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Star Wars: Rebellion» Forums » General

Subject: Is luck the deciding factor for skilled players? rss

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Simon Lindén
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In another post we were arguing how much of a factor luck is in Rebellion. One person said that if players are equally skilled luck will be the deciding factor. Since we were already a bit sidetracked I'd rather create a separate thread about this question than to comment on it there.

I play with equally skilled players but in my experience luck has not been the deciding factor. The game is complicated enough that mistakes, overlooking things, successfully bluffing or reading a bluff or a set of tactically successful moves, have been the things that decided our games. What I wonder is if this still goes for the really experienced players though? It would sort of make sense that for experienced players who make less mistakes and will not be surprised by a previously unseen move luck would have a greater impact. But I would like to hear what one of those players think of this.
 
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Alandor wrote:
In another post we were arguing how much of a factor luck is in Rebellion. One person said that if players are equally skilled luck will be the deciding factor. Since we were already a bit sidetracked I'd rather create a separate thread about this question than to comment on it there.

I play with equally skilled players but in my experience luck has not been the deciding factor. The game is complicated enough that mistakes, overlooking things, successfully bluffing or reading a bluff or a set of tactically successful moves, have been the things that decided our games. What I wonder is if this still goes for the really experienced players though? It would sort of make sense that for experienced players who make less mistakes and will not be surprised by a previously unseen move luck would have a greater impact. But I would like to hear what one of those players think of this.

I'd say you're overthinking it. In a game of skill, the player with the greater skill will win more often. Luck can obviously determine a single game, but luck will balance out over time. If that's not happening, either you're dealing with too small a sample set or the premise that players are equally skilled should be re-evaluated. In your example, I'd say that players who make mistakes more often are less skilled.
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I believe that good play more often win you games then luck with Star Wars.
Luck can win a game but is like poker, there is luck but better play beats that.

 
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Alandor wrote:
In another post we were arguing how much of a factor luck is in Rebellion. One person said that if players are equally skilled luck will be the deciding factor. Since we were already a bit sidetracked I'd rather create a separate thread about this question than to comment on it there.

I play with equally skilled players but in my experience luck has not been the deciding factor. The game is complicated enough that mistakes, overlooking things, successfully bluffing or reading a bluff or a set of tactically successful moves, have been the things that decided our games. What I wonder is if this still goes for the really experienced players though? It would sort of make sense that for experienced players who make less mistakes and will not be surprised by a previously unseen move luck would have a greater impact. But I would like to hear what one of those players think of this.


Players of EQUAL skill, yes, luck will decide. Nothing else could.
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Short answer: No.

Long answer: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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Slashdoctor wrote:
Players of EQUAL skill, yes, luck will decide. Nothing else could.

Interesting perspective. I'm don't think I agree but I'd like to hear you develop on it. Imagine two equally skilled chess players (or any game where luck is not a factor). One player wins the first game but the other the second game. Surely this must happen a lot among chess players, and surely it would be odd to claim that the players relative skill levels have changed between each game with a new winner. I am not sure what is the deciding factor in these games but I guess what I am aiming at is that whatever it is that same factor could be the deciding factor in games of Rebellion (and other complex games with many random elements).

EDIT: I suppose in chess you could argue that there is an element of "luck". When you make a move that is better than intended and you realize it only after you moved your piece. Unintentional moves like this happens a lot to me in virtually every game I play, for good or for bad. When I make a move that's worse than intended you could of course call it lack of skill. But when a move is better than intended? Good intuition or luck?
These things of course will likely not happen for skilled players, which is why I prefaced the question of this thread with that condition.
 
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Yes.

But when two players aren't actually that skilled, they're going to grow in different ways and keep learning as the game goes on.

The game is designed to be kinda swingy with luck felt anyway though. Missions will fail. Combat will go badly. Bases get found. Shit happens. It's supposed to be part of the game.

