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55

Go Go is an ancient game; at least 2500 years old, and possibly as old as 4500 or more. Originally from China, it is now most popular, and professionally played, in China, Japan, and Korea, though there are strong and growing amateur communities in Europe and the Americas. Go is a simple, pure abstract strategy game, with no element of luck or hidden ...


47

Chess Is an obvious and longstanding game of skill alone.


23

Blokus A personal favourite, You could try it online here.


22

Stratego Stratego may seem like a slightly strange choice since each game involves a completely a hidden setup, but it's a setup entirely devised by the opponent with distinct strategies, counter-strategies and bluffs available. If there's an element of luck it's in trying to guess your opponent's approach to a setup, but there are no dice rolls for combat ...


16

A reasonable empirical measure of luck is the probability that the best player can beat a good player in a given game. So if you can get data about a large player population (I have done this with Race for the Galaxy), you can get an implicit measure by looking at the Elo rating difference at various skill percentiles. On the other hand, this only tells ...


13

Reversi/Othello The initial board position is fixed, pieces to be played are controlled, and the object is to have more of your color upright than the other player.


12

There's a style of game that Chess belongs to, as Jon already suggested, to which Go and Shogi and Checkers and Halma also belong. Modern family members are Khet and ZÈRTZ and I think most other members of the GIPF project. These games have in common that, other than in Diplomacy where you have the written orders, all information is openly visible - except ...


12

Chinese Checkers In the same vein as Checkers, but popular and distinct enough I felt it warranted its own post.


12

Puerto Rico I can't say that there is no luck element at all in Puerto Rico, but it is definitely extremely low. The game involves selecting roles to perform actions. Each person will perform the chosen action, but the actual chooser gets a bonus for it. The main theme is developing plantations to grow crops, and then shipping these goods off for victory ...


11

You didn't lay out criteria in your question so I'm going to assume that what you're asking is: Let's say Bob diligently acquires as much skill as possible in Monopoly and practices with 50 or more games. If Bob plays several beginners (10 or fewer games - little study of the game), and no players know other players' skill level - is Bob highly likely to ...


10

Connect Four The object is to get four of your color in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. No luck - just pure skill against the other player.


10

Set No luck at all, just plain skill.


10

Caylus The only random element within Caylus is the initial 6 buildings setup order. The rest of the game is pure skill. As with the Endeavor answer, there is a very very small advantage that may be had by going first with order of the buildings, but I think this adds more variety and skill to the game rather than luck.


9

Sure, visit the Tool Hut. Tools are explicitly there to negate the luck factor. Another option is to get more people. There will still be luck in the rolls, but if you put two people on a space instead of one, you'll produce more each time.


8

Homeworlds Homeworlds is an Icehouse game about space conquest. In the multi-player game, there is hidden information about who is good and who is evil, and thus there is a certain element of luck in your guess about who is who. In the two player game, however, there is no luck; it is a pure abstract strategy game. To quote Andy Looney on Homeworlds: I ...


7

Mastermind I suppose it could be argued that a first guess that is "right" would be lucky, but it should be a game of logic based upon guesses leading to a pattern match against the hidden sequence of pegs setup by the other player.


7

Icehouse Seeing as Brian added Go, I'll get ahead of him on Icehouse for once. A turnless game of pure skill and diplomacy. (Also consider IceTowers and Zendo, which use the same pieces.)


7

Think about the Elo Rating System used to measure the relative skill of Chess players. This is essentially an equation that takes a series of wins and losses and produces a number that can be used to predict the chances of one player winning a game against another player. One of the inputs to the equation is a "distribution" that describes how much a ...


6

It would depend on the game. Certainly for games that involve rolling dice, the probability of certain events happening can be easily calculated. For games where dice are thrown or cards or drawn, there are some games where some outcomes can really change the flow of the game. There are also games where random events actually have minimal affect on the ...


5

Rumis (aka Blokus 3D) Like Blokus, no luck; an advantage to going first (more so than in Blokus), but a great game of strategy with simple rules but very interesting consequences.


5

A Game of Thrones To my knowledge the game has only 1 random event - flipping the Westeros cards. This randomness can be nearly entlrely removed via the optional "Westeros Phase" rule variant in the A Clash of Kings expansion (which allows you to see the results of the random card flip several turns in advance). Aside from the Westeros cards, everything ...


5

No, not in my experience. In fact, the Catan Card Game has a great depth of strategy and many ways to offset the luck of the dice. Your chances will be greatly helped if you've found a Scout card, certainly. It should ALWAYS be one of your starting cards if you have the chance. If you don't, then you know there's one in the three stacks that neither of you ...


5

Rob's answer on using a large population database to evaluate the roll of luck is absolutely the way to go--assuming this data is available. But the question also seems interested in how to evaluate the roll of luck during game design, when no such data is available. In this context, the question is about how to model or simulate a game to test the ...


5

In my experience, the most effective way to reduce luck at the beginning is to give players a choice of two start worlds. A world you know will be on the table the whole game is a much bigger deal than four cards, of which you'll likely only play one or two, and sometimes none. The implementation of Race for the Galaxy at keldon.net does this. (Side note: ...


5

There's a modicum of skill involved. You can do some things to increase the odds that random draws will go your way. Any or all of these could be used to augment Basic Player's behavior. Recognize that some keepers appear more often in goals. Prioritize The Brain and generally anything to do with food. Playing keepers toward the current goal is usually ...


4

Steam The only luck element is the initial distribution of goods, but it's shared by everybody equally and I think it helps replayability. Also the initial turn order used to auction the real first turn order. After that it's all there on the table, no more luck! Age of Steam has much more luck, with semi-random goods going to the cities during the game.


4

Endeavor I also prefer games that have little to no randomness. One of the best ones I've come across lately is Endeavor. Other than the initial tile distribution (which isn't tremendously significant, just changes it up a bit), there's no randomness at all. One of my favorite games right now.


4

You pretty much answered this question already. While I haven't heard of 4-pack 30 card sealed yet,I would say this is the format that is the most dependent on luck. A single bomb in a 30 card deck has a much larger impact than in a 40 card deck, for 2 reasons: 1) With 4 packs, opponents have a lower chance to equalize a single bomb of yours with at least 2 ...


3

I think this thing of skill in games tends to be a little of too much pride and taking the game a bit more serious than it should. In general I think it's best just to take a high risk once in a while if you think that 'luck' is not going your way; if you loose laugh about it and enjoy the game :) Onto the house rules to modify results: Die result for ...



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