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Subject: Quantum: A Game of Uncertainty (Early Concept) rss

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Lukas Desjardins
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The basic premise of Quantum is that the players take on the role of, well, quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics basically says that until a particle is observed, it can be at many different positions at once. In this game you control these particles, represented by colored pawns.

I would like to make this clear, while it is one of the few games that would logically use probability, it doesn't.

I imagine this as the chaotic battle of particle pairs popping in and out of existence on the quantum level. Also a bit of a disclaimer (I guess...) is that I'm only 15 so my understanding of quantum mechanics may be a bit off. If you notice this, point it out, as I would like to know where I'm off (even if it effects game play, the game play is allowed to be off as it is a simple representation of core conceptsv). If you can see how to rules can be bettered, point that out as well.

Contents: I'll have a hex based board, 24 pawns (6 colors, buying them of amazon), a set of chits known as action chits, and a deck of cards

Setup: There is a game board made up of a hex sheet. In the beginning you should simply lay this out. Next place the cards next to it. Now you need to make sure the chits are in distinct piles based on color. Finally, each player chooses the colors needed for their game size. To find the colors each player needs, divide 6 by the number of players (for a 2 player game you need 3 each, for a 3 player game you need 2 each. With a second set of pawns it could be played with more players, the issue is though that they would be the incorrect colors.

The game is separated into different stages.

Stage 1: The particle stage. In this stage the particle armies are set up. To set up your particle army, players take turns placing one of their pawns. This can be any of your three colors, but you need to place all of that color before moving onto the next. For example, bob(player one) is against bill(player 2). Bob is red white and blue. Bill is black yellow and green (jamaica much?). Bob places a red piece first, bill then places a black piece. Because Bob's first piece was red, he now has to play another red. Bill then has to play another black. They repeat placing that color until they've placed all four. Then they move on to the next colors. This is done until all colors for all players are placed. The particles can be placed anywhere on the board

Stage 2: The Collapsing Wave Stage. In this stage we imagine that the particles have been observed and their probability waves collapse. We now know exactly where each particle is. The thing that you may not have realized is that last round, the particles you placed where not real particles, they were simply the possible positions that those particles could have ended up in. In this phase, each player takes a turn. They look at one color. All pieces of this color must be removed, except one. You may choose which one this is. This adds a strategical element as the opposing play may not know what strategy you have been thinking of until the end of this round. Repeat this process until there's only one pawn of each color. Be sure to keep track of old pawns as some may come into play later. At this point there should be 6 pawns in play.

Stage 3: The Card Stage. This is the simplest phase. The players during this phase build their own deck. Each player takes a turn to look through the main deck. They select five cards. This is repeated until the deck is empty (for a 2 person game there should be 15 cards each, for the 3 person game there should be 10.) Once the decks are built, move on to the next stage.

Stage 4: The Quantum of Solace (Except with particles). In this stage you will be using the previously chosen cards to win the game. Each card has an effect (I haven't made them yet so I'll be using examples. Most cards have dupes, for example there will be a card called Quantum Entanglement where you bring one of your previously destroyed particles into play, and end up stacking chits underneath one of them, its a very interesting idea I may explain later on, but I just want to get the basic down first. Once again, I digress...) that will be resolved upon playing, of course. The idea though uses a very interesting mechanic. On your turn, you search your personal deck for 4 cards. You hand these cards to the player on the left, and they separate one card of their choosing. This is considered to be a possible card that will end up being played. They then hand the remaining cards to the person on their left, who removes one. Once it returns to the original player (in most cases it will very quickly) then they have a choice: a. They may choose to use a card that has been returned to them, or b. they may collect the card(s) the other player(s) has selected. For either one, the other set of cards are discarded. Discarded cards return to the deck. Now out of the remaining cards (either the cards the other player(s) has/have selected, or the cards remaining after that) they may select one. In a 2 player game, the player basically has a choice between selecting one of three cards, or having the other player select a cards. I'll give you an example in a 2 player game. Also, a small note, the player does not look at the remaining cards until they have chosen which to take

2 Player: Bob-p1, bill-p2. Bob's turn. Bob picks 4 cards, these i'll call card a, card b, card c, and card d. He hands the whole hand to bill, who decides to separate card b. The hand returns to bob. He may either take cards a,c, and d, or take card b from Bill (bob does not know which card bill took, and does not know which cards remain.) Bob can either choose to take the card that Bill chose, or to take the remaining cards and take one out of those.

