Unsynchronized Game Sessions

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Gameplay where the beginning and end of different players' game sessions are not aligned.

Some games have players start or stop playing at noticeably different points in time. Those that do have Unsynchronized Game Sessions.


Games where players are eliminated but the games as a whole have short rounds, e.g. Coup, Counter-Strike, Roulette, Poker, and Texas Hold'em, are weak examples of Unsynchronized Game Sessions. However, the meta game of winning money in Gambling Games such as Roulette and Poker provide strong examples of this.

Tabletop Roleplaying Games such as Dungeons & Dragons and Vampire: The Masquerade often have Unsynchronized Game Sessions since players tend to come and go in campaign in these games. Similarly, Massively Multiplayer Online Games such as Eve Online and World of Warcraft have some players beginning to play the game long after others have stopped playing.

Using the pattern

Unsynchronized Game Sessions is not so much something that is typically design for as something that is an effect of other design decisions related to when players can begin or end their game sessions. This means that Unsynchronized Game Sessions can emerge from the presence of Drop-In/Drop-Out, Early Leaving Players, Late Arriving Players, Negotiable Game Sessions, Negotiable Play Sessions, Player Elimination, Possibility of Graceful Surrender, and Surrendering. All these patterns imply Multiplayer Games but this pattern does not in itself cause Unsynchronized Game Sessions. Game Over is a special case since it can exists without other players, so the pattern needs to work explicitly in a Multiplayer Game to be able to cause Unsynchronized Game Sessions. Dedicated Game Facilitators and Game Servers provide support that can allow Unsynchronized Game Sessions to exist without breaking gameplay for players.

Both Asynchronous Gameplay and Unsynchronized Game Sessions have to do with how synchronized players game sessions are but are independent of each other; this since players can have Asynchronous Gameplay but still start and end their game sessions at the same time. Correspondence Chess is an example of this with the minor exception of when players become aware of the final move.


The primary effect of Unsynchronized Game Sessions is making it difficult for player to feel Togetherness. Downtime can occur to players when Unsynchronized Game Sessions is part of a game that is used multiple times to create Meta Games and players need to wait for other players to end their ongoing game sessions.


Can Instantiate

with Meta Games


Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By

Dedicated Game Facilitators, Drop-In/Drop-Out, Early Leaving Players, Game Servers, Late Arriving Players, Negotiable Game Sessions, Negotiable Play Sessions, Player Elimination, Possibility of Graceful Surrender, Surrendering

Game Over together with Multiplayer Games

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.