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Subject: Ideal Amount of Luck vs. Strategy rss

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Mike Mollineaux
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Interesting question I asked my family a few nights ago...

What is the ideal amount of Luck vs. Strategy in a game? I recognize it will vary widely based upon personal taste and the genre of game, but just curious...

The poll will be based on percentage of Strategy (0% being like Candy Land and 100% being like Chess).

Poll: Ideal percentage of Strategy in a game
What is the ideal percentage of strategy in a game?
0% to 20%
20% to 40%
40% to 60%
60% to 80%
80% to 100%
      74 answers
Poll created by Mlinx6
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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It's a false dichotomy. Luck and strategy are on separate axises.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=av5Hf7uOu-o
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John
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
It's a false dichotomy. Luck and strategy are on separate axises.

Exactly. They do have some impact on each other but not always in the way you might expect - removing random elements from a game can make it less strategic.

Edit - Tic-Tac-Toe & Backgammon being examples of games where the game with more luck also has more strategy.
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Christian Gienger
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I really like Richard Garfields example of a high strategy high luck game.

You play a game of chess. (perceived as high skill, no luck game). Then at the end of the game the winner rolls a die. On a 1 the winner of the chess part of the game loses the game and the one who was losing before wins.

I wouldn't want to play this, but it's a very strategic (chess) game in which in 17% of all cases the better player can lose due to bad luck.
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Thanee
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I prefer randomness over luck.

Bye
Thanee
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Christian Gienger
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Thanee wrote:
I prefer randomness over luck.

Bye
Thanee


If you go that way I prefer uncertainty.
 
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Richard Irving
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Card Game expert/historian/game designer/1st SDJ Winner, David Parlett, "Skill is not the absence of luck. It is presence of substantive choice."

It is funny how game like Up Front which has LOT of luck has a 7-time WBC champion. It is funny how the same poker players often win the night. Or the same Scrabble player s win the title.
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Benj Davis
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Locu wrote:
Thanee wrote:
I prefer randomness over luck.

Bye
Thanee


If you go that way I prefer uncertainty.


Sounds volatile.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Locu wrote:
Thanee wrote:
I prefer randomness over luck.

Bye
Thanee


If you go that way I prefer uncertainty.
Weird. I prefer certainty.

But even if we change the OP's question to something that's only asking about luck/randomness/uncertainty on its own, I can't answer without knowing how long the game is. If we're playing a 30 second game, I'm okay with it being completely random. If it's five minutes, it can still be fairly random, but I'd like some way to influence/mitigate/deal with that randomness. The longer the game lasts the less I want the outcome to be dependent on random elements. If I've invested 10 hours on a game, I shouldn't feel like something completely outside my control or ability to manage has decided the game.
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MLeis
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It's not possible to calculate a ratio of things for which we haven't established a common unit of measurement.

In a cupboard, there are two old boots, 500g of sugar and a faint smell of garlic. What is the percentage of boots, sugar and smell of garlic in the cupboard?
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1 Lucky Texan
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someone already mentioned Backgammon - consider though, there is a range of utility for every dice result depending on game-state.

yes, it has an 'unpredictability' (dice rolls) but it offers many options to try to minimize risk.

and , maybe except for very simple strategy games and solo gaming, there's always the unpredictability of how opponents will play - so, are there really many 100% strategy games?

(if you play Backgammon with a second board - board 'B' - and play on that board using your opponents dice roll - it likely will help determine which player is the most skillful in a just a few games. it removes the complaints about 'good' rolls vs 'unlucky' rolls)
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Sam Lam I Am
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I think as game length increases, the amount of acceptable luck decreases.

A medium to long strategic game can use some randomness to create variation in the game, but the randomness should not be so great that the end of game often hinges on a die roll.
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Doug Hook
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Prefer all or mostly strategy. Been playing Chess since age seven and more recently Hive. Most of the folks with whom I play prefer more luck and I can do that too.
 
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CARL SKUTSCH
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For me, it's not game length, it's the number of random moments. I prefer lots of random moments to just a few.

One of my problems with Twilight Struggle and Polis: Fight for the Hegemony is that they have relatively few random moments but those random moments can be critical. In an ongoing iOS game of Twilight Struggle, my enemy staged both the Korean War and the Arab Israeli War. He lost both. Now I'm winning. However, if he'd won both (which is just as likely) he'd be winning. That's a lot to put on 2 die rolls.

