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Stone Age» Forums » General

Subject: What if a player takes notes and calculations while playing? rss

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Chung Lương Kim
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Hi, I love the game Stone Age. Recently I played in a tournament held by a local board game club, there I saw a player took notes (with pen and paper) of the civilization cards that other players bought. By doing so, he always knows exactly how many scores each player would end up with when the game ends.

Later, the referee banned him from taking such notes. He was quite discontent with the referee's decision.

I'd like to ask you guys, what do you think about taking notes while playing like that? Is it unfair or bad behavior?

Personally, I too want to take notes and make calculations with my phone while playing. I think taking notes is just something to aid one's memory. Some people just don't have great memory, that's all. As long as what I do wouldn't affect another player, it's all fair.

Please give your opinions! Thanks guys.
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Ken Thibodeau
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Wow, that's really bad sport I think. It is anticlimactic and removes the suspense of final scoring. However, if everyone does it, it's their game. In Stone Age specifically, I'm sure the game drags in the end, as people not in the lead will block or delay endgame as much as possible.

I guess in a competitive tournament, where pepole really want to win, they could just work on their memorizing skills beforehand. Personally I would just not play in such a context.
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L S
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This is the reason why hidden but trackable information (HTI) mechanics are often frowned upon in modern board games. If you search the forums, you'll find dozens, if not hundreds, of threads discussing this aspect of various games.

Long story short, writing down information that is supposed to be hidden as per the game's rules (as is the case with cards in Stone Age) is essentially a house-rule that removes memorization from the game. As such it is fair if and only if it's agreed upon beforehand and everybody does it. Otherwise, since the rules explicitly state that the information is supposed to be hidden, the memorization aspect is part of the skills needed to play the game well and 'memory aids' are cheating.
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Dirk Rieberghs
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fardoche wrote:
Wow, that's really bad sport I think. It is anticlimactic and removes the suspense of final scoring.

Personally I would just not play in such a context.

Totally agree with that !!
For me, it would take away all the fun of playing a game.

If I should know in front that a player will do that, I will leave the table immediatly !! yukyukyuk
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W. Cracker
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Randombias wrote:
This is the reason why hidden but trackable information (HTI) mechanics are often frowned upon in modern board games. If you search the forums, you'll find dozens, if not hundreds, of threads discussing this aspect of various games.

Long story short, writing down information that is supposed to be hidden as per the game's rules (as is the case with cards in Stone Age) is essentially a house-rule that removes memorization from the game. As such it is fair if and only if it's agreed upon beforehand and everybody does it. Otherwise, since the rules explicitly state that the information is supposed to be hidden, the memorization aspect is part of the skills needed to play the game well and 'memory aids' are cheating.


Agreed. Either everybody has that option or nobody. Some of us have better memories than others for tracking hidden information. But in tournament play, the rules of the game are followed explicitly, banning note taking in this case. A person with memory issues might want to invest in games with open information, especially if they intend to compete in tournaments. Me personally, I rarely if ever house rule a game. Most games are designed through rigorous play testing of "the rules". House ruling has the potential to promote play that was never intended and thus imbalancing or potentially breaking a game. I'm sure some would disagree with my position and that's fine. But I play by the designer's intent and rules. Tournaments are a no brainer, the rules as written by the designer are canon, thus leveling the playing field for all competitors allowing for the most skilled to win.
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Rollo Tomosi
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I have a terrible memory-so any memory-related requirement for any game puts me at a disadvantage.

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Emanuel Fratila
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Taking notes by playing a board game who is meant for family, kids and younger audience, despite the deep strategy that it requires sometimes...
I think that that guy doesn't know how to enjoy himself, how to lose or probably he really wanted the 1st prize.
If it was Mage Knight or some heavy euro game, then I could understand, but Stone Age ?!
Just play and enjoy, simple as that.
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Paul DeStefano
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Gaming is a mental challenge.

Part of the challenge is memory.

Taking notes is pretty much cheating, unless you place your notes in the middle of the table for all to see..
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Seriously bad form! Card counting is highly desirable skill in many games, but it's precisely that: a skill to be developed and honed.

