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Author Topic: Mage Wars notation  (Read 3042 times)

cymyn

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Mage Wars notation
« on: December 06, 2013, 05:08:04 PM »
I posted a similar thread on BGG, but this seems like a more appropriate venue.

I'm interested in knowing if anyone has invented MW shorthand that can succinctly summarize the action in a game.

I'm imagining something analogous to chess notation which enables famous and interesting games to be saved and studied.

If no one has anything, maybe this is a place to brainstorm such an undertaking. I'm not sure if Mage Wars lends itself to shorthand, given the variables, but it might be worth some thought.

I've got a few ideas, but our collective hive-mind can probably produced a smarter result.

Here are a few thoughts:

The board should be lettered to facilitate precise tactical positioning as opposed to 'near center' etc. I think this makes sense:

abcd
efgh
ijkl
mnop

Mages start at A and P.
(A grid is another idea but having single letters as opposed to a grid numbering system uses 1 less character.)

-- the mages need shorthand 'names' for easy description, but 3 start with the letter W so...
WZ is wizard
FM is forcemaster
PT is Priest
PS is priestess
WK is warlock
WD is warlord
BM is beastmaster
BK is kumanjaro beastmaster
NM is necromancer
DR is Druid

If more than of the same mage they get a number so FM1, FM2 etc.

***

Movement could be something as simple as a carrot symbol so

FM>a,e means the forcemaster moves from a to e

*******

Thats all I have at the moment. Comments/critiques and (especially) additions and suggestions welcome

Aylin

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2013, 05:11:13 PM »
First criticism: The board is 3x4, not 4x4.

Second criticism: The most common board notation I've seen using NC and FC for Near Center and Far Center. Wouldn't it make more sense to build off of that instead of replacing it?

DeckBuilder

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 06:09:03 PM »
Use Excel?
Rows = number, column = letter
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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2013, 06:40:08 PM »
Here's what I did, and this may be complicated, but I think I saw your post on BGG maybe a week or two ago, and I thought up my own kind of style of notation.

So, to begin, all cards in Mage Wars are defined by their Card Type, and Name. Whenever a card is referenced in Notation, I do so by recording the first two letters of the First Word of the name of the card, follwed by the first two letters of the second word of the card. If the card name is only one word, I use the first three letters of that name. Preceding that, I use one of 6 different abbrevations, depending on which card it is. So:

Creature: Cr
Conjuration: Con
Equipment: Eqp
Attack spell: Att
Incantation: Inc
Enchantment: Enc

These are the most obvious abbrevations I could think of that were quick to write, and easy to recognize. On to the board!

So, when recording notations, most notations are written from a neutral perspective. This means that no matter which side you were sitting on, if you played the game from the notes given, you would play out the exact same game. This can be done with Mage Wars as well, assigning a grid with one side being numbers, and one side being letters. But I don't particularly like this method, as it forces the opponent to imagine a grid backwards, which will just make things confusing. So, in lieu of that, I have just used a numbers system. Assuming you start in the rightmost corner closest to you on the board, and your opponent starts in the corner the furtherest from you, you would standing in 1, and your opponent standing in 12. If you were to move all the way to the left, you would be standing in 4, and if your opponent would move all the way to the right from your perspective, he would be moving into 9. if you move up one square from your current position, you would be standing in five, and if you were to then move to the right, you would be standing in six. Let's do a grid layout to make things easier:

12 11 10 9
5   6   7   8
4   3   2   1

This is by far the easiest for me to visualize, but that does not make it perfect, and I am always asking for advice.

How we define ourselves? this is difficult, as you could say "Me" and "opp", but I tired to go into a little more detail, with:

Fr[type of mage here]

En[type of mage here]

The Abbreviations for mages are as follows:

Wiz
Pts
wlk
BM
JBM
Prt
FM
wld
Dr
Nc

Fr is Friendly, and En is enemy. So, if I were to ask you right now, what would you think this would be?

ConLai?
CrIrGo?
InBaFu?
ConBaFo?

It's really intuitive, and I think that even without me posting that explanation above, most of you would have figured out what the above abbreviations mean.