But yeah, don't overthink it. (Or compare it to chess, wtf lol.)
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Alandor wrote:
In another post we were arguing how much of a factor luck is in Rebellion. One person said that if players are equally skilled luck will be the deciding factor. Since we were already a bit sidetracked I'd rather create a separate thread about this question than to comment on it there.

I play with equally skilled players but in my experience luck has not been the deciding factor. The game is complicated enough that mistakes, overlooking things, successfully bluffing or reading a bluff or a set of tactically successful moves, have been the things that decided our games. What I wonder is if this still goes for the really experienced players though? It would sort of make sense that for experienced players who make less mistakes and will not be surprised by a previously unseen move luck would have a greater impact. But I would like to hear what one of those players think of this.


I think this game has luck, yes. However, I think skill will decide most games. And to put it like this: Risk Management (ie only taking the RIGHT risks) is a part of the skills needed to win this game.

Risk Management:
- When to commit forces and where.
- Do you see combat through to the end or do you retreat? Tactical retreating can be important to gain extra movement for your forces.
- Do you oppose a mission with a Leader from the Leader pool or not, given the probability of successfully opposing the mission?
- Attempting missions in the same system (Rebels) to have more dice to oppose the Empire "Capture Rebel Operative" mission.
- Bluffing which mission cards you are playing by committing certain Leaders. Leaders with a large variety of icons can do a lot of different missions, so revealing this Leader late in the command phase will keep the opposing player guessing.
- Etc.

A good example of a game where Risk Management is a large part of the necessary skill set is Bloodbowl. A player with better skills and the same team strength will most often win, although individual dice rolls can severely screw you over.
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Marcel van der pol
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Arontje wrote:
I believe that good play more often win you games then luck with Star Wars.
Luck can win a game but is like poker, there is luck but better play beats that.


Risk Management (ie when to commit, when not to commit, how much to commit and against which odds etc) is a large part of the Poker skill set. Players who are better at it will beat a lesser skilled player in the long run. And better players know it, so part of the skill set is to make sure the game does get to the "long run" stage.
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For those who may not have read it:

The L-Word
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Michel Kangro
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It's quite easy. There is luck involved. If we argue that we have the most experienced two players imaginable which the most amount of skill in any area required for the game, then the only option that cannot be controled is luck.

Thus, of course, luck decides the game for the best players imaginable.

The funny thing is: How much experience is realistic? This is where chess will be involved again.

Chess has no luck and it has perfect knowledge. Thus, there's only skill (or rather only player decisions) deciding the outcome of a given match. In Rebellion, besides luck, there's also bluffing, guessing, asynchronity, hidden information.

So, in many ways, there are other factors coming into play.

Both Chess and Rebellion have in common that it is not realistic to assume that there is a human player able to foresee everything that may or may not happen and take it into account.

So, like in chess, that is the deciding factor: guessing the hidden information, calling the bluffs, hiding your own goals, means and plans and so on. Unlike chess, luck also is one of those components, so risk managment, as was said before, plays its part.
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You cannot make any argument for luck in chess.

If every player plays optimally, yes luck is the deciding factor, however, very few players will play any game optimally. This is truly the deciding factor, not luck. So, I agree with your premise, but its so astronomically hard to find two optimal players for luck to be guaranteed the deciding factor.

Alandor wrote:
Slashdoctor wrote:
Players of EQUAL skill, yes, luck will decide. Nothing else could.

Interesting perspective. I'm don't think I agree but I'd like to hear you develop on it. Imagine two equally skilled chess players (or any game where luck is not a factor). One player wins the first game but the other the second game. Surely this must happen a lot among chess players, and surely it would be odd to claim that the players relative skill levels have changed between each game with a new winner. I am not sure what is the deciding factor in these games but I guess what I am aiming at is that whatever it is that same factor could be the deciding factor in games of Rebellion (and other complex games with many random elements).

