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Author Topic: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)  (Read 4224 times)

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Donald X.

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (satire)
« Reply #50 on: July 07, 2018, 04:52:08 pm »
+5

I'm not putting down your work on Dominion!

Perhaps depth in the sense of interesting card interactions is not an accident, but depth in the sense of holding up to scrutiny in the standard competitive 2-player format seems to be.
It turns out that when you say that something that someone accomplished seems to be an accident, that's putting down their work.

It feels, somehow, like I've spent years and years trying to make sure that Dominion expansions are both fun and strategic. It's even clear that the biggest mistakes are cards that didn't get much scrutiny - last-minute changes, early cards that were never reconsidered. Well - I am helplessly accurate - the biggest mistakes in terms of strategic play. There are mistakes along the lines of "this is too complex" that weren't last-minute. I've had lots of help so actually you are putting down all those people too. Anything any of us accomplishes: just an accident.

Yes, I don't play much with two players; man, therefore all this work is doing nothing for the two-player experience? Your mom was doing nothing for the two-player experience, last night.

Maybe you just don't have any idea how multiplayer Dominion goes. It's not like, this game there's Fishing Village / Wharf, therefore everyone divides up those cards evenly. You get to build the 2-player versions of decks plenty. And deciding not to Duchy dance, because there's a third player who may just randomly end it, doesn't mean that therefore any endgame joy the game has was randomly generated.

Anyway. I'm not here at f.ds to praise myself; that's not my idea of a good time. I've made plenty of mistakes, such as getting into this discussion, and certainly gotten lucky some too. Just think it's all an accident if that's a good time for you. A lot of 2-player Dominion gets played somehow, but hey there's the anthropic principle: if the game didn't somehow have strategy we wouldn't be here at dominionstrategy.com talking about it. And anyone who wants to know how good of a job I did should certainly not be asking me; I have something at stake there and so am biased.
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samath

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #51 on: July 07, 2018, 08:32:01 pm »
0

I still have a lot of Nocturne cards that I suck at playing, and I think that's mostly just because a lot of kingdoms just have the same old cards that I can already wrap my head around and the Nocturne stuff doesn't show up all that much. This is not really even a problem per say, but some kind of a standardized format (that you could automatch for) that leaves out some of the older expansions certainly wouldn't hurt.

IRL it’s easy, you mean? Or are there features for Dominion Online that I’m unaware of?
I meant IRL - so far I have merely considered playing online - but online you can checkbox two expansions at a time if you want, the new one and whatever, and rotate the non-new one. Which is what I did when testing online Nocturne. Or of course you can use an app to generate a list and then manually enter it. More options would be nice but these games can be played.

I suppose now would be a good time to bring back up my Google Spreadsheet of Nocturne Card Sets. Pick the number of Nocturne cards you want, and ten options of random Nocturne cards will appear. Copy a random row and paste into the kingdom selector, and your board will have at least however many Nocturne cards. The lists refresh every 5 minutes with ten new sets of random cards.

Of course, this doesn't satisfy Awaclus's desire for being used in automatch, but it would work for League matches (as long as both players agree, of course).
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phonological loop

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (satire)
« Reply #52 on: July 08, 2018, 01:19:29 am »
+2

I'm not putting down your work on Dominion!

Perhaps depth in the sense of interesting card interactions is not an accident, but depth in the sense of holding up to scrutiny in the standard competitive 2-player format seems to be.
It turns out that when you say that something that someone accomplished seems to be an accident, that's putting down their work.

I'm sorry, that was not the best choice of words. As I said, I enjoy the game, I think it's well designed, and it is not at all my intention to put down the work that went into it.

Let me try to rephrase things. It seems agreed that you do not attempt to hyper-optimize the game for "competitive" play (2-player, random kingdom, etc.), or for the tastes of a certain brand of "competitive" player (as opposed to say, the way Blizzard and Wizards try to optimize Starcraft 2 and Magic, respectively, with an absurd amount of 2-player testing under competition rules.) I realize I'm being a little vague here, but think of the MtG "Spike" psychotype, or David Sirlin of "play to win" fame.

This is fine! I'm not making any value judgments. It's your game and you can shape it as you see fit, and arguing about how people "ought" to conceive of games is like arguing about what your favorite color ought to be. I think it's a great achievement that Dominion produces interesting and diverse games even when played competitively (and also when not!), as not many games do (and even fewer are as fun).

