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Subject: Are most strategy-conflict games just push-your-luck engines? rss

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Miles Stevenson
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This weekend I spent some time reacquainting myself with Age of Conan, a game I only played once about a year ago and have been wanting to try again. Most of my gaming group wasn't particularly fond of it, but I'm hoping I can get them to give it another try. Maybe we can even work up to including the expansion.

I got to thinking about this genre in general. I'll use the term "strategy-conflict" game instead of "wargame" so I can avoid that whole mess. But, I think the 1970's-friendly version of the term "wargame" also applies more often than not.

Most of these kinds of games use randomness to resolve the conflicts that the game portrays. Usually it's dice, but some games manage to change it up a little. I think most of us who enjoy these kinds of games tend to not mind the randomness, because as every card-carrying strategy-conflict gamer will proudly declare: "the luck can be mitigated through skillful play!" The thing I (think) I realized while I was very cleverly marching barbarian hordes across the steppes of Hyboria, is that the "skillful play" in all of these games usually just amounts to the same thing: modifiers.

Take just about any tactical, operational, or even grand-strategic hex & counter wargame. Skillful play in those games mostly amounts to one thing, which is attacking at the right place, at the right time, with the right units, in order to get as many positive modifiers as you can so that you can curve the luck in your direction. If, over the course of the game, you can manage to do that more often than your opponent, you'll probably come out ahead.

Other strategy-conflict games like Age of Conan, Runewars, Nexus Ops, and countless others usually work on the same principle. You try to have more positive modifiers (however that is expressed in each individual game) in as many conflicts throughout the game as possible.

The other thing that seems to be universal to all of these games, is that getting those bonuses is something that you have to put "energy" into. By "energy" I mean you have to spend more actions, turns, time, money, units, etc., to get more and more bonuses leading up to the conflict.

The usual suspects for these modifiers: terrain, unit combinations, special abilities, positioning (flanking bonuses, etc.), supply, and quantity of forces. The more time you spend in the game trying get bonuses due to all of those things, the more bonuses you usually get, and the better luck-curve you have when the conflict is resolved.

It also occurred to me that almost every decision you make in these games revolves around the above. Every turn you are trying to build more units, position into better terrain, have a better tactical position on the board, have the right types of units in the right place, make sure that the special abilities & actions you have available are usable where you want, etc. Why are you trying to do all of this? Modifiers. That's really all it is. Bonuses in combat.

And since every game presents the players with a limited number of actions, turns, resources, etc., throughout the game, you are going to have to make the decision: "when do I have enough?". If you never try to take ground and win combat until you have the maximum amount of modifiers possible, you'll probably only ever resolve one or two conflicts in the game, if that. So you essentially have to decide how many modifiers are "good enough" before pulling the trigger and making your move.

So here's the thing. Didn't I just use a bunch of words to describe a push your luck game? Isn't that essentially what we are doing, in every single one of these games?

I recently played my first game of Reluctant Enemies, part of the "Operational Combat Series" that is a favorite among many hardcore wargamers for how well it simulates WWII operational-level logistics. This is a system that has tons of modifiers, positive and negative. It is a series that is especially liked for how well it "simulates" its topic. Whether that's true or not, I essentially spent 6 hours with a friend doing the same thing in that game that I would in a game of Nexus Ops: moving all my dudes around the map, trying to get the best modifiers so I can win combats and eventually the game. I'm making the same decisions for the same reasons. There's just a lot more of them in OCS and they have more official sounding names.

Are there any strategy-conflict games that break the mold and don't essentially end up being a push-your-luck game with lots of chrome? At first, I thought of games that have more pre-determination in their combat systems like Napoleon's Triumph, Kemet, and A Game of Thrones. While I tend to like these systems a lot more than dice, doesn't the fog-of-war that these games use still amount to a level of luck that is often equivalent?

Not always. For example, the core rules in GoT provide players a means to sometimes know for sure whether or not they can win a battle, no matter what card their opponent plays. But wargames do this sometimes as well. Sometimes you can just automatically "overrun" an enemy stack of units if the odds are far enough in your favor and skip rolling dice altogether. And in both systems, my "strategy" in the game still amounts to the same thing: a quest for positive modifiers.

Is every strategy-conflict game just a longer and more complicated version of King of Tokyo? I don't know. Maybe. But whatever the answer, I don't know how much it really matters. Yeah, I might be fooling myself about how different these games really are from one another. But I'm having a hell of a fun time doing it. Are you?

