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Subject: Luck vs Tactics vs Strategy rss

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Patrick Barry
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A three way graph I made.

Any game can be described as a mix of luck, short term tactics and long term strategy. Eg Risk might be described as 33% Luck, 66% Strategy while Chess looks to be about 50/50 Tactics and Strategy.

Where your game is placed will define a huge part of the end experience. The more strategy and the less luck, the ‘thinkier’ it will become (and the slower each player’s turn might be). That isn't a bad thing, but a slower game shouldn't accommodate as many players, unless you've found things for people to do outside of their game.

Sometimes, if I have a theme I'm set on using, I might try and markup existing games on this graph to see where there is still design space. Other times, I might be considering a game that's 'a bit like X and a bit like Y'. This graph helps me figure out how it might feel to play.

Where does your game fit on this graph?
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Craig C
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My ideal game would fit right about where you've got Risk (and Risk could probably slide to the right on the Strategy scale a bit, since "hold Australia till you can turn in a card set for nine million armies" is maybe a bit less strategic than other games in the BGG top 100), with mostly strategy and tactics, and a bit of luck thrown in, because a game where everything's predictable isn't only boring to me, it's unrealistic.
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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I don't feel these components fight each other in the way this implies. A game can be high strategy, and high luck, for example.

Richard Garfield likes to use the toy example of rando-chess which is exactly chess, except at the end you roll a die and on a roll of 1 you switch the winner and loser. Rando-chess is (at least for my intuitive definition) 100% as strategic as chess, and all of the vast strategy literature for chess applies equally well to rando-chess. For any reasonable definition of luck, rando-chess certainly has more luck than chess.
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Mike Thompson
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Patrick, this is just a hunch, but you usually lose at Poker, eh?
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Sturv Tafvherd
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That's a weird graph.

Are you saying that the sum of the 3 attributes is 100%?
 
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Patrick Barry
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CyanideNow wrote:
Patrick, this is just a hunch, but you usually lose at Poker, eh?


In the long run the luck averages out, but in the short run of a single game you are massively dependent on the cards. I suppose you could argue there's strategy involved over multiple games if you're trying to steadily mislead people as to your tactics, but it's a game that a robot could play perfectly averagely.

Stormtower wrote:
That's a weird graph.

Are you saying that the sum of the 3 attributes is 100%?


Yup, you read along the white line direction. (so the example chess here is ~ 50% strategy, 50% tactics.)
You could have a really really simple game and a really complex one that split along the same ratios. As an example, I could argue that Smallworld and REX: Twilight Imperium both have the same ratios: there's a small amount of luck in the draw, there's a heap of tactics in each turn's move and there's also a heap of strategy that acts over the length of the game (which usually decides the winner, as long as all players are tactically reasonable). Say 20% Luck, 40% Tactics, 40% Strategy. CraigC's ideal game
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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gamedesign_png wrote:
CyanideNow wrote:
Patrick, this is just a hunch, but you usually lose at Poker, eh?


In the long run the luck averages out, but in the short run of a single game you are massively dependent on the cards. I suppose you could argue there's strategy involved over multiple games if you're trying to steadily mislead people as to your tactics, but it's a game that a robot could play perfectly averagely.


Disagreed. You don't play the cards, you play the people. A robot can't read how people play, so it would depend on the luck of the draw.


gamedesign_png wrote:


Stormtower wrote:
That's a weird graph.

Are you saying that the sum of the 3 attributes is 100%?


Yup, you read along the white line direction. (so the example chess here is ~ 50% strategy, 50% tactics.)


Draw for me the 3 lines that intersect to the point that says :
33% Luck, 33% Strategy, 33% Tactics

In other words, I think the graph is flawed. The top point on that triangle, for example, would read 100% Luck, 0% Tactics, 50% Strategy
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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hmmm... wait, I think I just figured out how your graph works. The only valid "points" are some of the triangle areas.

Your mistake was in saying that you've placed Chess in a 50/50 spot. That (upside down) triangle where the word sits in is 33% Strategy, 33% Tactics, 0% Luck. If you moved it left, it would be 66% Strategy, 33% Tactics, 0% Luck. If you moved it right instead, it would be 33% Strategy, 66% Tactics, 0% Luck.
 
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Seamus O'Toole
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Stormtower wrote:
Draw for me the 3 lines that intersect to the point that says :
33% Luck, 33% Strategy, 33% Tactics

In other words, I think the graph is flawed. The top point on that triangle, for example, would read 100% Luck, 0% Tactics, 50% Strategy

The point which represents 33% of each is the exact centre of the triangle.
The topmost point is 100% luck, 0% of the other two.
Note the directions of the small white lines on the axes.

