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Author Topic: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?  (Read 8733 times)

Shad0w

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #30 on: October 22, 2012, 01:10:42 PM »
Quote from: "SeanDeCoy" post=2444
Nihil -

You're right, that probably is an intrinsic flaw. I've been debating it for awhile with some of the other rules guys. There've been a few different opinions about how to do end game - one is just a system where the players decide or else get a double loss. This works well for some games, but a lot of players feel like this isn't concrete enough for a competitive system. On my end, I love it because of the elegance - you two are in the battle, if you don't know who's winning, figure out a way to decide. However, I completely understand that for many players, this defeats the purpose of having played the game to begin with if you're just going to "decide" who wins at the end.

Time limits definitely favor blitz spellbooks as well, that's true. And they also favor Priestesses who can heal up at the very last minute. I agree with you there.

As for the OP - this is another one of the hard questions - we're getting feedback from all of our players, and its pretty varied. Long game times for people who have just recently started playing Mage wars are pretty normal we're finding out, and we're doing things to help this (the Apprentice Mode Spellbook is one thing, and we're trying to find a way to package the cards in future printings so that they come pre-sorted, this should at least help setup time).

But we're also getting a spectrum of player responses on game times as well. We're getting some 45 minute players, some 75 minute players, and some much much longer times. The experience ranges a lot as well. We've got expert long-term players that have a wide range of experience in several titles that say their games take long, and we've got newer players who say they just blast through it.

Honestly - when I have numbers like that, all I can say is that your mileage may vary on game time. I do believe game time shortens over multiple plays. But that belief is just based on my own personal experience, and then the experience of the other playtesters I've seen around me.

I don't think long game times should be attributed just to new players or to inexperienced players or unaggressive players as I feel like I've seen enough feedback at this point to say "some players game just take longer."

However, I think you guys know that I'm always open to feedback and suggestions and I always try to be as transparent as possible. If you see a problem, or are reporting a pattern that you're seeing that seems odd - then I am all ears! Also, if you just want to chat one on one about game time and our plans for OP and how to setup a great system you should always feel free to e-mail me.

Thanks again for the good discussion guys!


Always good to hear the MW teams side Sean thanks for the input.

Now to respond to what you said. I agree that talking over who is the winner is elegant but when it comes to a prize people care about the mentality of some players is they would rather have a double loss over giving the other player a win. I have seen it before so it would be nothing new.

When it comes down to it when a clock is involved players will use it to gain advantage. It could be borderline slow play, healing up at the end of a match, and / or make the player who is not used to the flow of time matches make mistakes by simply look at the time every few minute. It can not be avoided it will happen. All that can be done is make the rules as clear and simple as possible so when it does happen you are ready for it.

As far as the pace of the person playing Sean is 100% some people just take more time to play. We have a guy at our store who take 3-5minutes on average to take a turn in any strategy game. This may sound like it is not a much of time but when you look at the perspective of a match should be about 50-60 min. If we end up playing 11 rounds he has personal use 33+ minutes of the match clock leaving me with only 17-27 minutes for my actions. It is not that he is trying to slow play it is just the way he plays.
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GrimNayShawn

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2012, 09:56:08 PM »
It seems to me that chess clocks could take care of a lot of this. Set each side for 30 minutes (for example)...if you play slow, you are using your time, not your opponents.  It doesn't solve everything, i know...and it has the added con of adding to cost. A quick perusal online and the cheapest I could find was 21$ each; I doubt stores would want to eat the cost of (# of players divided by 2 times 21$) up front even though once regular tournaments started happening, the cost could be offset for a nominal added tax. It woud also change the play a bit as everything would have to back and forth play: player 1 places a spell face down and hits the closck. Player two places a spell face down and hits the clock. Player one places a second spell face down and hits the clock, etc. Dunno if that would work for actual game play (I have the game but haven't had the opportunity to play yet. Sad face is sad).

The only other thing I can think of at the moment, tourney wise, is to have a set of parameters that favors each play style pre-set for tourneys. At the beginning of each tourney, after all decks have been registered, one of the parameters is selected randomly. Yes, a certain style would then have an advantage, but one style would never be guaranteed that advantage and it might promote different builds from people (goofballs like me, admittedly) who would hope that it was my deck build play style that gets the advantage. Of course, it would probably irk more people than it would satisfy...

Hmmm...perhaps my "solutions" aren't good for solving the problem after all.

piousflea

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2012, 02:13:28 PM »
I disagree with the idea that forced time limits are an "intrinsic flaw" in a game. Sometimes they're necessary to prevent lame delays, like the aforementioned 13-hour M:TG game.

If you look at almost any game, whether it is M:TG, Chess, Tennis, or Warcraft 3, it is always possible for a player to artificially prolong the game. Some games make it easier to create massive delay. For example, in some older versions of World of Warcraft it was possible to make an arena team that literally cannot be killed (disc priest + resto druid). I remember playing several multi-hour matches that only ended when someone got bored and left the game. They eventually fixed this by putting in a timer, after which "stalemates" are decided by total damage dealt.

