My first thread on BSW medals was cluelessly put in the General Gaming sextion, here's the thread.
How medals are calculated can be found on this BSW website:
Let me just say for the sake of discussion here that losing a game is a lot like not having played it for the sake of a medal, except that it may increase your number of different opponents for the month, which is a factor in medal determination. (i.e. losing can increase your medal chances; not as opposed to winning, which would obviously be better, but as opposed to not playing.
OK, now to the nice guys. Or, let's cover the bad boys first.
My first exhibit is myself acting poorly (when's the last time you heard anyone say that?) In my St. Petersburg medal run one month, I was way ahead in a game, probably about 220-110 (What a score for St. Pete!) Now, the way the medals are calcuated, total score is a factor, and if I could get the game to go another round, I could get 280 which would be awesome for my medal chances. What I failed to take into account is what my poor opponent was thinking - "just let me outta here!" The thought of carrying this one more round was just more than he could take, and he left. Let's see how this helped my medal chances: I lost a huge 220 total counting toward total points, I lost a win toward win percentage, and I lost a different opponent. Now in retrospect, I got what I deserved. (In fact, I believe it got me bronze instead of silver.) From my opponent's point of view, I was just rubbing it in, and prolonging his agony. (Oh, yeah, go ahead and tell me that I should have got a sub to finish the game, down 110-220!)
But my behavior is nothing compared to some heinous behavior I've seen on other players' parts. Let me take you back to June 2, when I played my first game of Puerto Rico online. I knew the rules, but was totally clueless. It was a 3-player game with one of the players having a 70% win rate. Practically every play I made was criticized by this player, and in a not-so-nice manner. (i.e. it was clearly not meant as teaching, which probably wouldn't have bothered me at all, but even that might bother some.) Toward the end of the game, when I was trying to think about my next play, he said "C'mon just play, you've already determined the outcome!" Unfortunately, he was right, he ended up with 52 (or 54 or 57, I don't remember), the other opponent had in the low 30's and I had 13 (yes, that's right, THIRTEEN!! that I do remember, by the way, is that the record low for PR on BSW? lol) I managed to avoid playing with him for quite a while until he just recently joined a game and started before I got a chance to bail. He must have totally forgotton what a dunce I was because his comment upon winning was "I knew I could win if I could just keep c4dancer (that's me) down". Now, how do you think that made the other two opponents feel? Hopefully like they didn't want to play against him anymore.
Now I'm pretty thick-skinned and it's very unusual for me to try to avoid any players (heck, I kept playing against the obnoxious guy in my Funkenschlag articles), but I think that others may be put off a lot more easily. And the point I'm making here is, the less people that will play against you, the less number of different opponents you're going to have, and therefore the less BSW medals you're going to win.
There's a second downside to foul behavior. I've seen players just leave without a word when somebody in the game is being obnoxious. If a sub is not obtained, that game (with its different opponents) isn't going to count for your medal. It could be pointed out that your medal chances could be hurt simply by playing in a 3 or greater player game with somebody obnoxious simply because one of the others might leave and invalidate the game.
OK, now for the nice guys finishing first. How do you feel when you're playing a game for 45 minutes, and it's almost done, and somebody leaves? If only some white knight would come to the rescue and sub in! I would frequently sub in Funkenschlag games (for quite a while, knowing it wouldn't hurt my percentage, which was zero!) After a while, when I saw a request for a sub, I would leave BSW as c4dancer and come back as WorstBSWFunkPlayer to sub in. Yeah, yeah, because I didn't want to hurt my percentage. OK, let me be totally honest here. There's two effects of having a decent percentage. (1) You scare potential opponents off. (2) Players think that you're the one they have to stop to win, thus hurting your chances. Still want to keep that percentage up? Yeah, I didn't think so. I would have been better off (and saved everybody a minute or two) by just subbing in as c4dancer, even though you almost always sub into a lost position.
Ah, but there are advantages! You may lose, but these are probably players you wouldn't have played against otherwise, so you increase your number of different opponents, and voila! You have moved yourself up in the medal race! In two months, I lost a gold medal by a very slim amount that I could have won simply if I had used my own username when subbing for a lost cause.
Isn't that cool? You can sub for 1 minute at the end of a game, and get the same benefits toward a medal as those who played for an hour. And you'll be perceived by your opponents as being a nice person. (Well, maybe I wont... )
Outside of the fact that I can't get my browser to connect to BSW correctly, this is the one reason why I am not really trying to fix that...
The few times I've played BSW online I've found it frankly the most depressing board gaming experience in my life, mainly cos of the opponents who, in my experience, have been totally score based (I experienced one repulsive Caylus experience in which an opponent moaned about my wife returning from work because it slowed my play down a little)
In fact the only game that's worked out okay was Diamant cos it's quick, no interaction and to the point....
But I don't play boardgames for no interaction - I love a bit of light-hearted banter!
When I used to play on BSW (mostly pre-'06), I nearly always made sure to engage the other players. I agree that it's more like playing a game versus real opponents that way, and a much better experience.
When I play a game (live or online), I really don't care if I win. I'm hoping to have fun, and try to make sure everyone else also has fun. Otherwise, why play with real people?
