Difference between revisions of "Game Termination Penalties"

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== Consequences ==
== Consequences ==
[[Game Termination Penalties]] are [[Penalties]] that result in [[Player Elimination]] and [[Game Over]] for the players affected.  
[[Game Termination Penalties]] are [[Penalties]] that result in [[Player Elimination]] and [[Game Over]] for the players affected. That one can suffer [[Game Termination Penalties]] naturally causes [[Tension]], and more so when it is more likely to happen.
== Relations ==
== Relations ==
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[[Game Over]],  
[[Game Over]],  
[[Player Elimination]]
[[Player Elimination]],
=== Can Modulate ===
=== Can Modulate ===

Latest revision as of 13:10, 26 August 2015

The penalty of having one's game session terminated while the game instance continues.

Some games don't let all players continue playing until the game instance is ended, but instead cancel their personal game sessions earlier. These cancellations are Game Termination Penalties when done as penalties for failing some action or due to being the target of certain actions.

Note: this pattern is based on the concept "Game termination punishment" by Juul[1].


Players who can't afford to pay the rent they owe in Monopoly are not allowed to play anymore. The same goes for players of Coup that lose their last role card.

Losing all one's lives or running out of time in Arcade Games like Missile Command, Pac-Man, or Sega Rally cannot continue to play. However, some (including Sega Rally but also Gauntlet) let players insert more coins to continue playing.

Having one's character die in Tabletop Roleplaying Games such as Dungeons & Dragons or Hârnmaster makes it impossible for players to continue playing. At least until they have created a new character and the game master has found a way to introduce that character.

Using the pattern

The consequence of Game Termination Penalties are pretty obvious but designing them have options regarding what causes them and details on how they can be avoided or secondary effects they can have. They are typically caused by Death Consequences or Life Penalties when one only has one Life left; in games without Lives this may instead be the effect of Energy Penalties reducing Health or some other Attributes beyond a specified threshold. The possibility of Late Arriving Players is important to consider when using Game Termination Penalties. This since if it is easy to rejoin the game, e.g. through putting in a new coin in a Gauntlet arcade machine, the Game Termination Penalties stops being one and instead being a temporary Penalty. The Penalty experienced still qualifies as a Game Termination Penalty if some time has to pass and/or players need to perform certain actions, e.g. creating new Characters in a Roleplaying Games. Likewise, the number of times players have Extra Chances or Fudged Results can influence Game Termination Penalties in the same way.

Since Winning by Ending Gameplay is a Reward rather than a Penalty, this pattern is difficult to combine with Game Termination Penalties. Likewise, Fake Game Overs can seem to be Game Termination Penalties but aren't. However, they can be used in Unwinnable Games or those who have a Winner determined after Gameplay Ends.

Narration Aspects

Some games, e.g. GURPS, open up for players to perform "dying actions" when experiencing Game Termination Penalties. While this may work against Diegetic Consistency it can support narration well and save narration structures from collapsing.


Game Termination Penalties are Penalties that result in Player Elimination and Game Over for the players affected. That one can suffer Game Termination Penalties naturally causes Tension, and more so when it is more likely to happen.


Can Instantiate

Game Over, Penalties, Player Elimination, Tension

Can Modulate

Winner determined after Gameplay Ends, Unwinnable Games

Can Be Instantiated By

Death Consequences, Energy Penalties, Life Penalties

Can Be Modulated By

Extra Chances, Fudged Results, Late Arriving Players

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Extra Chances, Fake Game Overs, Fudged Results, Late Arriving Players, Winning by Ending Gameplay


New pattern created in this wiki. However it is based on the concept "Game termination punishment" introduced by Juul[1].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Juul, J. (2009). Fear of Failing? The Many Meanings of Difficulty in Video Games. In Perron, B. & Wolf, M.J.P. (eds.): The Video Game Theory Reader 2, 2009.