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Terra Mystica» Forums » Organized Play

Subject: 5p ladder rss

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Loon
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Hey everyone! I've been putting thought into the "second tournament" that's coming and have an idea to propose.

Initial (possibly controversial) assumptions:
-5p is more fun on F&I1 than 4p.
-The ubiquitous tournament structure isn't well suited for 5p (requiring 6- or 11-player divisions).
-Tournaments that require lots of games played at the same time require more coordination. See: early August with simultaneous TMTour, F&I test league, and WTC
-People who play Dragonlords a lot are probably assholes. No data for this yet, but I think DocCool can look into this with his other statistics maybe?
-Ongoing, organized leagues should be independent of rating. No particular link, but this has been discussed a few times.
-Everyone likes levelling up. Obvious

Keeping all but one of these things in mind, I decided to look for alternative ideas for organized 5p games, and I think a ladder is better suited.

Format Rules: (*brackets with stars indicate a possible alternate rule)
-Everyone starts at level 1 (*or possibly higher)
-When signing up for a game, a player is matched with 4 others of the same level (*options exist about exactly how to do that, but simply using order of registration is probably enough, especially after the first set of games)
The winner of a ladder game gains two levels! ninja
2nd place gains one level.
3rd place stays the same level. snore
4th place loses a level...
5th place loses two levels. soblue
Drawn players all get the most favorable result (*completely changeable if people intentionally tie)
(*this can be simplified to +1/0/0/0/-1, or something else)
-In any event, the minimum level is 1. There is no maximum. In time, this will push the average level of players farther away from 1.
-After a ladder game ends, the players are free to sign up for another game (at their new levels). If it's not logistically possible to start these games automatically (I am oblivious about what happens on the back end of tournament setup) then we can have fixed start times once a week or something

PROS:
-No hard time limits: if a game takes a long time to finish, then that's okay. The clock should still be strict enough to discourage 60-day games (5+1,8h perhaps), but it's not a big deal if such a game happens.
-One game played a time: no massive commitment to five simultaneous games
-Flexible scheduling: players are free to take breaks when they want
-Fast paced: no unnecessary downtime between rounds
-Levels: everyone likes levelling up! (Still obvious)
-Just don't lose: There is no extreme bias toward winning, so withstanding the chaos of 5p will be easier

CONS:
-Swingy: lots of up and down level changes could be discouraging
-No defined start/end: thus there is never a "winner"
-Sorry Xevoc: top levels may be slow to fill, though sitting alone in an otherwise empty level is the ultimate show of being that much better than everyone else (*perhaps voluntarily lowering one's level should be possible for people close to the top?)
-Bullseyes: Well-known players may get targeted.

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Steinar Nerhus
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This sounds great to me, I really like the concept, and how free you are to play when you have time. I bet it is possible to find solutions to some of those cons.
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Robert
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jsnmthw wrote:
-People who play Dragonlords a lot are probably assholes. No data for this yet, but I think DocCool can look into this with his other statistics maybe?
Sorry, only Juho can easily extract players who play Dragonlords "a lot" (to be defined ). And even Juho lacks data about each player's level of "assholeness", so he can't correlate one information to the other. Therefore your theory will likely remain unproven. Moreover, it seems completely unrelated to your proposal , unless you want to ban Dragonlords from ladder games. sauron

I like the ladder idea. In order to avoid most people being stuck at level 1 (or close to it), I'd go with an asymmetrical point assignment of +3/+2/+1/0/-1. As a corrolary, it would be wise to allow for games with one (or even more, maybe "20%"?) level difference.

One hurdle is that there needs to be an organizer who keeps an updated list of players and their current status (ladder level, in-a-game vs. waiting-for-next-game-to-fill vs. currently-inactive).
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James Wolfpacker
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Doing a small amount of leagues by hand (into a spreadsheet) is a lot of work. I did 11 for the 2nd test season for F&I. There is no way a person would be able to keep up with a ladder that way. It would have to be scripted.
 
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Steve Haas
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DocCool wrote:
jsnmthw wrote:
-People who play Dragonlords a lot are probably assholes. No data for this yet, but I think DocCool can look into this with his other statistics maybe?
Sorry, only Juho can easily extract players who play Dragonlords "a lot" (to be defined ).


