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Messages - GigaKnight

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1
Goko Dominion Online / Re: Why do people demand 4000+/5000+?
« on: May 28, 2013, 12:54:57 pm »
Well, the rating only exists so that you might find players of equal skill. Playing someone of equal skill is fun if you can sometimes still learn something or have a real nail biter where small details matter a lot.

But with Dominion, there's so much randomness that when you're playing someone of comparable skill the game is most likely decided on shuffle luck instead of keen tactics. If you play a chess match against someone rated 100 points below you on the ELO system, say you're 1700 playing a 1600, you could win close to 100% of the games, simply because you know everything the 1600 knows and a bit more.

The rating system on Goko uses 4 significant digits and a ladder, corrupting the system in my view. If you create a ladder, you're making players play just for their rating instead of the fun the game offers. I think it's wrong that people should be worried about dropping any levels on a ladder over such a simple game. A ladder makes people scared of losing and stops innovation.

What I would have liked to see is just one significant digit or even one half and no ladder. Rate the players 1-5 stars or something. This way you can use the rating the way it was intended: To find players of similar skill.

The way the ladder affects you is in fact a choice, and I don't agree with it.
I'm not scared to try something new at all. Sometimes it makes me lose and that's ok. Usually my opponent is happy enough for the both of us.
Trying out new things or combo's I haven't seen before is the main reason I like playing this game.
Besides: if I lose a game I could have won, then my rating is temporarily a little bit lower then it's supposed to be. Future games will automatically compensate.
The only way my rating goes up in the long run is if I get better.

Although I like being on top of the leaderboard, I apparently care less about rating then you do. Yes, there is a lot of randomness in Dominion. However, there also are a lot of decisions. And those decisions have a huge impact on your chances. I see a lot of people blaming their bad luck where in fact they just played poorly. When I lose a game of Dominion, I almost always can find a point where I made a bad decision myself. And when I can't, I'm just not smart enough. I wouldn't be surprised at all if I'm yet to play a game of Dominion where I don't make any mistakes. This game is a lot more complicated then most people seem to realize.

Blaming your bad luck after the game kills your learning process.
Blaming your bad luck during the game stops you from 'making the best of you bad position'.
Blaming your bad luck in the chat isn't any fun for your opponent.
Really, there's barely ever any point in whining about bad luck.

...unless there is a need to save your own ego, which is both understandable and human.

Stef, I like pretty much all of what you've said here, but Davio's remarks about ladder psychology are a genuine concern and really keep some people from playing.  Ladder anxiety is enough of a concern that, for the first Starcraft 2 expansion, Blizzard added an entirely separate "Unranked" way to play.  The only difference, from what I understand, is that you never see your rank/MMR.  And more people are playing the game now.

So, yes, you do get to choose your response to being ranked.  But it's better for the game as a whole if you don't force everybody to make that choice.

2
The fact that it is being translated is reason why we should better define what "broken" means here.

"Frustrating" is also a tough call -- it's subjective.  You find Saboteur frustrating, but you did not mention Saboteur or Swindler.  I guarantee that there are players who find those two attacks much more frustrating than Saboteur.

By all means, seek a better definition.  Several posts started to discuss whether it was "broken" before anybody agreed on what bodybuilder was trying to say.

And, yeah, of course all these things are subjective. I didn't mention other controversial cards because they don't elicit the strong feelings that Saboteur does. :)  In particular, I wanted to voice that I've played this game for years and my opinion of Saboteur remains negative.  Experience doesn't automatically mean you appreciate all the cards, nor should it, right?


3
I don't think it's particularly wise to focus on a specific word in discussion happening over Google translate.  You guys really took the word "broken" and ran with it, but he may just mean that a number of people don't think it's fun.

If nothing else, I hope this thread teaches F.DS to be a little bit less pedantic.

4
As for why people tend to hate Saboteur -- there is definitely psychology to it, as others have already pointed out.  It's also a lot worse in games with 3+ players, which seem to be more common IRL from what I've seen.  In one of the first games of Dominion I ever played, my friends and I decided to end the game and remove Saboteur from future games.  It was a 4 player game and one player opened with Sab.  Since it was early, his first play of Sab destroyed our opening buys.  It got worse because of group think... pretty soon there were at least 2 Sab plays every round, not all played by the same player (and not even considering Throne Room, which was on the board).  Our decks just would not improve and it felt like the game was not progressing at all.

Now that I know better, I imagine that we would have gotten out of the rut eventually.  Decks will still get bigger which means Sab will be played less often.  But still, that first game felt terrible when four players were all playing it turn after turn.



But again, that was when we were first learning the game.  Now, I don't think any card is worth removing permanently.  Even cards that appear to be entirely useless can shine in the right kingdom.  It's worth leaving them in for those rare scenarios where you use the "worthless" card effectively and blow the minds of your friends.

I had a very similar first experience with Saboteur.  Eventually people just bought Estates until piles ran out.  After I got more experience, my distaste for this card hasn't faded and that's probably just due to my preferences.  But the things I hate about Saboteur include:
  • Extremely high variance. This is not unique to Saboteur, of course.
  • Sloooows the game down. There's a lot of opportunity cost to buying and playing the card, after which it just hurts everybody else.
  • Because it has a permanent effect on the value (not just power) of your deck, it typically just fights against ending the game. Cursers (the strongest attacks) at least empty a pile and then run out of steam.
  • Does not scale well.  If you already don't like this card with 2 players, you'll hate it with 4.
  • It's not even that good! As I mentioned, lots of opportunity cost, it's usually a mistake, and it's got all these other negative qualities.
The best thing I can say for it is that it adds "variety".  But I'm of the opinion that not all variety is good variety and I put Saboteur in my (very small) list of duds, even years later.

5
General Discussion / Re: League of Legends
« on: April 30, 2013, 01:37:49 pm »
Deny vs Lasthit is rather:
Do i antipush the lane and deny the opponent experience, or do i push the lane and get gold.

Yeah, I agree this yet another way the difference matters.

6
General Discussion / Re: League of Legends
« on: April 30, 2013, 01:31:49 pm »
Trashing an opponent's gold is a very close approximation to gaining a gold for yourself.

