Wednesday, August 01, 2018

How Did the Experiment Work?

We have just finished the first Card dynasty*. This was an experiment exploring playing Blognomic with cards, and I’d like to see what everyone else thinks about how we did.

*I noticed that the action was slightly difficult to follow, because so many variables would change in the GNDT at once. This was compounded by having 100 different possible cards, each which could be used in three or more ways (scoring, up, and down).
*The auto-dealer was heavily used, and greatly facilitated play. Would certainly recommend a similar system. I’m probably going to stick a copy of the code in the wiki for future reference if derrickthewhite.com ever goes down. Anything about that people would change?
*I’m unsure if the wizards felt like the game was an even balance of skill and luck. Was it ended by luck? did you enjoy the play?
*The original intent was to try and combat grinding by giving out cards. I think the mechanics ended up favoring people who checked every morning and were very active, not because they were grinding, but because the game state could change very quickly. Was this game too fast? was it a nice alternative to doing the same action every day?
*We never managed to get deck management to matter much, which is a real shame.
*Was “NO WIKIPAGES” the correct call? I’m not so sure myself.
*We had to build a lot of mechanics to make this system work right. I really enjoyed that.
*Make your own observations and ask questions!

*Not to be confused with the as of yet non-existent first dynasty of Card, nor the first coregency of Card and Diabecko.

Comments

Cuddlebeam:

08-01-2018 19:24:34 UTC

My original intent when I proposed a card system back at the Coregency (I think you took inspiration from there), is that there would be a sort of finale that concentrated all of the subgame play (much like the Final Bowl in Pokes II) and that you wouldn’t need daily actions to get your cards. Or daily actions for anything, really. It would all be decided at a finale which you had the course of the entire dynasty to prepare for.

But, even if that didn’t happen, I liked it a lot. Blognomic looked so different because of the card mechanic, and I enjoyed that.

Cuddlebeam:

08-01-2018 19:25:42 UTC

Pokes I*

Brendan:

08-01-2018 19:49:26 UTC

I think it’s interesting that this was one of the dynasties where the rate of proposals slowed down quite a bit even as the rate of gamestate changes remained quite high. Others may differ, but I tend to think that’s a result of a fundamental game design that quickly gains traction and works well.

I did find myself doing a LOT of referencing the deck, going back and forth between the wiki and the GNDT, having many tabs open, and so on. It was a challenge to keep the gamestate in one’s head, but derrick, I appreciated that your contributions (the auto-draw script and legacy standing updates) made it easier.

card and I had quietly teamed up a while ago, and up until late last night/this morning, the plan had been for me to back them for the victory. Drawing Renaissance into my hand meant a sudden change in tactics, so luck was a big factor, but so was skill: the sequence of my actions was all card’s plan, and I wouldn’t have seen the clear path to victory without them.

We had planned to flip a coin for the mantle of next Historian, but given that I’m about to do some traveling and they really deserve credit for the victory, I’m passing it to them.

Cuddlebeam:

08-01-2018 19:52:16 UTC

Card winning a card dynasty. It was traced in the stars, foretold by the sages, the prophecy is true.

card:

08-01-2018 20:02:59 UTC

1. I think the cards could’ve been made simpler so there could’ve been less to follow in the ruleset. Do they really need two effects and one of the effects requires you to sacrifice a different card to even play? Why not just have cards be free in the first place? There’s plenty of other card games to draw inspiration in this department. MTG has resource cards, Hearthstone and similar digital trading card games give resources per turn, Killer Bunnies’ run cards are played two turns ahead, effectively using time as a cost to playing them, other games don’t even require a cost for playing a card since they’re a resource in and of themselves.

2. I felt that there could probably be a way to make it easier for other people to validate the dealing. I felt that during most of my deals nobody double checked me, I very well could’ve made a mistake and not caught it. I know that when other people dealt, it seemed like a lot of work to undo the deal just to check if the right cards were given out.

3. many card games that use dealing have a large element of luck because of cards are distributed randomly. There’s still skill involved but not as much as a game without random dealing. I enjoyed the play, but some others like Corona who got draws which were largely useless to them might not have.

4. At ~5 weeks it does seem to be on the fast side. Perhaps the trigger for the victory condition was a little too low? Also I sort of felt that there could’ve been more communities; there were a few “add some points to X rating of each Y Faction” cards which were rather useless when there was only ever 1 community for each non-Neutral faction. That would’ve made the dynasty take a bit longer.

5. I think Kevan or someone else mentioned a way to get md5 hashes as a way to verify secret decks. I’m not sure how that would work out and people would probably need some sort of password for their decks.

6. I liked it. I tend to be okay with wikipages but some people don’t check it as much. I imagine some of the previous dynasties having their wikipages on the ruleset instead of a separate one would’ve gone much better.

7. It might even be a good skeleton to use for future dynasties, I think we’ve done that before.

8. Now of course this begs the question, should there be a card based dynasty similar to this in the future?

And I just remembered after looking over the history, there’s already been a dynasty based around cards (although the standard ones). Coincidentally it happens to be the 52nd dynasty https://wiki.blognomic.com/index.php?title=The_First_Dynasty_of_spikebrennan

[Brendan] Thank you.

[Cuddlebeam] indeed, it was fate as soon as I chose my username.

Kevan:

08-02-2018 09:07:17 UTC

I think the up/down effects probably did overcomplicate the cards, particularly when it took us a while to decide how they worked and what they meant. But I thought they worked well all the same - having to discard a card to get resources to play another seemed like a good system (the Call of Cthulhu LCG does something a bit like this), and gave a dilemma about which one to keep, and how much thaum to stockpile. And this was compounded by the shared deck, and the fact that playing or scoring a card risked another player drawing it.

Game speed and duration seemed fine. It had the usual timing issues where the earlier you could react to something the more control you had over the game, but that didn’t overwhelm things.

The lack of wiki pages seemed like the correct call - it’s useful to be able to search the whole game for a certain keyword, and it’s only less tab to have open when strategising. We just had to do a bit of a dance to make sure that card text wasn’t rule text. I’ve been thinking for a while that we should probably expand that to a keyword, so that we can just say “text in this list is not ruletext” and have the ruleset know what that means.

The auto-dealer was really useful. I agree with Card that it was awkward to check, though - if we ever use it again, it might be a good idea for it to spit out a logfile somewhere (“at 1:23am on August 1, Player X provided the following input to get the following output”) so that others can check things without having to work out and copypaste the earlier gamestate.

The Fourth Dynasty of Brendan was also a card game, based around the Tarot deck and with every card having an effect. (It’s also one of my favourite dynasties.)

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