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Subject: Need advice on running 7 Wonders Duel rss

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Curt Collins
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Andrew, that's also a real valid point. Plenty of people will show up after having won the mulligan hoping for a shot to shorten the field by taking someone out at no risk to themselves.

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Scott Saccenti
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AndrewE wrote:
I honestly wouldn't GM a game that had to be tightly scheduled like Amun-re because with those, come hell or high water you must be seating people by 5 after or some tables simply won't finish in time and then nobody's happy.


The "Amun Re Board Wipe" (my forearm, swiping all components indiscriminately into the box in one single motion) is an annual WBC tradition.
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robert kircher
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saccenti wrote:
AndrewE wrote:
I honestly wouldn't GM a game that had to be tightly scheduled like Amun-re because with those, come hell or high water you must be seating people by 5 after or some tables simply won't finish in time and then nobody's happy.


The "Amun Re Board Wipe" (my forearm, swiping all components indiscriminately into the box in one single motion) is an annual WBC tradition.


There was a famous Santa Fe Rails semi final game which had a 'board wipe' before scoring was completed......
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Henry Allen
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rkircher wrote:
saccenti wrote:
AndrewE wrote:
I honestly wouldn't GM a game that had to be tightly scheduled like Amun-re because with those, come hell or high water you must be seating people by 5 after or some tables simply won't finish in time and then nobody's happy.


The "Amun Re Board Wipe" (my forearm, swiping all components indiscriminately into the box in one single motion) is an annual WBC tradition.


There was a famous Santa Fe Rails semi final game which had a 'board wipe' before scoring was completed......


What? Where can we read more?
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Jon Senn
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AmadanNaBriona wrote:

I don't claim to be the best 7WD player, and I am certainly not the best chess player, but I disagree that the loser was incompetent. The loser's lead was large but probably not insurmountable by the end of the Second Age. Part of his lead was gained at the expense of Science cards. The eventual winner made a calculated gamble at the inflection point, where he either needed to go for Science or try to catch up on points. He went for the former, and got lucky on a critical card reveal in the Third Age.


Thanks David. It was a tough decision at the time, but I probably did blunder by not shutting down science completely. My economic lead was larger than I appreciated at the time when I declined to take the Law token.

Incidentally, science/military wins do happen almost half the time in online games (at least, as of some stats posted a year ago): https://sevenee.mattle.online/lobby/forum/topic/mvxoybDcABT6...
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Andy Latto
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Thank you for stepping up to the plate and GM'ing! It's always sad when a popular event dies due to lack of GM, and I'm glad you preserved this one. And large events with short games are among the most difficult to GM, so you really jumped into the pool at the deep end!

My opinions on a couple of issues:

In a game like 7 Wonders Duel, or Innovation, I dislike using any tiebreakers, to the point where I'd rather a random die roll be resorted to when necessary. Since the game isn't always decided by score, you're left having to compare a score win to a different kind of win, and I think it distorts the game to decide that one type of win is better than another.

I really dislike the 4-player pod format (is there any game other that Battle Line that uses this at WBC?) because of the emphasis it places on tiebreakers. It's fairly common for a pod result to be A beats B beats C beats A, with all three beating player D, and advancing based on "how much did you win by", means playing for a big win rather than a small win against player D is crucial. In Battle Line, if you want to advance, once you reach a point where you can claim the win, you shouldn't claim it if you can continue without risk, playing on for the breakthru. I think this makes the experience for the new player who loses 3 games unpleasant if their opponents all play this way. In 7 Wonders, once you feel you have the points win locked up, you should play for a science win. This feels weird to me.

A variant of the pod system that I've suggested, but hasn't been tried as far as I know, is that all players who finish 2-1 or 3-0 qualify, but the 3-0 players get a bye. After the pods finish, the 2-1 players are all paired for round 4, while the 3-0 players sit out, and the 3-0 players and the round 4 winners are put into the elimination rounds. This gives a format similar to San Juan (must go 3-1 in first 4 rounds to enter the elimination rounds) that gives less fair pairings than a swiss, but makes pairing much easier on the GM.

Whether or not you use a "rolling start" (pairing people and allowing some games to start before everyone is checked in) to pair people for the first round, I think it's important not to do this for later rounds. One reason is that as you get further into the tournament, I prioritize a level playing field more and convenience less. The other is that it actually makes the tournament slower, not faster. Eventually things need to sync up, and if you pair round 2 as people finish their round 1 games, you pair slow players with slow players and fast players with fast players, which just leads to longer waits at some later point when the fast players need to wait for the slow players. You can speed things up slightly by doing the pairings when the last gamer or two isn't finished, by putting "winner of that game over there" into the pairings, but I think more than this creates more problems than it solves.

I'm not even convinced that a "rolling start" for the first round (as used in Splendor, Ticket to Ride, and Lost Cities) gains much. It won't get the tournament as a whole finished any faster unless all but the last games to be started are fast ones, and if you misguess the number of players, it can lead to unfair pairings and a system that can be gamed. I played one of these games one year when the last 4 players in line ended up playing each other. This gives players too much control over who they play.

What does the rolling start buy you? It lets some games start earlier, but if the game fits comfortably in it's time slot, why is this important? Starting everyone at once, using either Nick Ferris' wonderful table card system, or the more common "everyone pick a card and find the person with the matching card system" is really pretty fast; In Thurn and Taxis, I get over a hundred people playing in about 3 minutes. For a two-player game, it might take twice that long. And it gives you a time when you can get everyone's attention, describe the tournament format, discuss any rules clarifications, and answer questions. As long as you use some system of pairings that works in parallel, rather than reading out each pairing, I don't think a rolling start is needed.

For a game as fast as Lost Cities, the rolling start allows the same set to be used for two different games within the hour heat, which is important when there is a shortage of games. For a game that takes just about an hour, and therefore needs a 2-hour slot, like Ticket to Ride, it lets more people finish in one hour and squeeze in another game. But I'm not sure what it buys you in other cases.
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Chris Trimmer
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andylatto wrote:
I really dislike the 4-player pod format (is there any game other that Battle Line that uses this at WBC?)


The Commands & Colors system tournaments (Memoir 44, Battle Cry, C&C Ancients, C&C Napoleonics) often use them. They can have easy tiebreaks though (# of units killed or lost).
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Andrew E
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I agree with most of that Andy, but a rolling start will definitely finish a little faster than a standard start, and possibly significantly faster. (which doesn't necessarily make it a good idea)

For a rolling start, if we assume the slowest table is also among the last batch to seat, it's a little faster because that table gets seated a little faster, because they're in a small group that got their card on sign-in and find each other easily.

But the slowest table is probably not in the very last batch, so you gain even more.

Of course, that's all optimizing just for speed. There are other axes the GM might want to optimize for (for example, work required of asst GM's, for which a rolling start requires way more than a standard start, or raw simplicity - if you mess up while checking people and seating, usually by miscounting, it's easier to recover in a simpler system).

Also, the biggest advantage of rolling seating for players is that it eliminates the standing around waiting for the game to start time, or more accurately, it shifts that time to the end for each individual player, when they can use that otherwise dead time more freely. That advantage is almost entirely gone with back to back rounds, because the tables that finish early still have to wait for the tables finishing late, because as Andy mentioned, you do have to sync up eventually, and if you try to roll rounds one after the other, you risk increasing levels of complexity, and your matches will become less random in a bad way (fast players will be matched with fast, slow with slow).
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