EDIT: I suppose in chess you could argue that there is an element of "luck". When you make a move that is better than intended and you realize it only after you moved your piece. Unintentional moves like this happens a lot to me in virtually every game I play, for good or for bad. When I make a move that's worse than intended you could of course call it lack of skill. But when a move is better than intended? Good intuition or luck?
These things of course will likely not happen for skilled players, which is why I prefaced the question of this thread with that condition.
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Alandor wrote:
In another post we were arguing how much of a factor luck is in Rebellion.....


The game is asymmetrical. I actually think it has a solution and that it heavily slants towards Imperial. I haven't seen the Rebs come close to winning.

Think A Few Acres of Snow....
 
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There are way too many factors for this game to be solved. See Michel Kangro's post.

Cracky wrote:
Alandor wrote:
In another post we were arguing how much of a factor luck is in Rebellion.....


The game is asymmetrical. I actually think it has a solution and that it heavily slants towards Imperial. I haven't seen the Rebs come close to winning.

Think A Few Acres of Snow....
 
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DanielFirestorm wrote:
You cannot make any argument for luck in chess.

Perhaps not for skilled players who really have full awareness of the consequences of their moves. But for amateurs you can. What would you call the thing I referred to as "luck"? You move your horse in order to threaten your opponents queen - you then realize you are also threatening his rook. The move was better than intended. I suppose you could call it strategic intuition or something like that but I think there are moments where you just give yourself too much credit when you make a move that you realize afterwards had more positive effects than you originally intended.
 
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DanielFirestorm wrote:
If every player plays optimally, yes luck is the deciding factor, however, very few players will play any game optimally. This is truly the deciding factor, not luck. So, I agree with your premise, but its so astronomically hard to find two optimal players for luck to be guaranteed the deciding factor.

Just to be clear - my premise has never been that luck is the deciding factor. Your words here express pretty much what I feel about this issue.
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I refer to your "luck" as inexperience or incompletely understood decisions. The two are not equivalent. While a military commander might say, "how fortunate, we got lucky", their enemy was just foolish or your command had benefits which you didn't recognize prior to the action.

Alandor wrote:
DanielFirestorm wrote:
You cannot make any argument for luck in chess.

Perhaps not for skilled players who really have full awareness of the consequences of their moves. But for amateurs you can. What would you call the thing I referred to as "luck"? You move your horse in order to threaten your opponents queen - you then realize you are also threatening his rook. The move was better than intended. I suppose you could call it strategic intuition or something like that but I think there are moments where you just give yourself too much credit when you make a move that you realize afterwards had more positive effects than you originally intended.
 
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marcelvdpol wrote:
Arontje wrote:
I believe that good play more often win you games then luck with Star Wars.
Luck can win a game but is like poker, there is luck but better play beats that.


Risk Management (ie when to commit, when not to commit, how much to commit and against which odds etc) is a large part of the Poker skill set. Players who are better at it will beat a lesser skilled player in the long run. And better players know it, so part of the skill set is to make sure the game does get to the "long run" stage.


Exactly! What I think, only better worded
 
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Much like in poker, bad beats can happen when it comes to dice rolls (even if you have two more dice when attempting or the same number when opposing) and to a lesser extent, tactics draws (like drawing No Escape as the outnumbered defender, or Escape Plan as the attacker).

Generally one mission or battle shouldn't swing the game but there are critical pivot points that can force strategy changes.
 
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DanielFirestorm wrote:
There are way too many factors for this game to be solved. See Michel Kangro's post.

Cracky wrote:
Alandor wrote:
In another post we were arguing how much of a factor luck is in Rebellion.....


The game is asymmetrical. I actually think it has a solution and that it heavily slants towards Imperial. I haven't seen the Rebs come close to winning.

Think A Few Acres of Snow....


