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Private information: Cost and SWC

Discussion in 'Rules' started by WWHSD, Apr 4, 2021.

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  1. Triumph

    Triumph Well-Known Member

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    No it doesn't. They don't become Deep Blue if they try to memorise the information, they're not a computer with perfect recall they can and will fuck stuff up or make different calls on different days for the same situation due to what they've realised they can't remember accurately on the day.

    One day I legitimately forgot whether or not WinterFor had access to Santiago drop troops on firefight. So I turned some stuff around and faced it the wrong way to defend my rear. My opponent laughed at me at the end of the game because I was getting it confused with the other sectorial full of blue people that he often plays, Starmada.

    The day humanity ascends to become cyborgs with synthetic brains it might be a problem but we're a long way off that as far as I know.

    I think this is where our opinions largely diverge. You want this game to be some turbo nerd elitist play like you've got a pair Warmachine thing that people obsess over executing a flawless perfect game in a competitive setting.

    I think the game should be designed around a focus on being fun. It's a recreational game, not a competitive sport. The game being full of surprises, not solved situations, is a big factor that keeps it a fresh and fun experience.
     
    #141 Triumph, Apr 7, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
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  2. taxites

    taxites Well-Known Member

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  3. RobertShepherd

    RobertShepherd Antipodean midwit

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    This is a tangent but frankly: no, they didn't. I was a judge for multiple Warmachine events that included WMH world champions in the player pool. Their eyeball was as accurate as any standard measuring tool.

    It was also, from a purely personal perspective, a pretty shit talent to ever have be the decider in a game. But that's also a tangent.
     
  4. Triumph

    Triumph Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, yes. The literal second best warmachine player in the world ran my local community and was one of my most frequent opponents when I still played that game, you know who he is we're both friends with him on facebook. I guarantee you he made his share of unforced positioning errors prior to pre measuring being a thing. Outside of me proxying lists for him to test match ups into before he travelled to things like WTC the only times I legitimately got wins in were from him making fuck ups with positioning and causing something important to die.

    What set him above everyone else was he made fewer of them that would cost an entire game, could recover better from mistakes, and was much, much, better than everyone else at recognising an error for an opponent and maximising the amount of punishment he could inflict on them from it.
     
    #144 Triumph, Apr 7, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  5. RobertShepherd

    RobertShepherd Antipodean midwit

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    Having judged multiple top tables featuring different world no.1's from different years during Warmachine's height, and having to make measurement calls for them, and playing against said players regularly, I stand by my statement.

    I also stand by my statement that ability to eyeball a charge to within one one hundredth of an inch wasn't ever on the list of things that made warmachine a worthwhile game.
     
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  6. Triumph

    Triumph Well-Known Member

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    You can stand by your statement being utterly wrong, go for it.


    I agree with that to some extent, but I also think it was better than the practical carpentry experience of measure twice caster kill once that was unleashed in Mk3.
     
  7. inane.imp

    inane.imp Well-Known Member

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    It's a Goon Show reference.

    I said Sorkin when I should have said Sirlin.
     
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  8. meikyoushisui

    meikyoushisui Competitor for Most Ignored User

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    No, that's not how I feel. I want to minimize all of the turbo nerd elitism stuff by helping to lower the skill floor as much as we can. Lowering the skill floor isn't going to change the skill ceiling at all. The point is to remove the things that differentiate Little Billy playing his 5th game and John the State Champ that don't revolve directly around their decision-making ability. (I just want to make this super clear here: Warmachine's "play like you've got a pair" thing created one of the most toxic tabletop gaming environments I've ever experienced, and I only experienced it very peripherally. We absolutely should not do that.)

    Let's think about the game from Little Billy's perspective here. Little Billy may not even know that some profiles and skills exist in the game. If you are playing Hassassins against Little Billy, you're going to warn him about Impersonation and Holomask/Holoprojector, aren't you? Because when Little Billy doesn't know that those mechanics even exist in the game, what is he supposed to do when they get dropped in his Deployment Zone? He's definitely not going to have fun if an opponent does that to him. (I've had this situation happen twice in a tournament without being intentional: once Oniwabaning an opponent in his first tournament match and one of his first 300 point games, and once Jaan Staaring an opponent in a meta where he had never seen an Impersonator and where rules didn't exist in his native language. It sucked for both of us in both cases and did not lead to fun games.)

