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    What is collusion?

    Collusion in roleplaying games (RPGs) refers to the act of players secretly cooperating or conspiring outside the game’s normal communication channels, such as private messages or Discord DMs, to gain an unfair advantage within the game.

    This can include sharing privileged information, planning future in-game actions together, or manipulating game events to benefit all parties involved.

    Collusion undermines the fairness and integrity of the game, as it provides the colluding parties with advantages that other players do not have.

    The concept of collusion is not unique to roleplaying games and can be found in various forms and settings, such as price fixing in the marketplace.

    In the context of RPGs, especially text-based or online formats, collusion is particularly concerning because these platforms rely heavily on trust and fair play.

    Collusion FAQs

    How can you detect collusion in an RP game?

    Detecting collusion can be challenging, but there are signs to look out for, such as players consistently making unusually beneficial decisions for each other, information leaking that could only be known by certain characters, or sudden, unexplained shifts in-game dynamics. Game moderators often rely on pattern detection and player reports to identify possible collusion.

    What are the consequences of collusion in RP games?

    Consequences of collusion can range from warnings to permanent bans, depending on the game’s rules and the severity of the offense. Collusion not only affects the immediate players involved but can also ruin the game experience for others by breaking the game’s balance and trust.

    How can game moderators prevent collusion?

    Game moderators can prevent collusion by establishing clear rules against it, encouraging open communication among players, and creating an environment where players feel comfortable reporting suspicious behavior. Additionally, using game mechanics that limit the benefits of sharing private information can also deter collusion.

    Is collusion always intentional?

    While collusion is often intentional, there are instances where players may unintentionally engage in collusive behavior, such as sharing information without realizing it gives them an unfair advantage. Education and clear communication from game moderators can help prevent unintentional collusion.

    Can collusion ever be part of the game mechanics?

    In very rare cases, game designers might incorporate mechanics that resemble collusion as a controlled element of gameplay, typically under strict rules and transparency. However, this is outside the norm and is clearly defined within the game’s framework, differentiating it from cheating.

    Myths about collusion

    • Collusion is just good teamwork: Unlike legitimate teamwork, collusion involves secret coordination outside of allowed communication channels to gain unfair advantages, violating the spirit of fair play.
    • Collusion is hard to prove, so it’s not worth reporting: Even if direct proof is hard to come by, patterns of behavior can indicate collusion, and reporting suspicious activity can help moderators investigate and maintain game integrity.
    • Collusion doesn’t harm anyone: Collusion undermines the game’s fairness and can ruin the experience for all players, not just those directly affected by the unfair advantage.

    Collusion examples

    • Two players in a text-based RPG secretly coordinate their characters’ actions via private messages to overthrow another player’s character, sharing information that their characters wouldn’t otherwise know.
    • In a play-by-post game, a group of players conspires outside the game to blackball a key character played by another player, ensuring their own characters’ success in the game’s plot.
    • Players in a MUD collude by using out-of-game communication to plan and execute a coordinated attack on a powerful in-game entity, dividing the loot among themselves while excluding other players.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."