Buyout! is a 4-player table-top game about the business giant Megacorp deciding to sell-up and liquidate its shares. Players take the role of 1 of 4 businessmen looking to buyout as many of the remaining shares as possible so they can take over and repurpose Megacorps facilities for their own use.

The board game was designed and created during my first year of my BA (Honours) in Games Design. The key focus of this project as a designer was to sell the narrative that the players were businessmen. To do that, I made sure that as many pieces of the project reflected that aesthetic back to the players during play:

  • The box itself is a leather briefcase

  • To trade resources, player swap miniature briefcases

  • Whomever is currently in the lead wears the tie

  • The rules are stored in a secretive corporate looking holder

In my final year of university, for my Honours project, I looked at translating the boardgame into a videogame using Unreal Engine 4 as a means to test my technical designer capabilities. Due to the limitations of the course itself I would not be able to make this an online-based multiplayer game, and due to a core mechanic of the game being deception, local multiplayer was off the table too. This means that I had to create a single player version of the game with AI to replicate the other three players needed to play.

During the creation process, the AI acted randomly, and it was obvious the AI wasn’t really ‘thinking’ about what it was doing. This was highlighted to me in feedback I received from my tutors. To remedy this issue, I researched cognitive psychology and human decision making and re-created the AI in line with Eysenck & Keanes 'Theory of Naturalistic Decision-Making' (2015) to make the decisions they made more human. This created an AI that would…

  • Set their own goals based off its own wants and needs.

  • Gather information from the responses it receives from the other players.

  • Structure their decision by weighing up the value of all offers presented to it.

  • Make a final choice based off what the most valuable offer presented is, and if the player offering that proposal can be trusted.

  • Evaluate the decision based off if it was lied to by its trade partner. The AI will remember this.

Leading to a much more engaging, and difficult, gameplay experience.


4-Player Table-Top Game & Singe Player Video Game