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Impure Skill vs Pure Skill: 1/31/2016 19:30:31

Level 55
"Pure skill" is supposed to mean that luck has been reduced as much as possible so the game is based purely on skill. Yet there are elements in so-called "pure skill" settings that involve luck, chance, or "impure skill."


(1) Picking lotteries are part skill, part luck; it is disingenuous to use the phrase "pure skill" in games with WL's current picking phase. Currently, all "pure skill" games are not truly "pure skill."

(2) Performance-Enhancing Cards (PECs) are not "pure skill."

(a) Sometimes, getting or not getting a card piece is based on chance: for example, two players attack into the fog and attack the same territory without knowing the other player is also attacking it. Let's say one player gets the territory (and card piece), the other player doesn't, and both players make only one attack. Both luck and skill are involved. It is not "pure skill." And if not getting that territory keeps one from gaining a card piece, luck has influenced the player's or team's ability to use PECs.

(b) Reconnaissance and surveillance cards involve odds, like how 0% WR has odds for successful attacks. If 0% WR is not "pure skill," then reconnaissance and surveillance cards are not "pure skill."

(c) Priority and delay cards override the "pure skill" cycling move order setting that dEtermines who goes first and last. Hiding the cards from the enemy does not allow the enemy to consider contingent plans. The result: One player may play a turn based on "pure skill" settings, while the other player has cards that override the "pure skill" setting. If I had a card that allowed me to override 0% SR luck on all attacks by the enemy that turn and the enemy didn't know I played it, would this be considered "pure skill"? Simple: If a card overrides "pure skill" settings, the game is no longer "pure skill."

(3) Fog of any sort is not "pure skill." What lurks behind the fog is usually unknown.



(1) Picking in "pure skill" games should be done territory by territory, like in Risk (and not all at once). Each player's pick would be a "turn" and the game would be formally divided between "Picking Phase" (with its turns) and "Playing Stage" (and its turns).

(2) PECs:

(a) If PECs are kept, don't issue them in pieces and don't hide them in "pure skill" games. Issue them as full cards at the beginning of the game and don't allow players to gain more cards during the game. This involves less chance (when taking territories) and is therefore more "pure skill." It also makes the use of PECs fairer. One player won't be more skillful (thanks to performance-enhancing cards) than the other. Settings-based asymmetric warfare is not "pure skill."

(b) Disallow reconnaissance and surveillance cards from "pure skill" settings. Any strategic action that involves odds is not "pure skill." For example, 0% WR is not "pure skill."

(c) If cards that override "pure skill" settings are kept, don't allow "pure skill" settings to hide cards from the enemy. At least when you know which cards the enemy has, you can make a strategic plan to avoid the effects of the OP or OD card, so the enemy isn't suddenly more skillful than you.

(3) Technically, "pure skill" would require no fog. But that would be boring -- maybe just as boring to you as making all "pure skill" and ladder games with 0% SR and cycling orders is to me.


(On the issue of fog: It would be interesting if a new level of fog were added. Something between light fog and normal fog would eliminate some of the unknowns involved when playing with fog but not take away too much fog. On top of normal fog, add a layer of light fog so we can see one more territory away. Thus: all adjacent territories to my team's territories have no fog, and all territories once removed from my/our territories have light fog. This would be cool.)

Edited 1/31/2016 19:32:35
Impure Skill vs Pure Skill: 1/31/2016 19:40:28

master of desaster 
Level 65
(1) Picking in "pure skill" games should be done territory by territory, like in Risk (and not all at once). Each player's pick would be a "turn" and the game would be formally divided between "Picking Phase" (with its turns) and "Playing Stage" (and its turns).

Check out this thread:


there picks are done in multiple stages. optional making it light fog for every round of picks and after picking Phase remove light fog again.
Impure Skill vs Pure Skill: 1/31/2016 21:17:53

Level 56
Qi, you have to take into account the reason behind the usage of the term 'skill' here. It's about the legality of coin games (whether cash prizes are considered 'gambling' or not): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_of_skill
The distinction between "chance" and "skill" has legal significance in countries where chance games are treated differently from skill games. The legal distinction is often vague and varies widely from one jurisdiction to the next.

You are focused on 'unknowns' and 'guessing', but both of those can be considered 'skill' by law if the 'unknown' is the other player's 'skilled' moves, and the 'guessing' can be interpreted as your 'skill' at predicting the other player.

Edited 1/31/2016 21:18:46
Impure Skill vs Pure Skill: 2/2/2016 19:03:05

Level 54
Dealing with 75% luck is also a skill. I prefer WR 75% for 3v3 Europe over 0% SR. At least it is fun. Managing the luck is a skill. So let's have 75% luck coin games haha
Impure Skill vs Pure Skill: 2/7/2016 07:57:04

Level 57
Qi I do not know what is your field of knowledge or how deep you are into the theoretical topic. But "Pure Skill" has always been controversial. I would start pointing and drawing strong line between:
1st Rank: Predictive vs Calculated "Skill"
2nd Rank: Symmetrical vs Asymmetrical "Skill"

On General basis I agree Skill should be seen as reduced Luck and Randomness, but it can count Asymmetrical factors as well Blind Factor Unknowns. The question is how far we go or set the Threshold. Pure Skill is quite strongly formulated and mostly seen as Symmetrical and Calculated!
Predictive is when we guess our opponent actions! Not based on random move, but strategical considering what is his dominant Strategy or optimal action in certain position or possible counter-action. Predictive consists Blind Factors, like all information is available, but not revealed or verified. Like we can see all territories, bonuses etc, but not exactly through fog what is each players accurate income. Or when picking in Manual mode one tends to think where to take income, where to build a counter!
Calculated on the contrary takes into account that every piece of information must be revealed, full income, starting territory. Actions must be sequential by nature to eliminate simultaneous moves and therefore predictive guessing. All must come down to visible calculation. No one says it should be easy, but just visible! Take account chess: rules can be learned under 5-minutes, but to master the game time un-measurable.

