Chapter 8: The Balance of Chance and Skill

As children get older, the number and complexity of skill-based decisions can gradually increase, displacing some of the luck.Challenges for Game Designers

Counter-Strike and Its "Skill" Weapon

Counter-Strike is one of the biggest e-sports right now, and therefore, should also be incredibly balanced. This video features an old professional match where one player takes out the entire opposing team with the sniper rifle. The sniper rifle in Counter-Strike, the AWP, is both loved and hated for its (almost) one-shot kill mechanic -- it will even kill multiple players in a row if they line up. Is it "chance" that the other team decided to attack in the direction that the sniper rifle was covering? Was the player covering that angle just more skilled than the other team? Or, is the sniper rifle out of balance with the rest of the game?

The presence of the of the rifle begs the question: What is the line between an imbalance of chance and skill? On a philosophical level, if a skilled player becomes frustrated by elements of chance, does this line matter, or should you re-design?

Reflection and Discussion

After reading Chapter 8, what is the "right" balance? Is this an objective "right" balance, and does it match XYZ's goals of re-designing the game? How will you playtest in order to ensure there is the type of balance you are going for?

When evaluating your game for chance/skill, all students should internalize the criteria on page 112 of the text -- I will be using those statements on that page to grade certain areas of the rubric.

Further Reading

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