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Subject: 2P PBEM Random SE4X tournament 2016 rss

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Sergio Puente
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Hi all,

Welcome to the 2P PBEM Random SE4X tournament 2016! Why random? The idea is that each round, all players in the tournament will play on a set of optional rules/scenarios determined at random. Probabilities of each rule are determined by votes of participants. This way, each round will have its own flavor, and will be different from any other round in the tournament.

The duration of the tournament is not determined, because it will depend on which scenarios and rules are played, and on the number of players. You can take as a proxy a year, but it can be shorter or longer. In any case, if enough people join, I plan to start a new tournament each spring (and another multiplayer one on each autumn), so it would be possible to play at the same time on different seasons of the tournament.

If you find it interesting, and you can commit yourself to a log every 2-3 days at the latest, then please read carefully the following rules, where you will find instructions for joining.:

- Rule 1: Since this is the first season of the tournament, I will keep the right to change any of these rules if I see there is a problem, or some other rule fits better in my opinion.
- Default method of play is with VASSAL module 2.1, play by email. Other methods (online VASSAL, FtF) are allowed, but only if both players agree.
- Each round, players will be randmly paired on 2-player games. Only the winner of each round will advance to the next one.
- The settings of the game (scenario played, victory conditions and optional rules) will be the same for all games in a round. Please see below the process of determining these settings.
- In case of an odd number of players in a round, one random player will automatically advance to the next one. I will avoid giving this free win twice to the same player in the tournament, if possible.
- All results can be notified by either player, either by posting here or sending an email to se4x.pbem@outlook.com. In the latter case, please be sure that you include exactly "2P 2016 game result" in the subject of the email.
- In order to have a proper speed of play, there is a procedure similar to a chess clock: If player A sent an email with the log to his opponent, and player B does not send the game back in 72 hours, then player A must send a reminder email to player B, with CC to se4x.pbem@outlook.com, including "2P 2016 turn reminder" in the subject of the email. After that, a chess clock against player B starts ticking. Player B then must send his log back, by answering this reminder email, and including se4x.pbem@outlook.com in CC. This effectively stops the clock. The time between the reminder and the answer will determine the number of days player B consumed (rounded up). Once a player has exhausted his days, then he will be automatically eliminated, and his opponent will clasify to the next round.
- The number of days available for the chess clock will be: 15, plus 2 for each tournament round (not game round) completed (or +4 if the player did not consume any of his days in the previous tournament round). This, plus the 72 hours delay, should give enough time for everybody to accomodate vacations and other real life issues.
- In case a lot of players join, then I will nominate some of them as referees for other games. In that case, the reminder email and response should be sent to the referee, not to the above email address. Please state in your sign-up email whether you will be willing to act as a referee for other game.
- Any voluntary delay (up to my own criterion) of a game, aimed at taking advantage of not finishing it in time, will end in automatic elimination.
- Sign-up process: If you feel comfortable with the above rules, please send an email to se4x.pbem@outlook.com for joining, indicating in the subject "2P 2016 sign-up", and in the text your real name and surname, email address and your country. By doing so, you accept that I will use this information and pass it to others for the exclusive purposes of running the tournament. Sign-up will end on 17th March, and the tournament will start on 1st April at the latest.


Rules for setting the scenario and rules each round:
- After the sign-up period, I will send all players a file, to be filled with preferences on each scenario and each optional rule (both from base game+Close Encounters expansion). These will act as votes. I will add two "dummy" votes, one against all optional rules, and another one voting for all.
- Each rule will be selected randomly based on the number of votes for/against. Please note that "dummy" votes ensure that each rule will always have some probability of appearing, even nobody selected it, and viceversa. Also note that, as the tournament progresses, the randomness increases, as real votes from surviving players are less important, with respect to dummy ones.
- For scenario choice (and for mutually-excluding optional rules), the voting procedure will be slightly different to ensure mutual exclusion.
- Votes will be done only once, at the start of the tournament. Only votes from players playing the round will be counted.
- After looking at all selected options, I will double check that there are no inconsistencies, and then I will communicate the final setup to all players. This will be taken as the start day of the round.