Symmetrical is measured in information: For example fixed cards and minimum pieces are symmetrical while Randomized card pieces Asymmetrical. Luck is Asymmetrical. Random move-order is asymmetrical, as Cyclic Symmetrical. Fog with Spy+Recon+Surv can be seen as Asymmetrical game. All hidden cards are Asymmetrical by nature. Although we can guess, that one has X-amount of cards, or Y-were played there, we can´t see it due to Fog.

1) The Picking has troubled me for a while, because although Manual can be seen as Pure Skill it falls apart beyond 1v1 picking. Too much external randomness luck of other FFA players/Teams pick. That´s why I would prefer Equal Distribution (distance calculated+Bonus value) variance model : I hope this concept is understandable. Alternative is what Kain has come up with and I am lucky to have been part of testing it. I encourage to look up what Master of Desaster referred above or let me know if you would like to be part of game?

2) PECs - do you see all cards as that? As far as I understand PECs are something like advantages one can get, while others are excluded from it. Pay-2-win, Freemium. If you speak Cards, but randomized pieces - its Random factor or Asymmetry. If we speak of Fixed Cards, either minimum or initial, then its Symmetrical, but Predicative as we do not know when one plays them.

a) If we speak of attacks on fog and getting/not getting card which is fixed by minimums then this falls straight under Predictive Pure Skill. If we speak of Randomized pieces then this includes 2nd Rank Skill: Asymmetrical. I would not call what you described luck, but "Impact-force beyond action-taker control" usually written as short "Blind Factor".

b) Recon and Surveillance again Predictive Skill Factor.

c) These can be predictive as well, but they more of distortive nature, which shifts already agreed settings. Never seen anything like that to be called skill. I only feel they can be seen Predictive when used with Random order, but Random never equals to skill. Yet I find those cards usable a lot, especially in FFA Random order settings where Cyclic would be unfair. But included in Pure Skill - mistake in highest ranks.

3) Fog best example of Blind Factor, predictive. Simplest to understand.

If you speak "Pure Skill" as Chess like terms, I would agree with you. Especially on picking to eliminate Predictive-Picking and deterministic game. Pure skill should not include Blind Counterpicks, but Balancing moves that lead to Mid-game where Frontrunner and Underdog gets decided. End-game which decides actual score.

In my opinion there are Two major "Strategic-Skill" concepts. Calculated Skill - every piece of information is visible and calculable, not leaved to random nor luck. Preferred symmetrical version! Counts in human actions and game/setting variables. Predictive Skill (Premise: Needs certain Balance-Threshold in allowed Asymmetry model), with small amount of Blind Factor, but not created with Luck. Primarily Predictive in Nature of what the Opponent does, but could count in variable of what system/game/settings hold: in warlight-term-words randomized pieces, calculated luck as system action; and Player Picks, attacks, defense, used-cards in Player Actions!

Calculated Pure Skill:
  • Sequence Picking, Cyclic Order
  • No Luck, SR
  • No Fog
  • Fixed Cards (Or Minimums without randoms), visible as Deck and visible as Played
Predictive Pure Skill:
  • Could be Standard Manual
  • Fog Allowed: preferred light, or some variant of this.
  • SR/WR
  • Luck, but only weighted dependent on previous turn value. Meaning, that each players Total Luck should be close to Normative Curve. If last turn Luck was negative, the chances his current luck would be positive is much higher.
  • Cards, could be random pieces, but again same concept as Luck based! Weight, but should be calculated by N-curve.

- I would not be so sure that Pure-Skill settings were implemented only for coin-game cause. I maybe mistaken, but I believe the concept was implemented earlier. Secondly it does not need mean that we use Fraud/fake "Pure Skill" or just the aspects to fill the Legal requirements and leave actual Game Theoretical aspects out! It is after-all a strategy game or have I understood this totally wrong?

- True about the "Unknowns" and "Guessing" but Luck is exactly System-determined, I can´t use my Skill-Guessing that way. I have seen Coin/real money games with System-based lucks, where the Weighted-Luck was used dependent on past-turns Value of Luck (as I tried to describe above). Although I do not know how they solved the First-Turn, because this was totally Random.. just further turns could be guessed, estimated due to Weight and cumulative Norm-Curve.

- Yes, managing Luck is skill, but not Pure skill nor predictive. It falls under Risk-management. But it does not have to be primarily Luck (as System Risk), it could be what Qi described above, risk Attacking Fog-Neutral without knowing what you face beyond your borders!
Strategy in broad sense can be a lot of things. In here the question is how we determine it. I agree and would love to play a Good game which at first has understood what it wants to be. 3-Core Aspects of Strategy: Cost-Benefit analysis, Risk-Management, Other-Players actions and impact; (4th force majeure externality).

Edited 2/7/2016 18:53:39
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