file Timeouting as increasing trend

11 May 2012 16:32 - 11 May 2012 16:33 #30039 by Squidalot
Not really sounds like they were close but just that he was a 'consultant'.

Anyway as he sometimes forgets which game he designed when (has been known to state Netrunner in articles referring to VTES) anyway a more useful quote given what we're talking about is:

Goudie: After looking at the finished product, is there anything you wish you did differently with Jyhad?

Garfield: I have no specific changes, though if I could travel in time and redo the game I would think about ways to shorten it. I don't regret its length, because I believe the best information of the day indicated it was fine, and also because its players didn't mind much (in a lot of ways if you like a game then the longer the better!) I would definitely see if the epic quality of play could be maintained if it were shortened. If it couldn't - and it may not be - then I would leave it the same length. Other than that, mostly I would just make new cards. I have had a lot of practice since Jyhad in figuring out how to get a lot of variety out of a game system.

Which I hope indicates he thought it shouldn't take all day to play
Last edit: 11 May 2012 16:33 by Squidalot.

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12 May 2012 05:38 - 12 May 2012 05:39 #30062 by Ankha
I was wondering if a random time limit wouldn't prevent players to play with the time-limit in head (though it can't prevent people from playing slowly anyway).

Eg. the judge (can't be a player for obvious reasons) secretly roll 100 min + 1d30 minutes before the game starts, which apply to all tables.

Maybe it would be worse, I don't know.

Preventing players from having access to the time is also an option (though harder to enforce).

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Last edit: 12 May 2012 05:39 by Ankha.
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12 May 2012 10:59 #30069 by jamesatzephyr

Ankha wrote: Preventing players from having access to the time is also an option (though harder to enforce).


Babylon 5 tried this - hidden clocks and/or hidden round lengths. The reports I hear are that it was pretty dumb.

In many cases, a player doesn't need to know precisely that there are 4 minutes 30 seconds left or 8 minutes 45 seconds because they'll continue to play for a timeout anyway - and presumably aim for the higher value!

It could have some positive benefits for the specific type of behaviour found in mutual withdrawal deals ("Quick, we have three minutes left, everyone discard a card each turn"), but that's mostly been addressed by things like the change to VPs for withdrawal.


Also, on a practical level, random length rounds (such as 2 hours +/- 10 minutes, or whatever) has some knock-on effects for practical arrangements. Your round might end at 2 o' clock, or it might end at 2.20. The guy who's been ousted wants to know what time he needs to be back from the sandwich store.

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13 May 2012 11:09 #30135 by bakija

jamesatzephyr wrote: Babylon 5 tried this - hidden clocks and/or hidden round lengths. The reports I hear are that it was pretty dumb.


Heh heh. Babylon 5, which was a very entertaining game with a lot of good things to recommend it until the wheels fell off with the last expansion which made the game really stupid, tried implementing some of the most insane tournament procedures you could possibly imagine like the hidden clocks with soccer timing (i.e. the game was 2 hours, +/- some random amount of time that no one but the judge knew what it was) and the "as soon as your game is over, you need to put a bag over your head and be escorted from the room" measures to attempt to prevent scouting of other decks (which is only being slightly exaggerated). Hilarious.

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18 May 2012 12:18 - 18 May 2012 12:23 #30693 by jamesatzephyr

Squidalot wrote: Garfield: I have no specific changes, though if I could travel in time and redo the game I would think about ways to shorten it. I don't regret its length, because I believe the best information of the day indicated it was fine, and also because its players didn't mind much (in a lot of ways if you like a game then the longer the better!) I would definitely see if the epic quality of play could be maintained if it were shortened. If it couldn't - and it may not be - then I would leave it the same length. Other than that, mostly I would just make new cards. I have had a lot of practice since Jyhad in figuring out how to get a lot of variety out of a game system.

Which I hope indicates he thought it shouldn't take all day to play


Sort of. Reads more to me like he thinks he could have created a slightly different game incorporating many of the same mechanics/themes and made it shorter. Which you can probably think of a dozen ways of doing - a different ratio between minion cost and pool total; more aggression; weaker/more expensive defence; built-in pool damage (e.g. perma-Antediluvian Awakening). Some such variants were suggested when V:TES was printed, which were mostly too overpowered / unbalancing, but the concept is fairly easy.

If you read the WW book (which is currently at home), his initial playtesting involving him personally had games running at 20-40 minutes, but other people took longer. (Obviously, in early alpha testing, there are always issues with learning the rules, rapid rules changes, not having experienced people to learn off etc.) He also says, explicitly, that for a 5-7 player game, he's pretty content with that lasting a few hours, because similar games take comparable lengths of time. He makes no reference to tournament play, but tournaments at conventions for games like Diplomacy and Star Fleet Battles - both weighty and lengthy games - were not altogether unknown.


The problem with time-outs, though, is somewhat separate to the concept of game length. In a two-player game, like Magic, a time-out is bad for me because I don't win. In a multi-player game set up like V:TES is (with points scored along the way, rather than last-man-standing), the game can time-out and I can win. That could potentially happen at 30 minutes game length or 2 hrs game length - except that a 5 player game expected to end in 30 minutes might be more brutal than a 2 hr game, and so possibly more unstable.

The obvious way to resolve that issue is to make a timed-out game worth less than a proper game. So, for example, I might get 1 GW for winning a complete game, but only 0.5 GW for a timed-out game. Alternatively, I might have got 3 VPs on the table but it timed-out, so I get 1GW (no change) but only 1.5 VPs on my score.

You do have to be careful, though. Any such tweak would give potentially give another player an incentive to make the game time-out. You made a deal with me and back-stabbed me on it? Well, I'll make the game time-out so you do worse than you could have. (And if I can't improve my position any other way, timing the game out to get 0.5 VP is a perfectly ordinary and legal thing for me to do. Just now I have even more incentive to do it.)

You then get into "Well, should we have a penalty for the winner if the game times-out, and not give anyone any VPs for the game timing out?" Which might be an interesting option, but you start getting into the situation where more people are in a lost position (no chance of getting a VP any other way, and now no half-a-VP for time-out). Or maybe I have 1VP, but now can't get any more, rather than the usual "0VP and can't oust anyone" situation. Which might be acceptable collateral damage, but I wouldn't want to bet on it without some decent analysis.
Last edit: 18 May 2012 12:23 by jamesatzephyr.

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