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The goal to form a relationship between game elements through proximity or by a common link to a fixture in the game world or a third game element.

Many games make goals based on having certain game elements be in direct or indirect contact with other game elements. Such goals are Connection goals.


In Hex the Connection is made by placing pieces on a hexagonal board in such a way that there is an unbroken sequence of hexes next to each other from the target side to the goal side. The gameplay in TwixT is slightly different as the played pieces are not directly next to each other but placed in "knights move" apart and connected by a line which may not be in Connection with the opposing player's lines.

Chasing games, such as Tag, are probably the best known children's games employing Connection as a basic goal.

Using the pattern

Creating Connection goals require decisions regarding which game elements need to have connection with what other game elements or parts of the Game World. Alignment and Enclosure are more specific types of Connection goals while Traverse goals can result in Connection goals being met if they relate to the same game elements. Another aspect of designing Connection goals is deciding what happens when the goal is met. One common effect is to Eliminate what is connected. Another, more uncommon, is to transfer momentum to make Herd goals possible to succeed with.

Connection goals can be made to fulfill Area Control or Capture goals, which in turn may lead to succeeding with Gain Ownership goals. If players have to choose which game element to connect to, or several players have a Race to be the first to connect to a game element, Connection goals create Incompatible Goals. Connection can also be the basis for King of the Hill goals.


Connection goals are a form of Configuration goal. The actions required to succeed with Connection goals make themselves into Progress Indicators. The presence of Connection goals in a game influences how Game Element Insertion or Movement of the related game elements are done.


Can Instantiate

Area Control, Capture, Configuration, Gain Ownership, Incompatible Goals, Progress Indicators, Races

Can Modulate

Eliminate, Game Element Insertion, Herd, Movement

Can Be Instantiated By

Alignment, Enclosure, King of the Hill, Traverse

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



An updated merger of the patterns Connection and Contact that was part of the original collection in the book Patterns in Game Design[1].


  1. Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004) Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media. ISBN1-58450-354-8.