READING NOTES #2

1. Choose a simple game (not found in the reading) and describe its Constitutive Rules, Operational Rules, and (at least 3…) Implicit Rules.

Candy Land

Candy Land is a simple 2 to 4 player game where they basically race to the end.

Operational Rules:

Deck of candy cards is shuffled and put on the table (faced down) where everyone can reach. The youngest player goes first then next round rotates to the left of first player. Players pick one of the four colored pawns and place them on the board at the starting point. Players then take turn to draw one card from the deck; that card may contain one color block, two color blocks, or images of places on the board. Players move their pawns accordingly to the color of the block shown on the card. If a two block cards are drawn, the pawn is moved forward twice on the same color. Whoever reaches the castle wins the game.

Constitutive Rules:

All players begin with a value of zero. There are 134 blocks from start to finish divided to: 22 red, 22 purple, 21 yellow, 21 blue, 21 orange and 21 green. Three of these blocks (penalty blocks) stop one from moving until the same color block card is drawn out by the next player, these penalty blocks are: yellow block number 48, blue block number 86, and red block number 121. There are 66 cards in total to draw from. There are two shortcut blocks that allow players to jump ahead from block 5 to 59 and from block 34 to 47.  Player who reaches the rainbow block at the end is the winner of the game.

Implicit Rules:

  1. No more than one card is drawn at a time (unless players have agreed to play by special rules).
  2. You cannot reshuffle the deck while other players are taking their turn unless the deck is completely gone through without anyone reaching the castle.
  3. Once you landed on a block, your pawn cannot be moved even though you landed on a wrong color.

2. In your opinion what does the element of randomness contribute to making a game more compelling?

I personally feel like randomness adds more excitement to the game. It increases chance of winning for bad players. It can help turning the game momentum completely. One good example would be Backgammon; the better player could have all the strategies planned out and think that he is winning but a single dice roll can turn the game around and he can end up losing in the end.

3. Pick one of the games we played in class that involves randomness and describe how you feel personally about the role randomness plays in the game experience?  (BackgammonCitadelsCatan, or other)  (Please incorporate concepts from the reading in your answer)

So far I personally like Citadels the most because it was not as confusing as the Space Dice Duel. As the deck of the character cards is shuffled and one card is drawn out, players can choose their character cards that will benefit them the most. Say that you were the king in one round and you were running out of tokens and you plan to pick the thief card the next round, there is a chance that you might randomly be:

A: assassinated by the assassin and you lose your turn entirely or,

B: unable to become thief because the thief card was left out

Now this changes your strategy completely and it makes the game more involving and engaging since all players are required to come up with new strategies all the time when the game does not turn out they way they plan.

4. Describe examples (from any of the games we have played in class or another game you have played) of these key cybernetics concepts: a positive feedback loop and a negative feedback loop. (This question is not so easy )

One of the games we have played in class that is a good example for cybernetic system is Citadels. Say, a player chooses to be an architect, that player gets to build a lot of districts for that one round, now this player may plan to be an architect for the next turn as well to get ahead on the game, the ways in which this player keeps building districts is positive feedback loop, if this keeps going throughout the whole game, that player will win the game. This is where negative feedback loop comes into play. Other player might choose to be the warlord so they have special power to destroy the architect’s district, or the magician so they can swap their cards with the architect. The architect can also become the target of the assassin’s. These negative feedback loops help keeping the balance of the game.

5. In your own words explain these concepts from the field of Game Theory:

Saddle Point

A saddle point is the most ideal solution for players to win the game. If a player found a saddle point of the game, that player will no longer make a meaningful decision. They will usually degenerate their strategy and keep using that saddle point just to win the game. For example, I used to play Street Fighter and when I played against the computer, if I found the right combination that can damage the opponent a lot in one hit, I would keep using that combination over and over until I win the game. This is saddle point of the game.

Prisoners Dilemma

Prisoners Dilemma is when two rational players are in the situation where they may or may not agree with one another. It is not considered a zero sum game, according to the payoff grid from the reading. Supposed there are two criminals (A and B) who commit a crime together, the police make them testify against each other resulting in jail time. Any rational players who are interested in their own benefit, they will try to minimize their jail time, in this case if both choose to cooperate to remain silent, it will only result them in one year jail time each. But if they choose not to cooperate and only want to defect one another, they both will be in jail for 2 years each. This is how I understand prisoners dilemma.

Zero Sum Game

A zero sum is when one player gains a point, the other player losses an equal point. This is so when the points add up, it is always equal to zero.