Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
30 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

In the Shadow of the Emperor» Forums » General

Subject: The one weak spot in a fantastic game rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Un Streetfighter avec un doctorat
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't see it.
Scott has a dominant choice: vote for Emperor.
Given that, Tom has to vote for Emperor too.
So Scott and Tom tie.
How is this someone "out of the running" choosing the winner?

I don't mind about the lack of tiebreaking, but I agree with your comment on MaBiWeb, there should be a way to hide scoring, perhaps as an option.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Drew1365 wrote:
I've been in positions where one person who was out of the running would essentially choose the winner in the last round, and that really sucks.


I don't find it sucks, I find it rather delightful and perhaps the most attractive portion of the game. These situations commonly occur with ISdK and I often specifically plan for them starting with the first move of the game.

Quote:
...I hate that there isn't a tie-breaker.


I consider it one of the strengths of the game. It is all about who has what incentive and to what degree can the other players nullify that interest and install something to their advantage. This is what makes the game interesting.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
vialiy wrote:
I don't mind about the lack of tiebreaking, but I agree with your comment on MaBiWeb, there should be a way to hide scoring, perhaps as an option.


Like many, I have a pencil and paper. There is no hidden scoring, and certainly in a case like this I'm certainly going to broadly publish the scores I've recorded if they are hidden.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Newell
Canada
Regina
Saskatchewan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb
vialiy wrote:
I don't mind about the lack of tiebreaking, but I agree with your comment on MaBiWeb, there should be a way to hide scoring, perhaps as an option.

There is that option.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Latto
United States
Foxboro
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Like many, I have a pencil and paper. There is no hidden scoring, and certainly in a case like this I'm certainly going to broadly publish the scores I've recorded if they are hidden.


I've seen comments like this before, and I don't really understand them. You can play a game with hidden scoring, or you can play it with public scoring. If you choose to play it with hidden scoring, you would of course also make the rule that recording the scores with pencil and paper or other recording device is against the rules. There would be no point in keeping the scoring hidden, but allowing record-keeping, since it would increase the tedium without achieving the goal of having some uncertainty about the scoring.

The rules of tournament bridge and tournament backgammon, for example, explicitly prohibit such record-keeping.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Drew1365 wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
. . . I often specifically plan for them starting with the first move of the game.



Oh, you do not. :p


I absolutely do. Knowing that the game commonly ends in such close quarters of course I start planning as early as I can how to arrange that the other players will fall to my advantage when it comes to that point. I find that the most interesting aspect of the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
andylatto wrote:
I've seen comments like this before, and I don't really understand them. You can play a game with hidden scoring, or you can play it with public scoring. If you choose to play it with hidden scoring, you would of course also make the rule that recording the scores with pencil and paper or other recording device is against the rules.


My general policy is to refuse to play games with hidden trackable information.

Quote:
There would be no point in keeping the scoring hidden, but allowing record-keeping, since it would increase the tedium without achieving the goal of having some uncertainty about the scoring.


Nothing can prevent someone from tracking that wishes to. If they don't use paper and pencil or some other mechanical analogue (I've known players who track other player's resources in Settlers of Catan using the positional arrangements of the unbuilt roads, settlements and cities), they can use their own trained memories. Keeping track of 3 simple values across ~10 turns isn't that hard, it is merely (unnecessarily) laborious.

Quote:
The rules of tournament bridge and tournament backgammon, for example, explicitly prohibit such record-keeping.


(I'm not clear on where hidden trackable information enters backgammon)

They prohibit mechanical assistance. More specifically the rules of tournament bridge do not prohibit card counting or other memory devices, just mechanical assistance and interplayer-communication.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Drew1365 wrote:
I find your response completely and intentionally bogus. :p There is no way to specifically plan a close/tying endgame from the beginning move in ItSotE. You'd have a better chance predicting the trajectory of snot after a terrifying sneeze.


Nahh, you're looking for specifics. I don't think or plan in terms of specifics. Each player has a pattern of investments, minor and major. Those investments establish trade patterns in which one player trades control of one region for another and then that one back again or to another in future. The details can and will vary, but the domino pattern is quite clear. There's a domino pattern of time-skewed transitions. I look at that pattern and plan out how to be involved in it, setting up the dominoes so that they are always balanced during the course of the game but emerge to fall my way at the end. I don't bother with the individual areas, just the relationships among areas and investments, pushing the pattern of leaning dominoes to the pattern I want at just the last minute. That means that for most of the game I'm not playing to get a great score or great position or even directly to win, but rather to keep the other players ever so balanced until the end when they imbalance in my favour. Effectively the plan is not to win by my own direct actions, but to win because the other players make me win -- and that systemic view can be planned for and worked on from the first turn of the game.

