One vs Many | Maven Games
I’ve played a slew of one-vs-many games recently, from comic-strip mayhem (Batman: Gotham City Chronicles) to Film Noire detective fiction (Detective: City of Angels) to the Cthulhian zombie apocalypse (The Others). I’ve always had mixed feelings about one-vs-many games. If you’re not familiar with the term, Descent is the classic example. One player plays the Overlord, who controls all the monsters and attempts to thwart the heroes’ plans. Everyone else takes on the role of heroes who forge a path through the dungeon, killing the monsters and completing the mission. Traditionally, fully co-op dungeon crawls often struggle to provide an authentic AI. You need some way to determine what the monsters will do on their turn, but a set of rules governing their behaviour (an AI) can make them feel robotic and can turn what should be a romp into an analytical morass. Allowing a player to control the bad guy gives a much more realistic opponent to fight against. So why the mixed feelings? Let me explain… I love co-op games. When Reiner Knizia‘s Lord of the Rings came out in 2000, it was a breath of fresh air, despite being rather clunky and formulaic. The idea that we...
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