Games may allow players to have influence over how the distribution of rewards or penalties is performed. This Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties may let one or a few players chose between being fair leaders or egoistic despots and can cause intense negotiation between players.
Example: the board game Junta allows the players who is El Presidente to divide the foreign aid received between players in any manner he or she chooses, regardless of any promises.
Example: the division of treasure and magic items in roleplaying games is usually a heated discussion between players based on effort and risks taken to get the loot as well as potential use of the found items.
Example: in Drachengold players find treasures but do only get to keep them if they can agree on how they should be distributed between the players within a limit amount of time.
The two main design choices regarding Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties are who affects the distribution and what restrictions to the distribution exist. The two common ways for players to be able to affect the distribution is through Privileged Abilities or through Bidding, which in the later case may require certain Resources and these Resources may influence the vote in various degrees depending on their values. Typically options when designing Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties are how to divide Shared Rewards or Shared Penalties, but also to assign Individual Penalties within a group.
Putting some restrictions on the distribution is mainly to ensure that Symmetric Resource Distribution at some level is done, or that all players receive a minimum level from the available Renewable Resources, or to make Social Status have explicit effects on gameplay. However, restrictions lessen players' Freedom of Choice and lessen the impact of Betrayal.
Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties are a form of Player Decided Results which increases players' Freedom of Choice and creates the potential for Tension. They make the process of Rewards into one where Negotiation takes place as where Betrayal of Uncommitted Alliances can take place. When the distribution or effects of the Rewards and Penalties have Imperfect Information, the tension causes by Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties is increased but the possibility of Secret Alliances emerges.
As these forms of Rewards can be Shared Rewards they are typically given after the completion of Mutual Goals or Collaborative Actions, and are most common in games with Team Play or the possibility for Dynamic Alliances.
Participating in actions affecting the events that initiate Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties is a Risk/Reward choice. First, participating in making the events occur may require Resources and risks without being compensated if it is successful and give Penalties if the events are part of Committed Goals. Second, actively working against the event occurring can significantly raise the chances of getting any Penalties if the event occurs without any chance of getting the Rewards. Being neutral lessens the risk of receiving Penalties but typically also gives little chance of receiving Rewards either. As all Player Decided Results they have few Predictable Consequences but also give players Limited Planning Abilities.
Letting players affect the distribution of Rewards and Penalties can have Balancing Effects when players in overall advantageous situations cannot benefit themselves or when mainly Penalties are assigned. When several players affect the distribution this allows them to gang up against perceived leaders and the risk of disrupting Player Balance is lessened.
When the Rewards or Penalties distributed affect Resources, the act of choosing how the distribution of Resources should be made is one of Resource Management and requires Tradeoff decisions to be made. Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties typically results in Asymmetric Resource Distribution but can promote Symmetric Resource Distribution within the subgroup of players who decided the choice of distribution.
Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties may be the effect of dividing Rewards from a Tied Results. However, the knowledge that one can have Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards & Penalties can modulate players' behaviors so that agree on reaching a Tied Result.
Instantiates: Player Decided Results, Resource Management, Dynamic Alliances, Balancing Effects, Betrayal, Tradeoffs, Freedom of Choice, Secret Alliances, Risk/Reward, Uncommitted Alliances, Tension, Symmetric Resource Distribution, Asymmetric Resource Distribution, Negotiation
Potentially conflicting with: Predictable Consequences
(C) Æliens 04/09/2009You may not copy or print any of this material without explicit permission of the author or the publisher. In case of other copyright issues, contact the author.