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Subject: How to handle randomised 2sided-tile laying rss

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Youp de Wijs
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I never like cheating in a game, just play it the way it's meant to be played and take your win/loss as it is.
Rolling dice and shuffling cards can be a great way to give fun random outcomes and consequences.

But when the game asks to randomize and you can SEE what you try to randomize.. It's getting harder to stay neutral in the process.

This mostly happens if the tiles content is visible from both sides of the tile.
Some offenders in my collection: Cottage Garden, Patchwork and Forbidden Island

In Cottage Garden you have to lay a random starting grid. Why wouldn't I "accidentally" be putting that highly contested, big and perfectly fitting piece in a convenient place for me to pick up? And should I put the small tiles at the back of the line by "accidentally" putting the bigger pieces first or vice versa.

That one game of Forbidden Island was so damn annoying with the landing in one of the corners. I'll try to put it in the middle for an easier win.

Since you can SEE what you put down, you COULD be tempted to change the outcome in your favor.


How I handle it:
I normaly shuffle by just making a big mess on the table. I don't look to much at the tiles in the process and try to keep them as close to the final shuffle position as possible when getting them in position.
This still gets me sometimes choosing a direction for tiles.. Which could be tempting, thus not optimal.

How do you all handle it?
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Rich Shipley
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You could draw tiles out of a bag.
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Chris Nash
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This would be great for Cottage Garden/Patchwork, but RUBBISH for Forbidden Desert - you'd be highly likely to see the OTHER side of the tile, which would be even worse for the game!
 
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Wilbert Kiemeneij
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If something like this bothers me I write a spreadsheet to randomise this for me if it's a lot of components. If it's just a few I use a randomising app.
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Michael Schneider
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Just select it blindly at drop it to the table.
The way it lands is the way it will be placed (side and orientation).
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JW Redell

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For patchwork specifically, we take out thr player boards, tokens, and buttons, put the lid back on the box, shake it up, then dump thr contents onto the table and push everything out into a ring. Seems random enough.
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Tom Bruno
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Patchwork - we normally tip all the pieces out of the box in a big mess and sort of push them around until they are in a circle. then we rock paper scissor for first turn. can't really make things go your way in that method

Forbidden Island - I shuffle the tiles without looking and ask someone to randomly tell me when to stop. I then deal them out in a set pattern/order
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Youp de Wijs
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Seen some good ideas. And it got me thinking a bit more... How do you shuffle a minimum amount of cards, like 2-4 cards, without knowing which is which?
 
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Trevor Taylor
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For Forbidden Island, lay out all tile but the landing to make the grid, roll 2 D6 to give the grid reference of where the landing goes (re-rolling invalid locations) and switch out a tile if required. For alternate setups, you may need larger dice (D8/D10).
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Dave Lartigue
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Yozeph wrote:
Seen some good ideas. And it got me thinking a bit more... How do you shuffle a minimum amount of cards, like 2-4 cards, without knowing which is which?


Take the 3 cards you're looking to shuffle and place them face down into a stack of face up other cards (maybe cards from the same deck you're not using). Shuffle the whole pile until you're happy. Then remove the three face down cards.
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Dave Lartigue
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If you don't have a bag for tile drawing handy, put the tiles in the box lid, hold it up over your head and shake it around, then draw a tile while it's still over your head.
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Russ Williams
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This is a problem I see discussed somewhat often, but it always seemed far more theoretical than practical to me.

We've never had a real problem e.g. randomizing the Patchwork tiles. Just do it without thinking about it. (And frankly even if I was trying to cheat to give myself an advantage, I don't know how I would do it.)

Also, randomly decide the first player after the random setup, to reduce your apparent fear that you'll be biasing one side - if you don't know who the first player will be, then you don't know whether to help or hurt the first player.

In the case of Patchwork, you could also move the 2-square patch to a new randomly chosen place after randomly creating the entire ring, if you're paranoid that you somehow subconsciously biased the setup.

===

I saw some comment a week or two ago where someone complained that games with random setup often don't explicitly tell you how to randomize it, and therefore the rules were incomplete.

But I think random setup is not at all intended to be e.g. strictly uniformly random from among all possible setups (or to have any other strictly defined probability distribution)!

It's simply an arbitrary setup, to give variety, different starting conditions every time. It makes no difference what the exact probability distribution of the setup was. (Indeed, players could intentionally arrange a particular setup by mutual agreement if they thought it would be interesting or fun! We have often done that in Gipsy King, for example making a big ring instead of the usual compact blob of tiles.)

