Friday, November 30, 2007

En Garde uses a game mechanic I call "obscured information." It's information that theoretically you could know, if you had a perfect memory, but in practice everyone just keeps only vague track of things, and ends up using guesses and hunches to base their moves on. It's the same mechanic used in Danger Zone (for gems) and Frootcake (for the coins). It allows a little bit of randomness into the game, and is a big part of what gives the game its playability.

Adapting these games to a computer medium leaves open the possibility of automated tracking devices. It's simple enough to write a script that tracks this information for you. It changes the tenor of the game, making it less fun. And of course, it gives an unfair advantage to one player if his opponent is not similarly equipped. So it's always been the policy at Procyon Games to make such devices illegal. Anyone caught using one will be banned from all Procyon Games, and their name will not appear on any high score board.

Also -- and this should go without saying, really, but I include it for completeness -- the use of alts to play against yourself, or to manipulate the score rankings in any way, is also considered cheating, and carries a similar penalty.



Does this mean that it is illegal to count cards with pen and paper too? Or to stack up some chips in front of you and take them away as you play? It would seem that counting that way also would change the tenor of the game, but if you should like to be realistic about it - anybody who is playing the game seriously will be doing just this. Of course, forbidding these methods are just as unenforceable as banning a scripted counter...

I can understand that you feel very strongly about the game but it also seems clear that you encourage mods to it by the way you have designed the epee scripts, the replaceable cards etc. It is certainly your game, but once you put it out there I do think you ought to let people come up with creative ways to play it.

Obi Woebegone said...
December 3, 2007 at 7:49 AM  

How odd that you should post this. Virtually EVERYONE I play against has told me they count cards on some level.

Hotspur O'Toole said...
December 4, 2007 at 8:51 AM  


Just to clarify, I'm not against card counting in general. If you can do it in your head and relatively quickly, then I'm all for it. It's the use of automated devices that do the work for you that are illegal.

As a general rule of thumb, if you're wondering if something is legal or not, consider using it RL. If you sat down at a table to play En Garde with someone and brought out a pen and paper and insisted on writing down each card as it was played, then nobody would want to play with you. With the world scoring I have to try and keep the playing field as level as possible.

Rifkin Habsburg said...
December 4, 2007 at 6:59 PM  

I have seen spreadsheets for this purpose from some of your favorite people Rifkin. Just let the game go into the wild and have people play it the way they want to.

Face it, after a while, this game is about the end game, and the end game is all about knowing what cards have been played. Yes, it changes the tenor of the game, but it does not take away from the enjoyment of playing it.

Obi Woebegone said...
December 4, 2007 at 8:44 PM  

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