Tuesday, March 3, 2015

1000 facebook likes

1k Facebook likes!
This morning, I noticed that there are now 1000 Facebook likes on the World of Card Games main page! Thanks to everyone who gave it a thumbs-up, and who helped it to grow by inviting their friends to come play as well!

Friday, February 27, 2015

the problem of quitters: part II

If you haven't seen it already, read Part I for context.

There have been various suggestions for solving the problem of quitters. There is speculation that people who quit games early are protecting their statistics. This is because the Win/Loss ratio shown in your stats does not account for abandoned games; it just gives the ratio of all games won to all games lost. A loss is not recorded against you until a game ends, so leaving early does not show up in your stats.

If this is true, it might help to penalize people who are leaving the game early. It has been suggested to penalize such drop-outs with 1 (or more!) losses in their stats. Another suggestion involved imposing a penalty in the form of a time delay before a quitter can join a new game.

The problem with such solutions is that 1) it doesn't seem likely that they will work and 2) they will cause innocent drop-outs to be penalized as well.

There are reasons that a person might unintentionally leave a game. I've been in games where someone innocently clicked the "leave table" link. And sometimes a person reloads the web page and finds that they've been kicked out of their game. In such cases, the player rushes to get back to their seat, because they want to stay in their game. Since there's no way for the site to tell why someone left the table, inadvertently penalizing such a player with a delay (or a loss) just seems cruel.

There are a couple of reasons that I think a penalty won't work for intentional quitters.

I suspect that a number of quitters are just trying to avoid the psychological impact of something "bad" happening to them. We've all seen quitters leave just before they get hit with the Queen of Spades in Hearts, or before taking a trick when they've bid nil in Spades. People do this even early in the game, when there's plenty of time to make up for such a setback. People who do this will continue to quit, no matter what penalties are imposed.

On top of that, the statistics are not shared. If you're quitting to make them look good, then you know that your stats are meaningless. Given that fact, I have a feeling that quitters are not motivated by their stats.

In any case, as an experiment, I will soon be introducing a new statistic. It is designed to more clearly show whose stats look good because they're really winning more than average, and whose look good because they're evading losses.

Friday, February 13, 2015

server update - bug fixes and new features

This morning, World of Card Games was down for a short time to apply some bug fixes and new features. Here's a brief summary:
  1. There is now an additional option to "Exclude Games in Progress". If you only want to be seated at tables where the game has not yet started, choose this option. Keep in mind, it may take you a bit longer to get started in this case.
  2. Table Listings now show how long a game has been in progress. If you really dislike being seated at a long-running table, this is a good feature to use!
  3. A few people reported to me that when joining a game in progress, sometimes their cards did not appear in front of them. This bug is now fixed. Please let me know if you see this happen again; it should not! A big thank you goes out especially to "no bots plz" and "davidly" - the two players who gave me enough information to reproduce this bug, so that I could squash it!
  4. There is now an audio alert when a game that was paused is restarted.
  5. You may use the "replace robots" link after a game has started, now. Previously it could only be used at the start of a game.
  6. The "Seventh Card" option has been added to Twenty-Nine. I've written about that in a separate blog post.

seventh card option in twenty-nine

A number of players have written asking that some variations of the game "Twenty-Nine" (29) be allowed at World of Card Games. One popular request is the "Seventh Card" option. Today, this option is available, and it is turned on by default. (If you absolutely don't want to play with this option, you will have to edit your Options, and set "Allow Seventh Card" to "No").

Choosing the 7th card to decide the trump suit
The Seventh Card option gives you a new choice for choosing the trump suit. If you choose this option, the trump suit is taken from the 7th card that is dealt to you. The 7th card is placed to one side of your hand. It is not allowed to be used until you cannot follow suit (i.e., you cannot lead with this card). When you do play it, the trump suit is declared.

The 7th card is 8 of Clubs; the trump suit is Clubs
Trump is usually declared when a player cannot follow suit. However, if the high bidder chose the 7th card, then they do not have to declare trump when they are unable to follow suit. They also do not have to play their 7th card. Instead, they can discard an off-suit card, if it appears strategically wise to do so. This keeps the trump suit secret for longer than is usual in 29.

I hope you enjoy this new option! Please let me know if you see any bugs related to it. I'll be adding options for other variations when I have more time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

server update

World of Card Games was down for a few minutes this morning. Sorry for the interruption everyone! It's back up now.

Friday, January 23, 2015

the problem of quitters: part I

Possibly the most frequent complaint that I get at World of Card Games is about people quitting games. I've been collecting some statistics to see how the site is affected by habitual quitters. Here are the results!

The charts below are histograms that show the number of players divided up according to their quitting patterns. Players who rarely quit - between 0 and 10% of their games - are "bucketed" in the first column. Players who quit a lot - 90%-100% of their games - are bucketed in the last column. The rest are divided into buckets between those percentiles.

Private tables are ignored in these statistics, as are tables with only a single human player. Quitting from such tables is not a major problem. On the other hand, if you enter a game and then quickly leave, you are getting counted as a quitter for the purpose of these statistics. So the charts may make things look a little (or a lot?) worse than they are.

Hearts is badly hit by quitters. Hearts games are not usually very lengthy, and I suspect this game is one where people quit because they want to avoid a loss.


Spades is also pretty badly affected by quitters. I've noticed that people will sometimes quit when their bid is set (especially if it's a nil bid), or when they get set because they couldn't cover their partner's nil bid. Maybe they fear their partner's ire? I've also noticed people quitting when they are close to losing, here.


Euchre is a fairly quick game - you are usually done in 10 minutes. Quitters are not as big a problem, here.
Twenty-Nine has a huge problem with quitting. However, it's perfectly understandable - it's a game that can take several hours, as the scores of each team ebb and flow. This is just the nature of the game. So far as I can tell, many people enjoy this game, despite the fact that you often just have to quit to get on with your life. It's interesting.

 

Gin Rummy has statistics that are similar to Euchre. I'm not sure why. It's a 2-player game so it does tend to take less time.
One noticeable thing is that the games that take longer tend to be affected more by quitting. I do wonder how big a factor this is in quitting.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

new game! 3-5-8 aka "Sergeant Major"

photo credit: "358" by Graham Richardson cc license
World of Card Games has a new game! It's called "Sergeant Major" or "3-5-8". It's a 3-player game. So there are no teams: every man for himself, so to speak. Every player is given a target number of tricks that they have to take. If you fail to hit your target, you will be at a disadvantage, because you'll have to trade away your high cards to other players. So take as many tricks as you can!

The game is fairly straightforward. Any rules that need to be followed are applied by the site, and you get instructions about what to do next. So don't be afraid to try this new game. You can try out the tutorial and then play some games with bots to get the hang of it before challenging people.

In other news, the server had a little bit of indigestion this afternoon, so I restarted it. I took advantage of this little hiccup to deploy the new game. I'm very sorry for the disruption in games! Please let me know if you have any trouble with the site now.