# Thread: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

1. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
Well closer is better than none I might say. Rock-Paper-Scissors have a 1/3 chance there. (That right I'm doing math here. ) Even heads and tails have a 50-50 chance to make sure which it's lands which is very balance.
But the coin doesn't weight the same on each side, so its not actually 50/50. RPS isn't exactly 1/3 because scissors is a more difficult hand position, which is why rock comes up the most often.

I can flip a d6 die so it is much more likely to land on 6 (although its pretty blatant.)

Even if balance were achievable, you're talking about reducing the variation in the game. A D&D character has feats, 6 stats, equipment, a class and its abilities, a race, and skill points to cause variation. The number of inputs reduces the balance, the question is how many inputs do you want?

2. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Tvtyrant
But the coin doesn't weight the same on each side, so its not actually 50/50. RPS isn't exactly 1/3 because scissors is a more difficult hand position, which is why rock comes up the most often.

I can flip a d6 die so it is much more likely to land on 6 (although its pretty blatant.)

Even if balance were achievable, you're talking about reducing the variation in the game. A D&D character has feats, 6 stats, equipment, a class and its abilities, a race, and skill points to cause variation. The number of inputs reduces the balance, the question is how many inputs do you want?
Yes. I'm quite aware how ridiculously unbalanced D&D is and this is not even a D&D thread. Also why is variation important anyway if you don't mind me asking?

3. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
Yes. I'm quite aware how ridiculously unbalanced D&D is and this is not even a D&D thread. Also why is variation important anyway if you don't mind me asking?
For a lot of people it increases the fun of the game. Like I could make a much more balanced "D&D" game where the wizard, fighter and cleric are identical. The wizard shoots a "fireball" with a range of 5 ft and deals 1d6 damage, the fighter swings a sword that has a range of 5ft and deals 1d6 damage, and the cleric shoots a beam of light with a range of 5ft and deals 1d6 damage. They all have 1d6 hp, move on a d20 roll of 10 or above and get hit on a d20 roll of 15 or above. There aren't any actual options for how to play, but the balance is higher. Few people would play or enjoy that game.

Another example would be Pokemon. It started out with 150 characters, each of which had between 1 and 100 levels and were of one of 10 types. There were also hundreds of attack types, all of which meant it mattered what you played and how. Making an effective team took finding out what was strong or weak, choosing how to play each battle, when to use an item, etc. Stripped down to be close to balanced you would have no levels, no types of pokemon, a hard limit on items, and one attack. The variation is the thing that makes Pokemon fun.

4. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Tvtyrant
For a lot of people it increases the fun of the game. Like I could make a much more balanced "D&D" game where the wizard, fighter and cleric are identical. The wizard shoots a "fireball" with a range of 5 ft and deals 1d6 damage, the fighter swings a sword that has a range of 5ft and deals 1d6 damage, and the cleric shoots a beam of light with a range of 5ft and deals 1d6 damage. They all have 1d6 hp, move on a d20 roll of 10 or above and get hit on a d20 roll of 15 or above. There aren't any actual options for how to play, but the balance is higher. Few people would play or enjoy that game.

Another example would be Pokemon. It started out with 150 characters, each of which had between 1 and 100 levels and were of one of 10 types. There were also hundreds of attack types, all of which meant it mattered what you played and how. Making an effective team took finding out what was strong or weak, choosing how to play each battle, when to use an item, etc. Stripped down to be close to balanced you would have no levels, no types of pokemon, a hard limit on items, and one attack. The variation is the thing that makes Pokemon fun.
I see. Interesting.

5. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Are you under the impression that designing a balanced game is easy? It isn't. Even less so than designing a game to begin with.

6. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Morty
Are you under the impression that designing a balanced game is easy? It isn't. Even less so than designing a game to begin with.
Yes I can see that clearly now. Poor me. I wish there was a balanced game that I can enjoy.

7. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Morty
Are you under the impression that designing a balanced game is easy? It isn't. Even less so than designing a game to begin with.
Take Call of Duty, which AFAIK was a well balanced shooter for consoles where the majority are anything but. It got multiple copy-sequels because they didn't want to mess up the balance once they found it.

8. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
So I guess that unbalanced gaming is more fun than balanced gaming huh?
I wouldn't put it like that, rather I'd say that variety and parity are necessarily at odds, and increasing one often comes at the expense of trade-offs reducing the other. That said, many, many games are poorly balanced because game sales make money, not good game-balance. Skyrim or Fallout are great examples of games where there's some wildly imbalanced choices available to the player, but because it's a single-player title with a difficulty slider, you can always play how you want and move the difficulty to where you want it to be. It's in competitive games where balance becomes much, much harder, and typically devolves into a never-ending rotation of nerfs and buffs shaking up the meta-game, until the meta-game turns into rock-paper-scissors, or until the game is abandoned by the developer.

9. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by The_Jackal
I wouldn't put it like that, rather I'd say that variety and parity are necessarily at odds, and increasing one often comes at the expense of trade-offs reducing the other. That said, many, many games are poorly balanced because game sales make money, not good game-balance. Skyrim or Fallout are great examples of games where there's some wildly imbalanced choices available to the player, but because it's a single-player title with a difficulty slider, you can always play how you want and move the difficulty to where you want it to be. It's in competitive games where balance becomes much, much harder, and typically devolves into a never-ending rotation of nerfs and buffs shaking up the meta-game, until the meta-game turns into rock-paper-scissors, or until the game is abandoned by the developer.
So what's the difference between competitive and causal play in a balanced point of view?

10. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
So what's the difference between competitive and causal play in a balanced point of view?
Competitive play means the groups are pushing to win, using the best available strategies or abilities. Casual play implies they ignore the best strategies in favor of less effective ones. In competitive play small imbalances make a larger different then in casual play.

11. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
So what's the difference between competitive and causal play in a balanced point of view?
The opposite of competitive is not casual, it is cooperative. The opposite of casual is formal, or serious. Competitive versus cooperative games are binary, either one or the other. Casual versus serious exists on a spectrum. As a general rule, casual games tend not demand much of the player, and inject randomness into the gameplay, especially in casual/competitive games like Hearthstone or Mario-Kart. Also, casual games rarely worry very much about balance, in either direction.

12. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
What do you mean I never explain it? I explain real clear about it. Do you even read my thread at all?

The reason why most games are imbalanced because most characters in fighting games are not equal in power.
You've said that's what imbalance is (and other people have explained why that's maybe not as simple a definition as you seem to think). What you haven't said is, why it's a bad thing.

What's wrong with having unbalanced characters?

13. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by veti
You've said that's what imbalance is (and other people have explained why that's maybe not as simple a definition as you seem to think). What you haven't said is, why it's a bad thing.

What's wrong with having unbalanced characters?
It's unfair that's why. You played a very powerful character goes up a very weak character which is completely unfair. Can a weak character get a win once and for a while?

14. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

I haven't really seen it mentioned, but games can also have vibrant competitive scenes BECAUSE of unbalance, because it allows you to enforce rules, and because you play both sides of a matchup.

Chess is a great example. White is favored. This is utterly indisputable. But chess matches are competitive because they play more (usually significantly more) than 1 game, with equal numbers of white/black games. So the fact that black is disadvantaged and the game is unbalanced is irrelevant - because overall tournaments are balanced.

In most games certain game modes are not, and will never, be balanced, like best of 1 blind picks. That's fine. You may get an advantage one game and a disadvantage the next game.

Almost every esport these days has bracket matches and finals that are played on best-of-X format, with various things continuous across the games. For example, Starcraft 2 maps are favored for some races and matchups. This is solved for competitive matches by playing specific maps in specific orders, pick/banned by the players. CS:Go is played best of X format, with maps and sides changing each match (pick/banned by the teams).