That's already not very true in 2-player Dominion and becomes even more inaccurate as you increase the number of players.  DotA / LoL is 5v5 and an analogous choice has very different results.  In DotA, denying presents the choice of "do I get +gold or do I prevent 1 opponent from getting +gold".

Let's look at what this means.  It's a hyper-simplified analysis but I think it illustrates the difference:

Let's look at a hypothetical four-player MOBA game.  Let's say everybody kills a creep for 5 gold every X seconds.  With no denying, everybody in this fairy-tale game advances in lock-step gaining gold, like so:

Player 1 (Team 1): 5, 10, 15, 20...
Player 2 (Team 1): 5, 10, 15, 20...

Player 3 (Team 2): 5, 10, 15, 20...
Player 4 (Team 2): 5, 10, 15, 20...

Now let's say each player has the option of forfeiting a creep kill to prevent an opponent from gaining 5 gold.  Player 1 decided to do this to player 3  for the first two creep waves and the rest continue on naively.  The only difference for player 3 is that he tries to kill those first two creeps and misses because player 1 denied him.

Player 1 (Team 1): 0, 0, 5, 10...
Player 2 (Team 1): 5, 10, 15, 20...

Player 3 (Team 2): 0, 0, 5, 10...
Player 4 (Team 2): 5, 10, 15, 20...

Now, you might say "the teams have the same overall gold now" but distribution of gold is very important in a MOBA.  You want to guide the money to your item-dependent characters so they can get those crucial items as soon as possible.  Player 3 is now behind the curve because of Player 1's sacrifice.  If player 1 is a support / utility character, he doesn't need as much gold anyway; Team 1 is now in the "lead".

And the reality is much more complicated than this.  There are 5 opponents in DotA and you have lots of competing choices all the time.  When choosing to last hit or deny, you have to ask yourself if you want to gain gold relative to 5 opponents or keep just one of them down.  The answer depends on your role and the situation.
I'm rather confused.  It seems like you're talking past me.  Denying a carry creep is going to be rather equivalent to killing a creep as carry.  Denying a support's creep kill is going to be pretty equivalent to getting a creep kill as support.

So your original statement is quoted up there and it's much more general than that.  I think you've shifted the target on me, but that's OK, because even zooming in on a specific area, the difference matters.

Let's look carries. Denying a carry creep delays their items.  A carry killing a creep accelerates his items.  Having or not having an item affects how you interact with all 5 opponents.  For example, DotA has an item called the Black King Bar (BKB) that grants magic immunity for a little bit.  Getting an early BKB might allow your carry to make the difference in a team fight if, for example, they have a disable-heavy team comp.  You want to farm a BKB as fast as possible because you're going to gain precious seconds where you can't be stunned.  That can easily make a bigger difference than slowing the single opponent carry.  The general point is that every hero is different and has different item goals depending on who they face; the times at which they reach those goals can have varying and important impacts on the game.

Take a step back to Dominion.  And we'll go really simple.  Let's say we're both going BM and we each have exactly one Gold.  Now it's my turn and I can either trash yours or gain another Gold.  I'm trashing your Gold every time!  Because Gold begets Gold; making you deal with the initial $6 hump again is huge.  Now imagine I'm going for an engine instead of BM - maybe I don't even want a Gold to begin with!

I'm trying to illustrate that timing, strategy, and opponents all have a big impact on this kind of decision.  But I also I realize I'm trying to do this with specific examples, which are easy to overlook because you can always say "but that doesn't happen that much".  If you're not yet convinced, maybe a better way to approach this is to have you justify this statement further:

Trashing an opponent's gold is a very close approximation to gaining a gold for yourself.

That may help us reach the fundamental disagreement sooner.

7
I'll admit I didn't read the whole thread because it's really long and there are a lot of tangents here.  I skimmed and didn't see anything like what I'm about to say; forgive me if I missed it.

If I were to remove cards from Dominion, I would not simply choose cards I thought were the "weakest".  I would start with cards I just really, really hate (for me, this is just Saboteur and Possession, and I have removed them from my own copies).  Then I would move to cards that are purchased the least.  Even if those cards are actually pretty strong, I think the point of removing cards should be to increase the "interest density" of each Kingdom so that more cards per set look attractive/viable.  Thankfully, we also don't have to ask people to just list cards, because we have a pretty objective measure in Council Room data.  I'm not going to analyze it myself but it's there for whoever wants to define "purchased to least" (boy, we could have a whole second thread about that) and examine it.

I also don't think the analogies comparing cards to teeth or chess pieces or whatever are particularly accurate.  DXV has said (repeatedly, I think?) that Dominion doesn't need any single card and he's right.  That's one of Dominion's strengths and you have to get pretty pedantic to make that argument for chess or the alphabet - except the letter "C"... useless! :)



8
Goko Dominion Online / Re: Goko regrets
« on: April 21, 2013, 07:02:03 pm »
The seemingly oxymoronic concept of monopolistic competition actually exists. If Harry Potter books became too expensive, people would switch to reading Artemis Fowl. If the Goko implementation left something to be desired, people would switch to Isotropic Innovation. Even pharmaceuticals protected by patent law can be substituted by possibly less efficacious substances.   

For leisure activities, I think this concept applies too well to be interesting/noteworthy.  They're all pretty trivially substitutable, since one can do basically anything else with their free time.  It doesn't have to even be a game to be in direct competition.

The fundamental question is always "how much is it worth to the customers"?  It has to be pretty good to compete with everything else I could be doing.  Dominion is that good.  Isotropic was that good.  Goko is not that good.

If Goko fails, I hope the lesson learned is about poor execution and not product viability.  The freaking game sells itself as long as you just don't screw it up.  FWIW, I also think that would quickly become clear with a little true competition.

9
Goko Dominion Online / Re: Goko regrets
« on: April 20, 2013, 01:40:08 am »
Book binding quality, introductions, annotations, and above all, price!  There's lots of ways to differentiate with publishers.

Well, I'm talking about ways to differentiate that truly impact consumer behavior.  I don't personally know anybody who has ever voiced a buying decision made on any of the things you mentioned (or even remarked on it in a review) except price.  But price is the one way the IP licensor DOESN'T want them to compete, because that directly cuts into overall profits.

