While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this de facto mercy option, and it does present the player who is ahead with the choice between a) taking the win at a lower point score and b) playing on and taking the risk of falling behind, it feels wrong to create a gameplay structure where the winning player is encouraged to end most games by intentionally providing wrong answers.
So, there are at least four alternatives.
- Require a player to win with either a pass or a correct answer. The downside of this is that it give the player a free strike so long as the opponent gets the answer wrong.
- Award the player points for his opponent's strikes; this will not eliminate the problem entirely, but will require a bigger lead before a player contemplates intentionally accepting strikes. The downside of this is that it will give the leading player a bigger lead by virtue of getting points for his opponent's strikes earlier in the game, so it's largely a wash unless the strikes are progressively awarded more points so the third strike is worth more than the first one.
- Let the winning player continue playing and adding to his score until he hits three strikes. The downside to this is that the losing player is not going to want to sit around and do nothing while he waits to see how badly he lost.
- Throw out strikes altogether and simply play to specified time or point totals.
Discuss amongst yourselves. In a future post, I'll discuss your solutions and reveal how I decided to handle the 3-strike challenge.