    What I'm getting at is that Little Billy should have help to understand what options he has at any point in the game. He will always ultimately have to be the one to pick one of those options, but him having help enumerating those options isn't making the game less fun. In fact, him being able to better keep track of what he can choose to do is probably going to make the game even more fun for him, since he can spend more time making decisions than figuring out what decisions he can make.

    The underlying question here is what kind of player do you want to make the game fun for? I want the game to be fun for Little Billy! To that end, I want to make sure that little Billy isn't held back by an arbitrary wall where he just has to start memorizing the hell out of everything. That doesn't create a fun situation for little Billy.

    Games being fun and being competitive are two separate but related measures, and "fun" is much more subjective than "competitive." I can look at Shogi for example and I understand that it is a highly competitive game, but I have never had fun in a game of Shogi. On the other hand, I am sure that people who are good at Shogi do have a great deal of fun playing. We can easily make a game that is approachable for Billy (low skill floor) but still rewarding for John the State Champ (high skill ceiling).

    Surprises are good and I want them to happen! But I want them to happen within a framework totally shared between both players. When we start creating a framework in which players who have assembled more knowledge of less common mechanics start to have significant advantages, we're setting ourselves up for failure in both creating fun and creating a competitive experience.

    The game still wouldn't be solved even if we did allow player aids, dice calculator in game, access to army, or anything else (hot take: I would go as far to put "premeasuring" here personally), because the uncertainty created by the fact that Infinity is a dice game demands player flexibility in determining their approach to problem-solving and decision-making. Good decisions are how you mitigate bad dice.
     
    #148 meikyoushisui, Apr 7, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  9. RobertShepherd

    RobertShepherd Antipodean midwit

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    Strong agree with @meikyoushisui - and I would also add that maximising accessibility and intuitability to the rules to the list of worthwhile life improvements for new players. This is partly a new edition phenomena but I've had to spend a lot of time locally with players helping them overcome the feeling that they can't possibly access the entirety of the game's rules in the time and mental space they have available for it.
     
  10. Triumph

    Triumph Well-Known Member

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    Nothing you can reasonably do without making massive changes to the game is going to lower the floor to the point where "little billy on his 5th game" has any hope in hell against "John the state champ". I said it before, I'll say it again. The only way to change that dynamic is for John to pull his punches and treat the game differently to a normal game of Infinity to account for the polarising level of difference in experience between the two of them. Which I absolutely advocate doing so.

    I've basically coached an entire community of people into Infinity, mostly on my own and I've experienced waves of players go through the exact same stages of growth and pitfalls. There is no fix to this with the current framework of the game beyond going easy on them and playing the game differently with them until they are comfortable and relatively up to speed with the rest of the pack.

    I already said this but throwing a phone at little billy and saying "look shit up" doesn't really do very much to help little billy, pretending it does is disingenuous at best. Giving little billy a phone and saying "hey bro, you're on an equal playing field now" and then using your own phone to look up all his private information and bomb his LT on turn one favours you far more than it favours little billy. You're pretending that this is all to help struggling players, it isn't, it's mainly for the benefit of experienced players who want to play a perfect game with perfect information.

    These are just part and parcel of tournaments, round 1 brand new players are going to get trounced, and someone brand new the to game should be on a personal level prepared for this as they should be mature enough know what they're getting into. Again, them having army on their phone isn't really going to do shit to stop an Oniwaban stabbing something important. If they're mature about the situation they'll laugh it off and know that they'll get their closer matches in the later rounds in the tournament.
     
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  11. meikyoushisui

    meikyoushisui Competitor for Most Ignored User

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    Do you really think that Billy not having access to that info somehow makes the game more equal though? Because I cannot see a reason for that.

