Skip to Content

Analysis Paralysis in Movement

22 replies [Last post]
lordpog
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969

I was just thinking about dungeon crawl board games, such as Doom and Space Crusade, where you have action points to spend on activities (usually move or attack).

The trouble is we find ourselves trying to think through all the combinations, counting out spaces until we can make a melee attack, or conversely exactly how many turns until the monster will be able to reach me, weapons ranges etc.

It's annoying when a player walks through every possible movement to min-max their turn. It's like a chess player who mock-moves every piece on the board, and plays out every scenario, before "officially" moving.

So how about the idea of introducing a *small* amount of randomness when moving?

What do you think?

bluesea
bluesea's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

What if timer is added to the game: And the amount of action points that can be used depends on how long one takes to sort things out. In the real world we all have deadlines. Why can't we have them in the game world?

So, for example, if you take up to three minutes to move, you get 5 action points. For 3-5 minutes you get 3 APs. And after 5 minutes you can only have 2 APs...or some system of the like.

I think that this would help push along more of a "gut feeling" play, if that is what you are after. Nothing says pressure like an impending deadline!

John

Shellhead
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

bluesea wrote:
What if timer is added to the game: And the amount of action points that can be used depends on how long one takes to sort things out. In the real world we all have deadlines. Why can't we have them in the game world?

So, for example, if you take up to three minutes to move, you get 5 action points. For 3-5 minutes you get 3 APs. And after 5 minutes you can only have 2 APs...or some system of the like.

I think that this would help push along more of a "gut feeling" play, if that is what you are after. Nothing says pressure like an impending deadline!

John

I love the timer idea, but it's problematic. How do you handle interruptions? Like what if the phone rings? What if the ringing phone belongs to another player? What if the pizza guy shows up during the turn? What if etc...

An alternative to the random movement would be limited knowledge about the map. What's behind that door? We don't know yet. What's that face-down counter over there? What if there is a staircase in that next room? Take away some information, and the player won't drag the game down to a halt with his analysis, because he doesn't have enough information to work out all the permutations.

Torrent
Torrent's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/03/2008
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

Another option is to design the system so small mistakes dont matter. In chess, you have so few peices, and some are quite unique in their powers; so making a poor choice is devestating. In a lot of wargames and such, missing a chance to attack or not moving exactly where you need to is also devestating. I'm not sure what it would look like, but imagine a game where those decisions in and of themselves where not as crucial, but the long term playstyle meant more.

Perhaps decoupling movement and attack/action from each other in the pool of points. So you can move and attack in the same turn. This removes some of the analysis in that you don't have to worry about moving the exact number of places and still have enough points to attack, but if I moved less I could make a different type of attack.. and so forth.

copycat
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

Quote:
I love the timer idea, but it's problematic. How do you handle interruptions? Like what if the phone rings? What if the ringing phone belongs to another player? What if the pizza guy shows up during the turn? What if etc...

sand timers can be turned on their side. stopwatches could be paused...

very cool idea about the timer.

bluesea
bluesea's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

An alternate way of dealing with this is to not time every move, but only certain moves. So, let's say there are some cards that each player holds in there hand: 2minute, 3 minute, 4 minute, etc. Each player gets a certain amount of cards at the beginning and before they make there play, they can play a card. This gives a bit of control over their decision making process.

To counter these cards, other players can play cards against. Their cards would read say, -1 minute or -2 minutes. This would then be played atop the players cards to subtract off some time for their play. I'm sure there is an elegant mechanic that can rationalize all this, but the seed of it is that each player sets a deadline, and that deadline can be reduced by another player.

This is could be considered a part of the overall combat process. It distracts and disorientates the player, forcing them into a situation where they are more likely to make a mistake.

John

lordpog
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

I'm not really a fan of timers, for the reasons given above by Shellhead. Even if you interrupt play and place the timer on its side, the player can still think about his or her move. I think timers are better suited to serious tournaments for analysis heavy games like chess, rather than casual multi-player Euro games. What happens if you run out of time anyway - would you miss your go?

Julius
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

I think that this thread describes more of a problem associated with people playing the game, not the game itself.

I frown when people min/max their turn, especially for a beer and pretzels game, but you must understand that for those people, that is what makes the game fun - Figuring out the optimum effect with a limited amount of resources. Not many of those people will play your game if their playstyle is punished.

