Adam H wrote:I like the complicated groundballs, but to be honest it doesn't seem worth it to read/understand the differences between the different ground balls, let alone to use the differences to affect your strategy. But if it will help create new and different game situations, then I can see the value.
Well, it depends on what runners you have on the bases. Seems with no runners it's a better strategy to avoid Groundballs, while they're better with guys in third (as they have a chance to score even when your batter is out), so, yeah, I think it enriches the game.
Adam H wrote:I dunno, as long as you can counter the other player's number then there's no dominant strategy, and you can always counter the other player's number with the even/odd method. That's why I like it so much!
Okay, so I've been convinced secret statuses aren't necessary. The whole strategy of the game is seeing what your opponent can do and then predict what they will do and play what is best against them.
So, this case where the best hitter strategy is to go with a 3 as it ensures winning is fine, but should be just one of the possible scenarios in a batter-pitcher battle among several different possibilities. That's why I hold allowing players to choose from different pools is the way to go. It should be fine and non-random as long as you can see what your opponent can do and predict on the fly.
Adam H wrote:To create the player cards, you could do this: first assign all the possible outcomes with point values...
Okay, I like that. I was thinking about creating a list of players from names sent by them (still looking forward to a Mario vs. Kratos pitcher-hitter battle if those names are sent by players) to create, say, a 24 player pool.
Then, players get to see all the cards and to form their teams, they simultaneously pick one of the cards for their team. If two players pick the same card, this card is banned from play.
The concept with this is that it doesn't really matter how unbalanced the cards are because, say, if there's some broken pitcher that strikeouts very easily and to which it's impossible to home run against, both players can see it, so both pick it, and it's eliminated from play. If there's a great pitcher and a great hitter for grabs, one player picks one and the other the other, or, one of the cards is eliminated.
So, before game starts there's a Player Choosing phase that ensures fair play, or makes it so that if one team is stronger than the other, it was the player's fault for poor card selection. This base will make the game strategical because against random play, you'd pick the best players while a random opponent would pick randomly.
Anyway, yesterday I obsessed over this and went to search for similar games that already exist for Baseball, for inspiration. While I like what we've gotten sorted out so far, it does seem shallow, I wonder if one can add depth to the game by making players do long term plans about what players will be on bases on a future play, so, say, at some point you can force a situation where hitters are guaranteed 3 runs in a row no matter what the pitcher picks, due to poor past decisions, or something.
I seems there are 3 main ways in where players can decide on game events:
1.- Direct: What we're doing currently. This is very easy as you just match the hitter card with the pitcher card and read an outcome. The problem with this is that it makes irrelevant how filled are the bases and the situations with the outs. It also gets rid of all the dynamics about fielders, as, in a normal game, where the ball goes and how good the fielder that was going to catch it is abstracted.
When you are out, you are out, there's no more talking about this, and we don't get to see to where the ball went and who caught it and what happened. We also don't get more complex situations like when a fly ball is caught late, sent to first too late so the batter is safe but the guy that was on first was too slow and is out in his way to second.
2.- Situational: This is like the Groundballs in my example. If there's no runners something happens, but if there's 1 or more, something else happens. This makes sense, as, in a real word, if the bases are loaded you'd rather get out the guy in 3rd trying to score instead of the guy going to first.
The Direct outcomes aren't complex enough and would simplify to "the batter is out, or the batter is out but guy on 3rd stole base to score or batter and third is out or batter is safe and third scores", but in the guy on first and third bases the Direct outcome wouldn't allow for things like "batter is out but 3rd scored and 1 moved to second" or "Batter is out but guy on 2nd stole a base" or "batter safe at first, 1st to second, 3rd player holds" even though in a real game the third player would hold if they see moving would just get them out.
