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Subject: Is it possible to have a pure abstract strategy game where no side is favored and it doesn't draw? rss

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David Gibbs
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usling wrote:
In Go, the white player, who moves second, has a 5.5 points handicap (referred to as komi). Therefore, in general, there is no draw. However, the game can still end up as a draw because of repetition such as a triple ko. In practice, this happens like 1 in 1000. This may fit your criterion.

By the way, if one does not like the 5.5 komi, one can also use an auction system with players bidding secreting for the amount of komi that he or she would give to play black (the first player). This has been used in some international tournaments.


Whether Go can end up a draw due to something such as triple-ko depends on the rule set you choose. In rules such as AGA and New Zealand Go Society, they use a "superko" rule, which prohibits any full-board repetition, so triple ko would not be a drawn game. (Also, triple-ko is far less common than 1 in 1000.)

Also, the exact value of komi which is favoured as "equal" is under ongoing debate, but as I understand it, current thinking is that 5.5 komi still favors black (first player), and fair komi is thought to be in the 6.5 - 7.5 range.

But, as with the rest of the argument, Go is close to be a practical case of this question (with correct komi) but not, of course, a theoretical case of this.
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Christian K
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That is why some abstract players prefer games like SET
 
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David Bush
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Here's another illustration of the difference between theory and practice. Not long ago, statistics were compiled regarding all professional Shogi games during a calendar year. Draws are possible in amateur Shogi, but are so rare that in a professional match, if a draw occurs, players are required to immediately play again, with reverse "colors," using the time remaining on their clocks. I suppose if the second game were a draw, the match would be a draw, but AFAIK that has never happened. Not only were there no pro draws that year, but the second player to move won slightly more often. So if that's not a "Yes" example for docreason's question, I don't know what is.
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christian freeling
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twixter wrote:
Here's another illustration of the difference between theory and practice. Not long ago, statistics were compiled regarding all professional Shogi games during a calendar year. Draws are possible in amateur Shogi, but are so rare that in a professional match, if a draw occurs, players are required to immediately play again, with reverse "colors," using the time remaining on their clocks. I suppose if the second game were a draw, the match would be a draw, but AFAIK that has never happened. Not only were there no pro draws that year, but the second player to move won slightly more often. So if that's not a "Yes" example for docreason's question, I don't know what is.

I think most knowledgeable people would agree that a substantial number of abstracts are adequately balanced in practice, either implicitly like Shogi, Draughts or Arimaa, or explicitly by a balancing rule, like Go, Hex or Symple. Games that are less balanced (in terms of turn order advantage), like Chess, don't see to have much of a problem with it. So in the context of the original question I'd rather ask whether it is necessary to to have a pure abstract strategy game where no side is favored. The answer to the original question is "in theory no", but in practice it seems to be the rule rather than the exception.
 
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Mo Bell
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Sometimes I do not understand why people are considering a draw game as evil.
If we assume that the game has a short tree (example tic tac toe or three men`s morris) showing that the game will lead to draw situation then ok it will be unnecessary to play this kind of game.
But if the game has a deep and complex tree a kind of tree that human players can not handle then no matter if it leads to draw situation.
As long as human players are not robots one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win.
I think that what is required for any abstract game is to be sufficiently complex for human players such as anyone can develop personal tricks or some sort of personal strategy to win. It does not matter if a game is solved or not.
Designing a game unsolvable by computers (either the actual technology or more sophisticated one) is EASY. Any game designer can make a search tree more complex by multiplicating exponentially the openings and even more multiplicating the choices after the openings. Large boards, 3D boards, 100`s of pieces. 100`s of moves and so on.
Designing an abstract with elegant rules, with not more choices that an average human player can handle, with a reasonable duration, with high replayability and sufficiently addictive is HARDER.



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Sam Collard
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Massakra52 wrote:
But if the game has a deep and complex tree a kind of tree that human players can not handle then no matter if it leads to draw situation.


People have already said exactly that. It's been mentioned multiple times that there are two distinct questions here: the theoretical one (in which draws are "evil", or rather forbidden by the definition) and the practical one (in which draws may or may not be possible but are typically unlikely and still result in a satisfying game).
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christian freeling
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Massakra52 wrote:
Sometimes I do not understand why people are considering a draw game as evil.

Neither do I, welcome to the club.

