1: Simultaneous Choice in Board Games


Simultaneous choice is multiple players making choices at the same time - in prediction to, not reacting, the other's decision. This mutual prediction can lead to interesting thought processes and satisfying plays. Instead of just understanding the game you also must understand your opponent and what they understand of you.. etc.

Yomi & "The Thumbs Up Game" do this remarkably well. Yomi is Rock Paper Scissors with weights - Rock is worth 10 points, Scissors 3, etc. There is some card counting and other strategy too but mostly it's RPS. Where it becomes more interesting than RPS is twofold: one, in figuring out the mindgame of who will pick what and two, cumulative score. You win in Yomi by winning enough points in the round first. So in a scenario where you've played "Rock" 3 times in a row and lost.. but you only need 10 more points to win - suddenly the stakes are very high and reading personality is critical.
"The ThumbsUp Game" is a simpler game of reading and prediction. Every player (up to N) puts their 2 hands behind their back and choose simultaneously to reveal their fists with 0, 1 or 2 thumbs up. At the same time everyone says a number outloud. If you say the number that is the number of thumbs up, you remove one of your hands from the game. When you have both hands removed, you win! The last time I played this, one of the other players & both predicted the number correctly twice together - meaning we tied the game. A quick thinking game with a delightful decision making process.

Real time is a huge arena of simultaneous choice. Every traditional athletic sports game involves simultaneous choice. 2 board games that take this in interesting directions are Set and Bughouse. Set has you pattern matching - by itself not terribly exciting.. but suddenly you are racing *everyone* involved and if they find a pattern and take the cards in its set out of the game that could throw off your pattern matching!
Bughouse is 2v2 speedchess where captured pieces go to your teammate who can drop them on the board instead of making a normal move. While your regular chess game is turn based, the evolution of your chess board directly affects the other chess board and vice-versa. My favorite board game as of writing.

Multiple blind selections: Where Yomi & The ThumbsUp game had simultaneous reveals, Kenjin has you making mostly secret plays at various positions. Some cards from your deck let you reveal enemy cards or are placed faceup on your side but the true outcome will not occur until everyone has placed all of their cards. This has an interesting effect when you see an opponent play 3 cards in one position: are they trying to overwhelm the position? Or are they all villagers, intended as a distraction? You get a couple opportunities to see opponent's cards with your own which makes for intense revelations and deduction play.

Hanabi & Prayers & Pitchforks have you not knowing your own hand. This is a little different than Simultaneous Choice but it relates to a core symptom of Simultaneous Choice: "Not knowing, but able to figure out through deduction and skill not random guessing". Hanabi has a cooperating team spend hints to identify the cards in your hand. You have to deduce from their hints weather to play or discard your cards. Prayers & Pitchforks has everyone seeing the role identity of the next player in the turn order, then spending turns voting who to eliminate or swapping role identities. With only 3 votes to kill a role, deduction becomes intense and misdirection dangerous.

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