Furthermore, if you don't like someone's style of play, don't play games with them. It's not the game's job to police your friends.

Hedge-o-Matic
Hedge-o-Matic's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/30/2008
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

Or just play 1st edition Space Hulk with them. It used a timer to terrifying effect. Talk about tense!

I think the timer is a great idea, but a game has to use this tension as a core element, as Space Hulk did. the systems of them game were very quick, and so took up no time to move or fight. And if you ran out of time, tough! that was the whole point, to simulate the lopsided nature of the conflict.

To make matters worse, only one side used the timer. the other had all the time in the workd to think about their actions, but their strategies were far more direct. and it was in this other player's best interests to play quickly for the very reason mentioned above: it gave the other player time to think! so one had an enforced time pressure, and the other had an implied time pressure.

Ingenious implementation.

I say give timers a whirl. It really changes the feel of a game.

bluesea
bluesea's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

I can understand the apprehension to use timers. I will not play a game of chess with a timer. It ruins the game for me. I love, in chess, to think, and strain, and compute all the moves my little brain can handle. But that is my expectation when I play chess. And usually that of my opponent as well so it works out good.

I think that one must correctly judge the perception and the expectation of the turn time in a game so the game can feel smooth.

clearclaw
clearclaw's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Re: Analysis Paralysis in Movement

lordpog wrote:
So how about the idea of introducing a *small* amount of randomness when moving?

Locally that would result in the players computing all the permutations across the full range of the random effect, saving you nothing.

TheReluctantGeneral
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

Julius wrote:

I frown when people min/max their turn, especially for a beer and pretzels game, but you must understand that for those people, that is what makes the game fun - Figuring out the optimum effect with a limited amount of resources. Not many of those people will play your game if their playstyle is punished.

I've been accused of being a mini-maxer in my gaming group, normally when I end up winning, or when I loose sometimes I get the old 'hah, all that mini maxing didn't help this time, did it?', kind of comments. However, it's always done with tongue in cheek, since our group recognises that everyone has their own style, and I try to make sure all my computations are done in my own own down-time, not someone elses! I think julius has a very good point here - I have grown up playing strategy games like chess and Go, and I like working stuff out.

However if the tree of possibilities is too large to analyse like this, then I tend to relax more and just see what happens. However there will always be some players my try to evaluate as many options as possible even in these circumstances.

As far as wargames are concerned where you are controlling troops, I always like to see systems which represent the fact that the grunts are not robots, and can think for themselves. It adds alot to the game in terms of flavour and laying plans, and does prevent min-maxing to a good degree. Instead of adding randomness for it's own sake (to prevent AP), could you add a way in which players pieces may move as desired, or may not depending on their situation and their stats and some random factor (e.g. bravery, morale, impulsiveness etc)?

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

"Human timers" can be a fun way to keep players from taking too long. I'm using them in two different designs right now.

For example, you have 4 players, A-D, and it's player A's turn. A human timer kicks in. An example:

On A's turn, B immediately draws a new card. He passes one of his cards to C, who passes one to D, who discards one. If A is still not finished, C draws a card, passes one to D, who passes one to B, who discards. Again, if A still isn't finished then D draws, passes one to B, who passes to C, who discards. Continue until A finishes his turn, at which point the current passing is finished out (whoever was to discard will after he gets the extra card).

This encourages A to finish as soon as possible, as the other players are just helped by his slowness. Because B-D are passing cards to each other, they can't go too fast because they don't want to pass something great to an opponent, but they want to go as fast as possible to try to get as many passing rounds in as they can.

There are endless variations on this concept, and a variety of ways to make it as "fair" as possible (in the above example if A is always super-slow then B will benefit more than C and D, but you can pass start markers or do other tricks to spread the wealth).

Interruptions are still an issue, but isn't that always the case? I mean, if there's a certain social pressure not to take "too long" but if it's player A's turn and B is interrupted by a phone call then A tends to get a bunch of extra time to take his turn in any system. Things can't be totally fair.

-- Matthew

bluesea
bluesea's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

FastLearner wrote:
"Human timers" can be a fun way to keep players from taking too long. I'm using them in two different designs right now...

