Scott Hardie | August 28, 2007
It's been three weeks since Rock Block launched, and the early rush of mass participation has given way to a few regulars playing constantly. To a large degree that's normal and expected, but to the degree it doesn't have to be that way, I'd like to do something about it. If you play less RB now than you used to, and not because of external factors like your schedule but because you choose to, please let me know the reason.

What concerns me are the following possibilities:

- Some people feel like the constant regulars have usurped the game or have run away with an impossible lead. I know how that feels, believe me; I enjoyed the 10 Userrank while I had it. But you still play the goo game even if you can't be in the upper echelon of all-time scores, because it's still fun and you still have a shot at winning each round. I hope RB is seen the same way.

- Some people feel like they can't compete because they don't have strong cards. Russ believes that strong cards win matches, but I disagree, and apparently so does Aaron. What we would all agree on is that smart playing wins matches, regardless of the cards. If you don't want to play against someone's R8 or R9, don't allow the concert's level to get that high, or declare in the comments that you're looking for "R4 and below only," or simply don't play that opponent. There are plenty of ways to stay competitive in RB if you believe you have a disadvantage.

- Some people have grown bored of their cards. I also know this feeling well. Thankfully, you can now swap your cards with other players to freshen up your collection; visit your label and click "swap this card" beneath any band. Soon enough, another player will give you a different band of the same rank, and you can't get a duplicate so don't worry. If you resist swapping because you're trying to complete your collection, swapping doesn't put you any further away from that goal; it simply changes which cards you're trying to steal from opponents.

- Some people feel frustrated that they can't win auctions because all of the constant regulars do. There have been suggestions to change the system, both explicit and implicit. Until now, I've stuck to my original reasoning: Your auction victories should be proportionate to your play: If Russ plays three times as many concerts as I do, all other things being equal, then he should have three times as much cash as I do and he should win three auctions for every one of mine. However, instead of an infinite number of auctions to satisfy all buyers, we instead have an unlimited amount of money being spent on a small number of auctions, which results in an advantage to the rich players that is disproportionate to their amount of play.

Don't believe me? I ran some numbers, and I'd be happy to share my math, but here are the highlights: Justin has played in 19% of all concerts but won 24% of all auctions. Steve has played in 13% of concerts but won 16% of auctions. For Eric, it's 9% of concerts and 10% of auctions. For most of the rest of us, the numbers are balanced or slightly in favor of concerts. (There was one very disproportionate value in the other direction: JoJo has played in 10% of concerts but won only 4% of auctions.)

The fairest way to solve this would be to open up the Market to allow unlimited sales, and that disappoints me because I carefully planned it to distribute new cards into the player community at a controlled pace. Leaving that consideration aside, I imagine the following factors involved:

A) You take your cash to the Market any time you want, or once per day,

B) you can only buy a card that you've seen before, or any card in existence,

C) you can only receive a card that you don't own already, or any card in existence,

D) you can choose from a menu of available cards, or it's random (like "Mystery R6 Card"),

E) you pay a fixed price based on the rank of the card, or it's random.

If both D and E are random, the system would be something like a weighted slot machine (think SSMB, Gamecube fans): You put in a certain amount of R$, and the system randomly selects which card you receive. The more R$ you put in means the better odds of receiving a high card and vice versa, but there's always a chance of paying a lot for R1 and getting R10 cheap. I would probably tilt it in your favor by making it only give you a band that you don't own already.

What do you think? I'm open to other suggestions. Whatever we decide will probably be programmed this weekend. Thanks for your input.

Russ Wilhelm | August 29, 2007
You want suggestion? When it comes to suggestion, I'm full of it!

You know I can't help myself when it comes to "Rock Block". It's strictly my opinion, and we all know what they say about that.

Some people feel like the constant regulars have usurped the game or have run away with an impossible lead
This I beleive is true, to an extent. So I don't put great emphasis on the "Ranking" of players as it is. I play my game, and that's what matters. I've stated it before. There are other ways to look at the game. I myself look at the win/loss/tie ratio. Right now I'm fairly balanced. That's what I want, but you have to set your own goals.

Some people feel like they can't compete because they don't have strong cards
I still believe this, and have solved it to a certain extent. I have a strong card that to play with would mean to lose with because I have no cards to support that level. But give me three R4's and I'll destroy anyone who's just starting out. My solution was to know who I primarily play against and set my level low enough that I beleive I stand an even chance. If I win too many, I'm playing too low. Loose too many I'm playing too high. Equilibrium.

Some people feel frustrated that they can't win auctions because all of the constant regulars do
I feel their pain. On the other hand, play enough hands, be it taking days or months, and you will be able to win that auction, though you may pay dearly for the card. I did. Keep a lookout for card sales, of course with the swap page I see a drop in that area. But if you see them, buy them. Then play for cards at the lower levels. The risk/reward is worth it, as long as you're willing to accept the price of the sale. They often went for below auction cost.

Scott, don't open the market. As long as you can't bid on a card you already own, there's hope. Unlimited purchases would ruin the game. One suggestion I would make is to remove the side numbers, leaving a little mystery with new cards. For cards already in play, I guess it doesn't matter. that are up for auction are all blank. .....New thought (sorry again).

Forget everything I said. How's this for an idea. Keep the auction going as is with the following exceptions (take none, some, all):
1. All the cards in the auction are unknown, whether in play or not.
2. You can't bid on a card you already have. you'll know you have it because you can't bid on it. It's still a mystery.
4. The Numbers, Year, and Rank are not present.
5. There is one minimum bid per category.
Example: R1 Thru R4 Minimum bid R$25000.
R5 Thru R10 Minimum bid R$75000.
R1 Thru R10 Minimum bid R$50000.
The way I see it people are bidding 3 to 4 times the market value of a card, so these bids are low for a starting bid. You may get a value or you may spend R10 prices for an R1. A game of chance.
6. You can only bid on one card in the auction. You may have an enormous pile of R$ and go for the R1-R4, for a hopefully easy win, but someone else may then get that R9 for R$50001.
7. This is the extreme one. Losing an auction pays back half your R$, so be careful how you spend them.

That's all for now. More to come as the game progresses.

Scott Hardie | August 29, 2007
Here's something I've noticed: The frequent players seem lately to be getting tired of each other and want fresh blood in the game, but some infrequent players are staying away from the game simply because it's like there's an impenetrable "clique" of regulars who always play each other. I don't think it has to do with them knowing each other, certain family connections aside, but instead has to do with fear of being beaten by a regular, and moreso not wanting the intensity of regular play, where on a certain unspoken level you're expected to play quickly, well, and often.

Maybe I think this because I'm currently easing myself into a new forum online (more out of friendship with its admin than out of need to talk; TC meets my needs), but you know that apprehension you feel when you first join a new forum online? Everybody there has been talking for a while and knows each other, and on the surface you're confident that you'll be accepted, but on a deeper level you're worried that you'll come across wrong or seem like you're butting in. Eventually one of three things happen: You become a frequent regular, you come to terms with only participating sometimes and not being a "core member" like the others, or you drift away. It's only been around for three weeks but I think RB already has the same phenomenon. I want more people to choose the second option (if the first which is even better), but it seems like a lot are choosing the third.

Nobody did anything wrong here, but I do recall an incident where a regular was held up by an opponent who was away from the site for the evening, and the regular got impatient about wanting to go on to other matches. Infrequent players are afraid to be responsible for that kind of impatience, and I don't blame them. Aaron is a friend and I enjoy playing concerts with him, but whenever I consider challenging him, I find myself worried that his schedule could result in me being unable to play for a night.

So what's the answer? Multiple concerts at once would help, but hell, talk about "the rich get richer." Maybe the solution would be some kind of league system, where you're encouraged to play opponents who have a similar level of time and interest that you do, but that doesn't do much to help the regulars who are tired of playing each other. Maybe the regulars need to adjust their mindset so that frequent quick matches seem abnormal compared to slower play over the course of 1-2 days? I dunno, just saying thoughts that come to mind.

Russ, good suggestions as usual. I'm fine with suppressing the peripheral info about a card when the band's identity is a mystery. For the moment, I'm going to leave the card faces exposed when the band's identity is known, but I'll consider hiding that too.

I did consider a fourth daily auction for a "mystery card": Bid any amount you want on it, and the card will be randomly generated at the end of the day. Technically, it wouldn't exist before then, so there's no way to know what it is or for any bid to be fair. I don't know if that would help or hurt things; it was just an idea.

If we do merely want to open up the auctions to a more diverse number of winners, the Democrat in me says to limit the amount of cash one can earn in a given time period. For instance, one would earn 100% of their normal take for the first concert of the day, then 75% for the second, then 50% for the third, then 25% for all remaining concerts that day. I don't especially like this, but it's one of the more fair and less weird solutions that has occurred to me.

Some infrequent players have chosen to write to me in private rather than share their thoughts here, and with general consistency they seem unhappy with the game. They see the same players battling each other all the time, racking up fortunes, winning most of the auctions with high prices, having higher levels in their concerts as a result, earning even more money as a result of that, and repeating the cycle. I don't think anyone is playing lots of concerts from the primary purpose of earning lots of money, but it's still worrisome. The picture being painted is of a game that eventually becomes stagnant for all involved, and I tend to agree. So, the question remains, how to solve it?

Russ, this still sounds crazy to me (I'm sure it did to you too at first), but maybe your idea of limiting the number of concerts one can play in a given time period is a good idea, or perhaps just limiting the number of concerts one can play against the same opponent in a given time period. I'm cautious to take any step that would keep somebody who wants to play from playing, but if it's for the best, I'm willing to consider it.

Amy Austin | August 29, 2007
...I don't put great emphasis on the "Ranking" of players as it is. I play my game, and that's what matters. I've stated it before. There are other ways to look at the game. I myself look at the win/loss/tie ratio. Right now I'm fairly balanced.

Ditto for me -- I don't care about being "upper echelon" in this game... I just want to have fun and to win a few concerts! (Okay, more than "a few"... as in, not lose my ass for the vast majority of them.) If you look at my w/l/d ratio, I'm almost sure that I have one of the absolute worst, and it seems that the more I play, the worse it only gets! This is a big reason that I'm not really motivated anymore. Well, that and the fact that I just spent the last 2 weeks doing the most heinous move ever -- with only the help of (my very nice) 62-year-old neighbor to move furniture... despite supposedly having friends closer to my age, none of whom came to the rescue. And my dog has been at the vet's for a week now, after her sutures (staples) tore open and left a hole to her guts -- she had to undergo a second surgery today to close it back up. There's no telling how much more (I've already spent about $800) this is going to cost me... but I love my dog, and she's too young to just "let it be". All of this used up 8 days of leave and not an iota of fun/vacation time to be had. This is just the condensed/detail-free version... truth be told, I rather hate my life right now and feel like I've been hating it for a couple of years or more... and don't see any end in sight in my near future. But... lucky me -- that's why it's called "the future"... and I can't predict it. That's probably the only thing that keeps me going. That and my long-distance friends whom I wish I lived near again.

Scott Hardie | August 29, 2007
Jesus, Amy. Sorry to hear that your troubles continue. I had worried that's why you've been mostly offline. :-( Our RB problems certainly don't seem like such a big deal. If the game can bring you any cheer, then I'm glad, but you need a lot more than we can give. Here's a big virtual hug for now, hope for a real hug in the future, and comforting wishes.

Justin Woods | August 29, 2007
I have to agree on a couple of comments here:

1.) Maybe it would be a good idea to have players limited to who they can play in one day, but on the other hand there are very few players who play more then three games a day, and there are the players in the top six rank who like to play ten games a day... So how do you even this out?

2.) As far as the auctions goes I am lost, but I know that I only bid so high because there are players who have bid so much higher for cards that I wanted. So I now pay top R$ for small cards making it even harder to sell them or lose them in a concert, and I kinda got the feeling that other players feel the same considering I have seen all these low level concerts played with a trade rule and no high level ones. I like the idea to have all auctions mystery not knowing what your biding on and setting the ranges on them instead of a straight minimum bid price, and not allowing you to bid on them if you already own it. I hope this would cut down some of the R$ war in the auctions.