But nonetheless, your goal is not solely to optimize the game for competitive play. So someone looking for a such a game is never going to be 100% satisfied. There will always things about the game and the client that could be tweaked to optimize things for "Spike," but were not in order to serve another element of your design philosophy. And this explains the OP of the thread (echoing LastFootnote).

Do you think this is a reasonable take?

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Donald X.

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #53 on: July 08, 2018, 01:47:00 am »
+1

Let me try to rephrase things. It seems agreed that you do not attempt to hyper-optimize the game for "competitive" play (2-player, random kingdom, etc.), or for the tastes of a certain brand of "competitive" player (as opposed to say, the way Blizzard and Wizards try to optimize Starcraft 2 and Magic, respectively, with an absurd amount of 2-player testing under competition rules.)
I don't know about Blizzard, but Wizards both puts tons of effort into making the game good for non-Spike players, and also endlessly reminds people that they can't figure out the formats the way that the serious players will the day a new set comes out. You are underrating the work they put into not-Spike, and overrating their ability (and thus attempt) to hyper-optimize. In fact right now, Standard (the "play with the most recent 2 years of cards" format) has 7 banned cards - mistakes only caught once they saw what happened in tournaments with real players.

But nonetheless, your goal is not solely to optimize the game for competitive play. So someone looking for a such a game is never going to be 100% satisfied. There will always things about the game and the client that could be tweaked to optimize things for "Spike," but were not in order to serve another element of your design philosophy. And this explains the OP of the thread (echoing LastFootnote).

Do you think this is a reasonable take?
No.

Any given individual may not be satisfied, for whatever personal reasons. If you have perfect information some ultra-competitive people will hate that; if you don't some ultra-competitive people will hate that. Also non-ultra-competitive people will hate both things. You can't please everyone on every point. It's nuts to think that all Spikes want the same things, and it's nuts to think that you have go all out for Spike or Spike won't be happy.
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phonological loop

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #54 on: July 08, 2018, 02:27:15 am »
0

Well, Blizzard is perhaps a better example. I actually don't know much about MtG these days (cf. my incorrect comment about note taking earlier in the thread); I haven't played for years and years. Old Mark Rosewater columns gave me the impression that making the game play well competitively was a top priority. This does not imply they can't also have other design goals in mind, or that they're perfect. I would be surprised if there was not extensive 2-player playtesting under tournament-esque rules today, with some consideration of how each card might affect the competitive meta-game, but I'm happy to be corrected on this point.

The situation is somewhat different there in that a "Timmy" or "Johnny" card can exist parallel to the competitive scene in a way a "swingy" or otherwise competitively undesirable card can't exist outside of all expansions, full random, Fox only, etc., but the solution here is probably to come up with a better competitive Dominion format that excludes such cards. Then everyone's happy.


Any given individual may not be satisfied, for whatever personal reasons. If you have perfect information some ultra-competitive people will hate that; if you don't some ultra-competitive people will hate that. Also non-ultra-competitive people will hate both things. You can't please everyone on every point.

I agree with this.

Quote
It's nuts to think that all Spikes want the same things, and it's nuts to think that you have go all out for Spike or Spike won't be happy.

I don't agree with this. The players I'm talking about -- let's call them "Sirlins," since you think "Spikes" is too broad -- do want mostly the same things and share a certain broad game design philosophy. For instance, when I read Awaclus posts I understand immediately the place he is coming from (though I also enjoy my casual multiplayer games, thank you very much). I've met several people in real life with basically the same gaming philosophy.

(As an aside, I would be very interested in a description of the psychology of "Spikes" who are not "Sirlins." Perhaps I would better understand the distinction you're drawing.)

It is my impression that such people are generally very detail-oriented and find any deviation from certain Platonic competitive ideals off-putting, and have played enough games that they're quick to find and call out such deviations. (The lack of a turn timer in Dominion Online is possibly one example; it's often thought that competitive chess is a better game in virtue having a time limit, and the ability to select different time limits from "blitz" to G90 or beyond. I don't want to necessarily defend this idea, but I do want to point out that a "competitive" person of the kind I'm thinking of will find the idea of unlimited turn time a little weird.)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 02:29:49 am by phonological loop »
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markusin

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #55 on: July 08, 2018, 09:15:22 am »
+1

Quote
It's nuts to think that all Spikes want the same things, and it's nuts to think that you have go all out for Spike or Spike won't be happy.

