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Subject: Do Rules Need to Cater for Gross Stupidity? rss

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Nick Case
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Nimbee is now in the early stages of its Kickstarter campaign and one eagle-eyed backer noticed in the rules (along with a glaring mistake), that there was the potential for an endless loop if a player was bloody minded enough to pursue it. It concerns the swap action where a player may swap hive positions with the Queen Bee and then take the action on the Queen Bee's previous space. What if the Queen Bee had been on the second Swap space? The player could just keep swapping back and forth between the same two spaces forever. Achieving nothing into the bargain except generating the wrath of his fellow players, but a possibility.

The truth is that you gain no benefit from this futile waggle dance so does it need the rules tightening to prevent someone acting the prat for the sheer hell of it? I have asked the question on the KS forum but thought I'd open it up here. Feel free to jump in,

Poll
Page 10 of the rule book allows a situation where a futile but endless two step loop could be used by a player if they were perversely inclined to do so.
Is a rule addition needed to stop a player endlessly bouncing between the same two spaces but achieving nothing except wasting time?
Yes, after all the McDonalds hot apple pie needs the disclaimer,'Caution, filling is hot'.
No, anyone who tried this for more than two swaps would get beaten/ shot/ whipped by the other players.
      19 answers
Poll created by Big Bad Lex
 
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Murr Rockstroh
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Nick, when reading through the rules, I noticed this as well, but also thought it was so obvious that there was no benefit to doing this, so never even mentioned it. There is a saying that applies here... "You can make things fool proof, but you cannot make them Damn Fool proof."
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Gunther Schmidl
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Years of gaming and rules questions have taught me that if there's any loophole, it will be found, exploited, complained/asked about, usually repeatedly. If your rules are apparently rules-lawyer-proof, the universe will come up with a nitpickier rules-lawyer.

For a "good" example, check out the years-long "discussion" about A Few Acres of Snow's Halifax Hammer (but fortify your sanity first).
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Frederic Heath-Renn
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I'd say it was worth explicitly disallowing, even if through some brute-force 'you can't use the Swap action more than once in this specific scenario' rule. It's not removing any strategic depth from the game and if you can make there one less way for an annoying idiot to be an annoying idiot it's probably to people's benefit.
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Chris in Kansai
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Big Bad Lex wrote:
someone acting the prat for the sheer hell of it


I see you've met some humans then.
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Nick Case
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Chrysm wrote:
Big Bad Lex wrote:
someone acting the prat for the sheer hell of it


I see you've met some humans then.


My life is saturated with such humans.
 
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Chris in Kansai
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Big Bad Lex wrote:
Chrysm wrote:
Big Bad Lex wrote:
someone acting the prat for the sheer hell of it


I see you've met some humans then.


My life is saturated with such humans.


Yup, sounds like Epsom to me (fellow Surreyite here shake)
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Frederic Heath-Renn
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Perhaps you could use this as an opportunity to add a legacy element to the game. Include a sealed envelope in the box which says 'Do not open until someone creates an infinite loop by swapping between two Swap spaces'.

Inside would be a bit of card saying 'Stop that'.
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Gunther Schmidl
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flahr wrote:
Perhaps you could use this as an opportunity to add a legacy element to the game. Include a sealed envelope in the box which says 'Do not open until someone creates an infinite loop by swapping between two Swap spaces'.

Inside would be a bit of card saying 'Stop that'.


Or "You lose this and all future games."
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Perry Clayton
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Murr wrote:
"You can make things fool proof, but you cannot make them Damn Fool proof."


In software design we say, "As soon as you make things idiot proof, they design a better idiot."
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Nick Case
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. The anti-idiot-protocol is now adopted into the rules.
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Kevin W
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Big Bad Lex wrote:
Nimbee is now in the early stages of its Kickstarter campaign and one eagle-eyed backer noticed in the rules (along with a glaring mistake), that there was the potential for an endless loop if a player was bloody minded enough to pursue it. It concerns the swap action where a player may swap hive positions with the Queen Bee and then take the action on the Queen Bee's previous space. What if the Queen Bee had been on the second Swap space? The player could just keep swapping back and forth between the same two spaces forever. Achieving nothing into the bargain except generating the wrath of his fellow players, but a possibility.