Additionally, you have the INTENTIONAL competitive imbalances. Some weapons, characters, races, etc, may be unbalance at certain stages of the game, but they are equally disadvantaged at other stages of the game. Just because a matchup has 1 side favored for the early game doesn't mean it's unbalanced. It means it has an advantage in the early game and the other side should be trying to stall them out to later game stages where they are disadvantaged. In FPS games, some weapons will be significantly more powerful but sacrifice range, accuracy, ammo, reload rate, etc. Based on their advantages and disadvantages, they will be more or less powerful based on the map. And that's FINE. Fighting games and MOBAs certain characters will have significant win rate swings based on the player levels. That's fine - every character doesn't have to be perfectly balanced at every level, as long as they don't totally warp the game by their existence (and these days any character that does is frequently nerfed quickly).

Just because certain things may be unbalanced, that doesn't mean that actual competitive matches are unbalanced. IMO the most boring matches are mirror matches where everything IS exactly the same.

Adding a pick/ban phase outside the game is usually key to enforcing tournament balance, because it limits the truly disadvantageous matchups, enforces playing both sides of an asymmetrical matchup, or provides meaningful choices for players based on their play style.

TL:DR - imbalances in games are fine, as long as they add to the strategy of the game.

15. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by El'the Ellie
It's worth noting that some of the most classic children's games are completely luck based (or completely deterministic, depending on your view of 'luck' )

Recently my friends and I played Candyland again because we needed to kill 20 minutes and we found it in his basement. After the first shuffle it is completely determined by regular draws from a single deck. We still had fun with it by being silly and making up stories (why you got booted out of the Peppermint Forest, for example), and according to wikipedia,

I'm not disagreeing with you: it certainly lacks depth to keep a playgroup continuously interested, but there is precedence for people enjoying a purely random competitive game. Snakes & Ladders is similar but giving you the feeling of control by rolling dice. Horseracing is a favorite even among adults (well, my friend group likes it, anyway) despite being random.
I didn't want to include Candyland because I wasn't willing to go down a rabbithole of seeing if it had a bias toward whoever went first (or second, or last, or whenever) winning. So many games do for various reasons, and I think that's one of many reasons it's harder to make a balanced game than people initially think it might be.

I will say that my friends and I once played strip Chutes and Ladders (when you go up a ladder, you get to put on a piece of clothing from the central clothing pile whether or not it was yours initially), which was surprisingly entertaining.

(My actual childhood was mostly spent playing complicated Ravensburger games imported through Discovery Toys (my favorite was Emperor's Challenge, which is played on a hexmap and you control multiple figures) instead of the "classic" American ones for some reason.)

Originally Posted by Rodin
I still remember the day I worked out that "Eenie Meenie Miney Moe" is not only deterministic, but you can dictate the result by who you start counting on.

I sat there for a good 20 minutes doing the rhyme for various numbers of people, trying to get the same starting person to come out with a different result. It took far longer than it should have to figure out WHY it never changed.

And, of course, I immediately started looking cross-eyed at anyone who had ever performed Eenie Meenie Miney Moe on me previously, wondering if they knew the trick and were rigging the outcome.

Figuring out the perfect play for Tic Tac Toe was another fun one. Totally ruined that game for me. I must have been fairly young, because I remember trying to do the same thing with Connect Four.
I once taught a high school general math class, and discovered that the students still played tic-tac-toe with each other (they'd do this all over their "notes" and worksheets). Often, someone would actually win. I decided that if I taught them nothing else that quarter, we were going to analyze tic-tac-toe to death until it always ended in a tie and they could articulate enough about logic and strategy to explain why. It was probably a pretty good use of a couple of weeks.

16. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Rodin
Figuring out the perfect play for Tic Tac Toe was another fun one. Totally ruined that game for me. I must have been fairly young, because I remember trying to do the same thing with Connect Four.
Originally Posted by Algeh
I once taught a high school general math class, and discovered that the students still played tic-tac-toe with each other (they'd do this all over their "notes" and worksheets). Often, someone would actually win. I decided that if I taught them nothing else that quarter, we were going to analyze tic-tac-toe to death until it always ended in a tie and they could articulate enough about logic and strategy to explain why. It was probably a pretty good use of a couple of weeks.
I much prefer Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe myself. I can't recall where I first heard of it, but I killed a lot of time with it introducing people to it in high school (especially at the end of comp-sci classes, since we had computers and there's a neat site that lets you play against someone easily), and even did a project that year on trying to program a bot to try and play it. …un/fortunately, (depending on what side of the project you were on ) it's very much not an easy task to do. Very much harder to perfect game it.

17. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
It's unfair that's why. You played a very powerful character goes up a very weak character which is completely unfair. Can a weak character get a win once and for a while?
But they do all the time, because competitive tiering can still be overturned with sheer player skill, and it makes for a better storyline when someone beats someone in a video game while doing something utterly boneheaded.

You already agreed that a completely symmetrical game where the outcome is always an ideal 50/50 is not that fun at all. Perhaps you should read your own thread instead of getting angry at people even after you conceded that your defined stance in this argument makes no sense.

18. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Winthur
But they do all the time, because competitive tiering can still be overturned with sheer player skill, and it makes for a better storyline when someone beats someone in a video game while doing something utterly boneheaded.

You already agreed that a completely symmetrical game where the outcome is always an ideal 50/50 is not that fun at all. Perhaps you should read your own thread instead of getting angry at people even after you conceded that your defined stance in this argument makes no sense.
Yes I do apologized for that.

19. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
It's unfair that's why. You played a very powerful character goes up a very weak character which is completely unfair. Can a weak character get a win once and for a while?
Some games also have handicaps where players of different skill levels can play on an equal footing.

For Go, the weaker player normally plays Black or may start with some stones already on the board, or the White player may be given less or no komi, or any combination of the various variables.

For fighting games, the weaker player may be given a damage bonus, or the stronger player starts with less life, etc. Back when I used to play SFA2, I always picked Dan for my first bout out of 3 - sure he was weaker, particularly when people were familiar with his capabilities, but he was fun and I even managed to take a round (or even a match!) off people every now and again.

Handicaps would be unfair by your standards, but as long as both players are having fun and/or deem the handicap to be fair, does it matter?

20. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

What it boils down to is that a major part of games is making interesting choices. And Choice options always are different otherwise there is no choice. And if they're different, they're unbalanced almost by definition. There will always be an optimal way of doing things for any given goal.

The question you're wanting, is that if perfect balance is impossible, how viable are the non-optimal choices? And how big are the gaps between options? And do those gaps significantly impact the fun?

21. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by PhantomFox
What it boils down to is that a major part of games is making interesting choices. And Choice options always are different otherwise there is no choice. And if they're different, they're unbalanced almost by definition. There will always be an optimal way of doing things for any given goal.

The question you're wanting, is that if perfect balance is impossible, how viable are the non-optimal choices? And how big are the gaps between options? And do those gaps significantly impact the fun?
Ok. Can you give me any examples?

22. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
Ok. Can you give me any examples?
Okay, how about Overwatch? This is a pure competitive PVP game, we can debate how casual it is or should be, but there's no denying it does competitive PVP and nothing else. So, let's look at three Overwatch Heroes:

Pharah (Flying rocket launcher)
Widowmaker (Grappling Hook Sniper)
Junkrat (Jumpy grenade launcher)

In a one on one context, Junkrat has a fairly large advantage versus Widowmaker, by virtue of Junk's much more forgiving weapon, better mobility, and indirect fire capability. On the other hand, Pharah can hover well out of Junkrat's effective range, plastering him with rockets with impunity, and Widow relatively easily pluck Pharah out of the sky, having line-of-sight hitscan and high zoom.

The variety of kits available to these three heroes makes them virtually impossible to balance in a one on one matchup, especially when accounting for their relative difficulty in execution. A more traditional loadout-shooter, like one of the myriad Call of Duty sequels, is much easier to achieve parity, for a couple of reasons. One, being able to pick weapon and perk choices off an a'la carte menu makes balancing whole loadouts less of a concern. You can make a 'Junkrat-light' character in CoD, just take lots of explosives, but you've no one to blame but yourself when you lack the reach to deal with a sniper. But also, the options on the menu in CoD are much less varied. You're selecting from a range of mostly similar guns, distinguished by their effective range, recoil, and rate of fire, etc. In Overwatch terms, Call of Duty is a game where everyone plays a tame version of McCree, Soldier76, or Widowmaker. It's the ambition of how Overwatch gives their heroes starkly asymmetrical abilities that makes it very, very hard to make generally "fair". Many matchups are decided before the first shot is fired. Winston or Brigitte can just bully Tracer, Sombra can completely neutralize tanks, D.va can usually kill a solo DPS with a single overrun. So, if you prize having a viable matchup where counterplay options exist regardless of what character selection or loadout choices you make, Overwatch might not be the game for you.

23. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
Ok. Can you give me any examples?
Examples of what? Degrees of imbalance? There are countless examples out there if you look. I'm saying that it's not a black-and-white dichotomy. It's not like a game is balanced or its not, all games are imbalanced. But there is a vast difference between games where the best options have an advantage and games where the best options are game-breakingly powerful. Perfect balance is an IDEAL, but not a reality. The goal is to get it where the level of imbalance is within acceptable standards. What those standards are depends on who you're asking.

24. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
Ok. Can you give me any examples?
I already wrote up some examples about that, but to reiterate:
• multiple fighting games allow for players to have fun and even be competitive with lower-tier characters; often the lower-tier merely means being less versatile than high-tier characters. Compare two rushdown characters, Shadow Dio and Black Polnareff, in JoJo: Heritage from the Future; they have the same basic goal of overpowering the opponent by closing in and chaining powerful combos together, but Shadow Dio has much better ranged options, generally better mobility, can easily cancel all of his moves (hard to be punished through whiffs) and has a good mix-up game. Black Polnareff is much more limited, but he does have a powerful super that often catches people off-guard and does a ton of damage when it connects, although he's overall less consistent; S.Dio is A-tier, and B.Polnareff is C-tier. B. Polnareff is still a popular character both as a training wheel character for newbies and as a dedicated character for fans of the playstyle; the JoJo tier list isn't so set-in-stone that everyone and their dog only ever plays Kakyoin.
• it's generally accepted that the best character you can make in Baldur's Gate is a Fighter->Mage dual of some sort, either Berserker or Kensai. This doesn't mean people only ever play that combo because it's a single-player game that doesn't require you to optimize everything to succeed, even with mods, and some people enjoy different playstyles. Some of the hardest mod install combos (that really ramp up the difficulty of the game) have been done with stuff like a solo Thief.
• likewise, SC2Coop's Brutal mode has a rather low skill floor needed to do competently in, and even though there are some characters that are consistently more dominant over others (Zeratul and Tychus especially for more low-skilled players, Abathur, Raynor, Kerrigan), you can dominate and make a showing even with the less powerful ones, like Alarak, H&H, or Karax; the rotating weekly brutations tend to favor some commanders over others and they can put even a high-tier commander in the dumpster (Kerrigan really suffers in Black Death mutators, for example) while elevating a more niche commander.

So there you go; three different games where the most universally powerful choices still leave plenty of room for enthusiasts of weaker choices due to the variety they introduce and the ability to overcome tier lists with niche counterpicks or good plays.

25. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Winthur
I already wrote up some examples about that, but to reiterate:
• multiple fighting games allow for players to have fun and even be competitive with lower-tier characters; often the lower-tier merely means being less versatile than high-tier characters. Compare two rushdown characters, Shadow Dio and Black Polnareff, in JoJo: Heritage from the Future; they have the same basic goal of overpowering the opponent by closing in and chaining powerful combos together, but Shadow Dio has much better ranged options, generally better mobility, can easily cancel all of his moves (hard to be punished through whiffs) and has a good mix-up game. Black Polnareff is much more limited, but he does have a powerful super that often catches people off-guard and does a ton of damage when it connects, although he's overall less consistent; S.Dio is A-tier, and B.Polnareff is C-tier. B. Polnareff is still a popular character both as a training wheel character for newbies and as a dedicated character for fans of the playstyle; the JoJo tier list isn't so set-in-stone that everyone and their dog only ever plays Kakyoin.
• it's generally accepted that the best character you can make in Baldur's Gate is a Fighter->Mage dual of some sort, either Berserker or Kensai. This doesn't mean people only ever play that combo because it's a single-player game that doesn't require you to optimize everything to succeed, even with mods, and some people enjoy different playstyles. Some of the hardest mod install combos (that really ramp up the difficulty of the game) have been done with stuff like a solo Thief.
• likewise, SC2Coop's Brutal mode has a rather low skill floor needed to do competently in, and even though there are some characters that are consistently more dominant over others (Zeratul and Tychus especially for more low-skilled players, Abathur, Raynor, Kerrigan), you can dominate and make a showing even with the less powerful ones, like Alarak, H&H, or Karax; the rotating weekly brutations tend to favor some commanders over others and they can put even a high-tier commander in the dumpster (Kerrigan really suffers in Black Death mutators, for example) while elevating a more niche commander.

