CORDIAL MINUET ENSEMBLE

??????

You are not logged in.

#1 2015-09-09 15:29:48

AnoHito
Member
Registered: 2014-11-24
Posts: 116

One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

This is probably too little too late, but I really always thought this was a great game in principal. I had some issues with the moral aspects of it, but as it turns out rational self-interest not only kept anyone from losing that much money playing this game (with maybe an exception or two wink), but it also kept most people from playing the game in the first place. I talked a little before about how Cordial Minuet seemed to have a sort of reverse casino effect, artificially inflating the value of money in the game to the point where people were scared to play for amounts they would spend without a thought in other situations. The even bigger problem though, was that no one wanted to put new money into the system. That was a kind of game breaking problem that made the whole thing really not work. If everyone wants to buy in for $10 and walk away a millionaire, chances are you are going to disappoint a lot of people.

So I was thinking that in order to solve this issue, you would really have to change how Cordial Minuet works. But I think it could be done. My idea is that instead of a model where you buy in once, what if you were forced to buy in multiple times? You could make it so that that Cordial Minuet would have a fixed buy-in of say $5-10. You would then be able to play as much as you wanted with that buy in for a fixed period, say a month or so, and then whatever amount you have at the end of the month is automatically put in a prize pool for you, minus a fixed percent tribute/subscription fee. You can withdraw the prize any time you wish, or use it to buy back in. But of course, if your balance is less that the current buy-in, you will have to pay more money to get back in the game. One of the great things about this system, is that you can't ever just sit on money. If you buy in, you have to play to break even, because the tribute is subtracted from your buy-in even if you don't play. So anyone else you see playing is in the same situation as you. They have to win to not lose. There is no breaking even, and there is no getting out once you buy in. You can still play for small amounts, but that means you are essentially paying a small subscription fee to keep playing the game, which I think is fair.

You could allow a person to buy back in if they deplete their money, but they can only do this if they completely run out, and the amount they buy back in for must be the fixed buy-in price. This effectively limits the amount an unskilled player can lose in one game, which I think is a very good idea in terms of keeping the game from becoming a tool for the exploitation of gambling addicts. I also think it would be a good idea to limit the number of buy-ins per month to something sane that keeps obsessive gamblers in check. If these checks were in place, I would feel a lot better about playing this game seriously again.

Another interesting aspect to this idea, is that instead of having a player keep the same alias for the entire time they play, you could assign a new random alias at every buy-in. I don't know about everyone else, but I didn't like the idea of being stuck with the same alias forever, and the way aliases were used to track players during the launch tournament was sketchy at best. I think players who were successful in cherry picking opponents were a big part of the reason so few amulets went to players who weren't already established. Switching aliases at buy-in time would make it much harder to keep tabs on players and avoid those you didn't want to play (or entrap those you did). It's not a perfect solution, but I think it's a good thing to do in any case.

So what does everyone think? I would personally be willing to start playing again if this model (or something similar) was implemented, because even if there weren't that many other players playing, I would at least know there was some real motivation to move money around. Even if this game never appeals to a large audience, at least this way you could keep the players that actually do want to play active and engaged.

Offline

#2 2015-09-09 18:35:39

jere
Member
Registered: 2014-11-23
Posts: 298

Re: One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

TBH, if the problem is people don't want to spend money at all, I don't see how the solution is to get them to spend money repeatedly.

The only thing CM needs is more eyeballs. There are a lot of games out there these days and people are getting more and more accustomed to "free" games (which are the most profitable kind at the moment).

This has been discussed before, but a cashless version of CM on Steam might attract a lot of attention. It could be free or just cheap (so it could take advantage of sales). In fact, since the game is open source, it would be rather easy for any of the technical regulars on here to pursue such a project. If I were a better C programmer, I might do it myself. I do have a greenlight account... very tempting.


Canto Delirium: a Twitter bot for CM. Also check out my strategy guide!

Offline

#3 2015-09-09 20:03:42

AnoHito
Member
Registered: 2014-11-24
Posts: 116

Re: One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

Actually, I don't think the problem is that people don't want to spend money at all. The problem is, people don't want to keep spending money. The game is structured so that once you put your money in, there is nothing that encourages you to ever buy in again. You have to think about this from a psychological perspective, and think about what motivates people to spend money. The way casinos do it is to make money seem worthless. That tiny bit of change in your pocket seems insignificant compared to the ridiculous sums of money you might gain by gambling, so why wouldn't you want to gamble down to your last penny? But that doesn't work in Cordial Minuet, because ironically, Cordial Minuet is a fair game, and a fair game with fair prizes isn't nearly as compelling as an unfair game with ludicrous prizes. With casino style gambling, you can think to yourself, it doesn't really matter how much I lose, because I'll just make it back when I hit it big. In reality that almost never happens, but that is the mentality casinos use to keep the money flowing. But in Cordial Minuet, when you lose, all you can think is, crap, how much work am I going to have to do to make my money back?

