New X-game ULTRA open for sign-ups!

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New X-game ULTRA open for sign-ups!

Postby Hannibal » Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:13 pm

New idea. It's a Standard game, using all the Standard rules, only the Victory Condition is different -- radically different. I'd love to see how it works, if I get six volunteers to try it. It's a game for 6 players.

It's at the opposite end of the spectrum from Duel. Where Duel is high on strategy and tactics, but with zero diplomacy/e-mailing, Ultra is VERY high on diplomacy. "Ultra" is short for "Ultra-diplomacy" -- more diplomacy needed than in Standard or Advanced WOK, I think!

It's open to anyone who's played a bit and got the hang of Standard WOK. It's not just for the lobos/LBGC'ers. It would be nice to have a mix. But it would fall apart a bit for the other 5 if someone went AWOL (more so than in a Standard game), so only sign up if you'll stick with it to the end, pls? My best guess is that it should last only about 10 turns.

The idea is:
1) Victory Condition: Each of the six players has two of the other players as their secret targets. You win as soon as your two secret targets are ripped (by anybody).

2) This means that you don't have to end up as the strongest -- you can put your all into that second rip you need, and win even if it weakens you massively.

3) It also means that the game is short and intense -- it is probably over as soon as 2 players are ripped, because somebody probably had those two as their "targets".

4) This means you have to be very wary -- you want your targets to be weakened, but you DON'T want your non-targets to become weak and vulnerable to a rip. After all, if a non-target of yours gets ripped, and somebody therefore wins the game, you've lost the game just as much as the ripped player has ... Yes, this means you might be trying to help preserve a player who secretly has YOU as his target ... Fun, huh?!

5) So you'll be trying to preserve some players, to avoid somebody else winning, whilst trying to kill off your own targets.

6) You'll be trying to kill off your own 2 targets, and yet keeping an eye open for the two who want YOU dead, as opposed to the 3 who want to keep you alive, because you are not their target, but somebody else's ...

7) Everybody has 2 players coming for them. Which also means that you have an ally who wants to kill off player D just as much as you do -- if you can spot who that ally is! If you succeed, you have each killed off one target -- but you won't both be going for the same second target ... so you'll need a different plan or alliance for your second target.

8 ) At any given time, two of you want player C dead, and 3 of you don't. Two people want YOU dead, and 3 don't. But who is who??

9) An extra twist: you each start off with one piece of info: of the two people who are targeting YOU: one of them is one of the players YOU are targetting (but you don't know which), and one of them is one of the other 3 (but you don't know which). OK, diplomatise your way through that!! You might need to ally with B to take out C, even though there is a 50/50 chance that B then wants YOU dead for the win ...

This makes the concept of Naps a bit tricky. In "Ultra", you can't regard them as unbreakable. Otherwise, it would be a dead giveaway when you refused a nap with someone, that you therefore must be after them as one of your targets. So, in Ultra, naps are not unbreakable. In fact, let's avoid the terms nap and nap-breaker, and call them "deals". You can make any kind of deal you want, but they are breakable -- they HAVE to be, or you couldn't take out your target without revealing who your target is beforehand.

It looks tricky to get a 6-way-even start-map. I'm working on it. So far, I think that Original works well, with the 6 players in a rough circle, probably provs #05, 58, 49, 44, 34, 15, and with provs #01, 53, 51, 19 out-of-bounds.

As to who gets what targets, I have 4 of the finest minds working on a program: Forktongue, Kestrel, Wheldrake and Tomahawk, who were discussing it with me at my place last Sunday.

Anyway, who wants to try this devious, diplomacy-heavy version?? I was thinking of 5-day turns. If you want to join in, pls e-mail me (bobroscow@gmail.com) rather than post on this thread, since I don't always check the forums.

Should be a fun experiment? :-)

Han
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Re: New X-game ULTRA open for sign-ups!

