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Subject: A few thoughs on FWC statistics rss

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Björn Apelqvist
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Sturefors
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I was very pleasantly surprised to see the extra analysis of the statistics that Richard provided for this year’s FWC. I would like to add my view of the statistics to the discussion and help to bring some understanding for the increasing difference in number of wins between the different roles.

As why Friedrich is winning so often I think a look at the qualification results explain a lot. Of the 14 top players, 13 won with Friedrich and you can also add the Unfortunate General Telle to this group. My reading of this is: Good players win with Friedrich. The reason is in my mind that Prussia/Hannover is so much stronger than the other roles, so with good play you can overcome bad luck with TC:s and CoF:s to a much greater degree compared to the other roles. (This is a general statement based on the statistics. I don’t mean that every person who didn’t win with Prussia is a bad player, or the other way around.) A partial explanation could also be that due to the risk of an early exit and the way points are earned in the qualification, players aren’t very aggressive when playing Pompadour or Elizabeth, but instead focus on earning a decent amount of points. This of course makes it easier to win as Friedrich.

As for why Maria Theresia has such a higher amount of wins compared to the other roles, I’ve halfway explained that already with my unproved assumptions about French and Russian play. With Austria, you seldom have to choose between going for the win and collecting points. Austria being the strongest of the Allies, I would have guessed that it’s also a nation that can win often thanks to skill. However, it’s not a valid argument as the wins with Maria Theresia are spread fairly evenly across the scoring table. I’ve argued for a long time that Maria Theresia is by far the second strongest role in the game, but I stand without statistical proof and like Richard I’ll have to await the next tournament to see if the trend endures.
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Andrew Brown
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It's true to say that good players win with Friedrich.

I wonder if it's true that it's easier for a "lesser" player (a category I'm not afraid to include myself in) to win with Austria? I think back to a game I had at the 2012 FWC when I won with Austria. I lost 10 troops when two of my Generals got surrounded at Ohlau in Silesa - an error a better player would not have made. I rebuildt my troops in ♣ a suit I had hitherto used spending 61 points in cards. The Prussian player switched his defence to ♣ near Liegnitz. I was delighted. When my Generals re-engaged the Prussians I broke through! And I still had 3♣ and a reserve in my hand. The Prussian player was astounded as were the my allies. I owe it all to a very good ♣ hand.

I'm sure others will have views on this subject, but that my ha'penny's worth.
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Björn Apelqvist
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I'm far from convinced that a "bad" player has some advantage in the role as Maria Theresia, but I did notice that wins with Friedrich were concentrated at the upper end of the qualification list, while wins with Maria Theresia are more evenly spread.

A better explaination can in my mind be found in the nature of the different attackers:

Pompadour is most of the time at a severe disadvantage as she has no advantage in number of generals against most players (2 Hannoverian + 1 Prussian). Her advantage in armies is usually easily overcome by her inferiority in TC:s. If an ordinary Prussian player pays attention to the West, it's difficult to lose on that theatre of war.

Elizabeth has the disadvantage of having several objectives that are far away from each other, but close enough to be defended by a single Prussian general. If the Prussians are defeated in their main suit, it's fairly easy to regroup to a different suit and continue the struggle for a few more turns.

Maria Theresia has 2 great advantages that set her up for many victories. First, she is the second strongest player when it comes to TC:s. Secondly, she almost always have an advantage in the number of generals on her theatre of war. The first advantage means that luck has a greater effect on the South. If Pompadour or Elizabeth are lucky with the TC:s, Friedrich gets a rude awakening, but will often get the chance to recover and change strategy. If Maria Theresia is lucky, she can smash the Prussians in a single battle. The second advantage means that Austria can pursue her last objective (the objective being most strongly defended by Prussia), while at the same time picking up the other objectives. When you're in the end game, Friedrich is often a single defeat from losing the game and that defeat comes a lot easier against Maria Theresia.

These arguments lead me to the conclusion that when Friedrich fails, it's easiest to fail against Maria Theresia. Another reason that I don't have any proof of might be that Manfred Wichmann's superior skills in employing the pizza dough tactics in Silesia has led to an overestimation of this tool. As an example:

In my final game during the WC I faced Guy Atkinson as Prussia and he had very strong forces in both East and West to keep these fronts stable. When the endgame started Pompadour was completely defeated and myself as Elizabeth several turns from even a theoretical victory. Having suffered some losses to starvation in the South, Guy made a massive build-up and I was looking forward to seeing the increasingly strong Austrian offensive being checked. It wasn't, instead I found 12 armies stacked up against me in Kammin! To keep the Austrians from winning, Guy intended to make some clever -1 retreats, but soon realized that's a hard thing to pull off when you're outnumbered 2-1 in generals and out of space to move.

To Guy's defense I would like to write that he's not far from becoming a great Friedrich player when you look at his grasp of tactics, both on the board and with the TC:s. And if he hadn't put such a large force against me, I probably would've defeated him 1-2 turns later than the turn the Austrians won.