Now that the card has been selected, the resolve the effect. The final cut of the game will have all the basic movement types (cards)

The cards will be very... Strategic.


Finally, to win the game one side either needs to forfeit, or run out of pieces (or in a 3 person game, 2 sides need to run out of pieces). To remove another person pieces, they need to collide with another players piece (much like in chess.) There will be cards that allow for long range attacks, but these can be easily countered.

As an example of a card, there's one where you take all piece of the same color as your chosen piece (the piece which the card effects). The original piece may now take up to 6 moves. Underneath all the other pieces put a yellow chit to mark that as one of the entangled pieces (I should have specified that this power is called Quantum Entanglement.) Now, after moving the first piece, all the other pieces remain. The other player then takes their turn. After the turn goes back to the person who used this card, they may move all of the other pieces 6 spaces, and remove the one that moved 6 spaces originally from the game. After all three have moved their spaces, they select out of those one to remain in the game. All others are separated. Any collisions that happened from the separated pieces don't count, only the remaining piece counts. This ability can be used to add a level of uncertainty to your opponents.

As you can see, this game is rather difficult, although the rules do not seem to be very long.

Finally, don't worry if you lose. In one of the many parallel universes where another possibility occoured, you have one. Of course there's the one where nuclear was has destroyed humans, the one where dinosaurs prevailed and we're all T-Rex in tuxedos, and the one where I never even made this game. Have fun!

If you notice any typos, logical inconsistencies, or anything idiotic, feel free to point them out.


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Anais A
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Quote:
If you notice any typos, logical inconsistencies, or anything idiotic, feel free to point them out.


Yes, there is a logical inconsistency! How can a particle be many places at once?

Anyway, I've always wanted many more Physics (especially Quantum Mechanics) themed games.
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Jeffrey D Myers
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"Always rely upon a happy mind alone." Geshe Chekhawa.
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"How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?"
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Lukas Desjardins
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moretap wrote:
Quote:
If you notice any typos, logical inconsistencies, or anything idiotic, feel free to point them out.


Yes, there is a logical inconsistency! How can a particle be many places at once?

Anyway, I've always wanted many more Physics (especially Quantum Mechanics) themed games.


Was the former sarcasm? I'm not very good at reading sarcasm over the internet. Not that it would sound dumb if it weren't sarcasm, I would just suggest reading about Quantum Mechanics, it's very interesting.

Edit: Does anybody know where I can get or how I can make a box for my game?
 
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Lacombe
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The first two stages sound quite interesting as the basis for an abstract strategy game with secret unit deployment. The rest not so much; well, vaguely interesting must mostly unrelated [it seems] to your basic concept... probably worth considering as something to split off into a different game altogether and keep the basic all-places-at-once mechanism as pure as you can.
 
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Lukas Desjardins
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I see what you mean. I'm thinking of several ideas for doing this. Here's a little idea I have: The game cycles through the first 2 stages. At the beginning of the game, each player draws 5 cards. Each round you go through stage one, then collapse the wave. You may then play one card out of your hand and resolve the effect immediately. After doing this, you return to stage 1. This should add a level of simplicity, as the system for selecting cards I had chosen proved to be tedious after further examination. Destroyed particles go out of play forever.

What do you think of this change? I may update the original post with these ideas but am waiting to see if this community finds it better or worse (I'm not sure, I believed the last game I made to be amazing until I played it. It turned out to be fun, but not exactly satisfactory (after spending 6 hours playing, my success was more of a tired yawn and lights-out.)

 
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David Fisher
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peacmyer wrote:
"How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?"

Sounds like the name of a country music song written by a downhearted physicist ...


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Lukas Desjardins
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davidf wrote:
peacmyer wrote:
"How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?"

Sounds like the name of a country music song written by a downhearted physicist ...




It sounds like something a nerd-core rap group would make to me!
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Jeffrey D Myers
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Close! See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Can_You_Be_in_Two_Places_at...
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Lukas Desjardins
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Oh! I was nearly sure that it was a quote. A nerd-core rapper in these days probably has a similar style to their comedy.
 
