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Race for the Galaxy» Forums » General

Subject: Applying Timers to Race rss

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Serge Levert
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In the interest of maximizing utility, i'm trying to figure out the best way to apply Chess clocks to Race. I'd rather play 6 games of 90% optimal Race than 3 games of 100% optimal Race. Most of the time, we waste a ton of time on very close, complex decisions. This is wasteful imo.


[Edit: current system in use: 30 minutes + 30 seconds byo-yomi.
Clock paused only when you are locked in and waiting on an opponent. (You may change your move until everyone has played. Unpause the clock if you are no longer locked in.)
30 second byo-yomi (maximum time per move) once you empty your clock.



[Edit: this method is no good because some rounds require more time than others and this method articially restricts that for no good reason.] On the first day, the best we've come up with is a fixed timer per round. Each player starts each round with 5 minutes. Any time you are "locked in" and waiting on your opponent(s), you pause your timer. You are allowed to change your move in the meantime. If you run out of time, you must make all decisions ~instantly.

For 2p, we're using two side-by-side windows with a 5 minute countdown timer.

It's worked pretty well so far. Any other and/or better ideas?


Edit:

5 min hard cutoff isn't ideal. I think a penalty if you go over the time would be better.

[Edit: point penalties are too harsh. I think a 30 second byo-yomi is much better.]
Maybe you lose 1 point from your final score whenever you go over your 5 minute timebank, as well as another point for every minute in excess.
* E.g., Round 1 you spend 5:30. Your end score will suffer a 1 point penalty.
* E.g., Round 2 you spend 6:10. Your end score will suffer an additional 2 point penalty.

[Edit: 30 second byo-yomi is better. Also, this method is too complicated and hard to track.] Alternately, maybe if you go over your 5 minutes, the amount you go over by is removed from your timebank for future turns. A benefit here is that you can take whatever time you need on the final round, typically the most complex and important round. Infeasible for tournaments, however.
* E.g., Round 1 you spend 5:30. Round 2+ your timebank is now 4:30.

[Edit: This is on the right track.] Another idea entirely, would be to have a per-player (20-30 minute) timebank for thinking, which you pause whenever your decision is locked in and waiting on an opponent. If you go over, you incur a 1 point penalty, + an additional point per minute thereafter.
 
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John
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Byo-yomi like in Go & Shogi? From the Wikipedia page on Time Control:

After the main time is depleted, a player has a certain number of periods (for example five periods, each of thirty seconds). If a move is completed before the time expires, the time period resets and restarts the next turn. If a move is not completed within a time period, the time period will expire, and the next time period begins. This is written as <maintime> + <number of byo-yomi time periods> of <byo-yomi time period>. Using up the last period means that the player has lost on time.

A typical time control is "60 minutes + 30 seconds byo-yomi", which means that each player may make as many or as few moves as he chooses during his first 60 minutes of thinking time, but after the hour is exhausted, he must make each move in thirty seconds or less.


I'm sure you could find a Go/Shogi timer app you could adapt to Race.
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Serge Levert
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Yeah, i'd read the Chess Clock and Time Control wikis for this thread. Very confusing reads, with many unnecessarily complicated systems. Byo-yomi among them. Just looking for a standardized simple widely used system. And then adapt it to Race.
 
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John
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I think you have explored most of the options in you post:

Time can be per round, per round with extra time carried over, per game, per game with extra time for each round.

If someone exceeds their time:

Hard cutoff -> loss
Hard cutoff -> -VP (some -1 VP chips to keep track would be nice)
Penalty -> -VP for every x seconds you go over your time
Overtime -> must make all your moves within x seconds once your time runs out (Byo-yomi - "must make all decisions ~instantly" is Byo-yomi with a very low Byo-yomi time). Possibility of allowing slightly longer for a key decision (which is what multiple Byo-yomi periods allows)
Overtime -> must make n moves in x seconds - I can't really see how that would work in Race.

There's only a certain number of ways of doing time control and it's probably quite unusual to try to apply time controls to a game with simultaneous action selection like Race.
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Scott Russell
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Forget the timer, use mockery instead!

Or if you really want to use a timer, when all but one player is done with a phase, start a timer, when it gets to one minute (or number of your choice), the offending player's turn is negated. He doesn't get a role selection that turn, must throw in all the of the cards drawn for explore (or keep random one(s)), doesn't get to dev, settle or produce. The hard one would be consume, but I guess you could just use a basic algorithm, like look at leftmost consume power and use the first good(s) (left to right) that will satisfy it and continue with next consume power, etc.


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Serge Levert
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This is what i've settled on:

30 minutes + 30 seconds byo-yomi.
Clock paused only when you are locked in and waiting on an opponent. (You may change your move until everyone has played. Unpause the clock if you are no longer locked in.)
30 second byo-yomi (maximum time per move) once you empty your clock.

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