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Burgle Bros.» Forums » Rules

Subject: Which path does the guard choose? rss

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Kevin B. Smith
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In another thread, we started having a discussion about clockwise, leftmost path, etc. I wanted some real-world examples, and the random floor generator was kind enough to give me an interesting one pretty quickly:

---------------
D _ _
| _|
|G _

---------------

EDIT: Let's call this case #1.

So the destination is D (upper-left corner), and the guard is at G. There are 2 equidistant paths (both distance 7):
A. through the upper-right corner
B. through the lower-left corner

Which path does the guard take? Does it matter if I say the guard was most recently facing north, or was most recently facing south?

My answer would be B, because if the guard faces the destination (ignoring walls), he prefers the leftmost route. It's the one that allows him to travel in a clockwise semi-circle as he walks.

However, I could imagine other people interpreting the rules the opposite way, claiming that route A is more "clockwise".

Question #1: What is the actual intent of the rules? (Tim???)
Question #2: What would be the simplest way to unambiguously describe that rule? Or *any* rule, for that matter, since it seems that neither "clockwise" nor "leftmost" are satisfying.
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Paulo Renato
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I agree that the path is B...
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Kevin B. Smith
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Here is another one (let's call this case #2):


------------------
_
|_|_ D
_ G|

------------------

8 steps either way. Which path should the guard choose? Does it matter which way the guard was previously facing?

EDIT: Let's say A is the upper path, and B is the lower path.

Personally I would go with the upper path.
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Paulo Renato
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peakhope wrote:
Here is another one:


------------------
_
|_|_ D
_ G|

------------------

8 steps either way. Which path should the guard choose? Does it matter which way the guard was previously facing?


Goes to the left then goes Up then Right...

Don't think it matters which way he was facing
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Kevin B. Smith
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Muse23PT wrote:
(Case #2): Goes to the left then goes Up then Right...

Don't think it matters which way he was facing

Thinking about it more, perhaps the rule should be that the guard just starts moving, and only decides when he comes to a fork. At that moment of forking, he always goes leftmost. In Case #2, that would have him taking the bottom route.
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Paulo Renato
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peakhope wrote:
Muse23PT wrote:
(Case #2): Goes to the left then goes Up then Right...

Don't think it matters which way he was facing

Thinking about it more, perhaps the rule should be that the guard just starts moving, and only decides when he comes to a fork. At that moment of forking, he always goes leftmost. In Case #2, that would have him taking the bottom route.


But that isn't clockwise in this case... It would be cool if Tim could clarify how to play and re-word the rule
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Jarad Bond
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I guess that all depends on what "starting with the Guard's left" and "most clockwise path" means. The one thing that is becoming painfully obvious to me is that nobody knows what they mean.
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Michael Denman
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peakhope wrote:


---------------
D _ _
| _|
|G _

---------------




I'm not seeing the problems here. The Guard moves once to the right, then down and to the left before heading back up to the destination.

peakhope wrote:



------------------
_
|_|_ D
_ G|

------------------



The guard moves straight to the left, then up, then to the right, and when he hits that first fork he heads down one and to the right one.

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Garry Rice
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We've always played it as clockwise with respect to the orientation of the board. Just define one side as the top and then always go clockwise with respect to the board...don't care about facing of the guard.
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Dave Moser
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I'm honestly confused by this. Not the rule - that's clear. I'm confused that people consider it ambiguous.

In the first case, you go through the lower left corner. In the second case, you go through the upper left corner. I don't mean to insult anyone, but I don't see how anyone could construe the alternate paths as being more "clockwise".

I do recall that when I was originally reading the rulebook, I paused a moment to wonder if "clockwise" was sufficient as a path tiebreaker, or if ambiguous situations would arise. In retrospect, though, I've played the game many times and never had to look for more than a few seconds to determine the correct "clockwise" route.

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Jarad Bond
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Since nobody has come to the same conclusion I have in this thread so far, I will repeat the gist of where I was headed in the other thread. According to the rules, starting with the Guard's left, the guard will take the "most clockwise" path.

