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Hidden/Partial/Perfect Information?

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questccg
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I am working on one of my designs and there has come to me a "Question?" that needs answering...

Should I:

A> Have "Hidden Information" where all the cards on the table are played "face-down" and all have the SAME card backs. When a player chooses to reveal a card, that card gets turned over and then "combat" is resolved.

B> Have "Partial Information" where again all the cards on the table are played "face-down" but in this case have DIFFERENT card backs revealing the Faction of the card. When a player chooses to reveal a card, that card gets turned over and then "combat" is resolved.

C> Have "Perfect Information" where all the cards are played "face-up" on the table revealing everything for each player to see. A player decides which card to choose to attack and then "combat" is resolved.

That's my question... I must admit, to me it's a very interesting one...

Mosker
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Looking at option B...

Would other features demand these cards be the same size? Thinking about setup and break-down time...

questccg
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There are PROs and CONs to all of those options

Let me discuss some of the PROs and CONs for each option:

A> "Hidden": This is the most "random" choice. Since you do not have ANY information about the opponent's card, luck is a BIG factor. Assuming that you have the choice to "abort" an attack before it occurs could be possible mitigating the "randomness". So you could ask the opponent to reveal his card and THEN decide if you want to use one (1) of three attacks (if any are to your advantage). You could also decide to STOP your attack and end your turn.

B> "Partial": Assuming that Faction are generally "categorized" by a specific "style of play" (ala Magic colors), this would definitely reveal the possibility for "weaknesses" in some cards versus others. Again it is a bit LESS "random" but you're still not 100% certain about the opponent. It could follow the "style of play" but still may be a STRONGER card. You could like before ask to reveal the card and then decide to attack of not. But this generally gives you more idea into your opponent's mix of cards and what to prepare for. It's interesting providing that "Faction" information is USEFUL. And for that to be true, I would need to adopt a "style" for each Faction and knowing what mixes are better outcomes.

C> "Perfect": This is the least attractive option for me (personally). Granted it involves NO LUCK. You can see what cards a player holds and you can decide who you want to attack. The problem I see with this is that TOO MUCH information is made available. Whereas A> and B> offer only a limited view into your opponent's cards. You don't need to declare an attack because you would choose to do battles you ONLY WIN. In a way I find this BORING. Much like Magic, if you don't have Instants or Sorcery or Enchantments to alter the outcome of a battle, everything is purely deterministic ... In my opinion, the least favorable option.

Those are just some INSIGHTs, I'm sure there are probably other PROs or CONs to consider too.

Feel free to Comment/Give Feedback/Ask Questions...

Cheers!

Fri
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Try all three

If you made the cards with B backs and C fronts, you could obviously test those formats. You could also sleeve these cards and test the A format. Then you could evaluate what works best for your game.

Als you shod consider that if you are still using your card connectivity idea, players with good memories will be able to determine the card or at least make a good guess as to what it is. This is even easier to do in format B.

questccg
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That's smart, thanks

Wow ... I love how you've found a way to "design" for ALL THREE (3) options! That's really COOL!!!

However yes, I am still contemplating the "connectivity" idea too ... not 100% like the sample but something similar is in the works.

And that complicates the testing of "A>" since I can't just put a sleeve over the connectivity...

But otherwise your idea is very brilliant.

I'm not like other people who HATE "randomness" and prefer "determinism" ... but at the same time, implementing A> and B> is not possible (at the same time).

I have nine (9) Factions to contend with... Defining a "style of play" for each one is going to be very difficult. Sure if I had maybe "3" Factions, I could devise something. "5" is starting to get to the upper limit (as seen in Magic) and well "9" is just plain ridiculous.

I'd have to think about it some more... B> sounds more and more difficult to do. Especially if "Partial" information is to be actually USEFUL...

questccg
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The "Bluff"

With Options A> and B>, there is the possibility of setting up a "Bluff". And IF an "aborted" skirmish results in the player being allowed to "knock" again but to another card... This means you can get a better feel for the cards played by your opponent.

Option C> means no "bluffing". With "Perfect" Information, it's all about determinism and the ability to play additional cards to alter the outcome. And the game has a limited set of these cards - but that's not the "core" of the game.

So the idea when you "knock" is to reveal part of your opponent's strengths or weaknesses. And if the option is "knock" once + "skirmishh" once or "knock" twice (sort of like surveying) ... the "Bluff" is an excellent way to try to induce the opponent into error.

