Winning by Ending Gameplay

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Games which are one by achieving a required game state which ends gameplay.

A majority of games are designed so they end at some point. Those that reward a player by letting them win by doing so use a Winning by Ending Gameplay design solution (the typical other solution with winners is to end gameplay and then determine the winner).


Chess is won by checkmating one's opponent (or making him or her surrender) while Settlers of Catan ends as soon as a player can show that he or she has 10 points. Racing Games such as Formula D, Hare and Tortoise, Pachisi, and Snakes and Ladders can be seen as weak examples of Winning by Ending Gameplay since only the winner may actually have gameplay ended if the other players continue playing to see what positions they got; two-player versions of these games are however strong examples.

Many games with narratives, e.g. the Fallout series, the Half-Life series, and the Mass Effect series, end with a "victory" when the player has completed the last challenges and been told the end of the story.

Using the pattern

The design of Winning by Ending Gameplay is in practice designed a goal which ends gameplay and declares the player who reached the goal the winner. Unlike Winner determined after Gameplay Ends, Winning by Ending Gameplay can be applied both to Multiplayer Games and Single-Player Games.

General examples, to the level that they are patterns, which support Winning by Ending Gameplay is Last Man Standing, Races, and games where one wins by having a certain Score. The specific choices made regarding the pattern heavily affect how a Endgame plays out if a game has such a gameplay phase.

One design consideration that needs to be taken for the pattern is however if several players can, or should be allowed to, end gameplay simultaneously. Scores can be used as Tiebreakers if this is the case and Tied Results are unwanted.

Due to its definition, Winning by Ending Gameplay is incompatible with Unwinnable Games and Winner determined after Gameplay Ends. However, if Speedending is possible in the latter the combination of these can result in players Winning by Ending Gameplay (if they judged the game state correctly and managed to end the game instance quickly enough).

Game Termination Penalties is not typically compatible with Winning by Ending Gameplay since the latter is a Reward rather than a Penalty.


Winning by Ending Gameplay causes Game Over for players and in many cases Tension when this is close to occurring. The pattern can be used to let players have a chance of ending Time Limited Game Instances prematurely by winning, but can also be used to designate Tied Results or a Game System Player to win if no player has won when time has run out. Winning by Ending Gameplay creates Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses since who wins a game is typically the largest closure in a game instance and Winning by Ending Gameplay puts this after the end of gameplay,


Can Instantiate

Game Over, Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses, Tension

with Scores


with Time Limited Game Instances

Game System Player, Tied Results

Can Modulate

Endgame, Multiplayer Games, Single-Player Games, Time Limited Game Instances

Can Be Instantiated By

Last Man Standing, Races, Scores

Speedending together with Winner determined after Gameplay Ends

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Game Termination Penalties, Unwinnable Games, Winner determined after Gameplay Ends


New pattern created in this wiki.