Cordial Minuet essentially created a virtual tug of war for a fixed sum of money. Players who bought in and lost never had any motivation to buy back in again, because they believed they would never make back their money. What the fixed buy-in system does, is to change the mentality of how people play. Instead of thinking of things like, I am only going to buy in once and I will work my way up from the bottom, a player should be thinking that they will spend $5 to be able to play for a month, and any money they make is a bonus. It's a subtle difference, but it's an important one, and a necessary one to maintain any real money game. You need to keep money flowing into the system by reinforcing the idea that your buy-in is the cost of playing, not a precious cash reserve that you must never allow to become empty. You buy in every month at a loss, and you try you best to get ahead, but you can still have fun if you don't, and it only cost $5. That is the way people need to think for this to work. Otherwise, they will just lose money, lose interest, and stop playing.

jere wrote:

TBH, if the problem is people don't want to spend money at all, I don't see how the solution is to get them to spend money repeatedly.

They will spend the money because they have to spend it to play. You can't have a real money game that no one is willing to actually spend money to play. If Cordial Minuet isn't compelling enough to get people to keep spending to keep playing, it had no chance in the first place. But the nice thing about the fixed buy-in system is that you already know you are buying in a loss, so you have to play in order to justify the cost of the buy-in. There no point in buying in if you don't play, so you know that the people who buy in during any given period will usually be active players. Look at it this way, if Jason could convince even two people to buy in and play during the first month the system was in place, he'd already be making more than he did in the previous month.

Offline

#4 2015-09-09 20:57:50

Cobblestone
Member
Registered: 2015-01-28
Posts: 211
Website

Re: One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

jere wrote:

The only thing CM needs is more eyeballs.

jere wrote:

This has been discussed before, but a cashless version of CM on Steam might attract a lot of attention.

I absolutely agree with this.

Also, during the launch contest I found myself wishing I could just play on my phone or tablet. I looked a bit in to it and it seems that betting games ~are~ allowed on iOS (depending on the region). So CM could be put on iOS completely intact.


Edit: As long as we're doing our wishlists here, I still think modifying tournaments to be player-created instead of timed (like I mentioned in another thread) would greatly benefit the community. I'm noticing on the Twitterbot that there are people playing, just all at different times against String Corn. If tournaments were special things we could organize to get everyone playing at the same time... well, that'd be pretty neat.

Last edited by Cobblestone (2015-09-09 21:01:51)

Offline

#5 2015-09-10 06:00:49

Dan_Dan84
Member
Registered: 2015-02-14
Posts: 106

Re: One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

Hey, nice to see you again, Ano!

While it's a nice idea and it might have worked, I just don't see it being the fix that will lead to a return of 75, 100, 150 active players a day. After all, we've talked again and again about the fundamental game issues that limited critical mass, as well as other factors that limited CM's potential audience. As Jason put it, over a thousand players have tried the game, and the vast majority of them, some after losing their initial $10-20 deposits, said, "thanks but no thanks." As I noted elsewhere, a quick look through the dollar balance leaderboards reveals that many of the money winners during the launch contest still have a balance that they haven't cashed out, but I've never seen their names on Canto since the launch contest.

I've also wondered how the lack of a mobile version of the game affected CM adoption. I don't have a tablet or smartphone myself, but I could imagine myself playing CM on the go more, rather than waiting to be seated in front of my computer (and I don't consider my laptop to be mobile in the same way as a tablet). I could also picture more casual adoption, as a friend or onlooker might ask "Whatcha doin'?" while you're busy painting a demonic sigil.

Now I'm not much a computer guy, but something I've been wondering is, Could CM have been made as a browser-based game that could also have been compatible with smartphones and tablets? That could have bypassed the whole thorny "no gambling games on the App Store/Google Play" issue. But then again, a browser-based game could have opened the doors to a whole host of technical and security issues...