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Scott
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Stage 3
One person looking through the deck at a time, then the next person, then the next? Meantime the five best cards were all taken first or it took a long time to select five from amongst thirty.
Try a drafting mechanic, a la Fairy Tale where players start with 5 cards in hand, choose 1, pass 4, choose 1 pass 3, repeat. In play they only use 3 of those cards.
 
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Stephen Tavener
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I keep trying to come up with QM games, too. The first was Quantum Chess:

Quote:
Quantum Chess

Definition: A piece is "observed" if it is attacked by an enemy piece or defended by a friendly piece.

Definition: An empty space is "observed" if any piece can capture to that space under the standard rules of chess.

Play standard chess, but instead of a standard move, a player may quantum tunnel any of their pieces to any space on the board, so long as the piece is not observed, and the destination space is not observed.

NOTES: This is a sneaky variant - for the first half of the game, players tend to play a fairly normal game of chess, but as the board starts to empty, you suddenly find pawns quantum tunnelling to the 7th rank, and other such horrors.


I'm still playing with an idea where each move reveals more information about one of your pieces, until you win by uniquely identifying your opponent's royal piece.
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Lukas Desjardins
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Thanks for the suggestion blaecblaed. The thing is though that there's no "five best cards." Most cards will have 3 or 4 copies of itself and those cards are there for strategy. I did realize how time consuming my system was and plan on changing it. Currently I'm thinking about how to incorporate the uncertainty principle into movement, using velocity and position.

Here's how it would work: Each person gets 4 "velocity points" for each pawn they own. For each player there is a little hidden section on the table where they have a sheet of paper containing the colors of each of their pawns. They must then distribute these velocity points however they want. For example, in a 2 player game I'll have 12 velocity points. Lets say my colors are green, black, and yellow. Because of the position of green, I give it 6 velocity points. I give black 4 velocity points, and because yellow is just chillin', I give him 2 velocity points. Now, each turn the players play a card from there hand (I'm using the classic five cards in the hand.) Most of these cards will consist on a reference to velocity, and thus will make you move that many spaces. Some will say, for example: move all pieces V spaces, and redistribute. This means I move all my pieces V (velocity) spaces and redistribute their velocity points, thus keeping uncertainty.

Anybody have any thoughts on a mechanic such as that one?

Also, I've heard of quantum chess, and I do plan on including a quantum tunneling mechanism in the game (including some other interesting ideas using miniature black holes and anti-matter.)

There will also be ways of "decaying" enemies particles into your own particles, creating time dilation for moving particles (basically a hyped up "move twice")
 
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Thomas Carroll
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You should check out

http://www.paradigmpuzzles.com/

for an awesome example of how to make a game quantum.

As a physics professor and quantum mechanic myself, I would recommend two books to get you started if you want to seriously understand QM (at the level necessary to make a game):

(1) Dan Styer's "The Strange World of Quantum Mechanics" -- This is written for the layperson but does some serious physics and includes exercises.

(2) Tom Moore's "Six Ideas That Shaped Physics: Unit Q" -- This is a bona fide textbook for freshman physics majors.

We've used both books in our introductory quantum class. The most advanced math you need for (1) is arithmetic. For (2) you'll need algebra and complex numbers but no real calculus.

And I'd like to second the sentiment that a game based on QM would be awesome.

Cheers.
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Jessey
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I also purchased this and do not know what to do with it!
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To build on Thomas's recommendations (and because I was irked by the "parallel universe" comment but wasn't sure how to bring it up without going way off topic), I would heartily recommend you check out some Philosophy of Quantum Physics - it is important (I think) to be critically aware of the distinctions between formalism and interpretation (the parallel universe thing is an interpretive move - in fact, so is postulating wave function collapse!)

Quantum Mechanics and Experience by David Albert is a great introduction to Quantum Mechanics (and the Philosophy there of). Written for lay audiences, the introductory chapter will probably get under your skin because of the way he opts to characterize quantum results (in terms of black and white electron states instead of spin-up and spin-down states, or photon polarization so as to avoid the other notions and intuitions that come with magnets, spin-states, photons and polarization). On the other hand, by the end you will have read an excellent survey of a variety of interpretive positions of the theory (including Many Worlds, Many Minds and Bohm's Pilot Wave theory).

If you enjoy that, Tim Maudlin's Quantum Non-Locality & Relativity is a good follow up. Also written for non-physicists (and written very well), it takes the philosophical problems to the next level and asks 'how could quantum mechanics and special relativity possibly get along'.
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Lukas Desjardins
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This games earliest ideas are actually based on Quantum Tic-Tac-Toe.