3.) A thought I have had since opening up all these rules too, I have been more excited about playing as I have opened new ones up, and maybe that would help lower "win" players participate more if they had more option rules to playing a concert... I know it helps also a lower "win" player to beat a high level player and just might even the playing field based on there cards.

Again food for thought, thats all for now...


Sorry to hear all of that and I hope things get better!!! :-)

Amy Austin | August 29, 2007
Thanks for the kind words... sorry to unload in game-related discussions!

Lori Lancaster | August 29, 2007
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Amy Austin | August 29, 2007
Btw... an idea for keeping cards "fresh" and interesting... (and this kind of goes back to a similar idea suggested by Dave Mitzman for TC -- one I'd still like to see implemented!): can you add a couple more pics for each band and have them appear at random each time a concert is played or the cards are viewed? I tend to think that maybe having "dynamic" cards could make them a little more interesting/entertaining... for a little while longer anyway! For long-running bands with changes in its membership, this could also be a fun little history lesson/progression (e.g., Van Halen's never-ending Roth/Hagar/et al drama).

I know you mentioned before that finding decent pics was a bit of a pain in the ass, but this concept could be introduced gradually... as with rules. Not exactly sure what parameters to stipulate for this introduction, but I'm sure your creative GM mind can think of something! ;-)

Anyway... just a thought.

Lori Lancaster | August 29, 2007
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Amy Austin | August 29, 2007
Thanks, Lori... yes, but it's not quite over yet. The vet seemed to think she could come home today -- but 1) "home" is not the same, and with all the crap piled high & deep (fatigue & having to return to work make the *un*packing process rather slooowww), I worry about having a place for her to just be, where she won't be underfoot or trampled on by the young'uns; and 2) she will have a drain -- again! -- which I didn't think would be necessary, since she's spent all week open and draining at the vet's. They said this was still needed, which bothers me on a couple of levels... one being that I know the drain was painful for her -- she stopped crying when it was removed the first time -- and the other being the mess factor! Even with a cushion and rotating towels dedicated for her use, and even though she was pretty good about staying put there (most of the time) there was still drippage on the floor -- particularly when she goes to eat/drink water. Linoleum floors and just being there most of the time made this doable, but now I have mostly hardwood floors and won't be home all day to make sure they aren't damaged by any fluids (though I don't expect nearly the same level of drainage that she was experiencing the first time!) -- I already had a huge flood on Sunday when I ran my first load in the washing machine! (Nobody told me that there wasn't a dedicated drain and that the hose needed to be hooked over the side of the kitchen sink! The machine wasn't plugged in, either, but I was able to troubleshoot that one pretty quickly... the drainage hose, on the other hand, was hidden up under/behind the machine, and I didn't think to check on it. Took me 2 hours to soak up the 2-3" lake that formed in the lowest sections of the kitchen and living room floors -- almost touching the bottom of the couch! Don't even get me started about my flaky new landlady and all the details of moving into a house from the century before last... including visits from a plumber *and* electrician.)

(SIGH) I'm just so tired of everything... I want to retire to an old folks' home already. ;-)

Russ Wilhelm | August 29, 2007
Amy, I feel for you. Hang in there.

I'll be back on later. Thinking about the other comments.

Denise Sawicki | August 29, 2007
Sorry to hear about all this Amy, that must be tough.

....In other news I took one of your Linkin Park cards... I know I had one earlier and got rid of it but I thought it might be handy in case I ever get around to decades play. I hope there's no serious bug there, originally it said you had two of them up for trade, now it says you have one, and I am allowed to trade my new Linkin Park for your Linkin Park and the collection guide says you do not own Linkin Park.. so I'm unsure whether you really had two of them or just one to start with.

Lori Lancaster | August 29, 2007
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Amy Austin | August 29, 2007
Those Japanese... they come up with the most bizarre stuff -- it really makes me wonder...

Denise -- thanks, and you are right... I only had one to swap, but I was confused about how that worked, because I clicked the "swap" button and was taken to the auctions page, with no other apparent action resulting from my click. I thought that it must have been because the same card was already up for auction, but then I thought that didn't make any sense! So I went back and clicked "swap" again -- same thing. I guess the buttons should probably deactivate one you use them, so that this appearance of having two cards to swap doesn't happen! I am still confused though... why don't I see where my card went, and is there a place where I should be able to see other cards up for swap, because I don't... only "recent swaps". Of course, I do realize that there may not have been any other swaps available, but that still doesn't tell me why I don't know where my card went or where to see it.

(Also, I thought the same thing about having Linkin Park for "decades" -- since the preferred Cheap Trick card has the same valuation -- but I figured that unlocking that rule may indeed be decades away for me! ;-D)

Denise Sawicki | August 29, 2007
Well, I have Cheap Trick up for swap now. It ought to be visible near the bottom of the main "Artist Market" page. Maybe you should cancel your second Linkin Park being up for swap if there's not some bug preventing you from doing so, because otherwise more troubles could result :)

Scott Hardie | August 29, 2007
Current Swaps appear at the bottom of the Market. Amy, I think you clicked the "swap this card" link in your label and it created the current swap in the market, then you went back in your browser to a cached version of your label and clicked it again, creating a duplicate. Were you to have reloaded your label page, the link would have disappeared. Anyway, I'll put in another safeguard to prevent this in the future; good find.

Justin has a good point: The Same/Plus/Multiply rules are there so that low cards can capture high cards; if you also believe that high cards win a match, they let the underdog in the match pull off a win. But good luck unlocking those rules if you don't play long enough to get to them.

Russ Wilhelm | August 29, 2007
You should rename this post to "How to keep Russ from playing "Rock Block".

Being on the low end of the "Frequent Players Club", I have to agree about the wanting to go up against other players. At the same time I still would like to be participating in a game none-the-less. Initially I was hoping that others would announce that they are available for play, but I've realized this is for the quick games (don't know why I missed that at the beginning). So now I try at least once a day to challenge others. I'll let it sit for a few hours, and hopefully they'll respond. I'll play over several days, if that's what's acceptable. The "Frequent Players Club" is great, for when you are up for a quick game, because you can almost guarantee that one of them is available, just click "I'm Here", and in minutes you'll have a game going.

If you think that limiting the amount of concerts you can play in a given period is a hinderance to players who want to play for the sake of the game, I have two concepts on this.
1. If the goo game allowed for an infinite amount of goos to be guessed per day, would we be guessing at 50+ goos a day? You bet. But it doesn't, and we still play it 'cause it's fun. Limiting doesn't make it unfair to any other player.
2. To test the theory that the game is not being played by the FPC for some form of advantage over all others, try limiting the amount of concerts playable for gain, still allowing for unlimited play. Somthing to the effect of.....After "x" number of concerts over an "x" period of time, no R$, no new rules, and no change to your RB User Rank numbers, will occur. I could be wrong, and this could be mean, but I expect the frequency will drop, as it did on other portions of the site when you stopped giving out R$ there. On the other hand if they truely enjoy playing 10 times a day, this will allow them to continue doing so, the benefit for them being the honing of their skills.

So the downside of limited play:
- 1/3 of the current players are adversely affected.
- The FPC won't be able to rack up so many R$ that they almost completely wipe out competition in the auctions.
- The FPC Ranking won't be as large a reflection of their frequency as it is of their gameplay.

The upside:
- Players who don't have 24/7 access to the Internet should feel more competitive, and be more apt to play.
- Winning auctions would be a more realistic goal.
- Changing of rank is more probable.
- Keeping up with creating new card and trade rules will be easier.

The way I see it, limited play would make the game more enticing to new and existing players. I could be completely off the mark, but I don't foresee anyone complaining that "If Russ cant play at his current pace, then I'm not going to play, because it's not fair". I'm sure there's some that would like to totally eliminate me by now.

Right now 86% of the current auctions have been won by 30% of the players. These players are the FPC. These wins have allowed them to attain levels over twenty and some have managed to attain levels up to 36. This means that lower level players would have to win 2-3 games for each game these players win, to be competitive in an auction. Adding an additional card to the "Auction Block" would just mean they have one more card they could win that night. So I still think that to allow a player to bid on only one card in the market, and it's their choice which one as long as they don't already have it, is a better solution.

I wouldn't limit playing against the same opponent. I would hope that limiting overall play would take care of that problem to some extent. Let's say it's set to 7 concerts in 7 days. You play six concerts against the same opponent, and now it's lunch time of the first day. You have 6 1/2 days to play anyone. The choice is yours.

I thought the new rules came too quickly. I haven't gotten used to the ones I had before another came along. This may also be based on the tempo of the concerts played. Then again, along with those same card rules came new trade rules, and though the pace has allowed these players to win at the auctions and open new card rules quickly. As Justin said, it has also made them paranoid to use the new trade rules, and put their new cards on the line.

Bottom line is that I would rather take the hit myself and see the top 30% hindered, rather than have the bottom 50% quit.

Joanna Woods | August 29, 2007
I understand how the bottom people feel. I felt that way when I started to play. I still keep playing because I enjoy the game. I love the challenge. Half the time I play and know that I am going to lose at the level I am playing but to me that is the only way I will learn. I don't play for the R$ I play to learn better strategy. Say I get challenged at a high level, I expect to lose so then I re challenge at a level I feel more comfortable at and feel that I have a better chance. It is all about learning you r comfort level. If you don't have the high cards then play at lower levels at least you can hone your skills while yes still earning R$.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 29, 2007
But the problem is that even low level cards are going for more R$ than most of the infrequent players have! It's easy for people who play a lot of games to say, "Well, when you've played enough games, you'll have plenty of R$!" I only have limited access during the day, while at work. I can maybe play 1 or (on a great day) 2 games a day. At 16 (my highest level), on a win (and I am not on the best of winning streaks!), I would get around R$13000. So in two weeks, I can get about R$130000, if I can win every time, and squeeze in two games per day. And, looking over the recent auctions, that's still not enough to get most cards of R4 and higher (which I would need to increase my rank to earn more R$).

If you can't play often, you are falling behind, and fast. And, yeah, over time, I might catch up, but that could be (at my current rate) years and years from now. Don't get me wrong, I love the game, and I love playing it, and I will continue to play it and love it. But don't say I'm not falling behind, that's just obviously wrong. I love the challenge of playing the game, and I am not (implicitly or explicitly) trying to get anything changed, because I can't think of any change that I don't think could make things worse. And besides, if I ever get internet access at home, I want to be able to play catch up! ;)

I think, and this has nothing to do with nothing, that it would be great if we could have (from time to time) little round robin type competitions, where the winner at the end could win a card. That would be a good way to reward elite players, and also it would make it fairer between the frequent and infrequent players. Of course, if the frequent players already have a great mixture of cards, they would be most likely to win the tournament...

Aaron Shurtleff | August 29, 2007
Amy, sorry to hear that things are going not so well (to say it mildly!). And let me assure you that old folks homes aren't what they're cracked up to be! ;)

Hang in there, yo! :P

Denise Sawicki | August 29, 2007
Yeah... I am clearly winning too many and playing too low (as in, if I play at levels lower than my max I may have an advantage). I'm afraid of you FPC folks though!

Joanna Woods | August 29, 2007
I hope that I am not included in the FPC , just look at my win to lose ratio. I am better against the higher leveled people at lower levels but I still like to play up there some times.

Amy Austin | August 29, 2007
The way I see it, limited play would make the game more enticing to new and existing players. I could be completely off the mark, but I don't foresee anyone complaining that "If Russ cant play at his current pace, then I'm not going to play, because it's not fair". I'm sure there's some that would like to totally eliminate me by now.

Maybe true, maybe not... but I, for one, am not one of them (now... with regard to the goo game... ;-D) -- I agree with most of what you've said concerning RB, and I'm glad to have a "spokesman", if you will, on behalf of the "bottom people". ;-D I also find it a relief because I've never been shy about being vocal with my suggestions for improved gameplay and scoring with regard to the goo game... something that I find a little bit easier to do when, as a strong player there, I don't feel like I'm whining all the time about being a loser (as I do here!) -- in fact, many of the changes there have successfully handicapped my "advantage", and although I'm not particularly jazzed about that, I do understand and appreciate the need for fairness and to preserve the potential for anyone to win... and besides that, what fun is it to win when it's almost a given? (Among the few who always duke it out at the end, that is...)