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Miles Stevenson
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I was thinking about this more while waiting for my submission to get reviewed. And I think there are games out there which genuinely break out of this mold. I'm interested in seeing what others come up with. Here is what I have so far:

Quartermaster General
I think the simplicity of this design is the secret to how it managed to feel like it presents a different kind of puzzle to the strategy fan than all the others. There are no bonuses to conflicts because conflicts aren't "resolved", they just "happen".

Okay, so there are a small number of cards in the game that prevent an attack from working the way it normally does, but not enough of them to make the strategy of this game revolve around it.

I feel like this game manages to present players with an entirely different kind of puzzle than most others. Considering that you have to make decisions without much knowledge of your opponents' capabilities, you could still probably reduce it to a push-your-luck game though.

The COIN Series
I feel like this partially applies for the same reason as Quartermaster General. Sometimes conflicts are resolved with die rolls though, so it's not fully applicable.

Diplomacy
I guess this one didn't occur to me because I just don't think of it as being part of that "strategy-conflict" genre. But I don't see why it isn't.

It could still be reduced to push-your-luck because you never really know what players are going to do. But it does manage to break out of that mindset of thinking about modifiers.


 
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Melody Klein
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Chess and Chess variants. Neuroshima Hex. Pixel Tactics.

The latter feature some luck, and not much mitigation, but it's not in the combat resolution anyway, and I'm not sure you count them as "strategy-conflict" games anyway, if that's just a code for traditional hex and counter wargames.
 
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Larry L
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I follow your reasoning up until you say 'push your luck' (not that I am sure I agree, but I follow.) Either I have a different understanding of that phrase or I just don't quite grasp your analogy.
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Pete
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In the sense that most strategy games involve improving your position to force your opponents to take ever more desperate actions unlikely to succeed, I suppose the answer is probably "yes."

Pete (has thrown his share of Hail Marys in his day)

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Jason
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RingelTree wrote:
I follow your reasoning up until you say 'push your luck' (not that I am sure I agree, but I follow.) Either I have a different understanding of that phrase or I just don't quite grasp your analogy.

Feeling the same way. The original post seems more like luck mitigation than "push your luck." In a "push your luck" game, you have the option to take what you currently have and stop or continue playing with the risk of it having a negative impact.

The only "push your luck" I can think of in King of Tokyo is how long you stay in Tokyo. The longer you stay, the closer your get to winning. However, staying also means you're at risk of being pummeled by all the other players making it more likely you'll be eliminated from the game. I wouldn't consider the dice rolling aspect push your luck at all, since the re-rolling is there to mitigate the luck of a single roll.

I'm not really seeing how King of Tokyo is a smaller scale version of strategy-conflict game, unless you're simply pairing it down to "conflict games." But, at that point, you could probably toss in any "take-that" card game and throw it in with the group too.

warfinger wrote:
Take just about any tactical, operational, or even grand-strategic hex & counter wargame. Skillful play in those games mostly amounts to one thing, which is attacking at the right place, at the right time, with the right units, in order to get as many positive modifiers as you can so that you can curve the luck in your direction. If, over the course of the game, you can manage to do that more often than your opponent, you'll probably come out ahead.

This doesn't sound like "one thing" to me. It sounds like it's multiple tactical decisions converging to create a situation where the risk is worth the reward. And, repeating that process for each attack. Additionally, I would imagine that these games also create a situation where you're working against providing your opponent with good opportunities to strike back.

That's a far stretch from King of Tokyo. In KoT you don't choose who you attack. You either attack into Tokyo or out of Tokyo. In KoT, there is no waiting for the right time to attack. You can try to focus more on attacking, but you may end up not attacking at all. Conversely, you could just be trying to roll hearts and only end up attacking other players.

There are lighter strategy games, such as Small World, where the combat is almost entirely deterministic. There can be a small bit of luck in your last attack, but there's not any way to mitigate it.

I think the non-deterministic combat models are there to add tension and maybe a little realism.
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Niall Smyth
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That isn't a push your luck game. You are describing a luck management game.

Push your luck is when you continue doing something that is risky, freely being able to continue, but with a penalty once your luck fails. If you used that to drive a wargame, you'd have something like 'you can attack as much as you want. Every attack reduces your chance. You can just stop, but if you miss on an attack, your unit dies.'

That's not a standard wargame design. And anyway wargames involve more than just luck management, eg control and redirection of enemy attention, or scouting and intelligence gathering.