The thinking is something like this:

"Because Player #1 did not attack my Card A must mean that he could not successfully skirmish with my card to defeat it." "Therefore I am going to knock on it... (thinking he has won the skirmish)"...

So "bluffing" could be an element of play with Options A> and B>. C> reveals all information making it the least attractive option at this moment...

questccg
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Great suggestion

Fri wrote:
If you made the cards with B backs and C fronts, you could obviously test those formats. You could also sleeve these cards and test the A format. Then you could evaluate what works best for your game...

Although what I could simply do is print an additional "paper" for "A" connectivity. It would still require an additional STEP ... just the additional printing/cutting of card backs!

Maybe I can "test" all three (3) options and then remove whichever is the least appealing and move on with two (2) choices and see which ones is the dominant system.

I take it back -- testing all three (3) is possible... Even with universal "connectivity" Just means adding a "back" card which is custom but revealing no card information (same color/logo) only connectivity...

Thanks for that wonderful suggestion. I think it will be possible to test all three (3) and see what works best.

Cheers!

questccg
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Good point

Mosker wrote:
Would other features demand these cards be the same size? Thinking about setup and break-down time...

All cards same size (standard Poker deck). But thinking something about Option B> (as you were thinking...) is that when a player plays a card... The opponent can get an "Ah-hah" moment... Like: "So he played a 'Blue' card down..."

This gives the brain the opportunity to STRATEGIZE MORE!

Although this information is not 100% revealing, it gives MORE information if said card backs are all the same and there is NO information.

The only point is HOW RELEVANT said information is... It could at times be misleading (which is fair too...) and sometimes the player can err in judgement (thinking the card will play a certain way -- which is the case most of the time).

Wonderful comments ... has me thinking more about what else is relevant to this "interesting" question!

questccg
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Another aspect...

Mosker wrote:
Would other features demand these cards be the same size? Thinking about setup and break-down time...

I was thinking about making the cards SQUARE (2.5" x 2.5")... The problem with this is that it doesn't allow for an "ability" to be described on some of the cards.

Sure it makes for the game to go from two (2) player Duel, to a three (3) or four (4) player game (since there are four positions available on the playing surface)...

IDK - Yet. To be honest... Another question concerning the "design"...

Note: It would be possible, but it would reduce some of the "artwork" from the cards. Which means a "slight" compromise. I have some homemade samples that size for another design and it works -- but it's a bit "tight" on space.

I guess the question is do I want to design a "duel" or "multiplayer" game??? Team play could be interesting (2 vs. 2) -- that could set up some interesting dynamics.

Depends largely on the "Card Effects"... If they can be less "verbose" then maybe 2.5" Square Cards could be possible.

FrankM
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Connectivity?

"Connectivity" information on the card back might give away too much information, but otherwise I like the idea of some kind of faction or broad type indicated on the back.

MtG leaks similar information based on the lands one plays.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is why is the information imperfect? Are you seeing the fighter from a distance? This can help guide what should or should not be revealed on the back.

If appropriate, one of those cards played from the hand can be a shroud that one places back-to-back with a warrior to be deployed... the shroud hides the warrior's card-back information, but obviously using a shroud means you've burned the opportunity to have some other card in your hand.

X3M
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The way how you described it

Option A is option C after the first attack.

I don't know how much concequences attacking can have. But it is like scouting! And that is a valid strategy.

After combat, you know what your opponent has for that one card. And you could put in the rules that the card will remain "explored" for the players with bad memory.

pelle
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Hints on the back of some or

Hints on the back of some or all cards sound like a good idea long as not too much is given away (ie there are still many cards with identical backs).

Hidden information obviously works much better if you can bluff. If I choose what cards to play in front of me I must consider that some combos might be too obvious when my opppnent see the back of the cards, so they can guess that one is most likely my weak support card and decide to arrack it. I might consider to bluff by choosing a set of cards that is weaker, but looks the same on the backs, but the card that would be the support is now my main tank and will easily soak up the attack my opponent hoped would hit that weak support.

Masacroso
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Well, personally I would

Well, personally I would prefer partial information or, depending on the structure of the game, hidden information.

In any case I avoid completely perfect information games because this make any game a computational game, and I dont like this.

Tim Edwards
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I'm a big fan of partial

I'm a big fan of partial information on principle. It seems to be the best background against which genuine strategy can emerge. All warfare, as the man once said, is based on deception. Partial information provides opportunities for various forms of deception.