Postby korexus » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:36 pm

Hannibal wrote:As to who gets what targets, I have 4 of the finest minds working on a program: Forktongue, Kestrel, Wheldrake and Tomahawk, who were discussing it with me at my place last Sunday.


put 6 dots on a piece of paper in a rough circle.

Each dot represents a player.

Each player is targeting the player clockwise of him, and the target opposite him.

So long as the player numbers are allocated to the dots randomly, you should be done.


Didn't take too long did it? :wink:

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Re: New X-game ULTRA open for sign-ups!

Postby korexus » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:05 pm

As for the rest of it, it sounds like an interesting idea, I would suggest the following:

It also means that the game is short and intense -- it is probably over as soon as 2 players are ripped, because somebody probably had those two as their "targets".


There are 30 possible pairs of targets and only 6 players. On the second death there is a 40% chance that the game will end. It will probably go to the third RIP at which point...

There is a chance (1 in 12) of 2 people winning on the same turn. There'd need to be a mechanism to deal with that.

It may not be worth the hassle of blocking off some provinces. This would make the game longer but would make the game set up easier.

I imagine diplomacy would actually be very tricky (and thus possible rare). - You know two people who you are after and can make a guess at one of the people after you (and from that one of the people who is not after you) but you don't know who else is going for your two. Any deal offers you make to someone will by their nature give away information about your plans without necessarily gaining you anything. (You could bluff of course, but that just makes the whole thing even more confusing...)

Just thoughts off the top of my head. I don't have my strategic brain in right now...


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Re: New X-game ULTRA open for sign-ups!

Postby Hannibal » Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:26 am

korexus wrote:
put 6 dots on a piece of paper in a rough circle.

Each dot represents a player.

Each player is targeting the player clockwise of him, and the target opposite him.

So long as the player numbers are allocated to the dots randomly, you should be done.

Didn't take too long did it? :wink:

Chris.


Ah, if you want to join in on the race to a program, you are most welcome Chris! Really. And it's a fun debate. But you'll need to know the constraints for this "constraint programming" exercise? I think yours might maybe fall foul of constraint 7?! Maybe give it ten more minutes? ;-)

So the 7 constraints, handily together are:
Constraints:
1. Each player has 2 targets.
2. Each player is targeted by 2 players, and only 2 players.
3. The 2 targeting you cannot be both of those of those "next" to you.
4. The 2 you target cannot be both of those "next" to you.
5. One of your targets also targets you, but only one.
(6. Ergo, one of your 3 non-targets will target you, but only one.)
7. Rule out solutions that are one systematic pattern such that a player could deduce the others' targets by simply extrapolating a pattern from his own.
I bet that 7th one is a brain-burner?


And yes, I realise that (6) is redundant if 1-5 apply.

I guess I could use yours so long as I didn't TELL anyone I was using it (I'd thought of something similar), but you've blown the gaff! Now we have to PRETEND that we've come up with something non-systematic, non-patterned -- and THEN use yours anyway!!

Bob
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Re: New X-game ULTRA open for sign-ups!

Postby Hannibal » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:24 am

Fun, isn't it? And I hope this comes across as light-hearted and having fun, as intended,

korexus wrote:As for the rest of it, it sounds like an interesting idea, I would suggest the following:

It also means that the game is short and intense -- it is probably over as soon as 2 players are ripped, because somebody probably had those two as their "targets".


There are 30 possible pairs of targets and only 6 players. On the second death there is a 40% chance that the game will end. It will probably go to the third RIP at which point...

Typical pure mathematician! (teasing in fun). You are assuming the fall of players is random rather than purposive?! In fact, I'd go further and say that players' skills would not be equal anyway; the guy who is good enough to engineer the first rip in his favour, may well be the guy to seal the second rip in his favour. If I add those considerations to the random 40%, I come up with, er, nearer to 60% chance that the second rip triggers a win. OK, call it 51% so that I can still get away with "probably"? ;-) And certainly the third rip would owe more to purposiveness and skill than to blind odds, so it would still be over faster than the odds suggest? There's only one way to find out who's right: we all play it for the proverbial 5,000 iterations, and then we count the ...

korexus wrote:There is a chance (1 in 12) of 2 people winning on the same turn. There'd need to be a mechanism to deal with that.

