Feedback Focus: Additional Moves for Lost Pieces


#1

As you will have noticed we added a new feature to the core gameplay. You can now exchange up to two of your lost pieces for additional moves. How does that feel to you? Veterans: How did it change the game compared to the last version? Newcomers: How did you get into playing with that feature?


#2

This thread is just for feedback on the new feature, right? I haven’t really seen the new feature in action yet, but having played the game in its previous form (and as an avid chess player), I’m fairly skeptical about it, to be honest.

While it does balance the game in favor of the losing party and adds a layer of ambivalence to pushing an opponent’s pieces off the board, it undermines the whole idea of threats on the board that need to be accounted for. If it were introduced in chess, the game would lose its whole point. (I also noticed that I can push my own pieces off the board, which might make the multi-move even more powerful, but I’m not 100% sure if I understand the implications of that yet.)

If a multi-move were only possible right after losing a piece, it would be a lot harder for a player to get into a position where they can push off their opponent’s piece risk-free. As a result, I think, less pieces would be pushed off, and pushing pieces off the board would more often be simple trade-offs. It would balance the game in favor of the one who has their piece pushed off the board (first) - at the very least granting them an additional move even without the possibility of turning their loss into a trade-off - but less so than the current implementation of the mechanic.

That said, I’m just speculating here and will get back to you after a few matches. :smiley:

I also have some general feedback, but I can’t seem to find a thread for it yet. Feel free to move this post around if I’m in the wrong place.

  1. Different amounts of starting pieces

In match 07a47, my opponent started with 10 pieces, I started with 9 pieces. Is that intended? If so, how come?

  1. UI questions

I don’t understand some UI elements in the screenshot below. First, the two empty circles in the top indicate to me that my opponent still has two more multi-moves available for pieces that get pushed off the board. However, they have clearly already used their first multi-move. Second, I don’t know which of the arrows shows which move and in what order they were executed. I have no concrete suggestion how to solve this except through a feature I’d love to see in the game anyway: the ability to cycle through all past moves using arrow buttons, to see how the current position on the board came about.

Anyway, I’m excited for the new test round!


#3

Hey Julian,

thanks for the feedback! Interesting points on multi-move, I want to hear what you think after a couple of games. Have not yet seen the issues you predict but that does not mean they are not there. =D

Yes, some starting setups have differing amoubts of pieces as a way of balancing first-movers advantage. Not sure yet if that makes sense, need to collect data on win rates.

On the situation above: Yes, the arrows are confusing and need to be replaced with a better visualization. A multi-move is possible though. The crossed-out red piece means essimoon has used a lost piece for a double-move already. Crossed out means used (or burned if you lose a piece while at cap). Does that make sense to you?

Alex


#4

Yes, that makes perfect sense. What confuses me is that there are still two empty circles next to the crossed-out one. I read them as unused multi-moves, i.e. that essimoon has used 1 out of 3 possible multi-moves so far.

Btw, I have two more feature requests (for lack of a better term). :smiley:

  1. Sometimes I like to quickly check the game to make some moves that are no-brainers. When I encounter a more difficult move, I want to save it for later. To facilitate that, it would be nice to have arrow buttons right next to the board to cycle through all my open matches instead of having to go back to the overview first. I used that a lot back on chess.com.

  2. Speaking of no-brainer moves: Another feature I enjoyed on chess.com was so-called “Conditional Moves”. They’re a great way to move matches along more quickly by letting you pre-program your next move(s) dependant on your opponent’s next move(s). For example: I just made my move and think to myself “my opponent is most likely going to do this next”. I can then show the game the move I anticipate from my opponent and tell it respond with another move on my side in case my opponent acts as I anticipated. On chess.com, it was possible to program different conditional moves (e.g. “if the black pawn gets moved there, respond with Queen moving there”, “if instead the knight moves there, respond with my King moving there” etc.). I could also make chains of conditional moves (e.g. “if the black pawn moves there, do X, if then the black knight moves there, do X” etc.). The amount of different conditional moves and the length of consecutive conditional moves was limited for free players, but unlimited for Premium buyers. So there’s another idea for ya. :wink:


Edit: I noticed that I already brought up conditional moves when testing the game last year. Just thought of another thing, though:

