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Draft Tournament Auction-Based Squadron Selection Method
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
Posts: 1875

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I updated the other thread for empire performance.

What I was thinking was just use the [win - loss] as the handicap for player and empire. Probably doubled for a 450 pt game (but probably not for a 300pt one).

If you take the figures in that thread then If I choose Orions again I'd be on -14 points for my player record, and -18 for choosing orions. So I'd get -32 points to spend.

If the worst player, (who is -6) was to choose Feds they would get + 12 point for their performance to date and +36 for taking Feds, or a total +48 points.

So in a 450 pt tourney I'd have 418 orions vs 498 Feds in that match.


At first it may not provide great balance, but more games feeding in would eventually move empires and players to a fairly decent balance point.


Though a +/- 1% per win/loss system could work as well, I'd be at -15% with orions, and the worst player would be at +24% with Feds.

That would mean 382pts vs 558pts. Even Orions played by good players ought to be struggling at that point against the players with the worst record, no matter what weapons they bring.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
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.


Not really. It was the point I was making earlier, 1 plasma R vs 1 photon looks good. 1 Pl-R and 2 Pl-F vs 4 photons not so obvious (which is what you are often looking at in reality), equally when comparing plasma you are often giving up 2 Pl-S for 1 Pl-R broadly speaking (e.g the Gorn CS vs the Gorn BC/CM).

Damage per energy is useful to a point, but simple raw damage without regard to energy is as well. I don't care if you inflict 10 damage for 1 power and I inflict 20 for 10 power, so long as I have the power and can inflict that 20 I'm winning.
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Patrick Doyle
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Joined: 18 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as the modifiers go, its clear that there would have to be limits to the modifiers. No matter how bad the player's record and how bad the Empire you choose is, there would have to be a maximum point value modifier to prevent what you just described. We would have to play with the numbers some to make it work.

About my record... Yes I remembered, I took one for the team by playing the Gorn. I'm curious how I end up when you don't include the tournament that I brought the Gorn. Anyhow, thanks for the work Lee. Also, Jim thanks for the work you do keeping this tournament going.
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pinbot
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Joined: 07 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
Quote:
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.


Not really. It was the point I was making earlier, 1 plasma R vs 1 photon looks good. 1 Pl-R and 2 Pl-F vs 4 photons not so obvious (which is what you are often looking at in reality), equally when comparing plasma you are often giving up 2 Pl-S for 1 Pl-R broadly speaking (e.g the Gorn CS vs the Gorn BC/CM).

Damage per energy is useful to a point, but simple raw damage without regard to energy is as well. I don't care if you inflict 10 damage for 1 power and I inflict 20 for 10 power, so long as I have the power and can inflict that 20 I'm winning.


Oh I agree with what you say. But note that I didn't say 'any ship with PL-R is so good...' Yes, 4 photons are better than 1 PL-R, but that doesn't make PL-R a worse weapon. And of course, that fact that sweet weapons like PPD, PL-R, P4 and PG are severely rationed is what keeps it interesting.

Also quite agreed that efficiency isn't the whole story, not by a long shot. But it is an important metric in many circumstances, and a good thing to compare when judging preferred engagement distance. Actually I was originally just looking at when 2 P3s was better than a single P1 or P2, and it just kind of snowballed into including every weapon as I got curious about the exotic ones.

Average damage per turn, as you note, is very significant. And in those terms a lone Ph (fully OL) beats a PL-R, but only out to range 2. The only reason I find damage per turn less interesting is that I think there's less room for surprise there. Efficiency taking into account both accuracy and energy cost can yield less obvious results--at least I was surprised. The merits of R-Bolts and PPD's were the big ones for me.

If I can ever get my charts somewhere better than 'horribly ugly' I do mean to post proper results and see what discussion ensues.
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate all the comments, especially those from Pat and Lee.

However, there has been a serious drift of topic Smile

I apologize in advance for the length of this and I would have preferred to dedicate the time I am now spending to write this epistle to finishing the preparation of the mock test of my proposed squadron selection method, but as a result of the posted comments I think I need explain how and why I ended up with my proposed method that is the topic here.