I suppose it depends on how you want to define "a lot". If the goal is, like, the portion of the games in which they could have picked dragonlords in which they did, yeah, that's hard to calculate. But if you just want people who play Dragonlords "a lot", that can be gotten in like 5 minutes by grabbing a copy of the ratings json and doing some basic parsing. And doing so reveals that there are 7 players who have played at least 100 games, at least 10% of which were Dragonlords:

* Heaten - 10.2%
* sara - 10.9%
* roborobert - 11%
* gustavokhouri - 11.8%
* Illpallazzo - 12.6%
* marijnw - 14%
* Seph 17.3%

So the question, then, is: are these people assholes?
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Rolster IEM
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what did this mean?
" the portion of the games in which they could have picked dragonlords in which they did, "

sry, sometimes for whatever reason i just fail to understand english
 
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Vika
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that probably means
they could = the options of the game allowed volcano vactions + none of the players who were ahead in turn order, picked them.
so basically if a person had an opportunity in that game and took it.
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Steve Haas
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Let's say there is some faction you really like to play, and wish to play it as much as you can. How often are you actually going to be able to pick it?

Well, if its Fakirs, you can probably get it in every game, or at least very close. But if its, say, Darklings, in many games it will be selected by another player before you get the chance. So the fact that you had to play some other faction doesn't mean you don't really like Darklings - its just means that it wasn't an option at the time when you picked.

Additionally, the expansion factions provide an additional challenge. Perhaps you really like Dragonlords, but you also want to play in the tourney (which does not include the expansion factions as an option). Should this count against your rate of dragonlords selection?

So I think the number you'd actually want to measure is: for each player, if you count only those games where the Volcano factions were a legal game option, and additionally limit it to games in which neither Volcano faction were taken by an earlier player, how frequently they choose to pick Dragonlords? Or to phrase it a bit more succinctly: if you look at only those games in which the "Dragonlords" button was available to be clicked when it was that player's turn to do faction selection, how often did they choose to click it?
 
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Rolster IEM
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i think that's exactly what he did, at least that's what i get from Vika's explanation
 
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Steve Haas
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The stats I posted are just (# of dragonlords games) / (# of total games). To filter out races selected by other players you need player order information that I don't believe is exported anywhere.
 
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James Wolfpacker
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LOL! Let's just stop with the playing Dragonlords a lot are a-hole talk. All we have to do is ask _______ if he enjoys playing Dragonlords. laugh

The real discussion is about a ladder system. I like the idea of players only being able to play a ladder game with players on their rung (step or number) or perhaps even +/- 1 or 2 rungs (step or number) with this expanding some as you go higher. I think everyone should start at 0 and have the system go +2, +1, 0, -1, -2 because it is balanced unless you are at 0.

In fact this system is something that could just be incorporated directly into Juho's site with the Join Game and New Game options. Just like every player is assigned a rating, every player could be assigned a ladder number for several types of scenarios (TM Tour 4p options, F&I side 1 with all options for 5p, F&I side 1 with all options for 4p). Click Join/Start Ladder game, click on one of the 3 types, the timer is automatically set, and then you just have to wait for others with your ladder number to join. I would also recommend an exit button in case a game has not started yet so you could remove yourself in case it takes too long for a game to start.


 
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Steinar Nerhus
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HAHA! It seems to be a bad idea to make jokes while also trying to say something serious, as people will just attach to the joke and dont care about the serious part

JamesWolfpacker wrote:
In fact this system is something that could just be incorporated directly into Juho's site with the Join Game and New Game options. Just like every player is assigned a rating, every player could be assigned a ladder number for several types of scenarios (TM Tour 4p options, F&I side 1 with all options for 5p, F&I side 1 with all options for 4p). Click Join/Start Ladder game, click on one of the 3 types, the timer is automatically set, and then you just have to wait for others with your ladder number to join. I would also recommend an exit button in case a game has not started yet so you could remove yourself in case it takes too long for a game to start.


Maybe it should be only one ladder, because then the wait time is minimized? Unless players will join them all at once, which is a likely scenario.