Rules for deadlines:
- The random nature of the tournament makes impossible to determine a reasonable deadline for each round. Consequently, a dynamic procedure will be implemented.
- At round start, there will be no particular deadline in force.
- After half of the games (rounded down) have ended (excluding in this calculation all games ended by elimination of an inactive player), then the first deadline is determined.
- This first deadline depends on the time already expended to finish already ended games, plus X% more time, where X is the share of not finished games in the round.
- After that, each time a game ends, the deadline will be updated. It will never be extended, so it will be updated only if the previous formula yields a tighter deadline.
- If, by the deadline, some games are not finished, then the winner(s) will be determined by the "Colony Points" variant (base scenario book, page 2, including the CP value of combat ships as a tiebreaker). This means that all players have to keep track of colony points, even if the scenario has different victory conditions.
- In case players opt for a method of play different than PBEM, then a reminder email must be sent after 72 hours of the last playing session, by the player waiting for his opponent's turn. For this purpose, it is useful to send an email to the opponent with the log right after the live/online session.

Sergio
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Rahul Chandra
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This sounds very cool. I'm not sure yet if I'm joining - I've never used VASSAL beyond installing it once or twice, and I don't know the CE rules - but I hope it goes well.
 
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Chuck Tewksbury
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I signed up and will pass the word to a few folks I think will enjoy as well.
 
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Carsten Bohne
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Interested.

But how will Holiday periods be handled? Not everybody will be able to do logs abroad...
 
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David
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Cool. I'm in - email sent.
 
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Brett Burleigh II
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This is a really cool idea!!

Is there a deadline for entry? I'd love to join...

I didn't see SE mentioned above. I still need to read the rules and get a game of that under my belt...

Either way, very cool!
 
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Joel Langenfeld
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pipiol wrote:
Hi all,

... snip ...

Sergio


No mention made of online die-rollers for PBEM play, or auditing production/research sheet.

Do you want to address these?
 
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David
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SkunkyBeer wrote:
pipiol wrote:
Hi all,

... snip ...

Sergio


No mention made of online die-rollers for PBEM play, or auditing production/research sheet.

Do you want to address these?


Vassal has a die-roller.

Yes, you can keep redoing your turn until you get the die rolls you want and save your log file only then. And there's not much to stop someone from fudging their production sheet.

If you are worried about people cheating like that, then an informal tournament like this is probably not for you.
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Dale Lovell
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Sounds fun, e-mail sent!

Any thought on how to address the "simultaneous" econ rounds? My usual Vassal opponent and I agree to figure out our econ phases offline (outside of Vassal). The player who had been going first sends their econ phase log first, but the 2nd player doesn't open it and make their own log file until they're done with planning their own phase.

Also, we put our turn bids in the public notes area in Vassal so that it isn't accidentally read in the e-mail beforehand.

I'm sure other people have experimented with other methods, I'd be interested to hear any of those...
 
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Joel Langenfeld
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AmadanNaBriona wrote:
SkunkyBeer wrote:
pipiol wrote:
Hi all,

... snip ...

Sergio


No mention made of online die-rollers for PBEM play, or auditing production/research sheet.

Do you want to address these?


Vassal has a die-roller.

Yes, you can keep redoing your turn until you get the die rolls you want and save your log file only then. And there's not much to stop someone from fudging their production sheet.

If you are worried about people cheating like that, then an informal tournament like this is probably not for you.


Results are public. There are always individuals who value their public esteem over their self esteem, and see a strict adherence to fair play as no obstacle to that pursuit.
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David
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SkunkyBeer wrote:

Results are public. There are always individuals who value their public esteem over their self esteem, and see a strict adherence to fair play as no obstacle to that pursuit.


*shrug* If we were competing for money, or paying money to play, maybe I'd want stricter accounting. But for a casual online tournament? If someone wants to cheat that badly, well, enjoy your "victory," dude.
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Joel Langenfeld
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AmadanNaBriona wrote:
SkunkyBeer wrote:

Results are public. There are always individuals who value their public esteem over their self esteem, and see a strict adherence to fair play as no obstacle to that pursuit.