I don't agree with this. The players I'm talking about -- let's call them "Sirlins," since you think "Spikes" is too broad -- do want mostly the same things and share a certain broad game design philosophy. For instance, when I read Awaclus posts I understand immediately the place he is coming from (though I also enjoy my casual multiplayer games, thank you very much). I've met several people in real life with basically the same gaming philosophy.

(As an aside, I would be very interested in a description of the psychology of "Spikes" who are not "Sirlins." Perhaps I would better understand the distinction you're drawing.)

It is my impression that such people are generally very detail-oriented and find any deviation from certain Platonic competitive ideals off-putting, and have played enough games that they're quick to find and call out such deviations. (The lack of a turn timer in Dominion Online is possibly one example; it's often thought that competitive chess is a better game in virtue having a time limit, and the ability to select different time limits from "blitz" to G90 or beyond. I don't want to necessarily defend this idea, but I do want to point out that a "competitive" person of the kind I'm thinking of will find the idea of unlimited turn time a little weird.)

I think what separates people here is how much they are willing to play a game despite some mechanics they found undesirable. So as you describe, Sirlins are likely to quickly recognize mechanics that are at odds with the notion of competitive play. However, they may have very different ideas on what is a "deal breaker" and how long it takes to get burned out on a certain game. So, the extend that competitive players are willing to put up with first player imbalances can vary (aside: these days I pay a lot more attention to how games do or don't address first player advantage). And people still have preferences on where they like to focus their strategic efforts e.g. risk/reward vs. thinking ahead, even though this category of players recognizes all these possible sources of strategy.

Like, for all the issues Awaclus brought up, he has nevertheless played over 1000 games of Dominion Online according to the Dominion Scavenger leaderboard, though I don't know how many games of Prismata he has played.
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Jack Rudd

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #56 on: July 08, 2018, 09:27:39 am »
+1

Normally, I would expect either games or tournament formats to address first-player advantage. For example, chess has a small but noticeable first-player advantage (I think white tends to score about 55% in competitive play between players of the same level.) Thus chess tournaments have rules that address this; most standard Swiss formats, for example, have a rule that the greater the discrepancy between the number of whites and blacks you have had so far, the more important it is you get the colour you've had fewer of in the next game.
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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #57 on: July 08, 2018, 10:14:25 am »
+1

I don't think there is much difference between competitive and noncompetitive players from a design perspective.  I've seen a lot of people advocate that there is for a long time but the arguments have always proven weak.

Variance is not necessarily anticompetitive.  Poker gets taken very seriously and yet there is lots of variance.

You alluded to items in smash, but that isn't even necessarily an example of designer intent failing the competitive gamer.  Items were used in tournament smash for like two years or so, but the incident that got them banned was when a bobomb spawned in a location overlapping a fighter's body, making it detonate immediately and deciding the match.  The developers probably didn't actively want items to do that.
And on the other hand, lots of casual players dislike items.

Generally you should just make your game good and both casual and competitive people will like it.  Separate from that, there are some policy debates that are evenly divided, and those include things like taking notes, swiss versus brackets, acceptable sample size (maybe not that one, even) and some other stuff.  That doesn't really have to do with game design itself though.  Donald didn't print "Tomato Garden : Worth 4 VP if you have exactly 7 Silver".  The question of whether you whine about the guy who digs through his discard pile or inspects his deck then re-randomizes it to make perfect decisions, versus the guy who says he doesn't like putting stakes on the game if he can't get to do that, is separate and parallel.
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Donald X.

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #58 on: July 08, 2018, 03:10:01 pm »
+1

The situation is somewhat different there in that a "Timmy" or "Johnny" card can exist parallel to the competitive scene in a way a "swingy" or otherwise competitively undesirable card can't exist outside of all expansions, full random, Fox only, etc., but the solution here is probably to come up with a better competitive Dominion format that excludes such cards. Then everyone's happy.
When people bring up banning whatever cards, Mic Qsenoch speaks up to say, you guys want to ban all the fun cards. It's like all competitive players aren't identical in what they like!

Quote
It's nuts to think that all Spikes want the same things, and it's nuts to think that you have go all out for Spike or Spike won't be happy.
I don't agree with this.
Okay. I continue to be confident in my position but do not need to convince you.
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phonological loop

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #59 on: July 08, 2018, 04:33:36 pm »
0

The situation is somewhat different there in that a "Timmy" or "Johnny" card can exist parallel to the competitive scene in a way a "swingy" or otherwise competitively undesirable card can't exist outside of all expansions, full random, Fox only, etc., but the solution here is probably to come up with a better competitive Dominion format that excludes such cards. Then everyone's happy.
When people bring up banning whatever cards, Mic Qsenoch speaks up to say, you guys want to ban all the fun cards. It's like all competitive players aren't identical in what they like!

