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Information revealed to the player

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Wumpus
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hi all,

Sorry if I'm breaking etiquette here, but I am doing research on game design and I was hoping you might be able to help me out.

- Can you help me think of a game (preferably a board game or card game) in which all players start out with full knowledge of the game state but where, in the course of the game, things happen which do not become known to all players?

By "full knowledge of the game state" I mean that the position and type of every "unit" is known and that the exact goals of all players are known.

In Risk, for instance, the players don't have full knowledge to begin with (they draw secret mission cards) and things happen which are not revealed. In Chess players DO have full initial knowledge AND are informed of all events/changes.

All help is appreciated. Thanks a lot.

Kind regards,
Jonas Smith
http://www.jonassmith.dk/

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Information revealed to the player

If Chess is an example of a game that meets your criteria, I'm not sure I understand your question. There is no hidden information in chess. If you're considering "a player's strategy" to constitute hidden information, then probably the vast majority of games would meet your criteria.

-Jeff

Wumpus
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Information revealed to the player

Hi Jwarrend,

Oops - I don't think I understood the question myself (sorry). I've revised the examples to hopefully make more sense.

No, I don't consider player strategies to constitute hidden information.

Best,
Jonas

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Joined: 07/22/2008
Information revealed to the player

Through the Desert is a game where the full state is known at the beginning, but becomes unknown as the game progresses. It may not be a very interesting example: I'm referring to players claiming "waterholes" which vary in point value. They are face-up (values seen by all) until a player claims and removes them. The players may then keep their collection of waterholes secret until the end of the game, so that nobody knows exactly how many points have been collected (well, unless they have perfect memories or have been taking notes).

Diplomacy is a war game with "perfect information" and no randomness. In one sense, every player always knows everything about the game. But a crucial element in Diplomacy is the formation of secret agreements and alliances. One could argue that these are just an elaboration of the "player's strategy" that Jeff mentioned, but I could also see an argument that they form a part of the game state that is hidden from some players.

Is any of this what you're looking for, or have I completely misunderstood you? :)

Wumpus
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Information revealed to the player

Hi Rick,

Thanks. Hmm, interesting with the Through the Desert example. If I understand you correctly players do in fact "get told" everything but they may well forget? In that case I would say that the game does not qualify entirely - I'm assuming that players have perfect recall (okay it's a bit far-fetched, but I'm being really formalist here).

Great Diplomacy example. Not least since I use it myself as an example of my formalist distinctions taking a beating :-) What I'm doing in terms of my writing is basically starting out very formally and then going on later to talk about the effects of communication between players.

I'm happy to say that I think you understood me perfectly.
So given that, I'm still looking for a game of "complete but imperfect information" in "economic game theory" terms.

Best,
Jonas

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Joined: 07/22/2008
Information revealed to the player

A better example than Diplomacy would be a game (anybody got an example? I can't think of one) where players make secret alliances, and are required to honor them by the game rules. In Diplomacy you don't have to honor your agreements, which in my mind puts them more on the "player intentions" side.

Any game in which players can make hidden changes to the state of the board or off-board pieces would also be an example. Say, each player has an identical set of tokens which can be placed on the board face-down. Other players wouldn't know which token you'd placed until some time later, perhaps when they "encounter" the token, or at the end of the game. Would Stratego count as an example of this kind? (Hm, fun mechanic. I might have to try to do something with that, sometime!)

Wumpus
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Information revealed to the player

Yeah, the communication between Diplomacy players would be close to what economists call "cheap talk" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheap_talk ), i.e. messages which "should" not have any effect on the game dynamics as they don't contain verifiable/binding information.

Stratego, in my perspective would count as a game without full initial knowledge and without knowledge of all changes (but the latter is debatable).

Basically, what I'm looking for is pretty much Risk without the damn mission cards :-)

- Jonas

Epigone
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Information revealed to the player

In this thread, an example is proposed. Players have complete knowledge at the start of the game, but during the game if a player buys a "small ship" it might be a fighter, a mine, a transport, or any number of things.

Any time you go from having perfect information to not, it is either the result of chance or a decision by another player. If chance, it could (and IMO should) be argued that you did not have perfect information to start with. But all decisions made by another player make up part of his strategy. So I believe any game meeting your criteria will meet it only by having parts of a strategy that cannot be changed after the fact but are unknown to the opponent for at least some period of time after the part is definitely decided. If that part still is considered part of the other player's strategy, then I conclude there is no way to a) begin with perfect information, and b) at some point have imperfect information not due to opponents' strategies.

Edit: In Stratego, we must assume you know all changes perfectly. Even if *you and I* can't remember them, the ideal player could.

Wumpus
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Information revealed to the player

Hi Epigone,

Just to be clear. The "game state" to me is that which gets represented by the game board (in the broadest sense). If a player forms some plot in his mind then that does not change the game state. But if a player chooses to place a secret unit somewhere on the board then that is a state change.

Regarding chance: Picking up random cards which are kept secret will make it a game of imperfect information. But the chance element in itself is not really important here - a die roll (which is revealed to all players) does not change the game type in my little typology.

Quote:
Edit: In Stratego, we must assume you know all changes perfectly. Even if *you and I* can't remember them, the ideal player could.

Yeah, I suppose that's true. I should probably reconsider the examples I use.

Best,
Jonas

Nando
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Joined: 07/22/2008
Information revealed to the player

Wumpus wrote:
think of a game ... in which all players start out with full knowledge of the game state but where, in the course of the game, things happen which do not become known to all players
Would Survive! qualify?

EDIT: I decided probably not because the position of 'special' island tiles (those that do more than just sink) is not known.

HellRAZOR
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Information revealed to the player

What do you think about "Scotland Yard"?
I'm not sure if the fleeing player's position is known at the start,
but everytime he's revealed, each player has full knowledge of the game state.

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