Just going with this thought some more, I see incentive for an IP owner to say "anybody can make my thing, but they have to pay me at least X for it" because, if it's actually a viable business model, the competition means everybody gets better without cutting into the licensor's profit.  Now, as I touched on before, that kind of arrangement may not be attractive to developers.  But, in the case of Dominion, dougz did it for free, so that demonstrates *some* interest.  :)  The hard part is getting the appropriate X value for any arbitrary implementation.

I guess it comes down the IP licensor's goal.  If absolute profit isn't the main goal, the multi-license idea could make sense (although the sky could be the limit with this approach).  If it's *guaranteed* money, exclusives start to look more attractive.  I don't particularly blame RGG for taking this approach, but I'd love to see what would happen in a multi-license environment (for any sufficiently-awesome game, really).

10
Goko Dominion Online / Re: Goko regrets
« on: April 19, 2013, 09:31:44 pm »
Antitrust has a sort of inherent tension with IP.  One stops monopolies and the other grants monopolies.

The core principle is that it is OK to earn supracompetitive profits as "a consequence of a superior product, business acumen, or historic accident".  It becomes a problem when there are no adequate substitutes, or alternatively, you take steps to ensure that there are no adequate substitutes.

The concept of "substitute" applied to HP essentially says, JK Rowling wants to maximize her sales.  If she signs an exclusive license with Scholastic, we can trust that she is bargaining for Scholastic to do as good a job as possible publishing her works.  Likewise, we can trust that Scholastic also wants to do as good a job as possible.  Sure, no matter how crappy their product is, they'll still have some consumers, but when they make a good product, they'll attract more consumers that are currently buying substitutes (Eragon?) instead.  So if Scholastic dramatically overprices HP, it is a net loss for them.

On the flip side, if there were no substitutes (let's say Rowling's contract with Scholastic also required it to stop publishing other teen fiction novels, and Scholastic dominates the teen fiction market), now the incentives are all wrong.  Now there is a lot less reason to worry about overpricing: your consumers are captive because they don't have anywhere else to go.  If Scholastic produces a superb product, they don't gain many more consumers than if they produced a shabby product. 

Now, of course, there are gradations.  Antitrust is nothing if not murky, and sometimes the ultimate verdict kind of comes down to a gutcheck. 

The disconnect might be how you define the relevant market.  The history of US antitrust works very hard to promote "interbrand" competition, rather than "intrabrand" competition.  Reason being, if you define each individual brand/product as its own relevant market (i.e., Harry Potter's market is Harry Potter books, not all books), then you run into some other problematic issues.  Is it OK if Pepsi agrees to sell only west of the Mississippi and Coke agrees only to sell east of the Mississippi?  Shouldn't it be an antitrust violation if DXV pays RGG/etc. not to make any other deckbuilders?  Neither of those would be prosecutable if each brand constituted its own relevant market, even though there might be compelling reasons to suggest that Coke and Pepsi are not "true" competitors, just like how Dominion and Ascension are not "true" competitors.

This is all very interesting and you clearly know quite a bit more about the legal issues than I do, which makes sense, since I hear you're a lawyer. :)

But I thought the Harry Potter analogy seemed a bit flawed as a comparison to Dominion, specifically because it's a book.  I mean, if two publishers each made a hardcopy of a Harry Potter novel, there wouldn't be much to differentiate them.  The covers and maybe slight variations in font / weights / page counts, but those don't seem like they'd be that important.  Similarly, if two publishers could put out a Harry Potter ebook, realistically, they just wouldn't be that different.

It seems like the less differentiated versions of a product are, the less relevant competition is.  And electronic Dominion is certainly differentiated or we'd all be happy to buy/play it no matter who made it.

I guess I really don't have much of a point other than that this distinction seems relevant to me.  A competing electronic Dominion implementation could very much make Goko better.  A competing Harry Potter publisher doesn't seem very likely to change what Scholastic does.

11
Goko Dominion Online / Re: Goko regrets
« on: April 15, 2013, 06:15:21 pm »
Heh, I doubt they'd face more pressure to fix their issues to be honest. They probably face a lot of pressure anyway from their investors, I think they're working as hard as they can anyway.

They've got their hearts in the right place it seems, and they fix things eventually. It's getting better, and maybe it'll be top-notch eventually. It'll just take a while.

You may be right; I assumed that since their business pitch was basically their platform, they'd probably be more concerned about getting everything to an "acceptable" state and branching out to other games.  Playable and awesome are pretty different, but people often don't know what they're missing until they see awesome.  Their hearts may be in the right place, but I doubt there will be sufficient business incentive for Goko to reach "awesome" in the absence of a good competitor.

12
Goko Dominion Online / Re: Goko regrets
« on: April 15, 2013, 05:44:07 pm »
Right, there's legit reasons for a game maker to have a monopoly on making their own game. Doesn't change the fact that they do. Most of the time it's not something anyone complains about because publishers are pretty good at, well, publishing their games, and the thought "dammit, somebody else could have done this better" doesn't really come to mind. 

In this case, it's not RGG's monopoly on Dominion which is mildly annoying, it's Goko's.

I think you pointed out one of the reasons why this isn't a "monopoly": there are good incentives to make a good product because of the threat of substitution.  Make a bad product and the market self-corrects by not buying your item any more.  Contrast this with a true monopoly, where there is little incentive to improve your product quality because people have no adequate substitute.

I think this discussion is quickly getting into the realm of arguing about what "monopoly" means.  Regardless of connotations, we can all agree:

1) Goko is the only authorized producer of an electronic implementation of Dominion.
2) Their implementation is currently lacking.
3) If there were competing licensed implementations, Goko would have more pressure to fix their issues.

Now, whether anybody (RGG / DXV) has any business incentive to allow competing implementations is a different, even-more-hypothetical discussion.

13
Goko Dominion Online / Re: Goko regrets
« on: April 15, 2013, 05:37:16 pm »

14
General Discussion / Re: League of Legends
« on: April 13, 2013, 12:39:26 am »
Trashing an opponent's gold is a very close approximation to gaining a gold for yourself.

