# Probability question...

60 replies [Last post]
sedjtroll
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Probability question...

Zzzzz wrote:
there is no guarantee that the 5 rolls of a d4 will produce a sequence that contains a 4. Mind you this is an incorrect assumption, thus my confusion.

Um... no it's not (an incorrect assumption). There IS no guarantee that 5 rolls will produce a 4. In fact, In fact there's a 24% chance you won't get a 4 in 5 rolls of a d4.

Quote:
WOW, who would have guessed such a large thread on something that is actually very trival!
Indeed.

Oracle
Offline
Joined: 06/22/2010
Probability question...

Zzzzz wrote:
WOW, who would have guessed such a large thread on something that is actually very trival!

I didn't want to call the subject trivial because it might be insulting to less mathematically members.

Anyway, I kind of enjoyed the chance to exercise my math skills. I don't get to very often. I even took it further and answered "If you roll Nd4, what are the odds of getting at least 2 4's" just for fun.

Zzzzz wrote:
I guess I am still confused about this whole area.... But it has been a long time since I used my mathematics skills (BS in math, but the BS in computer science won out and I now program at a place that needs little if any mathematics).

I have a B.Math in CS. I find that all but the most trivial programming is mostly Math, but then my definition of Math includes all of CS like algorithms and data structures.

Having seprate degrees in Math and CS doesn't make sense to me. How did you cover numerical analysis - splines, machine epsilon, DCTs, etc? Just going over my 3rd and 4th year courses, they're all mostly math.

Out of curiosity, what do you think of www.itallconnects.com ? Since you're a programmer, what sort of algorithm would you use to find the paths through several connections between items?

Scurra
Offline
Joined: 09/11/2008
Probability question...

sedjtroll wrote:
(p.s. the equations in this thread have all been either equivalent or wrong)

This may be true. But those of us who have trouble adding 2 to 2 to get 5 can't tell which are which.

[edit: wait a second. I got something wrong there, didn't I? :-))]

Anonymous
Probability question...

I'm glad to know that there are thos on this board with the math skills and the willingness to help those of us who are probability challenged!

Zzzzz
Offline
Joined: 06/20/2008
Probability question...

Oracle wrote:
Zzzzz wrote:
WOW, who would have guessed such a large thread on something that is actually very trival!

I didn't want to call the subject trivial because it might be insulting to less mathematically members.

Anyway, I kind of enjoyed the chance to exercise my math skills. I don't get to very often. I even took it further and answered "If you roll Nd4, what are the odds of getting at least 2 4's" just for fun.

Ok I will agree that it is not "trivial" and I used trivial with respect to my years of taking Math for my BS. And that fact that I have not used "math" skills in a long time, proves through the various posts that the topic is not trivial (though about 10 years ago, it would be trivial for me if my math was fresh in my mind).

Quote:

I have a B.Math in CS. I find that all but the most trivial programming is mostly Math, but then my definition of Math includes all of CS like algorithms and data structures.

Having seprate degrees in Math and CS doesn't make sense to me. How did you cover numerical analysis - splines, machine epsilon, DCTs, etc? Just going over my 3rd and 4th year courses, they're all mostly math.

Out of curiosity, what do you think of www.itallconnects.com ? Since you're a programmer, what sort of algorithm would you use to find the paths through several connections between items?

Why does having two seperate degress not make sense? I wanted to learn higher level mathematics, like abstract algebra and theory of geometry, advanced calc, linear algebra(which deals with numerical analysis), set theory and logic (and the like) so I took additional math classes that would let me obtain my BS in math. keep in mind that just having a cs degree, does not cover all the useful mathematics that one could use in development. So I decided to take higher mathematics in the hopes to use it for graphics(and similar developement), but I am currently working on driver applications, which use basic algorithms (or even worse have a predefined framework as prodivided by MS, Apple, etc, thus no special math skills needed).

Being the odd programmer I am, I might start with Djikstra's algorithm (or a variation) for what is being done on www.itallconnects.com. Though I will say there are other options and since we did not state a requirement as to how the data is store, my choice is purely based on finding the shorest(quickest) path/connect from source A to B. Depending on the method of storage, there is most likely an optimization or alternate algorithm that might fit better for finding the connections.

