Plotting Scheming Players

I was recently watching a video where several tabletop rpers were working together to create clever plans to solve their current quests. As I watched, I started to realize that I don’t recall any gamebook stories that really managed to allow the player to come up with any sort of plan of their own. In most cases troubles are solved by have a high enough intelligence stat and clicking the “intelligence stat” sounding options.

I understand why this is usually the case though. After mulling it over for a while I realized that its not exactly easy to allow for players to come up with their own plans or even really simulate it in games like these. So after giving it some thought, I decided to ask you guys. Can you think of any interesting ways coming up with plans or schemes can be successfully implemented into choice games? Have you seen any examples that stand out in existing games? Pros? Cons? Ect.

There was a non-ChoiceScript choose your own adventure game I played called 80 days, where one of the things you might encounter is a murder you have to solve.

In that situation, having higher stats meant you get more clues - but even with those extra clues it’s still up to the player to decide who the culprit was and convince the police of it. That was fun, and that’s my two cents on this.

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I think it’s possible but it would very demanding on game design. Most games it does come down to selecting your strongest stat option, with maybe a little bit of player strategy mixed in. We have seen some small examples of it, but nothing that was built around it.

The bridge battle with Hunter in Sabers of Infinity, the ending battle of Divided We Fall, the winter in XOR, Popcorn Soda Murder and there was a basketball sim WiP that sort of did this as well.

It has the cons of the choices being restricted to what gets written, the potential for a lot of continuity errors, players not understanding how it functions and getting frustrated because of it (I still haven’t got the right answer on Popcorn Soda Murder).

I think adding in that extra level of player control can be done it just requires a lot of work, testing, and time that isn’t always economical. This sort of planing on the player’s part goes beyond making a puzzle with a solution, in an ideal world you would have three ish different planing styles where the player can mix and match flawlessly to their preference. Just for one of the vignettes, it would take even more work that would compound as you did more vignettes.

On the subject of vingettes, I think there’s something to be said for writing vingettes that can be slotted in anywhere and still make sense. I am planning a few of those for the choice game I am working on.

These would probably have to be encounters with strangers to keep from introducing continuity errors with your main characters, though.