Ignorance Is Bliss

This may seem like a strange topic to write about.

CDGs (collectible dice games) and CMGs (collectible miniatures games) differ from CCGs in fundamental ways.  Which are?  CCGs have hidden information – the hand.  Because of the hidden information, it’s not necessary, though some have it, to have a randomization mechanic.  CDGs obviously use the dice themselves to provide a random game mechanic to make resolution nonpredictable.  CMGs, at least all that I can recall, use dice to accomplish the same thing.

If you know what is in someone’s hand at all times in most CCGs, the CCG has failed.  Perfect information can result in perfect play.  Sure, chess has perfect information and rarely has perfect play, same with tons of other games – games I don’t see the point in playing when you can play CCGs.

Why am I writing about this?  I think people don’t realize the importance of hidden information.  Some quite enjoy knowing what is in others’ hands.  I hate it as I hate perfect play (or, alternatively, paralysis by analysis).  That CDGs/CMGs have everything in play is likely why I never embraced them like I do CCGs.

Not that a game ceases to matter the instant someone peeks at someone else’s hand.  Or, like can happen in a CCG like Magic, the game should be stopped as soon as someone’s hand is empty.  The need is for mystery, not mystery at all times.

So, Le Dinh Tho rips a card.  Okay.  I probably find it less annoying then a lot of players based on the reactions they give when it happens.  On the other hand, superior Revelations strips the game of an essentially valuable element.

Not to say anything about how useful revealing hands is.  Someone with a known hand is clearly at a disadvantage, with the level of disadvantage varying immensely on the situation and how fluid the situation is.  Whether it’s worth investing resources to put someone at that disadvantage depends highly on the cost in resources.  Tortured Confession has far more costs associated with it than Prophecies of Gehenna, while Prophecies is taking up a precious master slot.

Not much more than that.  Just thinking about how much of a bad idea it is from a design standpoint to make knowing people’s hands easy.  And, another reason Magic should have had a different draw mechanic, so that playing off the top wasn’t so common.


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