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Draft Tournament Auction-Based Squadron Selection Method
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ncrcalamine
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Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Posts: 228

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim in future updates could youpost the changed text wih different color or underline or italics or something.


Thanks

Nicole
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A player with a inferiority mindset is not going to beat the Ace in the tournament anyways. This player's best course is to outright ignore the Ace when framing bids and instead focus the bidding based on the rest of the field. The goal of a non-ace player should be to have fun and one way to do so is to aim to do better than the player's peers of the same skill level, not to try to beat the Ace. If the player actually plays the Ace, the player should look at it as an opportunity to pickup some tips. If the player has some talent and plays enough, the player will eventually become an ace themselves.


You are trying to creae a system of 'balancing' a competition. But what is balance?

Is it balanced because all squadrons were same 'value' but the tourneys continues to be dominated by the same few people, and most people who might enter have no chance of ever winning, and therefore don't (ala the SFB 'shark tank'), or is it balanced when some degree of player skill is taken into account and everyone has a fairish chance of winning, be it the rookie or the veteran. Allowing for player skill to e taken into account does not suddenly preclude playing for fun, it may in fact be more fun for more people because they think they might actually have a fair chance of a win in each game.


Different people will see that different - For example Horse racing and and Golf are well know sports that make use of handicaps in order to create a level playing field in some of their events. On the other hand other sports don't.

I'm not saying there is a right or wrong, but once you put that into each individual players hands with a bidding system you can hardly say someone bidding based on perspective of player skill is not being rational. If they go into the bidding system looking to have a fair shot at winning the tourney then it is perfectly rational, why else are you bidding in the first place? There is no other 'rational' criteria. If you don't want that then you may need a different system.

Which partly goes back to my earlier comment, what sort of tourney are you envisaging. A more serious one or a more 'casual/friendly' one.
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual/Friendly, and from my perspective that means it is not about beating the aces. It is about doing better than my peers of the same skill level and picking up tips when I am playing the aces in order to become a better player. It also laughing about the situation when something wild happens with the dice (very important if you are playing the Feds!) and accepting a mistake I have made without pouting over it.

My perspective may be quite a bit different than others. I come to FC from a world of board wargames such as Advanced Squad Leader, Card-Driven Wargames and Eurogames where there is no concept of handicapping in tournaments or other organized play. In that world the casual players accept they are not going to necessarily beat the aces and instead focus on doing as well as they can and having fun playing the game. Certainly the Sharks exist in that environment, but it is accepted and not dwelt upon in that environment.

My use of a Swiss format helps to mitigate the shark tank effect somewhat because you are never eliminated from the tournament and as you progress in the tournament you are matched against players with roughly a similar record in that tournament. So, if you are doing poorly, you generally progressively play poorer opponents. If you are doing well, you generally progressively play better opponents. The exception to this is that I always roughly seed the first round based on my own judgment and when necessary I do seed on the basis on tie breaker points in the later rounds when matching several opponents with the same record in the tournament. However, I also further adjust things to avoid matching players who have already played each other and I also try to avoid "civil war" matches.

My objective with the proposal is a rough play balance mechanism between players of comparable skill that is a product of rough concensus and does not require a static tournament scenario.
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe we just have a different idea of casual/friendly.

My concern regarding casual/serious is that the very idea of a fairly drawn out bidding system, which really expects everyone to bid in some 'rational' (whatever that means) manner; without too much regard for who they end up playing, is that it makes the tourney feel much more hardcore. If I just want to play Klingons then why do I have to hope I can win a bid for them? that is not causal/friendly. If it is about fun playing and laughing at the daft things that happen then are we really that bothered about fine balance or whether everyone came with Feds.


Despite the flaws, the simpler handicap system is more friendly/casual. It introduces some sort of balancing mechanism, but you can just take the empire you want and get playing. If you are not bothered about winning the tourney (cos you can't beat the ace) and are playing for fun, then whether the handicap should have been 1.05 or 1.04 or 1.03 etc is probably neither here nor there to you. The more hardcore competitive players are not at any disadvantage, they will just choose which ever they think is best empire/squadron given the handicaps. If they would bid 'rationally' then they will choose 'rationally', and the handicap can later be adjusted based on such data.
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Sebastian380
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Jim. If you're still planning a mock bidding trial I'd like to take part. For the record I'll be playing in the tournament as well.
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mock testers:

Ncrcalamine
Pinbot
Storeylf
Sebastian380
Myself

Anyone else?