I've read a few books, one is just called Quantum Mechanics. The other three I've read are more about physics as a whole (one goes from classical and all the way up to M-Theory, the others are mostly on M-Theory but are about half introductions to relativity and quantum mechanics.)

I'm working on some more ideas to replace the previous card system. Anybody here have an suggestions?
 
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Lukas Desjardins
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I have some ideas for cards:

Quantum Fluctuation: Before I go on, I would like to not that while this card may seem to be a bit off, I do know what a quantum fluctuation is (so save your keyboard.) To describe this card, I need to add to off board section. These will be called the holding bay and the dead pile (better names in final version.) The holding bay holds unused particles. The dead pile holds dead particles. The holding bay holds all the particles you took out of the game in the wave collapse portion of the game. This basically repeats that portion of the game, but using the leftover three particles. You first choose which color to add, and place the three anywhere on the board. The other player gets a chance to play the quantum collapse card, which allows them to select which particle stays. The other player is then allowed to take one turn (I will add that there can be uncertainty as to which particle they attack, stemming from several cards they can play which I'm currently working.) After the other players turn, then the player who used the quantum fluctuation card may collapse the probability wave.

Quantum Collapse Card: Playing this card when another player uses the Quantum Fluctuation card allows you to collapse their probability wave instead of the player who used the Quantum Fluctuation card.

 
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M J
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hmm i think i need to playtest it to thouroughly understand the concept, altough i am not entirely sure how the cards fit in with something that i suppose is a abstract game, i dont like the idea of cards, and i would prefer it if they where replaced with pieces with special powers instead


hmm now all i can think about is an epic abstract wargame between quantum mechanics and string theory
 
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Lukas Desjardins
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Don't think of the cards in the normal sense of gaming cards, where each one has an ability, and you play that ability onto something. The cards are there to create a way of forcing people to think outside the box (instead of sticking with one strategy, they need to improvise.) Each card actually only has a name, and there is a corresponding movement type in the rulebook. Also, the original system of card drawing has been, pun intended, discarded. My newest system includes a mechanics where each round the player draws 5 or so cards, chooses one of those movement types to use, and discards the rest.

Also, Quantum Mechanics as the least abstract thing in the Universe! Its how the most natural constituents of our world interact! Also by the way, string theory isn't an opposing theory to quantum mechanics, its a proposed set of theoretical principals that properly merge quantum mechanics (physics of the small) with relativity (physics of the large), and helps explain phenomenon such as how black holes work (which are extremely massive bits of matter condensed into a single point in space)



Edit: I just finished the base rules, about one and a half pages (short but sweet!) Working on the different card types right now. Currently have 8 and need a total of 10, so that' almost finished. My last game took me like 3 weeks to make! I also ordered all the bits I'll need for the game.
 
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Lukas Desjardins
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Board Game: Done
Movement Types: Done

All that's left is for the components to arrive and for me to play test it. How can I release the rules in the current stage as a PDF/ODF file without uploading it to a third party(which I'm willing to do but prefer not to. I have a ftp site, but keep several other things there that I don't want people to access)? I'll be using handwritten cards for my first playtest, so I havent made printable cards yet. For those of you here who have web-published your games, how do you go about releasing components? Do you direct people to how many they need and of what colors they need, so they can collect the proper amount? For this specific game it uses pawns and chits, would you suggest releasing a page of chits they can print and cutout for use as paper version of the pawns and chits, then direct them to a place to get the same components as the original if they want to spend money? And finally do you know any programs that will allow me to make evenly sized sheets of cards that a player could print then cut out?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Edit: I have actually made printable sheets of pawns, chits, and cards. Anybody who wants to do an alpha test for this game please request one, and I can email you a copy (if you message me your email of course.) I have not been able to print these out to test if they will work, as I'm out of ink right now in my printer. Hopefully the first person will notice any errors with scale.

As a run down, included in the alpha test print and play folder is the following:
Base Rules, in PDF, ODf, and Word Document file types(ODF is the file type for open office.)
A sheet of cards
A sheet of Chits and Pawns
A printable chess board in PDF format (I found it online. This is for the one person in the world who does not own a single chess board in their house.)
 
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