Game Development Reference
Mutalisks f ly, so they automatically defeat Siege Tanks, because
Tanks can't fire into the air. Marines' high damage takes down fragile
Mutalisks in moments. Banelings melt tightly packed groups of Marines
with their splashing acid damage. But Siege Tanks detonate fragile groups
of Banelings from a safe distance. Many StarCraft II matches boil down
to repeated interactions among these four units. Online, you can play a
hundred hours in a row of variations of this pattern. But the play never be-
comes boring because there is no Nash equilibrium, so each player always
has opportunities to gain by anticipating or deceiving his opponent.
Because the game isn't really about controlling Marines and Mutalisks.
It's about predicting the mind of the opponent.
Rock-paper-scissors and matching pennies are the only elegant design
patterns for strategy interactions—rock-paper-scissors for symmetrical
games, and matching pennies for asymmetrical games. Any alternative
is no more than a pointless piling-on of more strategies. For example, in
rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock, each symbol defeats two of the others,
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