Friday, December 7, 2012


I have an idea for a mini-game for handling negotiations, which would work for most any task-based game system. As usual, I look edat the systems people actually use in negotiation, and abstracted the concepts. I'm putting this up for comment!

I. Set the Range

Both sides decide how many demands are involved in the discussion, and how many of these demands are non-negotiable. The non-negotiable bits are important, because both sides have to eventually accept the others' non-negotiable items if a deal is to be made. Examble: Eight demands each, with three of them being non-negotiable. Generally, whoever has the most demands sets the number, and the other side increases its demands to match.

2. Set the Demands

Each side writes down its numbered list of demands. Take a sheet of paper, and divide it into five areas - a non-negotiable area for each side, a negotiable area for each side, and a common discussion area. Put a die in the appropriate area and turn it so that the right number is up - non-negotiable demand seven should show a seven up, and be in that side's non-negotiable area.

3. Pushing Demands

Flip a coin to start. Winner of the coin toss (or die roll) pushes one demand die over the line into the common discussion area. Say the demand aloud - i.e. "We demand industry standard safety conditions in the mine!" - and explain why it would benefit both sides if this demand were met. The other side can rebut this demand with an explanation of why denying this demand would benefit both sides - i.e. "Matching industry standard safety conditions would cost too much, and we'd have to let a number of miners go to afford it." The GM is free to give a bonus to either or both sides appropriate to the resolution system for effective argument.

4. Resolving Demands

Both sides roll as appropriate to the system.

A. If both fail, this demand is locked in discussion, and the other side may go.

B. If the side which advanced this demand succeeds and the other side fails, this demand is accepted and goes into the agreement.

C. If the side which denied this demand succeeds and the other side fails, this demand is rejected and off the table.

D. If both sides succeed, the demand is withdrawn and must be modified in a direction more suitable for the other side before being advanced again.

E. On any critical success, one rejected demand may also be brought back onto the table by the winning side.

F. On a critical failure, the loser must also push one non-negotiable demand into the negotiable area.

5. Resolving the Dispute

Play proceeds, alternating sides, until there are no more demands in negotiation. All currently non-negotiable demands are accepted and written into the agreement.


  1. Interesting. I think I'd need to see it in play though to judge it.

  2. Yeah - I may be using it in my Star Wars-ish game - the Jedi are acting as ambassadors from a local rebellion to the Rebel Alliance, and may have to negotiate an agreement.