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Subject: Information protection in a hidden information setup. rss

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JT Schiavo
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I'm returning to an older design I made and I am reevaluating setup for this game.

The broad idea is that the game required rivalries to be created with the following rules:

-Each player should have two different targets.
-Each player should be targeted by two different players, which may or not be the same as the targets they have.
-No one should be targeting themselves.

The original idea was that each player put two cards into a deck, that was shuffled and dealt at random. Then going around the table, trading was done until everyone met the conditions listed above. It was usually pretty quick and understandable, but gave additional information to certain players at random. If I got my own card and traded it to someone, I basically got to pick my own enemy.

The second idea was to use envelopes and player numbers. Everyone receives a player number at random. Numbered envelopes would start at one player and be passed around in sequence, and players would put rival cards into certain envelopes, for example "One rival in X+3, one in X+4" where X is your random player number. After all the players have put rival cards away, the envelopes would be passed around again and each player would take the rival cards from their own numbered envelope.

The second idea seems like it should work better due to more consistent hidden information, as well as the ability to create intentional mutual rivalries if desired, but it creates a problem if players intentionally or accidentally gain additional information. For example, if I'm the second person to put a rival in an envelope, and there is already a card in there, I know the first player shares a rival with me, which is information that I should not have. If I am the second person to take my rivals out, I could possibly feel which envelope is missing cards and know which envelope the previous player took. And what if someone were to intentionally or inadvertently peek at a card in someone else's envelope?

Anyone else have any ideas on how to either streamline this process, or if not, make it harder for accidental or intentional cheating?
 
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Brandon
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
Cheaters are going to cheat. You can't base rules around preventing people from cheating. If someone is consistently cheating on purpose, the group needs to drop them.
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Some Guy
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
Dealing with cheaters should be left to the group.

It's your job to design your game in a way that gives players the amount of information that you are comfortable with. If you don't want players to know they share rivals, then modify the part of the game that lets that happen. But if someone hands me an envelope in your game, and that gives me info, then I'm not cheating. The game gave the player that info it wasn't stolen or acquired in a way that breaks rules.

So just decide how much info you want players to have an assume they will be honest. Because it's not your fault if they are dishonest.
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JT Schiavo
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
beigemore wrote:
Cheaters are going to cheat. You can't base rules around preventing people from cheating. If someone is consistently cheating on purpose, the group needs to drop them.


Agreed. We still give one player hell every time we play because he once opened his eyes during Resistance when he wasn't supposed to. (Never played Resistance again after that.)

But components and rules can be designed to mitigate accidental exposure of information. I'm more concerned about someone accidentally noticing something than intentionally seeking discovery, because it's hard to put a fact out of your mind once you notice something like that.
 
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JT Schiavo
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
Shuko wrote:
Dealing with cheaters should be left to the group.

It's your job to design your game in a way that gives players the amount of information that you are comfortable with. If you don't want players to know they share rivals, then modify the part of the game that lets that happen. But if someone hands me an envelope in your game, and that gives me info, then I'm not cheating. The game gave the player that info it wasn't stolen or acquired in a way that breaks rules.

So just decide how much info you want players to have an assume they will be honest. Because it's not your fault if they are dishonest.


So how would you recommend modifying the distribution of information to prevent accidental information exposure?
 
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Some Guy
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
crinaya wrote:
Shuko wrote:
Dealing with cheaters should be left to the group.

It's your job to design your game in a way that gives players the amount of information that you are comfortable with. If you don't want players to know they share rivals, then modify the part of the game that lets that happen. But if someone hands me an envelope in your game, and that gives me info, then I'm not cheating. The game gave the player that info it wasn't stolen or acquired in a way that breaks rules.

So just decide how much info you want players to have an assume they will be honest. Because it's not your fault if they are dishonest.


So how would you recommend modifying the distribution of information to prevent accidental information exposure?


I dunno, I'm not a game designer. I'm just saying that in the example given if you are handed an envelope that has a card already in it, then that could give you information the OP wouldn't want that player to have. So it might need to be done differently or accept that people might end up with that information.
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
crinaya wrote:
I'm returning to an older design I made and I am reevaluating setup for this game.

The broad idea is that the game required rivalries to be created with the following rules:

-Each player should have two different targets.
-Each player should be targeted by two different players, which may or not be the same as the targets they have.
-No one should be targeting themselves.

