I'm trying to design a new game, where one of the key mechanics of the game is to make decisions (or let the dice make them for you). I'm trying to figure out how best to design this into a card, and make it look understandable, and not require too much space. Essentially what the players have is a decision tree, for those not familiar this would be an example:

enter image description here

I expect to have many of these tree (1 per card) and I need to figure out how to present them. I can think of two options, I can either:

  • Provide a visual representation of the Tree like above. My tree would most likely just contain numbers rather than captions on it and would have a textual section to accompany it.

  • Just provide a textual representation which for the example tree might be:

1) Is the picture clear? Yes (goto 2), No (goto 3)
2) Is there sound? Yes, No (goto 4)
3) Is the Screen Blank? Yes (goto 5), No
4) Check the mute button
5) Is there sound? Yes, No (goto 6)
6) Check power cord

So to try and keep this on topic, have you seen any other games that provide a decision basis like this and how've they accomplished it? Additionally do you think one of these is better than the other (and why)?


Freekvd raised some good questions so I'll incorporate these in:

What kind of tree complexity are you considering?: Generally I'm trying to keep them simple, sharing nodes as much as possible. Nodes would normally converge (I wouldn't really expect more than 2/3 at the same level).

Does a node always have two branches? Yes, essentially success or failure.

Do you have a maximum tree depth in mind? – A maximum of 5 items (including a terminus deep), although they tend to be quite narrow.

Here's an actual example of one of medium complexity at present:

enter image description here

  • Thinking about your question raises a lot of other questions. What kind of tree complexity are you considering? Does a node always have two branches? Do you have a maximum tree depth in mind?
    – freekvd
    Feb 15, 2016 at 8:04
  • @freekvd: great questions, I've tried to elaborate a little
    – Ian
    Feb 15, 2016 at 9:40
  • 2
    For your information, the actual example you just added is a digraph, not a tree.
    – freekvd
    Feb 15, 2016 at 13:00
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    Maybe cards are not the right medium for the amount of information density you want. You could maybe consider putting the trees in a rulebook, or at least large cards(at least as big as the ones in Dixit, or maybe even as large as race cards in Cosmic Encounter) Feb 15, 2016 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


I don't know any games that use decision trees, at least not visually. The only game I can think of that lets you manipulate rules to reach a certain goal, is .

To keep with the visual decision trees, you could use a single card per node: Cut the tree down for size, it's not making a lot of sense now

Cards could be decision nodes and terminal nodes, and you would need a starting node for each tree.

You could use concentric pie charts to visualize the type of directional graph you're describing:

enter image description here

Just start at the center and follow the labels.

  • Thanks, this is a really interesting answer. Someone suggested something like this to me once - I need to carefully consider if it would work (as each set of decision points is supposed to go together to tell a story), so I'd need to work out if the story telling aspect could be kept, spread across different cards.
    – Ian
    Feb 15, 2016 at 9:41
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    You've provided some really good alternatives so I'm going to accept as the answer. I like the 2nd idea (bit of out the box thinking). Thanks
    – Ian
    Feb 16, 2016 at 9:19

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