To summerize what I've written in so many words: It's like Richard suggests. Friedrich players are good at defending against Pompadour and Elizabeth, but not as good against Maria Theresia.
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Andrew Brown
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From my own experience I agree 100% with your last sentence.

I mostly lose to Austria when I play Prussia. I've managed it at 3 consecutive World Championships!
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Guy Atkinson
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The explanation for the current trend of increasing numbers of Prussian and Austrian victories is perhaps quite simple. There is a growing body of veteran players, and the overall quality of play is improving. In the case of Prussia, this means that, on average, there will be fewer early collapses and games will last longer. This trend is borne out by the statistics.



Now, here’s the thing - even a slightly longer game means that it is much more likely that fate eliminates Russia and France. How many times have you been frustrated by Elisabeth’s demise when on the verge of victory? How often would just a couple of extra turns have meant the difference between taking Magdeburg or having to be content with nine points? Austria, on the other hand, remains in the game until the end, and competent Austrian play will also often bring victory.

This isn’t a bad thing, it is merely part of the coming of age of Friedrich. The sector defence (Prussia chooses one suit to defend in against each major enemy) is hard to master, but when mastered is pretty solid, especially against the two powers on borrowed time. So, for the moment, Prussian victories are on the rise. No doubt new allied tactics will evolve to overcome this current Prussian dominance and the fraction of Russian and French victories will go up again.
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Anton Telle
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Wow, maybe it is really that simple? At least GalapagarGuys explanation could account for most of the extreme percentages. Some other reasons may also be in play. Good post, Guy.
 
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richard sivel
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I agree that Galapagarguy has pointed out some very interesting facts. The fact that the games get longer even if Prussia loses will decrease the wins for France and Russia. It adds to what I wrote in my analysis on www.histogame.de

Quote:
Since Austria does not drop out, it has better chances to win a long game (after turn 15). The FWC-format rewards every Prussian turn by 0.5 points. Therefore it is better to lose late than early. (In the standard Friedrich, a loss is just a loss.) So, it is better to stop Russia and France for sure (both of them can win fast!) than to play a defense where the chances on collapse are equal for each front (but not equal in their timing). Maybe the format does influence the Prussian strategy, distorting the statistics thereby.


But, can it really explain why the win-ratio between the attackers is so widespread?
Quote:
Having a high Prussian win ratio is one thing. But why differ the other 3 ratios so widespread? If the 4 roles would win by 40%-20%-20%-20%, things would not be so extreme. But the 8th FWC showed a 43%-11%-38%-8% distribution. Why does Maria Theresa win significantly more often than Elisabeth and Pompadour? Possible answers are:
a) Even non-expert Prussian players know how to stop Russia and France, but not how to stop Austria.


In the last days I made another graphics, which demonstrates quite good that the skills of the Prussian player got better in the last FWCs:




In this graphics, I sorted the Prussian losses into groups of TC-coefficents. The lower the coefficient is, the harder the game for Prussia is. The groups are:
a) below 0.6 (blue)
b) from 0.6 to 0.65 (orange)
c) from 0.65 to 0.70 (yellwo)
d) from 0.70 to 0.75 (green)
e) above 0.75 (purple)
Note that for a), d) and e) quite often only 1 or 2 games happened. Therefore the statistics are not very reliable.

What can we see?

* After the 3rd FWC, no Prussian player lost a game with a TC-coefficient of "above 0.75". Since then, these games are sure Prussian wins.
* The "hard" TC-coefficient of "below 0.6" does not always result in a Prussian defeat. Similarly, the "0.70 to 0.75" coefficient does not always result in a Prussian win.
* The most interesting curve it the one of the "0.65 to 0.70" (yellow curve). There is a clear trend through all the years, the Prussian losses are decreasing. That means that more and more players win with Prussia with that "on-the-edge" coefficient. For each FWC there were enough games in that category, so that the trend is reliable.


I think this graphic underlines the theory that the Prussian skills improved over the years.
 
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Ty Wyman
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My theory of Prussian victory in the FWC is that the FWC player pool arrives with much more experience playing the role of Frederick than any other role. Experienced players tend to get much less playing experience in the ancillary roles, thus the strategies for Russian, French, and Austrian victory are less well developed.
 
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Anton Telle
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Carlos Palomino wrote:
My theory of Prussian victory in the FWC is that the FWC player pool arrives with much more experience playing the role of Frederick than any other role. Experienced players tend to get much less playing experience in the ancillary roles, thus the strategies for Russian, French, and Austrian victory are less well developed.


I disagree. Being one of the most experienced players (played 134 games) I try to play each role equally often (have played 34-35-35-34 games per role). I have a personal statistic logging each game and role I played.

The experienced players I know do not shy away from the role of Friedrich, but they usually are not to eager to play it. That is, because the role is so demanding. It requires constant alertness on all fronts over 5 hours.
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Michael Sosa
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Perhaps Austria wins more than France / Russia because the Prussian players are not pursuing conquering Austria for the win? When I have tried this it usually devastates Austria to the benefit of France / Russia victory chances.
 
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