Tuesday, November 14, 2023

A Holiday Break

 Life must be lived as play, playing certain games, making sacrifices, singing and dancing, and then a man will be able to propitiate the gods, and defend himself against his enemies, and win in the contest.”

– Johan Huizinga

I think I need a holiday break. From many things, really, but in this case, writing and posting here on Hobby Games Recce. The fact that this is my fourth start on a blog post in 24 hours demonstrates I’m pushing myself, am way too critical of myself, and continue struggling to overcome my self-confidence demons. Besides, everything seems a bit overwhelming these days. I’m battling my usual personal anxieties and insecurities about my creativity, productivity, and life in general, including drama with sanctimonious, self-righteous in-laws. Larger concerns overshadow everyone’s lives these days, from the dysfunction of American government, the specter of growing white nationalistic fascism, and wars in Ukraine and Gaza and the loss of innocent lives in the crossfire. Oh, yes, and we have all these touchy-feely, mindlessly happy holidays like American Thanksgiving and yuletide celebrations that simultaneously require lots of time, energy, and effort along with the demand that we endure all this with a smile on our faces.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Imperfect Information

 Imperfect information is information which in one or more respects is imprecise, uncertain, incomplete, unreliable, vague or partially true.”

Kayakan & Khanesar*

My recent missive about rumors in roleplaying games started me thinking about imperfect information, both in games and in our real-world experiences. Rumors are, in their own way, uncertain information, especially useful for gamemasters in encouraging characters to pursue opportunities for adventure (or misadventure). Games of all kinds help us learn how to estimate the current situation (or game state) so we can plan and implement responses (often moves or strategies) to alter that situation toward our goal of winning. Not having perfect information allows for more unpredictable variables in our assessments and usually provides a deeper, more challenging (and hence possibly a more satisfying) game experience. Games often provide us learning opportunities in safe-to-fail environments. We deal with incomplete information in our everyday lives, too, whether or not we want to admit it. Learning how to estimate a situation in games, taking into account imperfect information, can help us stumble through the numerous real-life uncertainties we face and decisions we must make.