Glad to hear that BSW rewards (kind of) for just playing versus others. Too bad there are still over-competitive, rude players out there, but that's not likely to change.
I think it's kinda fun to play at a slower pace on BSW just to watch the speed players implode.
There's a fine line you can walk to keep them in the game but take long enough to annoy them. It's a good feeling when you can cause one of the rude fools to whine throughout a game.
I've really stopped playing on BSW because of the overall rudeness of the people there. It just ins't really that enjoyable playing with people who only want to play a game of Puerto Rico in under 20 minutes or they feel like you're an idiot and are willing from the security of their dank smelly basement to tell you so.
I once got into a game of Caulus with three other players who told me after the first turn that I must be stupid for not picking a particular building that they thought i should have picked. I finished the game but spent the next 90 minutes totally picking weird things to make see if I could finish with under 5 VP's. Picking the Provost building and the money each turn and then passing to drive up costs for them. sometimes just move the Provost building and then passing.
Sometimes it's just fun to toy with obnoxious people.
I was playing San Juan with my friend on BSW a month ago, then some guy joins. Fine. The thing with BSW is that it's not the greatest of interfaces, so I often get confused about whose turn it is. This guy of course, just whines and whines every time I thought it was someone else's turn when it was mine. And even he made the same mistake during the first game. I mean, it's a guy whose played probably a few hundred games. I only played San Juan a total of 9 times in 2 years on BSW (3 of which were on that day).
Needless to say, we both left after that game, and I haven't really wanted to play on BSW again.
- Last edited Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:44 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:42 am
Editor at Lookout Games
I hate players who play for percentage or tell you every 5 seconds to do it faster. Therefore I left BSW. I always got annoyed by such guys and you can't do anything against them. Very often I got offended by some rude idiots who can't lose.
It's sad, really, to hear of so many negative experiences with play on BSW. I recognize these stories because they're reflected in stories of my own, but the overall percentage of those stories, in my experience out there, is relatively low. BSW has a highly active "banned" list which takes into account the rudeness of certain players and doesn't allow them to play in certain towns. Of course, the jerks sign in under a new name and continue to be rude, but that "banned" list then includes aliases. The BSW folks can determine IP addresses, so they're not fooled.
Hard to know why some people out there try so hard to be jerks. I mean, really try; actively work at it, but the sad fact is; they're out there. Personally, I tell them to shut the &^** up and just play the game.
Then, too, I've found that unlike face to face gaming, on-line play is just not, by nature, as social. While a certain amount of typewritten banter can be found, it's virtually impossible to be spontaneous with a keyboard, unless, like me, you're a fairly rapid touch-typist, so it tends to keep people relatively 'quiet.'
Please, though, try not to let the jerks get you down. Remember the names, avoid them when you can, confront them when you must, but don't let them spoil the overall experience. There are a LOT of good people out there on BSW and the gaming experience with the good guys can be rich and satisfying.
Let me get back to the original topic first.
The medal calculation(for multi-player games) takes into account 4 factors.
Number of unique opponents
Total game points(your total vp score in all games)
average number of opponents in a game.
Any medal formula will be subject to debate as to whether it is the best possible formula(there is no such best formula). Since all games are not created equal, this formula is an attempt to strike a balance. Before this formula was set an analysis of past games was done to see how "good" this formula was.
Win percentage is obviously important, we don't to give medals to people that don't win a lot.
Number of unique players(we use the 4th root of the total unique opponents) is a small component of the formula. This was added to reward people for playing against lor of different opponents and to minimize the player that would play 1000 games against a friend and win them all to get the medal.
Total game points is there to reward players that come in a close second and players who win big. Of course this can lead to "score abuse" as described in the original post. I agree that this is subject to abuse in games that have wide ranges of scores.
Average number of opponents was added to the formula to reflect that fact that a 45% win rate in a 6 player game is more impressive than a 51% win rate in a 2 player game.
Medals will always be subject to abuse. Unless we had monthly head to head tournaments(which only work for 2 player games) then there will be an opportunity for abuse. Of course you don't get anything for a medal, so why (other than ego) would someone do this?
Now that is for multi-player games. For single player games, the medal is based on the single best game played for the month. Is that better? Maybe.
As for the 2nd part of this discussion. Yes there are jerks on BSW, probably 100's of them. Are there nice people? yes 100's if not 1000's of them also.
There is bad and good in all groups, BGG and BSW are no exception to that. My advice is if you like the games on BSW, find the good people and play against them and don't play with the jerks.
There is nothing wrong with asking before the game about how fast they want to play or asking(or telling) if they are new and perhaps unfamiliar with the interface. I've seen people on BSW very willing to teach new games to opponents. Heck I've even offered to call a new player on the phone to talk them through things that are hard to describe just with text. Free long distance is nice sometimes.
Also, remember people on BSW comes from over 80 different countries, so language can sometimes be an issue that leads to misunderstandings.
So like so many things in life, you get out of it what you put into it.
I remember when everything on BSW was in german and Englishtown had 40 people total(of which maybe half were native english speakers). Did it take some time to learn my way around? It sure did. Was it worth it? To me it was.