• Information in Dice Masters...

    [top]...and the Dice in Bag Controversy.

    [top]Or, How I (Inadvertently) Threw a Grenade in to Facebook and Watched the Carnage!

    OK, I am exaggerating a little there, but, a few weeks ago I posted a series of questions on the TRP forums, and on Facebook, and, whilst the response on the TRP forums was fairly restrained, I was shocked, surprised, and somewhat dismayed, at the nature of some of the responses that my questions received in one of the Facebook groups.

    So, asking how many dice are in your opponents bag...
    • Do you do it?
    • Do you answer honestly when asked?
    • Do you think it should be explicitly
      allowed in the tournament rules?
    • Do you think answering honestly
      should be explicitly required by the
      tournament rules?
    • Do you think 'dice counting' is an
      important part of the game?
    • Do you think not answering, or not
      answering honestly, is pointless as all
      the information in the game is open and,
      well, I can waste five minutes of every
      turn counting how many of each die you
      have, if you really want me to, or you
      could just tell me?
    • Does whether you are playing online,
      over Google Hangout or Skype, or not
      affect your answers to the above
      questions?
    The questions I posted can be seen to the right...

    Later in the article I will talk about the response my questions got, on Facebook, and I will say now that I am going to be somewhat critical of some of the opinions put forth.

    And I will also give, and expand on, my own answers to those questions.

    But, first I want to talk a little about some of the thinking behind my opinions.



    [top]Knowability, Availability, and Accessibility.

    I divide information in games in to three broad categories - Knowability, Availability, and Accessibility - and I would like to examine each of this categories in turn, looking at what they mean, how they relate to each other, and examples of them within Dice Masters.

    One thing to note, and understand, in considering these categories is that they are point-of-view agnostic. That is to say, they do not consider information from any single player's perspective, but rather consider it from an abstracted, semi-omniscient, point of view.

    [top]Knowability.

    Knowablity is the degree to which game information can be known by one or more of the players in the game.

    It divides game information in to two sets:
    Knowable
    Knowable information is anything that can be known by any participant in the game.
    Almost all information in Dice Masters is knowable.


    Unknowable
    Unknowable information is that which cannot possibly be known by any participant in the game.
    The only information in Dice Masters that falls in to this set is what dice will be pulled from a bag when it contains 5 or more dice, and what faces will come up on dice when they are rolled. Although we can calculate probabilities of different outcomes, they are just probabilities and the actual outcomes can not be known until they happen.


    [top]Availability.

    Knowable information can be further divided by it's Availability.

    This category measures the degree to which any individual player has access to a given piece of information in relation to the other participants in the game.

    It also divides that information into two sets:
    Open
    Open information is anything that is or can be known to all players equally.
    In Dice Masters it includes almost everything that is Knowable.


    Closed
    Closed information is anything that is only known by one, or some subset, of the players.
    The only information in Dice Masters that is closed is that which is in each player's head - their strategy, and what they plan to do next to help them achieve that strategy.


    [top]Accessibility.

    Knowable Open information can then be further subdivided by it's Accessibility.

    This measures the degree to which that information can be deduced from the physical components of the game and their positions and states.

    Once again it divides the information in to two sets:
    Free
    This is anything that can be deduced solely from the game pieces, their physical positions and states.
    In Dice Masters this includes, but is not limited to:
    • what characters and actions are in play, their costs, and abilities,
    • the levels of any fielded or unfielded characters, and their stats,
    • the number of dice in the various zones, and what type of dice they are.


    Derived
    Derived information is anything that is not Free.
    Examples of derived information include, but are not limited to:
    • the amount of damage, if any, done to dice in the field,
    • the turn on which a particular die was purchased,
    • errata or rulings regarding a particular card.

    So, where does "how many dice are in my opponent's bag" fall in to these categories?

    We can answer this by asking ourselves a series of simple questions:

    1. Is the information Knowable?
      Plainly the answer to this question is "Yes". One or both players can know this information. At the very least the player with the dice in their bag can simply look, and count for himself.
    2. Is the information Open?
      This is less obvious, but again the answer here is "Yes". Though the information can not be directly seen by either player, it can be obtained by both.
    3. Is the information Free?
      This is less clear cut, but I would again answer this with a "Yes". Both players know, at the start of the game, how many dice are on each card. From this they can deduce how many of each has been purchased. Add this number to the 8 Sidekicks a player always starts with and subtract the total visible in play, and you arrive at precisely how many dice are in your opponent's bag.