Not all good players, or people who play competitively, have the psychology I described. Nor is it the case that all people with that psychology are clones of each other, just that they share enough opinions about gaming that such a classification is useful.

Further, based on direct experience I know there is faction of hardcore types with a certain "play to win, games as intellectual sport" disposition and with relatively homogeneous game design preferences, and that such types always find certain deviations from their ideals a little grating. Awalcus is one, on some days I am one, and I know more in real life. (Their preferences are homogeneous, by the way, because they're mostly learned from a shared set of previous competitive or "serious" games.) I'm not sure how many Awalcuses play Dominion, but I can assure you they're definitely out there.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 04:40:15 pm by phonological loop »
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phonological loop

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #60 on: July 08, 2018, 04:48:55 pm »
0

Normally, I would expect either games or tournament formats to address first-player advantage.

Indeed, and this is one of those canonical things that the players I am attempting (poorly) to describe look for. And DVX is on record saying that first player advantage doesn't exist in Dominion (albeit in a forum post from 2008: http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Turn_advantage).

Someone with the "Sirlin" mentality could probably accept the argument that first player advantage is small enough that the best solution is to switch sides in a tournament setting, or that any fixes have costs that outweigh the benefits. But a claim that it actually doesn't exist is going to make them a little uncomfortable.

To be clear, I don't want to get into a debate about whether Dominion has FPA here. I just point this out because it is a perfect example of there being a collection of players of a certain "competitive" mindset with relatively predictable preferences and concerns.

The question of whether you whine about the guy who digs through his discard pile or inspects his deck then re-randomizes it to make perfect decisions,

These two things are not at all equivalent! No one is advocating for the latter, and it would be a really bad design change, for reasons I hope are obvious.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 11:51:23 pm by phonological loop »
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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #61 on: July 08, 2018, 05:01:56 pm »
0

For the online implementation, being able to look through your deck and shuffle it back to how it was and reading through the full log carefully are the same. 
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phonological loop

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #62 on: July 08, 2018, 06:06:06 pm »
+1

For the online implementation, being able to look through your deck and shuffle it back to how it was and reading through the full log carefully are the same.

Sorry, I misread. I thought by "re-randomize" you meant organize the cards in the deck to get good draws. (The "perfect decisions" bit confused me.) Forget my remark, then.
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Awaclus

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #63 on: July 08, 2018, 07:22:43 pm »
+1

Variance is not necessarily anticompetitive.  Poker gets taken very seriously and yet there is lots of variance.

That's true, but variance comes in different forms. In Poker's case, you get to have almost absolute control over how big of a risk you are taking, and so even if I draw a super lucky hand and you draw garbage, it doesn't mean you automatically lose the whole game — you can just fold as soon as I place the first bet and you get to keep most (or all) of your chips while I gain next to nothing (or actually nothing). In Dominion, if the equivalent lucky draws happen, that means I more or less automatically win that one game out of the six we're playing.

I would say that RNG can have three main effects: it can affect the outcome of the game, it can complexify the decision making progress by introducing a new element you have to take into account, and it can create crazy unpredictable situations. I think the last two are great effects, and I think the first is a bad effect, but I can tolerate it to a pretty large extent (e.g. I'm fine with 6 Nimmt!). Dominion does pretty well in having plenty of 2 and 3 without having all that much 1, but it still has a bunch of 1 too and I would like it more if it had less of it.

Like, for all the issues Awaclus brought up, he has nevertheless played over 1000 games of Dominion Online according to the Dominion Scavenger leaderboard, though I don't know how many games of Prismata he has played.

I have played more like 7000 games of Dominion total if you count all the different implementations (which I think you should, because all of my complaints apply to previous implementations as well, except #4 but that still applied to Goko's web client as well). I have only played like 1000-2000 games of Prismata, but it was hard to find a match until recently, so I didn't play a lot until recently. Your point is totally correct though; I was completely happy about putting up with all the issues with Dominion until I got more active in Prismata and it didn't have any of the issues.
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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #64 on: July 08, 2018, 07:48:17 pm »
0

Poker, Texas hold em at least, is a very high variance game that allows you to play hands pretty quickly to balance it out.

