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The goal of removing game elements from gameplay.

One of the most common goals in games is to remove game elements from play. Players that have these goals have Eliminate goals.


Chess and Stratego are Board Games which are won by succeeding with Eliminate goals, or in the case of Chess making it unavoidable. Backgammon in contrast is a weak example since even if a single opponent's piece is removed from play when taken, the piece can be brought back to the game later. The single-player puzzle game Peg Solitaire consists of eliminating all game elements from the game board save one.

The Counter-Strike series differs from many other first-person shooters in that players who are killed are eliminated for the remainder of the match.

Using the pattern

Common reasons to introduce Eliminate goals in games include making Agents into Enemies and causing Gain Ownership struggles over Territories. Eliminate goals can also be given to players to provide them with Quests. Giving Eliminate goals directed towards each member in a Team creates Team Elimination goals and this can be further encouraged through Collection goals.

Eliminate goals requires a target or targets to destroy as well as means to do so. While simply Units, Enemies, Boss Monsters, or players' Avatars might be designated as the targets, the use of Choke Points or Inaccessible Areas together with Enemies can make fulfilling the goal a necessity rather than a voluntary choice (for Choke Points, Obstacles can work instead of Enemies since their mere presence can hinder players). By their definition Destructible Objects invite players to Eliminate them since it is possible to do so. Resource Generators can also become targets to Eliminate if the Resources they create are unwanted, especially if they are Enemies; if a goal in the game is to Eliminate the Resources then the presence of Resource Generators makes that goal have Dynamic Goal Characteristics (regarding the number Resources that need to be eliminated). Struggle over Tools in Multiplayer Games can make other players into targets as well. That Enemies provide Loot or carry MacGuffins can make players more intent towards fulfilling Eliminate goals as well as being the reason why the Enemies are seen as Enemies. Given Units goals to Eliminate game elements important to players of course also makes them into Enemies and targets of Eliminate goals.

Aim & Shoot is a common solution to provide players with actions to succeed with Eliminate goals. Traps are less common but can encourage Stimulated Planning. Connection is another option, as is Consumers but none of these in themselves enable the possibility of performing the necessary actions. Bidding allows for a type of Eliminate goals that consist of making all others involved give up rather than eliminating them.

Many patterns can affect how Eliminate goals can be solved. First, Evade and Survive goals of the targets make the goals more difficult. Such Survive goals are instantiated from Eliminate goals when the targets of Eliminate goals are players or Agents (and are then also Preventing Goals); otherwise Survive goals are a way to modulate Eliminate goals.

Invulnerabilities can make the goal impossible to solve but Achilles' Heels can make this an erroneous perception of players rather than a true fact. The use of Damage system can make Eliminate goals require several different successful actions to succeed against opponents, and Factions can make Eliminate goals require the elimination of several opponents for the goal to be completed. Safe Havens makes it only possible to kill the target of Eliminate goals in certain places.


Eliminate goals give rise to Conflicts and typically Combat and goals related to Overcome opponents. It leads to attempts of Game Element Removal and/or Capture, and potentially Player Elimination and Early Elimination. Being the target of Eliminate goals also affects how players control their Avatars.

Player targets of Eliminate goals run the risk of getting Penalties if the goal are completed, and for this reason Eliminate tends to generate Preventing Goals for those targets.

If Eliminate goals are at focus for discernible period of gameplay time, they can define Extermination phases while if players are given Symmetric Goals to Eliminate each other Last Man Standing situations occur.


Can Instantiate

Capture, Combat, Conflicts, Early Elimination, Extermination, Game Element Removal, Overcome, Penalties, Player Elimination, Preventing Goals, Quests

with Agents


with Resource Generators

Dynamic Goal Characteristics

with Symmetric Goals

Last Man Standing

with Teams

Team Elimination

with Territories

Gain Ownership

Can Modulate

Avatars, Resource Generators, Units

with Collections

Team Elimination

Can Be Instantiated By

Aim & Shoot, Avatars, Boss Monsters, Destructible Objects, Enemies, Traps, Units

Choke Points together with Enemies or Obstacles

Inaccessible Areas together with Enemies

Tools together with Multiplayer Games

Can Be Modulated By

Achilles' Heels, Bidding, Connection, Consumers, Damage, Evade, Factions, Loot, MacGuffins, Safe Havens, Survive

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



An updated version of the pattern Eliminate 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.