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I have created a card game in which one of the mechanics relies a lot on trust, and would be very easily cheated.

The game is played in 5 rounds, and has a total of 15 tokens to spread as you wish through these rounds. The amount of tokens selected needs to be private until both players reveal them at the same time.

Knowing how many tokens your opponent uses would allow you to either let them waste their tokens, or make you win the round.

What would be the best method to prevent cheating?

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    I'm pretty sure, but you never said it explicitly: each round, everyone is simultaneously choosing a number of tokens to use? – Cascabel Jun 15 '15 at 16:00
  • That is correct. The tokens are decided at the same time. – Terry Jun 15 '15 at 16:04
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    You should assume that people are going to be mature because they probably will be. – Dallin Jun 15 '15 at 16:10
  • How are people going to cheat? Can you provide examples given how much of the design you've completed? We can guess what you mean, but better if you simply show us how someone might cheat by telling us more about the points that could be exploited. At first glance, giving each a set of cards numbered 0 through max-bet would see the obvious first pass. – Joey Jun 15 '15 at 17:17
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    @Dalling- I thought about that, but i've seen people cheat at everything. – Terry Jun 15 '15 at 20:02
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You simply need a mechanic that makes it impossible for a player to see the other players' token counts until they are all simultaneously revealed. There are quite a few ways to do this, so you have the freedom to choose something that fits with the theme of your game.

  • Many games (ex: Robo Rally, The Resistance) use cards for this mechanic. It is one of the simpler methods. Each player puts a card face down in front of them, and removes his or her hand from the card to show that the decision is final. All players then reveal their cards simultaneously. The cards can either be discarded or returned to hand based on the rules of your game.

  • A single token or tokens that can represent multiple values could be used. For example, in Pizza Theory, each player has a 6-sided die that is use to signify their decision. The players cup their hands over the dice until they are revealed. This may not be practical for your game if each value from 0 to 15 must be possible; while you could use multiple or larger dice, it does increase the chance of a player accidentally bumping them on reveal and changing the values.

  • In games where multiple pieces of information are revealed simultaneously (rice counts in Shogun) or the pieces are impractical to hold in hand (Puzzle Strike), each player has a screen which can be used to hide their secret information until the reveal.

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  • Thanks for your answer; I will go look at our examples and check if they are suitable for my game. – Terry Jun 15 '15 at 20:03
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    @terry If you're using actual tokens you could put them in a bag and have the player hand the bag to the other person. Then when everyone's "done" the other person opens the bag and counts. I've also seen (with dice) a opaque container over the dice like a cup then the dice are revealed. +1 to this answer as it covers the concept I had in mind tho. – joedragons Jun 15 '15 at 21:04
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    Rather than a die to show the number of tokens, how about a dial? For example, the X-Wing miniatures game has players simultaneously selecting their moves by rotating a dial for each ship to the chosen move, then placing the dial face-down on the table until it's time to reveal. – ConMan Jun 16 '15 at 4:05
  • @Con - Fantastic idea. – Terry Jun 16 '15 at 7:23
  • @ConMan the dial idea is pretty cool. – Mike R Jun 17 '15 at 14:09
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This mechanic sounds like "Blind Bid auction" In a blind bid auction all players select how much they will pay, and then find out the bids. Usually the highest bid wins and pays, but sometimes there are other rules

The way most games do this is using the shield and fist method.

Money is kept behind a shield so other players don't know how much money each player has, and is not in the bid. Sometimes if there is not too much money, it is just kept in a hand.

When it is time to bid players place a certain amount on coins, including zero and hold their fist out. Once everyone has their fist out the bids are locked. At this time everyone opens their hand and shows how many coins they have in their hand.

This system works in most cases, and leaves no wiggle room for people to add coins to their closed fist.

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  • Fantastic answer, helped me a lot, but I have chosen the other answer add it fits much better with my cards. – Terry Jun 19 '15 at 13:21

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