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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 112 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Dice probabilities in the Pool  (Read 19146 times)
Paganini
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« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2002, 08:51:08 AM »

I'm feeling that you've missed the point of the game, and this thread, Mike. Let me say it right now in big, blod letters:

I do not think the Pool is a Gamist game.

Satisfied?

Now, let me back that up: The Pool is not a Gamist game, because it is *not* about competition of any sort. However, it *is* about player effectiveness. You asked: "Do you really want the character to succeed all the time?" For the Pool, the answer is, "who cares?" The Pool is not about character success, it's about *player* success. James has even said that in another thread, IIRC. The answer is, yes, if you're a player, you want to succeed all the time. Success is your goal, as defined by the system itself. If you win rolls, you get a MoV or extra dice - desireable rewards. If you lose rolls, you lose dice and story power.

What does success entail in a narrativist game? It's not "winning a contest with other players," it's "influencing or controling on the story." Your pool is the means to that end. No one here is talking about "hoarding" dice. The point I've been making all along is that if you can bloat your pool up to 60 dice you don't have to worry. You can take a MoV whenever you want, you can buy whatever traits you want. You *own* the game.

So, in the Pool, buying a porcshe is exactly what you *can* do with accumulated dice, in an in-game sense. The player's pool is an exact measure of his effectiveness... Whatever a porsche happens to be in the game in question, if you get enough dice in your pool you can have it.

Now, a couple of places where it seems you've misunderstood what I was saying:

Quote from: Mike Holmes
OK, first Nathan, using your strategy, you will not often have MOVs.


No, Mike, you'll have MoVs exactly half the time that you succeed. I ran the 30,000 roll test about 10 times, tracking minimum and maximum values for the pool. On success I alternated between MoVs and reward dice.

With +2 reward dice and 30,000 rolls, the pool often rises to 60+ dice.

With only +1 reward die, the numbers are much more reasonable. The highest pool was 20 dice.

Since you were complaining about the number of rolls that we've been using I also ran the test using 36 rolls. With +2 reward dice, the pool still climbs significantly, up to 25 dice. With only +1 reward die, it tends to hover right around where it starts.

Quote from: Mike Holmes

In play, you are probably going to want to take an MoV from time to time. If you want to play it as a Gamist exercise where you are just trying to accumulate points, you can "win" going home with the most points at the end of the night (heck, you can just roll your base dice and gamble nothing, and most certainly increase in points). But that's hardly the point of play in The Pool. Ron pointed this out before, and you have yet to rebut in any way.


Well, no I haven't. There was quite a bit in my last post devoted to that subject. Please reread this section from my previous post:

Quote from: Paganini

So, anyway, Mike, I disagree with you when you talk about the pool not being Gamist. Or rather, I see it as a bit of a non sequitir. The Pool gives you a resource, and it makes it valuable. This encourages skillful management of the resource, *without* implying any sort of inter-player competition. If a way exists to maximize returns, then there is absolutely no reason not to take advantage of it. In fact, the design of the system encourages this sort of thinking: "How can I use my dice most effectively?" Not "more effectively than everyone else," just "how can I get the most out of them?" They're a resource... that's what they're for. :)
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James V. West
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« Reply #31 on: July 05, 2002, 03:16:26 AM »

I regret I haven't been able to devote more time and energy to playtesting so that I can respond to some of the statistical predictions with real experience.

I find it very difficult to concive a group playing the same characters long enough to run into a bloated pool scenario. Certainly never in the 30,000 rolls range. I average 4-6 rolls per session in my games so far (usually around 3 hours of playing).

Although I can understand the concern for abuse, I don't think it is necessary to mitigate the potential for it by adding any new rules. I like to think that people can police their own actions.

Once you start playing I doubt you'd want to horde dice and give up your story power. Plus, as it has already been expressed, you don't start with a slew of dice, just a few. Its very difficult to build them up significantly. It seems to me you'd have to play a very boring strategy in order to do it--something I'd have a hard time with as a GM.

I want the rules to express that a "success" for the player means the ball is in his court, whereas a "failure" puts it back in the GMs court. Nothing more or less. If you opt out of a MoV, you essentially put that ball back into the GM's court. I can't imagine someone having so little interest in the story that's happening to their character that they would give up MoVs regularly for dice--unless their pool was dangerously low.

