CORDIAL MINUET ENSEMBLE

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#1 2014-12-10 18:12:18

mzo
Member
Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 50

Anticlimax

There seems to be quite a few frequent situations as the game stands right now that feel very anti-climactic and somewhat mute the excitement of the game.

- People folding/leaving after disliking their first number
- The 3rd and final choice of columns (feels either too 50/50 or too obvious)
- The last reveal, when it shows you have a 50/50 shot of winning based
- The last reveal, when you definitely can't win and begrudgingly have to hit Fold
- Being forced to hit the Leave button after you clean someone out to 0 coins

One option to reduce some of these situations would be to allow a small manipulation of the information that is provided to the other player. This would be in the form of allowing you to add a fake tick (green on your side, red on theirs) to indicate you could possibly have something that you actually possibly couldn't. Doing the math without some kind of computer assistance would be pretty ridiculous so it wouldn't be far fetched to bluff your way out of situations where the computer revealing your information too early makes the end feel pointless.

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#2 2014-12-10 19:08:00

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2014-11-20
Posts: 801

Re: Anticlimax

Some of these things that you're describing are "non-choices, where you're still asked to chose."

I'm not happy that these moments exist in the game, but I don't know how else to structure it.  Sometimes there IS a choice to be made at these points, but other times, not.  Usually, for the reveal, you want to pick the square that creates the largest spread in the score graph---the most uncertainty.  This could be done automatically for you by the computer, but it would feel weird if that's how it worked.  So I left the choice to the player.  There are some rare situations where there's actually a choice to make, but usually you want the largest spread.

Post-reveal, there are only 5 possibilities from your perspective.  Both their scores above, both below, both between, interleaved below, interleaved above.

Two of these are force-folds for one player.  But still, should the computer auto-fold?

The other three are juicier, with important betting decisions for both players.  So, the game just lets you make the decision no matter what.

Note that very advanced players can control the game so that at the end, there is a juicy decision for the other player and a sure win for themselves.  The best game state for you is actually not the one with the highest possible score, but instead the one where you're winning with the most uncertainty in your opponent's mind.

This mirrors poker, where a 22 with a 2KA on the flop is a really good game state in terms of winning money from your opponent, but a 22 is not a strong hand compared to KQ suited.

The "knowing you've won sometimes" mirrors poker as well (having the nuts).  The "knowing you've lost" has no mirror in poker, so that's not so great.

Even if there is no reveal, knowing you've lost can happen when all 6 of their possible scores are above your true score.

But, in this game, it goes further, where you know you've lost and you know they know too (no chance of bluffing).  That can happen even without the reveal.

The original game had no reveal step, but I felt like the final bets were placed with too much uncertainty.


I don't like the idea of breaking the math (because an advanced player would overcome that).

There could be some kind of deception in the reveal (maybe reveal a possible square for yourself that you didn't actually win).

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#3 2014-12-10 19:12:25

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

Re: Anticlimax

- The 3rd and final choice of columns (feels either too 50/50 or too obvious)
- The last reveal, when it shows you have a 50/50 shot of winning based
- The last reveal, when you definitely can't win and begrudgingly have to hit Fold

Unless both of your numbers are below both of your their numbers, you can always attempt to bluff.

I've discussed the last round before and whether or not it is a 50/50. The conclusion seems to be that it would only be a 50/50 if you knew your opponent picked the reveal randomly, but for strategic reasons they will be heavily biased towards picking the highest number possible in most cases.


I think the idea of more reveals is interesting. However, the topic of bots has come up a lot and I feel that any mechanic that gave such a clear advantage to a computer would be viewed very negatively. I would guess that if features are added they would have to, at a minimum, avoid contradicting the information you already have on the board.

Here's an example: on the first turn you could optionally select a "grey" column in addition to red and green columns. Doing so would reveal to your opponent that you did not select that column, which gives the opponent a good amount of information for the rest of the game, but allows you to skew your first round numbers high or low. Not sure this is actually an interesting feature, but you can see how it offer more options without giving the opponent any false information.


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

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#4 2014-12-11 04:41:41

mzo
Member
Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 50

Re: Anticlimax

I agree it's not usually truly 50/50, my points were more about the feel than actual statistics.

The situations I mentioned are kind of a mix of fake choices and an overall sense of resigning to fate. While I know Pandante is not typically played for cash, I do really appreciate some of the dynamics Sirlin was trying to better encourage. One of those is the feeling that you can always potentially bluff hail mary your way out of bad situations. While CM doesn't provide perfect information, it does narrow down heavily towards the end, leaving you feeling more and more boxed into a bad situation.