That's already not very true in 2-player Dominion and becomes even more inaccurate as you increase the number of players.  DotA / LoL is 5v5 and an analogous choice has very different results.  In DotA, denying presents the choice of "do I get +gold or do I prevent 1 opponent from getting +gold".

Let's look at what this means.  It's a hyper-simplified analysis but I think it illustrates the difference:

Let's look at a hypothetical four-player MOBA game.  Let's say everybody kills a creep for 5 gold every X seconds.  With no denying, everybody in this fairy-tale game advances in lock-step gaining gold, like so:

Player 1 (Team 1): 5, 10, 15, 20...
Player 2 (Team 1): 5, 10, 15, 20...

Player 3 (Team 2): 5, 10, 15, 20...
Player 4 (Team 2): 5, 10, 15, 20...

Now let's say each player has the option of forfeiting a creep kill to prevent an opponent from gaining 5 gold.  Player 1 decided to do this to player 3  for the first two creep waves and the rest continue on naively.  The only difference for player 3 is that he tries to kill those first two creeps and misses because player 1 denied him.

Player 1 (Team 1): 0, 0, 5, 10...
Player 2 (Team 1): 5, 10, 15, 20...

Player 3 (Team 2): 0, 0, 5, 10...
Player 4 (Team 2): 5, 10, 15, 20...

Now, you might say "the teams have the same overall gold now" but distribution of gold is very important in a MOBA.  You want to guide the money to your item-dependent characters so they can get those crucial items as soon as possible.  Player 3 is now behind the curve because of Player 1's sacrifice.  If player 1 is a support / utility character, he doesn't need as much gold anyway; Team 1 is now in the "lead".

And the reality is much more complicated than this.  There are 5 opponents in DotA and you have lots of competing choices all the time.  When choosing to last hit or deny, you have to ask yourself if you want to gain gold relative to 5 opponents or keep just one of them down.  The answer depends on your role and the situation.








15
Goko Dominion Online / Re: Goko regrets
« on: April 12, 2013, 04:52:22 pm »
Fundamentally, it's the problem of poorly-designed context-sensitive actions.  It's bad design to assign multiple meanings to the same action because it requires the user to fully know the game state to know what, for example, clicking on a card will do.  On Iso, discarding and playing happen in different areas with very distinct actions (and a confirm button).  Ending your turn is a specific button, also with a specific confirm action.

Iso did have one major UI flaw that falls under this category. On other players' turns, the "Info" button was in the same location as the "End Turn" button on your own turn (or maybe it was the "+$" button) - see this thread. This often made me click the wrong button. Of course, Iso had a "are you sure" red text to make it so that at least you could take back the click.

Yes, that's true and I thought of it but also thought the confirmation made it excusable.  Not good design (in fact, exactly the main problem with Goko), but I didn't ever actually end my turn unless I meant to.  I should have abstracted my comment from "misclicked" to "taken the wrong action".

16
Goko Dominion Online / Re: Goko regrets
« on: April 12, 2013, 02:49:36 pm »
that's exactly the thing I hate about Goko.  I want to play *fast* and... guess where I could do that before?  Iso!


When you started playing Iso, did you play fast? Did you play flawlessly? Were you able to grok the interface right away?

Unless you're really a robot, I'm going to presume the answer to all three of those questions is no.

It can take time to grok the Goko interface, and you're not going to be fast. Not immediately. You're going to pick up on certain cues and know that a Bishop's been played before you click on a card. It'll happen, but it'll take several games to get those cues in your brain. I experienced a lot of issues playing Androminion; I was screwing up games left and right because I tried to play too quickly before I was at the point where I could recognize cues. Now I play games quickly on Androminion because I'm used to the interface.

Wishful thinking. At least in my case. I've played almost 1000 games on Goko since Iso went down and still hate the interface as much as when I started out. It makes me do more unintentional stuff in a single day than I did in all my games on iso combined.

To add to this, it's really not just an issue of training.  DrKlahn hit on this when he said this type of problem can actually get worse over time instead of better.

Fundamentally, it's the problem of poorly-designed context-sensitive actions.  It's bad design to assign multiple meanings to the same action because it requires the user to fully know the game state to know what, for example, clicking on a card will do.  On Iso, discarding and playing happen in different areas with very distinct actions (and a confirm button).  Ending your turn is a specific button, also with a specific confirm action.

On Iso, I can't ever remember misclicking because I didn't understand the game state.  It was always a mechanical error or a tactical error.  I can't say the same for Goko.

Don't get me wrong, Iso had problems, but very few of them got in the way of core gameplay.  It's totally possible to make a quick, beautiful interface that enables fast play instead of hinders it.  Goko has so-far failed in this respect; I hope they can eventually get it right.

17
Goko Dominion Online / Re: Goko regrets
« on: April 12, 2013, 02:30:22 pm »
And also, you keep saying that Donald complained about freeloaders, but I don't think tthat's true. He complained (and rightfully, imo) that people were arguing against monetizing online Dominion. IIRC, those arguments weren't made against people who would have paid for Iso. Rather, it was addressing the entitled idea that people shouldn't have to pay for what was once free to them.

The problem I saw was that his frustration leaked into at least one thread where people were doing nothing but pleading to pay for Iso.  That was never a real possibility and I'm sure he got tired of people suggesting it, but it looks really crappy to insult people who love your product.  It would have been wiser, IMO, to simply not engage in that no-win discussion.

18
Goko Dominion Online / Re: Goko regrets
« on: April 11, 2013, 08:48:27 pm »
Ooh, ooh! Are we talking about Goko interface issues?!

LastFootnote, IMO, the Goko misclicks are 100% bad interface design.  I've played through the free Adventure mode stuff because I was curious, and I can't tell you how many times I discarded cards I meant to play because my opponent had actually played a Militia.  You say "play slower," but that's exactly the thing I hate about Goko.  I want to play *fast* and... guess where I could do that before?  Iso!  Now I have to artificially slow my pace of play to accommodate a bad (albeit pretty) interface.  Iso let me play much faster, for a variety of reasons.

Which touches on a larger issue.  I think the main reason people are disappointed in Goko has very little to do with Goko and a lot to do with the fact that Iso was so much better.  It's like we were given gourmet ice cream and now they're charging for the cheap stuff.  Sorry, I got a taste of the good stuff and now I'd happily pay for that - but I'm not going to pay for an inferior product.  That may make it sound like Iso was bad for Dominion, but the big thing it did was create an online community that really loves the game.  It's too bad the poor execution of Goko couldn't capitalize on that well.

