I’ve been poking around the forums and seeing a lot of suggestions of tapping around the “four point trap.” For those that don’t know what the four point trap is, I think that JimD sums it up nicely.
I’ve combed through the forums and compiled different ways that people have suggested or implemented for Choicescript Games. Some of these might not work as they don’t take into account thematic choices for stats, or even if the points are based on fairmath, opposing values, or flat numbers. Below are possible methods to help with making sure players don’t always just pick the biggest number:
Have two requirements instead of one. Doesn’t have to be strictly stats either, could be story choices as well.
Space out increases to stats so that inflation of points and challenges don’t scale as quickly.
Have different points lead to different consequences, or have previous decisions affect how easy or hard the challenges ahead will be.
Of the four points, pick three. One will be supremely effective, one less ideal but still doable, and one is a poor choice unless you’ve invested in that particular point. Be careful with this one, as it can lead back into the four point trap.
Instead of plain “pass or fail” situations, allow for certain degrees of success or failure. This can be effectively combined with other methods.
Instead of four points, have three, five, or some other amount of stats. As suggested by @Szaal. Be cautious with this method, as it can still lead to the four point trap of choosing only the highest number.
You can also opt for having no “points” whatsoever and be more like a gamebook. See “Sorcery! and No Points” for more elaboration.
A choice between stats leads to the choice between a secondary stat to use in compliment. Such as fighting using a Strength stat, but avoiding damage with a secondary Finesse stat.
Fallen London's Four Points
Fallen London is a online, browser choose your own text adventure that uses the stats Dangerous, Persuasive, Shadowy, and Watchful. The game balances their four point system by having multiple ways to deal with issues with varying consequences and difficulty based on the method taken. (i.e. it’s easier to case a heist from afar with Watchful, but you’ll get more details and risk if you go inside and use your Shadowy)
P.S. Fallen London levels up those four skills based on how tough a challenge is. So, if you use a high-level skill on a low level challenge, that skill doesn’t become as developed.
Making failing interesting, so the player isn’t dead outright. That way we don’t have to choose between die and die if we don’t invest in the correct points. Open Legend RPG encourages something akin to “failures with a twist,” where failures can lead to new developments in the story like hitting a pipe instead of the intended target, flooding the room with water.
A bit of an outlier, but including the apocalyptic CRPG Fallout because it’s still lingering in my head. Basically, Fallout changes the player’s interaction with characters based on intelligence. Having abysmally low intelligence unlocks “caveman speak” and options such as being able to talk to the town “idiot” with eloquence unseen by higher intelligence players.
Like I said, this one is a bit of an outlier since Fallout has the player build their essentially permanent stats upfront. But, what Fallout does is allow low stats actually give way to different options.
Sorcery! and No Points
Sorcery! is a gamebook turned choose your own text adventure game that doesn’t have a stat system that fits the four-point system. Instead it has Stamina, Gold, Equipment, and Spells, which act as expendable resources throughout the story. Combat relies on reading the enemy’s action then defending (turning all received damage into one) or attacking (dealing the difference of attack value in damage).
No need to deal with a four-point trap if there aren’t any points in the first place!
Will add on if I find some more.