So there you go; three different games where the most universally powerful choices still leave plenty of room for enthusiasts of weaker choices due to the variety they introduce and the ability to overcome tier lists with niche counterpicks or good plays.
I see. Well that's interesting.

26. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Although it's a big problem if imbalance is too big, because then that goes back to removing choice: one of your options may as well not exist, because everyone chooses the other option, and anyone who doesn't choose that option has no real chance to succeed.

The balance I prefer is to be close to a fair game, in terms of the odds of equally-skilled players winning. Imbalances among different aspects are nice, because they let players who are interested in one aspect over others find one that suits them. For example, rushdown characters versus zoners in fighting games. A rushdown character and a zoner might be balanced, but the rushdown character fights by getting in on their opponent and dealing lots of damage quickly, while the zoner is trying to keep their opponent away while dealing damage at long range. The zoner has some strengths that the rushdown character doesn't have (like long-range attacks), but the rushdown character has strengths that the zoner doesn't have (high-damage combos).

One isn't objectively better than the other, but for some people, one will be preferable to the other. So they're fairly balanced, but they offer different experiences to people, and this would still work even if they were perfectly balanced. In fact, it would work better if they were perfectly balanced, because instead of choosing a character based on winrate, you could freely choose a character because they had a playstyle that appealed to you.

27. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem
Although it's a big problem if imbalance is too big, because then that goes back to removing choice: one of your options may as well not exist, because everyone chooses the other option, and anyone who doesn't choose that option has no real chance to succeed.

The balance I prefer is to be close to a fair game, in terms of the odds of equally-skilled players winning. Imbalances among different aspects are nice, because they let players who are interested in one aspect over others find one that suits them. For example, rushdown characters versus zoners in fighting games. A rushdown character and a zoner might be balanced, but the rushdown character fights by getting in on their opponent and dealing lots of damage quickly, while the zoner is trying to keep their opponent away while dealing damage at long range. The zoner has some strengths that the rushdown character doesn't have (like long-range attacks), but the rushdown character has strengths that the zoner doesn't have (high-damage combos).

One isn't objectively better than the other, but for some people, one will be preferable to the other. So they're fairly balanced, but they offer different experiences to people, and this would still work even if they were perfectly balanced. In fact, it would work better if they were perfectly balanced, because instead of choosing a character based on winrate, you could freely choose a character because they had a playstyle that appealed to you.
Which I guess kick the can, duck duck goose and patty cake doesn't have neither balanced nor unbalanced.

28. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer
Which I guess kick the can, duck duck goose and patty cake doesn't have neither balanced nor unbalanced.
I would argue any physical sport is inherently unbalanced.

29. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

Originally Posted by Manticoran
I would argue any physical sport is inherently unbalanced.
What? Including patty cake is unbalanced?! Oh that's it. I'm outta here.

30. ## Re: The Problem With Unbalanced Gaming

1. Both players have an equal chance of winning

I can think of literally no examples.

2. The Winner is Determined by Mechanics or Luck

This is, the player does very little themselves, and through randomness or chance, the winner is usually decided well before the outcome is actually determined.

For example, in Poker, the winner has been determined the instant the cards have been dealt. If everyone turned their cards over, right now, and the River was dealt out in full, you would already have a winner.

In Blackjack, the deck is already determined. Whether or not you beat the dealer has already determined when the deck has finished shuffling.