Caparica
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2008
Probability question...

Quote:

I have a B.Math in CS. I find that all but the most trivial programming is mostly Math, but then my definition of Math includes all of CS like algorithms and data structures.

Having separate degrees in Math and CS doesn't make sense to me. How did you cover numerical analysis - splines, machine epsilon, DCTs, etc? Just going over my 3rd and 4th year courses, they're all mostly math.

Out of curiosity, what do you think of www.itallconnects.com ? Since you're a programmer, what sort of algorithm would you use to find the paths through several connections between items?

Interesting site, the connections between number and green:

Okay, I see how number connects to green:
Number connects to Math Numbers are used in math
Math connects to Mathematics Math is short for Mathematics
Mathematics connects to Matrix A matrix is a table of numbers on which mathematical operations are performed
Matrix connects to Movie The Matrix is a great movie
Movie connects to Play a play is like a movie, only live
Play connects to Game People play games
Game connects to Clue Clue is a classic board game (and now a new card game)
Clue connects to Green Mr. Green was a character in the game Clue

Fos
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Probability question...

Zzzzz wrote:
WOW, who would have guessed such a large thread on something that is actually very trival!

I have a feeling this thread would have been even longer if the probability question was "Let's Make a Deal," a situation where all intuition tells you the correct answer is wrong, to the point they were able to have it on a game show.

sedjtroll
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Probability question...

Fos wrote:
I have a feeling this thread would have been even longer if the probability question was "Let's Make a Deal," a situation where all intuition tells you the correct answer is wrong, to the point they were able to have it on a game show.

Right, like when you choose between 3 possibilities (one of which is right), then one of the incorrect choices is removed and you are allowed to switch or not... do you switch?

And even though it seems like switching should give you the same chance of winning as keeping the choice you initially made, or that it should be a 50-50 at that point, in fact you should switch because switching gives you a 2/3 chace to win.

Did I get that right? Here's the logic:
Say your 3 options are 1, 2, and 3, and you don't know it but #1 is the winning option.

First off, you have a 1 in 3 chance of randomly choosing the winner. So if you don't switch your chances of winning should be 1 in 3, right? Now, if they remove an incorrect option that you didn't choose...

If you chose #1, then they remove 2 or 3. If you switch you lose.
If you chose #2, then they remove 3. If you switch you win.
If you chose #3, then they remove #2. If you switch you win.

So 2 times out of 3 you win if you switch while 1 time out of three you win if you don't switch.

- Seth

Oracle
Offline
Joined: 06/22/2010
Probability question...

Zzzzz wrote:
Ok I will agree that it is not "trivial" and I used trivial with respect to my years of taking Math for my BS. And that fact that I have not used "math" skills in a long time, proves through the various posts that the topic is not trivial (though about 10 years ago, it would be trivial for me if my math was fresh in my mind).

It is trivial for me now. I just meant there are people who consider 2+2 non trivial.

As far as your skills getting stale, do you still remember how to do related rates in Calculus? That's the first thing I noticed I forgot, which scared me quite a bit. I bought a Schaum's outline of Calculus pretty quickly and refreshed myself on it.

Zzzzz wrote:
Why does having two seperate degress not make sense? I wanted to learn higher level mathematics, like abstract algebra and theory of geometry, advanced calc, linear algebra(which deals with numerical analysis), set theory and logic (and the like) so I took additional math classes that would let me obtain my BS in math. keep in mind that just having a cs degree, does not cover all the useful mathematics that one could use in development. So I decided to take higher mathematics in the hopes to use it for graphics(and similar developement), but I am currently working on driver applications, which use basic algorithms (or even worse have a predefined framework as prodivided by MS, Apple, etc, thus no special math skills needed).

I wasn't saying it doesn't make sense for you to have taken the two degrees, I mean I don't understand how the school can separate CS from math to offer a separate CS degree.

Please don't take offense at my questions. It's very clear that your math and computer skills are quite strong. It's just that the way CS was taught at my school you can't have CS without having the higher mathematics, so I want to understand how you can. On some level you seem to agree with me since you did take both degrees.