    I want to be clear, I'm not arguing that Billy has any hope against John with this information. But what I do want is for Billy and John to have access to all of the same information when making decisions. We shouldn't have a game that significantly rewards John for memorizing more, and right now, we do. I want John to win because he makes better decisions when provided with all necessary information, not because he has memorized more shit.

    Throwing a phone to Billy doesn't make the game equal obviously, because Billy doesn't know how to leverage the information in the phone. But knowing how to leverage that information is literally what I mean when I say "decision-making ability." Having more information isn't going to make Billy better at making decisions, it's going to help him identify which decisions he can make.

    I don't want to play a perfect game with perfect information (Infinity already isn't a perfect information game because private information exists). As an experienced player, I want to feel like I'm winning because I make good decisions, not because of how much stuff I've committed to memory. And as someone with a decent memory for this kind of stuff, I feel that way a little bit too often. When we start the game and I can point right to which model of my opponent's is their Lieutenant ("this is your brain on years of JSA") and they can't point to mine, we're already off on an unlevel playing ground by virtue of me knowing profiles in the game better than them.

    To the part of your comment I bolded specifically, I am speaking specifically from my experience of learning the game (nearly four years ago now, I think?). Little Billy's experience is based on my own. I have basically nothing to gain from things like point values being accessible today since I've had to undergo the exact process I'm calling out here of memorizing layers of useless arcane information. If I wanted to maintain an advantage over others, I would demand that all player aids be removed, because I'm confident that my knowledge of the game rules is better than most other players.

    Like, let's take another hypothetical "mid-career" player. Sally has played about 150 games of Infinity (1-2 games a week for a couple of years seems pretty reasonable). Enough time that she understands all of the rules but still has to look up some edge cases, knows her army well enough that she could write out a lot of the profiles from scratch (maybe fumbling a few less-used stats like CC and PH), has developed a good sense of intuition about dice math and distances, but doesn't know other armies quite as well and still relies on courtesy lists when playing against armies that aren't popular in her meta.

    For Sally, having access to information in Army is going to go a long way towards making a game against John into a straight battle of decision-making ability instead of arcane knowledge, because Sally has the skills necessary to leverage that information against John. If John decoded all of Sally's private information, she could easily do the same back to him. There's no real advantage that John gets from having access to that info that Sally isn't equally able to use.

    But take that away, and all the sudden stuff gets a lot tougher for Sally. See, John probably already knows all the options in her army that can be a lieutenant and can easily deduct which troops could be under camo markers because of his experience in the game. But Sally doesn't have that ability now because she hasn't spent as much time eating up the numerical information in the game. With Army, she can easily filter by Lt/Camo/Holo to determine what John's Lt could be or if it's even worth hunting it, even if she has never played this matchup before. She may not understand all of the dynamics of John's army, but she has enough experience that she knows what things she immediately needs to look out for: drop troops, TO units, impersonators, Smoke + MSV2, cheeky TO AROs, etc.

    The thing is, most players in the game look like Sally. They have enough sense of the dynamics of the game that additional information would primarily help them to enumerate options, but they would ultimately still have to pick one themselves. And for players like John, they already are leveraging this information on a level much higher than Billy or Sally do. There's a diminishing level of gains when you do things like this that lower the skill floor: Billy and Sally both have much more to gain from access to this info than John does, because John already will have memorized so much more of it through regular play.
     
    #151 meikyoushisui, Apr 7, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  12. Triumph

    Triumph Well-Known Member

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    I find it pointless to try and shape the game around this interaction between these two players. This doesn't do anything to fix the situation here, but it has negative effects on other players by making their game more solved.

    This player Sally isn't mid career by any real standards, they're already a fully developed player ready to handle the unexpected shit Infinity throws at them. Any major things that are yet to still take them by surprise (like lets assume they've not played into N4 Spiral or something rarer that has its own quirks) isn't going throw them for a loop. It's going to take them exactly one game to get a reasonable feel for this opposing army. Arguing that we should fuck over the system of private information for the occasional learning step is a stupid argument.