Should I be allowed a chess computer to help against an opponent who can visualise many more moves ahead than I can? Should I have a lawyer present during negotiation games? Should I check spellings on the internet before committing myself in word games? Am I using ridiculous hyperbole and too many rhetorical questions?

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Todd McCorkle
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He should be happy nothing worse happened. Just imagine someone in vegas trying to take notes at the black jack table.

This is basically the hidden but trackable information problem that comes up every so often in board games. An early poster expressed things rather nicely in this regard.

For stone age specifically, a better solution, if agreed to by all players, would be to score the cards when bought. Keep them face up in player's areas and adjust scores whenever someone gets a tool, farm, etc and have the corresponding cards. This is still technically note taking, but it's doing it for everyone. Personally, I think it would be a PITA, slow the game down, and otherwise kill a good chunk of enjoyment.
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Marco Schaub
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As a general rules, games should be played with nothing else than what comes in the box. So no taking notes of any kind. Memory is a skill.

Otherwise people will be showing up with laptops soon to calculate odds and provide best decisions.
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Eric Amick
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kusinohki wrote:
He should be happy nothing worse happened. Just imagine someone in vegas trying to take notes at the black jack table.

This is basically the hidden but trackable information problem that comes up every so often in board games. An early poster expressed things rather nicely in this regard.

For stone age specifically, a better solution, if agreed to by all players, would be to score the cards when bought. Keep them face up in player's areas and adjust scores whenever someone gets a tool, farm, etc and have the corresponding cards. This is still technically note taking, but it's doing it for everyone. Personally, I think it would be a PITA, slow the game down, and otherwise kill a good chunk of enjoyment.


Scoring the civilization cards would be a misery to boot, because you can accumulate multiple sets.
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Todd McCorkle
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ericamick2 wrote:
kusinohki wrote:
He should be happy nothing worse happened. Just imagine someone in vegas trying to take notes at the black jack table.

This is basically the hidden but trackable information problem that comes up every so often in board games. An early poster expressed things rather nicely in this regard.

For stone age specifically, a better solution, if agreed to by all players, would be to score the cards when bought. Keep them face up in player's areas and adjust scores whenever someone gets a tool, farm, etc and have the corresponding cards. This is still technically note taking, but it's doing it for everyone. Personally, I think it would be a PITA, slow the game down, and otherwise kill a good chunk of enjoyment.


Scoring the civilization cards would be a misery to boot, because you can accumulate multiple sets.


Actually, I think those cards would be the easiest. 1st card scores 1, 2nd - 3, 3rd - 5, 4th - 7 etc. Duplicates would score the same way. 1st duplicate 1, 2nd dup - 3, etc. Still not as easy as scoring it all at once at the end, but seems easier than "I just got a tool. I have 4 tool makers so 4 pts. I just got a tool maker. I have 5 tools, so 5 pts."

*shrug*
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Chung Lương Kim
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Well said, guys. I now understand how other players feel. No note taking, then.

And if we're supposed to play with only the things included in the box, then using my phone to calculate my own final score would be bad, too.
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Paul DeStefano
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darklordnd wrote:
And if we're supposed to play with only the things included in the box, then using my phone to calculate my own final score would be bad, too.


That's no longer the game at that point. You can use an abacus if it makes you happy.
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Michael
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I'm with the majority here, too. Tracking other players' cards, ethical or not, would just slow down the game and should be prohibited unless all players want to do it. Even then, I'd suggest using a stopwatch, egg timer, chess clock, or the timer on your 'phone to limit the amount of time a player could spend tracking points while other players are waiting for him or her to make a move.

One of the many things we like about Stone Age is the occasional option to pick up an extra card that counts only toward end-of-game scoring, without having to show anyone else what it is. This makes the final tally a little more of a surprise.
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Chung Lương Kim
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Metal Rat wrote:
Tracking other players' cards, ethical or not, would just slow down the game and should be prohibited unless all players want to do it. Even then, I'd suggest using a stopwatch, egg timer, chess clock, or the timer on your 'phone to limit the amount of time a player could spend tracking points while other players are waiting for him or her to make a move.


Actually, taking notes doesn't slow down the game - it helps you make decisions even faster, because it only take a second and it gives you perfect awareness of the game's situation. In my case, I don't take paper notes but I use a Google Sheets spreadsheet on my phone and just input the numbers. The scores of everyone are shown right in my hand.