You said you studied numerical analysis as a part of Math. How about formal languages; that's more clearly CS and just as heavy on math. How can you cover P=NP formally without heavy doses of set theory?

Zzzzz wrote:
Being the odd programmer I am, I might start with Djikstra's algorithm (or a variation) for what is being done on www.itallconnects.com. Though I will say there are other options and since we did not state a requirement as to how the data is store, my choice is purely based on finding the shorest(quickest) path/connect from source A to B. Depending on the method of storage, there is most likely an optimization or alternate algorithm that might fit better for finding the connections.

The site does use Dijkstra's algorithm, which is a part of Graph Theory, not CS. If you had taken CS without Math, would you have been able to answer that (I'm trying to see where the line is drawn between the two)?

Zzzzz
Offline
Joined: 06/20/2008
Probability question...

Oracle wrote:

As far as your skills getting stale, do you still remember how to do related rates in Calculus? That's the first thing I noticed I forgot, which scared me quite a bit. I bought a Schaum's outline of Calculus pretty quickly and refreshed myself on it.

I am starting to forget everything, I am in the process of reading a few refresher books and website. But man do I hate the fact that I HAVE to do this to remember it! At one point I knew my linear algebra to the point that I could quote rules and theories (even what pages they where on in the book!).

Oracle wrote:

I wasn't saying it doesn't make sense for you to have taken the two degrees, I mean I don't understand how the school can separate CS from math to offer a separate CS degree.

Well there are areas in CS, that do not need "hard core" mathematics. But, the program I was in also required various mathematics and as a result I chose to expand that math knowledge into a second degree.

Oracle wrote:

Please don't take offense at my questions. It's very clear that your math and computer skills are quite strong. It's just that the way CS was taught at my school you can't have CS without having the higher mathematics, so I want to understand how you can. On some level you seem to agree with me since you did take both degrees.

No offense taken, and I am sorry if I sounded offended. As for strength of skills, CS skills are WAY stronger right now then math. But as always you need to keep using, or you start losing! (well at least that is how it goes for me, sort of sucks! :)

Oracle wrote:

You said you studied numerical analysis as a part of Math. How about formal languages; that's more clearly CS and just as heavy on math. How can you cover P=NP formally without heavy doses of set theory?

Ah... nope I did take a large about of set theory and logic (I did mention that in my previous post). But there was also classes dedicated to algorithms and logic in the CS department.

Oracle wrote:

The site does use Dijkstra's algorithm, which is a part of Graph Theory, not CS. If you had taken CS without Math, would you have been able to answer that (I'm trying to see where the line is drawn between the two)?

Actually as I stated about, I had a CS class dedicated to algorithms, which included Dijkstra's algorithm. But I did deal with it in other math classes also.....

As for the line, I think the line changes as a result of how each college implements their program for CS and Mathematics. I for one was lucky(?!?!) to have schools that were math heavy, as a result the to departments worked hand in hand. As a result of that, I was very interested in Mathematics and continued that path along with CS. To a deeper requirement then needed by most CS majors (for example I took a Theory In Geometry class that had us start with 2 axioms and then we used just these two axioms to prove the rest of the geometry world into existence. Not sure most CS people need this type of Mathematics course, just to state one example of how the lines differ).

Fos
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Probability question...

sedjtroll wrote:
And even though it seems like switching should give you the same chance of winning as keeping the choice you initially made, or that it should be a 50-50 at that point, in fact you should switch because switching gives you a 2/3 chace to win.

Right in one. On the forum where this problem was originally raised, the discussion went for 5 pages, I had to write a program to show it worked empirically over 10,000 runs, and then I had to go so far as post the code, heavily commented, just to prove I did it right. Fun times.

It's an interesting choice for players, though I'm not sure how feasibly it could be integrated into a board game. Cons are analysis paralysis and a feeling of "solving the game." These inherent problems (which work to an advantage in a game show) might out weigh any advantage it has (namely, it's an interesting mind-twist).

