Greg Lorrimer
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Excerpt from Tremendous Trifles, Chapter VI 'The Perfect Game', when talking of Croquet (one of my favourite negotiation games, especially with doubled-up players):

“....But it is not true that the stronger the play of both croquet players the stronger will be the game. It is logically possible—(follow me closely here, Parkinson!)—it is logically possible, to play croquet too well to enjoy it at all. If you could put this blue ball through that distant hoop as easily as you could pick it up with your hand, then you would not put it through that hoop any more than you pick it up with your hand; it would not be worth doing. If you could play unerringly you would not play at all. The moment the game is perfect the game disappears.”


Quite apart from replayability, randomness has its place in avoiding this issue, or in the case of Chess, an overwhelming decision tree.

I've noticed the designer supremo, Knizia, tends to use randomness in his games. And it's always had me scratching my head when people insist on avoiding randomness in their choice of games as it becomes a pure game of wits instead of fun.

What do you think?
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Steve B
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Randomness when done well is an excellent thing. By "done well" I mean that the players have to have strategies in place to mitigate possible negative random consequences. I.e. always thinking of what could go wrong (what if I keep rolling 1's in this battle?), and what the backup plan is. Randomness done bad can ruin a game, i.e. where it causes difficult to reverse effects (eg half way through a game, a random event says "player 2 wins!") Some of the greatest games use randomness very well, eg Pandemic, Combat Commander, and Twilight Struggle.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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itsastickup wrote:
What do you think?

How many people can play unerringly? How many people can play unerringly from the very first moment they encounter a new title?

Randomness is just a tool in the designer's toolbox. Its function is not always mitigation of skill differences; in fact, mastering it can be a skill all its own. The only thing that is actually needed is correct understanding on the players' behalf which role it assumes. And perhaps, afterwards, understanding whether or not the chosen role 'fits' the game it is embedded in.

Put another way: it is as much a mistake to assume that games need randomness to be perfect, as it is to assume that they don't.
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Nicholas Johnson
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The problem with that example is that the example given deals with solitaire Croquet. That is not a situation in which someone else's skill is actively working against you and you against them. That's the element that adds spice to what is luckless games.

In any case, I think you can tell from my microbadges I love me some luck in games, but I do hate any game that crosses that line into making victory feel unearned. Luck has the ability to make your strategies more dynamic and free form, but it has to be an obstacle that the game makes you capable of working around.
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Greg Lorrimer
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sthrjo wrote:
Randomness that cause a snowballing effect, the rich get richer, runaway leader and so on is not good. Catan has this. A little early luck with the dice is worth the same as a lot of late luck.


I would have thought judicious negotiation would mitigate that in the case of Catan.

I would put that down to merely a magnifying of an already present flaw. Some games have a reset to remove that element if there is no other way to avoid it; Wizard, Bottle Imp, many Knizia's. It's telling that Knizia's Quo Vadis negotiation game doesn't.
 
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For me, the perfect game is one in which the winner leaves the table satisfied that their clever strategy carried the day, while the losers decry their poor luck.
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Brian Hoare
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The quote doesn't call for randomness. It calls for having a challenge.

Playing a game (,solving a crossword, shooting a 1" group &c) required no effort, then it becomes a meaningless activity. Excepting incidental benefits such as the social interaction, payment, crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you, enjoying a calm sunny afternoon.

Prior to that level of mastery enjoing one's skill is a benefit. But even the croquet players I know who can (sometimes) score 12 point breaks continue to play as to do so is more challenging than picking up a ball.
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Russ Williams
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Quote:
a pure game of wits instead of fun.

What do you think?

I think that's an example of a very false dichotomy.

Many people find pure games of wits to be very fun.
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There is randomness in life, so it follows that there should be randomness in games which seek to imitate life.
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Russ Williams
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Dave P wrote:
There is randomness in life, so it follows that there should be randomness in games which seek to imitate life.

However, life is not completely random; some games seek to imitate non-random aspects of life.

(I.e. there are also for example potatoes in life, but it does not follow that there should be potatoes in games which seek to imitate life.)

(And of course many games do not seek to imitate life in any case.)
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russ wrote:
Dave P wrote:
There is randomness in life, so it follows that there should be randomness in games which seek to imitate life.

However, life is not completely random; some games seek to imitate non-random aspects of life.

(I.e. there are also for example potatoes in life, but it does not follow that there should be potatoes in games which seek to imitate life.)

(And of course many games do not seek to imitate life in any case.)


I'm not going to get into a debate about the nature of randomness. I have far too many random events to mitigate in real life, which deny me the time.
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Dave P wrote:
I'm not going to get into a debate about the nature of randomness. I have far too many random events to mitigate in real life, which deny me the time.

Good luck! May you roll well on your life random event table!
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itsastickup wrote:
Excerpt from Tremendous Trifles, Chapter VI 'The Perfect Game', when talking of Croquet (one of my favourite negotiation games, especially with doubled-up players):

“....But it is not true that the stronger the play of both croquet players the stronger will be the game. It is logically possible—(follow me closely here, Parkinson!)—it is logically possible, to play croquet too well to enjoy it at all. If you could put this blue ball through that distant hoop as easily as you could pick it up with your hand, then you would not put it through that hoop any more than you pick it up with your hand; it would not be worth doing. If you could play unerringly you would not play at all. The moment the game is perfect the game disappears.”


Quite apart from replayability, randomness has its place in avoiding this issue, or in the case of Chess, an overwhelming decision tree.

I've noticed the designer supremo, Knizia, tends to use randomness in his games. And it's always had me scratching my head when people insist on avoiding randomness in their choice of games as it becomes a pure game of wits instead of fun.

What do you think?
You're quoting something that talks about how a lack of skill makes a game worth playing and then argue for randomness in games. I guess your argument is that randomness prevents you from playing a perfect game every time? If the goal is to keep a game from being "beaten" I'd prefer to play the game that achieves that by requiring a lot of skill rather than chucking in more randomness. If randomness is the only thing that's keeping me from playing a perfect (and thus boring) game, then I'm not going to be interested anyway.
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Kathleen Nugent
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bradelli wrote:
half way through a game, a random event says "player 2 wins!"


See Glory to Rome. That's exactly what could happen. (I don't have the deck in front of me, so I can't tell you the name of the card that causes that.)
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