An option is to let the ladder create random settings. When you join you do not know if it will be 3p, 4p or 5p, which map is used, or other such things. This way it will test players in all kinds of setups, and only one "join ladder" button is needed
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Vika
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I like the ladder idea - sounds interesting. Does it even have to be limited at the bottom? you can let players drop down the ladder immediately (same as rise up), luckily integers can be negative too. Or you can just start at 1000 to have some buffer
Also like James' suggestion about incorporating it into the website - you might have to somehow limit players from joining several ladder games at once though (though maybe even that's not required? the players were of approx the same step).
Only not sure why it has to be 5p specifically. the more sparse the ladder around your step the longer the wait for a game would be (and even longer with more players). Maybe as Stones mentioned there should be options for different player count and game setup for the same Ladder still.
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Per Olander
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at first read-through, I really like the idea - but as an afterthough, how is this any different than the normal rating? besides that it is more restrictive (you can only play people at your own level, only one game at a time, only 5p games, factions doesn't influence your level)

I like it, but think it would need an automated feature, so you just click "join game", and then a game is created once its filled up with 5 players. and the clock should be of a somewhat type, so games are usually finished in at least a month, since you can only play one game at a time.

the top might be a bit thinly and with less games, but yes, it is cool to be "alone" at the top as the ultimate leader, but maybe instead of dropping an actual level, you should just be able to sign up for a lower-level game (would you still get +2/+1 for winning/placing second then? this could create a run-away leader situation...)
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Robert
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Steve496 wrote:
The stats I posted are just (# of dragonlords games) / (# of total games). To filter out races selected by other players you need player order information that I don't believe is exported anywhere.
No kidding! That's why I wrote further up that's this type of calculation is a Juho-exclusive thing...
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Loon
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DocCool wrote:
Moreover, it seems completely unrelated to your proposal , unless you want to ban Dragonlords from ladder games. sauron

Acknowledged:
jsnmthw wrote:
Keeping all but one of these things in mind, I decided to look for alternative ideas for organized 5p games, and I think a ladder is better suited.

I'm glad you all are taking this seriously though! Dragonlords are serious business.


DocCool wrote:
I like the ladder idea. In order to avoid most people being stuck at level 1 (or close to it), I'd go with an asymmetrical point assignment of +3/+2/+1/0/-1. As a corrolary, it would be wise to allow for games with one (or even more, maybe "20%"?) level difference.


I stuck with a zero-sum award scheme to avoid rewarding people for simply playing quickly. This is enough to get people moving up the ladder though. Observe this model with 1000 players all starting at level 1 and playing synchronized games:

Game 0:
all 1000 players are level 1

Game 1:
200 players are now level 3,
200 are level 2,
and the other 600 are still level 1

Game 2:
40 players are level 5,
40+40=80 players are level 4,
40+40+120=200 players are level 3,
40+40+120=200 players are level 2,
and 40+80+360=480 players are still/back to level 1

Game 3:
8 players win all their games and are now level 7,
24 players are level 6,
64 are level 5,
104 are level 4,
200 are level 3, 
192 are level 2,
and 408 are level 1.


After this, player counts are no longer discrete, so I'll stop there. But hopefully you can see that at least the majority of players will get away from level 1, and most of the bottom will be bouncing up and down a bit, so at least there's movement even if not actual progress.

Stones wrote:
An option is to let the ladder create random settings. When you join you do not know if it will be 3p, 4p or 5p, which map is used, or other such things. This way it will test players in all kinds of setups, and only one "join ladder" button is needed


The "Loon" in me loves this idea! But if it's going to take the role of a competitve, major tournament as I envisioned originally, then it should be predictable and consistent. If not (and especially if someone runs something like this by hand for a smaller group), then I am all for wackiness.
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Loon
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Per Olander wrote:
at first read-through, I really like the idea - but as an afterthough, how is this any different than the normal rating? besides that it is more restrictive (you can only play people at your own level, only one game at a time, only 5p games, factions doesn't influence your level)


Indeed, this is a question I asked myself!

The biggest difference is the idea that this is supposed to be at a competitive level. A lot of players pay little attention to their rating, but the idea would be to specifically climb the ladder as a feat of strength.

Rating can be manipulated by choosing your opponents carefully; in this format you have nothing to manipulate.

Similarly, this gives a clear-cut arena for "competitive" games for those afraid to ruin their normal rating by not playing to win every game.

This format is more forgetful than rating; your past games don't matter once you reach a particular level.

Basically, despite being a dressed-up rating with fanfare, it exists to be a top-level competitive arena for 5p F&I (without trying to force that into the existing 4p mould.)
 
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Dhrun
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I think Per mentioned an important point, more playful competition sounds nice, but what exactly do we want to achieve that is not too similar to the rating system?