My mechanism is that they'd share the win? A thing I've always liked about kaomaris is that there are often two winners -- high fives, and two people go home happy instead of one.

korexus wrote:It may not be worth the hassle of blocking off some provinces. This would make the game longer but would make the game set up easier.

You're right that it might not be worth it. I was trying to make Original-map more "circular" to make the set-up more even. Not so tough to do? Ultra needs 6 players, leaving 4 colours spare ... I use them to block off the corner provs, by assigning them to robos, and editing them to 999 armies? I think you taught me that. Then I deliberately "wrongly" specify their active prov, such that they never move. Would that work? Or I just empty those provs completely, so that they are valueless, and tell the players?

korexus wrote:I imagine diplomacy would actually be very tricky (and thus possible rare). - You know two people who you are after and can make a guess at one of the people after you (and from that one of the people who is not after you) but you don't know who else is going for your two. Any deal offers you make to someone will by their nature give away information about your plans without necessarily gaining you anything. (You could bluff of course, but that just makes the whole thing even more confusing...)

I hadn't thought of that. You might be right, there might be less diplomacy rather than more. It could still be a fun and interesting ride, just not in the way I'd thought? OR: maybe most players are not as smart as you, maybe 3 of them blithely start offering deals ... which gives away intel to you ... so you work out a lot ... so you are then tempted to share your intel and deductions with other players, such that you find yourself embroiled into diplomacy anyway?

Maybe it won't fly. But it might be a fun one-off X-game to try?

Cheers,
Bob
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Re: New X-game ULTRA open for sign-ups!

Postby korexus » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:52 am

Got to be brief, I'm meant to be getting ready for work...

I wasn't suggesting that the player opposite and the next player clockwise on the map would be the targets. Just draw the dots on a piece of paper, the players will be very unlikely to be in the same order in game so the set up would still appear random.

I could knock up a programme to attribute the targets randomly, but as far as I can see all set ups would fall in to one of three types. The version I mentioned, a slight variation where two pairs of players swap their mutual targets or 2 triangles. It's easier to describe in a diagram, I'll try to put one together later.


Did I say 30 possible pairs? :oops: I mean 15. Hence the 40%

The first player down can be treated as completely random. (The actual player may not be due to the reasons you mentioned, but the spot assigned to that player is.) While you could say that the two people who engineered that downfall are therefore better and it is more likely that one of them will organise the next RIP, you should also consider that the the other three players have been doing something. It could well be that another player is down to their last province too. Yes it could be one of the 2 which causes our first group to have a winner, but it could also be one of the 3 that doesn't. As you say we're guessing at true values here, but I think your "probably" is a bit brave. :P


I'd certainly respond to any diplomacy sent, as with the 'Deals not NAPs rule' I wouldn't have to honour my word if it didn't suit me, right?
The offer from the other player represents some information and a chance at some saftey in his direction. In return I offer no information and saftey if it suits me. The benefit is certainly with the receiver in that setup.


Wouldn't mind giving it a go, but I'd have to wait until after Christmas.
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Re: New X-game ULTRA open for sign-ups!

Postby Hannibal » Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:50 pm

korexus wrote:I wasn't suggesting that the player opposite and the next player clockwise on the map would be the targets. Just draw the dots on a piece of paper, the players will be very unlikely to be in the same order in game so the set up would still appear random.

Ah, I see. I was picturing the players as roughly in a circle anyway (no player in the middle), hence the confusion between my "circle" and "next to" and yours. I see what you mean. That overcomes constraint 7, but falls foul of constraints 3 and 4 so far? (I realise that you didn't HAVE constraints 3 and 4 when you came up with that solution, but you can see why I'd want to rule out you being accidentally targeted by the 2 players who were adjacent to you on the map? i.e. B being targeted by A and C?)

korexus wrote:I could knock up a programme to attribute the targets randomly, but as far as I can see all set ups would fall in to one of three types. The version I mentioned, a slight variation where two pairs of players swap their mutual targets or 2 triangles. It's easier to describe in a diagram, I'll try to put one together later.