I apologize for not trying to show Version 0.2 in redline and strikeout.

Unless someone identifies a major flaw, Version 0.2 is what I would like to test. I'll setup a new topic for the test when I have time to get it all together (either today or tomorrow).
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Monty
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can try to help, though my availability will be restricted this weekend.
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pinbot
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 07 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking the 'base squadron' would be a 'white elephant' getting passed around with all the other fleets higher value. But I finally realized the trick is that the owner of the base squad is well aware of that risk and will be bidding down any fleet that would be a mismatch.

Also, I think some aggressive bidding is a crucial. A bidding chain like 625, 618, 609, 607, 592, etc. with each bid possibly taking 24 hours---that would be a horribly drawn out. Again, 'citizen justice' could eliminate that if people play it more like...well let's say bid like Kzintis rather than like Ferengis. (what would the proper TOS equiv be--Klingons?)
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have only had a chance to skim through this. I'm a little confused so I'll need to go through it more carefully to understand it.

I think Lee makes a good point about that players should be able to choose the Empire they want.... to a point. I am going to toss out a few opinions here. Unfortunately, I don't have time implement or fully define them so I leave it to someone else who is interested, if there is interest in doing so.

First, let me start by saying that I will play, whatever system is chosen by the group. Second, congratulations to Nicole for her victory.

Based on all my experience, I have a few very strong beliefs about this game.(note that this comes from someone who LOVES this game who has spent 4 years completing a 130,000 word Tactics Manual, and yes, its finished, just awaiting the green lite by SVC and time in their very busy production schedule).

Assuming Equally pointed forces, I will make the following statements about tournament at the 300-450 point range.
1. Phaser-Gs break the game. Hydrans would be the biggest violator obviously. This is why I have never taken a Hydran squadron in a tournament, it would be like clubbing baby seals (note, not trying to offend any one). This is why I engineered a coup at Origins a few years ago showing why everyone had to bring an LDR squadron to have a chance. Since everyone brought one, they outlawed the LDR...could you imagine ESGs plus Phas-Gs?
2. Orions are ripe for abuse because the potential extreme weapons combinations. All Plasmas-Fs and 4 ships, or all photons, or all drones, whatever, but combined with stealth and engine doubling make them a bit ridiculous.well I would restrict Orions to disruptors, with perhaps a single non-disruptor heavy weapon. Just my opinion. Its the reason I have never taken an Orion Squadron. In the hands of someone like Paul Scott...well you guessed it, it would be like clubbing baby seals.
3. Tholians: In the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, if you have at least 2 webcasters, you can avoid taking any significant damage. I did not take more than leak damage this entire tournament. For future reference, I would restrict Tholians to a single webcaster. Note that I said in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing. I kind of know, but I usually made at least one error that most people failed to take advantage of or recognize early enough. Webcasters are not forgiving ANY errors but I would submit that they are very powerful in FC and should be limited to one per fleet in a Tournament game.

The above three races are the most problematic for a tournament in my opinion. The Kzinti are the next most powerful race, again, if played properly. Read my article on drone tactics in the recent Captain's Log. Follow that advice and Kzinti should do very well. I don't think they are broken, but for the points, I believe they are little more powerful, I think the 1.05 multiplier for them was about right.

I know of at least 1 player who is tired of playing "wierd, tricked-out" Orion/Hydran squadrons that are impossible to beat with a standard force. I share some of his feelings.

Next are the Gorns and Romulans. There are the poor handicapped empires of the game with the Gorn being the cripples. Gorns should be at a .93 or .92 multiplier at a MINIMUM, possibly .91 or .90. This would allow a player to bring 3 BCs (160 points each) to a 450 Point tournament. I have played MANY MANY MANY games as Gorns testing this opinion, including the last tournament. The Romulans should probably have the same handicap unless. The only exception I would make to this is that a ship with an R-Torpedo should NOT be handicapped as much. A Vulture and King Eagle(s) are an excellent force because they are so damn hard to hurt or kill and R-torps are dangerous. In the hands of a decent player they are dangerous. This is about the only Very good Plasma force.

Paul Scott wrote an excellent article for the Tactics Manual pointing out why R-torps are so much better than the other types of plasma.