Applying that same logic here, as it seems to me that you do, Russ... I think the capped, but otherwise unlimited, play is definitely a fair solution to the frequency dilemma -- as you suggest, it should level out the playing field without otherwise compromising the opportunity to demonstrate excellency in gameplay... and still allow for fair auctioning (with minimal modifications, as also suggested, such as no duplicating) , as well as compulsive challenging... ;-)

Amy Austin | August 29, 2007
And let me assure you that old folks homes aren't what they're cracked up to be! ;)

Yeah, I know Aaron... it was mostly a facetious comment. Mostly. ;-)

Hang in there, yo! :P

Thanks... I'll try. (Do you mean with or without rope/bedsheets/shoelaces/necktie...?)

Aaron Shurtleff | August 29, 2007
Oh, and I still try to comment as much as before, so I hope people don't feel that I post less because I don't get any R$ for posting. I just don't always have something worth saying! :)

And let me also say that I do not do not do NOT advocate any changes to the way Rock Block is going. I love it and I play it as much as possible. Yeah, I get frustrated that I literally put every R$ I have on a card in the auction for 5 or 6 days in a row, and I can never get a new card. I get over it fast, though. :)

Lori Lancaster | August 29, 2007
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Denise Sawicki | August 29, 2007
I'm just absurdly fearful in general, Jojo, so it doesn't mean much if you're included in the group I'm fearful of :) Hey thanks for the trade by the way. It's nice to have something different.

Amy Austin | August 29, 2007
Hey, Lori... I know I still have your address somewhere in my ridiculously overfull mailbox at home, but I also know you still have mine -- would you shoot me one... I have something I'd like to discuss, if it's okay?

(In case anyone thinks I exaggerate about how ridiculously overfull... I mean RIDICULOUSLY! Talking about close to 10,000 *unread* messages. I know, I know... why don't I delete them. It just isn't that simple! Maybe on some subconscious level, I'm shooting for being the electronic equivalent of that weird old person that dies with a zillion newspapers and magazines and stuff and more stuff stacked around their home, to the point that they have *walkways* in their house... like an ant farm! Wish me luck... ;-D)

Joanna Woods | August 29, 2007
You shouldn't be fearful. I am currently on a loosing streak as is but I still try.

Lori Lancaster | August 29, 2007
[hidden by request]

Denise Sawicki | August 29, 2007
I think Darrell has close to that much unread mail in his inbox too! I can ask for an exact figure if you want a contest. All spam though. I hope yours is spam or mailing lists and not something you actually need to read, or that is quite frightening :)

By the way I also meant to second Aaron's suggestion of a round robin with a card as a reward. It would be cool enough to have the possibility of getting a card without risking any cards.

EDIT: He has 9268. See I can still find pointless things to talk about even when I'm not earning R$ for it :P

Lori Lancaster | August 29, 2007
[hidden by request]

Lori Lancaster | August 29, 2007
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | August 29, 2007
I'm exhausted and about to take a nap, so here's tossing out some quick ideas for discussion now and I'll write more late tonight.

One wrinkle in all this is that I think I've figured out how to allow multiple concerts at the same time per player. When I was still building the game, it was hard to wrap my head around everything, so I had to cut the project down a little, and that feature was the first to go. Now that the game is done, I understand it pretty well, and I can see how to program for multiple simultaneous concerts. I can probably do it this weekend. Cards would not be shared across concerts, so you would have to own at least 10 cards to play two concerts, etc.

Keeping this new wrinkle in mind, if we're going to limit the number of concerts, I think I prefer one match daily instead of seven matches weekly. Not counting challenges that are declined/canceled, you would be able to start one concert per day as either challenger or defender, regardless of whether it's over in five minutes or five days. Agree or disagree with this plan?

I'm also tempted to borrow an idea from the Hollywood Stock Exchange (great game if you're looking for another one: link) and how it distributes free H$ every day. A group of participants are randomly pre-selected each day to get H$ if they click on the ads. To apply this to the Market, there would be three random cards assigned to three random participants each day, and if those participants visited the Market that day, they would get the cards in their collections. That way I still get to introduce three cards daily into the general collection, everybody has an equal shot, we can throw out this flawed auction concept, and you have incentive to visit the site daily which makes infrequent players inclined to play regularly. The downside would be that there's less benefit for winning each concert; you're down to the cards you traded (if any) and the Userrank, which is overrated anyway. Agree or disagree with this plan?

Speaking of HSX, I got to thinking about how that game runs. Many thousands of people play it, all starting with the same amount of cash and having the same new stocks introduced daily. Some people play all day long, making adjustments to their portfolio and reading movie news and maximizing their performance, while others like me only check in once a day for the minimum amount of play, and still others remember to check rarely but still get a little fun out of it. As far as I can tell, nobody minds that the first group does well. Why the difference with RB? Is it because we have 20 players instead of twenty thousand? Is it because we "know" each other instead of being anonymous strangers? Or is it because the limited number of auctions, which involve direct competition across all players, means the FPC takes away opportunities from the rest?

I ask as an open question, but imo, it's the latter. I don't mind that Justin plays so many concerts every day or that Steve racks up such a high Userrank (though I'd still like to be tops of course), but I do mind when Justin or Steve win yet another auction that I couldn't. And I still feel that way even though I don't think players with high cards beat players with low cards, which apparently puts me in a tiny minority. Anyway, just some of the thoughts on my mind today.

Justin Woods | August 30, 2007
To apply this to the Market, there would be three random cards assigned to three random participants each day, and if those participants visited the Market that day, they would get the cards in their collections.

I only think that the whole R$ would fade out since we only seem to use it to bid on new cards, and when someone actually sells a card... Now I was thinking a while back in TC, I had mention that we be able to use are R$ to bring into the concert as maybe a bet against a player, adding another step to when we challenge a player...

Just another thought here:

What if you brought back the participation R$ but maybe only in the goo game so that it is even across the board, that way there is no over doing it in the TC.

I do like the idea of playing more then one concert at a time, I wouldn't feel so bad taking a concert for a whole day then. I just like to play the game not sped one day making one move and waiting for the other player to make his/hers move, I get so many things going on in a day I would forget I have a match, plus I like to challenge someone and play them 4 matches at a time if possible to hone in my playing skills...

Yes, I think the HSX works well because of so many players. That and lower end players are fine with the top level being were there at. Not good for are game though that would mean top players against top players and low players against low and there is no fun in that.

Oh and Scott, I will be at that top userank soon...

Russ Wilhelm | August 30, 2007
Wow, lots has happened in the time I've been elsewhere.

Jo Jo - The FPC actually comes from Justins comment above where very few players play more than 3 times a day. It's not about how well you play, but how often, so yeah, you're there. I'm there. Think about it. You play 5 concerts today at a certain level and lose them all. Someone else has the chance to only play one at that same level and, luck be with them, wins. You've both earned the same R$ amount. You've earned the indoctrination into the FPC. If the game has been up for three weeks and 1 day now, then anyone who has played more than 66 games is an member of the FPC. It's not wrong. It just is.

Denise - Fear us not. You are in control. If you feel you're winning too much and playing too low. Raise you play level slightly and see how that goes, you can always change it back if it gets too shakey.

Aaron - If I used the words "falling behind" at any point, I apologize. There is no actually falling behind in this game. What you might see is a power gap (My opinion) in various areas of the game. Playing for the love of the game is what it should be all about, and I salute you. But at the same time, you should not need to be frustrated time and time again, forever. Having a cap on rewardable playing would not affect how often you can play, but may (I can't guarantee it) allow you to realistically compete in the auctions. And if not you, someone else who is not a member of the FPC has a better chance. That two week earning right now is possibly the average going rate for an R4 at auction, and that seems to be rising.

Amy - Thanks for the support. And it's true that, from all appearances, being in the upper echelon does make it easier to argue on the side of fairness. Otherwise you might come across as whining. I don't know why that is, but it is. That's sad. And in the goo game, I'm may be considered a powerful player, but I don't think I'm a fast player, so winning there is a longshot, but who knows, I may get lucky again.

I like the idea of a tournament, with a card as reward. I've got ideas there as well (wouldn't it figure), but will keep quiet unless asked.


....You know, everytime I think I'm done and ready to hit submit, I copy what I've written and refresh the screen. And wouldn't you know it, someone else post something of interest to comment on. So here we go again.

Again forget everything I said affecting the game above. I kept it here because I have been working off and on with it all afternoon, and into the evening. All that work, it's staying, even if it's irrevelant.

See below, this really doesn't matter either, depending - One concert a day rather than seven concerts a week. The only real problem I have with this, and I hope you didn't choose 7 because I used that in my example, that was just a number, is that players like Aaron (Aaron, I don't mean to pick on you, but your a good example of what I'm getting at) miss two days of opportunity. Spread out over a week, he may be able two squeeze those games in before the weekend.

Simultaneous concerts - I'm fine with that as you have it stated.

Do away with R$ for random selection - BRILLIANT!!!!!! I can see the faces on everybody. What about the R$ I've already got? Look, I've lost enough auctions, not because I couldn't have won, but because I underbid. I'm fairly confident that I may have the largest current stock of R$ and could take any single auction. Se La Vie (I think that's how it's spelled) I hate them. I hate them. I hate them. There's no arguing that R$ is what brought this whole thread on to begin with. Everything else stemmed from there. They are evil, I tell you. Now we can Rock. Bring on the Trade Rules. Loose an R5. Maybe become the proud recipient of an R7 tomorow. Without R$, I could care less how often you play, the idea for that was a benefit cap that would produce a sembalnce of equality among auctions. This removes that. Play for cards. Now's the chance to collect one of each card that some have been waiting for. Go from card wealth to poverty and back. Let me hear the chant!


Ok. Perhaps a bit overboard.

The downside is still those players who don't have access from home. It's almost a given that they won't be able to access on the weekends, or their equivelant. Is there a way to solve that? I mean, sure as anything, Aaron (sorry again) will get his first chance on Sunday, and be helpless to do anything about it. Going on vacation or something, that's on you, but he's been working on getting Internet at home for how long now? That's a known factor. Is there any way he could get a reprive until monday to get the card? Maybe it doesn't bother him, and anyone in a similar position. Then this troublesome thoght doen't matter.

Anyway I still like the idea of the side tournament for a reward card, and still have those ideas, if anyones interested.

...............And now Justin commented.
R$ for the sake of having R$. Doesn't play into card bids. I'm ok with that. Maybe it could be used to keep the card sales in play. I'm ok wiht that. I don't see that as being mainsteam. I'm ok with that.

RGambling, Hmmmm, if it can be programmed. Ok.

R$ for goo game participation? There are several players whose names I've only seen in Rock Block. For whatever reason, they aren't interested in the other parts of the site. That would be like telling the rest of us that in order to participate in any part of the site we must participate in all of them. I have my reasons for not participating in them all, as do we all. No, if R$ are to be kept around, it should come strictly from Rock Block.

But keep the swap page. I may not ever use it, you never know. But others are using it and it's an equal rank trade, and I see it being popular, despite my initial inhibitions.

It's 8:30PM CST and see, I've played one concert today. I think I may like talking about Rock Block more than playing it. Hey, there's nothing wrong with that, right? RIGHT????

Russ Wilhelm | August 30, 2007
I got it. See I knew some stupid thought would enter my head when there was nothing els to occupy that space.

Solving the R$ you already have dilema. "The Big, Final, Once In A Lifetime, Limited Time Offer, Blowout Auction." This would take some buy in, I know. And announce prior to any change that does away with the auctions. On a weekday, so that all can participate, hopefully.

Ten random cards up for auction. Spend whatever you have left. It doesn't matter. Bid on one card, bid on ten. It doesn't matter.

You say, but Russ, you already stated that you may have the most R$ currently. Scott, distribute my R$ among everyone else. Better yet, hold a lottery for them. It doesn't matter. If I have them I'll use them, so take them. It doesn't matter.

