[Home]Randomness

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As in, "a polka-dot car? That's a bit random!".

An aspect of CambridgeAura, although some might say it is an aspect of ToothyCats.

The applicability of threatening to complain to a responsible adult about South African currency.

The extent to which somebody resembles the mythical third King of Amber.


More seriously, the extent to which a system is non-deterministic - that is, if you rewound it and ran it forwards again, would you get the same result. An entirely deterministic system always produces the same result. For example, if you drop a ball onto a flat surface it will always rebound to the same height. An entirely random system will produce the same result with a set probability but is not predictable on any given occurrence. For example, an unbiased six-sided die will show a six with probability 1/6 but is equally likely to produce any number on any given roll.

This property is an easy way to make a game have a different outcome every time you play it, and consequently some level of Randomness is common in many BoardGames?. On the page TwilightImperium, AlexChurchill commented: I rather dislike the way that, for the space combats, they gave in and introduced randomness in the form of die rolls. Why couldn't they have kept things deterministic like the rest of the game?

StuartFraser replied: In reality, naval combat is in no way deterministic.

Discussion ensues:

The point is, I'm not doing a war simulation, I'm playing a game. I'm not after strict accuracy in all aspects, I'm after consistently fun gameplay that offers strategic and tactical depth. I don't utterly abhor randomness - it has its good sides - but I prefer things without it, all else being equal, and don't like having to introduce die-rolling in particular to a game where they managed to keep the randomness down to decks of cards for the rest of it. --AC
It was me. From my perspective, deterministic combat feels wrong; knowing before your turn your exact loss ratios is a) silly and b) going to produce AnalysisParalysis. In addition, I like rolling lots of d10s, if I didn't I wouldn't play Exalted. The AxisAndAllies? system works very well for effectively weighting combats without making them utterly deterministic. --SF
Hurrah and Huzzah! AnalysisParalysis is something I really dislike in games, and it seems to happen much more in non random games, hence I prefer there to be randomness. --RobHu

I think randomness can serve another purpose in board games.  It can get quite dull playing a 3 hour game if you know, after the first half hour, that you're not going to win.  Whereas if there's a probabilistic element, you still have something to play for.  In a 5 player game, you may realise that you now only have a 5% not a 20% chance of winning, but that just means you need to go for a higher risk strategy. --Pallando

It also reduces bashing.  ("I'm going to wipe out his army because I can and there's no risk to me, in case he gets bigger later")  If such things have a cost or risk, a trailing player will survive longer. --Pallando



CategoryRandom; CategoryNotWhatItWasSupposedToBeAbout, in places

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