And that's all I really have right now. Ideas, and thoughts are welcome as always! 
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Aylin

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2013, 07:13:42 PM »
I don't like the abbreviations for the cards. It isn't helpful to players that haven't memorized most or all of the cards used (especially a problem if it is a card that is seldom used). Plus several cards would have the exact same abbrevation.

Is AttFir Fireball or Firestorm? Is IncDis Dissolve or Dispel? Is EqpMoTo Moloch's Torment or Mordok's Tome? Is CrTho Thorg, Thoughtspore, or Thornlasher? Is ConWaSt Wall of Stone or Steel?

Sure, those (and others I missed) could be "solved" by making exceptions for those ones (making Dissolve IncDiss for example), but those would be even more things that players would have to learn before being able to contribute or learn from a discussion. And the situation will only get worse as we get more and more expansions.

So abbreviations for spell types and whatnot is fine, but I really dislike abbreviations for card names.

sIKE

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2013, 07:20:00 PM »
There are card numbers at the bottom of each card, maybe you could integrate a shorthand for those.

DNA1 - Acid Ball

Believe me I know there are many cards and associated card numbers....just thinking out loud....
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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2013, 07:28:22 PM »
I also started using card costs before the card name abbreviation. So, in the case of Dissolve, and Dispel, it would be Inc6Dis. As well, when you are casting an incantation enchantment or attack spell, I did fail to mention this, you also record the target of the spell. So, a quick example of what I was doing:

FrJBM 3>6 QC Inc6Dis[EnWizEqpElCl].

But you are right, there are a lot of problems with my particular system.

But, as to your first point, I believe that newer players should not worry about notation at first. Unlike chess, which have a static piece set, and therefore an easy to understand notation, Mage Wars never uses the exact same set of pieces twice, or even for the same thing. I believe it is more important for newer players to learn the cards and the intereactions within them themselves before they start to delve into notating matches. This is only something that comes with time. I'm sure neither you nor I have actually sat down to study the cards in detail, yet there are an overwhelming number of them we can call out my mana cost, level, Name, and even life and armor. This is, more than many other's I've a played, a game of experience. I actually want to talk on this more, which I will do in a little while. In any case, I do completely agree that my system is flawed to the core, but I think it can have some interesting potential, so I posted what I really had fleshed out here.
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Aylin

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2013, 07:49:14 PM »
I also started using card costs before the card name abbreviation. So, in the case of Dissolve, and Dispel, it would be Inc6Dis. As well, when you are casting an incantation enchantment or attack spell, I did fail to mention this, you also record the target of the spell. So, a quick example of what I was doing:

FrJBM 3>6 QC Inc6Dis[EnWizEqpElCl].

But you are right, there are a lot of problems with my particular system.

But, as to your first point, I believe that newer players should not worry about notation at first. Unlike chess, which have a static piece set, and therefore an easy to understand notation, Mage Wars never uses the exact same set of pieces twice, or even for the same thing. I believe it is more important for newer players to learn the cards and the intereactions within them themselves before they start to delve into notating matches. This is only something that comes with time. I'm sure neither you nor I have actually sat down to study the cards in detail, yet there are an overwhelming number of them we can call out my mana cost, level, Name, and even life and armor. This is, more than many other's I've a played, a game of experience. I actually want to talk on this more, which I will do in a little while. In any case, I do completely agree that my system is flawed to the core, but I think it can have some interesting potential, so I posted what I really had fleshed out here.


My main concern isn't newer players notating their own matches, but them being able to follow the notation from matches with more experienced players (as is done with chess).

I do like that your system would list card type, cost, target, etc. though, and I wouldn't want to see those go. I just think that having to memorize the card name abbreviations as well would be another layer of difficulty for players to overcome, especially because new cards get added to the meta every few months.



For the grid, instead of having the zones labelled 1-12, what about this:

A1    A2    A3    A4
B1    B2    B3    B4
C1    C2   C3    C4

I think that might help emphasize that zones in any given column are adjacent.
Possible Con: Friendly mages start in C4

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2013, 08:47:59 PM »
I don't know if it's just because i'm not intelligent, but I can't think of another way besides writing out the name in it's entirety to help newer mages follow along. Maybe I could write a comprehensive list for all card abbreviations? If this particular notation was to catch on, of course.
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ringkichard

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2013, 11:36:00 PM »
I'll mention that I have a numbering system that I use in my head, and I like, though others may find it cumbersome.