However, if probability-related choices like this were to arise dynamically, where each situation seemed markedly different from the last (in other words, if only the core concept behind this problem was implemented, and not the game choice itself), and possibly if an element of time was overlaid to limit AP, it could work. Possibly.

GeminiWeb
Offline
Joined: 07/31/2008
Probability question...

Thank you all.

I spend 4 years at univeristy (1986-1990) getting first class honours in a degree in statistics. I then work for the Australian Bureau of Statistics working on survey sampling theory, eventually running at one time its statistical consultancy unit, along with having had a short stint as a statistician for a market research company ...

AND YOU ALL DECIDE TO HAVE THIS DISCUSSION ON THE TWO DAYS I'M OFF SICK !!!

Aaargggh!

:?

Oracle
Offline
Joined: 06/22/2010
Probability question...

Fos wrote:
Right in one. On the forum where this problem was originally raised, the discussion went for 5 pages, I had to write a program to show it worked empirically over 10,000 runs, and then I had to go so far as post the code, heavily commented, just to prove I did it right. Fun times.

The problem has been around for far longer than the formu where it was "originally raised" has existed.

Also, that code sure wouldn't be enough to convince me. It's only pseudo-random, how do you prove its not the result of a strange quirkin your random number generator?

How about this example. I have 3 playing cards, the ace of spades and the red kings. I shuffle them, and you want to pick the ace. You pick one at random without looking at it. I look at the other two, pick one that's not the ace and show it to you. Then I offer you the chance to trade yours for the one I didn't show you. Do you trade? This is exactly the same as the quesiton given.

Now let's modify it a bit. We use the entire deck. You're still trying to get the Ace of spades. You draw one card without looking at it, I look at the remaining 51 cards and show you 50 that are not the ace of spade. I now give you a chance to trade your card for that 51st card. Do you trade?

How about if there's a million cards in the deck?

Jason

sedjtroll
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Probability question...

Oracle wrote:

How about this example. I have 3 playing cards, the ace of spades and the red kings. I shuffle them, and you want to pick the ace. You pick one at random without looking at it. I look at the other two, pick one that's not the ace and show it to you. Then I offer you the chance to trade yours for the one I didn't show you. Do you trade? This is exactly the same as the quesiton given.

Quote:
Now let's modify it a bit. We use the entire deck. You're still trying to get the Ace of spades. You draw one card without looking at it, I look at the remaining 51 cards and show you 50 that are not the ace of spade. I now give you a chance to trade your card for that 51st card. Do you trade?

This is interesting. It must be the same though, for the same reason. As long as you remove all but one of the remaining cards then I think you make out ahead X-1 out of X times.

Quote:
How about if there's a million cards in the deck?
AS long as you remove all but one of the remaining I'm pretty sure it's the same. You should switch.

Now, if there are 3 red Kings and 1 Ace of spades, you choose one (looking for the Ace) and then I remove *1* of the remaining Kings... NOW what do you do? Stay or pick one of the remaining 2? Off the top of my head I think the difference is 25% chance to win if keeping your original choice and 50% of 75% if you switch. That's 37.5%... I guess that means you still ought to switch.

- Seth

GeminiWeb
Offline
Joined: 07/31/2008
Probability question...

For those interested (probably no-one), many of the raditional questions about probability comes down to Bayes Theory:

Pr(A|B)=Pr(A and B)/Pr(B)

In other words, the probability that A happens, given B happens, is the probability of them both happening, divided by the probability that B happens.

In the case where A and B are independent, the probability of them both happening is the product of their respective individual probabilities, such that

Pr(A|B)=Pr(A and B)/Pr(B)
=Pr(A).Pr(B)/Pr(B)
= Pr(A)

In other words, the probability of A occuring has nothing to do whether B has already occurred.

One example in in tossing a coin.

Thus , if A and B are independent, we can say that the probability of getting a head on the second toss does not depend on whether the first coin toss was a head or not.

However, if we were trying to predict the probability of a head based on past events because we thought the coin might be biased for example, then it is reasonable to have your estimate of probability based on thoe results of previous coin tosses.

I'll stop there before you all fall asleep ... (oops ... too late!)

Fos
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Probability question...

