Reading Note 2

1. In the game of Life, the basic operational rules are to take turns spinning a wheel, move your car piece the number of spaces that the wheel landed on (or until you hit a stop sign), and follow the instructions listed on the space you stop at (or any green spaces you passed). When all players reach the end of the game board, the winner is determined by who has the most money. The constitutive rules are that every player starts at 0, moving along the game board at increments of 1-10 unless instructed to stop. Each space determines the accumulation or loss of points. The player with the maximum number of points is the winner once every player runs out of spaces. The implicit rules are that you must deal with your money accurately and that stealing isn’t allowed. You should tell other players if they accidentally miss a pay day, and have all your cards and items visible while playing and act according to their conditions.

2. In my opinion, I do feel that a certain level of randomness makes a game more compelling. Mostly for the reason of making each game more egalitarian and not allowing age, education, or skill play a major role in determining the winner. Games can often become frustrating the winner is disproportionately the person with the most life experience or who has played the game the most. Players should all be able to enter a game with a considerable chance at winning, without knowing a specific player will have a predetermined advantage. This encourages more risk taking within the game making it more exciting. Randomness often means that at no point early on in a game is it obvious who will be the winner, and that lack of predetermination keeps players from wanting to give up at the sight of a lost cause.

3. In the game Citadels, the randomness of the city building cards counteracts some of the strategy and pressure placed in choosing your character. The benefits in each character’s power may appear to be disproportionate toward how they will help you win the game, however with the randomness of the cards selected, something that may appear to be logical may be rendered useless without the proper cards. Likewise, risking a character decision against your better judgement could pay off drastically with the random selection of certain cards. This randomness again encourages risk taking and the breaking of patterns.

4. Citadels also utilises aspects of positive and negative feedback loops. The positive feedback loops can be observed especially with the merchant character. This character’s special skills, along with the abundance of merchant cards, leads to a large accumulation of merchant buildings which in turn can earn the player a disproportionate amount of gold. This character has the reputation of the one to choose in order to get rich quickly, accelerating the end of the game and magnifying the possible early success of the player. However there is also a negative feedback loop which counteracts this. The thief and the warlord check the monetary power of the merchant, using vulnerability to counter advantages of the character. The ability to steal and destroy can ruin these early leads, then prolonging game, and magnifying the possibility of late success.

5. Saddle-Point: If the system of the game is to transparent, a logical route may be too easily discovered. When both players are aware of this system, it may result in that path being the only one used until the end of the game, eliminating meaningful choice.

Prisoners Dilemma: Two players are offered a deal in isolation of each other’s actions. If both players cooperate, they will mutually receive minor consequences. If both players defect, they will mutually receive medium consequences. If one player defects, and the other cooperates, the defected player will receive no consequences, leaving the cooperator with major consequences. The dilemma is whether to risk their own welfare against the trust of the other prisoner’s rationality to receive the shortest prison sentence.

Zero Sum Game: The sum of points is fixed between two players, so every gain by one player, means that an equal loss is suffered by another player.