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Subject: Boring way to beat the iPad app rss

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Paul Cockburn
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As an experiment I tried the following tactic: Rather than spend money bidding for cargo, I decided to save it towards my final score. "Let the others spend their florins," I said to myself, "I'm just going to keep passing and end up with whatever cargo happens to be left over - for free!"

I amended this tactic slightly so that sometimes, if the cargo was worth anything, I would bid the minimum value of '1'. But otherwise I just kept plugging away at my plan.

At the end of day one I had the most valuable cargo. At the end of day two I had the joint most valuable cargo. At the end of day three I had the second most valuable cargo. Added to this, I happened (by mere chance) to gain two hides each day, earning me the first position on the 'hides' scale each day and a 10 florin bonus on day three. Then there was all the money I'd saved by never bidding more than 1.

Final scores: Paul (me) 146, Lorenzo 71, Cosimo 69, Ferdinando 64, Eleonora 41. A clear win, with over double the score of the second place. And a very boring win. Maybe I wouldn't be so lucky next time, and certainly if I was playing against live opponents I would expect them to adjust their own tactics somehow to counter mine. But if you want an easy way to beat the app, then the 'never bid more than 1 florin' tactic is certainly worth a try.
 
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W M Shubert
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This indicates that the app consistently overbids for cargo. You're right, most humans would see this and lower their bids for the next game (or the rest of this game). Computers aren't so good at correcting their mistakes.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Chelmsford
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Interesting if replicable.

The most interesting point is you were doing consistently well on cargo total despite getting random cards. But that shouldn't happen more than 50% of the time, as with random cards 50% of the time your hand is worse than the average of all the others even if they never let bad bids fail all round. And with worse than average you can't win.

50% is still good though. But to achieve that you need the AIs to bid so as to abnormally flatly distribute the cards. This could happen if they all behave similarly. If they had different "personalities" so that one valued large ship more, others went more heavily for commodity types, and one played something like your game this wouldn't happen. People do act like that, they have different behaviour. Of course maybe that includes som bad play. But then that can vary. If optimising AIs puts a high value on commodities, for example, then I may be able to do better by being contrarian (works in some auction games, not in others). Is that partly what's happening here? However I suspect that, even if this is strong, it did exceptionally well in thus game. Would like to see more attempts to do this and results.
 
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david landes
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My guess is that over a longer sries of games, some of that luck will level out and you won't be the leading scorer and won;t advance so far up a pyramid.

On the other hand, in six games against the best rated opponents (all six player games), I won 5 of the six and narrowly was 2nd in the 6th. So I am not sure how good the AI is in the app.

Cheers.
 
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Gabe Alvaro
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Dearlove wrote:
Interesting if replicable.

Yeah. Do it 10 times and come back and tell us what happens.
 
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I H
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The AI's pretty weak, but it's not that weak. You may also want to try the strategy against the more intelligent AI opponents (e.g., a group consisting of several Alessandros, possibly with one Marie and/or one Francesco).
 
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Paul Cockburn
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blindspot wrote:
Dearlove wrote:
Interesting if replicable.

Yeah. Do it 10 times and come back and tell us what happens.


Not sure I want to do it ten times, but I've just tried again. This time with AI & animation speed set to max so the whole game only took 5 minutes. Also I employed a bit of decision-making in how many crates to put up for auction, whilst sticking to the mechanical rule of 'never bid more than 1' once the auction began. I did less well in the unloading stages, but I still scored high marks for valuable cargos.

Paul (me) 151, Cosimo 96, Eleonora 83, Lorenzo 60, Ferdinando 53

A third attempt resulted in second place:
Cosimo 119, Paul (me) 110, Eleonora 93, Ferdinando 74, Lorenzo 45
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