I wrote about randomness in Combat Cards way back in the carefree, could go outside and lick anything we wanted, days of blog post 38. This week I wanted to expand on that by looking at ‘perfect information’, and what that means to videogames.
A game has ‘perfect information’ when players have absolutely all the information available to them, with nothing hidden or subject to chance. Chess is the classic example, because all the pieces are visible and no dice rolling, card drawing or coin flipping is involved. It’s what makes Chess so great for computers to play, because they can calculate out all the possible game states from whatever the board looks like right now – there’s no chance that either player will roll a 1 and have things go in an unexpected direction.
By the way, a game having perfect information isn’t necessarily seen as a good or a bad thing, it very much depends on the pace you want (more information slows it down), the audience you want (more information makes games intimidating) and how much you want victory to come from skill over chance (perfect information games can’t help less skilled players with the effects of luck).
However, in Chess and the vast majority of perfect information games there’s always one variable that you can’t account for – the other player. While you can know all their possible moves and predict what they’re likely to do, you can never be 100% certain.
You see this in Combat Cards through the choices the AI makes when it takes its turn. At the moment the AI is pretty predictable, making it effectively possible to know what it’ll do in various situations (when it ‘gives up’ and starts making psychic attacks, for example). We’ll be upgrading the AI shortly, which will make this sort of behaviour less likely, and it’ll be interesting to see how players react when battles become more about dealing with your opponent’s tactics (though ideally the game won’t become more difficult overall because the matchmaking will react to players losing to a smarter AI by pairing them with less powerful decks. That’s the plan, anyway!).
Another area that currently plays into giving players perfect information is card deployment. At the beginning of battles the AI lays out its three cards first, letting you choose which from your hand to place where, taking into account who’s going first (which you also know). We set it up like this because it’s fun to ‘puzzle’ your way to the optimum solution for the current state of their cards, what’s in your hand, what’s still in your deck, player Initiative, and so on.
But we’re also looking at potentially changing this, perhaps by making players alternate deploying cards or by making whoever has the lower Initiative deploy first. These are just experiments at this point, and we’ll update you if we’re going to change how deployment works, and if we do, exactly why we’re making that particular change.
The upshot of both these potential changes is to reduce the amount of information players have, which sounds weird when you put it like that, but which in turn means players will need to adapt to changing events as battles play out, rather than knowing the best move to make up front.
We’ll see if this slows battles down as players need to think through their options each turn. Or if it makes battles more satisfying once players know they won through good tactics rather than the AI just ‘giving up’. Or even if it leads to metagame changes in deck building as players (for instance) begin favouring faster Initiative cards to try and go first.
Either way it’ll be fun to see how moving away from perfect information shakes things up! Let us know your thoughts on this – you can get in touch by leaving a comment below, through our Facebook page or by mailing [email protected]. Also, if you’d like to follow our posts through RSS you can use this link: https://www.combatcards.com/feed/
If players had to deploy all 3 cards first due to low initiative, that would put them at a huge disadvantage and I feel like a lot of players would focus on making high initiative decks.
Alternating deployment at the beginning makes sense, and I feel would work well in PvP, but it would make the games slightly longer, which players might disapprove of (unless battles can be sped up).
Interesting ideas though. I’m glad you’re looking at ways to potentially change the core gameplay.
Thanks for the feedback. It’s possible having to deploy all three cards would be a big disadvantage, but there are ways around that, such as the person who deploys first gets some Ready boosts or even goes first. But you’re right that changing the game so everyone is basically required to make the fastest decks they can is definitely not our goal.
The game is great, but one major thing spoils much of the fun. Is it possible to adjust “Da Freeboota King” trait, so it works without misleading consequences?
This trait claims, that if any Ork card destroys the enemy card, then it may shoot at another. This, however, works faulty when it comes to Taunt cards. Once the Taunt card is destroyed, the Ork cards can perform their ADDITIONAL attack up to three times. This is not what the Trait description claims, since the only factor took under consideration is “destroying” the card. And the card cannot die three times, right?
Please, fix this, since this issue provides much negative gameplay and it denies the Trait description. Thank you much in advance and you are doing a great job!
Thanks for the comment. We’ve mentioned a behind the scenes rework of our battle system a couple of times, which will allow us to easily add more traits and Warlords to the game. It will also mean we can fix several minor issues with traits and special rules, such as the one you mentioned. I don’t have a hard date for that rework to roll out but it’s coming along nicely so hopefully won’t be too long. Thanks for your patience in the meantime!
Happy to go first or second based on initiative. However let us have access to all the cards on our selected (up to 8 plus warlord) deck. That way you can put your lord of change up first or you may put your fodder outside first. The choices will be yours.
Hey guys, with the current mission that has just started, it seems a LOT of cards are missing the Psyker keyword for the extra 20% bonus, a lot of them being Marines for example. Do you plan on further refining the keywords at any point?
Hi there, thanks for checking. We’re aware of that keywords issue and are working on it now!