This said, you do not need to bother to read the following lengthy discussion if you don't care to or are fine with waiting to see how the mock testing goes. As much as anything, I just wanted to get all of my thoughts memorialized so I can move on to getting the mock test underway.

The online FC tournaments are at a crossroads for me. They were originally started for the purpose of helping to get online live play of FC going because several of us were having trouble finding opponents and scheduling games. The tournaments provided the opponents and a means for folks to force games onto their busy calendars.

From my perspective, I was never looking for a recreation of the SFB tournament experience in FC. I was looking for roughly balanced scenarios against a variety of empires and the opportunity to try out different types of squadrons. I also wanted to try to do well against my peers, but was prepared to be crushed by an opponent or two.

Terry O'Carroll made the first noble effort by trying to directly transfer the FC Origins Tournament to FC Online. Unfortunately, a bunch of folks got into their heads that the Kzinti were either unbeatable or really fun to play. Unfortunately, this devolved into a Kzinti civil war by the third round and the tournament collapsed between of this development and the delayed completion of matches leading up to this. In addition, an uproar with regard to playbalance between empires also developed in part due to what happened with so many folks picking the Kzintis. As an aside, I would note that the Kzintis today are not as strong as they were back then thanks to the addition of Offensive Fire for ADDs.

From the ashes of the first tournament, I stepped forward with what I will call the 1st Revolution. Specifically, I introduced the concept of point multipliers on top of the FC Origins Tournament Rules. A default set of premiums and discounts at roughly 5% increments were established based on my initial perception of the relative strength and weaknesses of each empire. I then also instituted a rule where if more than 1/4 of the players that signed up picked the same empire, the point multiplier for that empire would increase up to the next increment for all players. This was safety valve with regard to both guessing wrong at the initial empire multipliers and the inevitability that some folks just want to play a particular empire. This was all for the greater good to avoid a repeat of a civil war collapse of the first tournament. I also laid out a path for decrementing the multipliers in future tournaments for empires that lost all their matches or were not selected (due to unpopularity or a perception they are very weak). The then in playtest starting with the 2nd turn of plasma loading completed rule was also used. Finally, I instituted what I planned as strictly enforced monthly deadlines for completion of matches in order to maintain interest.

In general, the 2nd FCOL Tournament was a great success. While we had the little controversy with my third round game with Paul, everything went off fairly smoothly and even the little controversy was that -- little, and solved by moving from a 6 Turn limit to a 10 Turn limit for the next tournament.

The 3rd FCOL Tournament and Winter 2012 FCOL Tournament used the same format with some point multiplier adjustments and the aforementioned 10 Turn limit. They were also generally successful with Pat and Paul adding some spice to the Winter 2012 Tournament by taking on the Gorns and Romulans, respectively. They voluntarily did this in order to voluntarily handicap themselves and to try to build data to support their thesis that Plasma is too weak in FC. Lee also added some spice to the Winter 2012 Tournament with his all drone Orion squadron. The only thing that did not work well in this period was that in my growing tolerance to allow folks more time to complete their matches, the schedule got off kilter in the Winter 2012 Tournament. We also had far too many folks simply not get their game in and take a double draw.

The Fall 2012 FCOL Tournament that just completed was variant of the ones that proceeded it. I went back to the intention of very strictly enforced monthly match completion deadlines with the threat of declaring double losses if both players were at fault rather than allowing double draws. I also decided to start at 26 hexes to save playtime and apply a minimum first turn baseline speed, forced facing and a shuttle destruction penalty. These were mostly intended to help speed play by shaving first turn playtime and further discouraging delaying tactics though, as I have indicated elsewhere, the shuttle penalty was a suspension of disbelief item for me as well.

To add variety (we have been waiting for the ISC, Vudar and Andromedans to added to the FCOL client for nearly two years) and to also help with playtime, I moved down from 3 to 4 ship , 450 point squadrons to 2 to 3 ship, 300 point squadrons. I also made some minor tweaks to the empire point multipliers. Finally, I eliminated the over subscription incrementing of the point multipliers because I felt the point multipliers had settled down enough and I thought the starting location and total squadron point value changes would not skew things much. We almost did run into over subscription at one point, but then a player voluntarily changed empires to avoid a problem. The other bit of variety added was that Lee chose a nearly all Plasma F Carronade Orion squadron.