A meta-pattern.

This is the same deal as managing the emegergent alliances in a game like Wabash Cannonball. There's no planning out the specifics, too much of the game rides on the single dollar differences of bids and dividends. Instead there's a pattern of investment, incentive and thus implied alliance -- and that can largely be planned and predicted and managed, not in detail but in broad swathe, and doing that well is the most wonderous heart of the game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Latto
United States
Foxboro
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
(I'm not clear on where hidden trackable information enters backgammon)


My error. While tournament backgammon does prohibit the use of pencil and paper other than to record the score, the result is not to limit memory to one's mental capabilities, but to limit calculation to one's ability at mental calculation.

Quote:
They prohibit mechanical assistance. More specifically the rules of tournament bridge do not prohibit card counting or other memory devices, just mechanical assistance and interplayer-communication.


Absolutely. They prohibit keeping external records, not the use of one's memory.

Quote:
Keeping track of 3 simple values across ~10 turns isn't that hard, it is merely (unnecessarily) laborious.


I agree that if keeping track of hidden trackable information is something the players are capable of, but find laborious, I'd prefer to play it open (though I'm more flexible than you, and willing to play it hidden if that's what my opponents prefer). For example, I prefer to play with the Castillo open in El Grande. But if there's information that as a practical matter, none of the players are actually able to track, and the game plays better if there is some uncertainty about it, I prefer to keep it hidden. As a matter of game design, it would be better if there was a mechanism other than memory to introduce the uncertainty, since if the only uncertainty is due to faulty memory, then the game can only be played under uncertainty among those with faulty memories. But while I consider this a flaw in a game, it's not necessarily a fatal flaw. If the game works better with the uncertainty, and there is in fact some uncertainty for all players, why not introduce the uncertainty?

Of course, memories differ, so the same game can fall into different categories for different people. I could not track the scores in In the Shadow of the Emperor without losing track of strategy and tactics in the game, so when playing with people like myself, I prefer to play with hidden scores (and a prohibition on keeping score records, of course). But if I were to play with someone who could mentally track all the scores, I would rather play with open scores; even if the game is better with some uncertainty about the scores, I think it would be worse to have such uncertainty for some players and not all.

My main point was that the response "If you keep the scores hidden, I'll just track them on paper" is silly; anyone who agrees to keep scores hidden will of course also agree to prohibit the keeping of paper records. You may prefer to keep the information open, and you may refuse to play with players with different preferences, or only agree to play if they abide by your personal preferences in the matter. But I assume that if you agreed to play in a game where the players had agreed on a "no paper records" rule, you wouldn't cheat and keep paper records anyway.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
clearclaw wrote:
andylatto wrote:
I've seen comments like this before, and I don't really understand them. You can play a game with hidden scoring, or you can play it with public scoring. If you choose to play it with hidden scoring, you would of course also make the rule that recording the scores with pencil and paper or other recording device is against the rules.


My general policy is to refuse to play games with hidden trackable information.


JC, I don't think Andy was disputing this. I think he was saying that if you're going to record the score, you may as well just play with the scoring cards face up so everyone can see them.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
andylatto wrote:
The rules of tournament bridge and tournament backgammon, for example, explicitly prohibit such record-keeping.


Question: in tournament bridge, would you be permitted to arrange the unplayed cards in your own hand in such a way as to help you remember things? If I have 6 cards yet to play, there are 720 different ways to arrange them in order, so presumably I could store quite a bit of information.

My guess is the answer should be no, but I haven't heard the issue discussed.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Webb
United States
Western Mitten
flag msg tools
designer
badge
GET A SILK BAG FROM THE GRAVEYARD DUCK TO LIVE LONGER.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm with Andy in terms of etiquette for games with hidden information. There is no way I would ever allow someone to keep paper records on a game in progress where the information was being concealed. Doing that would be breaking the social contract of the table. I think the reality is that J C would simply not play games with hidden but trackable information with people who wanted the information to stay hidden, that's fine. I simply can't imagine a group tolerating note-taking in a game where people had agreed to play with hidden information though, I, for one, would opt out of the game if the group was tolerating it despite the pre-game agreement to play with hidden information. This would extend to people taking notes on E&T scores, Power Grid money, or any of a number of other situations that this could apply to. This game, and those ones, specifically are meant to be played with hidden but trackable information closed. Unless the group explicitly agrees to change the way the game is being played, the requirement for mental only note taking should be respected.

