Social Skills

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Gameplay where players social abilities affect how well they succeed with their actions.

While many games have strict rules for how actions are performed, others have actions where how well the actions are performed depend more on how they are perceived by other players they are interacting with. In the latter case, players' Social Skills become


Strategy Games such as Diplomacy and to a lesser degree Civilization and History of the World depend on players abilities to create alliances and potentially lure other players to trust them. Other games depending strongly on players' ability to influence each other include Intrigue and So Long Sucker. Less aggressive, Container and Settlers of Catan are examples where players' Social Skills are put to test in negotiation trades with other players.

Roleplaying Games let players enact and roleplay characters in fictive worlds, and doing this typically require Social Skills. This can be found both in tabletop version, e.g. Fiasco and Paranoia, and live action versions, e.g. Conspiracy for Good and Monitor Celestra.

Using the pattern

That a game is a Multiplayer Game is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for Social Skills to be present in a game design. The presence of Alliances, Guilds, Parties, Social Organizations, or Teams in Multiplayer Games makes Social Skills very likely to appear although not always for influencing gameplay.

Many gameplay activities in games rely on Social Skills. Cooperation or Coordination are generic activities that do so, even if players may not be performing purely social actions to display Social Skills but can do so only by playing competently. Some, e.g. Bluffing, Guilting, require Social Skills while players may have advantages in others, e.g. Betting, Bidding, Trading and being Coaches, if they have good Social Skills, and displays of them are therefore likely to occur in these activities as well. The creation of Temporary Alliances and maintenance of Uncommitted Alliances are examples of gameplay activities that rely on Social Skills. Both Enactment and Roleplaying can be done in Single-Player Games, but performing them in Multiplayer Games typically requires Social Skills. Games with Social Roles often rely on Social Skills but negotiating which players should have which role can require Social Skills as well.

Any use of Social Skills in unmediated situations can both require more requiring and be more efficient, so Unmediated Social Interaction modifies how Social Skills function in a game.

Diegetic Aspects

Diegetic Social Maintenance and Diegetic Social Norms are two patterns that require the use of Social Skills in the diegesis rather than between players. Thus, these can be used to instantiate Social Skills.


The requirement of Social Skills in a game can both be a source of Tension for players and be an area of expertise in which one can show Gameplay Mastery. Since displaying Social Skills can be appreciated for its own sake besides what gameplay effects it has, it can be a source for Social Rewards.


Can Instantiate

Gameplay Mastery, Social Rewards, Tension

Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By

Betting, Bidding, Bluffing, Coaches, Cooperation, Coordination, Diegetic Social Maintenance, Diegetic Social Norms, Enactment, Guilting, Multiplayer Games, Roleplaying, Social Roles, Trading

Alliances, Guilds, Parties, Social Organizations, or Teams together with Multiplayer Games

Can Be Modulated By

Unmediated Social Interaction

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.