So, no, not at all.
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warfinger wrote:


Is every strategy-conflict game just a longer and more complicated version of King of Tokyo?


No.
KoT: you roll & reroll and your actions are decided by the dice.
'Strategy-conflict' games: you move, produce, and/or upgrade based on what you want to do. Usually, you have great choice in what you do. The dice rolling only comes into play for battle results.
I think war games represent well the random factors inherent in battles.
If war games were like KoT, they would play like this:
"I want to move and attack this turn"
:::rolls dice:::
"Oh well, looks like I'm fortifying and building up industry this turn."
 
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warfinger wrote:
Didn't I just use a bunch of words to describe a push your luck game?

No?
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Boaty McBoatface
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Given the definition of

Quote:
because you never really know what players are going to do


is ether any game that is not just push-your-luck?
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Ole Richard Tuft
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Sounds to me like you're tired of numbers. Wargames, and heavier ones (like OCS) in particular, have a lot of them, and I guess you could argue that everything boils down to numbers. I break through at this point, to cut the supply of these troops to 0, which will reduce their combat strength.. etc, ultimately achieving (numerical) superiority on this front, which will either force my opponent to move a number of forces to this sector, or accept being on the defensive with strength modifers stacked against him and future possibilities for breakhroughs, pockets, cutting supply, which will (more modifiers and numbers) and so on.

If that is the case, I'd say, yes, it all ultimately boils down to numbers. And when that counter, in you mind, stops being a group of tired soldiers advancing in difficult terrain, and becomes just a piece of cardboard with a bunch of numbers for action rating, strength, movement, current supply, you disconnect. Maybe you're just tired of the combat stuff, and it can't engage you like it used to?

 
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I see your argument (I think) and it's interesting, but I can't agree. First, as others are saying, I don't think push your like quite matches what you're describing.

Second, you leave out a huge element of wargames which is position. Many (most?) wargames are about where you position your units. Yeah, you can get good modifiers here or there, but there is a key supply point that if you take will put you in position to crumple the enemy's line.

Take a practical example: EastFront II as the Germans early in the game. Each turn I'm not waiting for the perfect modifiers, or perfect enough (with your push your luck view). Each turn in EastFront I'm picking where I'm going to attack. I'm not waiting until I have enough guys for the right modifiers, I'm attacking with most of my guys most turns. Instead, I have to ask myself in each case do I want to destroy units in weakly defended areas or do I want to go for position, which means attacking units with better defensive modifiers. I also have to bear in mind my supply costs. What is my cost benefit analysis? If I make choices that are positionally / force composition advantageous I will tend to win.

Sometimes what I do may seem a little push your luck. If I'm doing poorly I will start to make riskier attacks, taking more chances. On the flip side, if I'm doing better, I will eschew the risky attacks that, if they go wrong, could hurt me badly. But those choices are subsets of my larger positional and force ratio choices.
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dave bcs
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[/q]

I recently played my first game of Reluctant Enemies, part of the "Operational Combat Series" that is a favorite among many hardcore wargamers for how well it simulates WWII operational-level logistics. This is a system that has tons of modifiers, positive and negative. It is a series that is especially liked for how well it "simulates" its topic. Whether that's true or not, I essentially spent 6 hours with a friend doing the same thing in that game that I would in a game of Nexus Ops: moving all my dudes around the map, trying to get the best modifiers so I can win combats and eventually the game. I'm making the same decisions for the same reasons. There's just a lot more of them in OCS and they have more official sounding names

[/q]

It sounds like you were a Reluctant Enemy! I think your dislike of this game has caused you to judge it too simplistically. If all war games are King of Tokyo then all euros are sudoku puzzles, simply exercises in sequential logic aimed at finding the one correct answer that produces success.

Good war games reward players who can apply knowledge of historical strategies and tactics to their decisions, which are often long range. Does one continue to advance on Moscow, or turn south towards Kiev? Most of these decisions are not calculations of what all your futures modifiers will be, nor are they wild guesses either.

Did you win or lose? If you lost, maybe there were nuances of the game you did not see. Many people have enjoyed wargames for a lot of years. This would not be the case if they were only what you made them out to be.

Perhaps they are just not your thing. Do you have much interest in the history itself?
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A push-your-luck game usually involves a player pushing against a system, like Can't Stop or Incan Gold. I'd argue that games like King of Tokyo are not PYL, b/c other players have a good deal of agency surrounding your survival.

