Sunday, July 24, 2016

notification of lost internet

The site now has a mechanism that looks for problems with your internet connection, and lets you know if it finds something wrong. This mechanism is not infallible, so it may not detect all problems. But I hope it will help.
Error Lost Internet
I rarely get internet problems, and when I do, it's pretty clear to me what has happened. I'll chat or click a card, and nothing happens! I'll quickly check another reliable website such as Google, and find it's offline too... and then I'll check my router and find that my internet is out. I'll have to call my internet service provider (ISP) to find out how long the interruption will be.

I've had a few people tell me that sometimes they'll get dealt a hand, and one card is missing! I believe this is due to a short internet glitch. Usually all you need to do is reload the page in your browser to fix this. The new network notification should help with this problem too, but I can't be sure. Cards never go missing for me, and so it's hard for me to tell what causes this problem.

If you hover over the notification, you'll see a tooltip that reads "Check internet connection! Click to reload page". Clicking the notification will reload the page in your browser. But that will only work if your internet connection is working. If it's not, then a page reload will fail. So double-check your internet if you see this message.

I've written another post about how the "stats info" panel works; there's been a minor change. Check that out if you use that feature.

click your name for stats info to show

stats info panel
I've had a number of people tell me that they accidentally click their avatar when playing a card, and it causes the "stats info" panel to pop up, unintentionally.

I've had it happen a few times myself. Since it was bothering some people, I've changed this feature so that you must click your own name to get the "stats info" panel to pop up. See the screenshot above for how it works. If you click another player's avatar, the stats will still pop up that way. It just works differently for you, and will not appear if you click your own avatar.

Monday, June 27, 2016

list of tables updated, pause button added

With this morning's update, the list of tables has been modified so that it is disabled for about half a second while updating. This should help players avoid clicking on the wrong table by accident.

Pause and Continue buttons have been added to public tables. These buttons will be familiar to those who play at private tables. The difference is that at public tables, all players must vote to pause by clicking the Pause button. Also, the pause lasts for 2 minutes only before the game restarts. And if any single player hits the Continue button, the game will restart. This is to avoid inconveniencing someone who does not want to wait.

Pause and Continue buttons
The Pause button will be useful primarily to players who know each other well. It is polite to hit the Pause button if someone requests it, but you should not expect that everyone will agree to do so. Please be polite when requesting it.

There's something new for the Euchre players: I was recently made aware of the "Next" strategy in Euchre. Apparently it's pretty well known to more advanced players. I did a few experiments, and found that the bots did pretty well when using it. So I've added it to their strategy. If you are not familiar with this strategy, please read my post about it. When your partner uses this strategy, you need to play your cards accordingly. So watch for it, and I hope you will enjoy winning more Euchre hands with this technique.

"next" strategy in Euchre

I ran some experiments on the "next" strategy in Euchre. If you love Euchre, you may be interested. For an explanation of the "next" strategy, and the details of my experiment, click this link.

The bots have been updated to use the "next" strategy if it makes sense. Be on the lookout for it!
Euchre - think about using the "Next" strategy

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. [Edit June 26 2016: Instead of ratings decaying, the ratings just don't show up on the leaderboards when players do not participate for 2 weeks.]

Euchre ranked games available for registered players