In chess, I always liked the "knight to qb3" notation, so in my head I number all the zones diagonally, 0 where I start, 1 for the zones 1 zone away, 2 for the zones 2 zones away, and so on up to 5.

5 4 3 2
4 3 2 1
3 2 1 0

This helps me calculate distance, because it shows that you're never more than 5 away from your opponent, (and that the board is actually a diamond shape not a rectangle)

All zones are either "near" or "far", with the four zones along the edge of the board closest to me (or the player with first turn initiative) being "near" and on the bottom of the diagram.

With letters, those zones again would be

5x 4f 3f 2f
4n 3x 2x 1f
3n 2n 1n 0x

3x is "far center" and 2x is "near center" to distinguish them from the others with the same number. 5 and 0 never need the letter because they're unique.

So in a recent game, I started in 0, like always, and quick cast a crystal in 1f. Then I moved to 1n, and cast another crystal in 0. Next turn I moved to NC, and cast HoBS in 1N and Wizard's Tower in NC. Tower cast a Jet Stream into FC pushing a Bloodreaper Slayer into 4N.

Yes, it's idiosyncratic, but so is my head.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 11:40:53 PM by ringkichard »
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Zuberi

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2013, 06:14:16 AM »
Board Notation
For the Board I am a fan of the grid notation where columns are labeled alphabetically and rows are labeled numerically. Going from A1 to C4 as AylinIsAwesome wrote. I would further specify that Player 1 (whoever has initiative first) always starts in A1 and Player 2 always starts in C4, that way the orientation of the board is standardized.

Card Notation
For the cards, there is already a notation system in the game and I think it would be best if we used it rather than creating a new one. I am of course talking about the Card ID numbers. The system that Arcane Wonders uses to notate which card is which. This system provides the following information:

First) Card Set. The notation begins with a 2 to 3 character abbreviation of which set the card comes from. These are as follows:
MW1 = Core Set
FW = Forcemaster vs Warlord
CK = Conquest of Kumanajaro
DN = Druid vs Necromancer

Second) Card Type. The next thing in the Notation is a single character indicating the type of card you are referring to:
A = Attack
C = Creature
E = Enchantment
I = Incantation
J = Conjuration
Q = Equipment

Third) Card Number. The last thing in the notation is a two digit number indicating the specific card. They are usually numbered in alphabetical order, but for some reason there are exceptions to this general rule.

Fourth) Copy Number. To add to the existing notation, I believe a number in parenthesis at the end of the Card ID should be used to notate the individual copy of that spell on the board. That way if I have two Iron Golems on the board, we can tell which one I am referring to.

Pros: The benefits to this system include the fact that this notation is already stamped on the cards, so it is standardized and easily referenced. Each ID is also unique, so there's never any confusion between spells.

Cons: Most people memorize card names rather than numbers, which could make it difficult to follow along. So while the system is efficient at notating and recording the information desired, it may require a reference sheet to translate for someone unfamiliar with the card numbers.

Alternative: Other than using the Card ID, I would also support just writing out the whole name of the card being referenced. It would have all of the above pros and lack the cons, but it would be more writing in most cases.

Mage Notation
Mages do not have a Card ID, therefore we do need to create a notation system for them. I would like to propose using a 3 character notation for mages. The first two characters would indicate the Mage's class, and the third character would indicate the specific variation. A fourth character would be added on to the Wizard to indicate their elemental training. For Example:
BM1 = Straywood Beastmaster
BM2 = Johktari Beastmaster
DR1 = Druid
FM1 = Forcemaster
NM1 = Necromancer
PR1 = Priestess
PR2 = Priest
WK1 = Warlock
WD1 = Warlord
WZ1A = Air Wizard
WZ1E = Earth Wizard
WZ1F = Fire Wizard
WZ1W = Water Wizard

Player Notation
Instead of indicating friend or enemy, I think we should simply assign a player number to each player. Whoever starts the game with initiative is P1 and the next person to go is P2. This provides us with an objective notation system rather than a subjective one based on an individual player's perspective.

