Podcast #6: Casual Randomness

Randomness, indeterminacy and Richard doing a French accent! All this can be yours as game designers Tyler Bielman, Skaff Elias and of course, Richard Garfield delve into one of the most important characteristics of games. The discussion covers the role of the roll of the dice and unearths the secrets of “rando-chess.” Think you hate luck in games you play? This podcast just might change your mind.

Notes: Replace the words “Preston Poulter” with “Tom Guevin” in you head and make sure to listen to the bitter end!

LINKS: Elo Chess Rating System | Euchre | Pitch | Monopoly | Club House Games| Bejeweled | Diner Dash 2 | Life | Small World | Team Fortress 2 | The chicken heart that ate New York | Magic: The Gathering | Wa-hoo | The billionth digit of Pi | Hidden Object Games | Lode Runner | Dominos | Backgammon

EMAIL: info@threedonkeys.com



7 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Brady,

    Let’s say I tell you that 1 + 1 = 1.7. Have I now demonstrated that there’s randomness in simple arithmetic?

    You may have to elaborate on your point – I am not sure I get it. If there is a game where players are asked to add numbers and sometimes make mistakes there is randomness in that game, for that audience – but not in addition, and not even necessarily in that game for every audience.

  2. Brady,

    Maybe it’s just semantics, I don’t know. But I don’t see how there’s randomness in chess any more than there’s randomness in arithmetic. Sure, chess’s *players* might introduce an element of “randomness” to the game, in the same way a poor mathematician could introduce “randomness” to arithmetic. But misplays, intentionally arbitrary behavior, etc. aren’t characteristics of chess itself.

    Most characteristics of games are not just about the game in a mathematical sense but also about the players. For example, is chess a fast or slow game (without a timer)? It depends who is playing. Similarly, there will be more or less randomness depending on who is playing. This isn’t about being a bad player and making mistakes – any player can be beaten (as far as we know) and so any player has “errors” in their play.

    If you go back to the example in the podcast of the game where you guess a digit of pi – for most people there is a 10% chance they get that correct, even though there is no randomness in pi. There is randomness in the >players< . This has nothing to do with being a bad mathematician, it is about being human - when asked the 45,602,763rd digit of pi, if you have 10 seconds to answer, the outcome will generally be a die toss! Similarly there is no randomness in chess. There is randomness in the >players<. But the result is when you watch a chess game chance plays a part in the outcome. Chance heavily weighted by skill, to be sure, but chance nonetheless.


  3. Dre,

    Nice episode. I don’t know the name of the one guy, but I don’t like him much on the cast. Richard is awesome as is the 2nd person… sounds like he’s a game designer. It’s just that 3rd person I think the podcast would be better without.

    Just my humble opinion. ;)

  4. Dre,

    Ok his name is Tyler, I don’t like him on the podcast. Sorry Tyler. :P

  5. Robin Russell,

    The “straight man” – in this case the person that asks the questions that the audience would likely ask is an absolutely essential component of this type of production. I think this team pulls of the production remarkably well.

    Three cheers for Tyler!

  6. Tyler,

    Plus all the stuff is at my house, so HA ! :)

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