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Move It, Soldier!» Forums » Rules

Subject: Resolving arguments rss

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Peter Perla
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Kicked this around a few turns with some colleagues. We are a bit puzzled by the resolution system. At first glance, we could not see any reason why you would ever want to rate your own argument less than 5. If the other guys rates it 5, you both get +1 roll, giving you 6. If he rates it 4, you get 5. If he rates it less than four you get 4 but he also loses one die. If you simultaneously rate his argument 1, then the best he can do is to rate his own as 5, in which case you both lose a die for that discrepancy as well. So if I rate (mine, his) as (5,1) and he rates (mine, his) (not (his, mine)) as (1,5), the mirror image of my ratings, then what happens? For my argument, the discrepancy of 4 results in each of us losing one d6. Similarly for his argument, another -1d6 each, so each of us loses 2 d6.

Suppose now that he deviates from this and rates mine the same (1) and his something less than 5, say 4. Then we have (5,1) vs. (1,4). We both lose 1 for mine (discrepancy 4), and we also lose 1 for his (discrepancy 3). SO we both lose 2 dice. But I start with 5 and he starts with 4, so I have a +1 advantage.

I have not yet tried to do a game theory analysis of this system, but my guts tell me that extreme strategies are the inevitable drive of a pure mathematical approach. This is certainly not in the spirit of the game, but we all know how gamers can be!

Am I missing something? Did anyone do that game theory analysis?

This is always an issue with matrix games. You really seem to need an independent judge of the strength of the arguments. No simple rule based method seems likely to work. At least not with hard core gamers. And even when you try to play "honestly", one time you get screwed by the guy gaming the system, tit-for-tat is likely to enter the play. Or am I just too cynical?

Take care

peter
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Brian Train
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I suppose that's the difference between game and "game".

On the one hand, this game is a matrix game, a story-telling exercise where the players choose cards to help them construct arguments that are logical, and flow from both the cards in their hands and the cards that have been played in the game so far.
You get fun out of it by building a story with the other player.

On the other hand, this game is a "game" like all other competitive exercises, and some people will just play the numbers - "screw the narrative you're trying to build, I'm going to rate it a "1" no matter what you say."
You get fun out of it by rolling more dice than the other player.

Which is the more fulfilling way to spend your time?

I'm sure there are a few threads around BGG where people kick around the particular problems of co-operative games when there are one or more Lizard People in the group.

Brian
 
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Peter Perla
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Hi Brian,

That was my take on it as well. Ultimately, i think I would prefer playing the game with a referee to avoid the dangers and temptations. Indeed, although I can see why the game includes such specific rules for resolution by two, I wonder if they just make the players susceptible to the problem. Of course, playing three turns one time does not make me an expert at the game! And playing with analysts inevitably leads to analysis. I was hoping they had come up with a good system for resolution which we could adapt to our environment, but I fear that this aint it.

Sounds as if you are a fan. Have you not experienced the gaming of the system?

Take care

Peter
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Brian Train
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I think David J-J was trying to come up with some simple way that two people could play a matrix game, without a third person having to be the grown-up in the room.

Playing 3 turns may not make you an expert, but it does qualify you to write a review of the game! I see that all the time....

I played a complete game with my son some time ago. I was interested to see how we could make the story-telling bit work, not in who won (I think I did, IIRC).

I would be interested to see what David has to say. The operative paragraph in the rules says:

Quote:
If the ratings that you gave your own argument and that the other player gave your argument are the same, both players receive +1 d6 dice roll. If the ratings differ by one (either up or down) a player uses the number of d6 indicated on the higher of the two Ratings. If the ratings differ by two or more (either up or down), both players receive -1 d6 dice roll. This mechanic encourages the players to rate themselves and each other as honestly as possible.


I guess what you are saying is that if you are playing with a Lizard Person (or an analyst with a background in game theory), this doesn't work.

Brian
 
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Peter Perla
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ltmurnau wrote:
I think David J-J was trying to come up with some simple way that two people could play a matrix game, without a third person having to be the grown-up in the room.

Playing 3 turns may not make you an expert, but it does qualify you to write a review of the game! I see that all the time....

I played a complete game with my son some time ago. I was interested to see how we could make the story-telling bit work, not in who won (I think I did, IIRC).

I would be interested to see what David has to say. The operative paragraph in the rules says:

Quote:
If the ratings that you gave your own argument and that the other player gave your argument are the same, both players receive +1 d6 dice roll. If the ratings differ by one (either up or down) a player uses the number of d6 indicated on the higher of the two Ratings. If the ratings differ by two or more (either up or down), both players receive -1 d6 dice roll. This mechanic encourages the players to rate themselves and each other as honestly as possible.


I guess what you are saying is that if you are playing with a Lizard Person (or an analyst with a background in game theory), this doesn't work.

Brian


Hi Brian

Yes, it doesn't work if you are taking a boardgamer's attitude of exploiting the rules as written to win the game. At least tht is how it appeared to us. I have not been able to work up the energy to do a full game-theoretic analysis, but it certainly appears that playing a version of an extreme strategy in which I always rate my own a 5 and yours less than that should be best. But perhaps David can prove me wrong. I hope he gets a chance to weigh in here.

