Formula for making games with satoshis

I think the only way to do in-game sats and make the game more interesting instead of breaking the mechanics is by doing something like

  1. Asking everybody to pay the same amount to join;
  2. They get that same amount inside the game as balances;
  3. They must use these balances to buy items to win the game;
  4. The money they used becomes available as in-game rewards for other players;
  5. They must spend some money otherwise they just lose all the time;
  6. They can’t use too much because if they run out of money they are eliminated.

If you think about it, that’s how poker mostly works, and it’s one of the few games in which paying money to play makes the game more interesting and not less.

In Poker:

  1. Everybody pays the same amount to join.
  2. Everybody gets that amount in tokens or whatever, I don’t know, this varies;
  3. Everybody must pay money to bet on each hand;
  4. The money used on each round is taken by the round winner;
  5. If you don’t bet you can’t play the rounds, you’re just eliminated;
  6. If you go all-in all the time like a mad person you’ll lose.

In a game like Worms, for example, this could be something like:

  1. Idem;
  2. Idem;
  3. You must use money to buy guns and ammunitions;
  4. Whatever you spent goes to a pot for the winners or each round – or maybe it goes to the people that contributed in killing you;
  5. If you don’t buy any guns you’re useless;
  6. If you spend everything on a single gun that’s probably unwise.

You can also apply this to games like Counter-Strike or Dota or even Starcraft or Bolo and probably to most games as long as they have a fixed duration with a fixed set of players.

The formula is not static nor a panacea. There is room for creativity on what each player can spend their money in and how the spent money is distributed during the game. Some hard task of balancing and incentivizing is still necessary so the player that starts winning doesn’t automatically win for having more money as the game goes on.