# wedrifid comments on Pract: A Guessing and Testing Game - Less Wrong

5 31 July 2009 09:13AM

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Comment author: 31 July 2009 10:33:10PM *  2 points [-]

If a player withdraws from the game during his or her own turn, both players lose.

Does not work. 'Both players lose' is insufficiently defined in a game of this type. Apart from that, the game is iterated. Giving a mutual destruction option opens all sorts of potential gambits that I am almost certain you would not approve of me using.

During his or her own turn a player may appeal for simplicity. If the opposing player's length is greater by X than the appealing player then the appealing player wins. Otherwise, the appeal fails and the opponent wins. I suggest 10 as a suitable X but advanced players could mutually agree on a higher number if their sequences naturally became more complex.

This would get around the distasteful 'we all lose' clause and ensure that both parties know and implicitly agree on what kind of difficulty to expect. It would also encourage a player to have a firmer grasp on how much he knows and how confident he can really be that he hasn't missed the obvious.

Edit: This would also handle the 'changing the sequence as you go' case. If your opponent guesses well, he'll force you to make a description sufficiently complex that he can appeal.

Comment author: 01 August 2009 06:05:34PM 0 points [-]

This sounds like a good modification to me, for sure.

Comment author: 31 July 2009 11:08:37PM 0 points [-]

During his or her own turn a player may appeal for simplicity. If the opposing player's length is greater by X than the appealing player then the appealing player wins. Otherwise, the appeal fails and the opponent wins. I suggest 10 as a suitable X but advanced players could mutually agree on a higher number if their sequences naturally became more complex.

That's interesting. You could also key it to the final scores rather than just the length.

Does not work. 'Both players lose' is insufficiently defined in a game of this type. Apart from that, the game is iterated. Giving a mutual destruction option opens all sorts of potential gambits that I am almost certain you would not approve of me using.

I don't understand the part about not being sufficiently defined.

I'm not sure what gambits you're talking about, and I wasn't assuming the game would necessarily be iterated, but I would encourage interesting gambits. That was my goal in making the game potentially lose-lose.

My hope for Pract was that people would explore these types of issues by playing it. We have a lot of discussions about simple games, but there's usually something that prevents us from exploring the game from the inside. (It's so simple it's not worth it, the game involves betting large sums, Omega isn't real, etc.)

So far, Pract is a failure in the sense that no one is playing any variant.

Would you care to play? I go without Internet for long periods (one is starting in a few minutes) and live in an unusual time zone, but if you don't mind delays on the order of a third of a day I'd love to play it with someone who likes games. Think of it like playing by mail.

If you're willing to play, just make the first move and pick the rule variant in your reply.