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Subject: Ten Thoughts on this years WBC rss

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David desJardins
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natsean wrote:
Now, having said that, it brings us back to the sandbagger or person that was "gaming" time and that, I admit, is a problem.


I'm just dubious that this happens much. I'm a slow player, I see a lot of slow play, but "sandbagging" almost never happens in my experience (and not that much "analysis paralysis" either). If someone is winning the game and you want them (along with everyone else) to play extra-fast so that the game can finish on time, and they want to play at a normal pace so they don't make an error they wouldn't otherwise, I do have sympathy for them. If the game isn't going to finish on time, and you want the player in the lead to make a risky move that will probably win the game for them but might backfire, to end the game on time, I can see why they wouldn't want to do that. But I think it's very rare that people are deliberately playing slowly so that the game won't finish and they will be adjudicated the winner.
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Gareth Williams
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AmadanNaBriona wrote:
Wanting a game adjudicated because you have another game to get to is perfectly reasonable.


Agreed

And the GM should be willing to do so

They might not like having to do it, but not everything in a GMs role is necessarily fun
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Kevin C.
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I'm just dubious that this happens much. I'm a slow player, I see a lot of slow play, but "sandbagging" almost never happens in my experience (and not that much "analysis paralysis" either).


I agree. I was just trying to agree with David that this would be gamesmanship to me and I could see why he would be upset by it. I also think it could be difficult for the GM to deal with because it might not be sandbagging.

But, like I said, I agree with you that is doesn't happen much. In that 7WD thread, there was a lot of talk about people gaming various systems, like seating and pods, but I'm not sure many people actually do this.

You have the odd person that tries to sit next to a kid or seeks out the newbie in free form events, sure, but I like to think this is the minority. Most people just want to play games they enjoy and do well in them. I think most BPA member don't go in for these shenanigans.

Kevin



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David desJardins
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I think you can have subtler bias, like the person who was in the finals last year not joining a pod with the winner in it. You don't have to be deliberately seeking out the weakest opponents to be getting a nonrandom result.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Wanting a game adjudicated because you have another game to get to is perfectly reasonable.


Even if you don't have another game right after, I believe it's always reasonable to expect to end on time.

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I don't set the timing for Nap Wars based on a 6 turn game played slowly, because that would be 12-14 hours not the 6 I allow


That's a really tough one because TNW has much higher variability of length than most games. There is no way to set a time limit that will allow for the rare 5-6 turn games. Unfortunately some players I believe see this as not necessitating a reasonably speedy play pace at all. The time limit is officially 6 hours - therefore players should try to finish in 6 hours if they can. Experienced players ought to be able to get 4 turns in without a problem, but most only get 3.

DaviddesJ wrote:
Statalyzer wrote:
But it's pretty clear to me that commenting on a game in progress is not ok. Specifically a former champion walking by as someone thinks over a move and then saying "I thought that choice would be quite obvious" which not only is a strategic hint for the future but was also rather insulting.


This is already in the GM Guidelines.

KIBITZERS & DISCIPLINE: Allowing bystanders to give information to any player or to hassle or otherwise distract a player is prohibited. GMs who see this taking place should announce that onlookers are welcome only if they remain silent. Those who violate this rule should be removed from the premises.


Oh, I'm well aware it's in the guidelines.

Unfortunately, as someone mentioned, there's usually more penalty, socially speaking, for pointing out stuff than there is for doing the stuff.

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We all know what we are getting into when we game at the WBC. The time slots are clearly posted. So, if you have someone that is being "rude" by truly gobbling time, then the GM should deal with it.

Although, this is nebulous isn't it? How do you know the person just isn't "slow" in a benign way? They aren't trying to game the system or be rude, that is just the way they play.

I agree, it's usually not intentional stalling (I have seen it before, and some formats even encourage it, but I think it's rare), and it's usually not intentional rudeness. But I think even unintentional rudeness can still be rude.

[q]If it is a problem, then the GM should do with it. But if the game finishes "on time" with a slow player, then no action can be taken by the GM.