*shrug* If we were competing for money, or paying money to play, maybe I'd want stricter accounting. But for a casual online tournament? If someone wants to cheat that badly, well, enjoy your "victory," dude.


yeah, OK, I'll lighten up. I used to play in a number of PBEM ladders, and the ACTS or another online card mgmt / die roller was just assumed.
 
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Sergio Puente
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rchandra wrote:
This sounds very cool. I'm not sure yet if I'm joining - I've never used VASSAL beyond installing it once or twice, and I don't know the CE rules - but I hope it goes well.


I suggest you try the module a little before the sign-up deadline, and see if you like it. Be patient, the module is a little slow, especially the first time you open it or start a game. After that, it works well.
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Sergio Puente
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dasher47051 wrote:
Interested.

But how will Holiday periods be handled? Not everybody will be able to do logs abroad...


You have a period of 72 hours between logs. If you exhaust it, then a chess clock start running, with another 15 days, plus some extra days for each tournament round completed. Which means that you can take a span of up to 18 days of inactivity without problems, but not every time. You usually have to play within the 72 hours period. I think it is enough. If we see it is a problem, I can use "Rule 1" to change it
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Sergio Puente
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brrrmanza wrote:
This is a really cool idea!!

Is there a deadline for entry? I'd love to join...

I didn't see SE mentioned above. I still need to read the rules and get a game of that under my belt...

Either way, very cool!


Deadline is intentionally buried into the rules, with the purpose of people reading them

You have until 17th march for joining.

CE will be used, but only some rules. You will know which rules are in force in advance, and I will give some time to study them before the start of the round. And since everybody will play under the same set of rules, you can use this thread for any doubts you have.
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Sergio Puente
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SkunkyBeer wrote:
AmadanNaBriona wrote:
SkunkyBeer wrote:

Results are public. There are always individuals who value their public esteem over their self esteem, and see a strict adherence to fair play as no obstacle to that pursuit.


*shrug* If we were competing for money, or paying money to play, maybe I'd want stricter accounting. But for a casual online tournament? If someone wants to cheat that badly, well, enjoy your "victory," dude.


yeah, OK, I'll lighten up. I used to play in a number of PBEM ladders, and the ACTS or another online card mgmt / die roller was just assumed.


Yes, there will be no enforcement or die-roll auditing. There are so many ways to cheat in PBEM games, that there is no point in trying to fight against it.

As David said, in casual PBEM tourneys, people joining are usually more worried about having fun than winning. In another PBEM tournament I'm running (Advanced Squad Leader), I only had one complain about "excessive luck" of the opponent, in 97 games played in total.

But maybe a number of inexperienced players will join, and cheating and making mistakes are not the same thing. So, some auditing (especially econ phases) can be done. The module stores all econ sheets, and also a log of all ship purchases. After the game, you can ask your opponent to disclose them, just to check that everything was ok. If there was a mistake that definitely altered the outcome of the game, I could decide to change the winner of the game.
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Sergio Puente
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dlavalle wrote:
Sounds fun, e-mail sent!

Any thought on how to address the "simultaneous" econ rounds? My usual Vassal opponent and I agree to figure out our econ phases offline (outside of Vassal). The player who had been going first sends their econ phase log first, but the 2nd player doesn't open it and make their own log file until they're done with planning their own phase.

Also, we put our turn bids in the public notes area in Vassal so that it isn't accidentally read in the e-mail beforehand.

I'm sure other people have experimented with other methods, I'd be interested to hear any of those...


My suggestion is to make your econ without looking at the opponent's side of the board. Your method requires a little more work, but is also fine.

The module has a button for revealing bids, after both players have filled their econ sheets.
 
