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MarkSteere
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #405 on: May 25th, 2011, 6:23pm »

on May 25th, 2011, 2:25pm, christianF wrote:

It must be hard to escape Mark Steere

It's not too difficult.  One could, for example, suddenly change the topic from Sygo to The bad personality of Mark, the bad guy. Whenever you're finished "escaping", lol, reality and I will still be here, patiently waiting.
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christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #406 on: May 27th, 2011, 7:02am »

on May 25th, 2011, 6:23pm, MarkSteere wrote:
One could, for example, suddenly change the topic from Sygo to The bad personality of Mark.
I've been waiting for any content oriented commentary, but to no avail. That, for the time being, isn't much of a problem because I've booked my seasonal room at Hotel Lethargy. That means taking care of bare necessities, the animals up front. Here are some pics of my raccoon dog couple and two of their offspring, held by my son Falco, who just today finished his last High School exam.
 

This is me and Woolfie, a white male born here in 2005. He's extremely relaxed as long as he's not handled (like here) and he's a dedicated father.
 

This is Daisy, a wildcolored female born in a zoo in Bayern in 2010. She was unexpectedly tame when we got her last year, 13 weeks old at the time.
 

Here is Falco with the one white pup and one of the remaining six wild colored ones. We'll keep the white one because it's a male and male's are easier to keep because they don't have trouble in the mating season. Female's have induced ovulation, meaning they don't get out of heat unless they're 'served'. And they can get very moody and agressive if that doesn't happen.
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christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #407 on: May 28th, 2011, 2:34pm »

on May 25th, 2011, 10:04am, MarkSteere wrote:
Conspicuously absent from the Sygo rule sheet is any mention of draws. Ignoring draws won't make them go away.

Just a detail: you were right about the rules. However, in the ArenA Sygo is introduced thus (and was all te time):
Quote:
Sygo wouldn't have existed without Symple. Now that it does, please note that it doesn't have ambiguities in its rules, and no cycles. However, it does have some more room for "seki", local stalemates in terms of groups capturing one another, in which vacant points aren't counted. It is intrinsically balanced by the "symple mechanism", but unlike Symple, it can end in a draw. Sygo is "Go on Speed".

So it was and is, however unimportant, one of the first things mentioned.
 
Saying that logical arguments are "semantic wizardry" isn't a very stong bid, don't you think? And saying Sygo's a "dud", whatever that may be, doesn't seem much of a logical argument. Surely you can do better than that, even if it means actually contemplating content.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #408 on: May 28th, 2011, 6:38pm »

on May 28th, 2011, 2:34pm, christianF wrote:

Saying that logical arguments are "semantic wizardry" isn't a very stong bid, don't you think?

Semantic sorcery? Huh
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christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #409 on: May 29th, 2011, 10:07am »

on May 28th, 2011, 6:38pm, MarkSteere wrote:

Semantic sorcery? Huh
My point exactly. Sloganism without addressing the issue.
 
Here's an interesting summary of your views on Symple as posted at rga, March 14/15. Let's start with my claim.
Quote:
christian:
Symple has a balancing mechanism that is much more sophisticated in its workings than a pie, because it will in the long run implicitly converge to a 50/50 rate. No other mechanism I know has this feature.

Quote:
Mark Steere:
Christian, you can't possibly be claiming that Symple is the "perfect game". Mine eyes perceive it but it's too outlandish a claim, even from you, for me to process.
The mythical perfect game would never have unbearable kludges such as Symple's:
(1) "There's one exception to the above. If, and only if, neither player has grown yet, then black on his turn may use both the above options in the above order: he may place a stone, therewith creating a new group, and he may grow any or all of his other (!) groups."
and:  
(2) "A player's score is counted as the number of stones he has placed on the board minus four points for every separate group."