The first few rounds of the Fall 2012 tournament went very smoothly. However, there were two things that came up. First, for whatever reason, two of Lee's opponents did not realize the Orion Plasma Fs have Carronade capability like the Gorns and Feds. One of his opponents was also not happy with having to deal with what he felt were somewhat wacky, broken squadrons and expressed a preference for fixed tournament squadrons like in SFB. The second issue was with regard to how long it took to complete the last round match for the two leaders in the tournament. This has led to the delay in starting the next tournament, but it has also led to me contemplating what to do next (a good thing).

Getting back to the crossroads, in my opinion the tournament is growing stale. Also, it has become abundantly clear that even minor changes to the tournament scenario can cause significant changes in the play balance between empires. In my opinion, this and some of the extremes that can occur with the Orions as demonstrated by some of Lee's squadron selections, clearly demonstrate that point to point comparison of empires does not work because the bang for buck for ships of each empire vary within the empire itself. Finally, we do not have enough granularity in the ship choices and enough consistency in that granularity between empires to allow a micromanaging of the point value multipliers we have been using (it is important to note that 1% is only 4.5 points for a 450 point squadron).

As a quick aside, there has been a lot of discussion by Pat and Lee with regard to handicapping. I do not believe we have any evidence that a FC shark tank is driving players away. I do think we have a few players that haven't liked some of the tough to beat squadrons they have run into and that has discouraged them. However, I feel most of the loss of players has been from folks who either just are not satisfied with their own play, have gotten their FC fix satisfied for the time being (e.g., Orgyockbo) or have had real life changes that don't allow them enough free time to participate right now (e.g., EricPhillips, Paul Scott and Garrett).

Personally, I have zero interest in a handicapping and I say that as a weak to average skill player (I am good a strategizing, but I am unfortunately poor at having consistently good performance in execution). Then again, I come from a perspective where I want my wins from skill to be real wins (not fabrications from handicapping) and it doesn't particularly bother me that I may not be able to beat certain players. As Pat will tell you, while his Tholians were a real challenge and did me in during the last tournament, I enjoyed every minute of it and I certainly picked up some useful ideas for the future from him. I bet I would have enjoyed going up against Lee's wacky Orion squadrons as well.

Returning to staleness and the challenge of maintaining play balance between empires, the past few weeks I have been reviewing possible options for future.

We could move to a scenario based tournament. This would add a lot of variety and test the skill of players in handling a lot of different empires and situations all within a single tournament. This is the great strength of Advanced Squad Leader tournaments. However, Advanced Squad Leader is blessed with thousands of well balanced scenarios. We do not have that luxury available to us for FC. We could try to get there for a tournament by tweaking the better balanced existing scenarios, but there are two challenges with doing so. First, not everyone has all of the products. So, using scenarios outside of Communique could be a problem unless we were to design new scenarios. Also, Communique scenarios are the most likely ones to be unbalanced since they are officially in playtest status. Designing new scenarios or using Communique scenarios creates the second challenge. Such an approach requires both the time and resources necessary to complete playtesting. So, in the end, I have concluded this is not a viable option at this time.

We might move to predesignated standard tournament squadrons per SFB. However, this would eliminate the ability to purchase or bid unique squadrons and further reduce variety. It would also require a fixed tournament scenario. Finally, we need a committee to take the time to define those squadrons. While I know Brandon recently expressed an interest in this and it is attractive in that it doesn't run the risk of a blowout in play balance, personally, for me, this would quickly get stale. More importantly, there is the question of how quickly we could convene a committee and get that committee to agree on those standard squadrons. We might want playtesting of those as well, but I guess that could take place in the tournaments itself. Ultimately, I will tell you I am not willing to be a committee of one to establish standard squadrons. If someone else wants to take it on, then I am good with that and good with letting the tournament move on to a new facilitator.