However, draws have become a problem in top level International Draughts, in particular in match play. The Draughts community goes to rather ridiculous lengths to remedy the problem, but the patient is increasingly unresponsive. Ton Sijbrands was in danger of losing his weekly column in De Volkskrant, the point being that none of you knew he even had one. Nor do most of the dutch. The catastrophe was averted by a petition signed by a considerable number of draughts players, but the writing is on the wall. Not much interesting happens in Draughts anymore, nowadays.
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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Massakra52 wrote:
Sometimes I do not understand why people are considering a draw game as evil.
If we assume that the game has a short tree (example tic tac toe or three men`s morris) showing that the game will lead to draw situation then ok it will be unnecessary to play this kind of game.
But if the game has a deep and complex tree a kind of tree that human players can not handle then no matter if it leads to draw situation.


I totally agree.

Massakra52 wrote:

As long as human players are not robots one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win.


And if onoone plays better than the other, there is only one fair result, a draw.


Let´s take Tic-Tac-Toe as an example again. We all agree that it is to easy to play it perfect to be considered a good game. But at least it ends in a drwa as long as noone makes a mistake. Wouldn´t it be an even worse game it one player had a winning strategy?

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christian freeling
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Markus Hagenauer wrote:
Wouldn´t it be an even worse game it one player had a winning strategy?

Ironically Fox & Geese was the first game I learned as a kid, and I found a winning strategy. My Geese were invincible and I also was far from reluctant to prove it. It drove everyone crazy. In pure desperation, my father taught me to play Draugts.
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Mo Bell
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Let me add this before going back to my works.
The best way to score any abstract game is to start from some sort of Wall Street Game.
We have to create some official website where we record the results for each game.
Example : hex game
1024318 games played
First player : 52% win 5% draw
Second player : 43% 10% draw

If someone play as first player and win then his real score will be 100%-52%=48%=0.48
If someone play as second player and win then his real score will be : 100%-43%=57%=0.57

Let me be clear : what I gave above it was JUST AN EXEMPLE but we have to discuss a definitive and consensual FORMULA correcting the scores. There are a lot of debates about scoring issues.

This formula will be valid for any tournament.
We do not need pie rule or any kind of "handicapping" values.
If we apply those FORMULAS (maybe each game need specific formula) then no matter what the theory says. You judge practical plays by some sort of "average player".
We do not need to wait the theoretical solutions of any game.
All this need a community work. It is up to the game players to define those instruments. There is problem of credibility hence all the aspects linked to the publishers or some conflict of interests have to be solved.
Independency will be required to block any try of manipulation.



 
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Russ Williams
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Massakra52 wrote:
Sometimes I do not understand why people are considering a draw game as evil.

I think many/most of us don't automatically consider draws to be evil, as long as draws do not occur too frequently.

E.g. in the extreme case, if a game always ends in a draw, that's kind of evil.

But if a game can end in a draw but only does so occasionally, I'm certainly not bothered by it.

Quote:
But if the game has a deep and complex tree a kind of tree that human players can not handle then no matter if it leads to draw situation.
As long as human players are not robots one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win.

Hmm? That's not true that one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win in a game where draws are possible. Otherwise we wouldn't see draws happen often in games like chess and checkers. Am I misunderstanding what you mean?
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Herb
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docreason wrote:
Re: Is it possible to have a pure abstract strategy game where no side is favored and it doesn't draw?

Yes, but it depends on how you define a pure abstract strategy game.

To me combinatorial games would be a subset of "pure abstract strategy" games. So a game where the board positions could loop could be a pure abstract strategy game, but it wouldn't be a combinatorial game. If you allow a "pure abstract strategy" game to loop so that an infinite number of moves is possible, then the game would continue until one player or the other made a mistake.

The L-Game is such a game. See Wikipedia article on the L-game.

 
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Mo Bell
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russ wrote:
Massakra52 wrote:
Sometimes I do not understand why people are considering a draw game as evil.

I think many/most of us don't automatically consider draws to be evil, as long as draws do not occur too frequently.

E.g. in the extreme case, if a game always ends in a draw, that's kind of evil.

But if a game can end in a draw but only does so occasionally, I'm certainly not bothered by it.

Quote:
But if the game has a deep and complex tree a kind of tree that human players can not handle then no matter if it leads to draw situation.
As long as human players are not robots one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win.

Hmm? That's not true that one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win in a game where draws are possible. Otherwise we wouldn't see draws happen often in games like chess and checkers. Am I misunderstanding what you mean?


For sure not only you misunderstood what I said but worse than that you distorted willingly what I said (not what I meant).

 
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Russ Williams
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Massakra52 wrote:
russ wrote:
Massakra52 wrote:
But if the game has a deep and complex tree a kind of tree that human players can not handle then no matter if it leads to draw situation.
As long as human players are not robots one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win.

Hmm? That's not true that one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win in a game where draws are possible. Otherwise we wouldn't see draws happen often in games like chess and checkers. Am I misunderstanding what you mean?


For sure not only you misunderstood what I said but worse than that you distorted willingly what I said (not what I meant).