Let's have a closer look at these "unbearable kludges".
(1) is addressed in the paragraph "Countering a-symmetry with a-symmetry" in About Symple. Here's what it says:
Quote:
A first move advantage, or occasionally disadvantage, constitutes a basic a-symmetry in almost any two player abstract game. It may be taken for granted (Chess, Draughts), compensated for (Go), or negotiated by means of a pie (Hex). Of these, the compensation given in Go is most repulsive: a means to an end and a disregard for style. Taking it for granted is no option in Symple, and a pie isn't applicable: there may be better and worse opening moves, but is there one so bad as to be rejected? The first move still gives the advantages mentioned above: either the initiative in growing, or an extra group.
 
"If the system is sound, the rule will be there". That's a deep truth I've relied on throughout my career as a game inventor. Symple's balancing rule is another clear example. It uses its own mechanism to negotiate the advantage using a sliding rod principle. Normally players on their turn may either start a new group or grow all their groups present on the board. Here's the conditional exception:
 
* If, and only if, neither player has grown yet, then black on his turn may use both the above options in the given order.
 
So both players have their finger on the switch: black to cash in his prerogative, white to prevent it.
Let's first look at this from white's position:
Quote:
If white grows on his second move, he will have one group of two stones and black will have one stone, black to move. For black this is almost as good as having the first move without any compensation for his opponent. So white must wait if he wants his compensation for terminating black's prerogative to grow. But how long?
Now let's first look at this from white's position:
Quote:
If black uses both options on his second move, he will have one stone and one group of two stones and white will have two stones, white to move. For white this is almost as good as having the first move without any compensation for his opponent. So black must wait if he wants the advantage of his prerogative to grow. But how long?
"See the beauty?" it says. Not if you're Mark Steere, so much is clear.
 
(2) is the very THEME of the game, which is "group penalty". The one thing in your comment that justifies it to a small degree is the specific height of the penalty, here indicated as "4".
As I've said before, that was arrogant. The height of the penalty is itself a parameter whose value determines a gradual shift in strategy. But that's not addressing the main point. The main point is that you don't seem to recognize Symple's theme in the first place, treating it as if it were some undesirable byproduct.
 
As for "the perfect game", that's your interpretation of my words. I claim that Symple in the long run will impicitly converge to a 50/50 rate and that no arguments concerning the first/second move advantage, or lack thereof, can be given.
 
For the record: Symple is a finite drawless game, one of a multitude, and as such completely determined, including the winner according to God's Algorithm. But everybody knows that. And that's what I said at rga:
Quote:
christian:
I never said it was perfect.
And sure enough:
Quote:
Mark Steere:
Aha! My logic finally penetrated. Better late than never.
Thus I was "cured" from a misconception I never had, by Mark's penetrating "logic":
Quote:
Mark Steere:
Neither Symple, Sygo, nor any other abstract game has "exactly a 50/50 win rate by design" - something Gamer-man correctly characterized as both mythical and mystical, and something I clearly demonstrated with my logic.
You demonstrated common knowledge concerning finite perfect information zero-sum games. And however unintended: Symple, in a hypothetical world where people would play it on a large scale, would inevitably converge to a 50/50 drawing rate. It's hard to recognize a black swan if you've always claimed that "all swans are white and I'm always right".
 