Some possibilities:

1) One can only play people of the same ladder level
Too restricted, probably gets too few games going, especially at the top.
-> I like the idea that it might be own level +/-1 or 2
(but then it is not too different from setting up games with a rating range)

2) Ladders for different formats
I like that somewhat, but this separation can also be done for normal rating, which I find at least as interesting.
At the same time the number of different ratings should not be too high, otherwise the releavance is watered down too much.
-> This deserves a discussion of its own, for ladder sytems as well as rating; "all included" rating is something which I would definitely want to keep as the main challenge, though 1-3 individual categories ones might be added. The "random format ladder" has some charm too btw.

3) Ladder(s) being inflationary, thus promoting people who play much
Some of you suggested systems which would work this way, though of course a system keeping the overal average could be designed as well.
-> I'm neutral on this, as long as the real rating remains (more or less) noninflationary

4) Combining Ladder(s) with some kind of season
This includes the option that ladders get reset after a certain time.
-> Interesting, though possibly not too many people have time to play 2 or more leagues, WTC, Olympics, new maps, _and_ ladder tournaments/seasons, so the risk is the more formats we have, the less participants can be found for individual ones and especially with the league I think, the more the merrier.
 
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Per Olander
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Stones wrote:

An option is to let the ladder create random settings. When you join you do not know if it will be 3p, 4p or 5p, which map is used, or other such things. This way it will test players in all kinds of setups, and only one "join ladder" button is needed


I like the idea of not knowing what type if game you are put into!
it shouldn't go into details like VTO or not, volcano factions or not, shipping tile or not, etc, but maybe these categories:

first choice, 1 of 2:
current tournament settings (VTO, extra towns, TE round tile, 3vp shipping bonus scroll, no F&I factions, no extra final scoring)
OR
all settings enabled, so the same + F&I factions and extra final scoring

second choice, 1 of 4 different maps

third choice, 2-5 players

this gives a total of 2x4x4 = 32 different setups
if we remove Loon Lakes and 2p games, its 2x3x3 = 18 setups.

then the ladder rewards could be different for different number of players:

2p = +1/-1
3p = +1/0/-1
4p = +2/+1/-1/-2
5p = +2/+1/0/-1/-2

the downside is, that a win in 4p and 5p or 2p and 3p are worth equally, but so is the downside, and since setup is chosen randomly, it cant be abused.

a thing to note: with many different setups, games might be harder to fill. so the system should work in a way, so whenever the first player in a given level joins a game, the settings are chosen, and then THIS game is filled up, before any other game in that level is initiated. so you won't have a half-full 4p and a half-full 5p game waiting at the same level at the same time.
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Steinar Nerhus
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Per Olander wrote:
a thing to note: with many different setups, games might be harder to fill. so the system should work in a way, so whenever the first player in a given level joins a game, the settings are chosen, and then THIS game is filled up, before any other game in that level is initiated. so you won't have a half-full 4p and a half-full 5p game waiting at the same level at the same time.


Ofcourse! It selects at random one of the 32 or 18 settings when the first player joins, and then fills this game before creating a new game based on a new random setting.

jsnmthw wrote:
Stones wrote:
An option is to let the ladder create random settings. When you join you do not know if it will be 3p, 4p or 5p, which map is used, or other such things. This way it will test players in all kinds of setups, and only one "join ladder" button is needed


The "Loon" in me loves this idea! But if it's going to take the role of a competitve, major tournament as I envisioned originally, then it should be predictable and consistent. If not (and especially if someone runs something like this by hand for a smaller group), then I am all for wackiness.


I dont see such randomness as going against the competitive goal of the ladder. It just tests players in more than one format, so you have to be generaly good at Terra Mystica, not just good at one setting.

I would keep Loon Lakes, but remove 2p, for 2x3x4 = 24 different settings. Maybe remove F&I side 2 if we want less settings?
 
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Robert
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I feel that it could work to have a few (as in "maximum of three or four") ladders in parallel, each with a different yet fixed setting (e.g. "5p F&I with everything", "4p tournament style", "4p F&I with everything", maybe some 3p format). Some people would play in all ladders, while others would probably skip the setups which aren't their cup of tea, or play them at reduced frequency.

However I totally dislike the idea of a random assignment, i.e. not knowing whether my next ladder game will be 5p F&I or 3p base game or some other combination of parameters. I'd avoid participation in such a ladder concept.
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Loon
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I also should have mentioned: I have enough other projects going on and no "real" programming knowledge, so I definitely *can't* run this. It was just an idea for a format that might lend itself more readily to 5p that anyone who wanted to can use.
 
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