No need. I've got what you mean.

Meanwhile, Keith/Kestrel pointed out that I was taking a constraint for granted that needed to be specified: i.e that no 2 players can have the same 2 targets.

And I've decided that constraint 7 may be too tough/unnecessary, so the new list of constraints becomes:
1. Each player has 2 targets.
2. Each player is targeted by 2 players, and only 2 players.
3. The 2 targeting you cannot be both of those of those "next" to you.
4. The 2 you target cannot be both of those "next" to you.
5. One of your targets also targets you, but only one.
(6. Ergo, one of your 3 non-targets will target you, but only one.)
7. (optional/ideally) Rule out solutions that are one systematic pattern such that a player could deduce the others' targets by simply extrapolating a pattern from his own. Or at least tag or list those that ARE symmetrical vs those that are asymmetric. Or at least tell me what % solutions will be symmetric vs asymmetric (so that I know I could just visually check each in turn till I found that I had an asymmetric one I could pick, without that being a needle in a haystack).
8. No two players may have identical targets.

A fun challenge, huh? Hey, it's not vital. I could live without a program/list, and just do it freehand with pencil and paper, probably using Chris's first idea rather than my first idea. If it ever gets played anyway. So, don't bust a gut on it, only if it's fun.

korexus wrote:While you could say that the two people who engineered that downfall are therefore better and it is more likely that one of them will organise the next RIP, you should also consider that the the other three players have been doing something. It could well be that another player is down to their last province too. Yes it could be one of the 2 which causes our first group to have a winner, but it could also be one of the 3 that doesn't. As you say we're guessing at true values here, but I think your "probably" is a bit brave. :P

Yep, that's why I don't claim that "probably" ever meant 80% or more! ;P But, hey, the random odds make it 40%, so I'm only (now) claiming that purposiveness and skill move it up a BIT, from 40% to 51-60% ? ;P

korexus wrote:I'd certainly respond to any diplomacy sent, as with the 'Deals not NAPs rule' I wouldn't have to honour my word if it didn't suit me, right?
The offer from the other player represents some information and a chance at some saftey in his direction. In return I offer no information and saftey if it suits me. The benefit is certainly with the receiver in that setup.

You prompted me to think this through a bit more. Hmm. If (if) everyone is a smart player, then I guess you're right that there is little point in revealing your agenda honestly, eg "Any interest in you(D) and me(B) both taking out player C?" But. But. As you say, you'd be better off starting with a BLUFF. So ... Your first diplomatic mail would STILL be "Any interest in you(D) and me(B) taking out player C?", but you(B) would be bluffing ... you are NOT after (C), you are just trying to judge from D's reply as to whether HE, D, is after C or not ...if he says yes, he's after C (or double-bluffing); if he says no, he's not after C (or double-bluffing). I guess you would then strike a deal that both, one, or neither, of you intended to live by, and then you'd judge by the next turn what the other actually DID. Of course, meanwhile, D contacts C, and arranges a subterfuge, pretending by soft attacks that D is attacking C, just so that D and C can con you (B) ...

My point is that you're right, smart people will bluff rather than reveal their true targets. Leading to double-bluffs. But some will reveal their true targets. You have to decide which is which and how to play it! A masterclass in bluff and diplomacy? Or too hard, no-one will bother?

korexus wrote:Wouldn't mind giving it a go, but I'd have to wait until after Christmas.

I was thinking of after Christmas anyway. The 2 or 3 lobos who are interested wouldn't want it till then. And I would like it to be a mix of my LBGC mates and my WOK mates, mixed together.

Han
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"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs"......... it's probably just that you're the last person to appreciate the enormity of the catastrophe about to


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