Oracle wrote:
The problem has been around for far longer than the formu where it was "originally raised" has existed.

Sorry, I mistyped. What I meant to say was, "the forum where I originally raised this question," in relation to me raising it here. Yes, of course it's been around longer than a year ago. It really hit it big the mainstream about 10 years ago, I believe, with the Ask Marylin column.

Quote:
Also, that code sure wouldn't be enough to convince me. It's only pseudo-random, how do you prove its not the result of a strange quirkin your random number generator?

No, an empirical program can't convince as much as a proof, but how probable do you really think it is that one random value (which door has the prize?) is so quirky that it skews the results so much that after 10,000 iterations it shows 66%, not 50%? You can't be certain, but at what point does it become "reasonably certain?" Especially if it also displays how often it picked each door.

Zzzzz
Offline
Joined: 06/20/2008
Probability question...

Wow... I really want to play devils advocate, just to keep this topic and thread going. But I will withhold my silly desire ;) before I annoy everyone!

Offline
Joined: 04/23/2013
Probability question...

sedjtroll wrote:
Oracle wrote:

How about this example. I have 3 playing cards, the ace of spades and the red kings. I shuffle them, and you want to pick the ace. You pick one at random without looking at it. I look at the other two, pick one that's not the ace and show it to you. Then I offer you the chance to trade yours for the one I didn't show you. Do you trade? This is exactly the same as the quesiton given.

Ok this makes sense to me now.. It's no longer a situation of having a 1/3 chance of picking the right card, since one of the incorrect cards WILL BE removed.

So originally you have a 1/3 chance, but then you are presented with two options, which SEEMS to gives you a 1/2 chance. In reality, the probability of the two cards you didn't choose containing the correct card is 2/3 or 66 percent. Since the incorrect one of those is taken away, it's probability is STILL 66 percent. Cool!

Neat logic problem.
-Darke

Johan
Offline
Joined: 10/05/2008
Probability question...

Hello

When the problem with the three cards was presented to me (several years ago), I did not get it, so problem was presented like this instead.

You have a normal deck of cards. Pick one randomly without looking at it. Now let someone remove 50 cards (leaving one) from the reaming deck. He can not remove the Ace of Spades. Who would not trade? This is the same thing.

/Johan

Scurra
Offline
Joined: 09/11/2008
Not statistics any more

Zzzzz wrote:
Wow... I really want to play devils advocate, just to keep this topic and thread going. But I will withhold my silly desire ;) before I annoy everyone!

Curses! Just when I thought this forum might turn into every other forum out there, someone makes a sensible decision. :-)

p.s. I think this "trick question" does have more than a bit in common with games design however, but not from a statistics pov. Instead it relates to the whole concept of "rules holes". The basic issue with the original Let's Make a Deal question was largely to do with the way it was worded - the trick to the puzzle was in the implied information in it, which is lost if you try to clarify it too much.
In this case, the issue becomes: Should you specifically state in the rules that a player can or cannot do something, or should you let players discover it for themselves and then exploit it? Some people feel strongly that you shouldn't include these sort of "holes" (hi. Seth ;-), but I'm not at all convinced.

zaiga
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Re: Not statistics any more

Scurra wrote:
In this case, the issue becomes: Should you specifically state in the rules that a player can or cannot do something, or should you let players discover it for themselves and then exploit it? Some people feel strongly that you shouldn't include these sort of "holes" (hi. Seth ;-), but I'm not at all convinced.

Sounds like something that could turn into an interesting discussion, but I'm not entirely clear on what you mean. Could you clarify your statement and perhaps give a few examples of the "holes" you are talking baout?

- René Wiersma

Zzzzz
Offline
Joined: 06/20/2008
Re: Not statistics any more

Scurra wrote:
Zzzzz wrote:
Wow... I really want to play devils advocate, just to keep this topic and thread going. But I will withhold my silly desire ;) before I annoy everyone!

Curses! Just when I thought this forum might turn into every other forum out there, someone makes a sensible decision. :-)

Well we believe in higher standards here at the BGDF, so I try to help promote it! Well at least once in a while ;)

zaiga wrote:

Sounds like something that could turn into an interesting discussion, but I'm not entirely clear on what you mean. Could you clarify your statement and perhaps give a few examples of the "holes" you are talking baout?