For me, the question would only be *which* partial information and how it is revealed. Different card backs is one way. Depending on how your game works, even your Hidden Info idea might become Partial Info if cards can be reused (I learn what you've got - just not where it is, etc). Also, the positioning of cards on the table might be information in itself. E.g. If more significance were to be given to the 1st card in a row of cards, you might be able to make assumptions about that card (and conversely bluff/ surprise your opponent by subverting those assumptions, etc.)

It might work well to combine your different-backs idea with other 'clues' as to card content. Then you could have a game with lots of deception.

I agree that this is an interesting question. For me, it's probably the most central question in any game design (certainly my current one)- HOW to create interesting partial information that can be used - and subverted deceptively.

CanucKnight
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Complexity budget

I'm sure you've heard the analogy before of games having a certain "budget" (it can only have so many rules/mechanics before it's too complex/"over budget")

Hidden information (in my opinion) is really just a "deduction mechanism," so the question is how much is going on with your game outside of remembering/discovering cards. The less information the player has, ther longer it'll take them to decide what to do on their turn. Is battling the sole focus of the game? Without looking at the rest of your game/playtesting it, I'd be inclined to pick B.

questccg
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Pretty simple too!

CanucKnight wrote:
...Hidden information (in my opinion) is really just a "deduction mechanism," so the question is how much is going on with your game outside of remembering/discovering cards.

Well aside from playing one (1) card from your hand onto the table and drawing one (1) card per turn, the "knock"-ing + skirmishes is the rest. There are three (3) distinct ways to "skirmish"/do battle and it is all based on three (3) stats per "Monster".

One attack is around simply "Battling" (or the desire to battle, crush, pulverize, etc.), I call it "Bloodlust" and it is how much a "Monster" craves Battle. Battles using this stat follow a simple War-mechanic where the higher value wins the skirmish. In these battle the VICTOR claims the opposing "Monster" card as an added bonus (at the end of the game). A special marker is used to indicate a victory.

The second attack is around "Food" (or the desire to feast on food), I call it "Hunger" and it is how much a "Monster" savors Food. Battles for Food are a numerical comparison: Your hunger - Your opponents > 0, then that is the amount of CARDS YOU can draw from YOUR deck (and place into your hand). This expands your hand and is a way to pickup more cards and have more monsters to compete within the Keep.

The last attack is for "Treasure" (or the desire to have mountain-fulls of gold and gems), I call it "Greed" and it is how much a "Monster" prizes Treasure. Battles for Treasure work in the opposite way of Food: Your Treasure - Your opponent's < 0, then that is the amount of CARDS your OPPONENT must discard from his deck (and place into his discard). This is a way of hindering your opponent... Those who are too greedy ... well you know what I mean.

CanucKnight wrote:
Without looking at the rest of your game/playtesting it, I'd be inclined to pick B.

All this works with each player's "Lord of the Keep" card which allows you to keep track of your goals (skirmishes) required to win the game. Each Lord has different goals and plays slightly differently. There are nine (9) Lords...

Yeah "B" seems to be the most favorable choice. Just because I think it messes with the players having some clue as to what cards are on the table. There is also the memory component, it might be easier to remember a card of a certain "Faction" as opposed to memorizing the card and position with all same card backs...

pelle
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The downside of marked backs

The downside of marked backs is that it also leaks information about the top card in any shuffled deck or about the cards a player may have in their hand. Well, more a side-effect to consider than necessarily a downside.

I am fine with A as long as there are other clues, probably from card positions or the timing of when my opponent decided to play them, or maybe from adjacent cards that are face up, so that it is possible to guess what the cards are (and enable the other player to bluff).

FrankM
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Aw, chute

pelle wrote:
The downside of marked backs is that it also leaks information about the top card in any shuffled deck or about the cards a player may have in their hand. Well, more a side-effect to consider than necessarily a downside.

This can be mitigated somewhat if the card-back info is just a medallion in the middle of the card-back, so that all of the cards in a player's hand look the same to an opponent. I could envision some kind of lid to keep on top of the face-down deck, but it'd require some serious dexterity (or trusting the opponent to look away) to make it actually work. An honest-to-goodness card chute for each player would be more appropriate, but it would be a custom component because even card chutes weren't originally designed to hid the card-backs.

questccg
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Partial information is ... well "partial", no?

