lotus dweller
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On a thread about making OOP games available as PnP the idea of a "clean room" came up a a way of ensuring an original re-statement of the game's rules.

("Game" here refers to the mechanisms, parts and mathematical probabilities that make up a game. It does not include theme, character identities, artwork etc.)

I am not convinced at all that a "clean room" is necessary - it seems that the reading of multiple rule sets by a game-naive but legally and linguistically competent person would quickly pick out any overly related works.

But its an interesting thought still. And so here is my design of such a "clean room"

Firstly the game would be reproduced without artistic/visual theme. Players experienced in the game would then play it. A video sans audio would be made of each playing. An naive observer - the rewriter - would then write a rule set based on the video. To assist the process players would have cards indicating whether their action was solely dictated by the rules or involved options. The number of available options could also be indicated for the video view.

The new rule set thus produced would be inspected for errors and errors crossed out of the new rule set. The rewriter could then try again using the existing footage or problem phases in the game could be highlighted in newly recorded games.

This process of observing/writing/testing would iterated until a complete rule set was produced. The game could then re-themed using legally available material.
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Chen Changcai
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Interesting idea of a process to extract game rules.

My concern is that the game is not just a set of rules, but also the text, graphics and labels on the components. Your process does not seem to cater to these aspects of the game.

Perhaps a way to extract the essence of the game is to strip off all things related to the theme, and make them abstract. Of course, it may change the experience of playing the game itself.
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Russ Williams
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For many games, simply observing a few plays would not suffice for reproducing all the rules, many of which would not actually come into play in a given session, or an observer could imagine several different plausible-sounding rules that would all explain the observed behavior.

E.g. (off the top of my head) in 2 de Mayo the observer would quickly notice that if one player has more cubes than another in a region, the lesser player loses 1 cube, and simply write "The player with fewer cubes in a region loses 1 cube." The observer might never notice that when the lesser player has 2 cubes and the greater has 4 cubes, the lesser player lost 2 cubes, since I've seen quite a few sessions where that case never came up. If the case did arise, the observer might then think, "Oh, OK, now I get it! It's possible for 2 cubes to die in one combat, if one player has twice as many cubes as the other." And they might never observe the rare situation with 3 vs at least 9, where all 3 cubes were lost...

I only see this "clean room" approach as really viable for games with very short elegant "natural" rules (e.g. GIPF series, Gigamic games, etc).

But even there, there are rules which rarely come into play. E.g. in competent play of Cathedral, a piece is rarely captured and removed from the board. Yet the possibility of that happening is a crucial part of the rules that influences many of the players' decisions. The observer might suspect that the players seemed to be making certain strategic decisions that seemed suboptimal, given the rules that the observer had observed/guessed so far, but the observer wouldn't know why they were doing so - are the players just incompetent? Is there some "hidden" rule, and if so, what?

Quite an amusing thought experiment, though!
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lotus dweller
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ccube78 wrote:
Interesting idea of a process to extract game rules.

My concern is that the game is not just a set of rules, but also the text, graphics and labels on the components. Your process does not seem to cater to these aspects of the game.

Perhaps a way to extract the essence of the game is to strip off all things related to the theme, and make them abstract. Of course, it may change the experience of playing the game itself.

I tried to cover that with "Firstly the game would be reproduced without artistic/visual theme".
But yes it would be better to take that further - the components could be stripped of artwork and identified as "piece A" or "Card 11" etc.
 
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lotus dweller
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Rare rules would probably have to be specifically illustrated in a special video showing just a sequence featuring each rare rule.
 
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J C Lawrence
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You are describing a formalised game of telephone, but without an error-detection or error-correction protocol.
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lotus dweller
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clearclaw wrote:
You are describing a formalised game of telephone, but without an error-detection or error-correction protocol.

Telephone" (USA) = "Chinese Whispers"(UK)?
The OP contains "The new rule set thus produced would be inspected for errors and errors crossed out of the new rule set. The rewriter could then try again using the existing footage or problem phases in the game could be highlighted in newly recorded games."

Is something more necessary?
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Jack Neal
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Seems like a lot of work.
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lotus dweller
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Raiderjakk wrote:
Seems like a lot of work.

It would be.

Any ideas how long it would take to re-state the rules of ASL?
 
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Pinook wrote:
Raiderjakk wrote:
Seems like a lot of work.

It would be.

Any ideas how long it would take to re-state the rules of ASL?


It sounds like having a room full of monkeys typing Shakespeare... It would almost be easier just to invent a new game...
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J Holmes
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Try it with Agricola and get back to us.
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Teacher Fletcher
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Reminds me of the scientists in Gulliver's Travels trying to figure out how to build a house from the roof down.
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J Holmes
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That sounds a bit like any episode of Gilligan's island....."This week watch as the scientist invents a microwave with 4 coconuts 2 rocks and fish head"
 
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