But well... if the majority of players don't think it's fair, then I should not be doing that anymore. Previously I just thought that if what I do doesn't negatively impact anyone else, and I follow the rules; it should be fine. I was wrong.
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Marco Schaub
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When I was a tournament Magic player, I was keeping track of the life totals with pen and paper. I also noted what caused the damage because so it's easier to retrace the information if there's a disagreement on the life totals. While doing that, I would also keep track of a player's hand if I got a chance to look at it through a game effect.

This is acceptable.

But Magic is different from board games. Firstly, it's much more competitive. Secondly, there's only one opponent (and he's probably doing the same). And thirdly, the information is much less complex.

I wouldn't say that it's ethically wrong to keep track, it's just bad sportsmanship because you have an unfair advantage. Most people are not capable of keeping track of the game state when there are three other players at the table.

I assume this problem will come up again when augmented reality goggles becaome fashinable and there will be apps that keep track of this automatically.
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You can't handle the truth?
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Wow, reading through this, I feel like I'm the only sane person in Crazy Town. Of course it's okay to take notes. At the highest level of play, it should be testing your ability to out think your opponents, not out remember.

And for those that say " it doesn't come with a pen and paper, so it's not part of the game. HOUSE RULE! HOUSE RULE!", all I have to say is the game didn't come with chairs either, yet I see people using chairs all the time. By that logic, Stone Age is a game of civilization, and survival of the fittest. Part of that is having to stand through the whole game. If you collapse, because you are old and feeble, too bad, your civilization has just crumbled. Get off the table gramps!
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Eric Amick
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crambaza wrote:
Wow, reading through this, I feel like I'm the only sane person in Crazy Town. Of course it's okay to take notes. At the highest level of play, it should be testing your ability to out think your opponents, not out remember.


Really? Try taking notes in a bridge tournament some time.
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Paul DeStefano
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ericamick2 wrote:
crambaza wrote:
Wow, reading through this, I feel like I'm the only sane person in Crazy Town. Of course it's okay to take notes. At the highest level of play, it should be testing your ability to out think your opponents, not out remember.


Really? Try taking notes in a bridge tournament some time.


Or BlackJack. Or a game of Memory.
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W. Cracker
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crambaza wrote:
Wow, reading through this, I feel like I'm the only sane person in Crazy Town. Of course it's okay to take notes. At the highest level of play, it should be testing your ability to out think your opponents, not out remember.

And for those that say " it doesn't come with a pen and paper, so it's not part of the game. HOUSE RULE! HOUSE RULE!", all I have to say is the game didn't come with chairs either, yet I see people using chairs all the time. By that logic, Stone Age is a game of civilization, and survival of the fittest. Part of that is having to stand through the whole game. If you collapse, because you are old and feeble, too bad, your civilization has just crumbled. Get off the table gramps!



Here you go.
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david landes
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In most officiated sports, it is important to understand that the rules are whatever the referee says they are that day. Intentionally losing at badminton got teams thrown out of the Olympics after the referee informed the teams that they needed to try to win, as an example. In many sports, players have to play to the way the refs are calling things that day.

When the referee indicated there would be no writing down things, that became the rule for that day. Whether or not it started as 'the agreement', it became so.
 
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Geosphere wrote:
Gaming is a mental challenge.


Math is a mental challenge. Gaming should be a "fun" challenge.

Geosphere wrote:

Part of the challenge is memory.


Then you are exclusionary in your gaming paradigm. Why do you hate people with bad memories???

Geosphere wrote:

Taking notes is pretty much cheating, unless you place your notes in the middle of the table for all to see..


In Stone Age, play with the cards and buildings taken face up.

Problem solved.

[This post brought to you by Mr. Dinkus]
 
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Marco Schaub
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Hmmm... I just realized that Ive been playing it wrong. Since I know the game from yucata.de where open information is always displayed, I've played and taught the game like this as well.

Honestly though, it doesn't make much of a difference. There are too many numbers to multiply and add together.

However, I still think it isn't cool to keep exact score. (Even though that is displayed on Yucata as well.)

Unless you make that information publicly available. People with bad memory aren't punished, but they also gain no advantage. Deal?
 
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