The original idea was that each player put two cards into a deck, that was shuffled and dealt at random. Then going around the table, trading was done until everyone met the conditions listed above. It was usually pretty quick and understandable, but gave additional information to certain players at random. If I got my own card and traded it to someone, I basically got to pick my own enemy.

This one's easy to fix: you put a 'tiebreaker' on each card. So the blue card also has a smaller red area, in case blue ends up with that card. You could even just have every possible colour in a random order, and have the player go down the card, skipping over him- or herself and over colours not in play.
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T. Dauphin
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
crinaya wrote:


The second idea was to use envelopes and player numbers. Everyone receives a player number at random. Numbered envelopes would start at one player and be passed around in sequence, and players would put rival cards into certain envelopes, for example "One rival in X+3, one in X+4" where X is your random player number. After all the players have put rival cards away, the envelopes would be passed around again and each player would take the rival cards from their own numbered envelope.

The second idea seems like it should work better due to more consistent hidden information, as well as the ability to create intentional mutual rivalries if desired, but it creates a problem if players intentionally or accidentally gain additional information. For example, if I'm the second person to put a rival in an envelope, and there is already a card in there, I know the first player shares a rival with me, which is information that I should not have. If I am the second person to take my rivals out, I could possibly feel which envelope is missing cards and know which envelope the previous player took. And what if someone were to intentionally or inadvertently peek at a card in someone else's envelope?


First use small boxes instead of envelopes so that no one can feel the contents. If necessary, for the sake of noise, start with a dummy card in each box, so each box always has card to rattle around.
Then, you may have to randomize things and remove any opportunities for intentional arrangements. What if you did it in two separate rounds? 'Randomly' distribute the boxes so everyone has a box that is not theirs, and in the second round, not one that they had in the previous round. A little shuffling may be necessary. After each round pass the boxes around for players to remove the card from their box.
Would that work?

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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
For a given number of players, there is a certain number of combinations which meet your criteria.

Make up one deck for EACH of the combinations, showing the pairs of player numbers or colors.
Randomly determine which deck to use that round.
Randomly determine each player's number or color that round.
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Russ Williams
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
sbszine wrote:
This one's easy to fix: you put a 'tiebreaker' on each card. So the blue card also has a smaller red area, in case blue ends up with that card.

That kind of "local fix" does not seem to fix it appropriately: it would mean that fewer people are targetting blue and more people are targetting red, for example. But each color is supposed to be targetting by the same number of people. (OP said "Each player should be targeted by two different players")

Or am I misunderstanding something?
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Ron Hatch
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
russ wrote:
sbszine wrote:
This one's easy to fix: you put a 'tiebreaker' on each card. So the blue card also has a smaller red area, in case blue ends up with that card.

That kind of "local fix" does not seem to fix it appropriately: it would mean that fewer people are targetting blue and more people are targetting red, for example. But each color is supposed to be targetting by the same number of people. (OP said "Each player should be targeted by two different players")

Or am I misunderstanding something?

You're absolutely right... no local fix is possible. You might be able to do something more global that uses the concept, though.

So perhaps if someone states that the top row of the card gives them a pair or has them targeting themself, everybody moves to the second row. If the second row doesn't work, you move to the third... etc.

Ultimately, though, that just increases the chances that you MIGHT get a combination that works. It doesn't allow you to guarantee it without some other mechanism.

Really, the ideal solution is a custom app of some kind. (Although I'll continue to think about other possibilities that could be done with objects.)
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Ron Hatch
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
Gronak wrote:
For a given number of players, there is a certain number of combinations which meet your criteria.

Make up one deck for EACH of the combinations, showing the pairs of player numbers or colors.
Randomly determine which deck to use that round.
Randomly determine each player's number or color that round.

This would work perfectly if each card showed which number/color you are AND what your targets are. Pick a deck at random, then deal it out... and you're done. I think that's probably even what you intended, but it wasn't 100% clear.

I suspect that the number of cards gets too high very quickly, though.
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James Wahl
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
Do other players know your identity?
Can two different players share the same set of rivals?

edit:

What player counts are you going for?
Does the game still work if some players don't know exactly who one of their targets is at the moment the game starts, but it can be revealed or guessed as the game goes on?
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BT Carpenter
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
crinaya wrote:
I'm returning to an older design I made and I am reevaluating setup for this game.

