# What percentage is luck involved in a games outcome?

• As close to ‘players of equal skill’ as possible… reality <> theory here

• “Equal skill” does not mean “equally perfect skill”.Â

And two equally skilled players (if such a thing could exist, which it cannot) have more than luck working as a variegaton.Â  Players make mistakes, or miscalculations, or take risks, or attempt unusual tactics, and, most importantly, are playing a game of imbalanced forces and resources in which every choice made has a cascade effect in helping to determine the future choices of their opponents and themself.

Take two hypothetically equally skilled chess players.Â  No luck in chess.Â  It is a game of almost perfectly balanced forces.Â  Do you believe that their game will result in a draw every time?

~Josh

• yeah, I think this “2 players of equal skill” really confuses the issue.  You’d probably be better off wording it: How much does luck influence the outcome, as an average of all the games played, between players of all different ranges of skill?

Or, if you are only interested in those games between two equally matched opponents, then call them equally matched.  I think that’s better than “equal skill”.  Most people will immediately understand “equally matched”, but I think the hangup here is definitely “equal skill”.

• yeah, I think this “2 players of equal skill” really confuses the issue.Â  You’d probably be better off wording it: How much does luck influence the outcome, as an average of all the games played, between players of all different ranges of skill?

I want to know the role that luck takes in a game… not wins/losses because of skill level.
@rjclayton:

Or, if you are only interested in those games between two equally matched opponents, then call them equally matched.Â  I think that’s better than “equal skill”.Â  Most people will immediately understand “equally matched”, but I think the hangup here is definitely “equal skill”.

excuse me, but I don’t know the difference between equal skill and equally matched.

Can you further elaborate how those are not the same thing?

• I believe you intended them to mean the same thing, but all you need to do is read ShadowHawk’s post and OutsideLime’s post to see two completely different takes on “equal skill”.

• As I have no desire to have my head bit off again I’ll abstain from comments but I’ve submit my vote…

• I don’t think there’s any difference between the two terms… I just think that it’s a mistake to assume that “equally skilled” players are both perfect players.

… if such a thing exists in this incredibly variable game with dozens of potential play branches for even the very first player in the very first turn, all of which will lead to unique reactions and counter-reactions, and so on.

You could have a perfect tic-tac-toe player. Â Not so in an infinitely-more complex game.

~Josh

• I don’t think there’s any difference between the two terms… I just think that it’s a mistake to assume that “equally skilled” players are both perfect players.

how did perfect players get brought into this?

The premise was two equally matched or equally skilled (as close as possible in reality, EQUAL PLAYERS is merely a theory here).

It’s like saying two equally matched Coaches…is that possible?  I know comparisions like this are made all the time with regards to athletic games.

# For example:  The level of coaching is even in the match-up between the Bears and the Colts…

If the ‘equal skill’ bothers you, please vote anyways what ever percentage you think luck is involved in a game.

• how did perfect players get brought into this?

I was just responding to Shadowhawk’s post about how “the only difference will be luck-based”.Â  This implies (the way I read it) that each player does nothing but the absolute optimum action in every circumstance (although I can’t believe that’s possible, but I digress) and that bad luck is the only thing that will expose a hole in either’s play.Â  If that’s the case, then both of those players are “perfect”.Â  Perhaps I misunderstand his point.Â  I was actually trying to point out that your poll is about evenly-matched players of whatever skill level, which includes the possibility that players will make sub-optimal decisions that can be capitalized on, even by a player of equal skill, and that the game can be won or lost by the influence of decision rather than that of luck alone.

At any rate, I have voted… I say 40%.Â

~Josh

• Do you want a real answer to this or just my best gut feeling?

A real answer would be to look at how many dice rolls occur in an average game and then look at the probability of that many dice rolls falling outside the “perfect” average.Â

Essentially this is a standard deviation calculation where given x number of samples, you need to figure out if the average value of the samples is representative of the average value of the sum total of items being sampled.Â  The measure of how well your sample represents your target group is determined by the shape of the curve of the target group and the number of samples you take.Â  This measure typically uses units of standard deviation.

