Team Development

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Changes over time to teams due to changes in the game state or player skills.

Many games make use of teams. Those that let the teams change over time - for whatever reason - have Team Development.


Real world Sports such as Basketball, Ice Hockey, and Soccer have Team Development as team members gain experience from training and playing matches. Of course, recruiting new team members can provide Team Development as well. E-sports with stable teams, e.g. Counter-Strike and League of Legends have the same type of Team Development. Games where individual players control whole teams, e.g. Bloodbowl, the Football Manager series, and Hattrick, nearly always provide gameplay choices related to Team Development. This is also the case for many games in the FIFA series.

The improvements (and possibly disadvantages) that individual characters gain over time in Tabletop Roleplaying Games such as Dungeons & Dragons, GURPS, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay typically provide Team Development as players often play as members of parties.

Using the pattern

Designing for Team Development mainly consists of how Teams should be able to improve and what aspects of them can be improved. A primary influence on these choices is what the Teams consists of. In the case of Characters, any type of Character Development also causes Team Development. In Teams of players, Further Player Improvement Potential or the possibility of Gameplay Mastery instead provide means for the Teams to develop. More specifically modifying Characteristics or providing New or Improved Abilities can be used to instantiate Team Development, either on individual Characters in the Teams or on Abstract Player Constructs if they are use to describe the Teams. In games where Teams exist longer than single game instances, training members through Extra-Game Actions is another way to allow Team Development. In these cases, the introduction of Coaches can be considered to let somebody specialize in this activity as well as tactical and strategical decision making during gameplay.

Player-Planned Development can be used to let players have influence over Team Development.


Team Development lets Teams evolve over gameplay time and typically requires some type of Resource Management, and the development is often an Investment. This quite clearly leads to Abstract Player Construct Development in the cases where these Teams are Abstract Player Constructs. In games where the team members are players, this may give a feeling of Togetherness. In both cases, individual members can gain Asymmetric Abilities and Competence Areas. In games where Teams are maintained over game instances, Team Development provides Extra-Game Consequences and improving the Team as much as possible becomes a Meta Game.

Team Development affects both PvP and TvT gameplay regarding Team Balance. It can be used to both balance the powers of players within a team and balance teams against each other but this can be a fickle solution since Team Development can easily also emphasis existing imbalances.


Can Instantiate

Abstract Player Construct Development, Asymmetric Abilities, Competence Areas, Extra-Game Consequences, Investments, Meta Games, Resource Management, Togetherness

with PvP

Player Balance

with TvT

Team Balance

Can Modulate

PvP, Teams, TvT

Can Be Instantiated By

Character Development, Characteristics, Further Player Improvement Potential, Gameplay Mastery, Improved Abilities, New Abilities, or Extra-Game Actions in games with Teams

Can Be Modulated By

Coaches, Player-Planned Development

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Team Balance


An updated version of the pattern Team Development 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.