Assigning Damage with Steve Sadin

Steve Sadin put up an interesting article on the wizards site this morning. If you aren’t aware of recent rule changes, by the old rules, an attacker could assign damage to blockers in any way they wanted to. That’s not the case now. New rules in magic say you need to order blockers and damage is assigned so that there’s enough to kill each one in a row. It’s an interesting article to me because he talks a lot about what you think your opponent has in their hand. Moreover, there’s implicit signaling going on between the two players here: because the other player double-blocked with the elf and minotaur, then you know something more about what they know to have made that choice.

This fits into a topic in epistemic logic related to public knowledge. So a classic example of how this sort of thing matters is the puzzle of dirty children. I have very limited time, so you can go read on your own. Anyways, it gets interesting because the children learn from each other’s responses (in theory; real college students weren’t smart enough to figure this out, so I don’t think the toddlers could either). When one announces something, it becomes public knowledge so everyone knows what they know (or they at least know that the speaker knows something).

I’m a little sad Zvi isn’t still writing “The Play’s the Thing,” but I know he got a lot of crap for what he wrote, so I don’t blame him. Still, I think this is going to be very helpful for the class.

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