Game Decisions & AI: A Look at Modern Art: The Card Game

The last two years have been a programming whirlwind for me at my real-life job, Skotos. And that’s a segue into the fact that I just released my fifth iPhone eurogame conversion in 17 months. This time around, it’s Reiner Knizia’s Modern Art: The Card Game, the cardplay variant of his older Modern Art auction game.

I’ve written a bit about the development of each of my five iDevice games. You can find past article about Reiner Knizia’s Moneyabout Reiner Knizia’s High Societyabout Reiner Knizia’s Kingdoms, and about Michael Schacht’s Gold!

One topic that I keep returning to in these articles is that of artificial intelligences, or AI — the algorithms that make strategic decisions for the computer players in my card games. When I finished Money I said that I learned that abstract seat-of-your-pants decisions worked as well as calculations did. Then when I discussed High Society I talked about all the exacting calculations I built into my AIs. When I completed Gold! I acknowledged that AIs were different for each game … and that’s the impressions that’s likely to stay with me.

Modern Art: The Card Game made me appreciate the huge multitude of decisions that players make even when playing what seems like a pretty simple game. So that’s what I’m going to talk about today: how Modern Art: The Card Game works; how my AI for it works; and what that all reveals about the game’s design.
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