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The reoccurring final phase in a game instance.

The Endgame is the last phase of a game instance. For games to have this they must of course have gameplay phases and it needs to be the same that typically is last, i.e. other ways game instances end must be seen as uncommon or weird.


Chess and Go are well-known classical Board Games with distinct Endgame phases. In X4 games[1] such as Master of Orion the last gameplay phase typically consists of players trying to eliminate each other. This can happen in Civilization series as well, but players may also opt for more peaceful ways to win. In the Starcraft series the Endgame is typically called "Late-Game"[2].

Several Massively Multiplayer Online Games, e.g. Dark Age of Camelot, Ultima Online, and World of Warcraft, have a distinct phase shift to an Endgame after players' have reached the maximum level with their characters. In this phase, players typically can compete against each other for Game-Based Social Statuses, work on collecting better equipment (Armor, Tools, Weapons, etc.), and completing specific Endgame quests. The last of these are specifically the result of Unlocking new gameplay content when the Endgame phase is reached, but this can be applied to any gameplay content to provide novelty to those that reach the phase.

Using the pattern

As the name implies, the Endgame comes after previous phases in a game design, typically a Startgame and a Middlegame. Since Unwinnable Games don't have ends, these two patterns are typically not compatible but the gameplay provided after reaching the maximum Character Levels in Massively Multiplayer Online Games such as Dark Age of Camelot, Ultima Online, and World of Warcraft, provide an exception. One specific types of gameplay provided only in this phase for these games is Endgame Quests.

The archetypical Endgame phase is Extermination characterized by the use of a Last Man Standing pattern, but Exploitation phases can also serve as the last phases in games. Both of these may exhibit Entrenching Gameplay and an accompanying loss of Player Unpredictability, in many cases due to Complete Resource Depletion.

Several design patterns affect Endgame phases significantly. First, a focus upon winning the game makes patterns such as Speedending, Winner determined after Gameplay Ends, and Winning by Ending Gameplay important. Construction/Scoring Phase Shift is also relevant if these types of phases exist. Predictable Winner is even more important, and if it is present opens up for the possibility of Kingmaker and Surrendering actions. This, and any presence of Player Elimination, further makes Early Leaving Players and Possibility of Graceful Surrender patterns worth to consider in Endgame phases.


That an Endgame begins is a rather high-level closure in a game instance. Likewise, that it ends and that some player may win are also high-level closures. For this reason, the presence of Endgame phases in a game guarantee that Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses exists to a certain level in the game.

Since the Endgame puts all the players' efforts so far into focus, players are likely to engage in Stimulated Planning to maximize their possibilities in this phases. This can increase the likelihood of Analysis Paralysis but also Surrendering if players can perceive that they cannot win.



Can Instantiate

Analysis Paralysis, Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses, Stimulated Planning, Surrendering

Can Modulate

Game-Based Social Statuses

Can Be Instantiated By

Complete Resource Depletion, Entrenching Gameplay, Exploitation, Extermination, Last Man Standing

Massively Multiplayer Online Games together with Character Levels

Can Be Modulated By

Construction/Scoring Phase Shift, Early Leaving Players, Endgame Quests, Kingmaker, Player Elimination, Possibility of Graceful Surrender, Predictable Winner, Speedending, Unlocking, Winner determined after Gameplay Ends, Winning by Ending Gameplay

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Player Unpredictability, Unwinnable Games


New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. Wikipedia entry for 4X games
  2. Entry for "Late-game" at the Wiki for Starcraft II at teamliquid.