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Proposal: The Next Online FC Tourney
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Would you be interested in a 4 round, objective scenario FCOL tournament.
YES!
54%
 54%  [ 6 ]
NO!
27%
 27%  [ 3 ]
MAYBE???????
18%
 18%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 11

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ericphillips
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 9:35 pm    Post subject: Proposal: The Next Online FC Tourney Reply with quote

Hi all:

As we head for the finals round of this FCOL tourney, I'd first like to thank Jim D. for the excellent job he has done. <applause>.

I'd would like to propose an idea for the next tourney. Instead of just fights, I suggest a tournament of scenarios that will test our fighting under different objectives and terrain.

My idea is to have four scenarios written (or adapted from existing scenarios) and ready to go before Empire selection, so you can see what you have to deal with before committing to an Empire.

Each scenario will be balanced, in other words, each side has the same objective and play field. It will not be "one side defend, other attack." Both sides will be trying to do the same thing while stopping the other.

Each scenario will allow you to have a different fleet, that you compose for that scenario and opponent Empire (though ships on each side will be announced simultaneously so you will not exactly know which ships you will meet). Each scenario will have the limits on ship selection. This way you can tailor your strategy. For example, in a scenario where you are to capture a neutral base, you might select ships with more marines.

This is a great chance to test the full gamut of our abilities playing FC.

If you have comments, please post them here. Also, do the poll.
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gar1138
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Joined: 10 Jul 2007
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Location: Eugene, OR

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool, sounds like a fun idea. I think, for me personally, this would be much more enjoyable to the rather sterile traditional tournament format. Lets do it!

Garrett
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
Posts: 1879

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds good.
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The_Rock
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Joined: 16 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I voted no. I'll play in it either way, of course, but here are my thoughts:

1. Almost all of the published scenarios were poorly balanced when they were SFB scenarios. There has been little play testing to balance them to FC and thus they are often worse in FC.

2. I like the data Jim is collecting by using the standard tournament format and would like to see that continue. Plasma is totally pathetic in (tournament) Fed Com but as of now Steve Cole does not see it. The only way to change that is to have more data.
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ericphillips
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Rock wrote:
I voted no. I'll play in it either way, of course, but here are my thoughts:

1. Almost all of the published scenarios were poorly balanced when they were SFB scenarios. There has been little play testing to balance them to FC and thus they are often worse in FC.


Well, in this case I want write the scenarios, making sure they are balanced. So, no uneven objectives (no you capture, I defend; both sides trying to capture same object is okay), and making them Empire agnostic. Under no circumstance would a published scenario be used unchanged, as most are Empire specific.

Also, players would be available to see before the tourney begins, so they could comment on them if there are problems with them.

I think this might alleviate your discomfort about it.
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is an interesting idea. However, I don't think it possible to create generic scenarios that won't favor one empire over another. The point multiplier system I am using for the standard format online tournaments really only works if we stick to one standard generic scenario. The multipliers would need to be different under different scenarios. For example, certain terrain might make the Tholians a quite a bit stronger than they are in a scenario with no terrain.

This said, I would love to see a tournament that works like an ASL tournament. That is to say that players would not get to pick their empires and squadrons. Instead, in each round matched players would have to pick from two or three scenarios (from a list of scenarios for each round) with fixed empires and forces. Once the scenario was picked, sides would be randomly chosen. This would be better test of player skill because players would be forced to play with different empires and in different situations in each round of the tournament.

HOWEVER, Paul hit the hammer right on the nail. The existing FC scenario base is completely unsuited for this to become a reality because too little emphasis was placed on playtesting those scenarios for play balance.