Right, which gives the slow player an advantage if the other player wishes to finish the game rather than stopping short. And for me (and I suspect I'm hardly the only one), this has nothing to do with whether I'm winning or losing. Playing a game out to the end and winning, or playing to the end and losing, are both far more fun than it having it cut off early and being voted a winner or loser based on a guess of how likely it was.

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In many ways, the WBC has this kind of "formal" informal structure. People get pissed at suboptimal play, yet you can learn the game one hour before the tournament and play. People get pissed at "slow" play, but there aren't really firm guideline for this beyond "Don't make the GM adjudicate...you won't like it."


Yeah, it's a balance between what's idealistically perfect for "competitive play with good sportsmanship" and "what gets us numbers for our niche event and makes life easy on the GM". For example ideally there wouldn't be any randomness to who plays who and there would be an objective formula for it. But does anyone really expect a GM to come up with this and then try and make it work in real-life for 20 tables of a 4-player game? No, of course not. Is one single combined tournament for all skill levels really appropriate? Not for most games at least, but it works better than splitting all the events into multiple tiers.

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Would chess clocks be a useful tool to control game length?


Yes in a vacuum, but not often, mostly for the reasons above. Ideally, they would be great, but realpolitik says it wouldn't work for most events because players would leave. Personally I love them - I don't feel I have a right to take up more than 50% of the time allotment in a 2-player game anyway because there's no reason I should get to have more time to think than my opponent gets. But I understand the idea can be intimidating to many people, or be (wrongly, IMO, but understandably) perceived to be implemented as part of a nasty cutthroat poor-sport mindset.
 
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Michael McKibbin
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Statalyzer wrote:
But it's pretty clear to me that commenting on a game in progress is not ok. Specifically a former champion walking by as someone thinks over a move and then saying "I thought that choice would be quite obvious" which not only is a strategic hint for the future but was also rather insulting.


This is already in the GM Guidelines.

KIBITZERS & DISCIPLINE: Allowing bystanders to give information to any player or to hassle or otherwise distract a player is prohibited. GMs who see this taking place should announce that onlookers are welcome only if they remain silent. Those who violate this rule should be removed from the premises.


If I were a player in a game where this occurred I would absolutely call over the GM at the first opportunity. Having a kibitzer actively commenting on the game potentially puts myself and all of the other players at an unfair disadvantage, and since the game is part of a tournament, it should be stopped at the earliest possible opportunity. I think both the players and GMs at the WBC could learn a lot from the world of duplicate bridge in this regard. I've played bridge on and off for a number of years and have attended quite a few tournaments. Bridge players are taught, informally so, that if there is a problem at the table (e.g. a rules infraction, etc.) that they are to call the Tournament Director immediately to resolve the issue. New players tend to be intimidated by this at first, especially since it can seem socially awkward, but soon learn that the TD is a neutral arbiter who is there to protect the rights of all parties at the table. At nearly every bridge tournament I've attended there will be several people raise their hand and call "Director". In my opinion, players at the WBC need to be more willing to involve the GM when there is an issue at their table. In my two years as a GM, there have been several instances where players were trying to argue out a rules question at the table rather than call me over. It seems to be the culture of boardgamers in general - if there is a rules question or other dispute, you pull the rule book and resolve the problem among yourselves. While this is fine in a friendly game, it's far preferable to involve the GM at the first instance in a tournament setting. First of all, the Gm will probably be able to answer the question off the top of their hear. Second, their rulings should be uniform from table to table, creating a level playing field. Third, and most important, more ill-will is generated by the players arguing it out than having one call the GM. Yes, I know it can be socially awkward, but if it becomes the cultural norm (as it is in bridge), then some of that awkwardness goes away.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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It was one of those "Have to decide in the next 5 seconds what to do" things since he said it right before walking off, and I was worried that "Huh, thought that choice would have been obvious" wouldn't be considered blatant enough to be worth a GM call over. That said, you are probably right that I should have said something and that most people in general are too reluctant to get a GM's attention.
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Christopher Yaure
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Interesting discussion. A few thoughts:

Quote:
For example ideally there wouldn't be any randomness to who plays who and there would be an objective formula for it.
Personally, in most events I prefer random pairings to seeded pairings.