I see there are several supporters of the original one-die-reward system. It doesn't irk me whatsoever if people tweak the rules to their own taste and use either method of rewarding successes. But I still prefer two dice as a reward for no other reason than to help curb the rapid loss of dice that can happen when pools are small. I agree with Moose that one die is more elegant and I'd prefer it that way if I knew it would work better over time. Again--more urgency for playtesting an extended game.

There was also mention of scaling the rewards to the size of the pool. While I like the idea that this will help those with very small pools while keeping large pools at bay, I don't like the add-on nature of it.
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Paganini
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« Reply #32 on: July 05, 2002, 06:50:44 AM »

Quote from: James V. West

I find it very difficult to concive a group playing the same characters long enough to run into a bloated pool scenario. Certainly never in the 30,000 rolls range. I average 4-6 rolls per session in my games so far (usually around 3 hours of playing).


Oh, certainly! Hehe... The tests aren't supposed to say "this is what happens when you make 30,000 rolls." It's just that a large number of rolls are required to demonstrate the nature of the probabilities. If you just make one or two rolls it's difficult to tell anything about the system (unless you're figuring things out with math). OTOH, 4-6 rolls in a 3 hour session is really quite low by some standards, so even if you were running a "I wonder what will happen next session" kind of a test I think you'd want to do more.

Quote

I want the rules to express that a "success" for the player means the ball is in his court, whereas a "failure" puts it back in the GMs court. Nothing more or less. If you opt out of a MoV, you essentially put that ball back into the GM's court. I can't imagine someone having so little interest in the story that's happening to their character that they would give up MoVs regularly for dice--unless their pool was dangerously low.


You see, this is the crux of what I was saying. You've got a couple of key phrases and concepts here. Number one is the idea that story power bounces back and forth as determined by the dice. You have that built into the game - boy, do you ever! And that's a Good Thing (TM). It's part of what makes the Pool so cool.

Your next statement: "I can't imagine someone having so little interest in the story that's happening to their character that they would give up MoVs regularly for dice--unless their pool was dangerously low."

(emphasis added, of course)

Aha! This is what I was getting at: A player who understands the system is not going to be irresponsible with his resource (dice), because the high value of that resource is made clear by the rules. A person who understands the math will not *wait* until his pool is dangerously low to start giving up MoVs. He'll give up MoVs whenever he can[1], because he knows that if he waits until his pool is low he'll be *involuntarily* giving up MoVs and reward dice - he'll be failing rolls. This is the situation that the player wants to avoid at all costs. So, he'll only take MoVs whenever there's something that he particularly wants, and use the others to build up his pool. I could imagine this being only once in a while (not even every other success, which was the way I ran it in the tests).

[1] Meaning, in situations that he doesn't particularly care about, or in situations where he feels that the GM will do just as well as he will. Remember, for years game systems have given the GM *all* the power. Me, I can't imagine a player alive who wouldn't be willing to sacrifice superflouous story power to make sure that he's got it when it really counts.

Of course, after you play this way for a while (I'm not talking 30,000 rolls here, I'm talking 20 to 30 rolls) you'll have so many dice in your pool that you'll have "security." As long as you leave enough dice in your pool to cushion a serious failure, you'll be able to do *whatever you want.* You want a MoV every time? You can do that. You want to pump up your traits? You can do that. If you do have a catastrophic failure (which you will eventually) you just start playing the way you did initially until your pool is built back up.

This bothers me the most when you use two reward dice, because over 36 rolls the pool will often shoot up to 60 or more dice.
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Jeffrey Straszheim
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« Reply #33 on: July 05, 2002, 09:25:30 AM »

I agree with Paganini here.  It doesn't require thousands or rolls for a problem to occur.  Moreover, once the problem begins, positive feedback takes over and a runaway situation begins, especially with two reward dice.

That being said, this problem does not occur with only a few dozen rolls, so it probably won't occur in the normal course of playtesting.  But over long term play, particularly if a clever player begins buying ever increasing trait levels (which becomes possible).  Imagine what happens when a player buys up his "fighting" trait to +8 -- which only costs a measly 64 dice.