If I understand Scurra, I think I have a great example of this. In the RPG system that I helped co-develop. We allow the priest class to create a relic (using the priest class skill called Relics, whic allows a priest to store spells in a relic). This same skill allows the priest to use that relic at a later time, releasing a spell, as if it was cast.

But we intentionally left a "hole" in the system when involving multi-class PCs. If you create a Theurgist (wizard/priest, has both wizard and priest class skills, that includes Wizard and Priest spells, as well as the Relics class skill) you can use this priest class skill of Relics to store a wizard spell in the relic (since you can cast wizard spells as a Theurgist). This opens a "hole" since, a relic can then be used by any priest. Thus any priest could take a Theurgist created Relic and release wizard spells from the relic. We decided not to restrict this, because it added a little flavor and a twist to the game. And decide, if the Theurgist has these class skills why should we limit the Theurgist.

At the same time, we did not highlight this "hole" in the rule books. So if a player happens to discover this "option", it is valid, and they could use it to their advantage.

zaiga
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Probability question...

Good example Zzzzz, and an interesting case. I agree with you that in this case it is not really necessary to patch the hole, because it doesn't break the game and even adds some flavour. I can see why it might be cool to store wizards spells in a relic.

On the other hand, I think you must be very careful with how you word this in the rules. One player might argue that his Theurgist is able to store wizard spells in a relic because the rules don't explicitly forbid it, but since this is not intuitive it could easily turn into a heated rules argument with other players arguing the opposite.

In this particular case I think you have to make a very clear distinction between "wizard spells" and "priest spells", and make clear that they both belong to the superclass of "spells". Some things might apply to all spells or only to a particular subclass of spells (i.e. "wizard spells" or "priest spells"). If you use that wording consistently throughout the rules, there isn't really a "bug", just an undocumented feature.

In other words:

Class "priest" can use "priest spell"
Class "priest" can put "spell" into relic
Class "priest" can release "spell" from relic

Class "wizard" can use "wizard spells"

Class "theurgist" can use "priest spell"
Class "theurgist" can use "wizard spell"
Class "theurgist" can put "spell" into relic
Class "theurgist" can release "spell" from relic

- René Wiersma

Zzzzz
Offline
Joined: 06/20/2008
Probability question...

zaiga wrote:
If you use that wording consistently throughout the rules, there isn't really a "bug", just an undocumented feature.

And this is what we attempted to do, have an undocumented feature.

And I will point out that creation of the rules for the RPG, was a minor task as compared to the work required for proofing and rewriting rules for consistency and balance.

The consistency, clarity and balance of game rules is always a large task in the design of any game!

Scurra
Offline
Joined: 09/11/2008
Probability question...

Yes, that's exactly the sort of thing I was talking about.
Here's one of my examples (although less extreme than that one!)
In All for One, players undertake missions, which basically involve "pick-up-and-deliver" tokens. In an earlier incarnation of the game, players had to commit to doing a particular mission by putting the card down in front of them (face-down, so no-one else knew what it was.) When they reached the destination, they revealed the mission and scored the points.
However, I had deliberately left a hole such that a player could arrive at their destination and only then declare a mission (which they then immediately completed, of course.) One of my playtesters picked up on this, and soon everyone was doing it (I should point out that I didn't choose to do it myself to see if it was picked up.)
Subsequent development has removed that element from the game now (you don't ever declare missions) so the issue doesn't arise any more, which is a somewhat drastic solution to the "problem" ;-)

sedjtroll
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Probability question...

Scurra wrote:
In All for One, players undertake missions... had to commit to doing a particular mission by putting the card down in front of them (face-down, so no-one else knew what it was.) When they reached the destination, they revealed the mission and scored the points.
However, I had deliberately left a hole such that a player could arrive at their destination and only then declare a mission (which they then immediately completed, of course.)

This is one example, and it's not the kind of thing I have a problem ith. When it comes to loopholes in the rules of a game what I don't like is when a player can use the loophole in order to do something the game system does not intend to do.

