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.

 

Connect 4

Operational Rules

  • Choose who plays first.
  • Each player in his turn drops one of his checkers down any of the slots in the top of the grid.
  • The play alternates until one of the players gets four checkers of his color in a row. The four in a row can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.
  • The first player to get four in a row wins.
  • If the board is filled with pieces and neither player has 4 in a row, then the game is a draw.

Constitutive Rules

  • The players start with an empty 6 high, by 7 wide grid. 42 spaces.
  • There are 4,531,985,219,092 possible combinations when the grid is filled with 0-42 pieces.

Implicit Rules

  • Do not release the lock at the bottom of the grid that holds all the pieces in place until a game is over
  • No taking back a move after a checker is dropped

 

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

Randomness in a game helps to keep a game more exciting because it keeps the player on the edge. Randomness helps to balance the odds between novice and expert players of the game. If a player were too good at a certain game and knew that they were going to win every time the game can become rather stale, and vice versa. Randomness also creates more room for excitement and disappointment because the outcomes are always unexpected. Randomness may affect the entire state of a game and force players to rethink their strategy, creating more room for meaningful choice.

 

 

  1. 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)

Randomness plays a huge role in the game Citadels and I feel that it’s a compelling aspect in the game. Although the game is also strategy based the randomness of the game can throw you off at any second. There are many uncertain outcomes in citadels; you may be assassinated or robbed, you may have your hand taken away from you, you may have one of your districts destroyed, etc. All of these uncertain outcomes define the way the game is played and it keeps the players more absorbed in the game by forcing them to come up with, or rethink strategies. A major key component of randomness in Citadels that I like is the drawing of the district cards. The district cards that a player draw may define what character that they select on their next turn. For example, if a player has a lot of one color type districts in their hand they will want to select a character that will further benefit them by having that one color type district. This component of the game can also help other players figure out which characters other players will want to play, although it will never be definite. For example, if a player has 3 Green type districts on the table they may want to choose the merchant the next time around in order to cash out using the Merchants special ability. This brings me to another random component of the game that I enjoy, Assassinations. Let’s use my previous example of the player with the 3 Green type districts. If another player who chose to be the assassin wanted to prevent this guy from cashing out with the Merchant character, then all he needs to do is assassinate the merchant at the beginning of the round. Whether or not that player chose to be the Merchant that round, he cannot cash out or benefit because of his 3 Green type districts. Randomness and meaningful choices define Citadels which is why it is such a compelling game.

 

  1. 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 

Cybernetic concepts are used in games to help stabilize the odds, or destabilize the odds. For example, in the video game ‘Street Fighter 4’ the “Super bar” is used as both, a negative and positive feedback. An example of a negative feedback loop is when a player is dealt damage a small portion of the super bar is filled, which will eventually help that player perform an EX move (uses ¼ of the bar) or their special move (uses the entire bar) as the super bar fills up. (The EX moves do more damage than normal ones, and the Super move does a significant amount of damage.) The Super bar is also filled when a player deals damage to the other player, although it is filled up more than as when a player is dealt damage. This allows the player that deals more damage to continue dealing more damage using the special bar.

The Ultimate bar in Street Fighter 4 is also a negative feedback loop. This bar is only filled when a player is dealt damage. When the bar is completely filled the player is can now activate what is called their Ultimate combo and deal a whole lot of damage back at their opponent.

 

 

  1. In your own words explain these concepts from the field of Game Theory :
    1. Saddle Point
    2. Prisoners Dilemma
    3. Zero Sum Game

 

Saddle point is a form of exploit that a player finds in order to win the fastest rendering the game not fun. Example: Infinite loop combos in fighting games. When someone can find one opening and repeat a few moves over and over until you lose the game just becomes no fun and is not meaningful play anymore.

 

Prisoners Dilemma is when you have 2 players making a decision based on their own welfare. If both players make a decision in favor of themselves they both suffer. If only one player makes the decision in favor of themselves that player benefits and the other suffers. If neither choose in favor of themselves they both suffer but not as significantly as if they were both to choose themselves.

 

Zero Sum game is a game where one player loses as much as the other player wins. Or in other words, one player gains as much as the other player loses. For example, in Hungry Hungry Hippos there is a limited amount of “food”, or white balls. The more food one player eats (gain), the less the other players have to eat (loss).