<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-symmetry.html>Symmetry</a>


Symmetrical relations exist between players regarding the goals, resources, and actions they can perform.

Symmetry is a common feature in games to ensure that players have equal opportunities. In these cases, the outcome of the games are either dependent on the players' skills or Randomness, since the game system does not put any player in a favorable position.

Example: The game pieces that each player has and the setup of them are symmetrical in Chess to minimize the differences of playing one side or the other.

Example: The placement of initial settlements in Settlers of Catan is symmetrical in a fashion: the player who is first to place the first settlement is the last to place the second settlement while the player who is last to place the first settlement is the first to place the second settlement, and thereby gets to place two settlements in a row.

Using the pattern

Creating Symmetry in games mainly consists of ensuring the same abilities, Symmetric Resource Distribution, and Symmetric Goals. Conversely, Asymmetric Abilities, Asymmetric Resource Distribution, and Asymmetric Goals all hinder Symmetry as does any way of introducing Handicaps. However, games with Team Play or Orthogonal Unit Differentiation can have Symmetry on a higher level while not having it on a lower level by making sure that whatever exists for one player or team exists for the other.

Symmetry can also be used to create Outstanding Features in the Game World, or provide Configuration goals with strong Hovering Closures.


Symmetry in games can provide Player Balance and Team Balance but also provides a form of Consistent Reality Logic since it can easily be assumed by players. Although Symmetry in player relations can allow balanced starting positions, it does not in itself ensure Player Balance or Team Balance during gameplay. In fact, success can more easily become derived from skillful execution or Luck in the beginning of these games as it might be easier to judge all players' positions. In games where Randomness plays little role in the outcome, Symmetry provides a basis for showing and observing Game Mastery.

Paper-Rock-Scissors patterns provide a complex form of Symmetry between the usefulness of actions and tactics in a game.


Instantiates: Team Balance, Outstanding Features, Hovering Closures, Player Balance, Consistent Reality Logic

Modulates: Game Mastery

Instantiated by: Symmetric Resource Distribution, Paper-Rock-Scissors

Modulated by: Configuration, Orthogonal Unit Differentiation

Potentially conflicting with: Asymmetric Abilities, Handicaps, Asymmetric Resource Distribution, Orthogonal Unit Differentiation