19
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: February 25, 2013, 09:22:25 pm »
1) According to the BGG ratings, Prosperity is the most universally loved expansion. Have you got any thoughts on why that is so? Do you think it is fair or do you think the set is overrated?
I don't have any real data but can think of some things.

...

- The set is low attack, high non-attack interaction. It is my experience in general that, people who uh don't play Magic tend to be more uppity about losing their stuff, their precious stuff. Like, I will make a game, and it will have a card that makes other people lose stuff, and it seems fine and normal to me, nice as a thing to have that's different from other things in the game, but some people will specifically dislike it, perhaps being used to games where nothing remotely like that is possible. I am used to losing my stuff; in Magic you lose stuff constantly, it is a pillar of the game. But like I will tone down a game to having just a few ways to make people lose stuff, completely balanced as far as I am concerned, and then a publisher will say, we didn't like that one card. Anyway so. I think Dominion players in general, there are a lot of Magic players yes, but there are a lot of people who do not play Magic, and among those people I think losing stuff is less popular, and uh let's reset this sentence. I think Dominion players in general like attacks less than I do. So, Prosperity got fewer attacks specifically to make going for Colonies easier, and then it turns out people liked that. Later Dominion sets tone down attacks a little as a result. Now this may all seem silly when two of the three attacks in Prosperity are Mountebank and Goons, but still.

...

This is a really interesting point and I, for one, really appreciate you taking the time and energy to go into weird details like this.  It also occurs to me that losing things in Magic often either:

1) is specifically a choice of the player losing their stuff (e.g. "I choose to block or I choose to sacrifice".)  Even if it's a false choice, it gives the player the illusion of control.
2) costs something on the part of the attacker (i.e. they have to actually spend a card so at least they won't do it every turn).

That's not always the case and I haven't really played magic in a while, so I could be also be misremembering.  In Dominion, on the other hand, most attack cards get played over and over; their only "cost" is the Action they consume.  Does this seem like a relevant distinction?  And, as a designer, do you think this has a material impact on the psychology of the mechanics?


Another related question that popped into my head:

Did you ever toy with the idea of a reaction that trashed the cards they react to?  Is this a particularly bad idea or am I venturing too far into potentially-spoilery territory?

20
Rules Questions / Re: Possession/Outpost
« on: February 18, 2013, 02:47:58 am »
Your post is too long and this argument is too pointless. Call me uncreative all you want. I am not too insecure there. It is pretty hilarious that you give an example of me being uncreative and then think it's horribly rude to note someone who thought that was silly. But this is after all the internet.

Any discussion/argument has whatever purpose you choose to give it, of course.  The main point for me was to be understood, which seems to have failed again.  If it has no point to you, then, as I said before, leave me to my terrible opinions.  I'm neither offended nor validated by your silence and I truly have no wish to exasperate you.

I'm sorry you take my uncreative comment as a personal criticism, because it was not aimed at you.  It's aimed at a card you made.  You're much more creative than I am, but that doesn't mean everything you do is creative.  I mean, I feel crazy / condescending for even saying this, but: these are basic distinctions you seem unable or unwilling to understand.  Because I never said anything about you being uncreative, yet you exit this conversation seeming to think I actually called you uncreative.

But that's the pattern I believe see over and over in our fruitless arguments.  Right or wrong, for better or worse, I think I tend to see more shades of gray than you do (not in everything, though).  Because I feel like I say something referring to a specific shade and you respond as if it encompasses the two shades to either side of it.  I don't think my perspective is inherently right and I don't think you're deficient for not drawing the same distinctions I do; it's just frustrating that we get lost in translation.

21
Rules Questions / Re: Possession/Outpost
« on: February 17, 2013, 04:31:57 pm »
Maybe this is more your style:

Quote from: No One Ever
So, I was arguing with this guy on the internet.  We had different perspectives and weren't really coming to agreement.  But then he started acting condescending and insulting, which totally convinced me he was right.

You did not present your wife's (I'm assuming Josephine is your wife) opinion as evidence of a self sanity check.  It came out of nowhere and seemed to be "I was venting to my wife, who laughed at your opinion."  That's, at best, as relevant as me taking a poll of 1.  Sure, it's technically "evidence", but it's about as biased and small a sample as you, yourself, personally, could get.

The core of my issue with it was not that she agrees with you or that she laughed.  It's how you convey that information in a dismissive manner.  You can say things that are true and corrective that are not also mean or condescending.  Do you really need me to give an example in this case?  Because I can do it.  Anyway, being the rude guy is a choice that does not reinforce your opinion or do anything to convince other people you're right.  In my experience, it just makes other people less receptive to a position.

So, when you fall back to being mean (and this isn't the only example I can cite), I just don't know what you're trying to accomplish other than perhaps boosting your own ego (that's usually why I'm tempted to do it)?  It's usually self-defeating in what could otherwise be a productive discussion.

On to evidence:

I have no problem with evidence.  I love evidence!  And I would resent you saying I call it "insulting and irrelevant" if it wasn't such preposterous and obvious trolling.  The work you propose when you say "conduct your own study" is kinda big for it to really mean anything.  I do, for reference, ask my friends about these kinds of things.  As you might imagine, some agree with me and some don't.  On the general "you may" issue, for example, one friend would prefer "you may" on Soul Warden for the physical version and no "you may" in digital versions.  So opinion can be context-sensitive, as well.

But I never get treated like I'm crazy.  That's a special honor reserved primarily for you! :)

I already addressed that and don't have much more to say; I mean, I can't make you go back and read that section again.
I too have already addressed things, and have no ability to make that matter to you.

We can't run the experiment to see what percentage of the population exactly would have thought of Possession. I don't know what units creativity is measured in. But even things that are just one twist away from a basic thing can be extremely exotic. When they do a Magic card like that, me personally, I think, what a cool thing, not, wow that's just one twist away from a basic thing, this is so uncreative.

