Effect of Input-output Randomness on Gameplay Satisfaction in Collectable Card Games

Yiwen Zhang, Diego Monteiro, Hai-Ning Liang, Jieming Ma, Nilufar Baghaei

Randomness is an important factor in games, so much so that some games rely almost purely on it for its outcomes and increase players' engagement with them. However, randomness can affect the game experience depending on when it occurs in a game, altering the chances of planning for a player. In this paper, we refer to it as "input-output randomness". Input-output randomness is a cornerstone of collectable card games like Hearthstone, in which cards are drawn randomly (input randomness) and have random effects when played (output randomness). While the topic might have been commonly discussed by game designers and be present in many games, few empirical studies have been performed to evaluate the effects of these different kinds of randomness on the players' satisfaction. This research investigates the effects of input-output randomness on collectable card games across four input-output randomness conditions. We have developed our own collectable card game and experimented with the different kinds of randomness with the game. Our results suggest that input randomness can significantly impact game satisfaction negatively. Overall, our results present helpful considerations on how and when to apply randomness in game design when aiming for players' satisfaction.

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