    [top]Conclusion.

    So, what does this mean? And what would my answers be?

    Well, before I answer those questions, I first want to address some of the responses I got to my questions on Facebook.

    I got a lot of positive responses, which were all in the form of something like "Yes, I ask my opponent, and answer when asked. The information can be easily worked out, and it speeds the game along to ask, and to answer."

    But I got, what I thought were a surprising amount of negative responses. These fell in to two broad camps:

    1. "I enjoy counting the dice, and consider it a tactical part of play".
      These responses I have no problem with, and I respect their right to wish to play that way.
    2. "You have no right to ask", "Your an idiot if you can't count", "Asking is cheating", "Counting is stalling".
      These responses I do have a problem with. It is this kind of attitude amongst players of any game that turns many people off. It is unsporting, offensive, and in some cases condescending. We as a community should, in my opinion, do everything we can to discourage this kind of attitude within the game.


    EDIT: As @chalis13 pointed out in the comments, below, and I should have included in my original blog post, there were also many negative responses from those on the pro-asking side of the argument - "Not answering is stalling", "I would not play with people who did not answer", "I would slow play if they did not answer", and so on - this attitude is just as problematic, and should be equally discouraged, as the strongly negative anti-asking stance.

    So, what about my answers?
    • Do you do it?
      Yes. If knowing how many dice are in my opponents bag is important to a game decision I am about to make, then, for the sake of brevity, I will directly ask my opponent.
    • Do you answer honestly when asked?
      Yes. Again, for the sake brevity, I will always answer, and will always answer honestly, when asked.
    • Do you think it should be explicitly allowed in the tournament rules?
      Before I posed these questions my answer to this would have been "No. I believe this is a matter of good gaming etiquette and believe that these issues should not be explicitly covered by the tournament rules, beyond very general rules about good sportsmanship". However, given the very divided nature of the responses given, I now think that this probably should be covered in the tournament rules.
    • Do you think answering honestly should be explicitly required by the tournament rules?
      If this issue is to be addressed in the tournament rules then, yes, it should be explicitly ruled that players must answer the question honestly. Not doing so should be seen as cheating.
    • Do you think 'dice counting' is an important part of the game?
      I think knowing how many dice are in your opponents bag is an important part of the game. I do not think that being expected to track that information should be.
    • Do you think not answering, or not answering honestly, is pointless as all the information in the game is open and, well, I can waste five minutes of every turn counting how many of each die you have, if you really want me to, or you could just tell me?
      Absolutely yes. Regardless of whether this is in the tournament rules, to not answer, or to answer dishonestly, is petty at the very least.
    • Does whether you are playing online, over Google Hangout or Skype, or not affect your answers to the above questions?
      For me no. However, I think the importance of asking, answering, and answering honestly, is increased when playing via Hangout or Skype, because it is harder to track all the information required to deduce the information for yourself. Particularly when not all dice on cards are visible in frame.


    [top]Final words.

    I would encourage all players to both ask when it matters, and to honestly answer when asked.

    EDIT: But, equally, we should respect the wishes of those that think otherwise.

    Let's strive to keep the friendly, helpful, attitude amongst the players of this wonderful game, and keep the games flowing, and fun, whilst competitive.

    Keep rolling those dice, and may the dice gods bless you.
    This article was originally published in blog: Information in Dice Masters... started by Scorpion0x17
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. Ressless's Avatar
      Ressless -
      I would answer all question with yes ,except including in the Tournament Rules.

      Myself is not perfect even with all the "YES"s , but when i sit there and my enemy says "i attack with all " or "i am lethal your done for" and, then i want some minutes to count if i can possible avoid it and get another round to win maybe. The Main problem is me, i am not so good with numbers in my head so i have to count, before and in a battle to ensure i dont do something wrong. If my opponent doesnt like this , then is trapped in my time thinking and i feeling sorry, but it doesnt help to keep up psychological pressure with "are you done yet" or answers for the Dice Numbers in the bag like "they are all here cant you see?" .

      But i think, if we all just try to be on the good path, even if it takes a little bit more effort others will learn from it, and if not, they will be knowing if some people doesnt like playing against them.
    1. Bestia's Avatar
      Bestia -
      To get additional information I have put together a form to find out - http://goo.gl/forms/pzGuAVp8XB


      Based on the tournament rules, and I am going with what I think the intent and not the Rules are written
      No - I wont ask, nor do expect my opponent to tell me

      The rule states
      1.2.8 - Dice Bags: Players may look into their own dice bag, but not their opponent’s. They must mix their dice well before drawing.

