Victory condition


A rule that decides who wins the game.


Introducing a victory condition is one of the ways to manage players' goals. It's not necessary to assign a single person as a winner. In cooperative games possible results are that "everyone" or "no-one" may win the game, other options include "one loser, other winning" (Yenga and many dexterity games), or games with teams where the victory is always shared. If winning conditions are introduced it's assumed that players will be engaged in trying to win (an abstract incentive that is not automatically achieved in the context of music, see: heteronomous music).

Heteronomous Music — Music with an external conflict introduced.

If winning is a crucial design factor that initiates key dynamics of the game, the victory condition should be precise — doubts and arguments about the key element of the game are unacceptable. In modern board game design it's also customary to not allow ties as they are usually disappointing for players. Certainly music games can be much softer in that regard as players on average care less.

Types of victory condition

Victory condition might be paired with End condition (check-mate is a classical example). Gaming-wise this way the winner's satisfaction is increased although the effect might often be comparatively more negative for the loser. For music games this approach forces musically focused participants to pay attention to the result and unfortunately might encourage them to play "worse" in order to extend the game.

End Condition — A rule by which the game ends.

Victory condition might be based on point score, in which case some numbers are compared at the end of the game (for example in Go you count captured pieces and territory, although most games actually end by resigning). In such a case, introducing the hidden score keeps players engaged to the end of the game because they don't know if the victory condition is already met or not.

Victory conditions are preferable to loss conditions, as generally stressing a "you lost" message might be upsetting even to players that don't care about the score from the get-go.

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