We might return to the 450 point format of the Winter 2012 tournament using the Fall 2012 point multipliers adjusting the Feds down an increment, the Tholians up an increment, the Orions up an increment and the Gorns down an increment (maybe some other empire adjustments as well). I think we have outlived the need for the over subscription rule and I agree with Lee that it has made the Feds too expensive. I would replace that with a first come, first served rule. Under this rule, you could not sign up for an empire if it would cause more than 1/4 of the players to be playing the same empire. It would take popularity out of the playbalancing. We would use a 32 hex start with a small hex location map with no terrain. There would be no starting facing or baseline speed requirements. There would be no penalties for shuttles. We would continue with a 10 Turn limit and strictly enforced monthly match completion deadlines. The advantage of this is that it is the easiest and quickest approach to getting the next tournament going. However, it does not solve my concern with staleness. Also, I think folks are looking for some additional new purchase restrictions on ships. So, there could be a delay in working this out. If folks conclude they really don't want to go down the road of my proposed 2nd Revolution (see below), I am willing to facilitate one more tournament of this format. After that, I would like to step down from facilitating, as I feel my interest level is failing due to the staleness that is growing with regard to ship choices and the sameness of the tournament scenario from tournament to tournament (Exception: If the ISC, Vudar and Andromedans are added to the client and all their weapons work in the client, my interest level would significantly increase).

And, now, finally, the proposed 2nd Revolution ...

This started with me thinking about adding variety and how to do it while maintaining rough playbalance. I examined once again Lee's previous idea of a reverse standard tournament format. This is one where you purchase the squadron you will always fight against in the tournament. The idea is to get folks to select mediocre ships that rarely are purchased and as a result rarely see play (e.g., Fed CL). It is abundantly clear the existing empire point modifiers would not work and other interesting unforeseen problems could develop. I decided that before I could try something as radical Lee's idea, or even simpler things like adding terrain to the standard tournament scenario, I needed to develop a way to dynamically establish rough playbalance such that playbalance could be readily adjusted to handle changes to the tournament scenario. If I could solve that problem, we could radically change the tournament scenario from tournament to tournament introducing almost unlimited variety and avoiding the rut of a standard tournament scenario, limited workable ship selections and all sorts of ship purchase prohibitions.

One way to do this would be to have a committee work out empire point value multipliers and ship purchase restrictions before the start of each tournament. However, that of course takes time and more importantly where do we get our volunteers for the committee and how do we get to a consensus? I also remembered my aforementioned conclusions on the inadequacy of the point system. We seem to try to work in terms of point multipliers, but it is really specific ship combinations that drive playbalance at a given total point level under a given tournament scenario.

This led me down the road of an idea. What if I combined the committee and ship selection into one process? Specifically, the players become the committee and they come to a rough consensus with regard rough playbalance through the process of selecting their ships. This led me to the idea of using an auction where the players know the exact squadrons they are up against.

To make this concept work a baseline would be needed. Otherwise, the auction would be inherently unstable. Since total points have the flaws I have discussed, I came up with the idea of the Base Squadron, which would be a predefined squadron of a specific empire. It sets the target for convergence for the players' bids on squadrons for each empire, but the target is the perceived strength of the Base Squadron in the tournament scenario that is to be played, not just the total point value of the Base Squadron, since the exact makeup of the Base Squadron is known.

To ensure convergence to the target of the Base Squadron, I assign it to a player. This player can force this squadron on another player by winning a bid for another squadron. This player should in most cases be willing to bid a specific squadron of another empire down to just short of the point where the squadron that would be bid is perceived by the player as being weaker than the Base Squadron. At the same time, all the other players know that as a minimum they might face the Base Squadron in combat in the tournament and, thus, will not be willing to bid a squadron for a particular empire that is weaker than the Base Squadron.

The auction itself is conducted to establish the remaining squadrons and assign them to players. Each squadron is determined by first selecting an empire and then opening bidding with a squadron for that empire that is far stronger than any player would find acceptable for the other players to have. Hence, it must have a starting total point value much higher than that of the Base Squadron. Downward bidding then proceeds by players bidding specific squadrons of that empire that have a lower total point value than the latest standing squadron bid. Bidding ends when all but one player has passed and that one player is assigned the squadron. Again, the threat of going up against the Base Squadron acts as a floor establishing a target.