      Taking from that, it is their intent for you to know the information about your dice, and track what is in your opponents, based on the answer from the forum

      sources
      Wizkid forum - http://www.wizkidseventsystem.com/bb...hp?f=10&t=4154
      Tournament rules - http://wizkids.com/dicemasters/tournament-rules/
    1. LARedWolf995's Avatar
      LARedWolf995 -
      Agree on all fronts! Would hate to see Dice Masters go the way of other games that turn people off due to hyper-condescending competitiveness.
    1. Bobcat110's Avatar
      Bobcat110 -
      Knowing how MANY dice in the bag is only half the battle. The other half is know WHAT dice are in the bag.
      I believe answering how many dice in the bag is ok, because that doesn't give you all the information.
      Not knowing what dice are in the bag is where people that count dice have the advantage.
      Personally I will tell you how many dice I have, that I easy to count. I will not tell you what dice, and for probability sake, that is a lot more important.
    1. Osprey's Avatar
      Osprey -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat110 View Post
      Knowing how MANY dice in the bag is only half the battle. The other half is know WHAT dice are in the bag.
      I believe answering how many dice in the bag is ok, because that doesn't give you all the information.
      Not knowing what dice are in the bag is where people that count dice have the advantage.
      Personally I will tell you how many dice I have, that I easy to count. I will not tell you what dice, and for probability sake, that is a lot more important.
      I feel like this is where a lot of issues come from. I don't think you are obligated to tell someone EXACTLY what dice you have in your bag, but telling them how MANY are in there saves time. I would never expect someone to tell me exactly what they have, but the quantity is what matters. I see it as exactly the same thing as asking another player how many cards they have in their hand in games like MtG or Yugioh.
    1. cbone3's Avatar
      cbone3 -
      Here's my deal: In casual play or a small Friday night tourney at a local store, I'd tell my opponent. I would never lie, but I wouldn't offer the information if I didn't have to in a bigger sanctioned tournament. If it's knowable, then they should know. If they make a computational mistake, that's a benefit to me. Why hurt myself? I wouldn't offer strategic advice in a match that helped someone beat me.

      On the other side, when you are playing with people at a really high level, sometimes you can skip the BS and just tell them. At a Magic tourney, I watched David Ochoa rules lawyer a lower-level player. When I played him, I spelled out every color I was spending on everything and he basically said, "You're fine. I know you know how to spend it." So, I guess it's situational. I have used subterfuge to win an unwinnable game in MtG, so I like that aspect.
    1. Bestia's Avatar
      Bestia -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bestia View Post
      To get additional information I have put together a form to find out - http://goo.gl/forms/pzGuAVp8XB

      O.k - Just worked out how to create an updating sheet - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...76&single=true
    1. LastManOnEarth's Avatar
      LastManOnEarth -
      My personal house rule is that I will tell my opponent how many dice are in the bag, but only after counting them in the style of Count von Count (of Sesame Street, bet you didn't know his full name)...

      ONE die, ha ha ha
      TWO dice, ha ha ha
      THREE dice, ha ha ha
      I LOVE counting dice!
      Four dice, ha ha ha
      ... and so forth.

      I don't expect anyone else to do the same.

      LMoE
    1. Randy's Avatar
      Randy -
      Quote Originally Posted by LastManOnEarth View Post
      My personal house rule is that I will tell my opponent how many dice are in the bag, but only after counting them in the style of Count von Count (of Sesame Street, bet you didn't know his full name)...

      ONE die, ha ha ha
      TWO dice, ha ha ha
      THREE dice, ha ha ha
      I LOVE counting dice!
      Four dice, ha ha ha
      ... and so forth.

      I don't expect anyone else to do the same.

      LMoE
      This will be my new standard procedure. Gotta love CvC.
    1. Zauriel's Avatar
      Zauriel -
      Here's a different way to look at it:
      For the newer players who could use a hand, does providing the information up front deprive them of the chance to use their deductive reasoning skills and become better players? (not just at DiceMasters...)
      Are you in a hurry to beat them, so you can tell them what they did wrong, or are you interested in exploring each learning opportunity within each step of the game with them?
      By asking for yourself, are you depriving yourself of a chance to solve a puzzle-within-a-puzzle and feel that rush of endorphins for doing so?
      Are you finding yourself relying too greatly on the kindness of others in aiding your decision-making process?
      Are there times that you've asked and the information was irrelevant to your course of action? Did you learn from that?

