Saturday, March 21, 2015

more avatars!

World of Card Games was down for a brief time this morning, while some updates were applied. My apologies for the interruption in your games.

There are now 7 new avatars! Enjoy!

Friday, March 13, 2015

join the spades league!

I've set up a Spades League called "Jungle Gym Spades" at MyLeague.com. Here's the FAQ for those who are interested or curious.

jungle gym spades league
(1) What is a league, and why join?

Probably the primary reason that players join a league is to engage in a more competitive form of fun than they find in the casual, "pick-up" games online. MyLeague maintains a ranking system where you can compare your status with others. However, if you are not competitive, keep reading!

Another reason to join is to find like-minded players. A number of people at World of Card Games have set up private tables where people meet and play on a regular basis. You'll never know about these great, fun people unless someone gives you the "secret handshake" to get in. My hope is that joining the league will allow more of these folks to find each other and arrange games at specified times. MyLeague has a forum where you can post messages, and you can send "emails" to other members of the league without having to reveal your own, personal email address.

(2) What is a tournament?

A tournament is just a scheduled game... In league play it is a series of scheduled games. Several teams play, and then the winners are pitted against each other. They might go through several rounds of games before the two last winning teams face off against each other. These types of tournaments will only happen if we get enough players who are interested in it. I don't think we need tournaments to make the league a success, but I hope they will happen if enough people would enjoy them.

(3) Why do I have to join yet another site to be in a league?

In the long-term, I hope to have support for tournaments, personal messaging, and even forums directly at World of Card Games. I've opened the league to make these things available for people who'd like them right now.

(4) I don't play Spades, I want a Euchre league!

Okay! Anyone can start a league, so go ahead! If you'd rather not be an admin, I'm willing to start leagues for Euchre, Hearts, Twenty-Nine, or any of the other games on the site, if there's an interest.

(5) What happens if I join the league?

Time will tell. We need enough players in the league to make it useful to everyone. My suggestion is that after joining, you should post a message to the forum introducing yourself to everyone. That way people can get familiar with others in the league.

(6) Are there any other requirements?

You should be a registered player at World of Card Games. You need a valid email address to sign up with the league - be sure to use the same user name that you use at World of Card Games (that's user name - you do not have to use the same email address, although it is probably helpful to do so). If you have any trouble joining, please write me at marya@worldofcardgames.com. One final thing: All league members are expected to be civil to each other! Please be as polite and tolerant to everyone as you would be if they were standing in front of you.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

new statistics

The server at World of Card Games was down for a short period this morning, to apply some bug fixes and updates - sorry for the interruption in service!

There's a new category in your "stats" area: "absolute" wins and losses.

The rules for a game counting as an "absolute" win or loss are as follows:
  1. There is only 1 winner per game.
  2. If you leave a game before it ends, you forfeit that game, and it counts as a loss for you.
    1. Exception: If you are seated at a table for less than 30 seconds, it will not be counted as a forfeit if you leave. This is done to be fair to someone who takes a losing seat directly at the end of a game.
  3. Only human players are counted as winning or losing; if a bot wins or loses, it does not show up in the global statistics for absolute wins and losses.
new "absolute" statistics
These new statistics are being recorded for a couple of different reasons.

First - the original way that statistics were recorded at World of Card Games was confusing to many. An example will explain the counting used: If you came in 1st place in Hearts, you were counted as winning against 3 other players. If you came in 2nd place, you were counted as winning against 2 other players and losing against 1 player. This counting method is relatively expressive - a person who comes in 2nd place a lot is probably a better player than someone who comes in 3rd place a lot, but if you count both placings as "losses" then you'll never see this distinction. However, most people expect a single winner for a game! This new statistic provides that clarity.

As an aside, the above counting method would not lead to confusion in team games like Spades, because there are exactly two winners and two losers (the winning and losing teams) in that type of game. It was really only a problem in Hearts, 3-5-8, and Go Fish.

Second - it has been proposed that some players are leaving a losing position  shortly before a game ends so as to avoid having a loss counted against them. With the new forfeit rule, there will be no encouragement to leave a game early. I am a little skeptical that this will help with the "quitting players" problem, but we shall see.

These new statistics are experimental, so don't get too attached to them yet. In the next few weeks or months, I may make modifications based upon feedback; in that case I'll probably wipe the new stats and start fresh. Stay tuned.

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.