Often someone bluffs when only a few of the community cards are revealed, and someone with a much stronger hand will call the bluff, the play that should punish that play.  But then the subsequent card reveals will randomly create a straight or flush with the weaker hand that doesn't affect the stronger hand, and the player who had his bluff called claims the pot.

I don't really understand how those sequences can be interpreted as anything but variance.  I don't think the One True Strategy of Poker can involve folding to hands you know are weaker than yours.  Yet yeah, you have the "choice" not to call those bluffs and lose just your ante bet every time you're winning, until death from a thousand cuts pushes you away from the table.

Citing choices as proof positive that good players can "opt out of poker's variance" seems about as insightful as pointing out that chess players don't have to play games that are swingy due to the Queen if they just leave the Queen safe in the starting row.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 07:49:18 pm by popsofctown »
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Donald X.

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #65 on: July 08, 2018, 08:10:33 pm »
+2

Indeed, and this is one of those canonical things that the players I am attempting (poorly) to describe look for. And DVX is on record saying that first player advantage doesn't exist in Dominion (albeit in a forum post from 2008: http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Turn_advantage).
It would be great if you could confine the garbage you say to stuff that doesn't involve me!

What you are linking to is in fact me saying, in 2008, that the advantage of going first is the possibility of getting an extra turn. That isn't me saying that there's no advantage. It's not the tiniest bit that.

If it's important to you to keep saying garbage about me, I will ask theory to have you banned. No joke, find something else to be wrong about, or find some other place on the internet to make up stuff about me.
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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #66 on: July 08, 2018, 10:24:13 pm »
0

phono loop, I would definitely recommend you stop arguing with the designer of the game you like playing about how he first started designing his game
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phonological loop

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #67 on: July 08, 2018, 10:39:23 pm »
0

I typed that post too quickly, and I did not mean to misrepresent your position. (The post should read "first player advantage beyond the possibility of an extra turn," but the point is the same.) I mean no disrespect, and having said what I want to say as well as I could say it, I'll bow out of this thread now.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 11:54:08 pm by phonological loop »
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Aleimon Thimble

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #68 on: July 09, 2018, 03:42:30 am »
+2

4) Shuffle iT's implementation is sometimes very slow, which is probably at least partially because it's a browser client, not a standalone.

[...]

Honestly if Stef gets his ShiT together and does something about points 2, 3, and 4 [...]

You haven't just noticed that, have you?

Every once in a while I still get annoyed that Dominion got a worse online client than before for double the prize. But what can you do.
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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #69 on: July 09, 2018, 06:21:17 am »
+3

Every once in a while I still get annoyed that Dominion got a worse online client than before for double the prize. But what can you do.

Whether you like this client more or less then the MF implementation is up to you.
While I am probably biased, I can tell you I enjoy playing on it a lot more.

But your prize comparison really doesn't make sense. It's a bit too complicated to linearly compare the two, but if you really want to the best approximation is that this implementation costs about half of what they charged, not double.
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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #70 on: July 09, 2018, 07:05:45 am »
0

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #71 on: July 09, 2018, 07:09:01 am »
+5

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Bomb, Cannon, and many of the Gunpowder cards can strongly effect gameplay, particularly in a destructive way

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infangthief

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #72 on: July 09, 2018, 07:40:05 am »
+3

RNG

Random number generator?

No, the Raniganj railway station.
Now that is quite remarkable. You know, all that stuff about shuffle luck, opening splits, and the chances of a particular three-card combo coming up in a full-random game... and you're saying that there's this railway station that is somehow determining all of that, for every game of Dominion ever?
Who was it who said 'you make your own shuffle luck'? Did he build that railway station or something?
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faust

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #73 on: July 09, 2018, 07:54:43 am »
+6

RNG

Random number generator?

No, the Raniganj railway station.
Now that is quite remarkable. You know, all that stuff about shuffle luck, opening splits, and the chances of a particular three-card combo coming up in a full-random game... and you're saying that there's this railway station that is somehow determining all of that, for every game of Dominion ever?
Who was it who said 'you make your own shuffle luck'? Did he build that railway station or something?
Well it makes sense you know. When I'm at a railway station, I always feel that the actual departure times of the trains are highly random.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

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Re: Why I'm quitting Dominion for the foreseeable future (not satire)
« Reply #74 on: July 09, 2018, 08:08:45 am »
+21

... and you're saying that there's this railway station that is somehow determining all of that...

You have to appreciate the irony of Awaclus successfully derailing his own threat by posting about a railway station.
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