Quote:
Is one single combined tournament for all skill levels really appropriate?
Other than two FIDE round robins I played in, my all-time favorite chess tournaments were US Opens, which have all skills levels from unrated players and very low-rated players up to Grandmasters.

In an event I GM'd this year, a player asked another player a rules question. I started to respond, and the player rather rudely told me it was none of my business. They seemed to resolve the problem themselves, so I let it go, but after the game I let the player know it was my business and his response was inappropriate.

In a game of POG several years ago, an observer pointed out our score appeared to be marked incorrectly. I asked him not to comment on our game (we had been playing for 4 or 5 hours. He apologized then and later. He is a great guy and I now consider him a friend.

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Kevin C.
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Quote:
In an event I GM'd this year, a player asked another player a rules question. I started to respond, and the player rather rudely told me it was none of my business. They seemed to resolve the problem themselves, so I let it go, but after the game I let the player know it was my business and his response was inappropriate.


Did that guy realize you were the GM?

This is one reason I struggle with stepping up to GM. If he had realized I was the GM and was that rude to me, I probably would have thrown his ass out of the tournament or caused more of a scene than there needed to be. I can't stand that sort of thing.

You did the right thing by keeping your cool and just talking to him afterwards, but I'm at a point in my life where I am having a big problem dealing with other people's rudeness. There is no call for talking to a GM like that.

Kevin
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Daniel Blumentritt
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In a game of POG several years ago, an observer pointed out our score appeared to be marked incorrectly. I asked him not to comment on our game (we had been playing for 4 or 5 hours. He apologized then and later.


Interesting, I would think that would be the one kind of interjection that would be allowed - if someone believes they have seen a rules violation or incorrect procedure of some sort.
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Eric Brosius
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I think the concern would be that such an outside commentator might identify errors that help one player, but not ones that help the other player.
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Kevin C.
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Interesting, I would think that would be the one kind of interjection that would be allowed - if someone believes they have seen a rules violation or incorrect procedure of some sort.


I would think this would cause a distraction. The guy might not know what he is talking about or just be mistaken and now you have taken the players out of the groove to deal with an outsider.

If there is an issue, the players will probably spot it when checking score.

I think of a formal gamespace, like a tournament, as hermetically sealed from outsiders. Piping up when you "think" you see something can cause more trouble than it is worth.

If you really think you've seen something amiss, I would suggest alerting the GM and letting him handle it. This way, everything is dealt with from "within" the tournament structure.

Of course, this could differ depending on the specific tournament vibe. But in general, I wouldn't want observers commenting on perceived rules issues. Better to get the GM, to my mind.

Kevin
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Andrew E
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natsean wrote:
This is one reason I struggle with stepping up to GM.

For what it's worth, I've been a GM at WBC and Euroquest for 5 or 6 years, and I've had exactly one problem player (walked away from a table mid-game).
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Daniel Blumentritt
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If you really think you've seen something amiss, I would suggest alerting the GM and letting him handle it. This way, everything is dealt with from "within" the tournament structure.


That's probably the best way to handle it - if you believe it's an illegal move or a scoring error (especially the kind that may not be caught later) rather than just an omission or mistake.

For example, I was watching a History of the World semifinal where it appeared that a player had played Leader but wasn't rolling 3 dice. I didn't feel like I had any right to say anything or even to mention it to the GM. But if the players had counted up someone's points and said "Ok, 27 here, 16 there, that's 45" and nobody caught it, I think speaking up is appropriate. Or at least, I would want someone to speak up if that happened in my game even if it correcting the error would benefit an opponent or harm me.
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Michael McKibbin
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Even as a GM, I am still reluctant to point out a minor irregularity in play. For example, in the Five Tribes final there was one occasion where the players forgot to refresh the market at the end of the round, which wasn't discovered until bidding on the next round had begun. I had noticed, but didn't say anything because, even as GM, I did not feel that this was a great enough breech in the rules to intervene.
 