Situational outcomes would just have several charts, one for each configuration of runners on bases, to be looked up, so any number of different outcomes can be coded into those charts. This becomes a Direct combat where the pitcher and batter have different actions depending on who are on the bases, so, instead of "fly out", the pitcher would have in there, say "Situation 9". Then, Situation 9 would be different depending on how the bases are filled, say, no runners could be "batter gets two bases", while a runner on second would be "batter safe at first, player at second steals 2 bases to score" but bases loaded could be a simple "Out".
This means that situation 9 is good for the pitcher or the batter depending of the situation, unlike with Direct when out is always good for the pitcher and home run is always good for the batter, here it would only be a home run if there's a player in 3rd, but an out otherwise. This is very powerful as anything that can happen in a game can be encoded in the Situations, since those situations are unlimited, while Direct can have "every runner gets a base", Situations could have "guy in 2nd stays in second, guy in 3rd scores and batter is out" which is too complex with direct. Just having to check what chart will be used next before making your decisions would be worth it.
3.- Fielder Choice: This is my favorite one. Here, the power of what happens is given back to the player cards and where you put them in the field. So, besides having events for numbers picked when you are pitcher, and numbers for when you are hitter, it also has numbers for when you are fielder.
In Fielder Choice, every hit goes somewhere, say, Left Field, Center Field or Right Field, then, the guy that catches the ball there gives an outcome depending on the batter-hitter total. Say, 7 could be an out, while 1 could be a home run. It allows also to encode the things from situational here, like "Out but if there's a guy in 2nd (with 3rd free) they steal a base". The catch here is that it gives more flexibility to the pitcher. Currently, all the pitcher wants to do it to out players or increase their double plays, in Fielder Choice you may want to allow the batter to hit to Center Field because the guy there has a very high chance of making a triple play.
It also enriches the players as maybe you want someone because they're awesome hitters that home run on a regular basis, but they suck as pitchers and at ball catching, but if you want them to bat they've got to be on the field somewhere, and the other player knows they want really bad to hit their ball there because that guy will probably not catch it and allow several runs.
It also adds the mechanics for player placement on the field that the other two methods were lacking.
So, I was thinking to mix all these three with pools to make some sort of trybrid game:
A player card would have 3 sections for batting: The direct one that we have already discussed, the Situational one which will have situations depending on how the bases are loaded, which would make the batter a bit more interesting (maybe they get really nervous and suck with the bases loaded while with no runners they calm down and do triples), and one that sends the ball to different parts of the field to trigger Fielder choice.
In the very first battle of the game, a player can choose from among any of those, but for the rest of the game, any batter can only choose from one of the not used ones. I'd predict that then batters would keep switching between two ones, because the third one favors the pitch, but this allows the pitcher to make better predictions about what the batter will do.
The pitcher section would have 6 pools to choose from at start, with 3 backup pools to replace them. 2 Direct pools (as discussed), 2 Situational pools, and 2 Fielder Choice pools. 1 pool of each type for backup. Then, the player would start using them against the hitters, with the backup pools taking the place of their used ones and wouldn't be able to use already used pools until having used 6 of them. Once they have faced 9 players they must use the pools that have never seen used and then the process starts again. This will allow the pitcher to avoid obvious "just use 3 strategies" while forcing the player to pick from their pools with care, if the pitcher has a pool full of home runs then the player got to know when to risk it out, allowing the dynamics of having to decide when to use your pools (as you know the order of the incoming batters.)
Finally, there would be a fielder section, where outcomes for results would range from 2-11 (depending on batter+pitcher chosen number), in this part it would be obvious to make even results bad for the batter, while odd results would be good for him, but then, a batter would probably pick Fielder Choice half the time because they know if they win against the pitcher they'll beat the fielder too, so a balance has to be put in place.
Anyway, there it is, I know you're against being a feature creep, but I envision the game as one where players are the managers of a team and they have to pick their players, their battling order, their place on the field, and the numbers when batting and pitching very carefully. Less like tic-tac-toe and more like chess. Here, algorithms picking from random pools would suck.