I felt like having a 3rd possibility during the final rounds feels much more dynamic than the 2 "50/50" options. While I really like the ability to choose which number to reveal, I find that I'm often not given good options to choose from. This leaves me unable to do much to influence my bluff, especially if I can't even "reveal" any numbers above theirs.

Being able to choose my bet sizes throughout the match gives me some flexibility in bluffing, but because my coins are always capped to 100, my ability to exercise that flexibility reduces throughout the match. To me poker feels like I often can either fold on my starting hand (which isn't great in a 1 on 1 game, especially one with a fixed amount of chips) or I can find some way to salvage a hand through bluffing. Due to the anonymity of the game and lack of any social dynamics, I have very few avenues to exercise bluffing saves.

It doesn't have to be direct manipulation of the ticks, but I feel like the game really does need a little more opportunity to manipulate the information your opponent receives as right now its extremely focused on bet #'s. It could even be as simple as one of your column choices not affecting the narrowing down of ticks that your opponent sees, allowing you to mask a good/bad choice. I also think your suggestion about revealing a square you didn't pick could be interesting, although I'm not sure how feasible that can be done without it being obvious. I found when playing online poker with no chat or social dynamics, it becomes very focused on bet amounts just like CM and ends up pretty much in super conservative play, folding any hands that aren't strong. It can still be ok to an extent in online poker because it has multiple players with easy drop in/out and non-fixed chip stacks.

I played quite a few games against a player this morning who would run a $0.25 game and anytime he didn't like his starting # he would simply leave the game. It was really boring to play this guy (and due to the lack of players I didn't have many other choices) other than to know I was able to give him bad starting numbers the majority of the time. In thinking about what can be done about this kind of play, obviously an inability to fold on first bet wouldn't prevent someone from leaving the game. I understand your reasons for wanting to allowing leaving whenever with the penalty of losing the pot, but 1 coin is often a meaningless penalty and of no benefit to me for having to put up with it. I can't choose who I play against other than by recognizing his stake (which will become more useless as more players join) to make sure to avoid this player. I think a simple solution is to increase the penalty for leaving a game super early to an additional coin or more. One additional coin doesn't seem like a huge penalty, especially for those who have to leave due to real life reasons, but doubles the cost for someone doing this excessively. This penalty only need apply to leaving, as folding instead applies a different kind of penalty in that they reduce their stack size and grow mine so I benefit from sticking around.

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#5 2014-12-11 16:01:59

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2014-11-20
Posts: 801

Re: Anticlimax

It seems to me like the big bluff would simply have to happen BEFORE the reveal move, right?  The game without the reveal move (where the final bet happens where each player has 6 possible scores) is identical to the current game up to that point, except in the current game, you know the reveal is coming.  So, all the potential for deception at that point is still possible.  I don't think having the reveal come later changes that.

It's more like adding a "reveal one card" to the end of Holdem, with an extra betting step.  You wouldn't wait until after that to bluff, if you wanted to bluff.

So, yeah, there's going to be a boxing-in after that point, but on occasion, really interesting situations can come out of that reveal move.

I feel like the entire game is a step-by-step process of revealing more information about what your opponent has or could get.  Very much like flop, turn, river in Holdem.  Without the reveal step, and extra betting round, it felt too compact.


An extra coin penalty for leaving makes a lot of sense.  What do other people think about that?  One concern is that it would be hard to make it visible to the player.  It's like, "pay one coin to leave."

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#6 2014-12-11 18:06:18

a_fiendish_thingy
Member
Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 15

Re: Anticlimax

I think the pay a coin to leave option would be good, with some restrictions. Probably only have it apply if you leave before one round has completed. Like is said above, folding on the first hand is fairly common (I do it more often than not personally), and I dont think there should be a penalty of any sort for that.

Also throwing in my two cents on the reveal portion of a round, it is actually my favorite part of the game. I feel that knowing it is going to be there, it offers the opportunity to play some long bluffs over the course of a round. I have to agree with Jason, thinking that the game would be too short and compact without it.

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#7 2014-12-11 19:51:26

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2014-11-20
Posts: 801

Re: Anticlimax

Fold and leave in the first round just seems like a strange thing to do.  Yeah, so you don't get a good number on turn 1, so you fold.  Now you're down to 99 chips.  Is it really a huge advantage to leave?