Action Notation
In addition to notating the cards in play and their position on the board, we need to notate what exactly it is that we are doing with the cards. This list is probably going to be the hardest part to create, so lets get started.

># = Movement. Replace the # sign with the specific notation for the zone being moved to.
@ = Targeting. Write what action you are performing before the targeting symbol and what object your are targeting after the symbol.
(-#) = This shows when you are spending mana and how much.
SC = Spell Cast. This shows when an object is casting a spell.
QC = Quick Cast. This shows when you are using your Quick Cast marker. When you use this notation, you do not have to also use the SC notation. It is already known that you are casting a spell.
AT# = Attack or Special Action. This shows you are using an attack bar or an action bar printed on the card. The # indicates which bar you are using if the card has multiple to choose from, with them being numbered from top to bottom of the card. The # can be left off if there is only a single option to choose from.
CE# = Card Effect. This shows when you are using a card effect that is printed in the text of the card rather than in an Action Bar. This would include most Mage Abilities and several effects used by Conjurations and Creatures. Like before, the # indicates which effect you are using in case their are multiple to choose from, with them being numbered from first to last to appear in the text. The # can be left off if there is only a single option to choose from.
GD = Guard. This shows when you are using the Guard action.
DF = Defense. This shows when you are using a Defense.
RV = Reveal. This shows when you are revealing an Enchantment. I'm not certain how we should notate it when this occurs in the middle of an Attack or Spell Cast.
NO = No Action. This shows when you activate a creature without taking an action with it. Such as when the creature is put to Sleep or Stunned, or if you simply choose to forfeit it's action for the round.

Round Notation
It almost goes without saying that we should also indicate what round and stage we are in at all times. I think it would be fine to just spell out this information without any abbreviation. In addition, I think we should give a brief summary on the condition of each mage at the beginning of each round.

M# = Amount of mana in their mana supply.
L# = Total Life.
D# = Current Damage.

Putting it all Together
Below I've written an example of how the first round of play may look using the above notations. Player 1 is playing a Warlock and Player 2 is playing a Beastmaster. During the first Quick Cast phase, Player 1 passes and Player 2 casts a Ring of Beasts on himself. Player 1 then double moves his Warlock to the Near Center Zone B2 and Quick Casts a Ring of Curses on himself. Player 2 then casts a Steelclaw Grizzly in his starting zone.

Round 1
P1:WK1 M10 L38 D0
P2:BM1 M10 L36 D0

Channeling
P1:WK1 (+9)
P2:BM1 (+9)

Quick Cast 1
P1: Pass
P2: QC MW1Q25@P2:BM1 (-2)

Creature Actions
P1:WK1>B2; QC MW1Q28@P1:WK1 (-2)
P2:BM1 SC MW1C34@C4 (-16)

cymyn

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2013, 09:19:07 AM »
I just noticed the card ID numbers. That seems like the most appropriate (i.e. shortest) way to write the cards and keep them straight. Obviously, anyone reading the notation would need a card-list with the reference numbers, but that is an easy list to keep on hand.

I'm curious as to why the grid-system of numbering seems to be favored over a single-digit lettered system such as I originally proposed. Is it more clear because it is easier to visualize where on the board the zone is without having to mentally visualize where, for example, zone "e" is?

Zuberi

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2013, 10:14:54 AM »
I find the grid system easier to visualize, but I've used it in other things before. I can't recall using a system like you propose, so it could be a familiarity issue.

cymyn

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2013, 11:59:29 AM »
Zuberi,

I think your last lengthy post with the different explanations for what (and when) we should use notation is well conceived. When I get a few minutes (hours?) I'll try to record and notate a game, see how it goes.

Zuberi

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Re: Mage Wars notation
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2013, 01:06:32 PM »
I look forward to hearing how that goes. I have actually been thinking about notations for awhile, having seen the post on boardgamegeek when it was made, but I know my suggestions are still incomplete. There's got to be a lot of things that aren't currently covered by my notations, and others could probably be improved upon.