Anyway there's several auctions left reagardles, and I may be able to spend some there as well.

Justin Woods | August 30, 2007
Okay have we started the mystery card in the auctions now, an R1 for R$102320. This is about were I bow out from auctions all together... That is even to high for me to even think about paying for a R1...

Scott Hardie | August 30, 2007
Me too, Justin.

I think we're pretty close to solving this. I agree with Russ's emphatic support for doing away with R$ and auctions. It looks like the final changes will be programmed this weekend. Other comments? Thanks for your help, everybody.

Tournaments were part of my plan from the beginning, but something I knew I would introduce later as an expansion of the game. I would like to alternate between open tournaments that anyone can play and invitation-only themed tournaments for fun, such as "women of rock" between female players using only bands with female members, that sort of thing. I'd love to hear suggestions for more.

Will write more later, gotta sleep. :-|

Steve West | August 30, 2007
Just for the record, that bid was unintentional. It was late and I guess I hit two keys simultaneously. That was intended to be a relatively low 5 figure bid ($12320) not a ridiculous 6 figure bid ($102320). I foolishly did not notice. Sorry to screw with the first mystery card auction. Damn I feel stupid.

Russ Wilhelm | August 30, 2007
I hear ya Steve, I was debating on whether or not to bid on the R7, when I got called away. I threw in a number I initially thought was competitive, and as I'm trying to get to sleep, my thoughts were saying "Oh man, that bid is too high, I'm a scoundrel". Thanks Matt, for saving me at a moral level. Ill be back later on. Didn't sleep well. I need more coffee.

Denise Sawicki | August 30, 2007
Oh, was the mystery card an R1? I didn't see where it said the rank. I thought Scott might have done away with reporting the rank and put the same minimum bid for each mystery card so I bid kind of high on it myself. (Obviously, I could have ASKED Scott if that was the case but I thought I'd gamble on what might have been my only opportunity to be able to afford a good card). I guess it was an R1 so in that case I'm glad I didn't win it.

Russ Wilhelm | August 30, 2007
I'm back. Slightly less groggy. No, it wasn't my bid that caused me to loose sleep, that only accounts for a 5 to 10 minute delay while I pondered it. I'd have felt bad, but it's not a life changing event. What cuased the deprivation was what you would call my "pet" peeves.
2:31AM - Cat breathing in my face - I can't stand animals near my face.
3:17AM - Cat purring directly into my ear - That's just downright irritating.
3:36AM - Cat throwing up - Now I have to get out of bed and clean the mess.
4:33AM - Daily occurance of cat thinking I should be awake to scratch and pet.
5:30AM - Alarm goes off.

Yep. He was in rare form this morning.

Lori Lancaster | August 30, 2007
[hidden by request]

Aaron Shurtleff | August 30, 2007
Well, as far as losing out on the weekend, I'm good with that. I run the same risk if the GOO game tournament spreads out over a weekend, and it's never been a problem.

And it's C'est le vie. French and all! ;)

Of course, it would be best if I never found out that I missed a chance on a new card by not being around on the weekend. Does that information have to be public? ;)

And I think, after some thought, my problem might be mostly that I'm on a losing streak, and I want to blame it on something outside my ability to change, so that I never have to admit it's me that is causing my new found suckiness.

And I'd keep the market, so that if you randomly "win" a card you already have, you can swap/sell it someone else...although, I guess if R$ goes away, it would have to be swap...

BTW: I wasn't going to say it, but I think it's time for a little levity. Scott, I can't believe, as big of a Def Leppard fan as you know I am, that's the card you take from me after you trounce me! You're a big meany, and I may never play RB again because of you. PBBT!!! :P~~

Russ Wilhelm | August 30, 2007
And they say that English is the only non-phonetic language. No wonder I couldn't find out how to spell it.

I don't see why information about the cards would need to be made public at all until claimed. It's nice to know who gets a card, but you're right. Not knowing you were even up for it, is better than knowing it passed you by.

Dave Stoppenhagen | August 30, 2007
Amy sounds like a rough week, I hope it get's better.

I love the game, wish i had more time to play. Work load has picked up again and side work after hours as well. I hope that I will be able to play again soon.

Dave Stoppenhagen | August 30, 2007
Double post - Stupid computers

Aaron Shurtleff | August 30, 2007
Ugh! French is horrible for being non-phonetic! :P

Imagine how you'd feel if you found out you missed Elvis because you forgot to log in one day! ;)

Amy Austin | August 30, 2007
Ah, well... C'est LA vie... (is actually the correct French for it) -- thanks, though, Dave. I really don't think I have any more leave to spend, but I've been home all morning... trying to be *very* still, because I thought that I might have a case of food poisoning -- it was a stomachache from hell! -- and now that's it seems to have calmed down, I really ought to go back to work. However, this may be my only opportunity to go over to the City Hall to take care of the damn parking violation that I got Monday night -- a "sticker violation", they call it. See, in the summertime, Newport gets all touristy and shit, and naturally, they all use up the street parking that belongs to residential folks SUCH AS MYSELF NOW (and this lack of off-street parking is going to SUCK if it's a nasty winter!!!)... so, of course, there is a sticker that is used from May to September to distinguish this. HOWEVER... there is also a "Guest Pass" rear-view mirror hang tag that can be bought by residents to be used on their guests' vehicle... and guess what! My new landlady has one and provided it to me for just this reason. I guess it's not good enough to keep my WA tag-bearing vehicle from being totally unwelcome, though... and I'm probably going to have to pay the bullshit $25 fine.

(SIGH) It's more than just a week, Dave -- it feels like a personal hell... with a holiday here and there.

Scott Hardie | September 1, 2007
I have so many things I plan to do in the game this weekend that I may as well call it "version 1.1" now. You may have already noticed one recent change: clicking on a card takes you to the Wikipedia entry for that band. (I'd prefer to link to AllMusicGuide instead on principle, but that site has issues.)

Anyway, I'll mention the improvements here as I go along. You have given me many good ideas and I thank you.

Fyi, some parts of the game might temporarily stop working, like certain play rules or the auctions, as I go.

Scott Hardie | September 1, 2007
My list of potential new bands to add has grown well into the four figures, to the point where I'm now comfortable adding one new band to the game each day. I have retroactively applied this to the game since the beginning, resulting in 16 new bands today, and with them comes a flood of promotions. Expect to see many more promotions over the next few months, followed by a gradual tapering-off in the spring.

Another reason for this switch: I have really grown to like the "unknown performer" auction each day, and I intend to continue it beyond the end of auctions. I can't keep up that pace without a new band added daily.

The poll on the Collection Guide will now be run twice weekly.

PS. I expected a lot of promotions, but this one-day flood is kind of silly. If I could do it over, I'd have stretched it out over the next week, but it's too late to go back. Enjoy.

Russ Wilhelm | September 1, 2007
The promotions today are definitely going to add a whole new freshness to the game, having to re-asess our cards. This "Weekend of Change" is a good time for a flood if there was going to be one.

Scott Hardie | September 1, 2007
The Card Exchange is done. Each day, this page will randomly* select three players to receive three cards. One card will be R10-R5, another card will be R4-R1, and the other card will be a card that no active player currently possesses, making it extra valuable. All you have to do to receive your card is visit the page, and of course remain an active player in the game (1 month without play = deactivated).

* I did put a couple of conditions in the random selector: No multiple cards for the same player on the same day, and a player selected for a random card yesterday will not be selected today. This should allow for sufficient variety and still be fair, I think.

After midnight, the Artist Market will disappear, so bid everything you've got in the next few hours. Swaps will now be carried out on the Card Exchange.

Additionally, you can now offer a private swap to a specific player, so that no other players see it until it's over. Aaron, I forgot you were such a Def Leppard fan and I feel bad about taking them from you, so I'll offer you a private swap of them next week.

Justin Woods | September 2, 2007
Do you get to choose the card you want out of the three or does it choose it for you?

Scott Hardie | September 2, 2007
It's preselected at midnight who gets which card.

There's no protection against getting a duplicate card that you already have in your label. I left this out because I wanted it to be a little harder for people to collect every card this way. Besides, most people are just going to swap their duplicates anyway, and that will trickle down the new-card wealth to other players.

Steve West | September 2, 2007
I got mine today! Thanks Santa Scott! I was supposed to get it today, right?

Justin Woods | September 2, 2007
Thanks for explaining....

Amy Austin | September 2, 2007
;-PPPPPPPPpppppllllbbbtt... (can you guess who *didn't* get one?)

Hey, so looking at it...there is one card claimed out of three (to the obviously needy Steve West ;-D) and two unclaimed -- does this mean that the random is player-assigned or visitor-assigned? Meaning... when the other two recipients go to that page, are they already randomly preselected to receive those cards, or are they just randomly lucky when they get there (kind of like the 1,000,000th customer who gets the balloons dropped all over them)? I ask because I'm wondering if there exists the chance for cards to go totally unclaimed or if they will be assigned to whomever is the nth visitor...

(Upon further reflection, I guess this is a dumb question on a couple of levels... if only three people went to the page, or if not enough visitors hit to reach those random numbers, or if one person revisits the page until they get lucky -- though I guess that's preventable, too... well, I guess it's obvious that it's a dumb question.)

Justin Woods | September 2, 2007
Scott just to confirm but the artist market is down for good right no more bids. I hate to think I spent all of my R$ tonight for a R1.

Amy Austin | September 2, 2007
Oh, PLEASE, Justin!!! Not only did Steve get a Day One freebie, but now you get one on Day Two! This is killing me...

Scott Hardie | September 2, 2007
Steve: Yes, you were randomly selected for a card on the first day. Miah Poisson claimed his at the last minute. We'll never know who the third person was. (Ok, I know who the third person was, but we all agreed it was better if you don't know you missed a chance.)

Amy: Yes, it is preselected in advance. At midnight, a script runs automatically that selects three random players, and selects three random cards, and saves them as pairs in the database. Steve was preselected to receive the card that he did, and nobody else could have acquired it instead of him. Cards that are not claimed within 24 hours are lost.

Justin: The market is no more. I also hate to think that you spent all of your R$ for a R1 since you beat my bid by only a couple thousand. :-) The R$ still exists in the database, so if it ever comes back in some future form, you'll have what you didn't spend.

Scott Hardie | September 2, 2007
If it's any consolation, Amy, they didn't come up during in any of my tests. The selection really is random.

Scott Hardie | September 2, 2007
I wrestled with the decision whether to preserve the "comeback cards" option in the Card Exchange. In the Market, you had to go into debt to acquire these cards that helped you become competitive again, but in the Exchange, there wouldn't be any such price. Besides, couldn't you keep visiting the Exchange every day until you won a free card like everybody else?

In the end, my desire to see downtrodden players keep enjoying the game outweighed my concerns. If you find yourself with less than ten cards, visit the Card Exchange to get free replacements.

Scott Hardie | September 2, 2007
Damn it! I just deleted a major chunk of data from the database, breaking all concerts. It's going to take me a little while to restore, so please bear with me. :-(

Scott Hardie | September 2, 2007
I am so indebted to Bluehost right now. Anything bad I said about them, I take back.

I deleted the Play_Rules table, which records that this concert used Same/Plus/Decades and that concert used Undo/Hidden, etc. Without that data, outcomes of all previous concerts were affected, since the same plays in a straight-up match would have resulted in different winners. My own backups of the data were foolishly out of date, so I was staring at the possibility of figuring out and retyping all 927 records myself, which would have taken all day and been full of discrepancies. I am so very lucky that Bluehost offers a nightly backup of my databases, so I was able to restore the data from when Russ and I finished playing last night, and I only had to figure out the terms of the first few matches today. PHEW.

And now, back to programming more features, a whole lot more carefully this time...

Justin Woods | September 2, 2007
Scott I don't know if you read my comment in RB but,Please don't get rid of the decades that is my favorite rule!

Scott Hardie | September 2, 2007
I like it too. It won't leave the game, but it will get a change. More info later today.