There was some talk on here before about "deep stack play" allowing a strong player to exercise more skill, and how the smaller stack at the table is the limiting factor on the possible skill spectrum, but 99 compared to 100 doesn't seem significant.

Maybe that player was looking for a certain type of opponent, and if you were raising after the first pick, then maybe they were just outta there.

I've seen this happen in poker rooms too.

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#8 2014-12-11 22:49:25

mzo
Member
Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 50

Re: Anticlimax

I had thought that the player might be leaving based on betting raises but they left on recieving a bad first number regardless of me betting 1 coin or higher. I'm not sure why they preferred that to folding. Perhaps because they could do it excessively and remain at 100 chips.

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#9 2014-12-11 23:08:10

mzo
Member
Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 50

Re: Anticlimax

I definitely wasnt suggesting not having a reveal and final bet. I totally agree that its important. The way its currently setup though, the amount of misinformation you can use in the reveal is minimal and often will wipe out previous betting bluffing.

Let's say for example holdem did something similar and had a final round after all 5 community cards were out where you revealed one of your hole cards and did a final round of betting. Yes, sometimes the card you could reveal could reinforce a bluff, but more often than not, it would reveal you as a liar and you'd be better off just folding.

If you want to encourage more folding than I suppose thats fine. I feel like with the game being one on one and so much changing of opponents that it's better that rounds play out until the end more often.

It seems like a lot of design debate stops at "if you're sufficiently advanced then that's not an issue" which leaves the middle skill level between novice and advanced pretty uninteresting. I think part of pokers appeal is that it supports that midrange really well outside of tournaments. The midrange player only half knows what he's doing and having some flexibility to go for hail mary moves when he's screwed up is imo one of the things that stops it from being a constant foldfest.

Right now the reveal is essential but gives too useful of information and doesn't leave enough room for misinformation outside of betting. The realtime possibilities graph is super awesome for making the game more accesible but has the downside of weakening bluffing compared to poker.

I think all it will take is one additional bit of misdirection under player control (such as some of the suggestions made so far) to make bluffing really shine.

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#10 2014-12-11 23:38:50

mzo
Member
Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 50

Re: Anticlimax

As a small request in the mean time. Could you add the option to fold during the reveal choice without revealing? Meaning I get to the reveal step, look over my choices and just decide I'd rather fold than let them know how I was bluffing first? There are times I'd also want to use this to pretend I was bluffing. Keep in mind as I say all this that I do pretty decent at the game (was recently #2 by profit ratio) so I'm not looking for ways to win easier.

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#11 2014-12-12 03:43:06

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2014-11-20
Posts: 801

Re: Anticlimax

Right... you mean because you can't fold when you're not up against a bet at the moment?  So you can't fold while making a move or while picking your reveal.  You can only fold if they bet more after that.  You're forced to either reveal or leave if you haven't folded yet.  Hmm... I'll think about that.

As far as the bluff hail mary goes... I'm still not getting why that can't happen before the reveal.  Push all in before the reveal, for example.  Your opponent has much less hard info about your score at that point.

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#12 2014-12-12 03:50:44

mzo
Member
Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 50

Re: Anticlimax

I see your point about pushing all in earlier. I"ll play around with some different strategies and see if maybe I'm just overlooking different play styles. I still wish the reveal showed a 3rd tick to keep things interesting, but ill play around and think about it some more. Definitely would like that option to fold on reveal pick though. Guess I can just leave for now.

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#13 2014-12-12 16:08:50

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2014-11-20
Posts: 801

Re: Anticlimax

Hmm... what if, before you make your pre-reveal bet, you could mouse over your squares and preview what a given reveal would do on the score graph?  (Using the same mouse-over-to-adjust-score-graph mechanism that is in place in other parts of the game.)

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#14 2014-12-12 17:52:59

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2014-11-20
Posts: 801

Re: Anticlimax

Okay, I added this (v11, not released yet).  While you're planning your pre-reveal bet, you can mouse over your own won squares to preview how revealing a given square will affect your possible scores as seen by your opponent.  So, before placing that bet, you can gage whether you'll be in a strong bluffing position post-reveal or not (and maybe decide to fold at that point before the reveal).

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#15 2014-12-13 00:44:51

mzo
Member
Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 50

Re: Anticlimax

Awesome, that will work. Thanks!

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