Since the winning bidder may have already been assigned a squadron (perhaps the Base Squadron), something needs to be done with that previously assigned squadron if this happens. If it is not the Base Squadron, it is offered as is to each of the players who have not yet been assigned a squadron and discarded if none of them take it. If it is the Base Squadron, it is offered as is to each of the players who have not yet been assigned a squadron, but if they all pass, the last such player to pass on it must take assignment of it. It is never discarded.

It is possible irrational bidding (due to an overly strong desire to play a particular empire, gross misunderstanding of the relative strength of a particular squadron, or plain craziness) could lead to some unbalanced squadrons. However, as long as there is at least one rationale bidder, this irrational bid should only directly adversely affect that irrational bidder.

So, now you have the complete story with regard to how and why I arrived at my proposed ship selection method for the next tournament. I am now going to return to focusing on setting up the mock test of it, but if it doesn't work out, or if you all find me to be crazy, I have outlined above some of the other alternatives that are available for the next tournament.

Thanks,
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Jim Dauphinais, Chesterfield, MO

St. Louis Area Fed Comm Group: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/STL_Federation_Commander/


Last edited by JimDauphinais on Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
From my perspective, I was never looking for a recreation of the SFB tournament experience in FC. I was looking for roughly balanced scenarios against a variety of empires and the opportunity to try out different types of squadrons. I also wanted to try to do well against my peers, but was prepared to be crushed by an opponent or two.



This is probably fairly close to my interest. Whilst I know I 'talk' a lot about the tourney, balance etc, that is because I find it an interesting topic. However, I have no interest in tourney play per se.

Given comments about wacky/tricked out Orions, and that as I have accounted for 40% of all orion games I may as well explain why I've played them.

I've been wargaming for about 30+ years, yet in all that time I've never entered a tourney/competition prior to the FC tourneys, all my gaming has just been with local friends. Wrongly or rightly I've always had a fairly dim view of the idea of 'real' competitive play, even though I am probably fairly 'competitive' myself.

In terms of FC I played the tourney scenario a lot back in 2009/2010 with local friends, but we quickly agreed it was just plain boring/stale/turgid, however you want to phrase it. The idea of this meaningless battle with artificial map boundaries and a fight to the death mentality just seemed, well, pointless. As some will note from the campaign section of the forum it is campaigns we like playing.

I missed the first tourney (that only got to round 2). But when Jim started the second tourney I decided to join. Mainly I was interested in playing online and 'meeting' other players beyond my local group, and there seemed no way of doing that apart from the tourney. As Jim notes there is not a lot of FC online activity.

I treat the first tourney as a competition and choose the most obviously potent empire, unfortunately Paul Scott got in first with the most obvious squadron, so I choose another to avoid 2 identical squadrons. Whilst I wasn't unhappy with where I came in that tourney, I had by the last match remembered just how awful I found the tourney. I was simply bored to death.

I therefore sat out the next tourney, whilst following it, and always like to discuss such things.

I was going to sit out the 4th tourney as well, but then while musing over what sort of squadrons you could get with the handicaps, noted that the pure drone Orion squadron looked amusing. It is really pretty weak, with no direct firepower and with drones themselves being reasonably easy to avoid losing to. It wasn't like a Kzinti squadron which uses drones to augment its disrupters and phasers. By all rights I should have got no where in that tourney, but I thought it would, for me, turn the tourney into something else - a test of how a wacky squadron would play against 4 different people.

As it happened my first game was against Kzinti, and that should have seen me wiped out against the empire that created drone fighting. Somehow I won that, then by sheer fluke all my next 3 matches were against the empires that have a total lack of dedicated drone defense - Rom/Gorn. There followed 3 bizarre seeker on seeker fights which neither side could easily win. The game against Patrick stands out to me as one of the Best games I've played. That was a marathon multi session game which went pretty close to 10 turns. I only won that due to a bad mistake by Patrick, had he not made that mistake it would have at least ended in a draw. The game against Paul Scott saw a similar game, but Paul didn't make a mistake and we called a draw after 5 turns as it was obvious neither of us were going to lose. The other Gorn game (I can't remember who) also ended with a win for me, again down to mistakes by the Gorn. I ended up winning that tourney (though only because someone else didn't play his final game as I remember).