Justin Woods | September 2, 2007
Hey Scott I was thinking since we can no longer sell cards is there a way we could swap different cards with a player, like one R2 for two R1's. maybe like an option to trade out one R9 for two R4's and a R1 if this is possible to do since I know some people would like to build up there R1's and I could use some more R2's... Just another thought!!!

Amy Austin | September 2, 2007
Yes, I had that thought -- though rather irrelevant to me right now -- too...

Justin Woods | September 2, 2007
Amy you wouldn't trade one R2 for two R1's at this point? I know there are a lot of players with a limited amount of R1's so I would think that would be a great trade for someone who needs R1's, but I could be wrong especially if you have a low number of R2's...

Russ Wilhelm | September 2, 2007
Here's my two cents. You trade an R2 for two R1's. Yes you've gained two cards and given away a more powerful card. In the concerts that R2 will play against one of those R1's. My philosophy holds that you've just made someone else more powerful, and yourself weaker. I may be alone on that, but I stick to it.

Rather than that sort of swap. Play for the card (one of the intents of the game), or see if you get it during the random Card Exchange. Or to put it in more drastic terms.

I'll swap you five R2's for that R10 your holding.

And if you're willing to do that, I'll find a way to get the R2's.

I'm afraid it just doesn't sit well with me.

Russ Wilhelm | September 2, 2007
Then again, with a swap like that, you won't have to worry about me beating you with that card, because I can no longer play low level games. I've used all my R1's to get the R2's and the R2's to get the R10. You lose an opponent.

Russ Wilhelm | September 2, 2007
Better yet, state what level cards you want to play at. 2 R3's, 2 R1's, and 1 R1. Justin, you've done this to great effect. Why not others? This way your lack of quantity in R1's doesn't affect your overall strategy. If it's the strategy that's got you, try to change it, more R1's won't help.

Scott Hardie | September 2, 2007
Newly programmed: The Achievements system. Russ's earlier comment, about how you seem to unlock rules before you've gotten accustomed to the ones you already have, got me thinking about whether a win-based unlocking system was the best way to go. With the new Achievements system, you must achieve statistical feats in order to unlock new rules, and this can be fun in its own way. I intend to add more rules over time, but this is a great first batch. Have fun collecting every rule!

Achievements can be undone. For instance, one requires that you have a card from each decade in your collection. If you have it, but then you lose your only 1950s card, you will have to get another one before you can play that rule again.

With the achievements system comes one rule that we'll see a lot of soon, Each, which is newly programmed this morning. In my opinion, it's really the most fair trade rule, because you have direct control over which cards stay yours at the end, and the loser can still walk away with some of the best cards by playing carefully. If players get used to it (everybody still prefers None), I think it will become the most popular trade rule.

Russ Wilhelm | September 3, 2007
I like it. Acheive by playing. Winning, losing, swapping,.... it all plays a part in the acheivements. Well done.

Amy Austin | September 3, 2007
Heheheh... and here I thought I wouldn't have *any* rules! Lose twenty concerts gets you "Each" -- ha! I can't wait to see what I get if I lose 100!!! ;-D

Justin Woods | September 3, 2007
Hey Russ I want to trade with you my Journey card for Def Leppard...

Russ Wilhelm | September 3, 2007
Sounds great......

.....Now where can I get a Def Leppard card. Hmmm.....

Justin Woods | September 3, 2007
oops my bad How about Talking Heads or Van Halen or even the ac/dc....

Justin Woods | September 3, 2007
wooohooo I have my rules back, only missing decades now.... Thanks Scott that was easy....

Russ Wilhelm | September 3, 2007
I was debating that but I don't know how well it will play with my current strategy. Van Halens out. They got promoted, which took away a strong spot. I have a familiarity with the other two, so I'd like to hold onto them. This may all change later in the week, due to the new rules though. We'll see.

Justin Woods | September 3, 2007
part of the new rules are to swap 10 times I have and it opened up 3 play rules for me... Well just let me know... If anyone wants to trade a Def leppard, AC/DC, Talking heads, Van Halen for a Journey let me know...

Denise Sawicki | September 3, 2007
I offered my Def Leppard as a private swap to you if you're still interested.

I thought it was trade ten cards as in win or lose ten concerts when a card is at stake? Not something I'm terribly interested in doing :). Swapping, I might do in time.

Justin Woods | September 3, 2007
Thanks Denise for the trade, I really need that help on my left side...

Denise Sawicki | September 3, 2007
Heh heh... glad they were both 80s cards so I didn't lose the Decades rule, that facet didn't even occur to me until just now.

Russ Wilhelm | September 3, 2007
Anybody want Dave Matthews. I got him on the swap page. Probably not, he seems to have the distinction of being the most swapped out card.

Joanna Woods | September 3, 2007
Russ I just traded you.

Russ Wilhelm | September 3, 2007
Thanks, my guess is that you'll put him back once you get a feel for him.

Amy Austin | September 3, 2007

1) I just got Dave as my Block Party freebie, and I was excited...
2) I Love Dave and think he deserves better than R2!!! I will just wait until he's promoted and show All of you -- ;-ppppp

Tony Peters | September 3, 2007
I got rid of Dave this a trade for the BeeGee's which went in a trade for No Doubt, only to get Cheap Trick AGAIN as my Block Party card I traded one of my Cheap Tricks and what to i get? Dave....I can't win

Steve West | September 3, 2007
Sorry about that. I think I was part of that trading. Just trying to improve my own hand.

Scott Hardie | September 3, 2007
It's been a long time coming, but at last you can play multiple simultaneous concerts. Play some long-term matches with the less-frequent players without missing out on some quick pick-up matches with whoever's around.

The system that prevents you from using the same card in two concerts should also prevent you from swapping a card, and vice versa. Please let me know if you find any discrepancies or issues. Thanks.

Tony Peters | September 3, 2007
oh I know it was the circle thing I just wanted to get ride of Dave (who's music I've never really connected with) and instead I get a second Cheap Trick and when i shed it i get Dave back...

Amy Austin | September 4, 2007
WOOHOO -- I finally got a card at the exchange today!!!

Scott Hardie | September 4, 2007
Congrats. :-) I'll be happy to swap you something for it, if you'd like, since I think it's a duplicate for you.

Amy Austin | September 4, 2007
Heheh... I actually had written you in your last concert with Steve -- don't know if you saw it or not, but that was a *really* fast swap!!!

Amy Austin | September 4, 2007
Hmm... I'm starting to get suspicious about these "random" claims in the Card Exchange! ;-)

Justin Woods | September 4, 2007
So Amy what are you going to say if you get one tomorrow too, besides I have gotten two R1's big deal compared to your R4, if I could I would be more then happy too trade both of them for your free R4 card...

Sorry Scott not complaining about my R1's....

Aaron Shurtleff | September 4, 2007
OK, I changed my mind!! Did I miss any free cards this weekend, Scott?!? Oh, and I offered you a swap if you are still intertested in swapping me for Def Lep!!! If that is not acceptable, let me know...

Oh, and I am PROUD not to have the rule where you have to lose 20 concerts. PROUD!!! My achievement will be not having it! :P

Wow! It has been a busy weekend for Rock Block! I hope to take advantage of some of the new features sometime soon... My wife claimed this morning she was calling the cable company!! WOO!!

Amy Austin | September 5, 2007
Justin, it was a josh... and what would I say? Same thing as last time -- WOOHOO!!! ;-D

Screw your pride, Aaron. ;-p

Scott Hardie | September 5, 2007
Aaron, is there a single unclaimed card in the "Recent Free Cards" list that you would not be disappointed to learn that you missed? I would be at all of them, so I decline to answer all such inquiries unless you insist.

Def Leppard is yours. Congrats on the cable Internet at last!

When I laid down to bed last night after three wonderful days of programming tons of new stuff in Rock Block, I thought I was done for a few weeks. But I already have another great feature that I'd like to program this weekend if there's time (more likely next weekend after). This game is as addictive to program as it is to play. Thanks, everybody, for making it so damn much fun.

Amy Austin | September 5, 2007

Aaron Shurtleff | September 5, 2007
I don't have it yet, unfortunately (the cable internet). :(

And I do, insist, now that I see that I am not the winner of the big Mr. Presley today... :( Did I miss out on a free card? You can tell me privately if you have to! ;) In fact, provately might be best! ;D

I think I must have missed out on a really really good one! :)

Aaron Shurtleff | September 5, 2007
Oh. And I got a good feeling about getting one of the free cards tomorrow. :D Call it a hunch!! :)

Mike Eberhart | September 5, 2007
I'm not too sure about the "randomness" of the free cards. If it's the same random code that was used for one of the scoring systems for the Goo game a long time ago, it seem to get stuck on a few players and always give them the bonuses. How can it be that someone could have already scored 2 free cards and some people not. The amount of players involved, the odds of getting two seem pretty high. Yes, I am complaining because I haven't gotten one yet, and I have no real possibility to get a card higher than the current R4's that I already have. It seems to me that the only way I can progress to get better cards is through the promotion process. Anyway, just my 2 cents on this feature.

Lori Lancaster | September 5, 2007
[hidden by request]

Justin Woods | September 5, 2007
I just need to make a statement here, but I think we need the Artist Market and R$ back.... I see all these players who decided to show up after the Artist Market disappeared, But I see they are still not happy with the new system of getting new cards nor am I... I did not want to receive a new card that quickly, I know everyone is just putting in there two cents, but here are mine....

I am thinking we need more then one way to receive cards, bidding I am assuming is gone for ever, but what about the idea of earning R$ to purchase current cards on the collection guide and only allowing R1-R4 for purchasing and still keep the card exchange open... Another Idea is to lower the winning R$ amounts of the concerts or only allowing you to earn R$ through a concert with a card on the line....

There is no easy way of going about this I know, but people are not willing to put there cards on the line just because they are in a random drawing nightly, thus we still have the FPC playing for cards and that I see is going down because we have no other way to build are cards besides the random drawing too...

I hope to see some input from other players and I am sure I will come up with some more soon...

Aaron Shurtleff | September 5, 2007
Man! I gotta go, but I hope whoever has the last card waiting gets in there soon! :)

Until tomorrow!!

And I've been slammed at work, which is why I haven't even played the usual one or two games. It has nothing to do with not getting a card in the random card game. :) I hope to have a few seconds tomorrow!!

Denise Sawicki | September 5, 2007
I kind of like the current system since I'm weirdly fascinated by randomness but I can see how some may not like it. Another thought: give each player a random card to work for each week (or whatever time interval seems more appropriate), but they need to earn a certain number of R$ in order to get it. So if they don't have the R$, they need to play some games. I don't know, it seems like a kind of a compromise but I haven't thought about it much!

Lori Lancaster | September 5, 2007
[hidden by request]

Denise Sawicki | September 5, 2007
I feel kind of similarly about trades, Lori, except that I lose a lot more than you! Anyway I don't see myself ever challenging anyone with trades. There seems to be a statistically significant advantage to being the challenger as opposed to the "challengee" last I checked (which was in the early days of the game, but it seemed there were a lot more wins for the challengers). This may or may not be just because the challenger will tend to select terms that are favorable to them. So I feel really uneasy about accepting any challenges with trades. Besides it totally freaks me out to even play concerts with trades. I won a card that way once but I was completely freaking out the whole time, even after I knew I would win. Basically I'm too nuts to play with trades. People might like to convince me that it can be fun, but I know myself better than that.

EDIT: By saying I feel "similarly" I in no way meant to accuse Lori of having bizarre issues like me. :-) I just meant I would feel bad about taking cards, in addition to my other "issues" with it...

Lori Lancaster | September 5, 2007
[hidden by request]

Justin Woods | September 5, 2007
So far I am starting to see RB has two levels of players one level of players play the game waiting for there random card and never been challenged or challenging for a card, then there is the infamous FPC who started the new system playing for cards and know starting to back off due to only receiving cards randomly. I know that I am less likely to be so gun-ho about playing for cards since my hard loss of four cards last night and my only reason for that is, it really affected some of my strategy. so now I think I will step down from the FPC to join everyone else and play but not for cards until I win enough random cards... I hate to say that because I love to make challenges for cards, but at this rate I will need to do this so that I stay competitive with other players...

