Saturday, March 5, 2016

server update, new features

The server was updated this morning. Sorry for the outage while this was done!

The update applied several improvements:
  1. Twenty-Nine now has the Double / Redouble Option
  2. Double Deck Pinochle players can download hand histories
  3. Gin Rummy players can see the size of the stock pile
In addition, the site uses a new audio library that works on more devices. I have an Android tablet where alerts are now audible, so this is an improvement for Android users, at least. [Edit Mar 12 2016: I want to mention that this library breaks the site for versions of the web browser Opera that are earlier than 11.60. Sorry! But that is a pretty old version of Opera, from Dec 2011. Please upgrade if you are using this browser. Thank you to Doriano for bringing this to my attention!]

Players at ranked Hearts tables now have a 2-minute grace period to return to their table if they get disconnected, causing them to leave the table (note that this does not apply if you click the "leave table" link - if you do this, you will be warned of the penalty, and it does apply). If you've ever been frustrated because you were kicked from a ranked Hearts table due to an internet disruption, I hope this helps. Note that the remaining players at the table are free to call on a bot to replace you during the 2-minute grace period. However, as soon as you return to the site, you will replace that bot, provided it is within 2 minutes of your leaving.

At all games, it has sometimes been a problem that a player would hit the backspace button, intending to erase a character in their chat, but it got interpreted as telling the browser to "go back" to the previous page. It would get you kicked from your table unless you returned to the site very quickly! With today's update, the backspace button is ignored unless it's used within a text input field. I hope this problem is solved, now.

Power Pinochle hand history now available

In Euchre and Spades, you can download a hand history. The file can be used to replay the hand of cards that you most recently played.
Now, a similar feature comes to Double Deck Pinochle at World of Card Games. It's a little different though. The people over at Power Pinochle have developed several tools for learning Pinochle. One of them is called the hand animator. Since they've already got this tool in place, I created the Pinochle hand histories so that they can be used together with their free, online tool.

To get your hand history, wait till the hand has finished. You will see a "Power Pinochle" icon appear next to your nameplate (note: this feature is only available to Registered users). Click the icon to download the text file that contains the hand history:
Click Power Pinochle icon to get your hand history
Once you have the history file, just copy the content into the hand animator textbox and hit the Submit button, and then you can follow the gameplay step-by-step.

The hand animator is loaded with a sample history to start, so you can try it out immediately without having to download a hand history. If you have any trouble at all with this, just write to me and I will help.

By the way, since hand histories were introduced, I've had lots of good tips from Euchre players who have sent me hand histories that showed problems with the bot strategies. I really appreciate that! I've implemented a number of changes to make the bots better, based on these bug reports. If you see the bots do something silly in Pinochle, grab the hand history and send it to me, and let me know what went wrong. I hope I can improve the bots for Pinochle this way, too.

new twenty-nine option for double / redouble

The Double / Redouble Option has been added to the Twenty-Nine card game at World of Card Games!

Double / Redouble is described at Pagat as a popular variation of the game, and I've had several requests to add it. It works like this: the opponents of the team that declared trump have a chance to say "double" after trump is chosen. Then if the declarers do not make their bid, they will lose 2 game points instead of 1. If they do make their bid, they will win 2!

The declarers can respond with "redouble". If they do not make their bid, they will lose 4 game points. If they do make their bid, they win 4!

It only takes one player on a team to declare "double" or "redouble" - either player can do it.

The Double / Redouble Option is turned on by default. If you start a table using the default options, then Double / Redouble applies. If you do not want to play with this option, you will need to set the radio button for "Allow Double-Redouble" to "No" in your Options settings.
Double Redouble option for Twenty-Nine card game

Tables which use this new option are designated with "drt" (it stands for "Double Redouble Twenty-Nine") in the list of tables. Tables with the Seventh Card option are shown designated with "sct".) In the screenshot of the list of tables below, the Twenty-Nine table has both of these options applied, and a single Guest is sitting at it:

Table having Seventh Card and Double Redouble options applied

gin rummy players can see the size of the stock pile

In Gin Rummy at World of Card Games, you can now view the size of the stock pile (the stock pile is the pile of cards on the left that are face down).

When you start your game, you will see a small disk containing a question mark next to the stock pile. Click this to reveal the number of cards in the stock pile:
number of cards in the Gin Rummy stock pile is 31

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Poll: should timeouts at ranked Hearts games be changed?

Everyone reading this post probably knows that at World of Card Games, you get forced to play a card if you don't play it quickly enough. Possibly you've been frustrated in experiencing this. But people waiting for you to play your card often share a similar frustration. The timeout is designed to keep the game moving along, so that people are not stuck waiting a long time for someone to play.

If you don't like how long someone is taking, you can always "dislike" them and drop off the table. This hurts your stats, though, and many people like to finish a game once it has started. I have gotten feedback that some people like the timeouts. At other game sites, people sometimes deliberately take a long time to play, in order to get people to drop out of the game. This gives them a win, and improves their stats artificially. I don't want players at World of Card Games to have this problem.

Now with ranked games, I've gotten feedback that some do not want timeouts at all, or that the timeouts are too short. So here's a poll - it specifically refers to ranked games (currently only Hearts has a special ranked table, but rankings will come to other games asap).

I think I've set enough choices to satisfy anyone who has an opinion. If I didn't think of something, please mention it in the comments. I can always run another poll.

Note that in Hearts, the current timeouts are 30 seconds to choose your cards to pass, and 15 seconds to play a card. (I just want to mention that the "show results" link is not showing results properly... click here for current results).

Sunday, January 31, 2016

chat lobbies at world of card games

Each game now has its own Chat Lobby at World of Card Games. The lobby is a way for players to meet up, and leave messages for each other. Note: All messages are public!

To get to the Chat Lobby, click on the Menu button at the lower left corner of the game of your choice. In the screenshot below, the Menu button for Double Deck Pinochle is encircled in green. It's where the old Tutorial button used to be (tutorials are now accessed by clicking on the Menu button).
Menu button replaces the Tutorial button
When you click the Menu button, the Menu panel opens. You will see several links displayed. This next screenshot shows the Menu panel for Hearts. There's a link to the Chat Lobby, the Tutorial, a link to play with bots, one to play with people, and one to play ranked Hearts games. Currently only Hearts has ranked games, but some other games will get rankings soon.

If you want to close the Menu panel without clicking any links, click the red/white x in the upper right corner, as shown below.
Menu panel has links to Chat Lobby, Tutorial, etc
You must be a registered player, and logged in, to use the Chat Lobby. As you can see in the next screenshot, leaving a chat in the lobby is very simple. Just make sure your mouse cursor is focused in the long text input near the bottom of the page - this should happen by default. Then, type in your text, and hit the Return (or Enter) key on your keyboard.
How to use the Chat Lobby
Chat lobbies persist for 30 minutes after the last person has left them, and the lobby holds a total of 200 chat messages. Because likes and dislikes apply in lobbies, just like at regular game tables, there may be more than one lobby for your game. If you don't see the person you are looking for in the first lobby where you go, you can click the "next" link at the bottom of the screen to get to any other lobbies for that game. If there are no more, you will get an error message.

Chat lobbies are completely new, so please let me know if you have any suggestions for improvements or additional features, or if you see any problems with them. I hope this new feature helps people more easily find each other at the site.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!
I'm en route to Florida for a little vacation. A special thanks goes out to "beachwoman" for hosting me and my boyfriend on New Year's Eve. We had a fun (and delicious) visit!