Your priest casting wizard spells example is a good one- I would probably call that degenerate if it were my game (because if it were my game part of the difference between being a priest and a wizard is the spells they can cast, and getting around that restriction would be degenerate- if you want to cast wizard spells you should choose a class that can cast wizard spells). This might not be a big deal if your relics can only be used once. But if a wizard/priest can stick a few different spells on a few different relics and then give them to his buddy so that his buddy gets all the benefits of both classes with none of the drawbacks of the wizard class, then in my opinion there's something wrong with that.

In ath All For One example, declaring a mission when at the destination and then completing it does not break the game at all. The intent of the mechanics are that you work on missions until they are complete, so working on one before you've put it down as a mission is just planning ahead. If the loophole allowed you to somehow skip an action, or do something out of order it would have been a bigger deal.

For example, in All For One there was a rule about abandoning an impossible mission. If a facedown mission (like Scurra described) was no longer possible, then you could remove it and replace it with another mission from your hand (after drawing a card). Then there was a scoring rule regarding the cards in your hand at the end. So at the end of any game I would put down inmpossible missions so I could immediately remove them, draw a card, and put a different mission down. Sometimes I was able to 'chain' impossible missions, and I could go from 0 extra points to 2 extra points at the last minute. Now- acquiring a mission was not intended to be a way to cycle through cards in your hand for batter scoring, so that's a "bad" loophole. In fact, I think the word "loophole" has a bad connotation to begin with, if it's not "bad" then as you say, it's not a loophole- it simply is.

Another example of a loophole ("bad") in All For One(since we're on the subject) was in the initial rules there were wounds and a 'Heal' action. The Heal action teleported the character to their home location, and it allowed people to take tokens with them. So a viable thing to do was sunvert the movement mechanic and instead get wounded and heal yourself to teleport across the board.

When playtesting, my friend said something that I don't think should ever be said when playing a game.. "I have to get all the way over there? It would be faster to die!"

See what I mean?

Trickydicky
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Probability question...

It seems to me that the only time a true loophole exists is when the designer did not intend on it being there. Any rules the designer purposefully leaves unfixed to allow players flexibility with their strategies isn't a loophole, its an intentional rule, or strategy.

I agree with Seth that if the loophole breaks the game it is bad and I can't see why a designer would purposefully leave one in. The loopholes that concern me as a designer are the ones that I didn't notice until playtesting, at which point someone proves that my rules seem to be very broken in one way or another.

This topic does lead me to an interesting game idea (not one I could develop probably), where one of the points of the game is to discover new strategies that exploit specific weak points in the rules. These weak points would have to be well hidden, and the strategies that could be derived there from would also have to be difficult to discover. I think such a game would be fun because it would let me as a strategist discover ways to use the rules to my advantage (something my AD&D friends don't like me doing in that game). A game like that could be interesting but I can't fathom developing it.

sedjtroll
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Probability question...

Trickydicky wrote:
It seems to me that the only time a true loophole exists is when the designer did not intend on it being there.

Right... by definition.

Quote:
This topic does lead me to an interesting game idea (not one I could develop probably), where one of the points of the game is to discover new strategies that exploit specific weak points in the rules.

They have that. It's called competetive Magic: The Gathering.

- Seth

Trickydicky
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Probability question...

Quote:
They have that. It's called competetive Magic: The Gathering.

That is true, and I do love a good game of Magic (though I haven't bought cards in a lon time). Would it be possible to create a game that gives as much flexibility but doesn't require the same amount of time, effort and MONEY as Magic? A board game that has flexible enough rules to allow players to delve into different strategies in their exploration of the rules.
Magic is successful at this because there are hundreds of variables in the different cards and they are constantly adding new cards and new rules (which in turn get rid of old cards and old rules). This creates a very flexible system where players can exploit, explore and strategize to their "pocket book's" content. Would the same need to be true for any game to have such flexibility and ever changing strategies?

Trickydicky
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Probability question...

I just thought about it and this is really off the topic of the thread. The last few posts can be removed or moved somewhere else if needed.

Sorry