Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Acceptable Levels of Cheating

I'll be the first to admit that cheating really pushes my buttons. I'm not talking about crazy level cheating where players simply don't play by the rules of the game at all. I'm talking about throwing too many spells, taking too much damage, fake protectives, etc.

But Mickey turned me on to the idea of acceptable levels of cheating.

It's hard, but I'm starting to wrap my mind around it. You see, we're in an honor based game where cheating is going to happen. Sometimes people will do it accidentally because too many things are happening at once and they simply lose track. Sometimes people do it because they're afraid of loss and might cheese something to make their character seem cool.

And you know what? Who cares?

I mean, in a perfect world, we should all strive to be better at keeping track of things and we should all play by the rules. But fact is, cheaters gonna cheat. You can yell about it until you're blue in the face, but unless they're maliciously and severely cheating, noting will really come from this. So why bother?

You see, it's more fun to LARP with people than to LARP alone. Incidental cheating is kind of like the friend who has a lazy eye. They're fun to have around, if you can overlook the creepy eye thing*.

I think this is an important bit to hold on to when designing new policies. Almost any rule or policy change can be argued against by focusing on how the world will end if someone cheats a little bit. I assure you, it will happen and the world won't end. The real trick is making it so that malicious or severe cheating is either easy to spot or limited in some way.

But don't dwell on incidental cheating though. You'll never get anything done and you'll probably give yourself ulcers.

*It's cool, I've got a lazy eye so I can say whatever I want.


  1. Agree, there's probably not a lot that you can do without having an iron grip on everything and giving yourself a bad time. And I think mostly people just don't process fast enough, forget what they're at or the rule, or didn't hear/feel an attack.

    I will say that in a smaller game, it's much more noticeable, and has a bigger impact. So people who are used to getting away with doing that stuff on purpose at the 100 player game stand out a lot more in a 25 person game. Just an observation from someone who runs a small game :)

  2. how about some sort of attachment on each arm and leg, thats easy to hit off.. maybe a ball attached by velcro... once you knock it off, its a sure hit and theres no way to argue that your arm got hit.. if you have more hit points attach more of them? i think itll be a cool way to not cheat...