CORDIAL MINUET ENSEMBLE

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#1 2014-11-22 07:04:38

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

Thoughts after playing a few rounds

I have just finished my first few rounds of Cordial Minuet, and I am waiting for someone to join a game I just created so I thought I would type up a couple thoughts for you Jason.

First, a little context of who I am as a player. I have always had an interest in gambling, particularly cards (Hold Em and Blackjack mostly). However, growing up in a strictly Christian household (my Dads a pastor) kind of made that not an option until college. And sadly Maryland only recently legalized table games and I dont live near a casino. Therefore I dont have much in the way of experience concerning the finer points of gambling strategy (I guess this is another perspective than from the other reaction thread from a person with gambling experience) That said, I ADORE mind games and this seems to be right up my alley for that reason (also why I was excited to help test Castle Doctrine).

One thing I want to touch on first is the mandatory money element. Ive seen some of the comments on the articles on Kotaku and Rock Paper Shotgun, and while I think youre going to get alot of resistance about this I think it is overall a good choice. This game is just like poker, even if its just for pennies it matters so much more if there is money on the line. It changes the whole dynamic. I realize I may be preaching to the choir here, haha. Just want to say I completely understand what you're going for.

As for the game itself, I believe it is an extremely elegant design, and VERY difficult to explain in just words and and images. After reading the articles on Kotaku and RPS, I still wasnt sure how the game worked. It wasnt until I watched the tutorial video posted that everything actually clicked. I am excited to really try and dig into the strategy of it all.

As I dont have much experience with gambling, I have no idea what is standard for this; but it feels like the amount the house takes each round is too steep. I much prefer the option explained in Asminthe's thread, having the house's cut taken out at the beginning. Or maybe taking one coin per player each round instead of a percentage of the pot? Or maybe have both (pay up front vs % of pot) be an option for the game creator.

As for the mind game aspect of the game, I look forward to trying the game while sitting in the same room as my opponent. I would recommend maybe adding the option to password protect games? Or maybe the ability to see who is hosting a game? It wont be a problem now with so few players, but I forsee that being an issue post launch.

Other little thoughts:
- I love the art direction, I hope you go even further with it
- Will there be music? I feel like this could benefit from some atmospheric music
- I really want to second the request for seeing the game listing while waiting for an opponent in a game I created. I am always worried I am missing something while I am waiting
- Will there be an option to change our alias? This would be more important if the ability to see who is in a game, particularly if we want to play a game with friends
- Will there be any sort of ranking system? There are pros and cons to this, it could help fresh/inexperienced/bad players know to avoid people of high high skill and therefore avoid losing constantly. But it could also cause no one to want to play with high ranked players. Maybe a tiered system? Or a separate lobby for new players to learn the ropes? This isnt really an issue (or practical) yet, but I am worried about someone coming in to try and learn the game/basic strategy and losing horribly to a veteran player and getting turned off from the game.

Anyway, Im not sure if any of this is helpful or not. Ill post more if I get any more thoughts! Thanks for the invite, and I look forward to playing more!

Last edited by a_fiendish_thingy (2014-11-22 18:33:29)

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#2 2014-11-22 20:27:23

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2014-11-20
Posts: 801

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

The penny buy-in is supposed to help brand new players.  $2 can get you 165 games even if you lose every single one.  That's a lot of games to learn on, with only a penny lost each time.

I get the anxiety over other games showing up invisibly while I'm waiting for an opponent.  Like, creating a 50 cent game, but sure, I'd join a dollar game too.  Right now, it would make sense to list some of those games right on the waiting screen.  I guess it can list three games there (the three that are the closest to the amount you requested).

The other option would be to set a range that you're willing to join.  "Call my game 50 cents, but I'm willing to join anything less than 2 dollars."  The problem there is the UI for displaying whatever match comes along.  Surprise, you just auto-joined a $1.72 game.  I'd rather keep it cleaner than that.

So, I think the solution would be to list close-valued games on the waiting screen, but just list them, not make buttons out of them.  So you do have to cancel your game wait and go back to the menu to join another game.

I'll have to think about ways to only have friends join your games.... seems like a simple password on game creation, and then a password search field on the menu screen could work.  This would also work great for one-on-one setups at my PAX booth, too.  But for the booth, I'd really want to lock the pair of machines into using the same password... hmm...

In the mean time, here's a trick you can use:

When you "create" a game, you're actually just asking to join a game at that value.  So there will never be two 50 cent games listed on the menu, for example.  Even if a second player tries to create one, they will just end up joining the existing one.  You can use this to join a friend by picking a unique money value (like 38 cents) and the both creating that game a the same time.  You will very likely join each other before anyone else even gets a chance to even see that your game exists.

No plans for alias changes.  I know that some people are unhappy with theirs, but the two random words are really a nice touch.  I don't plan on having those show up in the game itself.  They're just for recognizing yourself on the leaderboard.

Graphics are pretty much done.  I really wanted a clean distinction between the "digital" parts of the UI (widgets and stuff) and the "handmade" occult artifact in the center.  It was important to always keep the handmade part consistent.  Paint can only be added, never removed, etc.  It always behaves like a real piece of paper.  I don't want parchment buttons and widgets.  I don't want a parchment credit card entry screen.