So, what does that leave? Feds and Klingons (lyran) These I believe are the baseline empires. They are well matched if the opponents are of equal skill.

I want to throw this idea out for people to consider. What if we ranked players by some skill level: Lets just say we were doing a 450 PT tournament. Note that I am just tossing out example ideas, this is NOT a fully fleshed out set of ideas, merely a concept.

Initial ranking of known players could be done by looking at people's records in both online and Origins tournaments. A person's starting point value can be further modified by the Empire they choose (though an ensign player should not be allowed to go over 500 points even if bringing a Gorn fleet, 500 may be too much).

ENSIGN - New player to the tournament who admits he is a new player and new to the game but want to learn and improve and gain some experience. this is great because we want new people and this level may give them some seasoning. A player can only be at ENSIGN for 1 tournament, then they move up to LT. An ensign would get 470 points and be able to choose any empire.

LIEUTENANT- This is someone who played one tournament as an ensign or someone new to the tournament who labels themselves as experienced and knowing how to play. This player gets 460 Points. This is where we consider restricting Orions and Hydrans. Players who have consistently ranked at or near the bottom would go here. The extra points would hopefully help them stay somewhat competitive and hopefully help keep them from quitting out of frustration.

COMMANDER - 450 Points to design his/her fleet. This would be the baseline rank for most players that rank in the middle half of the tournaments. A new player could start here if he insists he is good enough.

CAPTAIN- Someone who consistently ranks in the top 2. Perhaps they get 440 points to choose their fleet but Tholians with web casters, Orions (with anything other than disruptors) and Hydrans are off limits. Perhaps even Kzintis as well. I would certainly fall into this category, Nicole as well.

ADMIRAL: Paul Scott : ) and anyone who manages to beat him in a tournament. (Perhaps me too if people feel strongly about it). This ranking would give players around 430 points.

The idea is not necessarily to give ENSIGNs a chance at beating Admirals and Captains, but is should keep them in the game long enough to learn something and to get better. It will also hopefully force the higher ranked player to at least break a sweat and to at least make it a challenging game. I personally like a challenging game, it makes it more fun. Clubbing baby seals is not as much fun for me because I know I am usually just creating frustration and that person is more likely to quit playing and the goal of this is to KEEP PLAYERS, ATTRACT NEW PLAYERS and make new players into GOOD PLAYERS. This keeps experienced players from getting bored and new players from getting frustrated. I think it also helps prevent the shark tank.

The point values listed at each rank could be adjusted, of course, and each rank could have a specific point value allowed for for each empire. The numbers I gave were just pulled out of thin air.

OTHER ISSUES
On the issue of starting range, I think about range 32 or 33 is the tried and true best most fair starting range. Its been used for years in SFB and has worked well in our tournament. Close enough that if one player does not maneuver that the other player can get to range 1.

Starting speed restrictions should be dropped.

Losing points for launching suicide shuttles should be dropped. A close game could be decided by a few points and suicide shuttles are viable options for attacking your opponent. I understand why this was implemented but that situation was the exception not the rule. Cloaking devices serve the same delaying function that the suicide shuttle rule was implemented to prevent.

Thats my 2 cents.
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I'd like to add one more thing. I think the ideal solution would be to have fixed squadrons for various empires. Perhaps each empire would have 2-4 squadrons to choose from OR perhaps each rank would have a couple fixed squadrons to choose from. Perhaps admirals would not be able to bring certain advanced ship classes like the D5W or the Fed NCA. This would force the inclusion of older classic ships like the CAs. The problem is that this would take a lot of time and playtesting.
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
1. Phaser-Gs break the game. Hydrans would be the biggest violator obviously. This is why I have never taken a Hydran squadron in a tournament, it would be like clubbing baby seals (note, not trying to offend any one). This is why I engineered a coup at Origins a few years ago showing why everyone had to bring an LDR squadron to have a chance. Since everyone brought one, they outlawed the LDR...could you imagine ESGs plus Phas-Gs?


I don't think it is so much Phaser Gs that make Hydrans so bad, it is the incredibly cheap ships that is more problematic given the current 'scenario'. When most others have 3 cruisers they have 4. Irrespective of phaser Gs that is one of hell of an uphill struggle - If I turned up with 4 Gorn BCs or 4 D5Ws I'd probably be expecting to beat most others who only have 3 cruisers.

