Wednesday, August 27, 2014

outage

The site was down for almost 24 hours today. I apologize to everyone for the long disruption! It's back up now, and I'm investigating what went wrong.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Euchre - is discarding the up card legal?

dealer cannot discard the up-card
In Euchre, after the cards are dealt, a card is placed face-up in the middle of the table. Each player in turn gets a chance to "order up" this card, making its suit the trump suit. If it is ordered up, the dealer must take the card, and then discard a card.

At World of Card Games, the dealer is not allowed to discard the ordered up card.

A player at the site recently pointed out to me a scenario in which it would be useful to be able to discard the up-card, even though it's a trump card:
Let’s say I dealt and turned up the 9 of Clubs.  You order it up.  I’m holding Ace King of Hearts and Diamonds and the Ace of Spades.  You will most likely lead the Jack of Clubs so I would like to bury the 9 and save the hand I’m dealt.
I did a little searching, and I found a post in a Yahoo Group which describes a similar scenario. I will reproduce it here for posterity:
I caused a little disagreement while playing in a game of Euchre in a Internet League I play in the other day. I was dealer, holding the Right, Left, Ace, Queen, and 10 of Hearts dealt me, with the 9 of Hearts as the upcard. The three other players passed, where upon I picked the 9 of Hearts up, but then discarded it, keeping the five highter trump cards I was originally dealt. Making a sweep with the five trump cards I held, one of the opponents asked at the end of the hand, "Say, where is the 9 of Hearts you picked up?", to wit I stated that I had discarded it, which brought a chorus of protests form both opposing players, stating that I could not discard the upcard that I had picked up! I have been playing Euchre for 40 years, have seen this done several times over the years, and noone had ever said anything to the contrary about the dealer not being able to discard the upcard if it is order up into their hand, or the dealer pickes it up themselves. I have checked several books on Euchre and searched the Internet sites I know of, but have found nothing said about this situation in any rules anywhere so far. So what is the rule on this - can or cannot the Dealer discard the upcard if it is order up in their hand, or they pick it up themselves, making the upcard suit the trump suit?
(Note that in the above scenario, the problem could have been avoided if the dealer had discarded the 10 of Hearts, which was effectively equivalent to the 9 of Hearts.)

I looked around to see if I could find any definitive rule on this.

The rules at Pagat do not specify that the up card may not be discarded.

The Hoyle site seems to indicate that you should not discard the up card, but maybe I'm reading it too strictly - "As soon as a player accepts the turned-up card as trumps, the dealer discards a card. The discard is placed cross- wise under the undealt cards. The turned-up card belongs to the dealer in place of the discard."

Natty Bumppo's page very clearly states that there's nothing wrong with discarding the up card.

Based on my little bit of research, I'm inclined to think I should change the rule at World of Card Games so that the up card is allowed to be discarded. Please let me know in the comments how you feel about this.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

robot strategy in spades has been reworked

Tom Servo says "want to play a game of Spades?"
In June, I took a stab at improving the robot strategy in the game of Spades.

I've taken more time to revamp the Spades bots, and those changes were deployed this morning. Both bidding, and choosing a card to play, have been substantially reworked. The bots are still far from perfect - there are some subtleties in Spades that I haven't handled, but I will eventually get to them. For now, I think that their new behavior makes them better players in general, and better partners, too.

If anyone notices specific bad habits that linger on, I'd like to hear about it. Feel free to write me at marya@worldofcardgames.com or just post the issue in the comments section.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

facebook page

I've created a Facebook page for World of Card Games. Not really sure how useful it will be... but here it is!
https://www.facebook.com/WorldOfCardGames

For those who are into Twitter, I've also got an account there - https://twitter.com/WorldOfCardGamz

Saturday, June 28, 2014

game win/loss statistics

I recently got an email from a player who thinks it would be better if the "stats" area in World of Card Games did not show your Win Ratio. Their idea is that people are too concerned about their win/loss ratio, and this motivates them to quit games when they are losing. They thought that without this ratio being displayed, people would be less likely to quit.

What do you think? Should I get rid of the Win Ratio under the stats area?

Monday, June 16, 2014

improved bot strategy in spades!

It surprises me, but I've had only a few complaints about the bot strategy in Spades. I rarely play with bots, so their problems haven't bugged me too much, and I haven't been highly motivated to fix them. However, when I do play, I've noticed one pretty obvious and irritating behavior: they tend to waste Kings. They'll play the King of clubs, for example, before the Ace of clubs has been played. This is a good way to lose the trick! With today's deploy, this bug is fixed.

In addition, someone mentioned to me that the bots sometimes bid nil when they are holding 5 spades! You will find various sites that recommend you not bid nil with 4 or more spades in your hand (e.g. sky_rockets1's page or the Rules of Spades site). This problem has been fixed as well.

I am far from finished with the bots. More improvements will be coming, when I have the time for it.
let's hope he's smiling because he got the bid right!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

twenty-nine bug fix

A couple of players pointed out to me that there was a bug in the game Twenty-Nine: after the first hand of cards was finished, bids no longer showed up in each player's nameplate. This made it harder to choose a suit because people weren't sure who had bid what... especially if they came into a game in progress.

This is now fixed. I've also added a little bit of information about the previous bid history. If a player has made at least two bids, their previous bid will show in parentheses. See the screenshot below:

twenty-nine: the previous bid shows in parentheses
In this scenario, you are Guest #89. You previously bid 15, and most recently bid 18. Guest #77 previously bid 16 but their current bid is 19. The dealer has only bid once; their initial bid was 17. HAL 9000 has passed twice in a row.

I hope this change helps to make the game more fun! Please let me know if you spot any more problems.