Let's take a step back here, because when I look at the previous posts, we've lost context and rat-holed on this specific issue.  The crux of my argument against Possession is that it's overly-complicated for what it adds to the game.  I still believe this.  The crux has *never* been that it's uncreative.  I continue to believe it's not a particularly creative concept, but as I've stated many times now with Smithy examples, a concept does not have to be creative to be valuable and productive.

I believe people really dislike watching other people use "their" stuff.  Once you buy Possession, I have no choice but to watch you play it and then take "my" turns using "my" cards buying things that were supposed to be "mine".  Psychologically, that sucks, man.  It's invasive, no matter how you slice it.  Once they get rolling the best you can hope for is having a bad hand when they Possess you and then you get to be like "haha - my deck is so inconsistent your Possession is wasted".
I have an insight here, check it out.

When I made Possession, I played it with the original group of Dominion players, and we all liked it. When someone took a good turn with my deck, I would think, "pretty sweet deck huh" not "oh I feel so violated." And it was the same for all of us. I am not lying, neither am I in error.

When I was working on Alchemy for publication, I played at a public game night with certain regulars plus random people. No-one voiced disapproval for Possession. Some people adored it and would buy it up. Other people would only go for it with Throne or something. No-one experienced any rage. Valerie said the FAQ was too long and I agreed and well I tried to make an exciting replacement in the time allotted but did not come up with something doable that was exciting enough.

Why do you experience such violation, where we did not? I put it to you that I was playing with friends, rather than random kids on the internet.

Out of curiosity, what sorts of numbers are we talking about here?  I had a friend who, out of the blue, messaged me saying "man, it's really not fun to watch other people use my deck against me" and it clicked for me that's another reason I dislike the card.  But that's not something I had thought to verbalize before he said it.  For whatever that's worth.  And another friend said something like "ick, that just helps the winner win more".  So adoration for Possession is certainly not universal.  It's weird to me that you didn't encounter any distaste for it, but I don't think you're lying or anything.  If nothing else, it's an interesting data point that helps me understand the broader picture as well as you're personal experience.

But, anyway, I probably extrapolated my experiences too readily, because your reaction to being Possessed is so bizarrely foreign to me.  It indicates that you're more concerned with showing off your cool deck than winning the game.  Which is fine - that's a fine approach to the game.  But I've never encountered that with anybody else I've played with.  Maybe I just play with hyper-competitive people?  Or is that not fair to your playtesters?


22
Rules Questions / Re: Possession/Outpost
« on: February 16, 2013, 09:03:17 pm »
A lot of what you say in the post I'm quoting here, Donald, is true.
Hooray!

I see Possession (and Outpost) as the answers to "what can we do with turn manipulation"?  Simplest answer: "take an extra turn"; this is Outpost.  Second simplest answer: "lose a turn"; huh, that just feels like inverted Outpost.  Third simplest answer: "take your opponent's turn"; this is Possession.
You aren't "taking your opponent's turn," since for example that would mean that your opponent got the cards that got bought (Let's be clear here: in order to say exactly what the twist to Possession is, you will have to *say more things*; it is not some trivial thing that you have said so simply); again by this reasoning most cards in most games are uncreative; and again I can't sit here and argue about how great I am.

I told Dame Josephine, "there's a guy in the forums saying how uncreative Possession is." She laughed. Try it with your friends!

So I don't pull out "straw man" lightly, because I've also experienced what you say here.  In fact, I can't remember any time when I've done it before.  But, in this case, I really felt like you were misrepresenting my argument and then attacking that misrepresentation.  I still view it like that.
I was pointing out a hilarious contradiction. I didn't say, "your argument is this bit here."

You were implying that, because Possession requires some kooky rules to balance, I was crazy for calling it uncreative.  I still disagree with that.
You said, blah blah blah, "fundamentally alters what things like Trash and Gain mean." Not, blah blah blah, requires some kooky rules to balance.


Dude, I try to keep these things really, really civil, but maybe you're just taking that as weakness or some invite to mock me?  I can get mean, too, if you'd prefer.  I'd personally prefer to stick with "if a conversation's worth having, it's worth having politely".  If it's really not worth having, then just leave me to my terrible opinions.  But telling me "Dame Josephine" laughed at my opinion is neither relevant nor kind.

You don't have to explicitly say "your argument is this bit here" to misrepresent my argument in your response.  You say it's a "hilarious contradiction" that I was criticizing Possession for being uncreative, but that I called out weird things it did.  But then you ignored my response where I draw a distinction between those types of creativity...  I already addressed that and don't have much more to say; I mean, I can't make you go back and read that section again.

You are "taking your opponent's turn" in that you are "taking a turn with your opponent's deck/hand that they were about to take".  The "twist" is also the "kooky rules to balance" AKA "fundamentally alters what things like Trash and Gain mean".  Because it does seem trivial and obvious to me that arbitrarily trashing your opponents' cards is too powerful and buying stuff for them would quickly degenerate into buying curses/coppers.

23
Rules Questions / Re: Possession/Outpost
« on: February 16, 2013, 08:26:52 pm »
Giga: two things I want to say.

(1) about creativity: okay we define whatever you say as creative. So smithy is probably as you said the most uncreative cards of all. So what? On this aspect possession brings new in game mechanics and new strategies/counter strategies with it and that is just fine.

(2) Your other reasonings why possession is not good: first you say there is no tactical counter. For me this is probably good, as I really hate that my mountebank is always deflected while you somehow always hit me on a hand without a curse.

Second you say in lots of games it just sits there taking away a card slot. How is that bad? Lots of other cards do that. And in my opinion it is in some sense better than those cards which when they appear, they make other cards just sitting there. (minion, fool's gold, witch, anyone?)

Then you say it can only beat strategy which is slower than it. This is also untrue; slower than what? Getting your deck running vs. getting a possession or two? Once you really get into the strategy thinking you'll find it is not that simple to determine.

The only thing I think is quite bad for the card is that on certain boards it is too good and forces the game into a stalemate.

For some reason, timchen (almost called you timechen - that's a cool name, too!), your post stood out to me here.  I'm going to respond to a few points.

On 1, I called it uncreative and I was just defending that assertion.  My Smithy example is agreeing with you that "uncreative" isn't enough to banish a card.  But it doesn't score any extra points, either.