After this theme was left alone for a month it resurfaced in april:
Quote:
Mark Steere:
If you look back you'll see that all of my unflattering comments about your games have been defensive reactions to your outlandish claims about said games. As in "Oh come on. You gotta be kidding me."
Which outlandish claims?
Quote:
Mark Steere:
You're still mad because I logically demonstrated that Symple is not a perfect game as you claimed.   
I said quite the contrary: Symple lacks one essential feature to make it even a great game, let alone "perfect".
Quote:
Mark Steere:
I'm not initiating topics like "Hey does everyone appreciate how crappy Christian's latest game is?"
Oh yes, you do. First you kill it, later you may or may not try to find out what it is.
Quote:
Mark Steere:  
It's said that all babies are cute and cuddly but they aren't always. Imagine a mom demanding that people acknowledge how beautiful her ugly baby is.
Ugliness is in the eyes of the beholder.
Quote:
Mark Steere:
Stop perpetrating hoaxes as a means of self glorification. Everyone has to bear the weight of that burden.
You seem really upset about something to the point of losing contact with reality.
Quote:
Mark Steere:
Btw, I believe that Symple has a sophisticated balancing mechanism.  
But that fact alone does not rocket Symple to dizzying heights for me.
Well have a look at that, the "unbearable kludge" has suddenly turned into "a sophisticated balancing mechanism", and then in this very thread on May 25: "You haven't really proved or even made a strong case as to why Sygo is so extraordinarily balanced." It's the same mechanism. Your logic may be unassailable, even unperceivable, but its consistency is clearly not.
Quote:
christian:
Is Symple a great game?  
Not according to J. Mark Thompson's criteria in his leading article "Defining the Abstract" - criteria I happen to agree with. Symple is all about strategy, with tactics in a peripheral role. There's no capture and limited drama.
Outlandish claims? Self glorification? I don't think so.
 
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #410 on: May 29th, 2011, 11:52am »

on May 29th, 2011, 10:07am, christianF wrote:

Symple has a balancing mechanism that is much more sophisticated in its workings than a pie, because it will in the long run implicitly converge to a 50/50 rate. No other mechanism I know has this feature.

What does that even mean?  In the "long run"?
 
on May 29th, 2011, 10:07am, christianF wrote:

I claim that Symple in the long run will impicitly converge to a 50/50 rate...

Yep, got that.  Still have no idea what you're talking about.
 
on May 29th, 2011, 10:07am, christianF wrote:

and that no arguments concerning the first/second move advantage, or lack thereof, can be given.

No, of course not.  Sign post ahead:  "Now Entering the Freeling Zone"
 
on May 29th, 2011, 10:07am, christianF wrote:

Symple, in a hypothetical world where people would play it on a large scale, would inevitably converge to a 50/50 drawing rate.

Ohhhhh.  So this is what you've been carrying on about all this time.  On an infinitely large board, Sygo would have no move order advantage.  So what??  Tons of games are like that.  Any crudely scalable game, such as Checkers, whose move order advantage (i.e. first move advantage or second move advantage) is alleviated by a shift to a larger board size, will converge to zero move order advantage at infinity.  This is your big claim to fame for Sygo??
 
on May 29th, 2011, 10:07am, christianF wrote:

It's hard to recognize a black swan if you've always claimed that "all swans are white and I'm always right".

Black swans.  White swans.  Red herrings.  This is the "logic" we were promised?  Sygo is a white pigeon.
 
on May 29th, 2011, 10:07am, christianF wrote:

First you kill [my game]...

I didn't kill Sygo! lol  If Sygo is dead, that's the law of the jungle.  Get a grip.
 
on May 29th, 2011, 10:07am, christianF wrote:

Well have a look at that, the "unbearable kludge" has suddenly turned into "a sophisticated balancing mechanism"...

I was trying to throw you a bone to appease your ongoing Sygo tantrum.  A lot of good that did...
 
on May 29th, 2011, 10:07am, christianF wrote:

"You haven't really proved or even made a strong case as to why Sygo is so extraordinarily balanced."  

And you still haven't.
 
on May 29th, 2011, 10:07am, christianF wrote:

It's the same mechanism. Your logic may be unassailable, even unperceivable, but its consistency is clearly not.  