In board games, 'randomness' in usually inserted into the mechanics. That is, [something explosive] happens on a die roll (e.g; Doubles). You can't plan for it. It just happens. One player might not roll doubles for five turns. While another player might roll doubles several turns in a row. For example, Yahtzee.

The more 'randomness' in a game, the less competitive it is. In an RTS map, you get a bad start location with resource nodes in stupid places. You might have already lost the game. This is why map design in RTS games are so important.

Who goes first is always determined by colour. (e.g; Chess, and White)
Who goes first is determined by coin toss.

Running; Based on height and stride length, you can determine the winner already.

However, once you know the Mechanics, and How The Game Is Actually Played...

3. The Winner is Determined by Skill or Talent
In Poker, you don't win by looking at your opponents' cards. You win by calculating the odds in your head vs. what you have in your hand. And there's a lot of social engineering involved. You win by taking risks, and making choices.

In Blackjack (and Uno, for that matter), you win (or rather, don't lose) by counting cards.

In board games, you exploit choices that increase your chance of explosive events.

In Yahtzee, you make choices based on the outcomes of what you need, statistics, and what the dice roll out as.

In a Fighting game, you can calculate out the framecount of a move, which allows you to block or juggle your opponent effectively.

In an RTS, both players might be playing exactly the same Faction. But who has the better APM?

You, the player, know that in Chess, White always goes first. If you are playing Black, what are your opening moves?
You, the player, know that who goes first is determined randomly. What do you do if you go first? What do you do if you go second? Can you do both?

This is where the difference between 'casual' and 'competitive' gaming, is.

Running; It's not enough to be tall and have long legs. Lots of people are tall and have long legs. You need to have a good diet, training regime, you need to know how to burst off the starting blocks, and you need to know how to throw yourself forwards at the finish line. In a longer race, you need to know your limits. When do you sprint? When do you settle to a pace? When do you start sprinting again? Relay; How do you maximise your speed whilst still passing the baton efficiently? The athletes on the outside lanes have wider turning circles than runners on inside lanes. Therefore, runners on inside lanes have to be able to tilt their body correctly to maintain speed and a tight turning circle.

You know what the mechanics of the game are. "Oh, okay. I guess I'll play by those rules and try to win using what I like.", or
"I know the mechanics. I will study the mechanics. Exploit them, and win games every time."

So, I want a game with unexploitable mechanics:
In this case, there's an argument that can be made that if player skill is no longer a determining factor, then it is no longer really a game. You roll a dice, I roll a dice. Whoever rolls highest, wins. Nothing you do, as a player, matters. Even in Rock, Paper, Scissors, you, the player, are making conscious choices. That's why Craps and Roulette work the way the way they do. They're popular because those games require no skill. You throw down your bet, and whatever happens, happens. Because 'player skill' in Roulette and Craps doesn't exist...You guessed it, "The House Always Wins."

The House doesn't always win in Poker or Blackjack, because the player actually gets to determine the outcome of the game. Can you stop someone from counting cards? No. You can make it more difficult by adding in a second or even third deck of cards and/or using a fresh deck every hand. But you can't stop them from counting cards. You can't stop them from making conscious choices. A '20' isn't guaranteed win, but most people will Stay on a 20 anyway, and win. In Poker, a 'Straight' can still win, even if it's not a 'Royal Flush'.
That is, in other posters' words...You can still win Blackjack and Poker using sub-optimal plays.

Can you stop players from trying to win? ...Generally, no. Competitive drive is fairly standard human nature. Even if you have the ability to 'nerf' mechanics because you're a digital developer and you can change mechanics anytime you want; Even if you nerf something that's good. Most players of that game will simply move to the next best thing. You can't control people trying to win. You can only control the methods by which they win.

Here's where you come to a crossroads:
Is the game inherently unbalanced?
Or are you just not doing what it takes to win? You know the rules of the game, your opponent knows the rules of the game. It's not like you're playing with different toolsets.

#### Posting Permissions

• You may not post new threads
• You may not post replies
• You may not post attachments
• You may not edit your posts
•