Quite frankly, this is one of the few major handicaps faced by FC as a competitive game. FC has tremendous potential to provide all sorts of exciting competitive situations. However, there are just too many published scenarios where after setting it up (or playing it a turn or two) it becomes abundantely clear that either there is big hole in the victory conditions or something is unclear. This generally leaves the standard tournament scenario, occasionally spiced up by the random addition of a planet or asteroid map panel, as pretty much the only reliable scenario from a playbalance standpoint. And as some of the locals here note -- you can only play the tournament scenario so many times before you start to get tired of it. If only we had a playbalance reliable scenario base for FC that was even a small fraction of the size of that of ASL!

Now this said, if you can get enough volunteer playtesters, it would be possible to either tune up existing published scenarios so that they could be used for tournament play or alternatively tune up new scenarios for use in tournament play. Unfortunately, I suspect there too few of us playing this game for that to happen.
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JimDauphinais wrote:
However, I don't think it possible to create generic scenarios that won't favor one empire over another.


The current tournament is a generic scenario (as you note), and it will favor some empires more than others. Indeed plasma is great in many scenarios, and Pauls problem may well be down to having a scenario that favors other empires over plasma.

As Paul noted in his post about his draw vs Gorn time/turn limit has a huge affect on the game. That is just one aspect of any scenario - how long do you have to accomplish your goal.

The 2009 rules went for 3 hours, 2010 went for 4 hours, you went for 6 turns. Each results in different empires gaining or losing in different ways. We played the games with 2009 rules a lot the other year, and we seldom got beyond turn 3 or 4 if seekers were involved. In some of those games we played with plasma we found it quite hard to beat the plasma with some empires as they would have to be fairly defensive for a couple of turns and any damage they took was hard to make up as they ran out of time - remember as well there was non of this 30/150 VP brackets.

Pauls unlimited turns preference also has beneficiaries and losers, and being potentially impractical in time to play (I.E. as he noted you end up having a time limit and adjudicator).

Equally the fixed map favors some empires but not others - IMO Short range crunch races like Feds, Hydran, Lyran especially as you can be pretty sure you are going to get your short range volley before other empires with a longer range preference can achieve what they need in order to beat them.

So yes I agree with you - any scenario will favor some empires over others, and that is no different to what we have already.

I'm against changing the game itself to handle a balance issue in one scenario, change the scenario, or in this case change the tourney. You are looking at doing it via a handicap system. But different scenarios are another way as you also note.

Eric's suggestion was not to actually use existing scenarios but to write new ones or adapt existing ones. Both your system and Eric's suggestion would require time to get to the point that people are to happy to a reasonable extent about balance, but Eric's idea would provide the advantage of playing different empires over a tourney and over a variety conditions.

You could also take the approach of not worrying so much about scenario balance, it is only really necessary that the tourney is balanced, that can be done by playing both sides of a scenario. A 4 round tourney coud use just 2 scenarios and you will play both sides of both scenarios. If the scoring system is adjusted then your ability to handle scenarios regardless of balance is appropiately recorded.

Equally, A generic scenario may not favor empire X, Y or Z (as the current one). But if the tourney is based around a number of scenarios that have different empires who are favored, and the players choose an empire for each scenario then you have all the empires having their moment in the sun, and the tourney itself not being unbalanced as the player made a conscious decision on what empire he choose for each scenario (as now).

Quote:
Unfortunately, I suspect there too few of us playing this game for that to happen.


On the other hand it only needs to be seen as balanced by those who are going to play it. Whether that is achievable probably has less to do with numbers and more to do with the range of ability. Some may see it as balanced and other may not.

The down sides of scenarios with fixed forces/objectives is that over time they tend to be analysed to the extent that you pretty much know precisely what you are doing before starting, not just in absract terms but in very specific terms (Turn 1 move counter A to hex XXX and counter B to hex hex YYYY etc).
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am going to vote no for the scenario based tournament for right now. I will play either way however.

Once someone has a more concrete, defined and tested proposal it may be worth considering. In theory it could test people in different situations and be very interesting, but some serious play testing would be required. regarding published scenarios, those were used in the first origins FC tournament and it was very broken.