Christian, your logic is consistently non-existent.  You're a celebrated game inventor, and decidedly not a scientist.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #411 on: May 29th, 2011, 11:54am »

Er, why do we have a long thread devoted almost solely to an argument between 2 people who have, as far as I can tell, never played a game of arimaa? Sure, this is the "off topic" forum, so if others were contributing I'd have no problem with this thread - but can you two please consider taking your arguments elsewhere?
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #412 on: May 29th, 2011, 12:21pm »

on May 29th, 2011, 11:54am, robinz wrote:
Er, why do we have a long thread devoted almost solely to an argument between 2 people who have, as far as I can tell, never played a game of arimaa? Sure, this is the "off topic" forum, so if others were contributing I'd have no problem with this thread - but can you two please consider taking your arguments elsewhere?
Yes, it would seem that way, wouldn't it? And I would indeed welcome content related input. As far as interest is concened, the view count speaks for itself. As far as the topic is concerned, Omar started this thread because of my views on game inventing, so I feel entitled to give my views on game inventing on the risk of you or anyone having "a problem" with it.
And what exactly might that problem be, I wonder, if you can simply skip the topic?
I consider Arimaa a great game, by the way, so your attempt at suggesting we're here at its expense is rather curious.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #413 on: May 29th, 2011, 12:53pm »

on May 29th, 2011, 11:52am, MarkSteere wrote:
Ohhhhh.  So this is what you've been carrying on about all this time.  On an infinitely large board, Sygo would have no move order advantage.  So what??  Tons of games are like that. Any crudely scalable game, such as Checkers, whose move order advantage (i.e. first move advantage or second move advantage) is alleviated by a shift to a larger board size, will converge to zero move order advantage at infinity.
No Mark, you're twisting my words again. Symple and Sygo will inevitably converge to the middle on a standard Go board. And yes, neither is likely to be played extensively enough to validate that claim. And yes, on smaller and smaller boards anything will crumble, Go, Havannah, Oust. So don't argue the obvious.
 
In a way I can well understand Robinz. Concerning your other 'refutations' I rest my case because the readership, if not very vocal, certainly is intelligent enough.
 
And Robinz, I will probably post now and again, and I can't really avoid being corrected by Mark Wink
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #414 on: May 29th, 2011, 1:18pm »

on May 29th, 2011, 12:53pm, christianF wrote:
And Robinz, I will probably post now and again, and I can't really avoid being corrected by Mark Wink

No, you can't avoid Mark responding to your posts here, but you could avoid cutting and pasting arguments that are going on elsewhere so that they continue here rather than there.  Although I can see the temptation to try to move a debate from an unmoderated forum into a moderated one, the moderator won't necessarily be thrilled.  Tongue
 
Robinz, although I, too, wish that feuds that started elsewhere would not be imported into the Arimaa forum, my experience with Arimaa gives me a certain sympathy for Christian and Mark.  I realize as I had not previously done, that the circle of people in the whole wide world who take any interest in new abstract stragety games is quite small.  Even that small group of people can't agree what makes a game worth playing.  The upshot of a small and fractured community is that, if anyone were to take a reasonable list of features of "the perfect abstract strategy game" and invent a new game that had every feature on this list in greater measure than any game in history, this new, perfect game would be largely ignored.  Sad, but true.
 
Part of the reason a fight about games that aren't Arimaa is taking place in the Arimaa forum is that there is no good place for it to happen.  Here we have civil, active, high-quality discussions.  Is there another abstract games forum that beats us on all these counts?  I know the Arimaa forum doesn't seem like much in larger scheme of things, but it is special for its niche.
 
My promotion of Arimaa has evolved over time in that I have become less eager to trumpet what is wrong with its classical competitors such as chess and shogi.  Also I have tried to become more frank that the virtues of Arimaa are contingent, and may evaporate under further scrutiny.  Arimaa appears drawless, balanced, infinitely deep, computer-resistant, dramatic, generative of distinctive playing styles that all may succeed, etc.  But every single one of these virtures may prove false in the long run.  Therefore I try to be less strident about the virtues of Arimaa, and show due respect for classic games which, however much flaws are now peeking through, nevertheless have withstood withering examination without breaking.
 
