Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2-Player Zendo Continued

I never really concluded my last post and Seth brought up some good ideas in the comments, so I thought I'd just keep rambling on the subject.

First of all, yes, the 3d6 was intended to be hidden from the student.  The complete rules of the variant proposed by "Adam McD" were originally posted here:

And he had something similar to "if the student fails too much then both players lose".

I just don't like that rule though.  I mean, when playing with my wife it would work just fine since we're both primarily focused on having a good time, not on winning.

Hrm, so the biggest issue is giving the student too much incentive to just give up and make stupid guesses.  That means we should really weight him towards wanting to get done early.  How about this:

If student gets it in:
#Koans < (Target - 2):  Student gets 4 points
#Koans Within Target ± 2: master gets 1 point
#Koans = Target: Master 1 more point (2 total)
#Koans > (Target + 2): Student gets 1 point

That should really push the student to *want* to guess it quickly.  I still worry that if the 3d6 was actually ~16 then the student would stop having a reason to try and just shoot for the bomb to get 1 point.

Or conversely, once you have the lead, why not just bomb every student and master.  You can obviously bomb as a student, and you can make an insanely arcane rule to bomb as the master.

Hrm, or how about just say screw it.  If a student bombs it, declare that round null and immediately play another round with the same roles.  Of course, as soon as the student has made ~8 guesses they would probably just intentionally bomb instead of trying to answer.

Maybe the glitch should be determining who was doing the bombing.  Was it the master or the student?  I can't really lay the blame based on who is leading, because then the loser would have incentive to bomb it just as much as the leader.

The only other source of information is the balance of true and false Koans at the point of bombing.  Is there reason to believe that a balance of true and false is indicative of an easier or harder rule?  I think I may be on to something here.  But which way?  Is it easier to have a single case to compare against many?  Or is it easier to have many cases to compare against many cases?  I'll have to research this some and revisit it friday.

(I asked about rule easy/hard and balanced true/false over on bgg here:

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