Anyway, personally, I've kind of finished mourning CM. While I would love to see it rise again, I just honestly don't see it happening. I think it's an amazing game, concept, and piece of art, but yeah, not the commercial success that was hoped for.

Offline

#6 2015-09-10 16:17:17

AnoHito
Member
Registered: 2014-11-24
Posts: 116

Re: One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

I would actually consider doing a browser based version of Cordial Minuet. I had suggested it as an idea very early on, even to the point where I questioned why it wasn't done that way in the first place. I had also suggested using Bitcoins instead of credit cards to fund accounts, because it gets around the fees and some of the legal issues involved with credit cards. I might actually consider working on something like this seriously, but it would be a pretty big project to do by myself, and I am busy with a lot of other things right now. If anyone thinks they could port the interface of the Cordial Minuet client to JavaScript, let me know, because that is really where I lack experience. I could do the back-end stuff without too much difficulty if I had someone to help with the client.

Offline

#7 2015-09-10 18:34:59

LiteS
Member
Registered: 2015-01-27
Posts: 82

Re: One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

I think it's really just a design/ethics problem. Jason understandably wants to treat players with respect. Unfortunately, that vision is essentially the opposite of what makes gambling profitable for casinos.

Offline

#8 2015-09-11 01:49:08

AnoHito
Member
Registered: 2014-11-24
Posts: 116

Re: One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

And I completely understand this concern. I think gambling in general is a tool used to manipulate people into parting with their hard earned money. But playing Cordial Minuet is not gambling per say. There are some similarities, but in the end Cordial Minuet is a fair game of skill. Cordial Minuet is not the first attempt to create a fair game of skill that you play for money, and it is not the first to fail either. Every attempt at making this kind of thing work that I have ever seen has failed. And the problem is always the same. When it becomes clear to someone that they are losing money, they go back to playing other things. There is no possibility of miraculous reversal of fortune, and the longer you play, the more you lose. Why would anyone play a game like that? Well, the only answer I can think of, is that they would if they were paying to play the game itself, and not for the sake of making money. The game has to stand on it's own merits as something people are willing to pay to participate in. The lure of profitability can be part of the equation, but it really has to be emphasized that the majority of people who play will not make money, or else people will feel cheated. I think that's what happened during the launch tournament to an extent. People were lured in with the promise of making money playing a game online, only to be given the bait and switch when they realized they were being taken by the skilled players from the beta who had much more time to build experience with the game than they did. Honestly, if I had started playing during the launch period, I probably would have been intimidated by the level of play and quit too. So I really believe that what this amounts to is a basic marketing problem. Unless you can sell Cordial Minuet as a game that is worth spending money to keep playing, the game, by definition, cannot be successful, because it is the type of game where the majority of players will lose money. If you don't sell the game that way, you are being fundamentally dishonest.

Last edited by AnoHito (2015-09-11 01:55:27)

Offline

#9 2015-09-11 14:27:16

jere
Member
Registered: 2014-11-23
Posts: 298

Re: One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

Just to clarify the difference between our perspectives: AnoHito, you seem to have come up with quite a few numbers of fixes to CM (of which I'm sure some might be useful), but all of them seemed focused on keeping existing players or in this case getting getting existing players to spend more money.

I fundamentally disagree. CM wasn't going to be a financial success (comparable to TCD at least) without many millions of dollars being deposited into it. And that's just not going to happen with ~1000 players, unless we were all whales like cullman or we were dumping our life savings into the game. Rather I think the solutions should focus on player growth. Any statement like "X feature causes players to stop playing" doesn't strike me as practical when you don't have a playerbase in the first place.


Canto Delirium: a Twitter bot for CM. Also check out my strategy guide!

Offline

#10 2015-09-11 17:41:56

AnoHito
Member
Registered: 2014-11-24
Posts: 116

Re: One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

Not at all, I tried to address this in my last post, but I think the reason we had so much trouble attracting and keeping new players is that way to much emphasis was placed on using this game to make money, rather than the game itself. I think re-framing the way the game is presented to be something more like "pay to play" is the best way to get new players interested. But I do wonder if the game, in and of itself, is compelling enough to support this kind of model. It would be nice if it had more to offer players who don't win than just a loss.

Offline

#11 2015-09-11 19:27:22

Cobblestone
Member
Registered: 2015-01-28
Posts: 211
Website

Re: One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

Back when we were talking about how to expand the game beyond more than just 1v1, I had this weird idea about being able to watch two people playing and betting on the numbers they would get, sorta like keno or roulette, or even letting multiple people watch and those viewers could bet amongst themselves on who would win.