For now, I Like what Jim has set up with the tournament and the point modifications. It creates a good mix of different races making for an interesting tournament.

honestly.....and this is just me dreaming, I'd love to get some sort of semi-historic campaign set up....we divide into 2 sides, see which half comes out on top....i have a few ideas but its likely a pipe dream. Most campaigns fall apart because someone finds a loophole in the system. There are numerous problems that would have to be solved before any serious proposals were made for such a project. The one thing i would say is that a campaign puts people in very interesting situations and requires an entirely different mindset then one off games or tournaments. The fact that you need ships to survive is huge. The other problem is that it is nearly impossible to get more than 2 people to agree on how a campaign should be run....so like I said, pipe dream.
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am going to vote no for the scenario based tournament for right now. I will play either way however.

Once someone has a more concrete, defined and tested proposal it may be worth considering. In theory it could test people in different situations and be very interesting, but some serious play testing would be required. regarding published scenarios, those were used in the first origins FC tournament and it was very broken.

For now, I Like what Jim has set up with the tournament and the point modifications. It creates a good mix of different races making for an interesting tournament.

honestly.....and this is just me dreaming, I'd love to get some sort of semi-historic campaign set up....we divide into 2 sides, see which half comes out on top....i have a few ideas but its likely a pipe dream. Most campaigns fall apart because someone finds a loophole in the system. There are numerous problems that would have to be solved before any serious proposals were made for such a project. The one thing i would say is that a campaign puts people in very interesting situations and requires an entirely different mindset then one off games or tournaments. The fact that you need ships to survive is huge. The other problem is that it is nearly impossible to get more than 2 people to agree on how a campaign should be run....so like I said, pipe dream1
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Jim's current format and I'm certainly intrigued as to where the handicapping ends up after a few runthoughs, but I woud like something a bit more varied eventually. Even if it is just to make each player choose a different empire in each round.

I'm definately into campaigns. Or at least if it concentrates mostly on FC rather than the campaign aspect. If it did require a lot of bookkeeping/general campaign bummph then I'd still be into playing the FC part and let others concentrate on the strategy side (with the odd caustic comment amied at such people from myself of course - as in "which utter moron gave me these ships to take out those ships" Rolling Eyes ).
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thinking about it, making each person choose 4 empires (and they play 1 each round) might hasten the points adjustment towards wherever it will eventually end up, so maybe that might be worth considering.
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ericphillips
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am interested in playing scenarios that challenge players to use all their tools. Trying to capture a ship is different that hit and running. Defending a target is different than just straight combat. I think being a good player means being able to play the whole game.

I do understand that the way FC and SFB is built that some people dislike anything but tournament battles because some empires function way differently under different circumstances.

Here are my scenario suggestions for the four rounds:

1. Dual Base Attack:The board is split into two. Both sides have a small base in the open space areas that the other player is trying to destroy.

2. Treasure Hunt: In an asteroid field, the object is to beam dilithium deposits onto your ships. The player who gets the most wins.

3. Neutral Ship Capture:: In the center is a ship. Each side must approach, shoot down shields, and marine battle to take it over. The side that controls it and drives it off the map wins.

3. Black Hole Battle:: Each side fights around a black hole.

We can also make some fixes. For example, a balancing option may be in the asteroids Tholians cannot use asteroids as anchors, only shuttles.
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ericphillips
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lee: Yeah, if everyone would favor this format, then it could be choose a Empire each round, and maybe some scenarios could limit the choices of Empires. Maybe an all-Plasma round.
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will say it is my intention to run another standard tournament regardless of where we go with Eric's idea, but we might not start that standard tournament before September 1st. Alternatively, we could start another standard tournament sooner (say July 1st) while Eric is working to further develop his idea. If Eric got it all together in that time, we could give Eric's idea a try starting October 1st or November 1st (depending on how many participants are in the standard tournament).
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ericphillips
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Id be up for the Oct or November start. it would give plenty of time to work out the kinks.
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