Obviously no one is suggesting that we add a bunch of obtuse rules, but perhaps some sort of optional "if you're playing long term perhaps apply this limit" sort of thing.  For instance, in Sorcerer there is a similar sort of problem with banish abuse.  Positive feedback exists between a character's humanity score and banishing demons.  Ron adds no special rules for this, but does provide some suggestions on how to deal with the issue if it arises.
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Jeffrey Straszheim
Buddha Nature
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Posts: 94


« Reply #34 on: July 05, 2002, 12:40:20 PM »

Okay, I think stimuli is heading in the right direction here, namely - make changes as you feel they are needed/warranted to your own game, don't ask James to make them canon.  If someone out there wants to write up a webpage of tack-on rules, by all means do it--I am all for that kind of thing--heck if James really likes it he might link off his main site.

Suffice to say, none of this really is going to come into play (at least as far as I can tell).  I don't think people are _really_ going to get into the 60+ roll area, and I seriously doubt any normal player is going to grow their pool beyond 20 dice.  I just don't see it happening, A) because the game is about the MoV's--they are what you want! B) I have done some rolling of my own, and you will lose sooner rather than later. C) Why play wussy?  Play it fast and loose and have fun--you are playing a Narrativist game so stop thinking about the dice so much and think about the story--taking dice over MoV's is good for the player (and maybe the character) but not for the story.

Don't try to play a Narrativist game like a Gamist, it is just not going to be fun for anyone.

-Shane
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Paganini
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« Reply #35 on: July 05, 2002, 01:19:54 PM »

Quote from: Buddha Nature
Okay, I think stimuli is heading in the right direction here, namely - make changes as you feel they are needed/warranted to your own game, don't ask James to make them canon.  If someone out there wants to write up a webpage of tack-on rules, by all means do it--I am all for that kind of thing--heck if James really likes it he might link off his main site.


Yow, I agree totally. The point of this is not to get James to add rules. Ack! I love elegant simplicity.

To paraphrase Gandalf, "This thread has grown long!" Originaly this thread was something like this: "Hey, I love the idea of player directoral control, but I see some potential problems with the numbers. How do you handle this?" This is still more or less the core of the thread (so far I've gotten one answer that I like... use only +1 reward die instead of +2) but it also got derailed a bit, since a fair amount of the thread has become discussion of whether or not the problems I notifced actually exist. :)

Quote

Suffice to say, none of this really is going to come into play (at least as far as I can tell).  I don't think people are _really_ going to get into the 60+ roll area, and I seriously doubt any normal player is going to grow their pool beyond 20 dice.


Please note that the second set of tests I did was with 36 rolls - not 30,000. With a +2 reward dice scheme, the pool regularly (as in, more than half the time) grows to 20 or more dice. The highest it went was 25 dice. With only +1 reward die, it doesn't do this. Also note that this is taking reward dice every other success. However many successes were rolled, half of them were taken as MoVs.

Quote

I just don't see it happening, A) because the game is about the MoV's--they are what you want! B) I have done some rolling of my own, and you will lose sooner rather than later. C) Why play wussy?  Play it fast and loose and have fun--you are playing a Narrativist game so stop thinking about the dice so much and think about the story--taking dice over MoV's is good for the player (and maybe the character) but not for the story.


This is a fallacy along the lines of "System Doesn't Matter. So check out the rant that follows. :)

Quote

Don't try to play a Narrativist game like a Gamist, it is just not going to be fun for anyone.


ARRRRGH! Stop it with this! I see it's time for me to rant:

<begin rant>
In order for Gamism to exist, competition is required. Period. Exploitation of system is not in itself sufficient for Gamism to exist. If system exploitation is happening *in order to compete with other players* then Gamism exists. If system exploitation is happening as a natural continuation of the system (i.e., following the implications of the system to their logical conclusion) then there is no Gamism.

There is no Gamism in the Pool. There can not be Gamism in the Pool without some sort of conflict being established among the players. If the game starts off with "Okay, the winner is the player with the most dice in his pool," *then* you have Gamism. The Pool does not do this. The Pool must be drifted manually by something like the above in order for Gamist play to exist. This does not mean that system exploitation is in any way out of place. System exploitation and Gamism are not one and the same. One does not imply the other.

System exploitation simply means taking advantage of the rules in order to recieve the greatest possible returns from them. If your goal is to "win," then system exploitation can do that. If your goal is to drive the story (as it is in the Pool) then system exploitation can do *that.*
<end rant>
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James V. West
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« Reply #36 on: July 05, 2002, 08:45:07 PM »

Shane: Hell yeah I'd link to anyone with something cool for The Pool or TQB.

