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Pieces of game worlds that are owned by agents of those worlds.

Games with game worlds can have struggles over these worlds as part of their gameplay. This divides the game worlds into Territories owned by different players, possibly separated by wilderness, which become resources in the competitions or rivalries between them.


Go is probably the oldest game that concerns claiming Territories as one's own.

The Civilization series and other grand strategy games such as Axis & Allies, Risk, the Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron, and Victoria series, all let players expand their domains by taking over other players' Territories. All but Axis & Allies, Risk, and the Hearts of Iron series also the colonization of "wilderness" areas.

Having control over the steadily decreasing numbers of Territories in Greed Corp is vital for winning the game.

The gameplay in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, and in many cases the Battlefield series and Team Fortress series, can be described as team battles over Territories.

Many Real-Time Strategy Games such as the Command & Conquer, Starcraft, and Warcraft series, do not use Territories even if the core gameplay in these games revolve around controlling access to resources in the game worlds.

Using the pattern

Inserting the Territories pattern in a game design requires that one provides ways of defining areas owned, how they can change, and why this is important for gameplay.

Assigning Ownership to Tiles is the typical solution for defining whom owns what part of a Game World, be it Tiles in grids of squares (e.g. the Civilization series)), grids of hexes (e.g. Greed Corp), or custom-shaped areas (e.g. Axis & Allies, Risk, and the Europa Universalis series). Go shows that the empty space between placed Tokens can define Territories and the Battlefield series than it suffices to only keep track of a few locations to structure gameplay.

The presence of Territories imply that Ownership can change and that players can have Gain Ownership goals. The reasons for these goals provide one set of design options regarding Territories.

Besides simply having certain Territories, or control over a certain percentage of all Territories as Enforced Goals, players can be motivated to seek control of parts of Game Worlds because they contain beneficial Environmental Effects, Installations, Resource Generators, Resource Locations, or otherwise are Strategic Locations.



How to Gain Ownership Investments

Interface Aspects

Ownership of Territories often need to be presented in game interfaces, or rather, in the Game Worlds themselves. This is typically done through having a colored overlay on the Game Worlds, and by being a form of Geospatial Game Widget breaks Diegetic Consistency.


Territories change Game Worlds and Levels by dividing them into the domains of the players.

Using Territories is one way of providing the Ownership pattern in games, and since very rarely the Ownership is permanent Territories also typically provide Gain Ownership goals. Being game elements that can change Ownership can make Territories into Resources, especially when they contain Resource Generators.

Territories can be used to define Abstract Player Constructs even if they relate to parts of Game Worlds since these parts are not considered part of a player's Focus Loci.


Can Instantiate

Abstract Player Constructs, Gain Ownership, Ownership, Resources

Can Modulate

Game Worlds, Levels

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By

Environmental Effects, Geospatial Game Widgets, Installations, Resource Generators, Resource Locations, Strategic Locations

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Diegetic Consistency when used together with Geospatial Game Widgets


New pattern created in this wiki.




Karl Bergström