LDR are just utterly broken point wise. They have all phaser 1s and disrupters for excellent long range fire power, ESGs and massed Gatlings for stupidly potent short range power, they have good amounts of power, decent robust ships and not particularly bad turning. They have frigates that can vaporise Heavy Cruisers in a single volley. They are the only empire that we house rule locally for a point adjustment. Currently our house rule is any LDR ship with 2 gatlings is 10% more than its LDR cost, any ship with 4 gatlings is 25% more than its LDR cost. That makes the LDR Tiger with 4 gatlings more expensive than the ISC CA which feels more like it should be. It puts their bang per point more in line with other ships.


Quote:

2. Orions are ripe for abuse because the potential extreme weapons combinations. All Plasmas-Fs and 4 ships, or all photons, or all drones, whatever, but combined with stealth and engine doubling make them a bit ridiculous.well I would restrict Orions to disruptors, with perhaps a single non-disruptor heavy weapon. Just my opinion. Its the reason I have never taken an Orion Squadron. In the hands of someone like Paul Scott...well you guessed it, it would be like clubbing baby seals.


Orions are an issue in tourneys. Though I have to say I expected to do really badly when I tried the all drone force, I shouldn't have beaten Kzinti, and was then lucky to then fight only plasma empires 3 times, which meant 3 bizarre seeker vs seeker battles rather than getting hammered by klingons, Feds, Tholians, Lyran, Hydran etc.

The only reason I played Orions last tourney was because they had the worst handicap at 1.1 and I was wanting to see how well they could still do in a tourney where others might be taking empires with decent bonus points. Sure they can still come with decent firepower, but at some point when you are against a big (up to 20% in the last tourney) points deficit then smaller and more fragile ships and less weapons etc must kick in and start to make it harder. If the handicapping is working then Orions will not be an issue. Of course that may be based on them taking those weapons, but spamming short range crunch weapons works because of the scenario as much as anything else (Or people not knowing about carronades!).


Quote:

3. Tholians: In the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, if you have at least 2 webcasters, you can avoid taking any significant damage. I did not take more than leak damage this entire tournament. For future reference, I would restrict Tholians to a single webcaster. Note that I said in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing. I kind of know, but I usually made at least one error that most people failed to take advantage of or recognize early enough. Webcasters are not forgiving ANY errors but I would submit that they are very powerful in FC and should be limited to one per fleet in a Tournament game.



But that is always the nub of the issue. Knowing what you are doing. And if the other guy knows what he is doing? Feds are a poor empire (in terms of win/loss ratio) because many, presumably, don't know what they are doing.


The other point I'd make, and I've made it before, is that things do change a lot in different setups. For some reason all the tourneys are played on open maps, and except for the last one a small one at that. Not a particularly balanced environment. I'm glad to see that Jim is at trying to shake up the map with more room and some sort of terrain. That specifically may not be balanced either in the end, but that is no worse than where we have come from.

At one extreme we play on the standard tourney map where hydrans will always reach the other guy by turn 2. That makes hydrans deadly. At the other extreme we play on a fully floating map where no one will catch anyone else if they don't want to be caught. At that point Hydrans really are not that deadly even if they have that extra ship. In a 10 turn game the Hydrans may never get into short enough range to do much, whilst being worn down enough to give a win to the other side.

With Jims new rules if the hydrans take Fusion cruisers then only a 28pt difference is needed at most for a win, an internal on each ship, or one cripple will provide that. If the smallest ship is only 50 points then only 13 points are needed. Simply saying Hydrans (for example) are too powerful is not strctly true unless you are not prepared to consider other aspects of tourney setup that may change how empires handle. Orions with Carronades/photons are also not neccessarily that good in such cases either, with room to manouver/run the klingons are probably not to worried by range 5 carronades, or fully overloaded photons which Orios struggle to power and chase, stealth will only keep handicapped smaller orion ships going so long if they can't close and start dishing out the damage.

Quote:
This would allow a player to bring 3 BCs (160 points each) to a 450 Point tournament.


Agreed, I've made exactly the same point before. The Gorn cruiser is pointed way to high. Even for myself who doesn't think plasma is an issue in the same way you do, I can't understand the Gorn BC hulls at 160+ points. It is identical to the Fed NCA in all the important ways, excpet the Fed gets better phaser arcs and the extra drones for 10 less points.