If some game inventor seems over-eager to extoll the virtues of his own game, or if some game inventor seems to delight in criticizing games that are not his own, and if above all they wish to be noticed rather than ignored and forgotten, I can identify, because I have felt the same way about Arimaa, of which I am not even the inventor!  If the discourse remains civil, confined to the off-topic thread, and not too provocative in assertions that Arimaa players should be diverting their attention to other games, I can skim it and move on untroubled.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #415 on: May 29th, 2011, 1:28pm »

on May 29th, 2011, 11:54am, robinz wrote:

Sure, this is the "off topic" forum

Exactly.
 
on May 29th, 2011, 11:54am, robinz wrote:

so if others were contributing I'd have no problem with this thread - but can you two please consider taking your arguments elsewhere?

Speaking of non-contributions, would you kindly consider butting out?
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #416 on: May 29th, 2011, 1:34pm »

on May 29th, 2011, 1:18pm, Fritzlein wrote:

you could avoid cutting and pasting arguments that are going on elsewhere so that they continue here rather than there.

Good point.  Don't run away from an rga discussion to hide under Omar's skirt.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #417 on: May 29th, 2011, 2:54pm »

on May 29th, 2011, 1:34pm, MarkSteere wrote:

Good point.  Don't run away from an rga discussion to hide under Omar's skirt.
Nice way to put a good observation. Omar might not be thrilled by every twist and turn this thread has taken, but he has never voiced any objections and I feel quite welcome here. I'm particularly pleased with Fritzlein's comments, both on the thread in general and on Arimaa.
 
The one thing I find missing is someone pointing out what is wrong with the balancing mechanism around which the current discussion revolves. The "let's look at this from white's/black's point of view" part.
 
Because if there's nothing wrong with it, then it works as a "high resolution" pie-principle, no longer dependent on considering the relative advantages of one particular opening move or another, as in Hex. And the result in the hypothetical "long run" will converge to a 50/50 rate. Why? Suppose it deviates to one side, what will the other side learn from that, with both having a finger on the sliding rod?
 
Of course the mechanism is restricted to games that employ the opening protocol of Symple and Sygo, so its applicability is limited, but its very existence is not - and I would naturally see that recognized.
The relative merits of its inventor are less of an issue for me.
 
 
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #418 on: May 29th, 2011, 5:28pm »

Sure, I could just ignore your argument - and have been doing so for a while. You're right that it's not really any concern of mine. I just find it strange that the two of you seem to be choosing this forum in particular to be having it. Is there really nowhere else to discuss the merits of various games? Boardgamegeek would seem an obvious example of a better forum (or rather set of forums) than this one, and no doubt there are others...
 
I'd have no problem with this discussion whatsoever if it involved any members of the arimaa community - but, to this relative outsider, it looks like a simple feud between two people who aren't actually members of that community. This is the only reason I question whether it belongs here. Of course, if everyone disagrees, by all means continue, and I will just ignore.
 
PS - I very much respect both Chirstian and Mark as designers of interesting abstract strategy games. But I find it rather unedifying to see the kind of childish sniping at each other that occurs here.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #419 on: May 29th, 2011, 7:08pm »

on May 29th, 2011, 2:54pm, christianF wrote:

The one thing I find missing is someone pointing out what is wrong with the balancing mechanism around which the current discussion revolves....
 
Because if there's nothing wrong with it, then it works

The Arimaa forum bears no responsibility for disproving your unintelligible, outlandish claims.  I don't even know what you're claiming at this point.  I only know it's outlandish, whatever it is.
 
on May 29th, 2011, 2:54pm, christianF wrote:

And the result in the hypothetical "long run" will converge to a 50/50 rate.

Meaning what??
 
on May 29th, 2011, 2:54pm, christianF wrote:

Suppose it deviates to one side, what will the other side learn from that, with both having a finger on the sliding rod?

For any given board size, Sygo is a win for Player 1 or Player 2.  The more skilled players become, the more move order advantage there will be at that given board size.  Sygo is no different from Checkers in this regard.
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