Take care

Peter
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Brian Train
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David logs in pretty frequently so I expect he will be here soon.

I also suspect that his intention may have been co-operative, not competitive, in making a way for 2 people to play a satisfying matrix game without a lot of preparation.
At least, that's what I read into it from my experience.

But there are always people who are "in it to win it", come what may, and victory points are the only points they will entertain... a game is just an elaborate puzzle to be broken.
I think there are many games that are simply lost on these people.

Brian
 
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David Janik-Jones
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Combat Commander, Up Front, Breakout Normandy, Fields of Fire! The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me!
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Hi Peter and Brian,

My own experiences with the mechanic mirror more of what Brian is suggesting. I experimented for a long time with different ways of allowing only two players to judge one another with the best intentions and as honestly as possible, as opposed to outright trying to "game the system to win".

Without a neutral third party to rate one's arguments, matrix games can be difficult to "play" unless one is playing cricket, as it were. The goal is a joint narrative game that in the end creates a strong narrative experience that should also portray it's subject with "realistic" outcomes.

Chris Engle very specifically uses the term "role-play" when describing this sort of game and that opens a whole can of fuzzy situations that would be hard to strictly quantify.

I'm open to suggestions as to how to better solidify ratings, but I have tinkered for several years without ever settling on or discovering anything absolute enough to satisfy gamers, as opposed to players who are into the much more narrative aspects of (war)games.

Did that make any sense?
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Brian Train
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Sure does David, especially since you are agreeing with me (or I with you).
Some games are just not for certain personalities and their particular objectives in life.

Brian
 
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Peter Perla
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ltmurnau wrote:
Sure does David, especially since you are agreeing with me (or I with you).
Some games are just not for certain personalities and their particular objectives in life.

Brian


Although I sympathize with this attitude in many ways, I think you are missing the point. The only way the current resolution system can work is for the players to ignore the characteristics of the system itself and play cooperatively in the sense of focusing on the developing story and "honestly" evaluating actions. But the formalism itself encourages a prisoner's dilemma situation. The four of us who played saw this immediately. We also saw that there were very few situaions in which the system made much difference. At least in terms of modifying base dice. Usually, both sides end up with the same mods, up or down one die. As a result, the formalism seemed actually to get in the way. It implies, at least to us, some sort of objective way to judge the relaive likelihood of success, actually reducing the incentive to make persuasive arguments. The kinds of players you want, then, the ones who can best use the system in the manner intended, are the ones who don't really need it, and in fact may find it a hindrance to the very experience you and they are seeking from the game.

I wonder if it would be better simply to tell players to roll a couple of dice each and agree on a drm based on their honest assessment of each other's arguments. This puts responsibility squarely on their shoulders without recourse to a seemingly objective system. I don't know. Just thinking out loud here. I wonder also if some of the ideas in The Open Ended Machine might be useful.

Take care

Peter
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Brian Train
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I don't know if I was missing the point, but I do see the one you are making.
My son and I were playing through this for the sake of the narrative, we definitely were not thinking of the system establishing an objective way to establish the strength of arguments.
Perhaps you could do this with massive lists of circumstances and accompanying DRMs to do it for you, if you wanted to have that formalism amplified so much.
Something is bugging me in the back of my head about something Chris Engle wrote once about this sort of problem.
I can't recall it in detail right now; I'll have to find the print I made of his post.

Brian
 
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James Sterrett
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Also mentioned this on Brian Train's blog:

A Matrix Game is in many ways a form of RPG, and and RPG is not necessarily a competitive game - but some are.

In RPGs, harmonizing [;ayer's desires is a Creative Agenda issue – and it’s solved by the players agreeing, before they play, about what kind of game they intend to play.

A Cliff notes version of GNS, one of the common explanations: RPGs can be about 3 things: Game (play through a challenge); Narrative (let’s tell a story); and Simulation (let’s find out what would happen if…) [ See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNS_theory for more.]

People who want a Game (per the above definition) will instantly break Move It, Soldier! because they are interested primarily in the competition. (Which isn’t wrong of them per se, but the structure of MIS! doesn’t serve their needs.)

People who want a Narrative might or might not do fine with MIS! if it turns out to produce an interesting chain of events. It will depend on the events the players inject, and honestly I wouldn’t call it a good fit in that the system doesn’t drive drama so much as conflict resolution. (Brian's note above about the game with his son suggests it can work.)

People who want a Simulation might find MIS! a good fit, because their primary interest (find out “what happens if”) is potentially supported by the game, but may be frustrated by the matrix game format if they do not have sufficient expertise to figure out what outcomes are reasonable; that's where a rule set (or setting books...) can come in handy by providing guideposts.
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Brian Train
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Thanks James,

As usual, someone else says it better, and more succinctly.

Brian

PS: If it wasn't clear, no offense intended to Lizard People everywhere in my posts. But sometimes I am as impatient with them as they are of me.
 
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