I did not willing distort what you meant. I don't know what you meant. It seemed a contradiction. That's why I asked.

So what did you mean by "As long as human players are not robots one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win." since you didn't mean what it literally says? I'm not a mind reader.
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Mo Bell
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russ wrote:
Massakra52 wrote:
russ wrote:
Massakra52 wrote:
But if the game has a deep and complex tree a kind of tree that human players can not handle then no matter if it leads to draw situation.
As long as human players are not robots one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win.

Hmm? That's not true that one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win in a game where draws are possible. Otherwise we wouldn't see draws happen often in games like chess and checkers. Am I misunderstanding what you mean?


For sure not only you misunderstood what I said but worse than that you distorted willingly what I said (not what I meant).

I did not willing distort what you meant. I don't know what you meant. It seemed a contradiction. That's why I asked.

So what did you mean by "As long as human players are not robots one of the 2 players will always find the optimal moves to win." since you didn't mean what it literally says? I'm not a mind reader.


I`m a mind reader.
You are simply answering in very bad faith (ugly?).
First I said :
Sometimes I do not understand why people....
I did not say lot of people or few people or some people.
I was talking about people who considers draw as evil.

Second :
You picked out of context what I said.
In perfect play every move either played by the first player or his opponent is labeled as optimal since the start of the game to the end.
The game is not played by robot but by human player. Any non optimal move will be a mistake. So starting for here you can have lot of mistakes done by the 2 players. One of the 2 players will find at some stage of the game an optimal move leading to the win. Keep in mind that at ANY step of the tree even if previous moves were not optimal moves (some or all etc...) there exist a sequence of optimal moves NOT leading to what the game is assumed to lead to (DRAW GAME). It could lead to DRAW game but if you consider what I wrote you will clearly understand. BUT you were acting in BAD FAITH since you wrote your first sentence.

I will finish here.
No more debate with you in particular.
 
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Russ Williams
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Massakra52 wrote:
I`m a mind reader.

Then you're not a good mind reader.

(Like most people who claim to have psychic powers, but that's a tangent...)

Quote:
You picked out of context what I said.
In perfect play every move either played by the first player or his opponent is labeled as optimal since the start of the game to the end.
The game is not played by robot but by human player. Any non optimal move will be a mistake. So starting for here you can have lot of mistakes done by the 2 players.

I agree with all that.

Quote:
One of the 2 players will find at some stage of the game an optimal move leading to the win.

Why? What guarantees that one of the 2 players will do that? We've just agreed that humans are imperfect and make lots of mistakes. I see no reason to assume that an imperfect human is nonetheless guaranteed to find an optimal move at least once.

And in any case, it's clearly not true that one of the players is guaranteed to find a move which leads them to the win, since in real life many games DO end in draws instead of with a win.

Thinking about it now, I wonder if "leading to the win" is the confusing phrase. Are you saying that a player will find a move which is in the right direction toward a win, but there is no guarantee that the player will win, because the player makes later mistakes (after making the optimal move)? (So the move doesn't actually "lead to the win" but is just one step toward a possible win?)

Quote:
Keep in mind that at ANY step of the tree even if previous moves were not optimal moves (some or all etc...) there exist a sequence of optimal moves NOT leading to what the game is assumed to lead to (DRAW GAME).

This is not necessarily true. There certainly exist game positions from which only draws are possible, but I agree that typically it's often true in 'real' games.

Quote:
It could lead to DRAW game but if you consider what I wrote you will clearly understand. BUT you were acting in BAD FAITH since you wrote your first sentence.

I considered what you wrote.
I do not understand.
Your text is not clear to me.
Continually accusing me of acting in BAD FAITH seems in bad faith by you. You've said several times that your native language is French, not English; you might want to consider whether the language barrier is an issue here.


Anyway, you seemed to be saying that even though both players make many mistakes, one of them is nonetheless guaranteed at some point to make optimal moves and win.

But you angrily say that this is not what you meant. And sorry, but your new explanation did not help clear things up very much.

At this point, I can only guess that you mean that a player is guaranteed to sometime, at least once, find an optimal move which could lead to a win, but that it won't necessarily lead to a win because they might make later mistakes. (Since, after all, draws do happen in real life, I think we all agree.)

But if that's all you meant, it doesn't guarantee that the game won't draw, so I'm not sure what the point is. The OP was asking for games favoring neither player which don't draw.

Quote:
I will finish here.
No more debate with you in particular.

As you wish.
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Mo Bell
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This is not BAD FAITH :
I quote you : (Like most people who claim to have psychic powers, but that's a tangent...)


Another example of BAD FAITH :
Why you did not answer my first remark?

It is easy to take parts of my intervention and put them the way you want.