In the last tourney I decided to follow the same philosophy - find something that I wanted to test rather than play for tourney winning sake. What I went with was the handicapping itself. The Orions were now the highest handicap, and were potentially facing large points deficits if facing those at the other end of the handicap scale. I decided to see if they could overcome that and do well. That pretty much meant going for one of the more 'broken' setups, photons or plasma or Phgs. As ever I ignored the PhG and decided on carronades, mainly because the mass photon Orions have been taken a couple of times before, and no one had tried carronades that I was aware. What would happen would be somewhat subject to the luck of the draw. I was expecting to lose at least a couple of games due to simple point deficit and my small ships facing cruisers. In the end, 3 games were simply me running over those who made very little effort to keep out of the way and try to weaken me before facing me up close (partly down to lack of rules knowledge). The game I lost was indeed against someone at the other extreme of handicapping. So despite the supposed brokenness of that Orion squad I didn't win the tourney, nor even come 2nd. Had I played against more people who knew what they were facing I doubt I'd have won 3 games, at least without a serious fight.

I would also add that the final tourney dropping to 300 pts favoured the Orions more than some others. I'd have still played a similar force at 450 pts, but that would probably not have been as effective, for a couple of reasons. Primarily, that I'd have less Bang for Buck, Gaining only about 33% more firepower for 50% more points. Orions are just one of those empires that are better in smaller games.


Are Orions broken and in need of weapon restrictions? not really. It certainly concerns me when one or 2 players start asking for rule changes based on the very limited tourney context. It all depends far too much on other factors. Map, scenario, victory conditions etc all make a big difference to what weapons are useful. Try taking your orions with Photons against a fleet with scouts, even more so in asteroids - when every shot you take is against a +2 photons are pretty sucky. Anything close range isn't so hot on a large map etc.

If the tourney scenario favours such setups then the tourney can have its own restrictions, I have no issue with the tourney saying no more than 2 PlasF , just as Hydrans can have no more than 8 stingers, or only 2 of a certain ship etc. Those limits are not in the rule book, they are specific to the scenario that struggles to cope with such things. The handicap system will eventually mean that facing all carronades/photons is not something to worry about. A bidding system as Jim is proposing probably also means there is no requirement to add restrictions, as peeps will just adjust accordingly.

Again, I am not sure whether or not I will play the next tourney. If the Orions were upped to 1.15 then I might take them again for the same reason as before (find out when will they be no longer viable if you actually want to win?), although after 2 tourneys with them I might have felt like a change, but nothing else jumps out at me as something I want to play in another tourney.


Going forward I'm more likely to play if we move further away from the tournament as it exists. No matter how much we balance things it is always the same matchups (with maybe minor ship variation) on the same map with the same lack of any real goal beyond demo derby style of play. Indeed if the goal is to get more games online, as Jim suggests, then is a tourney (with the competitive implication maybe turning some people off) the best way. Has anyone considered some sort of campaign system where the games are played online. I know I was looking forward to playing Eric in his little campaign a couple of years back (seems that long ago anyway), just before he seemed to totally disappear for a good while.


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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't read everything posted above, but I will say this, my interest is in fun and interesting games. Scenario driven is good, and campaigns are my favorite. I do not require a Tournament to have fun. I do have a campaign idea that I will happily share to anyone interested.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patrick Doyle wrote:
I do have a campaign idea that I will happily share to anyone interested.


Share away.
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pat has privately shared it with me in the past. It's a little meaty, but it is interesting and it fits well into the SFU.

I only ask that any public sharing or discussion of it occur in a new topic in the FC & SFB Online folder on this forum in order to keep too many conversations from occuring within this topic.