I agree that modifier-stacking has a lot to do with how conflict and strategy games play out. However, obtaining those modifiers is part of a rich and rewarding decision-making process that involves timing, prediction, proper valuation, and positioning. It's ultimately much more complex and satisfying than push your luck.

As board games are all abstractions and simplifications, any game type can be reduced to "isn't this just ______" but that insight isn't especially useful. I can say that Chess is essentially Tic Tac Toe, positional abstracts where you can only win when the other player makes a mistake, and with players who are evenly matched mostly just playing to a draw. But there's something kind of unfair about that comparison, isn't there?
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Miles Stevenson
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RingelTree wrote:
I follow your reasoning up until you say 'push your luck' (not that I am sure I agree, but I follow.) Either I have a different understanding of that phrase or I just don't quite grasp your analogy.


Haha, wow! Looks like most people don't think I'm making any sense. Maybe that should tell me something?

VaultBoy wrote:
Feeling the same way. The original post seems more like luck mitigation than "push your luck." In a "push your luck" game, you have the option to take what you currently have and stop or continue playing with the risk of it having a negative impact.


Ok that's fair. That kinda seems like a glass half full/empty kind of thing to me though. Isn't trying to mitigate bad luck and trying to achieve good luck pretty much the same thing?

You describe a push-your-luck game as taking what you currently have and deciding to either stop or continue and risk being punished. I think I'm on the same page as you and the others. That's what I feel like the processes is of trying to get positive modifiers in a conflict game.

Aren't I "pushing-my-luck" in a wargame when I'm trying to decide to spend more actions to get an even better advantage, or to try attacking with the advantage I currently have while the opportunity is there?

I feel like that's the same thing.

VaultBoy wrote:
This doesn't sound like "one thing" to me. It sounds like it's multiple tactical decisions converging to create a situation where the risk is worth the reward. And, repeating that process for each attack. Additionally, I would imagine that these games also create a situation where you're working against providing your opponent with good opportunities to strike back.


By "one thing" I was talking about modifiers. If I can sum up what you should be trying to do in a strategy game as "get modifiers for combat", I feel like that's one thing.

The point that I was trying (and failing) to make is that you may have to take multiple things into account. But you are still just trying to do one thing: get modifiers. That's how you win. Right?

VaultBoy wrote:
That's a far stretch from King of Tokyo. In KoT you don't choose who you attack. You either attack into Tokyo or out of Tokyo. In KoT, there is no waiting for the right time to attack. You can try to focus more on attacking, but you may end up not attacking at all. Conversely, you could just be trying to roll hearts and only end up attacking other players.


True, there are a lot of specific differences between King of Tokyo and <Strategy Game X>. KoT also probably has bigger dice. The names of the cards are different. There are only two spaces on the board. The dice might be a different color. The phases of a turn are probably different. There are monsters. The art is different. Etc, etc.

What I was really trying to say in my comparison is that the strategy in King of Tokyo, (strategy meaning the main puzzle/problem you are trying to solve as the player) is the same: get modifiers. In King of Tokyo, getting modifiers usually means special cards that help you curve the luck in your direction. In a Waterloo game it might mean attacking an enemy using the right units, or getting the right terrain bonuses, etc.

I'm saying that in all these games the implementation of how you are doing things might be different from game to game. But what you are doing is the same: getting modifiers.

Tufturk wrote:
Sounds to me like you're tired of numbers. Wargames, and heavier ones (like OCS) in particular, have a lot of them, and I guess you could argue that everything boils down to numbers. I break through at this point, to cut the supply of these troops to 0, which will reduce their combat strength.. etc, ultimately achieving (numerical) superiority on this front, which will either force my opponent to move a number of forces to this sector, or accept being on the defensive with strength modifers stacked against him and future possibilities for breakhroughs, pockets, cutting supply, which will (more modifiers and numbers) and so on.


I'm not tired of the genre at all. I love this genre! Maybe some folks are interpreting my post as some kind of negative rant against strategy-conflict games and wargames? If so, that wasn't the intent.

I'm just saying that the "puzzle" I'm trying to solve in an OCS game seems an awful lot like the same "puzzle" I'm trying to solve in a game of Nexus Ops, just with different pieces and different rules on how they fit together.

I'm not saying that the rules of the games are the same. I'm saying that the challenge that these games ultimately present to the player seems like it usually boils down to the same challenge: get modifiers.

The strategy of "get modifiers" seems like it works just as well in a game of ASL as it does in a game of Memoir '44.