Now I will never ever come to this fucking forum.
NEVER EVER

I hate the forum squatters.
You (Russ) and some others are pushing the forum to the highest level of mediocrity.
Lot of people have left the forum because of you.
 
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Russ Williams
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Massakra52 wrote:
This is not BAD FAITH :
I quote you : (Like most people who claim to have psychic powers, but that's a tangent...)

Actually, that is just a tangential joke since I find the subject of psychic powers funny.

I didn't really think you were claiming to have psychic powers.

Quote:
Another example of BAD FAITH :
Why you did not answer my first remark?


Because it didn't seem like the important part of the conversation to me. Some people get indignant and complain when someone responds to every last point, whether large or small.

Your first remark, which I didn't reply to, was:
Massakra52 wrote:
First I said :
Sometimes I do not understand why people....
I did not say lot of people or few people or some people.
I was talking about people who considers draw as evil.


I guess you were responding to my comment:
russ wrote:
Massakra52 wrote:
Sometimes I do not understand why people are considering a draw game as evil.

I think many/most of us don't automatically consider draws to be evil, as long as draws do not occur too frequently.

E.g. in the extreme case, if a game always ends in a draw, that's kind of evil.

But if a game can end in a draw but only does so occasionally, I'm certainly not bothered by it.


I'm not sure why you are angry about that. You said something about X, and I said something more about my take on X, specifically my thoughts on whether X was common, and on what causes X. Did you disagree with something I wrote there? Did you consider it to be some kind of attack?

If our two comments had been reversed, it would not even occur to me to explode in rage at you.

Half of your posts consist of angry insults and indignant accusations. I'm not sure if this is a language barrier thing, or if you're just a perpetually angry and easily offended person, or what. It makes it rather frustrating and useless to try talking with you, although it's sometimes weirdly interesting.

Quote:
Now I will never ever come to this fucking forum.
NEVER EVER

I hate the forum squatters.

Well, you could actually quit posting here like you keep claiming you're going to do. Or you could choose to quit assuming the worst of people and to quit exploding in rages of hyperbolic profanity and accusing and insulting people at every imagined provocation.
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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There is only one last thing left to be said:

DO NOT FEED THE TROLL!
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Lucas Smith
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chess!

the only disadvantage is the rule that white starts, so play an even number of games and then decide who won the most ones
 
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christian freeling
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smithlucas wrote:
chess!

the only disadvantage is the rule that white starts, so play an even number of games and then decide who won the most ones

It's not a bug, it's a feature! whistle
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Sam Collard
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smithlucas wrote:
the only disadvantage is the rule that white starts, so play an even number of games and then decide who won the most ones


This almost perfectly illustrates the point. To play an even number of games leaves you open to draws. To play an odd number of games leaves you open to one player having an advantage.

Not disagreeing with what you said, just found it amusing.
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smithlucas wrote:
chess!

the only disadvantage is the rule that white starts, so play an even number of games and then decide who won the most ones

HUH?!?

The OP wanted a game that doesn't draw. Games between grandmasters in chess draw most of the time.

Chess is now too computationally complex to even weakly solve, so we don't know if white can truly win with perfect play. But the consensus is that white has an advantage. That is why in grandmaster tournaments that the players switch sides after each game.
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Richard Hutnik
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russ wrote:
Right, I assume Richard was asking about theory, not practice.

Yeah, there are plenty of games where there's no visible statistically significant advantage for the first or second player, in practice.

E.g. I recall reading an analysis of Arimaa based on very many (tens of thousands? more?) archived games showing no statistically significant advantage for the first or second player.


I was asking theoretically here, and forgot about it. Figured it would be worth discussing.

Now, a question I would have is: If the you can change the rules during play, in a way that is fair and balanced, is the initial conditions of not favoring a side, and also not ending a draw, possible?

I do ponder this to, because there is one noted abstract strategy game designer who insists on none of his games ending in a draw.

On a practical level, even Connect 4 doesn't seem to work out to be a win for the first player all the time. I have done tournaments in it, and seen cases where the player going second won all 3 games. And I am not even talking about my simultaneous version of it, but the regular version.
 
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Richard Hutnik
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Mingy Jongo wrote:
slashing wrote:
Rock Paper Scissors - with an extra round if the round is a draw.

So, you don't take turns, but does that mean it's not a pure abstract strategy game?


Even simpler, and with no draws period, is Matching Pennies:

One player is "Same", the other "Different". Each selects either Heads or Tails simultaneously. If both faces are the same, "Same" wins. If they are different, "Different" wins.


I said pure abstract strategy games meaning perfect information and no luck. Simultaneous turns don't count here, thus Rock, Paper, Scissors is excluded.
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