In specific terms, I think many people are perfectly capable of tracking the information in ISdK, but that doesn't mean that most will, because it takes up valuable space that could be better used on other moves. If someone wants to spend the time tracking everything in their head, no problem, feel free, it definitely will give you an edge in the end game in terms of knowing who is where exactly. The score spread in this game is very tight though, and even being off by a single point in your mental calculation can completely change what you want to do. This is, I presume, exactly why the scores are meant to be hidden. The one time I played this online, I disliked the open score / no way to stop someone from tracking on paper even if it WAS hidden aspect of the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Latto
United States
Foxboro
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:

Question: in tournament bridge, would you be permitted to arrange the unplayed cards in your own hand in such a way as to help you remember things? If I have 6 cards yet to play, there are 720 different ways to arrange them in order, so presumably I could store quite a bit of information.


I don't know. An expert-level bridge player of my acquaintance says that he has at times used the arrangements of the unplayed cards, not as a memory aid, but as a calculation aid. That is, when considering a line of play, to facilitate visualisation of the situation 8 tricks later, he has rearranged the cards in his hand to see what he would have left if he undertook that line. He is a scrupulous observer of both the letter and the spirit of the bridge rules, so he at least feels that this is legal. I don't know whether he would consider rearranging the cards as a memory aid to be legal; I'll ask him. As a practical matter, any bridge player serious enough about the game to devise such a memoy system would quickly reach the stage where memorization of what has been played was easy; the information to be memorized in bridge has so much structure that once one becomes good at the game, the memory challenges become much less significant.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
andylatto wrote:
But if there's information that as a practical matter, none of the players are actually able to track, and the game plays better if there is some uncertainty about it...


I find few games in that category.

Quote:
...why not introduce the uncertainty?


I don't find such uncertainty interesting, just irritatingly distracting.

Quote:
My main point was that the response "If you keep the scores hidden, I'll just track them on paper" is silly; anyone who agrees to keep scores hidden will of course also agree to prohibit the keeping of paper records.


The original context was a PBW game on Mabiweb. Mabiweb games can be configured to publish scores openly or to obscure them (they are reconstructable via logs). While I don't play online, my impression is that many/most games are informal pickup games. Unless there's a social protocol I'm unaware of, setting that option does not also say Don't look at the game logs and Don't keep mechanical track. It merely controls whether Mabiweb publicly reports the score summaries.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Mumford
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
ceci n'est pas une pipe
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
to return to the original post..

If you don't like king-making, In the Shadow of the Emperor is not for you. For most games, king making is an annoying flaw. Shadow of the Emperor specifically looks to king making as a mechanic, and does so in an interesting way. In your game (it looks like it was a pretty good game) this ended up as tie making. An exceptional game.

I'm not convinced that most money would be a good tie breaker. Money is simply action points. It would change the whole dynamic in the last round. But I'd happily try it out.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Latto
United States
Foxboro
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
andylatto wrote:
Quote:

But if there's information that as a practical matter, none of the players are actually able to track, and the game plays better if there is some uncertainty about it...



I find few games in that category.


Assuming you mean that few games are in the category "not able to track the hidden information", you have a far better memory than I do. Can you actually track how much money everyone has in Power Grid, or High Society, for example, without it interfering with your ability to play the game well? I certainly can't.

Quote:
I don't find such uncertainty interesting, just irritatingly distracting.

I think that whether the uncertainty makes a game more interesting is independent of the source of the uncertainty. Certainly there are games (bridge, for example) where the uncertainty about opponents' holdings is an intrinsic part of the game, which would be radically changed for the worse if this information were made public. As long as the hidden trackable information is sufficiently complex that it cannot be tracked reliably by any of the players involved, why is this intrinsically worse than uncertainty that comes from randomness?

There are games where hidden information is combined with intrinsically secret information, such as Titan and Settlers. Unless you have a perfect memory, you will have a better idea of opponents' holdings in such games if you write them down. Do you keep a record in such games? If not, why is the increased uncertainty in this case any less irritating than hidden trackable information?

Quote:

The original context was a PBW game on Mabiweb. Mabiweb games can be configured to publish scores openly or to obscure them (they are reconstructable via logs). While I don't play online, my impression is that many/most games are informal pickup games. Unless there's a social protocol I'm unaware of, setting that option does not also say Don't look at the game logs and Don't keep mechanical track. It merely controls whether Mabiweb publicly reports the score summaries.


I can't imagine configuring Mabiweb to obscure the scores, and not also agreeing not to reconstruct them from the game logs; what would be the point? Having them open has its advantages. Having them secret and agreeing not to reconstruct them has different advantages, for some people with some games. But having them secret and allowing reconstruction seems to combine the worst features of both.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Caleb
United States
Seminole
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
andylatto wrote:


I can't imagine configuring Mabiweb to obscure the scores, and not also agreeing not to reconstruct them from the game logs; what would be the point? Having them open has its advantages. Having them secret and agreeing not to reconstruct them has different advantages, for some people with some games. But having them secret and allowing reconstruction seems to combine the worst features of both.