  1. I’d like to have the ability to forfeit.

#5

feels kind of weired and against intuition, I am not a veteran though…


#6

I just lost a match because my opponent made their third multi-move. I thought only two multi-moves per game were possible, but I misinterpreted the way you described it. That’s why the UI didn’t make sense to me as well. The feature is actually even more powerful than I thought, allowing players an additional move per piece lost, but a maximum of two extra moves at a time. That’s even more overpowered than I thought, so my skepticism has only grown so far. I think that getting within a three-move range of winning is pretty easy even in a game a player has been losing badly up to that point. This match in particular was going really well for me, but even had I known what I know now, I don’t think I could’ve prevented this from happening. With this feature, the game moves away from strategic positioning and more towards a race to get into a position where one can close the deal quickly regardless of how the game was going for them before. As of now, I think that it needs to be nerfed at least.

I understand where you’re coming from, wanting to allow the losing party a sneaky comeback possibility. But if you look at chess (again), a player losing a piece gains no advantage at all and has an ever slighter chance of winning. They can still trap the other king in checkmate, but it’s really hard. This sense of permanence, the consequences of every shortcoming and triumph and the feeling of accomplishment when beating an opponent’s piece are pretty much removed by the new mechanic in Push.


#7

Conditional moves and cycling though all games: Great ideas. Are now on the list of future improvements.

Forfeiting a game: The option exists in the menu. It’s called “Abandon”.


#8

I agree. The “extra move” mechanic is not one that you can intuitively see since it is not “baked into the material” as much as the basic pushing as. And yes, that increases mental strain for newbies. As with all of these additions to the game I have to weigh if the gains from the mechanic are worth those costs.

Do you think there’s a way to make this more Intuitive for new players?


#9

Yeah, this leads to a lot more “rush to the end” situations than before. I noticed the same. I’m not 100% sure yet if it’s too many or the right amount. To a degree I want this in the game since without it you get very long drawn-out games between veterans where even a one-stone-advantage is massive.

I am considering both reducing the amount of “saved moves” to 1 (from 2) or to make it so that you can only use one double-move per turn. The latter might be more balanced but it comes at the cost of adding yet another arbitrary rule to the rule set …


#10

Just make it impossible to miss. If a new player loses his first token or pushes one of his opponent over the edge, explain that rule.


#11

Yeah, eventually exactly that will happen. Forced to appear at least once in the tutorial even. I wish there was a more elegant solution though … =D


#12

I think understanding it is less of an issue than the feature itself. I got the hang of it after my first match. Now, a few matches later, I gotta say it’s making the game more dynamic, even though I’m still in favor of nerfing it. Limiting it to one instead of two extra moves would be a start, but I’d prefer also limiting it to the very next move after a player’s token was pushed off the board.


#13

“limiting it to the very next move after a player’s token was pushed off the board.”

Why that?


#14

For several reasons; let’s say player A just pushed player B’s token off the board:

  1. It’s a way of balancing the game in a favor of player B, who just took a hit, but less so than the current implementation. Even if player B can’t then push one of player A’s tokens off, they gain a tempo, which is also valuable.
  2. Because it made it harder for player A to get into a situation where they could beat player B’s token risk-free to begin with. Without the multi-move, a classic situation would be: If player A has a threat on one of player B’s tokens and vice versa, the player who makes the next move is the one to decide: either they back down or they beat their opponent’s piece, subsequently losing one of their own. With the multi-move available to player B after losing a piece, player A needed to make sure that player B couldn’t beat one of theirs within the next two moves. In short, beating a piece is much more likely to become a trade-off unless very well executed.
  3. Because keeping the extra turn(s) for the rest of the game, in my opinion, leads to negative effects I mentioned above. In chess terms, the game moves away from strategy in favor of tactics, which I personally dislike because I feel like it takes depth away in favor of one or two quick winning moves.

#15

Interesting points! In the end this boils down to the question if having that one move only available for one turn is a strong enough negative feedback to keep weaker/new players in a competitive state long enough. My gut feeling says no. I would expect them to often waste this advantage if it’s ephemeral. I’m not sure if I want to take that risk. I’ll play your suggested version (one stored move with a lifetime of one turn) and if it still feels sufficiently strong I’ll make this the default for Alpha III so we can try it on a larger scale.