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April 18, 2004



"Speaking of sandwich gameplay"
Erm, what is 'sandwhich gameplay'?

"I'd be interested in a singleplayer chess game that was a sequence of puzzles designed to gradually teach you the game."
I believe that the HikaruNoGo GBA games do this for go.


"Sandwich gameplay" is when the player gets up and gets a sandwich instead of actually playing the game. This is due to a boring cutscene, computer turn that takes a long time, or something else that takes control away from the player for an extended period. This is typically considered a bad thing.

And let me second your chess game design, Jamie - sounds like a GREAT game. Lord knows I need something to really teach me how to play chess - I suck :)


While I must say, I do dig the idea of a chess game with such a narrative, Texas Hold'em isn't that bad man, c'mon.

While I was recently suprised when a pal pointed out to me how many TV shows there were devoted to in on air now, I persist; it's great fun to play in real life. I mean, I like the game, but I don't want to watch Lou Diamond Phillips play against Norm McDonald. But when playing with pals, you can see your opponents. Trying to master the game-face and bluff your way around is half the fun. Online I can see it being more boring, but with friends who are pissed at you because you have their money? That's a fun time.

Then again, while I'm not arguing your statistics, in a friendly game no one folks that much. Trying when you've got jack is half the fun.

Martin Donlon



While Battle Chess was an amazingly fun game, it didn't have a narrative mode. At least not in the NES version, which was what I played back then.

Heh, who could forget the rook smashing the knight down until there was nothing left but a helmet with feet waddling around? *sigh* The good ole days of consoles.

benjamin graner

I was recently introduced to Texas Hold'Em and it has quickly become one of my favourite games.

I think Chess vs. Poker is a fascinating study, because both employ such different skills.

Chess is mathematical and logical, while Poker is social and intuitive. It's almost the difference between art and science...

Games such as Poker, Diplomacy, Settlers of Catan all tap into the human element and require a player to employ their empathic and persuasive abilities. In Settlers you have to trade cards to win, in Diplomacy the entire game revolves around allying with other players and Poker is essentially a game of bluff. Convincing someone that you're holding a monster hand when in fact you have nothing is something you will never be able to simulate on a computer (controlling facial clues or planting false 'tells'). It also taps into something that is very instinctual and fundamental to human nature.

Poker is fundamentally simple...it's basically a binary decision tree of 'raise or fold'. Making that decision is where the fun comes in, and is why it is a good example of a game that is easy to learn but hard to master. While the orthogonal design of chess and the accompanying complexity is great, there is something to be said about a game which revolves around something as simple as a binary decision.

Chess is brutal, and while you see it as a positive I find that it's one of those things I think current games do VERY poorly. One of my gripes with RTS's is that if you get your economy out of whack early in the game it magnifies itself over the course of the game (the Jacobian is > 0). What this means is that it can be very hard to make a comeback. Now, I'm by no means a hardcore RTS gamer (I have no idea what my APM are), but that was always the case when I played Starcraft. In Natural-Selection (the HL mod), after the 2.0 patch a common complaint on the boards is that the games are decided within the first 5 minutes. In Poker, no matter how far in the hole you are it is always possible to hit some great hands and play them well. The key is that you still have to play the luck well...and your opponent has to play his cards poorly to fall into the trap. I hate random events in games (the lightning in Tribes 2 is an example) but the ability to make a comeback is always fun and can create a sense of drama (consider Calgary Vancouver game 6). If you are really interested in who the better player is then 'brutal' games are fine, but I think a certain level/frequency of drama is removed.

In a sense Poker also models online games such as UT/Q3 in that a metagame exists, where the social element is almost as important as the actual game. Chess is a social game as well, but I have yet to see a game of chess played over a beer in a smoke filled room...not the same can be said about poker (well actually that's not true, I've played some drunken games of chess...I don't really recommend it :)).

I love both games, but Poker has opened my eyes to the world of games outside the truth-table puzzle solving that Chess seems to epitomize.


Chess has eaten up a number of lunches around our office for a while now. While I used to be about 50/50 win/loss, I get stomped on a fairly regular basis now, but thats because I dont play nearly as often as I should. The best thing about chess (and most memorable strategy games) is that each game is different. No matter how many times you play, you're almost guaranteed a different game each time.


that stuff about a chess story is brilliant.
i reckon the links between chess and story is deeper than it first appears. lewis carroll's alice in wonderland fits perfectly with a full chess game, with all the characters in the story acting as pieces, and all the moves represented by character actions. id love to see a computer game messing with this.


Chess is also my favorite game.

alamair anand

you made a commment on how if you stay up a pawn you should win the game. that is not true. you should play some gambits and open games early on to get better. you started late in life, and you'll max out at about 1700. i have hovered around 2000 for about 3 years now, and i started at 18. im 25 now. play open games and gambits to get tactics down and build open game confidence. stay away from the french. i hate that defence. that is a sandwich opening.


I wouldn't a agree Poker is just a game of bluff, there is a lot more to it than that. Poker is a lot more logical and mathematical than people give it credit for, the math comes in the form of calculating your pot odds vs winning odds, you also have to factor in implied odds, you use your obversations of your oppenants playing history and the betting patterns of the hand so far to put him on a range of possible hands and assign a probability to each possible holding. To master poker requires a large range of skills, I agree luck plays a factor in poker and unlike chess a poor player can get lucky and beat a far better player which is very rare in chess but this is what makes poker profitable in the long run, if the poor players didn't win a little every now and again then they wouldn't come back

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game