    And again, we are pretending that John is this mythical infallible uber nerd that can remember absolutely everything in the game. He is not a real person, they do not exist in any significant quantity. I have constantly pointed this out and I will continue to do so.

    Giving players at Sally's experience the app to constantly refer to just takes the uncertainty out of the game and makes it a duller experience by cheating the private information system.
     
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  13. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    Is it a duller experience for a player to know that a camouflage marker might contain a long range template weapon? Is it a duller experience to know that an army has access to Holomask troops that can join Fireteams?

    Not really. In fact, it fucking sucks when you get to experience this "exciting" moment.

    Just to put things straight here, because the bad faith arguments are too strong, no one is saying that reconstructing your opponent's list in Army in verbatim is supposed to be a thing.
     
  14. inane.imp

    inane.imp Well-Known Member

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    TBF some of us are saying "it may not be originally conceived to be a thing, but if someone spends their limited mental energy on doing that during a game AND doesn't slow down the game at all, then have at it because banning this has larger downsides, is basically unenforceable and it's not really an issue anyway."
     
  15. meikyoushisui

    meikyoushisui Competitor for Most Ignored User

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    I'm not saying we should either, but before this conversation continues, I would ask that you explain what you mean by "solved", because my understanding of the term is that it is binary. If a win can be correctly predicted from any situation, then a game is solved. If it is anything other than that, it is not solved.

    The underlying implication of your point is also strange to me, because your comment can easily be read as saying that making the game "less solved" would be a positive effect, and I don't think that you or I agree with that. (You are welcome to correct me if you do believe that, though.)

    I don't think that allowing players to check profiles "fucks over the system of private information", in any way. Every other type of private information still exists, and will have exactly the same impact at the highest levels of play.

    Again, John doesn't need to remember everything. John needs to remember maybe a two-digit value of 400 or so uniquely named things. That's really not a lot of information in the grand scheme of things. Anyone who has learned a second language knows that you can learn 400 words in a couple of weeks with just an hour or so of study a day, and let's face it, there are many people who spend longer than that painting a single mini. Drilling vocabulary is boring as can be, but we shouldn't act like it's impossible.
     
  16. psychoticstorm

    psychoticstorm Aleph's rogue child
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    Is this even a rules question thread anymore? I do not think it belongs here.
     
  17. inane.imp

    inane.imp Well-Known Member

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  18. WWHSD

    WWHSD Well-Known Member

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  19. Nuada Airgetlam

    Nuada Airgetlam Nazis sod off ///

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    @meikyoushisui Some 11/10 posting up there from you. Rooting hard for Lil' Billy and Sally :3
     
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  20. Delta57Dash

    Delta57Dash Well-Known Member

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    People memorize tens of thousands of digits of Pi for no other purpose than brownie points. Top-level Chess players can recite entire games from memory and know the top Engine recommendations for every opening out to the double-digits. Pro Fighting Game players can rattle off the frame data of every move their character uses, as well as the most notable moves of their opponent's. Pro Magic players can construct top-tier decks off of memory.

    Your argument of "No one can remember all the point costs in army" is faulty and irrelevant. The vast majority of the profiles in Army never see the light of day, but even if they did, people can, do, and have memorized much more data. There are people who have memorized the entire BIBLE, which is somewhere over 750,000 words.

    John isn't an "infallible uber nerd"; he's a fairly normal guy. You want proof? Every word in my post, in your posts, in every single post on this forum, in every forum, in every single page of every book you've read? You've memorized them. Hundreds of thousands of words, with different meanings depending on context, sarcasm, and dozens of other factors and yet you've memorized them to the point where needing to look one up is an extremely rare event. And that's just one language! It isn't uncommon for people to speak two, and 3% of the world's population (1 in 33) speak four or more!

    Memorization of unit profiles isn't a skill that's impossible to learn. It's an inevitability of being passionate about the game combined with constant, regular play. It probably won't be perfect, but it'll be good enough for most situations, and it presents a barrier to new players that quite frankly shouldn't exist.
     
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