I got to get some more opponents into my life. I can't imagine losing as the Imp.
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DanielFirestorm wrote:
I refer to your "luck" as inexperience or incompletely understood decisions. The two are not equivalent. While a military commander might say, "how fortunate, we got lucky", their enemy was just foolish or your command had benefits which you didn't recognize prior to the action.

Alandor wrote:
DanielFirestorm wrote:
You cannot make any argument for luck in chess.

Perhaps not for skilled players who really have full awareness of the consequences of their moves. But for amateurs you can. What would you call the thing I referred to as "luck"? You move your horse in order to threaten your opponents queen - you then realize you are also threatening his rook. The move was better than intended. I suppose you could call it strategic intuition or something like that but I think there are moments where you just give yourself too much credit when you make a move that you realize afterwards had more positive effects than you originally intended.


"I know he's a good commander but is he lucky?"
 
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Cracky wrote:
DanielFirestorm wrote:
There are way too many factors for this game to be solved. See Michel Kangro's post.

Cracky wrote:
Alandor wrote:
In another post we were arguing how much of a factor luck is in Rebellion.....


The game is asymmetrical. I actually think it has a solution and that it heavily slants towards Imperial. I haven't seen the Rebs come close to winning.

Think A Few Acres of Snow....


I got to get some more opponents into my life. I can't imagine losing as the Imp.


I rather think this game is well balanced but the Empire play more like a traditional 4x game (expand, exploit, exterminate) while the Rebels play totally differently from any game i've played. This makes the Empire an easier side to get into and play. Also, i think the Empire is more forgiving in terms of errors in play / judgement compared to the Rebels. The Empire has a lot more stuff (but not more actions) so the occasional unlucky setvack in battle will not overtly affect them.
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marcelvdpol wrote:
Cracky wrote:
DanielFirestorm wrote:
There are way too many factors for this game to be solved. See Michel Kangro's post.

Cracky wrote:
Alandor wrote:
In another post we were arguing how much of a factor luck is in Rebellion.....


The game is asymmetrical. I actually think it has a solution and that it heavily slants towards Imperial. I haven't seen the Rebs come close to winning.

Think A Few Acres of Snow....


I got to get some more opponents into my life. I can't imagine losing as the Imp.


I rather think this game is well balanced but the Empire play more like a traditional 4x game (expand, exploit, exterminate) while the Rebels play totally differently from any game i've played. This makes the Empire an easier side to get into and play. Also, i think the Empire is more forgiving in terms of errors in play / judgement compared to the Rebels. The Empire has a lot more stuff (but not more actions) so the occasional unlucky setvack in battle will not overtly affect them.


Speaking as someone who's more familiar with Rebel, I had almost the opposite feeling. As Rebel, I have multiple way to achieve my objective, but the Empire can only win by conquering the Rebel base. After a few play as Empire, I'm still feeling overwhelmed by how much I need to get right to be able to win.
 
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The problem with bringing luck into this conversation is that luck is so often seen on a case by case basis. I send a Star Destroyer against your little Corvette and the "dice" decide that I lose. It was a matter of "luck" as I did have the advantage and if we recreated that battle a dozen time I should win the majority of them.

The problem is that in a game of rebellion there aren't dozens of combats. I think a typical game I've played we've only had combat happen at most an average of once per turn for an 8 turn game. Maybe the average got up to a time and a half but no more than 10 combats per game.

That means that each individual combat has a much greater significance and it will ~feel~ like luck is a major factor. To that end, I think at the initial level, that if two players have equal net skill luck will win out.

However if their skills are not equal, like poker, given enough plays, luck will slowly fade as a factor. But that will require that critical "enough plays".
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MrOsterman wrote:


That means that each individual combat has a much greater significance and it will ~feel~ like luck is a major factor. To that end, I think at the initial level, that if two players have equal net skill luck will win out.


I really dislike the argument "Given equal skill, the player with better luck would win" being use as a criticism.

1. It's probably not possible for two players to have equal skill.
2. It's true for any game from Rock-Paper-Scissor to Chess.
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