Bram Cohen (bramcohen) wrote,
Bram Cohen

Lame Games

One of the basic criteria for a 'good' game (meaning one which Bram likes) is that a better player should be able to soundly trounce a worse player, and there should be many different skill levels. What if we perversely try to create a game which is 'bad', meaning in this case that there's a strategy which even a mediocre player can use to be on equal footing with an expert player?

Here is one such example game: The two players both give a sha1 hash value, then they both give pre-images for their own value. If a player gives an invalid pre-image, they automatically lose. If both players give valid pre-images and the pre-images have the same first bit, the first player wins, otherwise the second player wins. (This isn't a simultaneous move game - I didn't give a move order because the order of reveals doesn't change the game's mechanics any.)

Quite simple from a cryptographic standpoint, but that serves to give us some intuitions for things to avoid in game design - large artifices which you create over time without interference from the opponent, and winning criteria which have to do with a combination of player results rather than a comparison of them.

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