Now take Fortress America. Lots of dice, but lots and lots and lots of dice. With all those dice, rolls tend towards the average. I will beat a novice player even if they get luckier than me, because it's rare that they'll be that much luckier all the way through the game. They'd have to get super lucky to have a chance. That kind of lucky happens maybe 1 in 10 games. I can live with that (and it gives the novice a moment of pleasure as they savor one of their rare victories).
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skutsch wrote:
For me, it's not game length, it's the number of random moments. I prefer lots of random moments to just a few.

One of my problems with Twilight Struggle and Polis: Fight for the Hegemony is that they have relatively few random moments but those random moments can be critical. In an ongoing iOS game of Twilight Struggle, my enemy staged both the Korean War and the Arab Israeli War. He lost both. Now I'm winning. However, if he'd won both (which is just as likely) he'd be winning. That's a lot to put on 2 die rolls.

Now take Fortress America. Lots of dice, but lots and lots and lots of dice. With all those dice, rolls tend towards the average. I will beat a novice player even if they get luckier than me, because it's rare that they'll be that much luckier all the way through the game. They'd have to get super lucky to have a chance. That kind of lucky happens maybe 1 in 10 games. I can live with that (and it gives the novice a moment of pleasure as they savor one of their rare victories).



good points - I suppose I DO NOT want to feel that the dice/deck is my primary opponent, I want to feel like the other player(s) are my opponents.
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Pete
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I find the successful management of random events to be a lot more strategic that the successful management of nonrandom events.

Pete (enjoys working out the probabilities)
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Sam Lam I Am
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plezercruz wrote:
I find the successful management of random events to be a lot more strategic that the successful management of nonrandom events.

Pete (enjoys working out the probabilities)


I'd put successful management of opponents' moves as #1 in strategery. Opponent choices are (in theory) non-random.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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plezercruz wrote:
I find the successful management of random events to be a lot more strategic that the successful management of nonrandom events.

Pete (enjoys working out the probabilities)

I won't go quite that far but I do think managing random events is a skill as worthy and as, er, skillful as any one finds in luckless Euros.
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Pete
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skutsch wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
I find the successful management of random events to be a lot more strategic that the successful management of nonrandom events.

Pete (enjoys working out the probabilities)

I won't go quite that far but I do think managing random events is a skill as worthy and as, er, skillful as any one finds in luckless Euros.
Stone age: I really need 3 wood. How many workers do I need to devote to be reasonably certain that I will get 3 wood? What is the opportunity cost of adding one more worker, and how much does it increase my odds of getting that extra wood? What are the long-term repercussions of not getting my 3 wood, and how do those compare to the long term repercussions of not having that extra worker on another action? What's my best move here?

Agricola: This worker gets me 3 wood. Or I can do that other thing.

Pete (summarizes the difference he sees between random and nonrandom games)

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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Strategy and Random Elements
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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plezercruz wrote:
skutsch wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
I find the successful management of random events to be a lot more strategic that the successful management of nonrandom events.

Pete (enjoys working out the probabilities)

I won't go quite that far but I do think managing random events is a skill as worthy and as, er, skillful as any one finds in luckless Euros.
Stone age: I really need 3 wood. How many workers do I need to devote to be reasonably certain that I will get 3 wood? What is the opportunity cost of adding one more worker, and how much does it increase my odds of getting that extra wood? What are the long-term repercussions of not getting my 3 wood, and how do those compare to the long term repercussions of not having that extra worker on another action? What's my best move here?

Agricola: This worker gets me 3 wood. Or I can do that other thing.

Pete (summarizes the difference he sees between random and nonrandom games)
What? Come on!

Agricola: I have two workers, so do both of my opponents. There's an array of possible options I could take, some of which are better than others. First I evaluate which options I prefer and which are more important to me. Then I evaluate what other players are likely to want. I note any constraints other players may have, like do they have a way to eat/house animals or do they need to take another action prior to taking animals? Do they have a pressing need to feed their family this turn? Can I afford to risk losing the 3 wood and take something else first? How bad is it if someone else takes the wood before it gets back to me and I don't have any wood this turn? What are the chances that's going to happen based on what other players want, their constraints and what I know about their playstyle? If they do take the wood from me, what's my backup plan and how much less optimal is that for me? If I play it safe and take the wood now, what is likely to be available for my other worker when it gets back to me?

