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I'm trying to design a boardgame which seems to rely on honesty of the players. (Honesty is not the theme of the game, currently, but is the side effect of the rules)

Basically, the players will throw a dice on a covered place (I'm thinking like the cover used in Godfather), and call the number against other player number - higher number wins.

The gameplay is not as simple as that, of course, but I'm stuck with the thought that there might be players that cheat - mainly: calling number higher than they've rolled.

Verifying the rolled dice by opening the cover won't work because of the design - it will reveal their skill cards, which supposed to be hidden.


My question is: is a game that relies (heavily) on player honesty is bad by design? Verifying means losing (like revealing your hands to other player)

Please note that I'm not asking for solution to my game (that's a bonus, if someone thought of one), but asking if the design just won't work.

Additional note: In my close group, people is trusted and expected to play honestly - in 7 Wonders we never check if someone does not have resources needed, or has paid the coins, etc. But that's different when playing with strangers who can (and will) lie to win.

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    Not really an answer but a comment that such games do exist. eg. Roll For The Galaxy has players rolling dice and allocating them to actions behind a screen. The game is not cheat proof as players could easily adjust a dice behind a screen. if thats 'bad design' I'll let others answer. it doesn't seem ideal but the idea of playing a game with people who would cheat to win to me means just find other players. – StartPlayer Jun 21 '17 at 9:08
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    Simple answer is don't play with people who cheat. – Joe W Jun 21 '17 at 11:48
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    I'm curious as to why the dice roll itself needs to be hidden. – Becuzz Jun 21 '17 at 12:49
  • The goal of the game is to figure out the exact cards you chose. The cards give specific bonus to specific rolls. If you call a 7 on your math roll, then you must have at least 1 math card (only 1 dice). However, if you lie and call 6, no one can guess that you actually have math card, giving you advantage at least for 1 turn when you lie. – Vylix Jun 21 '17 at 13:02
  • This characteristic of a game necessarily means that there will be less visible feedback when the game state changes, and that is something worth avoiding (even if you're playing with perfectly honest people). – The Chaz 2.0 Jun 29 '17 at 4:45
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It's not out of the ordinary. For example, the rules to Love Letter have a section dealing with the topic:

Honesty
A player could cheat when chosen with the Guard, or fail to discard the Countess when that player has the King or Prince in hand. We suggest that you don’t play with knaves who cheat at fun, light games.

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I believe that this is how Confusion works

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2961/confusion-espionage-and-deception-cold-war

Relying on player honesty isn't a sign of bad design. It's problematic if you aspire for your game to get a massive following like...say, Scrabble, or if you ever wanted people to put money on the game. But you should be able to rely on people being generally honest in a board game.

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    Thats not how Confusion works. In confusion a player is unaware of how there own pieces move. When they attempt a move the ask if it is allowed. The other player will answer yes or no. The key bit here is that each player marks down what they have just been told and what they have told there opponent. This information is all checkable at the end of the game so any 'cheating' would be spotted. There is one piece which you have the option of lying about but that piece is a double agent and this deception is covered by the rules. Any lying about other pieces would be picked up on. – StartPlayer Jun 22 '17 at 5:43

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