Balancing turn-based games with chained strategy generation

William Kavanagh, Alice Miller, Gethin Norman, Oana Andrei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Probabilistic model checking can overcome much of the complexity inherent in balancing games. Game balancing is the careful maintenance of relationships between the ways in which a game can be played, to ensure that no single way is strictly better than all others, and that players are offered a wide variety of ways to play successfully. We introduce a novel approach toward automating game balancing using probabilistic model checking called chained strategy generation (CSG). This involves generating chains of adversarial strategies, which mimic the way players adapt their approach during repeated plays of a game. We use CSG to map out the evolving metagame. The trends identified can allow game developers to identify strategies, which will be too strong, and ways of playing the game, which a player may want to use, but are never viable for successful competitive play. We introduce a case study, a game called RPGLite, and use CSG to compare five candidate configurations for the game. We show how to determine which configurations of RPGLite lead to a more fair and interesting experience for players. We also identify unexpected trends in how the strategies evolve. Our approach introduces a new technique for improving game development and player experience.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8846763
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Games
Issue number2
Early online date23 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Adversary generation
  • Automated game balancing
  • Formal verification
  • Game design
  • Model checking


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