Thanks,
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Jim Dauphinais, Chesterfield, MO

St. Louis Area Fed Comm Group: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/STL_Federation_Commander/
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, sorry i didn't mean here particularly, either privately to me or in another thread.
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pinbot
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim,

For my part I'd say carry on as you see fit. You're obviously considering everything carefully, as as the one doing the organizing work you clearly earn the right to explore whatever notions interest you.

The scenario-based tournament idea is interesting, but the lack of balance data is indeed a serious issue. It does seem like scenarios that are balanced through the brute force of symmetry could be good, and perhaps whipping up a new scenario for the tournament could work in that case. What I really was thinking about was something that still allowed player fleet selection--eg both sides have a small base (or maybe a bare moon to function purely as a 'basket' to score on?) and your score is damage inflicted to their base minus damage inflicted to yours. Anything mirrored like that should be fair, and generate new parameters for empire selection.

Regarding the pre-built fleets vs the ability to dynamically balance the fleets and allow player choice, what if the prebuilt fleets were only partially specified along the lines of 'CA, DW, and 1-2 ships of player choice' The enforced ships could be used to prevent cheesy squads, but the open slots allow room for customization and for the dynamic bidding.

By the way, I really like the idea of the bidding stage. Estimating balancing multipliers for empires is great, and well worthwhile,
but I don't think it's possible to perfectly balance for empire strengths, player skill, scenario particulars, so by all means make it part of the game for players to determine on the fly. (viewing the whole tournament as one big game obviously)

And sorry about the topic drifting.
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update on Proposed Squadron Selection Method Mock Test

I expect to be able to begin it on Sunday evening (US time).

I will post something in this topic when I kick it off.

I'll be looking for folks to post "in character" in the Mock Test topic when it is opened and have all coments with regard to how the mock test is working be made here in this topic.

I will provide a Spring 2013 tournament announcement to Jean with a sign up deadline of March 20th and a starting date of April 1st (which may be the kick off actual ship selection depending on the final format for the tournament). Signups will only require that an e-mail be sent to me and the Assistant Judge. It will be indicated that the only requirements to participate are a copy of the FC Reference Rulebook and a subscription to FC Online.

Also, Garrett has informed me that he has gotten yet even more busy and will not be able to be an Assistant Judge this time around. So, I will be looking for a volunteer. The Assistant Judge can play in the tournament. The purpose of the Assistant Judge is to allow myself the opportunity to play in the tournament as well.
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St. Louis Area Fed Comm Group: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/STL_Federation_Commander/
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Version 0.3 is posted below with the changes italics. The changes only affect Steps b and d. The first change addresses where the Assistant Judge is placed in Bid Order if he or she is playing in the tournament. The second change is that when you have the opportunity to select an empire, you also now submit the first squadron bid for that empire. This will allow a player to immediately bid a squadron that he or she believes will be acceptable to the other players (given the squadrons assigned so far) and should hopefully shorten the auction. It should also give players a feeling of a little bit more control over their fate when they select an empire for bidding.

-------

Squadron Selection Version 0.3

This tournament will use a declining cost auction-based method for squadron selection. It is intended to dynamically establish play balance between competing squadrons by rough consensus based on the established terrain, starting distance, size, length, etc. of the tournament scenario that is being used for all rounds in the tournament. When this method is in use, Section 8B2a of the Federation Commander Point Value Victory System (8B2) is not used (i.e., there is no adjustment for different total starting squadron point totals). The minimum point advantage over an opponent that needs to be achieved to score a win in a match will be equal to 25% of the point value of the lowest point value ship (not Fighter) involved in that match.