Right but on Mabiweb you're playing a bunch of people you may or may not know and in any case you can't check up on them, so you can't know what they're doing. I would never assume my opponents were NOT reconstructing scores, money in hand (Amun-Re) or whatever. Even if they promised not to. I don't know these people from Adam, and competition does funny things to people's ethics, especially when they know they won't be caught.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
andylatto wrote:
Assuming you mean that few games are in the category "not able to track the hidden information"...


Actually I meant ...the game plays better if there is some uncertainty about it..., assuming an HTI game. I'm aware of very few games in that plays better with HTI category.

I do not consider HTI analagous to HTI. HTI is knowable. The results of dice rolls (etc) are not.

Quote:
I think that whether the uncertainty makes a game more interesting is independent of the source of the uncertainty.


I find a great difference between uncertainty in something I could know perfectly had I merely bothered to pay attention, and uncertainty that is actually unknowable. The first merely suggests that I should pay attention. The second that the game is opaque.

Quote:
As long as the hidden trackable information is sufficiently complex that it cannot be tracked reliably by any of the players involved, why is this intrinsically worse than uncertainty that comes from randomness?


In short, because I could track and could know. It might take a little effort and training, but it is possible and potentially useful. Knowing what cards a player holds after a random deal is not possible. Knowing what cards are in their hand after a half-dozen tricks is a process of card counting and deduction.

Quote:
Do you keep a record in such games?


I've not played Titan and so won't comment there. It is quite possible and not very difficult to keep perfect track of player's resources in Settlers of Catan, modulo the thief. Additionally, typically the thief's card is revealed within a a turn or two. As a result I prefer Settlers of Catan with open resources. The only change effective change in terms of information exposure is the increased certainty of what thief took, which I find acceptable.

Quote:
I can't imagine configuring Mabiweb to obscure the scores, and not also agreeing not to reconstruct them from the game logs; what would be the point?


Pickup games rarely go through an entrance protocol setting such constraints. Additionally there is no possibility of detecting when/if someone does a history-scan or otherwise keeps mechanical track.

My favourite answer to a hidden scoring game would be to simply announce the current score/resource totals on the chat after every move. No paper and pencil, no history etc needed, just a recall of the last statement made, just a running public tally. (Accepted: this is effectively using the chat history or my cut buffer as a mechanical record)

Quote:
Having them open has its advantages. Having them secret and agreeing not to reconstruct them has different advantages, for some people with some games.


I'm not aware of any advantages for me. I'm well aware that some greatly prefer HTI to remain hidden for various games. That's fine. We just don't play those games together.

Quote:
But having them secret and allowing reconstruction seems to combine the worst features of both.


It is unpreventable and undetectable. In short, it should be assumed.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Drew1365 wrote:
I would say that if one of the tied players happens to get elected Emperor at the end, that would be a likely tie-breaker. Otherwise, if neither of them are Emperor, then let the emperor break the tie like he always does. :cool:


I really don't like tie breakers. With rare exception (eg King of Siam), I'd prefer it if games didn't have tie breakers at all. I find that lack of tie breakers makes for more interesting decisions, more interesting games and more delightful outcomes.

A brief survey of the area: Tie a yellow ribbon around the winner’s post
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Corban
Canada
Newmarket
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A tie breaker in this game doesn't make much sense. Even if you made it something like "whoever has the most money". Since "making money" is such a minor part of the game and everyone is artificially limited to 12 thalers income anyway, it would be relatively arbitrary. What other tie breaker could there be? Person with the most aristocrats on the board? Least aristocrats?

Tie breakers are good when they are strongly tied to the objective or mechanics of a game. For example, ties going to the player with the most money in a game of Power Grid seems reasonable.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Cote
United States
Maine
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Let the Emperor decide. laugh
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Corban
Canada
Newmarket
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You don't know JC yet. He is not afraid to sit out if people aren't playing the game he wants to play by his rules. He is willing to just go do something else. He has his own elite group of poker chip/spreadsheet/open money/no hidden information/pencil and paper/computer assisted followers that play by his rules and he is happy to keep it that way.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
dcorban wrote:
You don't know JC yet. He is not afraid to sit out if people aren't playing the game he wants to play by his rules. He is willing to just go do something else.


True. As small example I sat out a game of Chinatown at a recent gamesday (a game I've been wanting to play) as the table insisted on playing with closed money. A few weeks before I sat out a game of Modern Art with closed money. I don't sit out often but it also isn't rare; perhaps 5 or 6 times a year.

Quote:
He has his own elite group of poker chip/spreadsheet/open money/no hidden information/pencil and paper/computer assisted followers that play by his rules and he is happy to keep it that way.


Not so true.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.