1. A simple game to analyze here is Connect Four.
- The game involves 2 players, no more and no less
- Pieces must be dropped from the top row down
- The game ends when a diagonal or adjacent row of pieces are complete
- although results are determined by the position of 4 pieces in a row on the board, the choices a player has are only limited to the numbers of columns in existence
- in order to make a friendly piece useful, a player must act within 1 to 4 enemy turns (assuming the piece isn’t being supported by another friendly piece)
- The game can’t be played with 1 color
- A player cannot dump out the finished pieces and rearrange them
- The game must be played with identical pieces; a player cannot use a replacement object
2. Randomness can be defined in different amounts for each game in existence. For more strategy/turn based games like Chess, Go, and Checkers, the structure of the game itself isn’t exactly random. However, a human player can only calculate so many moves ahead before reaching their “uncertainty” limit, which is why these games are compelling. These games have a colossal structure and a vast amount of possibilities, with each move greatly affecting the macro-level of the game and lead to a high degree of uncertainty. One of the biggest examples here is Go; if you do not foresee or defend against a vulnerable area, you may be very well on your way to losing half the board worth of territory. These games do not incorporate probability, however. One of the most common uses of the probability element in any game is the six-sided dice, where the players leave the skill-based aspect of the game and leave future results to gravity and physics. Randomness can level out skill subjectivity in a game with high certainty, making that game compelling and fun for even the less skilled players.
3. Positive Feedback Loop:
- In Super Mario World, a player controlling Mario will become more powerful and survive longer as he collects more items to aid him while progressing through the game. If a player collects an extra power-up item, the item is stored into a storage on the top of the screen for emergency use, making survivability even easier. Conversely, when a player loses a power-up by getting hurt, the player gains invincibility frames, forgiving the player’s mistake for that short amount of time to fix any problems that were left unfixed.
Negative Feedback Loop:
- In the online arena game League of Legends, a player’s skill level is determined by the ratio of wins and losses as well as the amount of games played. This allows the system to calculate and match-make a game for the player during a queue and pairs her/him up with a team of players with similar skills. As the player loses more games, he/she gets their ranking demoted. This may cause the player to lose even more due to more frequent amounts of unskilled players that cannot do their part in their team.
4. To me, the term “Zero Sum” is just another way of saying “Sudden Death with a prize,”: a player winning is an instant loss for the other player. A good example is poker, where the players only have 1 turn to reveal their hand, even though the strategy takes place during passing.
A saddle point is hit when both players reach the same point in interest in a game. This usually results in a tie that occurred from a player who’s high score matched an advantageous opponent’s “low” score.
In the Prisoner’s Dilemma, a more risky approach to a game takes place. A player must independently decide upon an action, as well as his opponent. The outcome of the game can determine either players winners, or even match in a tie.