The question boils down to this: if your opponent knows what "Races" you have in your hand, that is ONLY "partial information". He doesn't know the "Class" nor does he know exactly what card it is.

So if I go with an option like "B>", well then it seems logical to simply let the cards be "as-is" on the top of your deck and in your hand. It collectively part of the "information" that is not 100% secret, nor 100% revealed. It's somewhere in between.

If I decide to go with option "B>", well I'm not expecting players to all be paranoid about keeping their cards as "secret" as possible. It's a game and the focus is on "FUN". Admittedly this is somewhat "subjective", it means that all is not won or lost by guessing a card or strategy correctly. It's just part of the "augmented" strategy of the game.

Cheers mates!

FrankM
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FUN!

questccg wrote:
I'm not expecting players to all be paranoid about keeping their cards as "secret" as possible. It's a game and the focus is on "FUN".

This is the same genre where people would rip up a Chaos Orb into confetti and sprinkle it all over their opponent's cards.

Though personally I think viewing card-backs on the deck is not worth mitigating, a medallion-style of showing the information would semi-automatically obscure the hidden information for cards in hand.

questccg
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Hmm... Not sure about that

FrankM wrote:
...This is the same genre where people would rip up a Chaos Orb into confetti and sprinkle it all over their opponent's cards...

Was that a thing??? One of the aspects in the game is this "Trading" mechanic. If you "knock" a card, and you have four (4) cards around it... Your opponent doesn't know which card you plan to attack with. But if one of the choices is to "Battle" because of "Bloodlust", IF you win you capture the opponent's "Monster" card.

And that's a thing in my game. Capturing cards is something real ... and it is inspired by TRUE "Trading". Because each player has different goals, you may need to capture 5 cards and I may need to only capture 4.

The idea at the end of a game, is the "tear-down" and during this phase, you can NEGOTIATE the "Trading" of cards. So you may trade cards for the return of some of the opponent's "hostages" (so-to-speak) and the game ENCOURAGES "Trading".

That's one of the important aspects. The game is called: "Monster Keep" and sometimes you get to "KEEP" the Monsters.

FrankM wrote:
Though personally I think viewing card-backs on the deck is not worth mitigating, a medallion-style of showing the information would semi-automatically obscure the hidden information for cards in hand.

I was actually going to color-code the card backs. Again this ENHANCES the memorization aspect... I think all the same card back with different connections would be harder to memorize than say a "Blue" card at such a "position"...

But we'll see how the prototype goes. I'm 50% into my "Orcs" deck.

Cheers!

FrankM
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Not to derail...

questccg wrote:
FrankM wrote:
...This is the same genre where people would rip up a Chaos Orb into confetti and sprinkle it all over their opponent's cards...

Was that a thing???


Quote:
If Chaos Orb is on the battlefield, flip Chaos Orb onto the battlefield from a height of at least one foot. If Chaos Orb turns over completely at least once during the flip, destroy all nontoken permanents it touches. Then destroy Chaos Orb.

The confetti strategy was one reason the card got banned from all tournaments. Of course, the novelty of it made the secondary-market cost of that card skyrocket, and any moron who actually tore up his Chaos Orb was kicking himself :)

BTW, if you want to make the card back really obvious, that's fine. I was just making a suggestion if you wanted to reveal the partial info ONLY after a card is played.

Fri
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testing suggestion

If you are still concerned with testing all three options with connectivity, I have another possible solution for you. You could make the cards with A format backs and C format fronts. To test B you could sleeve the cards clear sleeves and add a strip of paper of the appropriate color or faction name or both.

questccg
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Thanks for your input

I really, REALLY doubt that I will be "exploring" option "C>" (Perfect Information). For one, it makes the game "far too easy"! All you need to do is look at the table and decide where you are to place your "Monster" for an EASY "victory"! To me, that sounds too ridiculous.

While option "A>" (Hidden Information) is interesting... It really makes the game about "memorization" and being able to remember who you can attack and how. While this is interesting... I believe it is "too hard", the opposite of "C>". Where Perfect Information is too easy, Hidden Information is too HARD.

And so that leaves me with option "B>" (Partial Information). I like it for several reasons:

  • Can help in remembering card stats based on card back and location.
  • There still can be bluffing (which is not possible in "C>").
  • Added layer of strategy can lead to misinformation.
  • In-between solution: moderate in difficulty.

If anyone has any additional comments / suggestions / feedback / questions please do not hesitate to add them.

Cheers!

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