The real question becomes given the number of die rolls in a game, what are the odds that the average of those die rolls fall outside a standard deviation.

BTW, most decent universities and many good community colleges can get you deeply immersed in the math behind statistics if you are really interested.Â  I do my best to forget all this stuff everytime I am done with it but keep the books on the bookshelf so I can learn it again the next time I need it.

Also, my gut says that all other things being equal, the dice determine the game <10% of the time.Â  There are enough rolls, enough opportunities to change tactics and strategies in face of bad rolls and enough deterministic behaviour in the game that dice are not the significant reason for wins or loses.Â

Of course, I prefer to let my opponents believe that dice will cost them the game and I have mind control over the dice.
:evil:

• Any player with atrocious luck vs any player with stellar luck will lose.  I don’t care how well you manage your assets, if all you roll are box cars, you are going to lose.

• Any player with atrocious luck vs any player with stellar luck will lose.Â  I don’t care how well you manage your assets, if all you roll are box cars, you are going to lose.

A profound truth.

How often does this happen?  That is the real question.

The answer is not 1/6th of the time and that would be 16% of the games.

If a game consisted of two dice roles for both players, it would be the odds of 6, 6, not6, not6.

That is 1/6 * 1/6 * 5/6 * 5/6 = 1.9%

If it is three dice rolls …

1/6 * 1/6 * 1/6 * 5/6 * 5/6 * 5/6 =  0.27 % of the time.

I’m estimating 1000 rolls of the dice in a typical game.  For your case of “all box cars” and my case of the other guy never getting 6’s we have =>

(1/6)^500 * (5/6)^500 = really freaking small !!

Very profound indeed.

• The odds of that happening are inverse proportional to how serious the player is about the game at hand.  If it’s a tournament (especially last round) it seems to happen 100% of the time.   If it’s just a blow off game, like a League Game here, then it probably will never happen.

• Jen, if you EVER got hooked on “No Luck”, what would you complain about???  :evil:

• I say 20% luck.

• LOL, I registered my vote when teh poll first came up at 20%.

Glad to know I am not alone

• LOL!

• This again?

By definition, if skill is equal, then luck constitutes 100% of the difference between the players.

Two equally skilled players will always tie each other - luck is the only factor that will let one get ahead of the other, if they are otherwise equally matched. And don’t statr talking about “but one will make a mistake first” - then that player is worse, and they are not equally matched.

There are two things that can help you win - skill and luck. If skill is equal, luck makes 100% of the difference.

Of course you never have truly equal skill, so skill is a factor too. How big a factor depends on how big the difference in skill is.

• I put 50% because without luck you will have a tough game and without skill you won’t do good anyway

• @froodster:

Two equally skilled players will always tie each other - luck is the only factor that will let one get ahead of the other, if they are otherwise equally matched. And don’t statr talking about “but one will make a mistake first” - then that player is worse, and they are not equally matched.

So an equal or better player never ever ever makes a critical mistake???

Of course they do. Thats usually the difference, not luck.

Crying about luck is many times a crutch/excuse.

• No one understands what I am saying, even when I say it three times in slightly different ways…

If one player makes a mistake, then in that game they are the less skilled player, and they are not EQUAL and thus you are not addressing the question as it has been defined.

Two EQUAL F***ING players. EQUAL. Neither makes a mistake, or they both make equal amounts of mistakes. So they are EQUAL. Neither one gets ahead because they are EQUAL. unless you bring in another factor in which they are NOT EQUAL. Then that factor constitutes 100% of the difference that exists between them, because in other respects they are EQUAL.

EQUAL. as in NOT DIFFERENT. They play THE SAME with EQUALLY good strategy.

But then one will have different amounts of luck.

“I can’t see the difference - can you see the difference?” “Price is the difference.”

Can you see the point? I can’t see the point. Unless it is about EQUAL and DIFFERENT.

• @froodster:

No one understands what I am saying, even when I say it three times in slightly different ways…Â

If one player makes a mistake, then in that game they are the less skilled player, and they are not EQUAL and thus you are not addressing the question as it has been defined.

Two EQUAL F***ING players. EQUAL. Neither makes a mistake, or they both make equal amounts of mistakes. So they are EQUAL. Neither one gets ahead because they are EQUAL. unless you bring in another factor in which they are NOT EQUAL. Then that factor constitutes 100% of the difference that exists between them, because in other respects they are EQUAL.

EQUAL. as in NOT DIFFERENT. They play THE SAME with EQUALLY good strategy.

But then one will have different amounts of luck.

“I can’t see the difference - can you see the difference?” “Price is the difference.”

Can you see the point? I can’t see the point. Unless it is about EQUAL and DIFFERENT.

I understand your point.  There is the theory of ‘equall skilled’ and the reality of it.

I might react differntly to a battle outcome in which the odds differed from the outcome (I have more units left than I anticipated, or I have less than anticipated).

These type of outcomes are outside the players level of skill.

Anglo-Egypt sudan on G1 is a PERFECT example of this.  Most players have a GO-NO GO number for UK1 to counter.  To a great exent, the Geman player can not control this number… it’s up to the dice.  Here DICE outcome (‘luck’ if you will) will help determine UK’s response to Germanys outcome.

Do you see the point we’re trying to make that you can not seperate the skill of a player from the variability of outcome of battles in the game?

• It’s 90% attitude and 10% aptitude that determines your altitude. if you have a string of crappy dice even though you may still be winning then you are more likely to surrender. so luck determines your morale(attitude) in a sense. i put 40% luck.

• I might react differntly to a battle outcome in which the odds differed from the outcome (I have more units left than I anticipated, or I have less than anticipated).

These type of outcomes are outside the players level of skill.

Anglo-Egypt sudan on G1 is a PERFECT example of this.  Most players have a GO-NO GO number for UK1 to counter.  To a great exent, the Geman player can not control this number… it’s up to the dice.  Here DICE outcome (‘luck’ if you will) will help determine UK’s response to Germanys outcome.

Do you see the point we’re trying to make that you can not seperate the skill of a player from the variability of outcome of battles in the game?

I think you prove my point - that outcome in Anglo-Egypt is 100% luck (since both players, being equal, would have committed the same forces for that attack and defended the same way), and that’s the point at which (perhaps) that one equally skilled player gets the upper hand and keeps building it through the game.

As you say, it is outside your level of skill - it is luck that makes the difference there.

I also agree that you cannot, in one way, separate skill and luck - the importance of each depends on the size of the other factor - I don’t think you can say, in a vacuum, how important luck is. Luck will be a significant factor between two PERFECTLY EQUALLY skilled opponents (I know that’s only theoretical). Between a very good player and a very bad player however, luck is unimportant - one will simply outplay the other, in addition to managing their risks, and the bad player will lose no matter how good their dice are unless they roll nothing higher than a 3 the entire game.

You can also see this when players blame the dice for a loss - what they are saying is “I’m just as good as my opponent, it was just bad luck that made the difference.”

Suppose I play an equally skilled player 1000 times, and we each win 500 games - you’d have to say we are pretty equal. In that case, each game is essentially a coin toss, which as we know is determined by “luck”. Winning that next game will certainly not prove that I am better than my opponent.

• Or did you win game# 1001 because he made a mistake before you did, and you capitalized on it?  It doesn’t mean you are not equally matched, but rather in that one game you managed your resources better than he did.

Does this mean that you are not equally matched?  Even though you both had a 500-500 record?  Does this mean it was pure luck that caused him to forget that my transport was within range of his undefended capital?  At the end of the game will he blame the dice for the loss?

I don’t think so.  I voted 20%

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