Denise Sawicki | September 5, 2007
Well the defender also will keep one card in their color by any rules I've seen so far. :) The last card played will stay the same color. But it does seem more difficult being challenged since you need to have 5 cards in your color on the board in order to tie.

Lori Lancaster | September 5, 2007
[hidden by request]

Justin Woods | September 5, 2007
Lori - does this mean you will play for a card?

Lori Lancaster | September 5, 2007
[hidden by request]

Justin Woods | September 5, 2007
Lori - Sorry for the misunderstanding...

Lori Lancaster | September 5, 2007
[hidden by request]

Justin Woods | September 5, 2007
I wish everyone would use TC to tell other players how they feel about the game, maybe we all would come to some kinda of compromise, yeah wishful thinking I know....

Lori Lancaster | September 5, 2007
[hidden by request]

Justin Woods | September 5, 2007
Thanks two down we only need a few more players to agree...

Lori Lancaster | September 6, 2007
[hidden by request]

Justin Woods | September 6, 2007
Yes Lori I agree, but maybe stop earning R$ after game five so that you could still play that opponent until the next week of play... This way a players could always play even if it's against someone the play quiet a bit but just not receive R$... This I could see working very well for all player, Lori I think you found the perfect compromise between all players aspects of the R$ in the game...

Russ Wilhelm | September 6, 2007
It seems there are several issues on the board today. Y'all still love me, don't ya.

Randomness that's not so random - I think it's still to early to tell. We've only had five days. So steve got a card on the first day, Justin on the second. There's nothing to show that there is a problem. If that was the case would not Eric have gotten one on the third day, and I should have received one today. Justin has recieved two cards already in the Exchange. Roll a 6 sided die a few times. It's perfectly feasible for the same number to show up more than once. I say give it more time. Odds are you'll get a card within the next ten or eleven days, if you visit the Exchange. If it truely looks unrandom, know that I'll be there with you.

R$ to buy cards - This would only bring back the original problems, plus bring in the added problem of flooding the number of cards in play, with the FPC again buying up the bulk share of cards. Three additional cards a day is plenty. A system of relative equal distribution keeps players in check. If you're looking to build up your cards collection, go with the original primary intended method, stated time and again, which is.........

Playing with Trades - This is part of what the game is all about, and remember, it is a game. When you join into the game you should expect to put cards on the line. It's mentioned in the rules. No one should feel bad about taking cards from another player. If there is anyone you don't feel right about challenging for cards, find someone you care less about.

Care less about me. I may turn you down if I think the odds are too much against me, but I'll make you this deal. When I think I'm ready, I'll let you know and you can choose to challenge me, be challenged by me, or decline entirely. Then we can go through the whole process again. For myself, one trade rule a week is more than enough. The rest is relaxed competition.

But....Do so only when you are ready. As near as I can tell, there is no achievement for taking cards or losing cards with ??? number of players, at least not yet.

Justin, and don't take this too harshly, just a lesson from the other side.

If there are two levels of players, it is because the game started off the way it did. The FPC was fast and furious in the attempt to gain as much in as little time possible. If this is wrong, then why didn't we back off of the auctions and let others have a fair chance. You said it yourself that you are backing off because you are now only receiving new cards on a random basis, and playing more doesn't make the randomness come any sooner.

so now I think I will step down from the FPC to join everyone else and play but not for cards until I win enough random cards... I hate to say that because I love to make challenges for cards, but at this rate I will need to do this so that I stay competitive with other players...

Again, the number of cards, seems to dictate how you will play. With 27 (I just counted them) cards in your hand, you don't feel competitive? Yet you're upset that players with 11 cards won't put those cards on the line against you. A loss of a card to them is still almost three times as bad as it is for you.

You can play less and remove yourself from the FPC, but you can never step down,. The FPC isn't better, or above, the other players in any capacity, other than we've either been more agressive in playing and/or had more time to contribute to playing. I've played against those players, and my record against them is not that great. I know you didn't mean it that way, but please be careful.

Don't play with the sole goal of dominating the game. Move too quickly and you'll find you too soon have nothing to look forward to. Play it for fun. Everything else will fall into place in due time. Look at the acheivements page and pick where you want to go next, and ease into it. Back off if you will, but the game needs aggressive players just as much as it needs non-agressive player.

Joanna Woods | September 6, 2007
I have to say that everyone considers me part of the FPC and I came into the game late. I have made my way from the bottom to where I am by simply playing and feeling out how others play. I didn't play for the money I played for the experience. I didn't care about the auctions, yes it was nice when I won one, I cared about playing. The problem I see is that players don't want to play for cards and that leaves them at a disadvantage b/c they play the same cards over and over. That leaves it open for others to figure that out and take advantage of it. Playing for cards is scary for me but I will do it to freshen up my hand. I know we can always swap cards but sometimes that is difficult b/c others may not want to swap with you. Just my thoughts.

Amy Austin | September 6, 2007
Russ, thank you for replying to Justin with my thoughts/feelings on it... saves me a lot of typing! ;-)

Amy Austin | September 6, 2007
Also... I already stated that the "randomness" comment I made (since I was the first to say it) was a playful kid -- like Russ, I do realize that 5 days is too early to judge such things. I just found it irritatingly amusing (or amusingly irritating?) that the first few cards were distributed as they were... and I also said that I would happily celebrate getting another so quickly.

Mike Eberhart | September 6, 2007
And yet again, no free card for me. I've checked everyday, just like you're supposed to. I'll give this about 3 more days. If nothing by then, then I'm done with RB. I'll stick with the Goo game and live happily ever after.

Scott Hardie | September 6, 2007
Aaron: Sonic Youth coulda been yours. Sorry man.

Randomness: I guarantee you, it's 100% random. Haven't you all heard of the gambler's fallacy? Justin getting a card two days ago has no bearing on whether he gets a card today. You not getting any card yet at all has no bearing on whether you get a card today. If you'd like me to change it so that everybody comes up an equal number of times, I can do that, but don't expect it to work that way at the moment. To show I'm not hiding anything, here's the exact database query that the site uses to choose three users every night at midnight:

SELECT * FROM RB_Details WHERE RB_Active=1 AND Free_Card_Today=0 ORDER BY RAND() LIMIT 3

It gets all RB players who are active participants in the game and who did not receive a card today, in random order, limited to three results. You can run this query a hundred times, and get back a hundred different trios of three players.

Full disclosure: Early this morning, I added one additional condition to the random selector for the three cards (not the three players). Now, it will not select any of the ten most-owned bands, instead choosing three from among the other 130+ bands. This is my way of saying "enough Dave Matthews and Cheap Trick cards, already." Which ten are the most-owned is based on what's in the database, not something that I declare.

And for the record, the GOO randomness was also 100% random. Like some of you, I also got annoyed that certain people kept coming up for bonuses, so I sought out a different scoring system (it was unfair in principle anyway), but that outcome wasn't the fault of the computer program that selected them. If you flip a coin ten times and get 8 heads and 2 tails, you don't have a faulty coin; it just happened that way. That's what randomness is.

Return of auctions: I will keep from saying more because I'm at the end of a rough day (12 hours of work followed by 4 hours of banging my head against my monitor trying to fix a friend's site), but honestly, I'm kind of frustrated by calls for the return of the Artist Market, and so soon. I got rid of the auctions because you people told me you didn't want them. It took me all day Saturday to build the Card Exchange to replace them. Now you want them back? Oy.

The suggestions for doing both the Card Exchange and the Artist Market better are good so far, and appreciated. Please continue to discuss, and I will consider further when I can devote my full attention.

Challenger vs. defender: It varies depending on the play rules and on the ten cards chosen for the concert, but generally speaking, I believe it's better to be the defender. You get the first move that sets everything else in motion (have a weak left flank? open on stage right), you get the final chance to capture cards unanswered, and you're the only one who can score a rock block. What does the challenger get? Besides that unplayed card (a handy way to save a card from the Each rule), the challenger gets to set the terms, and yes, an experienced player who knows his/her bands can leverage that to their advantage.

Considering that in the original version of the game, the challenger got all of the above and the defender was just along for the ride, I think this adjustment of roles has struck a reliable balance. And that final play is going to mean a great deal more to the defender once a certain play rule comes out of hiding. Anyway, so far, we have indeed had more challengers win, but there's also many more cases of the agressive/experienced players challenging the infrequent novices than the other way around.

To me, it's like when you split a big piece of cake with a friend: One of you cuts it, and the other one chooses which half. Quick, easy, and fair, right? Challenger gets to shape the match, but defender gets the sweeter half.

Two kinds of players: I see what you mean, Justin. The game is supposed to be balanced so that everybody has an equal shot, whether they have 10 cards or 100. I seem to belong to a tiny minority of people who think the game succeeds at that goal, but I still believe it. If you're intimidated by the advanced players, well shit, don't play 'em – there are twice as many sometimes players are there are FPC members. But to stop playing at all doesn't make sense to me. I may be in a grouchy mood right now, but honestly, I want to hear whatever it is that will make the game more fun for you so that you keep playing. I don't put all this work into it for nothing.

Limiter: I see your reasoning Lori, but I fear that limiting the number of concerts you can play against a given opponent will result in people leaving the game more than it will result in people playing a wider variety of opponents. Dave, if you didn't have Lori to learn the ropes against for your first few matches, would you have stuck around? The Martin brothers play each other a lot and have gradually begun to take on strangers, but they wouldn't have done so from the beginning, I think. Just my suspicion; I have no idea if I'm right. :-\

Trades: Everything Russ said is right on. I would take one of his ideas further: There's a "Decline" button on every challenge. If you worry that the other person can't handle a trade, but you're in the mood for risk, challenge them and let them decline if they want. Has anybody yet had hard feelings that their challenge was declined? Sometimes people will accept terms they don't like and come to regret it (sorry Denise), but generally, I think this is the safest way. And if you fear they'll be too intimidated to decline, offer a gentle comment like "no hard feelings if you're not in the mood for trade." Works like a charm. Maybe you could even offer them to rechallenge on different terms.

I didn't get to mention this earlier because things got away from me, but my original plans did call for a "negotiate" feature in each challenge, that would let you adjust the terms and re-offer it to the sender. I cut this for time because it seemed like an unnecessary extra convenience: You can decline and immediately click "Start a Concert" if you want similar terms. And if you believe that the challenger has it better anyway, then that's even more reason. :-D

Achievements: This system was set up in part to encourage people to think of the game as a process of developing yourself as a player and as a collector. It takes time. You can rush out ahead of the pack with the highest Userrank by playing all the time, but rushing through all of the achievements just means it's over faster, like watching a movie on fast forward. I have plans for more achievements in the future, so don't expect a final destination at the end of this journey. There is no way to win the greater game, only to play it to your own satisfaction and to have fun..

Thanks for continuing to discuss and play the game. It's better for having every one of you in it.

Russ Wilhelm | September 6, 2007
I like the Random feature of the Card Exchange. I wouldn't want it to be that everyone gets a card an equal amount of times. Not knowing makes it better when it happens. I know with this system, I may never receive a card, but I'm fine with that, because I believe my oddds are the same as anyone else.

It wasn't the auctions themselves that was so bad. It was the unlimited play benefits that corupted it. I prefer the random selection, but would not be opposed to the auction if there was a limit to how many concerts could be played for R$. Selecting the mid-range of players frequency would be ok. That way the majority of the players have an equal shot at the cards, and they will think of the true value of the card to them. If they want that R1 bad enough they can put everything towards it, but less frequent players have that same oppotunity. It may take several days or weeks for even the FPC to build up to an R9, but that makes that a goal to reach for, and not just another card taken just because they could. I think that this would also help detemine promotions, as more the more low level cards will be auctioned off than higher cards, due to attainability. I still prefer the random selection, but this is an option I could live with.

I gotta go to work now, so I'll write more later.

Denise Sawicki | September 6, 2007
No hard feelings about it really Scott, I know you said at the time I could turn it down but I wanted to be a good sport or something. I'm sorry if I've been a bad sport. I just want to really discourage anyone from challenging me with trades again because if they do it is so hard for me to turn them down. I have to really think about my opening strategy before playing more! There is clearly something VERY wrong with how I open my game because I am always finding myself with no way to even tie after I have played 2 cards...