Quote:
Paul Scott wrote an excellent article for the Tactics Manual pointing out why R-torps are so much better than the other types of plasma.


Well in isolation I'm not sure what that means. In the same way a Ph1 is better then a Ph2? On the other hand 1 Ph1 is not necessarily better than 2 Ph2, just as 1 R is not necessarily better than 2 S.


Quote:
I want to throw this idea out for people to consider. What if we ranked players by some skill level


Certainly. I've suggested that sort of thing before, though not necessarily your system. Looking at Feds for example, they are supposed to be a fairly good empire on the standard tourney map, yet so far they have the most appaling record. If you handicap based on what the best players can do then the more normal players cannot play one of the most popular empires without getting hammered. If you handicap to normal players who don't do well then the best players will totally dominate with them.

I'd prefer a simpler (as in less subjective) +/- points based on how many games have been won/lost combined with the same per empire.


Last edited by storeylf on Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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pinbot
Lieutenant JG


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wondered about PH-G's being broken as opposed to just underpriced. Is that based on endgame stuff--protecting your last PH-G with frame hits, or repairing it every turn? Or just ship designs that would never have happened if the PH-G were seen as 4 P3's?

storeylf wrote:

Quote:
Paul Scott wrote an excellent article for the Tactics Manual pointing out why R-torps are so much better than the other types of plasma.


Well in isolation I'm not sure what that means. In the same way a Ph1 is better then a Ph2? On the other hand 1 Ph1 is not necessarily better than 2 Ph2, just as 1 R is not necessarily better than 2 S.


Well one thing is that R-bolts are so good (better damage/energy return than photons!) that they would be a dandy heavy weapon if that was their only fire mode. So you could call seeking mode just gravy. I'm not at all saying always bolt, it's just that bolting is easier to quantify. But if seeking is better than bolting, that makes R's all the more badass. S's, whether seeking or bolted, have only 70% of an R's efficiency at best, so you pay a lot to get the circumstantially useful flexibility of 2 S shots instead of one R and 7 spare power.

Note, that is based on a spreadsheet I whipped up to look at efficiency (expected damage per unit of energy) and not on any 'vast experience' I have from the maybe half-dozen sessions I've played. I don't have any delusions of grandeur.

Anyway, awesome news on the tactics manual. I've looked at a friend's SFB manual and it is fun reading, but so much of it is about weasels, T-Bombs, ECM and so forth. It will be very nice to read stuff where you don't have to take every conclusion with the the grain of salt that it may hinge on factors not present in FC.
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lee is correct about the phaser G, calling them broken or underpriced is about the same thing. Hydrans, including stingers, are underpriced for the bang.

At a minimum here is the Point adjustment multipliers I would go with I would go with:

Orion: 1.15
Hydran: 1.10 or 1.15 or somewhere in between.
Tholian: The ships themselves are pointed fine BUT I think the real problem is the synergistic effect of 2 webcasters. I think they should be restricted to one or only allowed to fire 1 caster per turn (ie a WC used to cast web. The Fist would be allowed.) Remember, while not forgiving of mistakes, neither Paul or I took any damage worth mentioning.

Kzinti: Maybe 1.02. This at least prevents a NCC, NCA and NCA force in a 450 pt game.

Others: Fed Klingon, Lyran, Vudar, Wyn: 1.00

Romulan: .94 (at least they can hide while re-arming.
Gorn: .91 or .92
Seltorian not sure, maybe .95. Others may more experience with them. I'd open this up for debate.
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m1a1dat
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read over this bidding thing a few times and i am really not understanding it. Not sure if i will play in the next tourney or not, but i will watch the mock bidding and try and figure out how it works. What happens if someone low balls the bid, like picks a couple frigates or something for 150 points?

A big part of our problems with balance is that we are using multiple ships and everyone gets to pick (and abuse or not) what they want. SFB Tourney has always been one ship and has been fine tuned and balanced over the years. Maybe finding balanced pre-built squadrons will work better.

By the way, i should have caught this long before but i am pretty sure the King Eagle is the command/leader varient of the War Eagle, thus you should only have one of them in a squadron.
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps players handicaps could be adjusted through the +/- 1% method based on their wins/losses. Thus we'd have an accounting for empire and player record.
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