I think maybe I should point out that I'm not saying every strategy game is just the same game over and over where nothing changes but minor details. Clearly, all of those other details on how you get those modifiers from game to game is a big deal, and goes a long way toward making many of these games feel distinct from each other.

I'm just saying that if instead of looking at how games are different based on their rules, and instead look at how they are different based on the challenge they are presenting to the player, it kind of seems like most of them can be reduced to the same essential challenge.

I just personally found it really interesting that I didn't realize that before. That all the rules of each game were obscuring the fact that what I as a player am doing in each of these games is essentially the same. I found it interesting that I'm not bored by trying to solve the same puzzle in game after game.



 
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Miles Stevenson
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drdranetz wrote:

It sounds like you were a Reluctant Enemy! I think your dislike of this game has caused you to judge it too simplistically. If all war games are King of Tokyo then all euros are sudoku puzzles, simply exercises in sequential logic aimed at finding the one correct answer that produces success.


Haha, I get what you are saying. But I think I'm being mis-interpreted (see my previous reply above trying to explain that this wasn't a negative post).

I don't dislike OCS. I'd be happy to play it more, provided I have plenty of time to digest the rules again beforehand.

 
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Miles Stevenson
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ender7 wrote:

As board games are all abstractions and simplifications, any game type can be reduced to "isn't this just ______" but that insight isn't especially useful. I can say that Chess is essentially Tic Tac Toe, positional abstracts where you can only win when the other player makes a mistake, and with players who are evenly matched mostly just playing to a draw. But there's something kind of unfair about that comparison, isn't there?


I think you are probably right when you say "that insight isn't especially useful". I thought of that too and I tried to include a nod to that at the end where I suggested it doesn't really matter.

But maybe it is useful, at least to me. I think it's useful if most strategy games can be reduced to the same puzzle, but there are a small few that can't. That means there is opportunity in the design space, right? If for example, Quartermaster General truely does present me as a player with a different puzzle to solve than most other games in the genre, then I'd be very interested in what the other possibilities there are. Maybe there is room for some fresh ideas in this genre?

I'm not saying I've un-covered some profound secret of game design or anything. I still think I could be convinced that I'm wrong about all this.

But I like thinking about games, talking about them, and looking at them from different perspectives. So I guess that's ultimately why I'm here?
 
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warfinger wrote:
ender7 wrote:

As board games are all abstractions and simplifications, any game type can be reduced to "isn't this just ______" but that insight isn't especially useful. I can say that Chess is essentially Tic Tac Toe, positional abstracts where you can only win when the other player makes a mistake, and with players who are evenly matched mostly just playing to a draw. But there's something kind of unfair about that comparison, isn't there?


I think you are probably right when you say "that insight isn't especially useful". I thought of that too and I tried to include a nod to that at the end where I suggested it doesn't really matter.

But maybe it is useful, at least to me. I think it's useful if most strategy games can be reduced to the same puzzle, but there are a small few that can't. That means there is opportunity in the design space, right? If for example, Quartermaster General truely does present me as a player with a different puzzle to solve than most other games in the genre, then I'd be very interested in what the other possibilities there are. Maybe there is room for some fresh ideas in this genre?

I'm not saying I've un-covered some profound secret of game design or anything. I still think I could be convinced that I'm wrong about all this.

But I like thinking about games, talking about them, and looking at them from different perspectives. So I guess that's ultimately why I'm here?


Fair enough. The distinction between Ameritrash and Euro has been described as the difference between input and output randomness. Output randomness, which is 'players do stuff, then we roll dice' may be similar to your 'stack the modifiers' description. If you're looking for other designs that stray from that approach, try A Few Acres of Snow, Imperial, Rex/Dune, Stronghold, and Twilight Struggle.
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dave bcs
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warfinger wrote:
drdranetz wrote:

It sounds like you were a Reluctant Enemy! I think your dislike of this game has caused you to judge it too simplistically. If all war games are King of Tokyo then all euros are sudoku puzzles, simply exercises in sequential logic aimed at finding the one correct answer that produces success.


Haha, I get what you are saying. But I think I'm being mis-interpreted (see my previous reply above trying to explain that this wasn't a negative post).

I don't dislike OCS. I'd be happy to play it more, provided I have plenty of time to digest the rules again beforehand.



I, myself, haven't played OCS, or another wargame for that matter, in a few years. As I have aged I have found that I have increasing difficulty with focusing my eyes on the small pieces and with finding the time and mental energy for the long rules, set up, and game play.

