Gameplay Mastery

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The one-sentence "definition" that should be in italics.

This pattern is a still a stub.


Left 4 Dead series


Chess Go

Poker Texas Hold'em

Street Fighter series

League of Legends Defense of the Ancients



Using the pattern

Diegetic Aspects

Interface Aspects

Narration Aspects



Speedending Construction/Scoring Phase Shift Player Augmentations Player Agency Deck Building Pre-Customized Decks Middlegame Team Development Teams Illusionary Rewards Rewards Value of Effort Trade-Offs Varied Gameplay

Instantiates: Emotional Engrossment, Empowerment, Investments

Instantiated by: Competence Areas, Perceivable Margins, Trans-Game Information, Resource Management, Rhythm-Based Actions, Overcome, Experimenting, Limited Resources, Negotiation, Predefined Goals, Timing, Risk/Reward, Smooth Learning Curves, Paper-Rock-Scissors, Betting

Modulated by: , Penalties, Asymmetric Abilities, Tournaments, Red Queen Dilemmas, Player Balance, Engrossment, Levels, Symmetry

Can Instantiate

Actor Detachment, Predictable Winner, Social Roles, Replayability, Role Fulfillment, Social Rewards

Can Modulate

Performance Uncertainty, Player/Character Skill Composites

Can Be Instantiated By

Achievements, Challenging Gameplay, Complex Gameplay, Collaborative Actions, Dexterity-Based Actions, Difficulty Levels, Enactment, Extended Actions, Flip-Flop Events, FUBAR Enjoyment, Further Player Improvement Potential, Memorizing, Multiplayer Games, Obstacles, Player Physical Prowess, Player Unpredictability, Predictable Consequences, Puzzle Solving, Real World Knowledge Advantages, Seamful Gameplay, Social Skills, Speedruns, Stimulated Planning, Storytelling, Strategic Knowledge, Tactical Planning, Vehicles

AI Players together with Difficulty Levels

Anonymous Actions together with Roleplaying

Combos together with Challenging Gameplay or Complex Gameplay

Construction together with with Combos or Emergent Gameplay

Can Be Modulated By

Clickability, Excluding Goals, Goal Achievements, Handicap Achievements, High Score Lists, Meta Games, Multiplayer Games, Public Player Statistics, Sidegrades, Spectators, Uncertainty of Outcome

Repeat Combos together with Goal Achievements or Spectators

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Auto-Aim, Balancing Effects, Challenging Gameplay, Difficulty Levels, Exaggerated Perception of Influence, Freedom of Choice, Luck, Player/Character Skill Composites, Purchasable Game Advantages, Randomness, Vision Modes

Emotional Engrossment in games with Algorithmic Agents

Player/Character Skill Composites together with Character Development or Player Balance

Player Balance in Multiplayer Games


An updated version of the pattern Gameplay Mastery 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.