Stormtower wrote:
hmmm... wait, I think I just figured out how your graph works. The only valid "points" are some of the triangle areas.

Your mistake was in saying that you've placed Chess in a 50/50 spot. That (upside down) triangle where the word sits in is 33% Strategy, 33% Tactics, 0% Luck. If you moved it left, it would be 66% Strategy, 33% Tactics, 0% Luck. If you moved it right instead, it would be 33% Strategy, 66% Tactics, 0% Luck.

While your 'if moved left or right' statements are correct, it is currently at about the 50% each Strategy & Tactics point.
There is no point on the graph that is 33% Strategy, 33% Tactics, 0% Luck.
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Daniel Tapia
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I agree with you in that Chess is 50% strategy/50% tactics which is why so many people like it and call it the king of all board games.

The game I'm developing is heavy into strategy, it's something like 75% strategy/12.5% tactics/12.5% luck.
 
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Benj Davis
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delirimouse wrote:
I don't feel these components fight each other in the way this implies. A game can be high strategy, and high luck, for example.

Richard Garfield likes to use the toy example of rando-chess which is exactly chess, except at the end you roll a die and on a roll of 1 you switch the winner and loser. Rando-chess is (at least for my intuitive definition) 100% as strategic as chess, and all of the vast strategy literature for chess applies equally well to rando-chess. For any reasonable definition of luck, rando-chess certainly has more luck than chess.


The only way it's even slightly as strategic is in the decision of when your odds of winning the match drop below 1/n. As soon as they have, you should tip your King and hope for a 1.

It also sounds vile.
 
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Russ Williams
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Jlerpy wrote:
delirimouse wrote:
I don't feel these components fight each other in the way this implies. A game can be high strategy, and high luck, for example.

Richard Garfield likes to use the toy example of rando-chess which is exactly chess, except at the end you roll a die and on a roll of 1 you switch the winner and loser. Rando-chess is (at least for my intuitive definition) 100% as strategic as chess, and all of the vast strategy literature for chess applies equally well to rando-chess. For any reasonable definition of luck, rando-chess certainly has more luck than chess.


The only way it's even slightly as strategic is in the decision of when your odds of winning the match drop below 1/n. As soon as they have, you should tip your King and hope for a 1.

It also sounds vile.

Huh? You want to win the chess game so that you have a 5/6 chance of winning the rando-chess game. The same skills you use to win chess are therefore directly relevant to winning the rando-chess game.

If you are not skilled at chess and I am very skilled at chess, then I'll win rando-chess against you 5/6 of the time.
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Rob Harper
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Jlerpy wrote:
It also sounds vile.


It is meant to. Garfield used it as one of a selection of "toy" games, constructs used to illustrate or explore a point.
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Binh Vo
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"Chess is 99% tactics"

-Grandmaster Richard Teichmann
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Benj Davis
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polyobsessive wrote:
Jlerpy wrote:
It also sounds vile.


It is meant to. Garfield used it as one of a selection of "toy" games, constructs used to illustrate or explore a point.


That's quite a relief.
 
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Steve Zagieboylo
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Jlerpy wrote:
polyobsessive wrote:
Jlerpy wrote:
It also sounds vile.


It is meant to. Garfield used it as one of a selection of "toy" games, constructs used to illustrate or explore a point.


That's quite a relief.

Part of the point of rando-chess was also to illustrate that adding a luck factor can be good or bad, and this was a distinctly bad way to do it. If you win by the luck, there's no sense of satisfaction, just a bad taste. And if you win the chess game and then don't get unlucky, there's no accomplishment, just a sigh of relief that the gods didn't spurn you, this time.

Poker sometimes has this unsatisfying aspect of luck. I just returned from Vegas, so I'm all over it. :-) Of course, I did manage to get my whole stack in (about $200) preflop with AA against A8s, and the poker gods smiled in another direction. But the cool thing about poker is how it moves over this grid dynamically.

Poker also illustrates an interesting aspect of skill -- it isn't absolute skill that matters, but the skill difference between players. If I play poker against true beginners, there is almost no luck at all -- I'm going to end up with all the money, and it will only take 40 or 50 hands. However, in, say, 10 hours of instruction, I could teach a smart beginner to play well enough that a match between him and me would have a noticeable luck component.
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