On 2, this brings up the broader issue of counter play that I wish I had touched on earlier.  BTW, I take the term counter play from a Extra Credits episode here: http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/counter-play.  The basic concept is simple: A truly great mechanic is not only fun to use but fun to play against.  I think Possession is, psychologically, one of the most un-fun things to play against in Dominion, and not just for me or my tastes.

It doesn't completely fail the counter play test, of course.  Some people like playing against Possession and altering their strategy accordingly - that's fine, but it's only one piece of the puzzle.  I touched on this before, but the lack of tactical counter play is it gets weak, specifically because of what Possession does.

I believe people really dislike watching other people use "their" stuff.  Once you buy Possession, I have no choice but to watch you play it and then take "my" turns using "my" cards buying things that were supposed to be "mine".  Psychologically, that sucks, man.  It's invasive, no matter how you slice it.  Once they get rolling the best you can hope for is having a bad hand when they Possess you and then you get to be like "haha - my deck is so inconsistent your Possession is wasted".

24
Rules Questions / Re: Possession/Outpost
« on: February 16, 2013, 07:53:52 pm »
So before I respond to a few points, I want to apologize for misrepresenting Possession.  I've been super busy this week but thinking about this in my spare time and I definitely over-simplified the card in my arguments.  I let my personal distaste for the card come through in my arguments about its depth and that didn't really serve anybody.  It's definitely deeper than I gave it credit for.

A lot of what you say in the post I'm quoting here, Donald, is true.  There are a few things I disagree with and want to clear up, though.

I can't honestly call a card that could exist (for better or worse) in virtually every other turn-based game "original".  You said I sounded crazy and maybe that's because I didn't frame my argument well.
This also sounds crazy! It doesn't matter how many games a card *could* appear in. That's like, this poem could have been included in any number of novels; therefore it's unoriginal! It's as original as it is, regardless of where it *could* have appeared.

Yeah, this was a poor argument on my part.  I apologize for that; let me take a different tack on the originality issue, more along the lines of what I originally intended before I distracted myself:

It isn't an original idea simply because it's rarely-implemented, which is what you implied in a previous post ("If it's so obvious, why don't all games have it? Because they're trying not to be so obvious?").  I think other games don't have it because it's an overly-complicated and hard-to-balance idea, not because it's a new one.

I see Possession (and Outpost) as the answers to "what can we do with turn manipulation"?  Simplest answer: "take an extra turn"; this is Outpost.  Second simplest answer: "lose a turn"; huh, that just feels like inverted Outpost.  Third simplest answer: "take your opponent's turn"; this is Possession.

Since I've given a relative rating here, I haven't shown that the card is actually uncreative.  There's no absolute measure of that kind of thing, obviously.  And maybe getting to third answer takes more creativity than I'm giving credit for, but the question feels like it has very few possible sane answers, Possession is one of them, and it doesn't take much to get there.

I can't honestly call a card that could I think you got fixated on the "creativity" word and then used that to imply I think more creativity is always better and then tore me down as hypocritical.  Either that's a straight-up straw man or you just didn't understand what I was saying.  Here's your quote:
In general, when someone says "straw man" in an argument, I immediately think, there's the guy who's got nothing. Just an FYI! It never makes someone look good. I was on some forums once where it was word-filtered, no joke. Well it was a joke, that was why they did it, but you know, I'm not joking about it.

You said something I disagreed with. I disagreed with it. I don't need to quote your entire post and say what I think of each thing. I quoted the parts I had something to say about. This has zilch to do with the straw man concept. The bit you quote again there, you said it was uncreative earlier and then there you pointed out weird things it does. It's a contradiction!

So I don't pull out "straw man" lightly, because I've also experienced what you say here.  In fact, I can't remember any time when I've done it before.  But, in this case, I really felt like you were misrepresenting my argument and then attacking that misrepresentation.  I still view it like that.

In this case, I think the core issue is that I draw a distinction between the creativity of the core concept, and the creativity you had to apply to balance it in your game.  Going back to Smithy, "draw cards" is not an original idea.  But deciding the cost and how many cards it should draw requires creativity to make it fit into Dominion.

You were implying that, because Possession requires some kooky rules to balance, I was crazy for calling it uncreative.  I still disagree with that.

25
Rules Questions / Re: Possession/Outpost
« on: February 13, 2013, 02:59:42 am »
Ok, fists up!  :)  I'm going to interleave ftl and Donald X's replies here a bit.  Maybe a bad idea, but I don't want to respond multiple times to what I see as essentially the same points.

Also, Donald X, any time we get into one of these "discussions", it feels like either I'm not forming coherent sentences, I'm using vocabulary that has vastly different connotations to you, or you're not fully reading what I said.  Sometimes I literally feel like you respond to points I didn't make.  So 1) if you have any tips for helping me communicate with you, I'll totally hear them.  But, 2) if we're just going to talk past each other, maybe we can skip to the relevant XKCD? :)

I would say uncreative because I, personally, find it to be obvious.  More-objectively, there's nothing unique to Dominion about it.  You could put "steal a turn" in every game that has turns.

Possession doesn't steal a turn; the other person still gets the same number of turns they would have had. You haven't "stolen" anything, unless you used an Amb or Masq. Possession lets you take a turn with the other person's deck, basically.

Yes, I realize the opponent gets the same number of turns.  To me, the core concept is still best-described by "steal a turn", as you're taking your opponent's turn to benefit yourself.  You "stole" that hand from them and used it for yourself.  They don't get that hand again; they get the one after it.

I don't think I've seen the equivalent of that in any turn-based game. What would that be in, say, Monopoly? Roll the dice and move the other person's piece instead of yours? [I think it's pretty unique to Dominion... at least, I'm pretty sure none of the other board games I have have something equivalent to it, and basically all of them are turn-based. Plenty of games have "take another turn" or equivalent, and Dominion has Outpost for that role. Very few, if any, have "take a turn with your opponent's stuff" or equivalent. At the very least, you can fundamentally only do that in games where an opponent has stuff that you can reasonably use somehow.

ftl and Donald X, you seem to think that because it's not a common game mechanic, that it's an original one.  That could be true, but it's also not the only conclusion to draw.  Another plausible explanation is that it's not generally worth the complexity.  More on this below...

