distributions are likely outcomes in Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties when no players have enough individual power or the players' positions in the game are difficult to judge.

It is possible, of course, to have both Symmetric Resource Distribution and Asymmetric Resource Distribution in the game, if they govern the distribution of different kinds of Resources or within different subgroups of players. For example, in a team-oriented first-person shooter there can be Symmetric Resource Distribution between the teams but asymmetric within the teams themselves.


Symmetric Resource Distributions is an easy way to achieve at least perceived Player Balance through Symmetry and is naturally incompatible with Asymmetric Resource Distribution s. However, Symmetric Resource Distribution used together with Non-Renewable Resources in games that do not have large game state spaces may negatively affect Varied Gameplay.

If the players have access to the same types of Resources this can inhibit the incentives for Trading between the players, unless the goal of the Trading is to specialize in one type of Resource.


Instantiates: Symmetry

Modulates: Trading, Player Balance, Ownership, Resources

Instantiated by: Shared Resources, Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties

Modulated by:

Potentially conflicting with: Asymmetric Resource Distribution, Varied Gameplay, Trading