Monday, June 20, 2016

summer word puzzles 2016

Today is the first day of summer in the USA! World of Card Games has sponsored a flyer with word puzzles to celebrate summer in Boston. There's a crossword puzzle, some anagrams, and a word search puzzle. Have fun with it!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Hearts hand history now available

Hand histories are now available in Hearts, so you can take a look at all the cards played after the hand is over. This feature was already available in Euchre, Spades, and Pinochle. If you wish to report a bug in Hearts, please try to grab the hand history, and send it to me along with the bug report. To do this, click the little floppy disk that appears next to your nameplate after a hand. This will download a small text file that contains a link that can be used to show a replay of the hand, with all cards shown. Use this after your game to see how each card was played.
click to download your hand history
This morning's update also contained a bug fix. A few players were having trouble with a "TypeError" message when trying to get to a table. That problem has been fixed.

Also, the Spades bots got a bit of tuning to fix a bug in the way that they cover a nil bid. Thanks to "no bots plz" for reporting this issue (together with the hand history - that helped so much)!

Note: in my previous blog post, I mentioned that I would soon be adding a "decay" to the Elo ratings. I got a few comments from people who just want the Elo rating hidden. I could do this instead. Does anyone care which way this is done? The intent is to encourage people to play, rather than "sitting" on their ratings.

Monday, May 30, 2016

euchre ranked tables

You can now play ranked games of Euchre at World of Card Games! Euchre is a team game, so the rules are the same as for Spades. There's only one real difference: there are no "skill points" for Euchre.

Just a few quick remarks about ranked games. You can get to ranked Euchre games by clicking the Menu button (for Euchre). You will also see ranked tables in the "list of tables". You'll see 4 empty seats if the table is completely empty, otherwise you'll see an R for a registered player. If you want to sit opposite someone as their teammate, click the square that is one seat away from them (partners are given alternate seats in the list of tables).

The rules for ranked tables are:
  1. They are for registered players only.
  2. You cannot start a table with bots, but if someone drops out, then bots can be invited.
  3. If you drop off the table by accident, you are given 2 minutes to return to the table before you are penalized with a loss. Note that the remaining players do not have to invite a bot, but are allowed to, to take your place.
  4. You are given an Elo rating upon completion. The Elo rating is computed the same in Euchre as described for Spades.
Because ranked tables cannot start with bots, they can take a while to get started. The reward is worth the wait, since players take the game more seriously and are less likely to drop out, in my experience. So give it a try!

FYI - In the next week or two, an Elo ratings "decay" will be introduced. If a player has not played in a ranked game for 2 weeks, their Elo rating will be decremented. This will continue each week that the player is not active in ranked games, until the rating reaches 1500 again. All that's needed to keep the decay from occurring is to participate in a ranked game.

Euchre ranked games available for registered players

Sunday, May 1, 2016

player info available at tables

You can view a few player statistics while you are at a table, after this morning's update. Just click any player's avatar, and a "mini stats panel" will pop up for each player:
mini stats panel
The first number is their Elo rating. This only appears in games that have rankings (currently Hearts and Spades). If all that you see is a dash, then the player is not yet ranked.

The 2nd number is how many games the player has "completed". This is the same as the number shown as "Finished" in your own stats panel.

The 3rd number tells you how much the person tends to quit games. You should not expect this to be a perfect 0%, since people sometimes get kicked from games accidentally, or have to leave due to unforeseen circumstances. Only the last 16 games are tracked, so it's pretty easy to improve this score with just a few games. Note: it is not counted as quitting if
  • you leave a table that has not yet started
  • you leave a bots-only table before the game finishes
  • you leave a private table before the game finishes
This score is supplied to give you an idea about how reliable the player is. The higher the percent, the more likely it is that the person might skip out on your game.

The update this morning also fixed a long-standing issue that players were able to sign in from a table. It's convenient to be able to do this if you forget to log in from the home page, but some people were using it to manipulate their stats by logging in just before a win at a table. It's no longer allowed, and there's an obvious reminder at the top of the home page letting you know when you're not logged in.
sign in from the home page only!
Other changes: The cards are now fanned wider by default in the Twenty-Nine game, and chat lobbies now hang around for 24 hours at least. Also, bot strategies have been slightly improved in Spades and Double Deck Pinochle.

Friday, April 15, 2016

chats no longer blocked

I got several emails from players that the chats of the player to their right were blocked by the scoreboard in Spades after the update of April 10 that allowed cards to be fanned wider.

This should be fixed now. Thanks to those who reported this, and let me know if you notice any other problems!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

rankings added to spades card game

Ranked games have been added to Spades!

You will only be ranked if you choose to play a ranked game, which is shown in purple in the list of tables. Here's an example:
ranked tables are purple in the list of tables
Ranked tables are more strict than regular ones:
  1. You must be registered and have finished at least 10 games to get into one.
  2. You cannot start a game with bots! They can be invited if someone leaves, however.
  3. If you quit, and do not return within 2 minutes, you are banned from ranked Spades games for 4 hours.
  4. Quitting counts as a loss to your Elo rating. If you quit, you take a loss to your two opponents. (The Elo rating of the quitter's teammate is computed independent of this - it depends entirely on whether their team wins or loses, as long as they stick to the end of the game).
The idea is to make ranked tables a little more serious than regular ones. People who enter a ranked game should be committed to sticking to the game, and not quitting at the drop of a hat.

Note: Since Spades is a team game, Elo ratings are computed as if you are participating in two matches, one against each opponent. You are not ranked against your teammate.

BTW you can also get to ranked games from the Spades menu. Click the "Menu" button at the lower right of the Spades game panel, and then click the "Play Ranked Spades" link to be taken to a ranked table:
get to ranked tables using the Menu button
In addition to ranked games, the update this morning applied some more changes. Trick cards can now be piled vertically. And the cards are fanned wider in Hearts, Spades, and Double Deck Pinochle. I hope these additions will make it easier to use the site. Feedback is welcome.

cards fanned wider in Spades, Hearts, and Double Deck Pinochle

The cards in your hand are now fanned wider in Hearts, Spades, and Double Deck Pinochle. Also, the chat button and chat input are moved closer to your avatar. Here's the new view:
For comparison, here's the previous look:

There are two settings for fanning your cards. I had some feedback that people were misclicking cards because the cards were not clear and separate enough on smaller screens. This change is intended to help with that.

This also helps an issue that was plaguing Double Deck Pinochle players. This game starts with 20 cards in your hand, and the chat bubble would obscure a few of these if you chatted early on in the hand. With your chat bubble moved way over to the left, this should be less of a problem now.
Chat bubble in Double Deck Pinochle
Different card decks have different dimensions, so you may want to try using a new deck if your current one doesn't look as good with the new view.