      Being happy can make you a more effective problem-solver, but it's not always easy to stay happy in the middle of an intense match. A little solved puzzle along the way might affect your brain chemistry just enough to keep you on the road to victory!
    1. Bestia's Avatar
      Bestia -
      O.k here is an update on my number gathering
    1. Scorpion0x17's Avatar
      Scorpion0x17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bestia View Post
      O.k here is an update on my number gathering
      Thanks, @Bestia .
    1. chalos13's Avatar
      chalos13 -
      I'm one of the people who wouldn't answer this question, as I think it's a tactical part of the game counting dice. I understand the argument for answering though. I would like to say though, there was a decent amount of hate on the forums for people like me. Comments to the effect of:
      I'd always avoid players who don't answer
      I'd intentionally slow play them
      etc.
      just remember, if you're reacting in an unsportsmanlike manner to something you think is unsportsmanlike, you're no better.
      The point is, right or wrong, answer or not, don't be a jerk. Jerks breed more jerks, and our game has a great community that we should endeavor to keep this way.
    1. Scorpion0x17's Avatar
      Scorpion0x17 -
      I agree, @chalos13 .

      Sorry I did not cover that angle in my article.

      You are absolutely right, no one should be a jerk about this kind of thing, whichever side of the fence you are on.

      However, I do not agree that there is any tactical aspect to counting dice in dice masters. The information is as knowable, open, and free as how many dice are in Used, or the Field. There is no hidden information involved at all. The dice bag gives the illusion that the information is hidden, but that is all it is, an illusion.

      Tracking derived information, such as how much damage has been done to a character die, that is a different matter. That is a tactical aspect of the game.

      As is tracking and trying to deduce closed information, and working out the probabilities of the various possible states of unknowable information.
    1. chalos13's Avatar
      chalos13 -
      like I said in the forum thread, I was counting my opponents dice in a tournament, miscounted, and went all in thinking he had four sidekicks in his bag. Instead, I was wrong and he had four sidekicks and like a hulk or something, that pummeled my face and I lost the game. My point is, if I had asked him he would have said 5, and I would have done things differently. Because I made a mistake he won. That, in my opinion, is totally valid, and fits in with the current wording of the rules.
      Counting dice is simply another way to keep up with what your opponent has going on. If counting isn't tactical, neither is asking how many dice are in the bag. The end result is the same information. If that information would affect how I play the game, it affects the tactics of the game. I feel the rules are pretty clear on this, so it's the way I play. I'll never get mad at anyone for asking me how many are in my bag, but if I'm asked in a competitive game I will politely decline. I don't ask other players for information that I feel they don't have to give me.
    1. Scorpion0x17's Avatar
      Scorpion0x17 -
      The making a decision, based on the information as you perceive it, involves tactics, for sure.

      But would you consider knowing how many dice are in your opponents field zone 'tactical'?

      And, I have edited the article.
    1. chalos13's Avatar
      chalos13 -
      My point was simply to be cool about it, and that there are differing views on the subject. Your view is valid, and I understand the point your making. I'm not here to argue about it.
      I do have a question: Is a team sheet actually required by the rules? Here's what the Tournament Rules say
      "For some events, players complete a Team List before the event, which will list their cards and how many dice are paired to each."
      I'm not finding the part that says which events have team sheets required. I'm not saying I'm opposed to Team Sheets, I think they're a good idea. But if team sheets aren't required, it changes the nature of the situation. Again, not here to argue, just asking what I think is a valid question.
    1. Scorpion0x17's Avatar
      Scorpion0x17 -
      Entirely valid question.

      I believe team sheets are not a requirement.

      However, when you sit down to play, you can look across at your opponent's team and you can clearly see what characters they have brought, and how many dice they have for each.

      This makes it knowable, open, free information.

      Magic, for example, has explicit tournament rules that state that players must honestly answer any questions about any information of that nature (though it categorises information slightly differently to me).

      Doing otherwise would, in a Magic tournament, be seen as unsportsmanlike and possibly as cheating.
    1. Hypnofist's Avatar
      Hypnofist -
      I'm catching up on stuff, after being out of the game since the spring. My question is, what is the official rule for asking about dice in bag? In MTG, cards in deck is open info and a question you can ask. Dice in bag is a little different, but if Wizkids ruled that it's allowed, then yes, by all means ask. If it is allowed, anyone who refuses to answer or allow you to count for yourself, is failing to provide open info, and is considered cheating. So, is there an official ruling?