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Russ Williams
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FWIW a somewhat more flexible time system which encourages/rewards quicker play (but may require more bookkeeping work) is Fischer time: start with some amount of time to use (e.g. 2 weeks) which counts down when it's your turn (so e.g. if you take 42 hours to do your turn, then subtract 42 hours), but each time you do a move, some amount of time (e.g. 2 days, or 3 days, whatever the tournament director decides) is then added to your clock. So a very prompt person could get a good time buffer built up for a vacation. You can also define a maximum time buffer. I've played various games and tournaments with this system and like it a lot.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_clock#Time_controls
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Sergio Puente
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russ wrote:
FWIW a somewhat more flexible time system which encourages/rewards quicker play (but may require more bookkeeping work) is Fischer time: start with some amount of time to use (e.g. 2 weeks) which counts down when it's your turn (so e.g. if you take 42 hours to do your turn, then subtract 42 hours), but each time you do a move, some amount of time (e.g. 2 days, or 3 days, whatever the tournament director decides) is then added to your clock. So a very prompt person could get a good time buffer built up for a vacation. You can also define a maximum time buffer. I've played various games and tournaments with this system and like it a lot.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_clock#Time_controls


Thanks Russ. That would be definitely a better method. But unfortunately, bookkeeping is indeed a problem, because I have to do it manually. Hence the 72h period: I hope 90% of logs will be in time, so that I only need to care about the other 10%.

You can build your buffer (+4 days each tournament round) if you never exhaust your 72 hours grace period.
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Carsten Bohne
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pipiol wrote:
- At round start, there will be no particular deadline in force.
- After half of the games (rounded down) have ended (excluding in this calculation all games ended by elimination of an inactive player), then the first deadline is determined.
- This first deadline depends on the time already expended to finish already ended games, plus X% more time, where X is the share of not finished games in the round.
- After that, each time a game ends, the deadline will be updated. It will never be extended, so it will be updated only if the previous formula yields a tighter deadline.


Email sent.

However, I've got one last question...
Will Vassal live or ftf games be considered for the deadline determination? I'd consider playing live as well, but a handful of live games will scew the deadline towards a very short timeframe and for intercontinental matches, live games will be impractical...
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Sergio Puente
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dasher47051 wrote:
pipiol wrote:
- At round start, there will be no particular deadline in force.
- After half of the games (rounded down) have ended (excluding in this calculation all games ended by elimination of an inactive player), then the first deadline is determined.
- This first deadline depends on the time already expended to finish already ended games, plus X% more time, where X is the share of not finished games in the round.
- After that, each time a game ends, the deadline will be updated. It will never be extended, so it will be updated only if the previous formula yields a tighter deadline.


Email sent.

However, I've got one last question...
Will Vassal live or ftf games be considered for the deadline determination? I'd consider playing live as well, but a handful of live games will scew the deadline towards a very short timeframe and for intercontinental matches, live games will be impractical...


Very good point. I will consider excluding games mainly played online/FtF from the deadline calculation, just as I do with forfeited games.
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Nate Martin
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/in for this, email sent!

Let's come up with a standard set of rules for Vassal turn order/simultaneous play policy.
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Sergio Puente
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Vodot wrote:
/in for this, email sent!

Let's come up with a standard set of rules for Vassal turn order/simultaneous play policy.


Depending on the setup, I will make some suggestions for speeding up play (such as playing M1-M2-M3-econ in one log for the first econ phases). But they will be only suggestions. You always have the right to wait until it's your turn to move.

Regarding econ phases, rulebook specifically says they are simultaneous. A simple way of dealing with it is: the last moving player makes his econ. Then the other player opens the log, deactivates the "center on opponent's move" option, frames the screen in his own planets, end the log and after that makes his own econ phase. This way neither playes sees what the other is doing.
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Sergio Puente
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Already 11 players in. You still have time until the deadline!

Sergio Puente
Chuck Tewksbury
David Edelstein
Don Roberts
Dale Lovell
Greg Waldeck
Carsten Bohne
Joel Langenfeld
Joe Crowder
Nate Martin
Mustafa Ünlü
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Ed Vena
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Email just sent - looking forward to this!
 
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