Also, yes, it's way too early to make claims that the card exchange isn't random.and you've done great work on the game, really! I guess like they say you can never make all the people happy all the time :)

Aaron Shurtleff | September 6, 2007
Well, I'm still waiting for a card! ;) I thought sure Scott would fudge the results for a loyal user's birthday, but I guess Scott is above such shenanigans! Nuts! ;)

And missing Sonic Youth is much better than missing Elvis! :O Although I would have liked to see Sonic Youth join my stable! :)

And all of my complaints have been totally humor-filled, which I hope is coming through well. I wasn't frustrated (much) by not getting to buy cards at auction. I'm not frustrated about not having been the lucky random card winner (except for the one I missed...and I'll probably come up again this weekend with my luck...*grumble*). I'm enjoying the game, and I will continue to do so. I may end up being the person to learn the new rule that only comes from being reduced to 4 cards or less and having to wait for the luck of the free card giveaway to get back in the game. BUt it'll all be OK. We're here for the fun, right? Right?

Not that I suspect there's actually a rule waiting for the first schmuck who loses that badly (but I guess there could be!)

And, also, in response to an earlier comment, I think I have made my feelings about how I feel about the game known over here in TC. I'm in it to a) get all the cards, and b) have fun. That's it. Anything that gets me to those two goals I like. Anything that stops me is bad.

Seriously, no love on the birthday, Scott? Man, that's cold! :P


Aaron Shurtleff | September 6, 2007
OH MY GAWD!!! I am so stupid! I confused two different bands, and then made an erroneous comment! Woo Hoo! I am dumb.

If you saw the first version of this post, congrats!

Russ Wilhelm | September 6, 2007
If auctions come back in a fashion of what I stated above, the other potential issue is how to deal with multiple players bidding the same amount. I'm not too thrilled with the first come, first serve notion. That would force players to stay up until midnight just to see if they want any of the cards on the auction. It might be a better option to use mini tournaments to decide the victor in those cases. Again with pre-defined card rules, as long as those rules have been achieved by all players of the tournament. Once in a while, trade rules could be played, not too often, but periodically to entice players into using them. You would still have the option to decline for whatever reason (ie. save you R$ for another time), and this would remove you from the tournament.

I could be more detailed, but I thinkd that's enough for a rough outline.

Justin Woods | September 6, 2007
I like where Russ is heading with the new and improved idea for the the auctions...

1.) Only allowing X amount of games for R$ per player in a concert, then open play after the have used up there R$ play.

2.) If there is a tie in the auction you must compete in a tournament concert to determine the winner fro that card.

I think these two are the biggest concerns...

Russ Wilhelm | September 9, 2007
So here I am, sitting around, doing nothing other then waiting for a concert to finish, looking around at the different pages, when another idea hits me.

This one deals with playing with Trade Rules. In reality, it's two ideas from the same thought.

There's been discussion about wanting or not wanting to play with Trade Rules. I get the feeling that some players, not to name names (Justin), seem to feel a bit cheated, by having to play only a hand full of other players if they want to play for cards. So how do we entice other players to play for cards?

The idea hit me when I was looking at the Recent Free Cards section of the Card Exchange. In one weeks time there have been eight cards unclaimed, which now means the amount of cards entering the game for play is less then originally planned, which in the large scheme of things, doesn't detract from play, and aren't even missed, unless your one of those who didn't get one of those cards. But why not get those cards into play, and at the same time attempt to get more players to use Trade Rules?

Idea #1: Put the unclaimed cards into their own pool instead of recycling them. Then once a month or whenever there's enough unclaimed cards, whichever comes later, hand them out to players who have risked their cards in that period, would receive one card from that stockpile.

Idea #2: Same as #1, but only those players that have lost cards would receive one card.

So that no one would think they got treated unfairly when the cards are given out, rather then passing out a random card, assign each card a random number. The cards would remain hidden, the players choose a number, that's the card they get, and the number is removed from the choices. You may loose an R3 and receive only an R1, but you may also become the recipient of the hallowed R10. only have to play a single concert with a Trade Rule. Any Trade Rule.

This may attract some players who wouldn't normally play with Card Rules to do so. At the same time, it may satisfy somewhat, the appetite of those players who are wanting and risking to get more cards. And in addition, doesn't add more cards then are currently being released through the Random Card Exchange.

So what happens if a every player looks at the Card Exchange every day and no cards go unclaimed? Honestly, I don't know. I can't make changes, only implant notions. So perhaps this idea spawns another, better idea. So if you have ideas, bring them out. That is, as long as that idea is not to ban me from posting about Rock Block, cause then I'd be crushed.

Anyway, this has taken several hours and several sittings to finish, my concert is long over, and my thoughts pretty much written. I guess that's it. ........for now.

Amy Austin | September 9, 2007
I think Darrell has close to that much unread mail in his inbox too! I can ask for an exact figure if you want a contest. All spam though. I hope yours is spam or mailing lists and not something you actually need to read, or that is quite frightening :)

By the way I also meant to second Aaron's suggestion of a round robin with a card as a reward. It would be cool enough to have the possibility of getting a card without risking any cards.

EDIT: He has 9268. See I can still find pointless things to talk about even when I'm not earning R$ for it :P

Totally off topic, but I was just looking at my mailbox numbers when I remembered this and realized that I don't think I ever replied! Surprising, since I think you probably already know how competitive I am and how much I *love* a contest!!! (Until I lose, anyway... ;-DDD)

Anyway... my number is 10,138 -- higher than even I thought... ;-)

Amy Austin | September 10, 2007
WOOHOO!!! Finally! Ten wins!!! Now, I just need one more in order to surpass Aaron Shirtless. >;-D

Russ Wilhelm | September 10, 2007
Your gonna love your achievement. That's what I meant when I said that you'd find out soon enough. It'll change your whole gaming adventure.

Oh yeah, congratulations.

Amy Austin | September 10, 2007
No achievement there... just the satisfaction of reaching 10, finally. Now, my matches with the Devil, on the other hand... >;-)

Aaron Shurtleff | September 10, 2007
Well, then, Amy, you want to surpass me, do it by beating me! :P

Amy Austin | September 10, 2007
(rubbing hands together) yes... just as I'd hoped...

Denise Sawicki | September 11, 2007
Kiss fans, now's your chance to swap me your R5 for Kiss, most preferably something with a large number on the top or left but beggars can't be choosers.

EDIT: Thanks for the swap Justin, and I guess I didn't need to be so impatient and make an announcement like that...

Dave Stoppenhagen | September 12, 2007
I would like to say that I would have but probably not. It certainley made me want to stick around longer to learn more about it. I wish I could play more, unfortunately with my work schedule and a 1 year old that really limits my time online. Your site is one of the few I visit when I can, thanks for giving me something to check out often and play a quick game when I have the time

Lori Lancaster | September 12, 2007
[hidden by request]

Denise Sawicki | September 14, 2007
How about the possibility of starting a challenge where you state your terms but don't state your opponent? If someone comes along who is able to accept and wants to accept, they will... Could make it easier for terminally shy folk to go about starting challenges without feeling like they're picking on someone or perhaps setting terms that the other person will find unfair... Need I add the standard disclaimers to please just ignore me if I'm being annoying?

Russ Wilhelm | September 15, 2007
Great idea, Denise. That would be a nice addition.

Russ Wilhelm | September 15, 2007
The Player Poll appears to have a problem. I made my choice and it doesn't go away. So either I haven't really made a choice, or my choice now has a real good chance to be the next active card, as I've made multiple submissions.

Scott Hardie | September 15, 2007
Russ's issue with the poll is fixed. That apostrophe in The O'Jays was confusing the database. I can't wait until the band +/- comes up.

Amy Austin | September 17, 2007
I think it's an excellent suggestion, too, Denise!

Scott... is this a site thing or an on-my-end thing that my cards' pics seem to be appearing at random???

Scott Hardie | September 17, 2007
It's on your end. I've logged in as you and browsed around and had no trouble. But that doesn't mean I can't do something to help. Check your email, please.

Aaron Shurtleff | September 27, 2007
Ooh! This is the toughest band choice to date! ELP, Saigon Kick, or Warrant! My desire to see bad eighties hair bands may be too strong! ;)

EDIT: OK! The story in Saigon Kick's bio made them the clear winner. "You just don't [defecate] on people!" :D

Denise Sawicki | September 27, 2007
Never mind, I'm a complete freaking moron...

Denise Sawicki | September 27, 2007
I think I better post again so as to hide the idiocy of my last comment.

Joanna Woods | September 30, 2007
Thank you for the trade Scott....I see you got tired of me trying to win it off you. :-)

Denise Sawicki | October 4, 2007
I probably don't want to hear the answer to this, but is everybody mad at me and Darrell for not letting his account expire? I know he never plays anybody, he *really* hates competition even more than I do... So people are probably mad that he got a good card...

Lori Lancaster | October 4, 2007
[hidden by request]

Aaron Shurtleff | October 4, 2007
Well, it doesn't bother me. He's still eligible, so if he hadn't claimed the card, it would have sat there and gone unclaimed, and that would have been worse! :( I, personally, hate to see the good cards go by, and would rather someone get them. Since he won't play me, and kick my booty with MJ, it doesn't bother me.

That said, if he ever does want to play a match... ;)

Lori Lancaster | October 4, 2007
[hidden by request]

Denise Sawicki | October 4, 2007
I keep trying to get him interested in playing... The more random and less competitive it becomes, the more interested he is in playing, but to get all those rules to make things more random, he'd need to play.

Aaron Shurtleff | October 4, 2007
It is a catch-22, as they say! :)

Well, I'm mostly competitive (mostly), so I might not be the best opponent, but...

Justin Woods | October 4, 2007
I am going with yes, upset I seem to remember a game were Russ challenged him and you told Russ he is not going to play any more and I never saw his account expire or get deleted but today he gets an R10. It's bad enough he wont play anyone, but now he gets to sit on a awesome card that can be well used for other players, I would of preferred it go unclaimed so that when Scott does his tournament games for unclaimed cards it would be up for grabs.... I am not that upset and I am just speaking my mind, just ignore me, I am only bitter because I want it for my achievement...

Lori Lancaster | October 4, 2007
[hidden by request]

Justin Woods | October 4, 2007
4, R1 R1 R2 R5, but I am not upset with the system here so I don't see how that matter!

Steve West | October 4, 2007
It's OK with me. I'd like to play Darrell sometime except don't let me know if you're wearing that awesome jacket at the time. That is one intimidating coat. (shiver).

Scott Hardie | October 5, 2007
For the record, Darrell does still play matches, as recently as last weekend.

Me, I have no problem at all with him getting cards. He's a legitimate player even if he only faces Denise, and if getting good free cards gets him to stick around and enjoy the game more, all the better. But, I confess to some bias, since I have met him and like him.

Like others here, I would be happy to play him in a totally friendly, who-cares-who-wins match if he ever changes his mind. I would like to unlock achievements, sure, but I can play just for fun too, as many of us can.

Russ Wilhelm | October 5, 2007
I agree with both Lori and Justin on this. If you're not going to play, then don't. It's that easy.

If Rock Block is not Darrell's thing, there's nothing wrong with that. Let his account go into dormancy. If, in the future, he decides that he wants to start playing, everything he has now will still be there, he would only need to make a challange and he's back in the game, right where he left off.

If he has no plans to play, then yeah, all he's really doing is siphoning cards from those who could use them, for whatever plans they have. Doesn't matter if it's R10 or R1.

So if you're in it for the cards, then in the words of the late, great Freddie Mercury "Come, Come, Come Play The Game, Play The Game, Play The Game, Play The Game". Otherwise, what's the purpose?

Lori Lancaster | October 5, 2007
[hidden by request]

Justin Woods | October 5, 2007
Sorry to make you think I was upset, and I am not I agree that the non active players don't play that many games but they are there every night to check and see if they won a card, that is my biggest complaint... I enjoy the game but why have all achievements if we can't accomplish them? I feel that most of these achievements can only be earned with luck now... or wait long enough with the card exchange...

Denise Sawicki | October 5, 2007
Yeah... so sorry.. it is all my fault, I kept trying to convince him to play and he tried to oblige me. I just selfishly wanted to play someone that I know. But he's finally convinced me that he really doesn't want to play so we will delete his account tomorrow. He can trade out any cards anyone really wants, beforehand, unless that is seen as unfairly influencing things by adding "new" cards. But someone might want the Linkin Park at least and that was mine originally. Sorry about the Michael Jackson. It won't happen again. I should probably stop playing myself too since I am siphoning free cards off from the serious players myself... I know there's animosity against people who won't play for trade... sorry... I feel kinda sick at causing this,

Anyway Scott he thinks the game is really cool, he is just not into competition and our computer connection is too slow here and not really worth the $50 a month extra to fix it...

Justin Woods | October 5, 2007
You should not feel like that Denise I don't think anyone was that upset, and I hope I am not the cause for all of this...

Russ Wilhelm | October 5, 2007
Ah lad, that's where your mistaken, for it is not luck or the exchange that will earn the achievements. It is playing and patience. It's that patience part that's tugging at your intestines, isn't it? Well we were all young once.

But Lori is correct. More people, less chance. So if you're gonna be in the pool, be in the game.

But Denise, don't pull out. You are playing. Perhaps not for trade, but you play everyone, and that does benefit us all with developing strategy. There's no achievement for taking cards from x number of players so none can complain about that.

As far as Darrell is concerned, you don't have to delete his account, just let it ride out. The fact that he was willing to play because you wanted him to, that's a very nice thing, or as my grandma would put it, he's a keeper. If he get the urge somewhere down the line, he's all set and we would welcome his return. Let him keep his cards so as not to unbalance the status quo.

Justin Woods | October 5, 2007
Well then Russ someone would have to play me for an R10 for me to get two achievements one of each rank and win one of each rank so yes I think luck comes to play for those achievements.

Russ Wilhelm | October 5, 2007
But, when the game was in it's infancy, the same could have been said about an R5, or an R4 for that matter, so give it time, and the R10 will eventually be on the table.

Denise Sawicki | October 5, 2007
I meant to say "swap" any cards someone wants rather than "trade"... I already knew it would be unfair for me to win the cards off him. Anyway... Scott, is there a pressing reason why the card exchange has to be a fixed number of cards per day rather than a fixed percentage chance of winning a card for each person? It's just a thought... if the game ever got a lot more popular people might not like how their chance of winning a card declined. Also I don't like thinking how my randomly winning cards (of which I've probably won more than my share) is upsetting others and decreasing their chances...

Anyhow we should delete Darrell's account so I don't get tempted to try to get him to play me with new rules in the future.

Scott Hardie | October 5, 2007
How is Darrell less entitled to free cards than the rest of us?

If I choose not to play against somebody because I don't like them or because they consistently beat me or because we like to play with different rules or because I just don't feel like it, those are all legitimate reasons. In Darrell's case, his set of excluded opponents is everybody except Denise, but he's entitled not to play you if he doesn't feel like it. I fail to see how he's breaking some kind of rule or harming things for the rest of us.

There is no achievement that requires victory over absolutely every player, so Darrell doesn't hold you back from earning achievements by not playing against you. I'd like to unlock that 25-opponents rule too, so I know it's a bummer waiting for more new players to come along, but give it time. Unlocking all of the achievements today would make for a boring game tomorrow.

I explained this before when it was auctions, but it's still true: The free cards in the Card Exchange are not there for you, they're there for the playing community in general. Darrell is part of the playing community through Denise. Even if they only played each other and refused to play outsiders, they would still be of use to each other, and thus they'd still be worthy of cards. The only people who don't receive cards are those who refuse to be part of the playing community by sitting on their free cards and not playing concerts – after two weeks of no play, they drop out.

Besides the dropouts, nobody is more or less deserving of the free cards than anybody else. Back in the auctions system, there was all kinds of complaining that the frequent players got new cards and the rare players did not – so now that we've come up with a balanced system to avoid that, isn't it incorrect to argue that frequent players like Russ and Justin deserve new cards more than rare players like Darrell?

Scott Hardie | October 5, 2007
Here I am, getting wrapped up in the debate and ignoring its originator. Denise, please don't delete Darrell's account. This isn't Justin's game or Russ's game, and he doesn't hurt them by playing. The game belongs to all of us, to have fun with and enjoy. I want you and Darrell to keep enjoying it as often as you like, for as long as you like. I will accept whatever decision you make, but I hate to see either of you turn away from something that gives you pleasure, even if it brings some undue anxiety with it.

Amy Austin | October 5, 2007

I admit to finding it irksome that a "rare player" should happen to win an R10 card... but definitely no more so than seeing a top-ranked player win *any* card -- and none of that is even as annoying as all this commotion provoking one, perhaps even two, (appreciated) players to quit the game! How much fun is that for the rest of us if playership goes down -- even if it isn't someone that we ever get to challenge or play???

This makes me wonder about a couple of things: 1) If the total number of players goes down (and worse, continues), then how good does it feel to be at the top of a dwindling pile? If it feels good, then you might be a little too competitive (and yes, I am a *very* competitive person... who recognizes when that tendency is causing problems!) -- particularly if one is turning away offers to play for the sake of playing... because those offering to play aren't ready and/or willing to play by cutthroat conditions for the specific purpose of unlocking the Precious Achevements; and 2) if Achievements are seen as a checklist to be completed as quickly as possible -- instead of the element of mystery and intrigue that they are intended to be -- then what is the reward in that? And what happens when that checklist has been blazed through??? Is the act/knowledge of having "achieved" all there is to achieve in the game satisfying enough to keep someone playing against the rest of the poor, huddled masses? Or will this fully accomplished Achiever get bored and a) drop out, or b) pressure Scott into creating as many new Achievements as will hold out for the Over-Achiever... thereby leaving the rest of us who already think that the current goals seem so far off as to never be totally attainable -- and thus provoking even more player attrition... by simple virtue of disgust/resentment...

Any way you slice it, Achievements impatience = fewer players = less fun for *everyone* involved.

*SIGH* I feel (a little) better now...

Justin Woods | October 5, 2007
Okay, my last and final comment about this, I know this is not mine or Russ's game, I started my comments based off of one thing that I had read in a match that Darrell no longer wanted to play.... That was it, how this got so deep I don't know, I don't want anyone to be deleted either. I also don't feel that players who play more should only get cards, only if you don't want to play then don't, that was the only point I was making when I got on this topic.

Amy Austin | October 5, 2007
Not an invalid point, but also not one well taken in light of the rest of what was said...

Aaron Shurtleff | October 5, 2007
Hey, now! Just because I use the Achievements as a checklist to be completed doesn't make me a bad person! Has anyone's enjoyment of the game been hampered by my challenging people I haven't beaten yet, just so I can unlock the rule for beating 10 different people? I doubt it! I think burning through the Achievements is fun, so :P~

I, too, don't want anyone to feel that they have to go away or delete their account or anything. I just want everyone to enjoy the game as they want to. If that means burning through the Achievements, fine. If that means only playing games for no trades, fine. If that means bad puns about "milking the cow", less fine, but still fine. Can't we all just get along?

Russ Wilhelm | October 5, 2007
At what point did I say I deserved more cards than anyone who doesn't play as often as I do?

My point is that if Darrell doesn't want to play, he shouldn't have to. Denise implied that he really doesn't want to play, and that he only does so for her sake. I find that noble. I could care less what the rest of us think or feel. What does Darrell want. That's what matters. If it brings him some level of pleasure than he should keep playing, if not, then why go through the motions? If making Denise happy makes him feel good, then that's reason enough for me.

And unlike Justin, I disagree with you Scott. This is my game. And Amy's game, and Darrells game, and Denises game, and Justin's game, and Lori's game, and your game, and about 16 or so other folks game, until it turns it back on us, or we on it.

Russ Wilhelm | October 5, 2007
Aaron, you can use me as your tackling dummy anytime you feel like, but you'll have to wait till I get back from my trip. Mid next week sound ok?

Lori Lancaster | October 5, 2007
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | October 5, 2007
Justin and Russ: Sorry if I offended anybody or came on too strong. We're looking at this from different angles. I think Darrell likes playing, based on certain comments. Justin, you think Darrell doesn't want to play at all. Russ, you think he's only playing to make his wife happy. So our disagreements stem from that. And now I understand why you both said what you said, and I wish I had understood that sooner. Sorry again.

Aaron: Trying to unlock all of the achievements is good. Rushing to unlock them all right away and getting impatient is not. I don't think anybody has that attitude exactly, but there's a vibe sometimes, and a tendency to think that way that I'd like to nip in the bud.

Amy: Well thought through.

Lori Lancaster | October 5, 2007
[hidden by request]

Amy Austin | October 5, 2007
Yeah, I saw that, too... (grrrr ;-p) -- and what about MJ being up again today??? In light of all the current controversy, if this is truly random, then it's the weirdest random appearance in the Card Exchange to date!

Scott Hardie | October 5, 2007
I was struck by that too. Lots of R10s lately, or maybe it just seems that way because they're so prominent. But the people assigned to them don't always stop by to collect.

Congrats on the card, Lori.

Lori Lancaster | October 5, 2007
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | October 5, 2007
Then you haven't seen MJ in play yet. But at the rate he's apparently being distributed, it shouldn't take you long. :-)

Russ Wilhelm | October 5, 2007
Not so much offended. But I am, though maybe it's just not noticable, very passionate about the game. Not the playing, don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, but rather the game as a whole. The concept, the strategy, the people. As I've said, I'm an introvert by nature (and no, that has nothing to do with my dark visage), and at first I had to force myself to post comments, and now look at me. I hope that I have beneficial here, and that I continue to be so. You all have to me, and I thank you.

Russ Wilhelm | October 5, 2007
Congratulations Lori!!

Amy Austin | October 5, 2007
Yeah... congrats, Lori. >;-p

And I, for one, have enjoyed finally putting... a voice, anyway... to your name, Russ -- I don't think I'm alone in that, and I enjoy your RB attitude as well. An introvert, huh... who knew. ;-)

Russ Wilhelm | October 5, 2007
Jerry, I'm certain. Mike, probably. JoJo and Justin, better.:-) Thanks. I'll see y'all next week

Amy Austin | October 5, 2007
Now, your Goo attitude on the other hand... ;-DDD

Scott Hardie | October 5, 2007
Grateful to have you, Russ, and hope you'll stick around a long time to come.

Denise Sawicki | October 5, 2007
Trust me I'll be doing him a favor as much as anyone else by deleting him. He won't have to deal with me pestering him to play just because he got a new card or rule. I guess I'll just have him put Linkin Park up for swap first in case there's still anyone who doesn't have a 00's card and wants one. I should have swapped that with someone other than him in the first place so I think it's moderately ok/fair to swap it now... as for the 2 cards he won in the exchange since joining, sorry, I don't know how to fairly hand them to others. Glad I didn't happen to get a card today or I'd feel extra bad. In my defense, when he joined I didn't realize it was going to affect anyone else, because the random card exchange hadn't been invented yet. Anyway you guys are fine, you aren't forcing him to quit, it's just what's best.

Scott Hardie | October 5, 2007
I have deactivated him as an RB player, same as if he had gone two weeks without play. I hope this is sufficient.

Denise Sawicki | October 5, 2007
Maybe but I'm still going to be tempted to swap with him, for instance if I ever got an R4 I am pretty sure I'd like one of his R4's better. Having that option gives me an unfair advantage. I have very little willpower for resisting evils such as this. Being an introvert myself it would have made more sense just to quietly delete him rather than make a scene like this but I guess I wanted to be punished :P

Justin Woods | October 9, 2007
Hey Scott, I am looking for a trade, The Offspring R1for your Papa Roach, if not anything would be great just no Slayer please I want something with a THREE on it.... Or if anyone is looking for something new, it is open for trade.

Justin Woods | October 10, 2007
Thanks Scott!!!

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