The way I interpreted that rule is that if the tile to the guard's left (given their current facing) was shortest, they would take that route. If not, you would continue clockwise checking the other three tiles adjacent to the Guard until you arrived at one of the shortest paths.

With how I've been playing it, the guard would go through the upper right (A) in case #1, and take the lower path in case #2. (opposite of everyone else here, it seems)

I could absolutely be wrong in my interpretation and have no particular reason to defend it. It is just how I came to understand the rules. I would like to know the truth too. The term "most clockwise" was the most confusing part of it for me and it still doesn't sit quite right. It could be that Tim Fowers meant "clockwise-ish" in a closed-loop sort of way.

I'm curious, though, if we are judging by the path that looks like it generally trends the most clockwise-ish (it seems like Michael Denman is using this quality, at least), why would it matter that you start with the Guard's left?
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Jarad Bond
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dmoser22 wrote:
I do recall that when I was originally reading the rulebook, I paused a moment to wonder if "clockwise" was sufficient as a path tiebreaker, or if ambiguous situations would arise. In retrospect, though, I've played the game many times and never had to look for more than a few seconds to determine the correct "clockwise" route.

I can understand this if the rule had simply said, "choose the clockwise route". Maybe I was led astray by "starting with the Guard's left".
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Dave Moser
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logris wrote:
Since nobody has come to the same conclusion I have in this thread so far, I will repeat the gist of where I was headed in the other thread. According to the rules, starting with the Guard's left, the guard will take the "most clockwise" path.
...
I'm curious, though, if we are judging by the path that looks like it generally trends the most clockwise-ish (it seems like Michael Denman is using this quality, at least), why would it matter that you start with the Guard's left?


Just below that rule in the book, there's a diagram with examples, and it says to just go clockwise. I think the part before that about "starting with the Guard's left" is just confusing and can be safely ignored. At least that's how we've always played it.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Note that the example in the book covers the case where the guard does not have to backtrack. The backtracking cases (as shown here) might be more ambiguous.

Currently, from the text and example in the old rulebook (I haven't looked at the new draft yet), the "clockwise" bit could be that the general sweep of the green line is clockwise-ish. Or it could be that the guard, from his current facing (looking east) would first try to go straight, then south, then west, before trying north. Thus would end up taking the green path.

The second example would help, if the guard were actually depicted. If the guard there were already facing south, then that second interpretation would result in the red route, thus confirming the other "clockwise shaped route" interpretation.

I still dislike the "most clockwise" phrasing.
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Jim Bolland
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I struggled with this at first too. After some thought and considering the examples, it only made sense that the guard's path is clockwise relative to the board, not relative to the guard. The good news: relative to the board is actually simpler.

One thing made it worse before I settled on board-relative paths: When a guard is first placed, the direction the guard is facing is undefined, so figuring the path relative to the guard isn't even possible.

So, I ignore the "starting at left path from Guard's point of view" part. In fact, I assume we have no idea which direction the guard is facing. Therefore, we must calculate the guard's path relative to the board.

The best thing would be if Tim can define it better and let us know.
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Tim Fowers
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thanks for all the thoughts guys - I think the mention of board relative is how I think about it. any time there is a split, I think of the two paths making a circle (albeit sometimes odd shaped) with two "halves" that are the two paths. The path that moves clockwise along that circle when the guard travels it is the one I choose.

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Lutz Pietschker
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Quote:
I guess that all depends on what "starting with the Guard's left" and "most clockwise path" means.

Clockwise is simply enough, and the "left" thing I never really understood. If I just stuck to "clockwise" I never had a problem. If you have 2 options, follow them and decide wich one is clockwise (i.e. has a tendency to bend to the right).
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Brett Lamb

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peakhope wrote:

Question #1: What is the actual intent of the rules? (Tim???)
Question #2: What would be the simplest way to unambiguously describe that rule? Or *any* rule, for that matter, since it seems that neither "clockwise" nor "leftmost" are satisfying.

Answer 1: Seems pretty clear that the intent is to keep ambiguity out of the guards path. He goes where he goes without player input or control.

