# Card Probabilities

I’ve been playing a lot of Magic: Duels lately and consequently have been spending a certain amount of time swearing at the frequency with which I get hands that either consist entirely of or are entirely devoid of lands. Thinking about how likely that is opened the floodgates to a ream of ideas about card games in general, so let’s dig in:

# Dice: Rolls, totals and pools

It’s going to be a mathsy one this week, I’m interested in thinking about different ways to interpret dice rolls and what they mean for game design. It’s not going to be as off the wall as I was in 6, this isn’t about considering stuff like the position of the dice relative to the other dice, but even within those constraints there are still a lot of ways to interpret the number showing on the dice.

# Don’t tell me the odds

So there’s this cool psychological effect whereby if you ask people “What are your odds of drawing a full house?” you get higher numbers on average than when you ask “What are the odds of drawing a full house?”. People are almost universally aware that the cards drawn off a deck does not change depending on who is doing the drawing, but when asked – on average – will assign themselves higher odds. How do we use that?

# Randomisation Timing

I’ve been playing the new Hearthstone expansion recently and I’ve not had a particularly good time with it. I’ve noted before that I’d enjoy Hearthstone more if they deleted every card with the word “random” printed anywhere on it and this expansion seems to be pushing towards more cards of that nature (A brief aside: There is a difference between “I don’t like this” and “This is bad” – I think this is actually going to be a good direction for the game as a whole). The thing is that there are other games which involve more randomisers than the average game of Hearthstone, because what bothers me isn’t the presence of the random factor, but the timing surrounding it.

# Cards and randomness

Cards are a great way to add randomness to a game, they’re incredibly flexible in terms of what you can do with them. You can fix a deck, or part of a deck. You can add things to it without consulting what they are. You can view a few cards and get rid of a few of them selectively. You can put new (or previously used) cards into a deck and they can go on the top, bottom or be shuffled somewhere in between. Cards are magic.