Don't pretend there's more to think about with a random event. Maybe you think about it more than you do with non-random events, but that's because you choose to, not because there's not anything to think about. If anything you probably go through the thought process with random events because the calculation is easier and you don't have to deal with factors that are hard to quantitatively evaluate (the odds that you'll roll x are easier to determine than the odds that Bob will do x).
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Pete
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Thunkd wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
skutsch wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
I find the successful management of random events to be a lot more strategic that the successful management of nonrandom events.

Pete (enjoys working out the probabilities)

I won't go quite that far but I do think managing random events is a skill as worthy and as, er, skillful as any one finds in luckless Euros.
Stone age: I really need 3 wood. How many workers do I need to devote to be reasonably certain that I will get 3 wood? What is the opportunity cost of adding one more worker, and how much does it increase my odds of getting that extra wood? What are the long-term repercussions of not getting my 3 wood, and how do those compare to the long term repercussions of not having that extra worker on another action? What's my best move here?

Agricola: This worker gets me 3 wood. Or I can do that other thing.

Pete (summarizes the difference he sees between random and nonrandom games)
What? Come on!

Agricola: I have two workers, so do both of my opponents. There's an array of possible options I could take, some of which are better than others. First I evaluate which options I prefer and which are more important to me. Then I evaluate what other players are likely to want. I note any constraints other players may have, like do they have a way to eat/house animals or do they need to take another action prior to taking animals? Do they have a pressing need to feed their family this turn? Can I afford to risk losing the 3 wood and take something else first? How bad is it if someone else takes the wood before it gets back to me and I don't have any wood this turn? What are the chances that's going to happen based on what other players want, their constraints and what I know about their playstyle? If they do take the wood from me, what's my backup plan and how much less optimal is that for me? If I play it safe and take the wood now, what is likely to be available for my other worker when it gets back to me?

Don't pretend there's more to think about with a random event. Maybe you think about it more than you do with non-random events, but that's because you choose to, not because there's not anything to think about. If anything you probably go through the thought process with random events because the calculation is easier and you don't have to deal with factors that are hard to quantitatively evaluate (the odds that you'll roll x are easier to determine than the odds that Bob will do x).
If every one of Agricola's production spots had a randomized output, there would be a LOT more to think about.

Pete (stands pat)
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Sphere wrote:


yep - good thread and I mostly agree with the post there about the "Gyp Factor" in that it somewhat parallels my suggestion about whether the opponent is a deck of cards or dice ,vs a human opponent.
 
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Sam Lam I Am
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plezercruz wrote:
Stone age: I really need 3 wood. How many workers do I need to devote to be reasonably certain that I will get 3 wood? What is the opportunity cost of adding one more worker, and how much does it increase my odds of getting that extra wood? What are the long-term repercussions of not getting my 3 wood, and how do those compare to the long term repercussions of not having that extra worker on another action? What's my best move here?

Agricola: This worker gets me 3 wood. Or I can do that other thing.

Pete (summarizes the difference he sees between random and nonrandom games)



Nice summary of why I much prefer Agricola. Seems like when I play Stone Age, my workers have a value of 1 pip, while my opponents' workers have a value of 6 pips.

Probability is a harsh mistress.

In Agricola, people of all colors and ages are equal. Huzzah!
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skutsch wrote:
For me, it's not game length, it's the number of random moments. I prefer lots of random moments to just a few.

One of my problems with Twilight Struggle and Polis: Fight for the Hegemony is that they have relatively few random moments but those random moments can be critical. In an ongoing iOS game of Twilight Struggle, my enemy staged both the Korean War and the Arab Israeli War. He lost both. Now I'm winning. However, if he'd won both (which is just as likely) he'd be winning. That's a lot to put on 2 die rolls.

Now take Fortress America. Lots of dice, but lots and lots and lots of dice. With all those dice, rolls tend towards the average. I will beat a novice player even if they get luckier than me, because it's rare that they'll be that much luckier all the way through the game. They'd have to get super lucky to have a chance. That kind of lucky happens maybe 1 in 10 games. I can live with that (and it gives the novice a moment of pleasure as they savor one of their rare victories).


More dice does not improve luck. To improve luck you need a fixed pool from which to draw that is finite...
 
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