I never actually suggested this, because I'm not sure it would still qualify as skilled-based betting and wouldn't get pass the internet gambling laws. Something like that would allow people who are frustrated about losing a way to still play the game, tho.

Offline

#12 2016-01-07 23:13:41

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2014-11-20
Posts: 802

Re: One last idea for fixing Cordial Minuet...

I'm sure this was covered in another thread, but I've thought about this more since then, and I've played A LOT more poker since then (we now have a weekly "home game" in town which I regularly win money at.... I've been practicing and getting better and better, and have played in 9 different real poker rooms).

I've also played heads poker up live once (at a home game where no one else showed up), and I could see how it doesn't really work.

I mean, the game of poker works just fine with two people.  It functions.  The decisions are rich and interesting (maybe even more so than with a 6 or 9-person game).  But my opponent and I were reasonably matched.  I actually can't say who is better.  He took my money for a while, and I bought in a bunch ($20 buy-ins) to replenish my stack.  At some point, I had bought in for $160---7 re-buys---without realizing it.  Then I finally "got his number" and felted him, taking his initial $20 buy-in.  So at that point, I had $180 or so.  Then he bought in again for $40, my play worsened (I had a huge stack, maybe tilted a bit), and he whittled me back down to $70 or so.  I left at 3am, down quite a bit.  There was no rake, so he came out way ahead (he left with $150 for his $60 buy-in).

We played hundreds and hundreds of hands over the course of 8 solid hours.  Who won seemed to be mostly chance, because we were evenly matched (he got better hands than me for most of the night, I'd say).

It was one of the most excruciating poker experiences of my life, and I find heads up online to be similar.

So what's the difference here?  I talked about it before, but I'll say it again:  50% of the people who enter a heads up game of poker are going to lose money.  There is no way for less people than that to lose money.  It was me or him.  It kinda feels hopeless and futile, even without a rake to make things worse.

At a 9-person poker table, all you know for sure is that 11.1% of the players are going to lose money.  It is possible for the other 89% of them to walk away a winner.  If you don't know who the sucker is at the table, you're the sucker (Rounders).  There's always hope that there's some player at the table worse than you.  No one thinks they're the worst of nine, even if they are.  Even if you lose every night, there's still hope for you tomorrow night.  You come back and try again.

At our home poker game, I've watched one guy lose at least $70 every night ($20 buy-in) before leaving.  He still comes back every week.


But heads up, if you're on a losing streak, you start to wonder, right away, if you're outmatched.  There's nowhere to hide.  You can't watch the other players go at it and wait for your perfect chance.

And at the home game, when the chance of playing heads up is suggested (as the game is about to break, when people start going home), NO ONE wants to play heads up.  "No way, I'm not playing heads up!"

There's just too much on the line.  The play is more complex, you can't just wait for really good hands (which is much easier), and reading your opponent becomes crucial.

I guess it's like the difference between a battle and a duel.  In a battle, you know that lots of people are going to die, but you can kinda hide in the fray, even if you're not a very good fighter.  Maybe it won't be you.  But in a duel... it's really on the line, and there's no way to fool yourself about that fact.  I'm going to die, or the other person is going to die.


I didn't understand this, sadly, when I designed this game.  I thought I'd make it easier on myself (no collusion problems!) by making a two-player game.

But that kind of direct confrontation is too much for almost everyone.

So, all the fixes to the buy-ins, and the tournament structure, and even the game itself (making it more fun or more interesting) won't fix its fundamental 2-player nature.  We've talked about multiplayer extensions to the game, but of course it would be better to design a multiplayer game from scratch rather than tape this one into that other shape.

Unfortunately, I need to focus on making a game that is much more likely to bring in income for my family, so working on another real-money game, which is an uncertain business model no matter what, is not possible for me right now.

When I asked Steam about a play money version of CM, I'm pretty sure they said NO.  Regardless, even attention from Steam won't change the 2-player nature of this game.


Also, there may even be something deeper, which is that simultaneous decisions (rock-paper-scissors family) aren't fundamentally THAT interesting for people.  How many really successful games use that mechanism in a big way?

And that cuts to the core of the whole design problem:  how can you make a truly skill-based game that people would actually be willing to bet money on?  Simultaneous decisions is one way that works (no randomness, but still plenty of uncertainty)----but I don't think the result is a terribly compelling game.

It's not interesting to try to simulate a random number generator in your head.

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB