Hey guys, I’ve been thinking more and more about the addition of a Fischer clock to Faeria to replace the current clock. I know some people have already mentioned this in the past (e.g. Cappuccino), but I wanted to compile some reasons for it. Also, for anyone who doesn’t know what this is, it’s basically an incremental clock: you have a set amount of time, e.g. 30 mins, and each of your turns winds down your clock only. When you end your turn, your clock is paused. This is of course still compatible with limited turn lengths, though in general I think these should be replaced in the Fischer clock system with a general timeout due to inactivity (say, 5 minutes of inactivity).
Improvements to the game:
Encourages tactical time management over the duration of the game; early turns can be taken quickly and efficiently, leaving more time to think and do math for combat in later turns. This also simultaneously diminishes frustration due to running out of time in later (and possibly game-deciding) turns in which the board state is much more complex. I think this is the strongest reason to implement the Fischer clock.
Reduces incentive to play slowly in early turns (taking up the entire clock), which is less interesting for both spectators and the other player. With the current system, there is no downside or punishment to taking the entire 1:30 in early turns even though this is very often unnecessary and creates a less enjoyable experience for opponents.
Adds an overall limit to the duration of the match, preventing very long standoffs or unnecessarily grindy matches. A time clock per player of 20 minutes, say, guarantees that the game cannot go longer than 40 minutes (this may be especially relevant with grind-encouraging decks such as those based around Aurora’s Dream).
Gives players a better sense of their resources/control (this is somewhat related to reason 1). If players know how much time they have total and how much they can use, as well as the knowledge that on a complex turn they can take their time, this gives players a greater sense of control and less randomness when playing the game.
Helpful for players with laggy connections or who are slower in general. Also helpful for players who are multitasking while playing (which I assume happens quite often), and may need to leave their computer/tablet for a minute or two during a turn, but don’t want to miss a turn or forfeit the match.
I will now consider some possible criticisms of the Fischer clock, and respond accordingly.
- The current system encourages players to think quickly, which is an interesting competitive aspect of Faeria. With a Fischer clock, this is lost since players can take their time to weigh all possible options for each turn.
Response: The Fischer system certainly changes the way time is competitive in Faeria but doesn’t take it away. Rather, it encourages players to take short, efficient turns in the early turns (when options are limited), in order to save time for later, important turns. It is still valuable to think quickly in this system because you want to use as little of your clock as possible since you may need more time in later turns.
- Fischer clock allows players to waste time by letting their turns run very long in order to psychologically manipulate and tire their opponent.
Response: In general, I think the Fischer clock (while technically allowing this strategy) does not encourage this. Players wasting time on their clock will be punished in later turns when they need to use more time to think, and so this strategy is irrational. In addition, the system can also add a 5 minute inactivity boot to discourage such gamesmanship. A compromise would also be to maintain a turn limit within the Fischer system (e.g., 5 minutes), but I think this is unnecessary and makes the system less intuitive for new players.
An incremental clock in Faeria makes more sense than the current system. It reduces randomness, allows for tactical time management, and doesn’t punish players lagging or multitasking.