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Mansions of Madness: Second Edition» Forums » General

Subject: To Get Something Clear... The App is NOT 'Random' rss

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Justin Colm
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Nor should it be.

But after just cursory experimentation with it it's clear the notion people have of the App randomizing the map, clue tokens, monsters etc is incorrect. It is not random at all. It is variable. But there is clearly consistency and a rhyme and reason within that variation. The maps are not pot luck. From starting up the same scenario 3 times (1 including 1st edition materials) it's clear that the App was pulling from a few variables, not many, and that the map in question was always going to have the same inherent structure, with just the details changing. I think you should, for the most part, get the feeling of exploring the same house, 'but different', when you replay a scenario.

This may seem like a pedantic point but everywhere I'm seeing the word 'random' and I think it's giving a lot of people a false impression. It certainly did with me. Let us instead say variation and variety.

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Judgement Dave
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Of course, pedantically, it's using pseudorandom algorithms to randomise the scenario within set parameters.

Though your post comes across as similar to arguing that rolling a standard six-sided die does not give a random result as it's selecting from a set of 7* possible outcomes with no possibility of rolling a 78.6

* {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, not-lying-flat}
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Moose Detective
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Is it a moose that became a detective ? Or a detective who searches for moose?
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I also loaded up the first map three times. I only skimmed through it. The first and third setup seemed almost identical. The middle one used the 1E entrance hall so had a much different shape. But yes, I click the same explore token and got the same type of puzzle 3 times (but a different vsriation of puzzle) and all three had a similar feel.

HOWEVER, this was only the first 60-90 minute map. Did you use the same small map? I would bet the 4-6 hour maps is MUCH MUCH bigger and will be much more variable.
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Does "not-lying-flat" also cover situations such as...

- rolled off the table under the sofa, never to be seen again (result unknown)
- swallowed by the cat (result to be determined... later, much later)
- fell into a perpetual motion machine & never came to rest
- swallowed by a black hole (result pending the end of time itself)
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Ivan Cox
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stevelabny wrote:
HOWEVER, this was only the first 60-90 minute map. Did you use the same small map? I would bet the 4-6 hour maps is MUCH MUCH bigger and will be much more variable.


Yeah. Also, under 'Clear the Board' in the rules reference: 'When investigators are instructed to "clear the board", all map tiles, tokens, and monsters on the board are discarded'. Sounds like one or more of the longer scenarios has different locations, and/or locations large enough to make clearance required to avoid maps requiring unfeasibly large amounts of table space. Nice.
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Justin Colm
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JudgementDave wrote:
Of course, pedantically, it's using pseudorandom algorithms to randomise the scenario within set parameters.

Though your post comes across as similar to arguing that rolling a standard six-sided die does not give a random result as it's selecting from a set of 7* possible outcomes with no possibility of rolling a 78.6

* {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, not-lying-flat}


I think you're missing my point. I'm not talking about the programming of the app. I'm talking about the nature of the scenarios. It's random in that there are at least 3 different starting setups for Scenario 1 that I have seen, and the game will pesudo-randomly (as you say) select one of them but I don't think that's what a lot of people are imagining when they hear 'random'. I don't see endless variation in these maps. I see a few basic layouts that change up in their details but essentially 'feel' the same, play the same, create the same kind of structure.

I started up 2 games with just 2nd edition materials and then I tried one with 1st edition and made a little prediction to myself what the App would throw up... and it did exactly what I predicted. That's in no way 'random'. Nor do I want it to be. I want thematic, logical maps. I just think it's distinction worth making. The maps are variable, not random.

stevelabny wrote:
I also loaded up the first map three times. I only skimmed through it. The first and third setup seemed almost identical. The middle one used the 1E entrance hall so had a much different shape. But yes, I click the same explore token and got the same type of puzzle 3 times (but a different vsriation of puzzle) and all three had a similar feel.

HOWEVER, this was only the first 60-90 minute map. Did you use the same small map? I would bet the 4-6 hour maps is MUCH MUCH bigger and will be much more variable.



No, I don't want to spoil the game too much so I'm not touching the other scenarios yet but I don't think a bigger map necessarily equals more variety. It give more possible points for diversion but assuming the same design principle in all scenarios I imagine it will have the same, 'the same but different' feel.

Hellicon wrote:
stevelabny wrote:
HOWEVER, this was only the first 60-90 minute map. Did you use the same small map? I would bet the 4-6 hour maps is MUCH MUCH bigger and will be much more variable.


Yeah. Also, under 'Clear the Board' in the rules reference: 'When investigators are instructed to "clear the board", all map tiles, tokens, and monsters on the board are discarded'. Sounds like one or more of the longer scenarios has different locations, and/or locations large enough to make clearance required to avoid maps requiring unfeasibly large amounts of table space. Nice.