Answer 2: "Clockwise" is pretty unambiguous and has been since clocks. As someone else said: Look at the tiles as the face of a clock. It doesn't even matter which side you're sitting on, clockwise is always the same direction. I don't believe "Leftmost" is in the rules.
 
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Murr Rockstroh
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Fubeca wrote:
thanks for all the thoughts guys - I think the mention of board relative is how I think about it. any time there is a split, I think of the two paths making a circle (albeit sometimes odd shaped) with two "halves" that are the two paths. The path that moves clockwise along that circle when the guard travels it is the one I choose.


This is how we have always done it. Thanks for the confirmation Tim!
 
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I remember it this way for equidistant choices: Guard chooses first direction he can go clockwise starting from 1 o'clock, not 12 (up) - that would be the last choice.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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toober wrote:
I remember it this way for equidistant choices: Guard chooses first direction he can go clockwise starting from 1 o'clock, not 12 (up) - that would be the last choice.

But that assumes the guard is facing some direction. Which direction? I think it's best to avoid any reference to "left" or to the guard's facing.

I like the idea of thinking about the 2 paths forming kind of a circle that touches both the guard and the destination. Once you have that circle in mind, "clockwise" makes a lot of sense. Unless/until you have that circle in mind, it doesn't.

An alternative rule that would work and be simple, but which would produce different results, would be "As the guard moves toward the destination, any time 2 paths are the same distance, choose the leftmost". When the destination is in front of him, this would match the "clockwise" rule, but when the destination is behind him, it would give the opposite result. If the first edition weren't out yet, I would advocate for this "leftmost" rule, because it seems much simpler to me. But to keep compatibility with the first edition, I wouldn't recommend switching to it at this point.

My advice: Keep "clockwise", perhaps with additional explanation, but remove the confusing references to "left".
 
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Which direction? -Up- would be the top of the cards. They are setup all facing the same side of the table.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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toober wrote:
Which direction? -Up- would be the top of the cards. They are setup all facing the same side of the table.

EDIT: Oh, I hadn't even thought of that. So much for "clockwise" being unambiguous!

So would the guard aim for 1 o'clock based on his first step, his first fork, or at each step of the way? I haven't really thought it through, but it seems like the results could vary depending on the answer.

Regardless of that, I'm pretty sure that rule would give different results from what Tim intended. EDIT: Such as case #1 above, where this rule would choose the upper-right path rather than lower-left (assuming I'm understanding correctly).

As long as a given group has A rule and applies it consistently for a game, it doesn't matter what the rule is. It only matters when someone who learned one rule sits down to play with someone who learned it differently.
 
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The direction would be chosen at each step at which the distance is equidistant without backtracking. Yes, I agree the Guard would choose the path to the right-and-up for #1 case above.
 
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Jarad Bond
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Now that I have heard Tim's input, I have a firm grasp of movement and the guard's facing has no relevance. The phrase "starting with the Guard's left" absolutely needs to be omitted and is misleading at best or wrong at worst. The clockwise idea is elegant. Any time you have two paths, it will form a circle at some point, where they come together (either on a destination or a fork very close to the destination). The guard simply goes clockwise around the circle.

It is elegant because the guard will always tend to travel more predictably "forward" instead of backtracking quite so much in maps like the second floor of The Bank Job. In my games, I have had a few situations where the "Guard's left" has caused the guard to move clockwise, then counter-clockwise, then clockwise again, staying only on one half of the map around that central wall for many destinations, and it causes the guard to either hang around the safe (or stay away from) more than you'd expect.

What is the best way to convey the clockwise rule, though? "The guard will take the path that is most clockwise when the shortest paths are viewed together." does a really good job, in my opinion. Along with the examples already in the book and omitting "Guard's left", it makes a lot of sense.

There is one edge case I came up with where there could be three paths and there is still a clear "most clockwise". It will be the path that is consistently clockwise for all combinations of routes (one path would wind through the middle of a 4x4 floor and the other two routes would be on the outer edges of the floor).



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