The truth is that you gain no benefit from this futile waggle dance so does it need the rules tightening to prevent someone acting the prat for the sheer hell of it? I have asked the question on the KS forum but thought I'd open it up here. Feel free to jump in,

Poll
Page 10 of the rule book allows a situation where a futile but endless two step loop could be used by a player if they were perversely inclined to do so.
Is a rule addition needed to stop a player endlessly bouncing between the same two spaces but achieving nothing except wasting time?
Yes, after all the McDonalds hot apple pie needs the disclaimer,'Caution, filling is hot'.
No, anyone who tried this for more than two swaps would get beaten/ shot/ whipped by the other players.
      19 answers
Poll created by Big Bad Lex


I like the cut of your jib. Backed.
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Jeff Warrender
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I voted "no" but as I thought about it more, I think I have to change to "yes", for this reason: there is a small but extremely vocal and extremely opinionated cadre here at BGG for whom winning is the ultimate outcome and failing to lose is a close second. You see these folks show up any time the thread title includes "semi-cooperative".

My suspicion is that, in the hands of such players, a loophole like the rule you've mentioned could be exploited as a loss prevention device -- basically, if such a person judges himself to be losing, he will simply state, "I loop this action back and forth, forever, locking up the game", and thus, the game never ended, so he didn't lose, which is net-better than an outright loss. Actually, it's worse than this -- it might even be more like "If you all don't take all of your actions in ways that allow me to win the game, I on my turn will lock up the game, preventing it from ever continuing".

This seems to me like an appalling breach of the social contract implied in playing a game, but to these people, it would be vigorously defended as perfect play. (Correspondingly, in a group of such 'perfect players', the game would presumably never get past the first turn!)

So, it's worth including the rule preventing this, even though it's for an extreme edge case!
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Nick Case
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jwarrend wrote:
I voted "no" but as I thought about it more, I think I have to change to "yes", for this reason: there is a small but extremely vocal and extremely opinionated cadre here at BGG for whom winning is the ultimate outcome and failing to lose is a close second. You see these folks show up any time the thread title includes "semi-cooperative".

My suspicion is that, in the hands of such players, a loophole like the rule you've mentioned could be exploited as a loss prevention device -- basically, if such a person judges himself to be losing, he will simply state, "I loop this action back and forth, forever, locking up the game", and thus, the game never ended, so he didn't lose, which is net-better than an outright loss. Actually, it's worse than this -- it might even be more like "If you all don't take all of your actions in ways that allow me to win the game, I on my turn will lock up the game, preventing it from ever continuing".

This seems to me like an appalling breach of the social contract implied in playing a game, but to these people, it would be vigorously defended as perfect play. (Correspondingly, in a group of such 'perfect players', the game would presumably never get past the first turn!)

So, it's worth including the rule preventing this, even though it's for an extreme edge case!


The consensus does seem to be that we need to cater for the rank bloody mindedness of gaming pondlife. So the caveat has been added to v17 of the rules. It's a worthwhile addition even if it stops one arse trying the endless loop short circuit.
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Chris Ferejohn
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gschmidl wrote:
Years of gaming and rules questions have taught me that if there's any loophole, it will be found, exploited, complained/asked about, usually repeatedly. If your rules are apparently rules-lawyer-proof, the universe will come up with a nitpickier rules-lawyer.

For a "good" example, check out the years-long "discussion" about A Few Acres of Snow's Halifax Hammer (but fortify your sanity first).


I don't see how that really applies. That wasn't a rule question, that was (arguably) a dominant strategy.

A better example was in early Magic: The Gathering testing where a player said they had a really powerful card that always made them win the following turn. The text of the card was "Opponent loses next turn".
 
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