On A's turn, B immediately draws a new card. He passes one of his cards to C, who passes one to D, who discards one. If A is still not finished, C draws a card, passes one to D, who passes one to B, who discards. Again, if A still isn't finished then D draws, passes one to B, who passes to C, who discards. Continue until A finishes his turn, at which point the current passing is finished out (whoever was to discard will after he gets the extra card).

very clever! I likey.

lordpog
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

FastLearner, your "human timers" idea is very interesting, but mightn't it all get a bit frantic, possibly damaging the game components and lead to arguments about who finished first.

Quote:
However if the tree of possibilities is too large to analyse like this, then I tend to relax more and just see what happens. However there will always be some players my try to evaluate as many options as possible even in these circumstances.

This was the original idea- reduce the amount of "lookahead" so you can't say for certain that you've got, say, exactly 3 turns before the enemy reaches me and plan out precisely what to with them.

I think it would be very bad gaming ettiquette if someone started mapping out all the probabilities, akin to writing down every single resource card you see someone take in settlers or ticket to ride. However, Doom seems to encourage this through the funny dice. In order to decide what weapon to use you need to understand how the dice are numbered and min max them.

P

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

lordpog wrote:
FastLearner, your "human timers" idea is very interesting, but mightn't it all get a bit frantic, possibly damaging the game components and lead to arguments about who finished first.

I'm guessing you've not played Pit. :)

No question, some players can use insufficient care, but that's always true in any game, especially real-time ones. And certainly players can argue about order, especially in real-time games. Yet Pit has managed to survive and continue to be published for some 70+ years, and other real-time games continue to be published.

OrlandoPat
Offline
Joined: 10/16/2008
Camelot

Tom Jolly resolved this issue in a very interesting way with Camelot (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/14812). You get a turn token. As soon as you move, you pass the token and the next person moves. There are two turn tokens, so if you take too long, you not only accumulate a great deal of ill will, but you also fall behind.

It makes for a fun frantic game.

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

That's the mechanic he patented (or was going to), right?

-- Matthew

Shellhead
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Re: Camelot

OrlandoPat wrote:
Tom Jolly resolved this issue in a very interesting way with Camelot (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/14812). You get a turn token. As soon as you move, you pass the token and the next person moves. There are two turn tokens, so if you take too long, you not only accumulate a great deal of ill will, but you also fall behind.

It makes for a fun frantic game.

Turn tokens are not new. Richard Garfield used a similar mechansism during an interesting Magic event back in '94, where the entire tournament was one big game. There were multiple judges at this event, and each judge also functioned as a turn token. If a player took too long and one judge caught up with another, the second judge stopped working as a turn token, costing the slow player a turn, at least relative to the player before him. This was at the time when Garfield was designing Jyhad, and some Jyhad groups experimented with a similar turn token idea in the old days, before efficient players cut down playtime significantly.

OrlandoPat
Offline
Joined: 10/16/2008
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

I do remember hearing somewhere that Tom and Aldo were getting a patent (or some other such protection) on the implementation of turn tokens, but after checking their sites I can't find anything.

That Magic Event sounds like it must have been a blast! How'd you do?

Shellhead
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

OrlandoPat wrote:
That Magic Event sounds like it must have been a blast! How'd you do?

I wish I had played in that tournament. Instead, I read about it later in an article in one of the early issues of The Duellist. There were some neat concepts. Environmental effects were limited to five players, centered on the player who played the card. The something-or-other Ogre from the Arabian Nights set turned into a wandering monster who travelled up and down the table before he was finally killed. Several players built up massive empires of creatures before coming into contact of other serious contenders. It must have been a blast.

lordpog
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

2 Turn tokens are an interesting idea too, but the problems arises when you have certain actions that take more ime to complete. I'm working on a game where (it's looking as if) you will only get one action as your turn.

An example is Ticket to Ride: picking up cards is quick, laying trains is quick, but picking missions takes a couple of minutes.

It would be unfair to penalise someone for choosing an action that takes more time to complete, since some actions are invariably more complex than other.

lordpog
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Analysis Paralysis in Movement

Okay, I was thinking along the following lines:

Each character has a "Speed" stat, an average value being about 4.

What I thought of was instead of having a movement 4 (or whatever), either:

1.) Add your Speed attribute to a dice numbered (-1,-1,0,0,+1,+1) to modify how many spaces you have. Or

2.) for each movement point, roll a dice numbered (0,1,1,1,1,2). So if you have speed 5, you roll 5 dice, and the expected value is 5.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut