Catch-up

Some games include a mechanic designed to make progress towards victory more difficult the closer a player gets to it. The idea behind this is to allow trailing players a chance to catch up and potentially still win the game, rather than suffer an inevitable loss once they fall behind. This may be desirable in games such as racing games that have a fixed finish line.

An example is from The Settlers of Catan. This game contains a neutral piece (the robber), which slows the progress of players whose pieces it is near. Players occasionally get to move the robber, and frequently choose to position it where it will cause maximal disruption to the player currently winning the game.

Other games do the reverse, making the player in the lead more capable of winning, such as in Monopoly, and thus the game is drawn to an end sooner. This may be desirable in zero-sum games.

(From Wikipedia)

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