The broad idea is that the game required rivalries to be created with the following rules:

-Each player should have two different targets.
-Each player should be targeted by two different players, which may or not be the same as the targets they have.
-No one should be targeting themselves.

The original idea was that each player put two cards into a deck, that was shuffled and dealt at random. Then going around the table, trading was done until everyone met the conditions listed above. It was usually pretty quick and understandable, but gave additional information to certain players at random. If I got my own card and traded it to someone, I basically got to pick my own enemy.

The second idea was to use envelopes and player numbers. Everyone receives a player number at random. Numbered envelopes would start at one player and be passed around in sequence, and players would put rival cards into certain envelopes, for example "One rival in X+3, one in X+4" where X is your random player number. After all the players have put rival cards away, the envelopes would be passed around again and each player would take the rival cards from their own numbered envelope.

The second idea seems like it should work better due to more consistent hidden information, as well as the ability to create intentional mutual rivalries if desired, but it creates a problem if players intentionally or accidentally gain additional information. For example, if I'm the second person to put a rival in an envelope, and there is already a card in there, I know the first player shares a rival with me, which is information that I should not have. If I am the second person to take my rivals out, I could possibly feel which envelope is missing cards and know which envelope the previous player took. And what if someone were to intentionally or inadvertently peek at a card in someone else's envelope?

Anyone else have any ideas on how to either streamline this process, or if not, make it harder for accidental or intentional cheating?


I know of no localized solution that doesn't involve requiring the trade-outs if you get your own card.

Perhaps you have multiple rounds of trades, and EVERYONE trades with the following procedures:
1: If you have your own card, you must put it into the center. If you have two, hold off, you'll get another chance in a second to get rid of it.
2: Otherwise you must put any choice into the center.
Shuffle up the discards and deal them out again.
Repeat until no-one has their own card, with the caveat that you cannot swap out the card you just got unless it is your own card.


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Russ Williams
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
byronczimmer wrote:
Perhaps you have multiple rounds of trades, and EVERYONE trades with the following procedures:
1: If you have your own card, you must put it into the center. If you have two, hold off, you'll get another chance in a second to get rid of it.
2: Otherwise you must put any choice into the center.
Shuffle up the discards and deal them out again.
Repeat until no-one has their own card, with the caveat that you cannot swap out the card you just got unless it is your own card.

That sounds promising, but it lets someone who does not have their own card choose which card they'll get rid of, which seems problematic. (E.g. if the game has some disadvantage for holding a left-hand neighbor or a right-hand neighbor, or you just don't want to target someone who is the strongest player at the table, etc.) So probably you should have to discard a random card if you don't have your own card.
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BT Carpenter
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
So now you have some people discarding "randomly" and others doing so without randomness -- which is an obvious thing. aka: You'll know the non-random colors that are in the redealt portion of the deck.

Either a neutral third party has to verify the targeting (like another person or a computer) or you're going to have some level of knowledge creep in.

To get away from that you're starting to get into the card mechanisms that The Resistance uses to obfuscate who has done what.
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
byronczimmer wrote:
Either a neutral third party has to verify the targeting (like another person or a computer) or you're going to have some level of knowledge creep in.

Those aren't the only options. You can do it without a 3rd party and without knowledge creeping in, if you are willing to pay the price (in time) of simply redealing until no one has received their own card.
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BT Carpenter
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
russ wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
Either a neutral third party has to verify the targeting (like another person or a computer) or you're going to have some level of knowledge creep in.

Those aren't the only options. You can do it without a 3rd party and without knowledge creeping in, if you are willing to pay the price (in time) of simply redealing until no one has received their own card.


Repeated redeals is also an option (that comes with the expense of time), but risks an infinite loop.
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Russ Williams
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
byronczimmer wrote:
So now you have some people discarding "randomly" and others doing so without randomness -- which is an obvious thing. aka: You'll know the non-random colors that are in the redealt portion of the deck.

Now I'm trying to decide whether that is actually useful knowledge or not.

I may be missing something, but I'm not seeing how that tells me anything I wouldn't know anyway, i.e. when all the card dealing is finished, I know that Robert does not have Robert's card, and someone else does. But by definition of the setup requirements, I already knew that would be true.
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JT Schiavo
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
pharmakon wrote:
Do other players know your identity?
Can two different players share the same set of rivals?

edit:

What player counts are you going for?
Does the game still work if some players don't know exactly who one of their targets is at the moment the game starts, but it can be revealed or guessed as the game goes on?