I picked up on that too! Sounds very intriguing.
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James
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I miss the old D&D games where you open a door and are attacked by a dragon, you open the next door and you are attacked by a vampire and then you open the next door and there is an old woman who gives you a healing potion. I hope MOM 2nd edition is NOT like that.
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Judgement Dave
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grahamj wrote:
I miss the old D&D games where you open a door and are attacked by a dragon, you open the next door and you are attacked by a vampire and then you open the next door and there is an old woman who gives you a healing potion. I hope MOM 2nd edition is NOT like that.

I hope so too - an uncaring Lovecraftian universe shouldn't have kindly old ladies giving you help.
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Chris J Davis
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grahamj wrote:
I miss the old D&D games where you open a door and are attacked by a dragon, you open the next door and you are attacked by a vampire and then you open the next door and there is an old woman who gives you a healing potion. I hope MOM 2nd edition is NOT like that.


The app is already available to download, so you can check for yourself.

If you can't be bothered, others have already confirmed that it is not.
 
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Hellicon wrote:
stevelabny wrote:
HOWEVER, this was only the first 60-90 minute map. Did you use the same small map? I would bet the 4-6 hour maps is MUCH MUCH bigger and will be much more variable.


Yeah. Also, under 'Clear the Board' in the rules reference: 'When investigators are instructed to "clear the board", all map tiles, tokens, and monsters on the board are discarded'. Sounds like one or more of the longer scenarios has different locations, and/or locations large enough to make clearance required to avoid maps requiring unfeasibly large amounts of table space. Nice.


Good catch!
 
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Judgement Dave
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High Flying Bird wrote:
I think you're missing my point.

No - got it entirely. But I hate people using 'random' when they obviously have no idea of what the word means (not meaning yourself, btw).
But I'm pedantic, with a somewhat odd sense of humour, so when you said that you were being pedantic I couldn't resist pointing out, pedantically, that any program on your mobile phone isn't really going to be random anyway.

Maintaining a semblance of a sensible (and hopefully fun) scenario and the limitations of RNGs mean that the keeper is never really doing anything truly random.
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Adam D.
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Pedantic discussions of what is truly random aside, I appreciate the actual information that the generated scenario information is not rogue-like. Some of the ad copy implied this, although I couldn't say it ever stated it outright.
 
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Jay Eye
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There might also be an variation depending on how many investigators play the game.
 
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Alessandro Cingolani
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I made some extensive testing on the first scenario. I confirm that there's no random element at all, EXCEPT one: the general layout.

Using only the tiles of the 2nd edition, you can get Layout A or B, and it's clear which one is due to the starting tile.

Moreover, there's another difference in the layout, depending on the number of players: if playing in 2 players, you get A1/A2 or B1/B2, if playing in 3+, you get A2 or B2.

On top of that, on Layout A the difference between A1 and A2 is pretty much only cosmetic, instead Layouts B1 and B2 have a slight difference gameplay wise (I won't spoiler it, but even if minor, it's there).

Differences between A1/A2 and B1/B2 are minor gameplay wise.

Starting the second scenario, I get the feeling that it works the same, or even worse since apparently there's only one generic layout, with slight differences based always on number of players.

Edit: forgot to add that apparently, using the 1st edition tiles, you can get a third, C, layout in the first scenario, with probably C1 and C2 layouts always depending on number of players.
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Judgement Dave
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Galandil wrote:
I made some extensive testing on the first scenario. I confirm that there's no random element at all, EXCEPT one: the general layout.

Using only the tiles of the 2nd edition, you can get Layout A or B, and it's clear which one is due to the starting tile.

Moreover, there's another difference in the layout, depending on the number of players: if playing in 2 players, you get A1 or B1, if playing in 3+, you get A2 or B2.

On top of that, on Layout A the difference between A1 and A2 is pretty much only cosmetic, instead Layouts B1 and B2 have a slight difference gameplay wise (I won't spoiler it, but even if minor, it's there).

Starting the second scenario, I get the feeling that it works the same, or even worse since apparently there's only one generic layout, with slight differences based always on number of players.

Yikes - that's getting pretty close to 'randomly' picking 1 map layout from a set of 1 possibilities.

Though being in the app, if it is currently as limited as you say, it is possible that they could upgrade the map generator to add a little more variety.

Though, it's also possible that they have 5 or 6 (or however many) basic templates and you just happened to draw the same one or two in your trials.
 
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Ivan Cox
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JudgementDave wrote:
High Flying Bird wrote:
I think you're missing my point.

No - got it entirely. But I hate people using 'random' when they obviously have no idea of what the word means (not meaning yourself, btw).
But I'm pedantic, with a somewhat odd sense of humour, so when you said that you were being pedantic I couldn't resist pointing out, pedantically, that any program on your mobile phone isn't really going to be random anyway.

Maintaining a semblance of a sensible (and hopefully fun) scenario and the limitations of RNGs mean that the keeper is never really doing anything truly random.


