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Game length and Fast Codex


#1

Continuing the discussion from Digital version of Codex:

While I don’t think that 1 hour is excessively long for a game like Codex, I can understand the sentiment. Also, I’ve seen even longer matches when players take their sweet time.

In the linked OP, keithburgun realizes the possibility of using a timer but feels unsure because the game just offers that many important decisions. While I have never made use of timers, I have made some experience with playing faster games thanks to @Leontes.
I want to share some of that experience in regards to way to play shorter games and the effects and advantages of that.


Indecisiveness

Having played quite a bit of PbP in the last weeks, I have realized that most of my long turns are not spend coming up with good plays. I quickly come up with viable plays and identify the better ones out of those. The LONG stuff is looking at the 2-3 options, all of them with their pros and cons, and not being sure which of those to go with. This being PbP, I can agonize over that decision for hours. More often than not, I eventually pick one of them but feel very insecure about the choice. Just as much as if I had picked it immediately.

So I spent a lot of time not on identifying great options but on my indesivieness; a thought process that ultimately went nowhere and was wasted. And even if it does in some rare cases, the lesser option was probably just marginally worse or I wouldn’t have thought about it so long!

My point here is that by eliminating these (almost) pointless thought processes, play time is shortened significantly while the quality of plays is barely affected.

This can be achieved by a relatively lenient timer in a competitive setting, or, and this is a point I want to elaborate on, by simply not getting hung up on decisions like these in a casual environment or learning/practice matches. If you have eliminated all but the most reasonable lines of play and you can’t quickly identify the better one, just pick any of them!
The game becomes shorter and you will quickly learn which option was/would have been the better one.

Especially if you goal is to get better at the game, trying different stuff and quickly seeing their consequences is very valuable. I heartily recommend playing like this under all but the most competitive circumstances. You will have to decide for yourself how much time is too much but you will quickly learn to identify these moments of pointless indecisiveness.


Timers

Using a timer that implements an experience similiar to what I’ve described above will barely affect tournament results in my opinion. I’ve already claimed that I believe these stretches of indecisiveness to rarely lead anywhere so they might as well not exist.

What about shorter timers? Of course this is a scale but I think Codex would be playable at quite intense timers. It would probably warp the game a lot and put emphasize on different skills than usual. It’s probably similiar to lightning chess. The faster the game becomes, the more mistakes will be made by both players and the more dynamic the game will become, with both players deviating more from expected plays by accident or by capitalizing on their opponent’s mistakes.

It’s probably similiar to lightning chess; a variant that can almost be considered a different game in its own right.


TL;DR: Tight timers warp the game into something different, but potentially fun. Not agonizing over a decision between two apparently strong lines of play will hardly affect it.


#2

Yeah - I hope I didn’t over-state the issue with timers. In general I believe all games should be played with a timer and I am solidly pro-timer all around. I think especially once I have a better hang on the “flow” of Codex I won’t have any problem playing with a reasonable timer. I also think 15 seconds of consideration is actually a pretty long time. In general in a turn based game I feel like players should make their choices in 5-10 seconds, with 15 tapping into the “time bank” (if one exists).

Does anyone who plays currently play with a timer? What settings do you think are reasonable?

That reminds me, I did like how they did timers in Prismata (but I didn’t like that they seem fixated on insanely blazingly fast timers). I just remember liking how their time bank system worked (although I don’t remember the details of it at the moment).


#3

Yeah, the specific timers are less important to me than conveying this message:

If you find yourself weighing between options that appear equally viable, the chances that you will come to a conclusion significantly different from your initial impression are pretty low. If you aren’t in a competitive situation (where using your maximum time allowance is probably optimal), you are better off just picking one. Just doing that will shorten the game drastically.


#4

Alright, I’ve edited the OP into something a little more coherent and focused.

I really want other to experience the benefits of speedy play.


#5

I posted this in the other thread but the games requires a minimum of 90 seconds per turn from experience. We tried 1 min per turn in FSX finals and it was not playable. We didn’t have time to physically play, tap, attack, block whatnot.

See Game 2 of FSX finals for reference.


#6

I don’t think the game should have a question about whether or not a timer should be a thing - but for how long the timer should be. Even in Yomi, I don’t think tournaments should be played with medium timer because that makes the already long sets feel even longer. That said, Codex is infinitely more complext than Yomi, and something like a two minute, three minute timer could be more feasable. (Arbetrary numbers of course, I don’t know what would be best)


#7

Assuming 7 turns to seal the game on average, an hour game is 60 min/14 turns = ~4 minutes per turn

For reference, MTG online matches are 50 minutes and best of 3 games. A turn in magic is a lot less complicated, though, and it is not unusual for a turn to only take 20 seconds.

Forum games are great for slow play, and for working out the rules.


#8

I feel like there’s too much known information to not have timers (with per turn limits as well as per game), as otherwise optimal play seems to be a lot of just brute forcing out various lines of play.