Paganini: Just wanted to say I totally understand where you're coming from and I appreciate your concern about the numbers. Its been a most helpful discussion.

So, it seems that some people like the one-die reward better than the two-die reward. Let me clarify why I changed it in the first place: There were a couple of discussions about "thrashing", as Paul pointed out earlier in the thread. I wanted to help the problem by giving players a slightly higher reward. Because you tend to start with few dice, you tend to lose them fast. Getting two dice in stead of one helps with this problem--but it isn't as intuitive as getting a single die.

I'm still not convinced I need to change it back to the original rule on this, so I'll leave it alone for now.
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Paganini
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« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2002, 07:00:38 AM »

Quote from: James V. West

So, it seems that some people like the one-die reward better than the two-die reward. Let me clarify why I changed it in the first place: There were a couple of discussions about "thrashing", as Paul pointed out earlier in the thread. I wanted to help the problem by giving players a slightly higher reward. Because you tend to start with few dice, you tend to lose them fast. Getting two dice in stead of one helps with this problem--but it isn't as intuitive as getting a single die.


And now I *am* going to make a suggestion. :) If it were me, I wouldn't change anything, in terms of what you already have. (At least, not without really finding something that fits the nature of the Pool as it already stands.) I'd just make it more open. Include both rules, explain the reasons that each one might be chosen, and leave it up to the indie-vidual ;) group.

Of course, I did have one crunchy thought... the number of reward dice could vary throughout the game. It could be related to the Pool, something like "if the pool is greater than 9 dice only one reward die is recieved." Or it could be determined by the number of dice you roll. If you succeed with fewer than 6 dice you get 2 reward dice instead of one.

I'd offer all of these as suggestions for game technique, however, rather than set rules. Frex, handle reward dice the way you handle difficulty dice. Right now the rules are pretty much "The GM gives you 1 to 3 difficulty dice." It doesn't really say how many difficulty dice he should choose in a given situation. It makes a brief mention of difficulty, and leaves it up to the GM.

You could do the same thing with reward dice. "If you succeed you may take a MoV - blah blah blah - or you may choose to recieve reward dice from the GM," - leaving the number of reward dice up to the GM. He could do it by feel - if you're thrashing, he can give you 2. If you have a +99 Pool Of Dominion he can give you 1 - or he could go by one of the suggestions above, or whatever.
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James V. West
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« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2002, 07:55:52 AM »

Quote from: Paganini

You could do the same thing with reward dice. "If you succeed you may take a MoV - blah blah blah - or you may choose to recieve reward dice from the GM," - leaving the number of reward dice up to the GM. He could do it by feel - if you're thrashing, he can give you 2. If you have a +99 Pool Of Dominion he can give you 1 - or he could go by one of the suggestions above, or whatever.


This isn't a bad idea, really. No goofy rule add-ons, just an extension of the current rule for gift dice.

I wasn't going to include any "optional" rules with the game, but what do you folks think? Perhaps a bit of guidance in terms of tweaks such as this one wouldn't hurt as an aside?

[edited for stupid typos]
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Buddha Nature
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« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2002, 12:19:52 PM »

I would say put your vision of the game first, then as an Appendix (of sorts) put an optional rules saection w/ all the different ideas and the reasons for and against them.  Let the GM/Players choose how they want to alter the game, but it is your game first and foremost.

Paganini: I second your motion for the variable (keep it 1-3) dice reward system - leave it up to GM discretion - they are going to be "on scene" and will be able to tell what is neccessary for their game and for the player's pool.

-Shane
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Jeffrey Straszheim
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« Reply #40 on: July 06, 2002, 04:42:09 PM »

Quote from: James V. West

This isn't a bad idea, really. No goofy rule add-ons, just an extension of the current rule for gift dice.


I agree.  It is a great solution.

Quote

I wasn't going to include any "optional" rules with the game, but what do you folks think? Perhaps a bit of guidance in terms of tweaks such as this one wouldn't hurt as an aside?


The thing is, folks are going to tweak the system anyway to match whatever setting/mood/theme/etc they have in mind.  So, I think it would be a good idea to at least catalog what sorts of tweaks are common, and what sort of effects they have on play.

For example, by this logic the QB system can be seen a simply one of the many possible flavors of The Pool.  Myself, I plan to use QB's notion of the Accord in any The Pool games I play, regardless of if I'm playing with Fuzzy Knights or not.
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Jeffrey Straszheim
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