The following procedure will be used for squadron selection:

a. The Judge will select and post a squadron for an empire of the Judge's choice. This will be the Base Squadron for the tournament. The Judge will also post the minimum number of ships that can be in any awarded squadron and the maximum number of ships that can be in any awarded squadron. The size of the Base Squadron will fall within these limits. The Judge will post a list of eligible empires, a list of all ships available for purchase in the tournament, the point cost for those ships and any limitations on ship purchases. Finally, any terrain, starting positions, turn limits and all other scenario parameters will also be posted by the Judge.

b. By random selection, the Judge will place all the players into a Bid Order. If the Judge and the Assistant Judge are playing in the tournament, the Judge shall always go last in the Bid Order and the Assistant Judge shall always go second to last in Bid Order.

c. In Bid Order, each player will be offered the Base Squadron. If a player does not post (on the FC Forum in this topic) an acceptance of the Base Squadron within 24 hours of it being offered to that player, that player will be obligated to pass on the Base Squadron. If all players pass on the Base Squadron, the last player in Bid Order must select it.

d. The next player in Bid Order who has not yet been awarded a squadron will be given the opportunity to select an eligible empire that has not yet been selected in the tournament. This will be the next empire offered for bidding. The player must post his or her selection within 24 hours of receiving the opportunity to select an empire for bidding. Otherwise, that player is obligated to pass to the next player in Bid Order. If all eligible empires have already been selected, the player may select an eligible empire that has not been selected any more times in the tournament than any other empire. When a player selects the next empire for bidding, he or she will also submit a squadron bid for that empire. The squadron bid must be a valid squadron for the tournament that has a total point cost equal to or less than 150% of the total point value of the Base Squadron.

e. Starting with the next player in Bid Order, each player may choose to outbid the latest standing squadron bid for the empire. If a player wishes to bid, the player must bid a valid squadron of that empire that has a lower total point cost than the current standing squadron bid. If a valid squadron bid is not posted by the player within 24 hours, the player will be obligated to pass. A player that has already been awarded a squadron (including the Base Squadron) may bid. However, if this player wins the bidding, the player will have to forfeit his or her previously awarded squadron. Bidding continues until all but one player has passed. Once a player has passed, that player may no longer bid for the empire being contested unless that empire comes up again in later bidding through Step d. Once bidding has ended, the player with the last standing squadron bid is awarded the squadron he or she bid.

f. If a player that has been previously awarded a squadron wins the bidding for an empire, this player's previously awarded squadron is forfeited and offered "as is" to the next player in Bid Order who has not yet been awarded a squadron. If this player does not post an acceptance of the previously awarded squadron within 24 hours of it being offered to the player, the player is obligated to pass. If all players who have not yet been awarded a squadron pass on the previously awarded squadron, the previously awarded squadron is discarded unless it is the Base Squadron. If it is the Base Squadron, the last player who passed on it must take it.

g. Steps d through f above are repeated until all of the players have been awarded a squadron.


If the last player without an awarded squadron fails under Step d to select an eligible empire for bidding within 24 hours of being offered that opportunity, that player will be withdrawn from the tournament.

If there are only two players left without an awarded squadron, and one of those two players fails twice consecutively under Step d to select an eligible empire for bidding, that player will be withdrawn from the tournament.

Regardless of the number of players left without an awarded squadron, if any player fails three times consecutively under Step d to select an eligible empire for bidding, that player will be withdrawn from the tournament.

------
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Jim Dauphinais, Chesterfield, MO

St. Louis Area Fed Comm Group: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/STL_Federation_Commander/
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The mock test has started:

http://www.starfleetgames.com/federation/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?p=59594#59594

Please only post in the above topic if you are a participant in the testing. In addition, please only post "in character" in that topic.

Please post comments on the mock test here in this topic, not in the Mock Test topic.

Thanks,
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St. Louis Area Fed Comm Group: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/STL_Federation_Commander/
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First 2 comments.

Terrain. You have changed to a planet and 2 moons. I much preferred the orignally proposed planet and dust ring. The dust cloud acts quite differently to moons and planets, you can fire through with a modifier and you can move through but take a bit of damage based on speed. A wide ring of dust feels more interesting and offers more tactical choices than the planet/moons.


Victory. I do feel quite strongly that you need to get rid of the draw/loss outcome. It is pretty perverse that having tried to beat the other guy and gotten a better result than a straight draw you are penalised in the tourney ratings because you have less tie breaker points. If you are not getting rid of that then at least change your tie breaker system. I'm aware of 2 games where people have just accepted the straight draw rather than try and do better for that reason, so you may as well just ditch it for a simple draw as in practise that has been effect anyway.
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