No plans for music in this one.

I intentionally designed this as a skill-based game, but it's a "soft" skill that is more of a hard-to-define art.  It doesn't need a ranking system in the same way that chess does.

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#3 2014-11-24 20:45:29

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

After playing a few more rounds, I am understanding all of your aesthetic choices. And I am realizing that the forced anonymity is actually making the game more interesting, which I was not expecting. I am still looking forward to playing with friends in the same room, but playing with strangers is very very interesting.

On another note, I just played a game where at the end of the first round both of us had gone all-in (pot of 200 coins). After I won the pot, I was expecting the final four coins to be sent to the house like normal, but only one was actually sent. Did you change the cut the house gets, or is this a bug?

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#4 2014-11-24 20:55:07

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

Yeah, I changed it out from under you.  See a thread that I just posted about it!  smile

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#5 2014-12-07 07:15:28

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

Has anyone else been having trouble finding matches recently? This past week, Ive left the client open for a couple hours each day waiting for a game and I have only had the chance to play against one opponent. Is anyone else noticing that its a little sparse, or am I just always getting on at the wrong time?

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#6 2014-12-07 15:18:21

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

I've had the client open most of the past few days while I work on other things and I tend to agree. Friday seemed pretty good. I got several games in, but I got the feeling most of them were with the same person. Almost nothing yesterday. You can look at the active users graph to see if it's a bad time.

Seems the most dead on the weekends.

Last edited by jere (2014-12-07 15:18:36)


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#7 2014-12-07 19:24:42

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2014-11-20
Posts: 801

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

Yeah, I have family visiting here right now, so I neglected to invite another batch of people yesterday.  I just sent invites out to 300 more.

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#8 2014-12-08 19:50:35

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

Purely out of curiosity, what percentage of people you send invites to are actually buying in and playing? Are you getting much push-back because of the real money element?

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#9 2014-12-08 21:47:48

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

I think I've sent email invites out to close to 1000 people at this point.  Who knows how many are reading the email (these addresses come from a "sign up for release updates" mailing list that has been running for many years).

115 people have created accounts, so that's roughly 10%

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#10 2014-12-09 10:09:31

..
Member
Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 259

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

I would guess from the users graph that a lot of people only played for a day or two and haven't been on much since then; i.e. that the spikes in the graph are largely due to new batches of users. The graph does drop to 0 or 1 players/hour for much of the day and I've also had the experience of waiting for hours due to my unusual time zone. Not sure whether the scale is one + per player for both graphs, but I assume so.

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#11 2014-12-12 03:10:11

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

One thought about an interface thing that I think could be really helpful. One part of strategy that I really suffer with is remembering to take into account what rows I believe my opponent chose. Could there be a way for players to temporarily mark squares they believe are chosen by the opponent? This could be done sort of like in Minesweeper where you can right click squares to add a flag or a question mark on the squares.

I am a very visual person, being able to see quickly which squares are believed to be taken already would allow me to play and plan more effectively.

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#12 2014-12-12 03:20:11

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

There are lots of things like this I could do that would help.  But I don't want to do too much---I want to let the game board just be the game board.

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#13 2014-12-12 03:56:36

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

I guess one solution would be to use the windows snipping tool to grab a window screen shot (Ive been using that to take pics of each turn for later review) and then use the pen tool to mark the board up. Not perfect but not too bad either. In fact I may start doing that. My handwriting is way too slow to write down the entire board on paper and still choose a first move before getting timed out!

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#14 2014-12-12 03:58:58

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

IF you didnt want anything to mark the board itself, maybe being able to have a little tick mark you could move on the side? Maybe between the board and the graph on the right side with possible point projections? As is, I have a few torn up bits of post it note I have been sticking on my screen, hahaha.

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#15 2014-12-12 16:02:10

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

Well, torn up bits of post-it note is EXACTLY the kind of thing that I like.  Someone walks in on you, and you appear to have gone mad.

I'm not suggesting that anyone write the whole board down.  But notes like, "t1 25" (my opponent probably got 25 on t1) are doable.

There are already little tick-marks that appear if you click on a possible square for your opponent (which mark the square that is "stuck" so you can mouse over the score graph without the possible-square clearing).  But those ticks don't remain after you click somewhere else.  I think that being able to examine the score graph for hypotheticals is pretty powerful, so I want to keep that and not overload what side-ticks mean.  Also, the click, clear, etc. interface for permanently marking stuff gets modal and messy.

If you have a glass monitor (like a CRT, or maybe a mac?), you could use dry-erase markers on it.

Also, tools for drawing on the screen do exist:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/epicpen/


I kinda feel like this should be like a basic chess program---shows you the board, enforces the rules, but doesn't let you plot your strategy directly in the software.  I understand that the score graph already feels like that, and that's why people are asking for more... BUT, I felt like the score graph was necessary to make the most basic strategies (reading possible scores in the end game) accessible to everyone, not just math savants.  I also didn't want this game to feel like it was "calculator required."

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#16 2014-12-13 04:06:11

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

Re: Thoughts after playing a few rounds

I was not aware about the tick marks if you click on a square, its very much what I was looking for. I guess I should have tried clicking on the board before making requests for features, hahaha. Thanks for the tip!

And I'll continue to use the post-it notes. smile

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