I would say uncreative because I, personally, find it to be obvious.  More-objectively, there's nothing unique to Dominion about it.  You could put "steal a turn" in every game that has turns.
This is just a really weird thing to be saying. By this measure most cards in games with rules on cards are uncreative. To the degree that those games are fun anyway, I guess it all works out! And Possession itself is just so ridiculously exotic. If it's so obvious, why don't all games have it? Because they're trying not to be so obvious?

On your first point ("By this measure..."), I think you're getting a little too black-and-white here.  There's obviously a continuum of creativity / originality; I didn't think I needed to state that, but now I will (so at least you know I understand that).  Anyway, if we want to go really pedantic, every game ever (except the first one) is uncreative because there are other games.  But nobody's taking that position and to represent mine in that light feels disingenuous.

On the continuum of creativity/originality, I personally place Possession rather low.  The card takes the concept of "turn" which is, by definition, fundamental to every "turn-based game" and says "what can we do with it"?  Well, plenty of older games do this and many end up with a simple Lose a Turn.  Possession is, in my mind, a variant on Lose a Turn (I also don't like what makes it the variant, but I'll get there).  It could apply to any turn-based game, which is the vast, vast majority of tabletop games.  I can't honestly call a card that could exist (for better or worse) in virtually every other turn-based game "original".  You said I sounded crazy and maybe that's because I didn't frame my argument well.  But, from my perspective, it's crazy to think of a twist on Lose a Turn as "creative".

But WAIT.  Because, as I type this, I really think you missed the core of my original post.  I'm criticizing Possession for being uncreative, yes, but I also explicitly said that's not the only reason I dislike it.  Remember the part where I also said Smithy is uncreative but that I like it and think it has a place in the game?  I think you got fixated on the "creativity" word and then used that to imply I think more creativity is always better and then tore me down as hypocritical.  Either that's a straight-up straw man or you just didn't understand what I was saying.  Here's your quote:

Quote
So, in my view, it's not adding much strategically.  I get that it adds flavor and Timmy players like it and, yes, that it can be used to great effect. But it's also a single card that temporarily and fundamentally alters what things like Trash and Gain mean.  No single card is worth that, IMO.
You want "creative" cards, but changing what trash and gain mean? Too creative! Wait, totally uncreative game staples, and bad for that reason?

It's fine to hate Possession, and I'm sure plenty of people thought of it before it showed up in Alchemy. Two guys thought of calculus (wikipedia actually indicates the number is higher than this). And I'm sure I do plenty of cliche things. You sound so crazy complaining about Possession being "uncreative" though.


I say adds very little depth because, IMO, it discourages creativity.  Limitations should create trade-offs instead of cutting out strategic options.  Possession has no in-game counter (it's not an Attack),

Possession has a bunch of in-game counters. Just because you can't Moat it doesn't mean you can't counter it.

This is such an obvious statement that it's clear I screwed something up.  Sorry, let me try to clarify.  For virtually every other attack-like thing in the game (except maybe Masquerade), the game provides tactical outs (as opposed to strategic outs).  Maybe a given board doesn't, but that's the nature of a random game.  But, with Possession, if it's viable, it's viable.  There's no protection from its effects other than to prune out your own strategies.  So, for me, that takes an aspect I don't like and amplifies it.  This can be true even if there's a subset of creativity it doesn't affect.

And, sigh, let me also say I like Masquerade for a host of other reasons.  My distaste for Possession is multi-faceted and I just want to cut somebody off from citing something that matches a subset of facets as evidence of hypocrisy...

so the primary counter strategy is to play simpler.  Avoid powerful engines and megaturns as they could be used against you. 

Even that simple counter creates a rock-paper-scissors scenario. If you go for a really simple strategy, then you're basically immune to being possessed. But then if your opponent goes for the complex engine, that'll beat your simple strategy. But then building a Possession deck will beat the engine?

So it creates interaction. You can't just ignore what your opponent is doing - you have to react. This isn't multiplayer solitaire! Play to keep your options open, ready to grab and use possession if your opponent has left themselves open for it, but be ready to flood your deck with green and destroy your engine as soon as your opponent gets a possession they can play reliably, and pick the right time to do it.

I don't think rock-paper-scissors is always a good thing.  There's a reason rock-paper-scissors isn't turn-based: the player who goes first loses.  The degenerate case here is that both players play simple until one flinches (usually in a last-ditch effort to come-from-behind).  How is that any different than just playing simple?  On a board where Possession is viable and opponents are skilled, you've taken the potentially-beautiful interactions of a kingdom and squashed them because exactly one card is present.  I personally think that's something to be avoided.  But, you know, I'm also just some guy on the internet who hasn't designed any sweet games. :)  Maybe you disagree strongly with me and that's fine.  I just hope to be understood.

I say adds very little depth because, IMO, it discourages creativity.  Limitations should create trade-offs instead of cutting out strategic options.  Possession has no in-game counter (it's not an Attack), so the primary counter strategy is to play simpler.  Avoid powerful engines and megaturns as they could be used against you.  And if the winning engine on the board is still faster than Possession, then Possession was a wasted card in the kingdom.  Its fundamental competitive purpose is to counter a strategy slower than itself.
Possession is there for the people who like it - for them it is not a wasted card on the table or in the expansion. It has no "fundamental competitive purpose."

About "fundamental competitive purpose": I meant the purpose for which one would leverage Possession in a competitive scenario.  Donald X, you may not have given it a specific purpose, but it still has one in competition.

And if the winning engine on the board is still faster than Possession, then Possession was a wasted card in the kingdom.  Its fundamental competitive purpose is to counter a strategy slower than itself.

I disagree with that "fundamental competitive purpose". Every card "counters a strategy slower than itself". Possession creates a whole new strategy space, with strategies fundamentally different than that which any other card creates.

You say this is a whole new strategy space, but I see it as primarily forcing a subset of the existing strategy space.  I'm sure there are scenarios where it adds some depth, but a big part of my belief is that the card is just not worth the added rules complexity.  I haven't seen Possession ever do anything I thought was exciting enough to justify it.  Who knows - maybe I'll play a game tomorrow that will totally change my mind.


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