(As opposed to randomness during play, which should be clearly specified, e.g. "roll 1d6" or whatever to explicitly specify a uniformly random number from 1 to 6.)

===

For shuffling a tiny deck, I just repeatedly mix them with various types of in-hand shuffling, while not paying attention, until I know that I don't know their order.
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Stephen Cooper
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Yozeph wrote:
In Cottage Garden you have to lay a random starting grid. Why wouldn't I "accidentally" be putting that highly contested, big and perfectly fitting piece in a convenient place for me to pick up? And should I put the small tiles at the back of the line by "accidentally" putting the bigger pieces first or vice versa.
I don't understand what it is you are doing. Are you deciding that you are first player, and then you are also putting out the tiles?

We just grab tiles from the box, toss them onto the board, and adjust them to fit into the spaces. Then we spill the rest onto the table and arbitrarily spread them around the board. Then we decide the first player.
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Daniel Kearns
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draw from bottom of stack.
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Giovanni C
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Yozeph wrote:
Seen some good ideas. And it got me thinking a bit more... How do you shuffle a minimum amount of cards, like 2-4 cards, without knowing which is which?


If it is okay that you know what the 4 cards are and you just want to randomize the draw sequence, there is no need to "hide" them: you can just assign a number 1-4 to the cards and roll a d4 each time you have to draw one. When there are 3 left, if you score 4 with the die you roll it again until you get 1, 2 or 3.
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Russ Williams
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Also, in non-solitaire games, have one person shuffle them, then hand them to another player who shuffles them more.
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Andreu P.
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It's just a matter of not thinking too much about it, and obviously not chosing the starting player until everything is set up.

As others suggested, when playing Patchwork we just pour all the pieces over the table, arrange the resulting pile in a kind-of-circular shape and then just expand all the pieces as they are.

With Cottage Garden, we do the same thing and then just fill the board in order (from A1 to D4) with the topmost pieces of the pile. Later, when a row or column needs to be refilled, I always do it in the same order, so I can't benefit anyone: from closest to farthest with respect to the gardener. And when I put back my pieces to the tile queue I just pick them from the top left to the bottom right.

Finally, I have no trouble shuffling just a few cards. I try to be thinking about my next move or whatever I need to explain while I do it, but you can always hand them to another player for an independent extra shuffle.
 
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American in Chile
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For shuffling just a few cards, I spread them face down on the table, then use both hands to move them around. After a while, I stop and gather them all into a stack.
 
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Bill Cook
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Drink heavily before mixing up the tiles. I may be tempted to cheat a little, but I probably won't have the coherence to cheat appropriately.
 
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Roger Dodger
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I run into this with regard to the summer boats in Keyflower

First I lay out all 12 tiles to choose from on the table.

Then I roll a 1d12 for each tile along with a 1d6. The d12 tells me which tile to select for auction. The d6 tells me to leave the tile turned up the way it is if the d6 result is even or to turn it over if the d6 result is an odd number.

Anyway, that's how I do it.

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Chris
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Seems like bad game design to me - the game should tell you how to do this. Barring that I would use a bag.
 
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Pete
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I have eyelids.

Pete (is just sayin')
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Russ Williams
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Perrin2017 wrote:
Seems like bad game design to me - the game should tell you how to do this.

How to lay out tiles arbitrarily for an arbitrary setup? It's arbitrary! Nothing needs to be told.

If you for some reason insist that they be laid out e.g. uniformly randomly, you can surely figure out how to do that without needing to be told how.
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Chris
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russ wrote:
Perrin2017 wrote:
Seems like bad game design to me - the game should tell you how to do this.

How to lay out tiles arbitrarily for an arbitrary setup? It's arbitrary! Nothing needs to be told.

If you for some reason insist that they be laid out e.g. uniformly randomly, you can surely figure out how to do that without needing to be told how.


No how to lay out 2 sided tiles without looking at the tiles without giving a method in the rulebook to do so is bad game design IMO.
 
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Russ Williams
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Perrin2017 wrote:
No how to lay out 2 sided tiles without looking at the tiles without giving a method in the rulebook to do so is bad game design IMO.

If the rulebook said "do it by any mutually agreeable arbitrary method", would that suffice? Because I really doubt that it is intended that some specific probability distribution must be adhered to, so there is really no need for the rules to overspecify some specific method of doing it.
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