Yes, timer-based rules significantly change the balance of any competitive game. For example, ball control is a tremendously huge part of strategy in soccer, many teams are very good at playing "keep away" and preventing anyone from scoring. On the other hand, shot clocks in basketball and delay-of-game penalties in gridiron football make it impossible for one team to keep the ball forever. This removes one type of strategy, but encourages the game to keep moving.

Also, the very presence of a timer introduces new strategies where you change your playstyle as the timer runs down. Gridiron football may be the best example. 2-minute drills, clock management, timeout management, Hail Mary passes, icing the kicker all wouldn't exist if it was an untimed game. (ie, "first team to 21 points wins") A clock with consistently enforced rules can greatly increase the strategic depth of a game.

Shad0w

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2012, 03:45:34 PM »
Quote from: "piousflea" post=2591
I disagree with the idea that forced time limits are an "intrinsic flaw" in a game. Sometimes they're necessary to prevent lame delays, like the aforementioned 13-hour M:TG game.

If you look at almost any game, whether it is M:TG, Chess, Tennis, or Warcraft 3, it is always possible for a player to artificially prolong the game. Some games make it easier to create massive delay. For example, in some older versions of World of Warcraft it was possible to make an arena team that literally cannot be killed (disc priest + resto druid). I remember playing several multi-hour matches that only ended when someone got bored and left the game. They eventually fixed this by putting in a timer, after which "stalemates" are decided by total damage dealt.

Yes, timer-based rules significantly change the balance of any competitive game. For example, ball control is a tremendously huge part of strategy in soccer, many teams are very good at playing "keep away" and preventing anyone from scoring. On the other hand, shot clocks in basketball and delay-of-game penalties in gridiron football make it impossible for one team to keep the ball forever. This removes one type of strategy, but encourages the game to keep moving.

Also, the very presence of a timer introduces new strategies where you change your playstyle as the timer runs down. Gridiron football may be the best example. 2-minute drills, clock management, timeout management, Hail Mary passes, icing the kicker all wouldn't exist if it was an untimed game. (ie, "first team to 21 points wins") A clock with consistently enforced rules can greatly increase the strategic depth of a game.


I can agree that enforced time can also add new elements to the strategy. Even in Warhammer matches are 2-3 hours and only last no more than 6 turns. They have both a turn limit and a turn limit on the matches.
"Darth come prove to meet you are worthy of the fighting for your school in the arena and not just another scholar to be discarded like an worn out rag doll"


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piousflea

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #34 on: October 25, 2012, 10:10:51 PM »
Quote from: "SeanDeCoy" post=2444
Honestly - when I have numbers like that, all I can say is that your mileage may vary on game time. I do believe game time shortens over multiple plays. But that belief is just based on my own personal experience, and then the experience of the other playtesters I've seen around me.


IMO, the real questions with regards to time-limits are:

1) Are there legitimate strategies that are centered around dragging games out for a very long time? If so, do the developers believe that such strategies should be curtailed? (analogous to 13-hour MTG decks, "Hide the Farm" in RTS games, "keep-away" strategies in fighting games)

2) Are there legitimate situations ("true stalemates") in which two competitive players could play for an infinite amount of time?

The second question has a pretty obvious answer: Yes. If both players have one Mage Wand with Heal, neither player has a Dissolve, and neither player has enough creatures or attack spells to out-DPS Heal, then you have a true stalemate. Like a Chess stalemate, it is mathematically impossible for either player to win unless the other player deliberately performs a wrong move.

I have to think that any competitive/organized version of Mage Wars would need some kind of time limit and tie-breaking rules. It may even have to deal with stalemates in some arbitrary way.

There's plenty of ways to deal with "ties":
- you can award a true tie where neither player gets the win
- you can award a win based on an arbitrary metric like "total damage taken" or "highest health remaining"
- you can award a win based on a completely random coinflip
- you can award wins based on pseudo-random "shoot-out" rounds like in soccer
- you can award wins based on "overtime" gameplay with significantly altered rules ("sudden death", "NFL playoff overtime rules")
- Or you can refuse to deal with ties, like tennis and baseball, where there is no theoretical reason why a game couldn't last for 1 year.

halvor

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #35 on: October 26, 2012, 06:00:17 AM »
I like the first one. The mages then go to the center of the arena, shake hands, and greet the other as his equal.

Shad0w

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2012, 09:18:07 AM »
Quote from: "halvor" post=2626
I like the first one. The mages then go to the center of the arena, shake hands, and greet the other as his equal.


