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Problem with randomizing tiles

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pompoli
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Joined: 10/19/2008

I'm designing a game where there are tiles of different shapes and sizes that the players can buy. There is a selection of a few tiles that are available and when a player buys one, a new one is - or should be - randomly chosen to replace it.

The first problem I'm having is this: How to make it random when you can feel the shapes when drawing new tiles? My initial solution was to make it less random: The player who bought the tile gets to draw the replacement for it and can effectively choose the shape of the next tile. This quickly led to problem number two: As there is more information on the tiles than just shape, and only a few copies of each shape, it would be possible to memorize what symbols appear on which shapes and choose replacement tiles accordingly. I don't wish to have this kind of a memory advantage in the game, and also don't really want the players to be able to affect what symbols they are served.

My current solution is to pretend there is no problem, to have the players pick new tiles as randomly as they can. It is the best solution I could come up with, but I would gladly hear your thoughts on this.

(No, I can't make the tiles the same shape.)

mindspike
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Joined: 09/06/2011
Can you use a hopper?

I don't mean a fancy cable box. Are you able to put the tiles into a hopper that dispenses them one at a time?

Perhaps make them shake the tiles up while in the bag and then drop one through the opening without reaching into the bag.

If you make another player draw the tiles for the active player, you can add a bluffing element as people try to draw tiles they think the active player won't want.

disaac
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Joined: 02/26/2011
How about cards?

It's additional components, but could you use a deck of cards to select the tiles randomly? Each card could represent one of the tiles.

Cards and dice make great randomizers. Cards when you need a 1-1 pairing, and dice when you can use the same result multiple times.

pompoli
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Joined: 10/19/2008
Thanks

Thank you for your suggestions. =)

mindspike wrote:
Are you able to put the tiles into a hopper that dispenses them one at a time?

I don't know, to be honest. Sounds possible, in theory, so maybe.

mindspike wrote:
Perhaps make them shake the tiles up while in the bag and then drop one through the opening without reaching into the bag.

I tested this. Getting only one tile out of the bag was kind of difficult.

mindspike wrote:
If you make another player draw the tiles for the active player, you can add a bluffing element as people try to draw tiles they think the active player won't want.

This would again give advantage to players who have memorized the symbols on the tiles, and I don't want that.

disaac wrote:
It's additional components, but could you use a deck of cards to select the tiles randomly? Each card could represent one of the tiles.

I had actually thought of that... The additional components is one part of why I decided against it. But this would also add the extra hassle of finding the correct tile... Which isn't that bad, now that I think of it.

I think I'm going to keep my current solution, for now. It's easy to cheat (except people will notice if you spend a lot of time picking the tile) but it's also easy not to... I just need to make it clear in the rules that you are not allowed to choose the shape of the tile you're drawing. Also, if I ever add cards to the game for any reason, (doesn't look likely) I'll probably have pictures of the tiles on them, so they can be used for two purposes.

JewellGames
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Joined: 06/03/2012
This is by no means an

This is by no means an elegant solution but maybe will spark another idea for you:

Have a player quickly grab 3 tiles from bag. Then have them roll a 6 sided d3 and whatever is the result is the tile taken, other 2 put back in bag.

Corsaire
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Joined: 06/27/2013
Riffing off the dice roll

Riffing off the dice roll idea, why not just deal them out into six stacks as part of setup, then roll a die to figure out which stack to draw from. There will be some anticipation based on shapes and such, but limited control on selection. It may add a positive drama piece to that aspect without opening it to intentional or accidental cheating.

drunknmunky
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Just an obvious question: Do

Just an obvious question:
Do the tiles need to be different shapes?

Mainly, can the difference in shapes be shown on the tile art, or does it have to be in the shape itself? I just don't think a gimmicky tile shape should interfere with gameplay. If the tile shape is required such as, how the tiles interact demands different shapes, keep it. If the tiles just depict different shaped rooms, you can use one shape and just lay tiles next to each other.

If your using your tile shape as your lead gimmick/hook, saying that "there is no problem" is not the way to handle a problem. If your main hook doesn't play well, the rest of the game will be ignored. So please don't just ignore it. Now if you're asking this question before even testing the random aspect through playtesting, then you are asking this too early. Test it as is and then see if there are problems.

sideshow
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Joined: 05/20/2013
You could fix it by adding a

You could fix it by adding a new component to your game: a pair of tongs/tweezers.

To handle players pulling more than one tile at a time:

a) Try to get the tongs to only pick up 1 - this'd be pretty hard I think

b) Be lax, and allow the player to choose from the bundle they pull. Much easier to limit the tongs to only pick up around 3 tiles.

c) Penalise the player for picking more than 1. i.e. If you bring out more than one tile you miss your turn, or have to complete it without any tiles.

(a) and (b) become more viable with thicker tiles. Thicker tiles are nicer!

EDIT: actually, simple solution: colour/mark one prong. Whichever tile is touching the marked prong is the tile they get, the rest go back in the bag.

larienna
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Does it matter if they can

Does it matter if they can see the shape in advance?

In cleaopatra, there was a stack of deform tiles, but you always draw from the top of the stack and knew the tile you were goin to place. If the tile did not fit, you skipped to the next tile.

I had an idea for a tile laying dungeon crawler game where the rooms could have various detris style shapes. So one of my issue was how to make the tile drawing randomly.

If I use a bag, player could search for a shape, which makes me wonder if it really matters, because even if they do have the right shape they do not know what is on the tile.

saiyanslayer
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Joined: 10/08/2013
Cards?

Have you considered using a deck of card for drawing the tiles? Place a number on the tiles and once someone draws that card, have that tile picked out and placed.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Already suggested

saiyanslayer wrote:
Have you considered using a deck of card for drawing the tiles? Place a number on the tiles and once someone draws that card, have that tile picked out and placed.

You can check out disaac's response which is exactly the same idea: the use of cards.

disaac wrote:
It's additional components, but could you use a deck of cards to select the tiles randomly? Each card could represent one of the tiles.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
How about something different...

Instead of randomly drawing tiles from a bag or using cards to substitute, why don't you simply place 5 tiles (from the deck) into the centre of play. Then starting with Player 1, he chooses the FIRST tile. Play continues until all players have chosen their tile. Once the 5 tiles are exhausted, draw another 5 tiles to the middle of the play.

What this does is vary the ORDER of selection. So sometimes a Player has the BEST pick (FIRST) and sometimes a Player has the WORST pick (LAST).

Let me show you how this works with an example:

  • Okay, so first we draw five (5) tiles and place them in the middle.
  • Player #1 has the BEST pick because he goes first.
  • Play continues and Player #2, Player #3 and Player #4 each choose a tile.
  • Now there is still 1 tile left, and that is Player #1 ONLY choice. So he gets the WORST pick.
  • Next we draw five (5) new tiles and place them in the middle.
  • Now it's Player #2 who has the BEST pick... and so on...

I think things balance out in the long run - each player will have an average tile choice... This is another form of *Randomization*.

McTeddy
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Joined: 11/19/2012
My first thought was the same

My first thought was the same as above... do they NEED to be different shapes. If you can get away with shapes drawn on a tile, it'll be the easiest solution.

Otherwise, I'd recommend you stack the tiles in separate piles for each shape and shuffle them. Next you'll need an addition randomizer, whether it's chits to draw, cards, dice, or a stack of 5 Square tiles*... to determine the shape.

When your turn comes up you simply draw the chit and get the "Hex" result. Draw the top tile from the hex pile to get your tile.

* Specifically, use whatever you already have in the game and can spare a couple. If you can spare a few cards, use them... etc

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