And of course, this goes back to the best reasons for a cooperative boardgame to use an app - a) to simulate some amount of A.I. and b) to allow that directed, intelligent variability where the analogue equivalent is either staged deck setups with unfeasibly complicated multiple shufflings etc or simply not possible. (Personally, I don't want to be doing much more of that than what Warhammer quest ACG asks).
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Jay Eye
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This soon will turn into a war between the "randomites" and the "narratives".
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Alessandro Cingolani
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JudgementDave wrote:
Yikes - that's getting pretty close to 'randomly' picking 1 map layout from a set of 1 possibilities.

Though being in the app, if it is currently as limited as you say, it is possible that they could upgrade the map generator to add a little more variety.

Though, it's also possible that they have 5 or 6 (or however many) basic templates and you just happened to draw the same one or two in your trials.


You're right. But I started the first scenario more than 50 times, that means that not getting the possible third layout even in just 50 trials has a probability of around 0.0000001568%.
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Jay Eye
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Galandil wrote:
JudgementDave wrote:
Yikes - that's getting pretty close to 'randomly' picking 1 map layout from a set of 1 possibilities.

Though being in the app, if it is currently as limited as you say, it is possible that they could upgrade the map generator to add a little more variety.

Though, it's also possible that they have 5 or 6 (or however many) basic templates and you just happened to draw the same one or two in your trials.


You're right. But I started the first scenario more than 50 times, that means that not getting the possible third layout even in just 50 trials has a probability of around 0.0000001568%.


From FFG:

Quote:
From then on, the rooms you search, the beasts you face, the objects you stumble across, and the events that befall you are unpredictable, randomized from the game components in your collection.


Mhhhh ... is there more to come when the game gets released? Maybe through a major update?
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Judgement Dave
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Exilfranke wrote:
Mhhhh ... is there more to come when the game gets released? Maybe through a major update?

One of the great advantages of having the app should be that it allows updates/tweaking to be available to all players a lot easier than hoping they all see/download/printout an update from the FFG site. It's also hell of a lot cheaper (in general) to distribute bits and bytes than paper and ink.
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Justin Colm
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TheCollector wrote:
Pedantic discussions of what is truly random aside, I appreciate the actual information that the generated scenario information is not rogue-like. Some of the ad copy implied this, although I couldn't say it ever stated it outright.


Yes, exactly. I think that it has amounted a little bit to misinformation, which was really the main thing I wanted to address. One of the main things people have been discussing is how much replayability there is in the scenarios and I feel the notion of the 'random' maps is giving a false impression of endless variety.

The variation really seems to be very similar to 1st edition but with the extra bit of scope of different map layouts. But essentially you're looking at a handful of replays per scenario I think. More than that and it seems it will be very repetitive. YMMV of course.


Exilfranke wrote:
There might also be an variation depending on how many investigators play the game.


I'm assuming that the difficulty will be balanced for that factor of curse, but nothing in the app or rulebook (that I have seen) actually confirms this.

Galandil wrote:
I made some extensive testing on the first scenario. I confirm that there's no random element at all, EXCEPT one: the general layout.


This is what i suspected but couldn't outright state because I haven't tested it extensively enough.

JudgementDave wrote:

Though, it's also possible that they have 5 or 6 (or however many) basic templates and you just happened to draw the same one or two in your trials.


Yes, this is it: they're templates. I'm not sure he App is even generating the maps proceedurally, so much as just selecting one pre-built map from some possibilities.
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Alessandro Cingolani
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Exilfranke wrote:
Mhhhh ... is there more to come when the game gets released? Maybe through a major update?


I was only talking regarding map variability, first scenario only has 4 possible layouts (read my edit before please I corrected some things after further testings).

Some things in a scenario are "fixed" (in position and/or effect, like NPCs, puzzles, etc.), others are random (the "?" tokens, not in position per se, but in the effect, i.e. in a game you can get item X and in another item Y, etc.). But nothing that coulnd't be done with the 1st edition.
 
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Alessandro Cingolani
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Btw, the second scenario has a fixed layout/template for the map, only thing that changes apparently is the disposition of a single NPC token. :\
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Jay Eye
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Galandil wrote:
Btw, the second scenario has a fixed layout/template for the map, only thing that changes apparently is the disposition of a single NPC token. :\


Dude, stop it. Sure some will appreaciate your playtesting based on the app, but you'll ruin the experience for you. Or you're not planning to invest in the game, then go forth!
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Mariano Rico
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Its funny, all this major concern about how random the game is. I agree with the OP that variability is a better term to define it and specially should be the one to set our expectations, if we want to avoid disappointment.

A complete random experience would definitely kill all the narrative and half the theme. Miss Replayability always demands more randomness, but to me, that means less fun, at least in this kind of heavily thematic and narrative games. And think about it folks, for most of you I am sure it does also.

Lets face it: the fun will have to end sometime. Surprise will be the first to fall, but fun will follow down shortly (earlier for some than for others). Lets not be naive and expect to have an infinite replayable experience out of this game. A bit of variation to play each scenario a couple or so times at most, and then wait for some new scenarios to be published. Or how many times do you expect to read a good novel when you buy it?
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