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The goal to avoid being captured or hit.

Many games have dangers that need to be avoided. Evade is the goal to try and avoid these dangers, regardless if they are due to "natural" causes such as falling rocks or intentional attacks such as weapon fire.


Go gives an example of a turn-based Board Game in which Evade occurs. When playing this game, players may have groups that will be captured unless they manage to Evade an enclosure constructed by another player. Evade goals can also occur in Chess, either as "optional goals" when any piece is threatened or as enforced goals when one's king is checked.

Many Arcade Games had Evade goals as a main part of their gameplay: in Pac-Man one much avoiding ghosts while collecting the yellow dots, in Centipede one must avoid all enemies while trying to kill the centipede, in Donkey Kong barrels need to be avoided, and being hit by asteroids in Asteroids destroys one's ship.

Much of the skill in First-Person Shooters such as the Battlefield, Quake, and Unreal Tournament series consist of avoiding to be hit be enemies.

The Resident Evil series makes use of quick time event challenges to let players evade various dangers in the game.

Using the pattern

Creating Evade goals consist of providing players means of avoiding Penalties by doing Movement of Avatars, Characters, or Units. Evade differs from Conceal in that in the former Enemies may already know one's locations or Enemies may effectively be absent. One such example of absent Enemies is provided by Traps, and in this case even gameplay Movement may not be necessary if Quick Time Events are used instead. Being the target of Capture goals already imply that some type of Penalties exists and that Movement is possible (otherwise, the Capture goal would be trivial), so this pattern can be seen as a way of instantiating Evade goals. Giving Vulnerabilities or Achilles' Heels to Avatars, Characters, or Units can be seen as another way of creating Evade goals which may co-exist with other Evade goals - here the evasion is done to protect especially vulnerable areas rather than all areas. However, not all Evade goals exist at the beginning of games. Instead, they can appear as a form of Penalty due to failing with others goals, e.g. Scouting. Paradoxically, successful Scouting can allow players to succeed with Evade goals if the threat that needs to be evaded is known but isn't threatening to the players yet due to those players being undetected.

Common Penalties linked to failure of Evade goals are Ability Losses, Damage, or the loss of Lives (or Units). Evade goals can seldom be completed in themselves, with the exception of Evade goals with Time Limits, but can often be completed by achieving another goal: that of completing an Excluding Goal to whatever goals cause the actions the player is trying to Evade to be done. Examples of this include shooting Enemies that are trying to shoot one or deactivating robots trying to kill one. Besides being tied to other goals to be fulfilled, Evade goals can be Supporting Goals for Traverse and Deliver goals. Evade patterns often interact with Overcome patterns: there may be no need to succeed with Overcome goals if players can succeed with Evade goals, and vice versa. They also allow players to create tactics of offense and defense, e.g., accepting Gote or trying various gambits to acquire Sente in Go. Explicit interaction between the patterns can be designed by letting players have Evade goal until a certain other goal, e.g. Gain Ownership of a Weapon or acquiring a Power-Up, is completed, and then let them strive for an Overcome goal. This can be used to create Role Reversal patterns, as in Pac-Man where ghost move from having Capture goals to having Evade goals if the player gets hold of a power pill.

While Enemies are not necessary for Evade goals, having them present is likely to make the Evade goals more difficult. Related to this is using Aim & Shoot to determine success or failure with Evade goals but this does not necessarily need to imply the presence of Enemies. Line of Sight can also be used together with or independently of Enemies to modulate Evade goals but it is worth noting that this pattern can be used to make Evade goals both easier and more difficult. Any kind of Movement Limitations that affect players during evasion naturally makes Evade goals more difficult while Privileged Movement can make them easier (the opposite can be achieved by giving these to those with Capture goals related to the Evade goals).


Evade goals are based upon avoiding being hit or captured, and therefore naturally promote Movement in games. In Real-Time Games, this typically requires players to be proficient in Maneuvering while Puzzle Solving is often the required skill in Turn-Based Games.

Evade goals are Continuous Goals that are likely to cause Tension to those that have them due to the clear potential for Penalties if they fail. When the evasion has to be done against Agents actions, Evade goals are Preventing Goals. One such example is to avoid the Aim & Shoot or Eliminate goals of others, something which naturally make these goals more difficult. Another example is to avoid those with Capture goals - here the use of Privileged Movement for one or the other can easily make for Challenging Gameplay.

Evade goals can easily be formalized in games as Quests.


Can Instantiate

Continuous Goals, Maneuvering, Preventing Goals, Puzzle Solving, Quests, Supporting Goals, Tension

with Capture and Privileged Movement

Challenging Gameplay

with Overcome

Role Reversal, Tactical Planning

Can Modulate

Aim & Shoot, Deliver, Eliminate, Overcome, Traverse

Can Be Instantiated By

Capture, Traps

Achilles' Heels together with Avatars, Characters, or Units

Movement and Penalties together with Avatars, Characters, or Units

Vulnerabilities together with Avatars, Characters, or Units

Can Be Modulated By

Aim & Shoot, Enemies, Excluding Goals, Line of Sight, Movement Limitations, Privileged Movement, Time Limits

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



An updated version of the pattern Evade 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.