Yes, your identity is known.
Sharing a set of rivals is possible, not sure if it should be discouraged or not.
5-8 players. 3-4 may be possible with only one rival each.
Rivals is your end game scoring condition. If you don't know how to score, you aren't likely to be competitive.
 
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JT Schiavo
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
byronczimmer wrote:


I know of no localized solution that doesn't involve requiring the trade-outs if you get your own card.

Perhaps you have multiple rounds of trades, and EVERYONE trades with the following procedures:
1: If you have your own card, you must put it into the center. If you have two, hold off, you'll get another chance in a second to get rid of it.
2: Otherwise you must put any choice into the center.
Shuffle up the discards and deal them out again.
Repeat until no-one has their own card, with the caveat that you cannot swap out the card you just got unless it is your own card.


An interesting solution, very similar to method one, but with the whole group trading instead of player by player. I just wonder how many trades it might take on average to complete the setup. Worth testing.
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JT Schiavo
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
tanik wrote:

First use small boxes instead of envelopes so that no one can feel the contents. If necessary, for the sake of noise, start with a dummy card in each box, so each box always has card to rattle around.
Then, you may have to randomize things and remove any opportunities for intentional arrangements. What if you did it in two separate rounds? 'Randomly' distribute the boxes so everyone has a box that is not theirs, and in the second round, not one that they had in the previous round. A little shuffling may be necessary. After each round pass the boxes around for players to remove the card from their box.
Would that work?



I considered padded envelopes, possibly with dummy cards. The two rounds of trading is basically recreating the problem though, because you are now trying to figure out how to distribute boxes under the same restrictions of the original (not matching, not your own) problem.
 
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
crinaya wrote:
pharmakon wrote:
Do other players know your identity?
Can two different players share the same set of rivals?

edit:

What player counts are you going for?
Does the game still work if some players don't know exactly who one of their targets is at the moment the game starts, but it can be revealed or guessed as the game goes on?


Yes, your identity is known.
Sharing a set of rivals is possible, not sure if it should be discouraged or not.
5-8 players. 3-4 may be possible with only one rival each.
Rivals is your end game scoring condition. If you don't know how to score, you aren't likely to be competitive.


Is the goal to eliminate the targets or score points based on them?

e.g. a win when is both targets are eliminated (creating a degenerate case when two players share the same two targets), or something like: all players survive until the end, points scored based on the sum of the damage taken by the two targets?
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JT Schiavo
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
pharmakon wrote:


Is the goal to eliminate the targets or score points based on them?

e.g. a win when is both targets are eliminated (creating a degenerate case when two players share the same two targets), or something like: all players survive until the end, points scored based on the sum of the damage taken by the two targets?


Final score is the difference between your score and each rivals' score. If your score was 15, one rival was 18, the other was 9, your final score would be 3 (-3+6). Best final score wins.


Most methods of scoring are zero sum, you gain a point by stealing the point from someone else. Obviously, you prefer to steal from your rivals, but confrontations are similar to Cosmic Encounter in that you can ask for an ally on both attack or defense, so sometimes you take what you can get and try to hurt the score leader or help someone that isn't your rival that is getting beat down.
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Re: Cheater prevention in a hidden information setup.
ronhatch wrote:
Gronak wrote:
For a given number of players, there is a certain number of combinations which meet your criteria.

Make up one deck for EACH of the combinations, showing the pairs of player numbers or colors.
Randomly determine which deck to use that round.
Randomly determine each player's number or color that round.

This would work perfectly if each card showed which number/color you are AND what your targets are. Pick a deck at random, then deal it out... and you're done. I think that's probably even what you intended, but it wasn't 100% clear.

I suspect that the number of cards gets too high very quickly, though.


Well, it could be done by laying out the combinations on paper and creating the 'hands' by following the prescription already established but chosen randomly. Then randomly assign each package. The drawback is that everyone gets to see the combinations, just not who they are assigned to. A good memory may be able to capitalize on this.
That and you lose the option to have some choice at the beginning, about who your targets are.
The other problem is that you would need a different set for each number of players. There is no need however to create every single possible combination. You could decide how many are enough to randomize things enough for your purposes and stop there.
The number of cards is at a minimum, but the advanced prep is a few pages of possible combinations.
I think this is doable.

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