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Devin Smith
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I strongly disagree with that. Incorrect game-states should be corrected, period, and intervening to ensure that the rules are correctly played is always correct. The same goes for involuntary actions: I heard tell of players trying to gyp their opponents out of mandatory effects in Terraforming Mars, and that's just not cricket. All players are responsible for maintaining the the gamestate, and GMs watching should certainly intervene to ensure that the game is legally played.

If incorrect gamestates are allowed to slide, the step from there to people deliberately screwing up is small, e.g., `forgetting' to put colonists on the boat in PR.
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Kevin C.
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If incorrect gamestates are allowed to slide, the step from there to people deliberately screwing up is small, e.g., `forgetting' to put colonists on the boat in PR.


I think this is a bit too cynical. As I said before, the people that do this sort of thing are in a miniscule minority at the WBC. I mean, this is outright cheating you are talking about. I really don't think we have many of those.

The "mistakes" being made are honest ones and some are much easier to spot than others. The odds of the whole table not seeing you put colonists on are pretty slim.

Quote:
I heard tell of players trying to gyp their opponents out of mandatory effects in Terraforming Mars, and that's just not cricket.


You hear all sorts of things in the bar and in the car ride home afterwards. Again, most things aren't this deliberate, I don't think. HOw do you stop people from taking mandatory effects? It's a silly way to cheat and more likely, a result of a rules misunderstanding.

We are a small community at the WBC. Getting the label as a hard case that busts balls in one thing. Getting the label of a cheater is quite another. I think we have a bunch of the former but not much, if any, of the latter.

(I would think cheaters would be banned pretty quickly. It goes against the whole idea of what the WBC is trying to do.)

Having said that, I would agree that if the GM sees something amiss, it should probably be corrected, even if it is small. Observers, however, probably shouldn't say anything to the players and alert the GM if they think the players won't catch it themselves.

Kevin
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Andrew E
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natsean wrote:
(I would think cheaters would be banned pretty quickly. It goes against the whole idea of what the WBC is trying to do.)

Sadly, the only adult I'm aware of who was a cheater came for many years, was suspected with good reason many times, was even caught basically red-handed at least once but was never banned.

Cheaters are a tiny minority, but for exactly that reason we don't have good mechanisms to find and punish them. I certainly don't look for cheating in my games because 99.9% of the time, it's a waste of brain space.
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Scott Saccenti
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AndrewE wrote:
I certainly don't look for cheating in my games because 99.9% of the time, it's a waste of brain space.


I bet I've played around a 1000 games in tournaments over the years at the combined events of WBC, EuroQuest, and PrezCon. There was one single instance of cheating that I observed (at EuroQuest, for what it's worth). I've shunned the perpetrator ever since.

I never waste my time thinking about it, it just isn't something that's happening IMO.
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David desJardins
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hgman3 wrote:
Even as a GM, I am still reluctant to point out a minor irregularity in play. For example, in the Five Tribes final there was one occasion where the players forgot to refresh the market at the end of the round, which wasn't discovered until bidding on the next round had begun. I had noticed, but didn't say anything because, even as GM, I did not feel that this was a great enough breech in the rules to intervene.


This seems odd to me. One of the best things about finals at WBC is that the GM often has time to watch the game and help make sure it's played according to the rules, so that the players can focus on the game. It would be great to have a neutral arbiter enforcing the rules in every game, but generally that's not feasible. Why not welcome it when it's possible?
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Rob Neuhaus
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Have any info about the tichu tournament? I stopped going to WBC during the 7S move, but a tichu tournament might be enough to coax some friends of mine to go (who actually travlled from NYC to Germany for such a thing). Any if friends go, it's at least easier to make the trip myself...
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Chris Trimmer
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rrenaud wrote:
Have any info about the tichu tournament? I stopped going to WBC during the 7S move, but a tichu tournament might be enough to coax some friends of mine to go (who actually travlled from NYC to Germany for such a thing). Any if friends go, it's at least easier to make the trip myself...


I don't recall WBC ever having a Tichu tournament. BGG.Con always runs one though.
 
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Rob Neuhaus
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DaviddesJ wrote:

The "unofficial Tichu tournament" went well and I think there will be another push to get it considered as an official event for next year.
 
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