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Designing Games by Tynan Sylvester

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Chapter 7. Multiplayer

The gunslinger, the criminal, and the sheriff faced off in the town square. A tumbleweed drifted by. They reached for their six-shooters.

The gunslinger had a split second to decide whether to shoot the criminal or the sheriff. He couldn’t wait to see where each of them was aiming—by then it would be too late. He had to decide now, as he drew his weapon. But which should he choose?

He had been paid to shoot the sheriff. So that’s what he should do.

But wait. The sheriff knew that the gunslinger had been paid to kill him. So the sheriff would shoot the gunslinger in self-defense, which would leave the criminal free to shoot who he pleased. And the criminal had a vendetta against the gunslinger because the gunslinger had stolen the criminal’s horse six months earlier. So the criminal would probably shoot the gunslinger as well. And the gunslinger knew the criminal was a much better shot than the sheriff. So to defend himself, he’d draw on the criminal and hope the sheriff missed.

But then, the sheriff knew all this as well, so he knew the gunslinger would try to stop the criminal first. This would leave the sheriff open to shoot whomever he wished. So he would shoot the criminal, because it was his job, and because he didn’t want to be caught in an even fight against the better-shooting criminal if both of them shot the gunslinger together.

But the criminal knew this. And the gunslinger knew he knew that. And the sheriff knew that they both knew something else. Around ...

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