Thematically this is good, the real issue is on a tourney level when playing a best of one match. Draws are a headache when trying to figure out tiebreaker points.
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paradox22

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2012, 02:37:53 PM »
Draws are also extremely anticlimactic.  No one  wants  to simply tie, or they wouldn't be competing...they want a definitive win..  I'd rather  have a loss than a tie.  Jusy my  honest opinion.  ; )
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Shad0w

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #38 on: October 26, 2012, 03:27:11 PM »
Quote from: "paradox22" post=2651
Draws are also extremely anticlimactic.  No one  wants  to simply tie, or they wouldn't be competing...they want a definitive win..  I'd rather  have a loss than a tie.  Jusy my  honest opinion.  ; )


^The Truth^

I may have said that before
 
"I agree that talking over who is the winner is elegant but when it comes to a prize people care about the mentality of some players is they would rather have a double loss over giving the other player a win. I have seen it before so it would be nothing new."
"Darth come prove to meet you are worthy of the fighting for your school in the arena and not just another scholar to be discarded like an worn out rag doll"


Quote: Shad0w the Arcmage

piousflea

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #39 on: October 26, 2012, 08:23:04 PM »
Quote
Thematically this is good, the real issue is on a tourney level when playing a best of one match. Draws are a headache when trying to figure out tiebreaker points.


Yeah, and allowing ties is also really bad for best-of-X competitive games. The winner of Game 1 has every incentive to go for ties rather than wins in games 2-3-4-5-etc. An aggressive strategy has the chance of backfiring and losing, while sitting back and healing is almost guaranteed to cause a tie.

On the other hand, a round robin "point system" can allow ties while strongly discouraging them. For example, if a loss is 0 points, a win is 10 points, and a tie is 2 points, then a tie is much closer to a loss than a win.

Nihilistiskism

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #40 on: October 27, 2012, 06:00:21 PM »
Quote from: "piousflea" post=2591
I disagree with the idea that forced time limits are an "intrinsic flaw" in a game. Sometimes they're necessary to prevent lame delays, like the aforementioned 13-hour M:TG game.


I just wanted to hop back in and point out the straw man that broke the thread's back. Prior to this statement no one at any point implied that time limits were a flaw in the game. Honestly, this thread is so diluted from its original purpose I can't even get a handle on where to deconstruct an argument from it, anymore...

To recap my positions:

1) I think it is a fundamental error in game design to purposefully subsidize a playstyle/archetype that wins exclusively through running out the clock.

I...don't really have another position. That's the position upon which I'm standing ground. Disagree or don't, but let's at least try and keep the thread on-topic.

-nihil
Take a shower, don't talk like a junior high dropout, and stop being such a fatty.

Shad0w

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #41 on: October 29, 2012, 02:13:34 PM »
Quote from: "Nihilistiskism" post=2678
Quote from: "piousflea" post=2591
I disagree with the idea that forced time limits are an "intrinsic flaw" in a game. Sometimes they're necessary to prevent lame delays, like the aforementioned 13-hour M:TG game.


I just wanted to hop back in and point out the straw man that broke the thread's back. Prior to this statement no one at any point implied that time limits were a flaw in the game. Honestly, this thread is so diluted from its original purpose I can't even get a handle on where to deconstruct an argument from it, anymore...

To recap my positions:

1) I think it is a fundamental error in game design to purposefully subsidize a playstyle/archetype that wins exclusively through running out the clock.

I...don't really have another position. That's the position upon which I'm standing ground. Disagree or don't, but let's at least try and keep the thread on-topic.

-nihil


The issue is that by they nature of a highly defensive build any game not just MW. A deck that uses the clock to its advantage is common place on a tourney level. In any tourney format I have played if you are playing a best of 3 match and you win game 1 all you need to do is Draw or Win game 2. Most of the time  from this position it is better to play for the draw rather than the win. If you mess up playing to win you could overextend and cause yourself a loss. In games like MW that are a best of one match you cant afford to overextend for more than 1-2 turns. This leave the priestess at a disadvantage when It come to aggro tactics. Since we already established that combo is not that good of an option currently that leave on Aggro Control or Control.

When you look at an Aggro build for her you need to spend so many points out of school it becomes harder to include meta cards.  I would not classify this an error or flaw it is just a mage using the tools it has on hand to win. I her case she can win by knocking out the other mage it is just unlikely.
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GrimNayShawn

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Re: No, really, how do you play a game in < 1 hour?
« Reply #42 on: October 30, 2012, 12:43:13 PM »
Quote from: "Nihilistiskism" post=2322
My friend and I have played something like 10 or 11 games, now, and NOT ONE of them has gone less than 1.5 hours.

Common misconceptions debunked:

1) In but two of our games we were both very familiar with our decks
2) We don't spend 10% of our time looking for a specific token (they are laid out very meticulously prior to gameplay)
3) We don't spend 10% of our time looking through the glossary/index/rulebook

I'm talking about two grown, reasonably intelligent people sitting down and playing the game, to our best ability, with as little down-time between actions as still allows us to think about our moves.

How is it that others can play a game in < 1 hour? HOW?!?!?

-nihil


Nihil said:
"It takes time and practice to see what works, think outside the box, a bit, and bring out her true potential, but as she stands, now, I'm playing games with no Asyra in less than 45 minutes and netting close to zero damage on the priestess, herself."

Well, it would seem there is at least one way, after all. Fancy that.