Having played a lot of both euros and wargames, though, I have often wondered about the ways in which they differ, both in thinking challenges and appeal.

What I enjoy in wargames is also present in the euros that end up being my favorites: not just solving a sequential logic puzzle, but also theme immersion and some form of inter-player conflict (conflict as opposed to combat: While I do like games like Kemet, I am finding myself enjoying things like Nippon, Signorie, Mombasa, and Food Chain Magnate these days).

I think that these games all bring an element of global decision making based on heuristics and experience as opposed to just deductive logic. Those who dislike player conflict decry that their winning logic was derailed by the arbitrary whim of their opponents. I rather see opponents actions as being things that can be foreseeable to an approximate, estimate-able degree. Likewise well-done theme allows the player to try to think within the context of his/her past experience of the theme in order to assist in this global decision making.

This kind of non-linear judgment is precisely the thing humans do better than computers. It is much easier to teach a human how to safely drive a car, and it is hard to find a computer wargame in which the AI can defeat a human opponent without slanting the power balance in the AI's favor. I have been playing Brass on my tablet quite a bit, and with the recently improved AI, am finding that I am winning only occasionally despite the AI being given no "cheat". Perhaps Brass and euros like it reward deductive logic over global judgments more than wargames, but less than more abstract puzzle-ly games such as chess.

Maybe a good test for what kind of brain function certain games require could be to measure the degree to which computers can defeat human oppponents.

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There is a definite difference between push your luck and luck mitigation.
If you use gambling games as an example:

Roulette is push your luck. You make a bet on Red. If you win you can push your luck by letting a bet ride on the next spin but the chances of winning don't change.

Poker is risk management. You risk small amounts when you have bad odds of winning and risk larger amounts when you have good chances of winning.

Yatzee is luck mitigation. Using your re-rolls to make up for a poor distribution in your first outcome.

I feel like your critique is more of a commentary about your feelings about "out-put luck" (make a decision then use a randomization method to find the outcome).
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Chris
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I wrote about this the other day in the "skill/good player == wins a lot" thread.

For people who don't see the connection, it's that pursuing ME against the virtues of GTO is, to some extent, a push-your-luck as well as a push-your-judgement exercise.
 
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Miles Stevenson
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PBrudz wrote:
There is a definite difference between push your luck and luck mitigation.
If you use gambling games as an example:

Roulette is push your luck. You make a bet on Red. If you win you can push your luck by letting a bet ride on the next spin but the chances of winning don't change.

Poker is risk management. You risk small amounts when you have bad odds of winning and risk larger amounts when you have good chances of winning.

Yatzee is luck mitigation. Using your re-rolls to make up for a poor distribution in your first outcome.

I feel like your critique is more of a commentary about your feelings about "out-put luck" (make a decision then use a randomization method to find the outcome).


I think I understand what you are saying, which is that push-your-luck is distinctive from luck mitigation, because with push-your-luck, players have no agency to change the odds at all. The game doesn't provide any means for a player to increase his/her advantage before taking a risk.

That's fair. I can see how I'm mis-using the term. Sorry for the confusion.
 
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Paul Brudz
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Most push your luck games restrict your agency to choosing to continuing with a randomization event or stopping. The odds may change. For example turning over cards from a deck. You may be able to track which cards have already left the deck giving you better or worse odds of being successful but ultimately you are either giving it another go or stopping.

Luck mitigation games will allow the player to make choices that will smooth the randomness. E.g. discard & draw cards, draft cards, re-roll dice, etc.

Risk management games make outcomes relatively easy to calculate and allow players to change what they risk on any given outcome.

Most heavy strategy games, especially war games from the 1970's era, are heavy on risk management with a dose of luck mitigation. The bulk of player decisions are based on recognizing the odds of an outcome compared to the resource cost of the units being risked and the time it takes the units to reach the board location. The remainder is luck mitigation e.g. terrain bonuses or strength of forces ratios.
 
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J C Lawrence
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The Auction Grand Unification Theory.
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Isaac Shalev
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clearclaw wrote:


Thanks for posting, that's a great article. Game design does a lot of mechanical variations of resource allocation. Auctions and their cousins, drafts are a great lens for thinking about them. Or flip it on its head: many games are built on the idea that we're going to give people roughly equal resources, and then let them convert those resources into points somehow. Yet over the course of the conversion, some players will come out ahead (ie win) and others will come out behind. Acquiring one thing for another in a competitive format of a sort can usually be described formally as an auction.
 
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