Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

Terraforming Mars: Colonies» Forums » General

Subject: Colonies - Lack of luck issue rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Frederick Duewer
United States
New York
flag msg tools
I play TM with a regular group. There are 2 relatively strong players and a few less strong players. Out of 50ish games, the record is something like 25-25-0-1-2.

Prior to Colonies, the score differential was typically:
0:-10:-15:-25:-40, with the top two switching back and forth. (Oddly, the low scoring player has more wins than the other 2...) But, there was a lot of variance.

After Colonies, the score difference is maybe similar, but the games aren't as close. (If both of the stronger players got bad draws, someone else could have won.). Now, really bad draws seem less common.

I'm guessing it is because Colonies reduces the likelihood of horrible draws. (Energy was horrid unless you could use it immediately...) And, well, the colony standard project is a reasonable way to invest MC if draws suck.

So, um, if you were to set up a handicapping system, how would you do it? I'm thinking that the lowest scoring player gets 3 extra TR at the start and that the winning player loses up to 9 bonus TR. 3 TR should be worth 9 VPs or so.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Todd Warnken
United States
Harrison
Ohio
flag msg tools
I'm not crazy. My mother had me tested.
badge
Impeachment time
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm confused. how can the games have a similar scoring difference but not be as close? Also, it's weird to complain that bad card draws are less common.

For handicapping, I would just give the weaker players a higher starting TR.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Frederick Duewer
United States
New York
flag msg tools
Thing is...the player order is more consistent - prior to Colonies, even if the winner was sort of consistent, #2, #3, #4, and #5 varied. I'm guessing it is because people can play colonies and energy cards early game. Or it could just be my imagination. The #1 and #2 players are, if anything, getting closer scores.

My explanation for the variance earlier was that, sometimes, all you'd get were the sort of draws that ended up with keeping 1 card from the initial draw. It might just be luck, but that seems to be less common. It sort of makes sense though, as my early autopasses were mostly unneeded energy, high requirements, cheapo attacks, and media center. Of those, energy is arguably most common. Dunno, could just be imagining things.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rikard Johansson
Sweden
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Simple rule.

If you get 1st place. Reduce your starting TR by 1 next game. If you get last, increase it by 1. For anyone in between, no adjustment.
Alternatively. 1st: -2. 2nd: -1, 3rd: No adjustment, 4th: +1, 5th: +2.
Just make sure the total sum of TR remains at 20*#players.

After a couple of games everyone will trend towards their mean and after that fluctuate around it (assuming no progression in skill). If you're comfortable with it you can "lock" those starting positions, but that would bar people from noticing progress. The goal should of course be to bring everyone as close to 20 starting TR as possible.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Frederick Duewer
United States
New York
flag msg tools
Maybe. I've never added a house-rule to a game or a handicap system and have some doubts about it being a good idea. (We'd usually move on, but everyone really likes TM. I'm just worried that the suspense level in the games is decreasing.)

A highly group-specific issue is that any substantial relative handicap between the stronger players would swing the game.

I'm thinking that a side-goal would be to move our game length closer to 'typical'. In a model where a TM player converts income and starting resources to end game VP, our weaker players are less efficient overall. Over the course of 10 turns, the weaker players get maybe 30-50 extra VP, not counting the 20 they start with. The stronger players get ~80 extra VP. A guess would be that less efficient players result in longer game lengths. This seems to be true in our case.

So, keeping the total TR constant seems likely to lengthen games because it transfers efficiently used resources to less efficient players. A secondary goal would be to keep games close without making the handicap system dominant.

By dominant, um, this may be incoherent, but, in my defense, I didn't sleep much last night. And, meh, just my opinion.

In my view, playing games tends to be fun when there's a feeling of agency - like your play impacts the results. The problem with luck or rule-based outcomes is that they decrease the feeling of agency. So, I don't like the games where 'draw random card and instawin' is an option. However, lack of luck is also a problem. At some point, if you aren't super smart and diligent, you'll run into, eg, a better chessmaster. You might be able to learn, but, maybe you're not interested in training to become a grandmaster. At some point, chess matches with that person may become a bit dull for both of you. If a skill differential results in a 100:0 win probability, that's also not fun, at least for me. That's a situation where play, within your capabilities, has no impact. (I wouldn't apply this to learning games or where people are just playing badly.) A handicap system that equalized win probability would, I guess, and maybe am wrong, tend to impact that feeling of agency. I mean, maybe you can transfer the feeling of winning to reducing your handicap? Meh.


In practice, with 4 players of unequal skill, something like a difference in win probability of 3x seems reasonable, with a pretty wide acceptable range around that. So, 37.5, 37.5, 12.5, 12.5 would be a goal. Prior to Colonies, I guess the ratio was something like:
47, 47, 3, 3. (50ish games, 3 wins), which is really on the edge of ok. After Colonies, just intuition, but it feels like it got a lot more lopsided. I might just be spacey...

In the interest of not being super-complicated or super-boring or messing too much with awards/milestones, TR seems better than either money or VP. An alternative would be having the handicap involve keeping extra prelude cards.

In the interest of not slowing games, I'm guessing that making the handicap resource-neutral may not be optimal.

Roughly, taking 1 starting TR == 3 VP endgame, there is about an 8 TR differential to equalize win probability.

One option would be capping the handicap at 4-6 TR. Another option would be not capping the handicap but having it grow at about 1/3 the vp differential and then zeroing it after a win. For our situation, 3 starting TR seems reasonable.

Maybe, if you lose by > 20 points to someone without a handicap, you keep 3 Preludes. If you win with a handicap, you lose the handicap. It sort of seems more fun than just TR. Dunno, this makes the handicap kind of chunky.

Alternately, maybe a 'for glory' mode would be useful: Pick corp from UNMI, Inventrix, and Polyphemos.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adhai Gray
Poland
flag msg tools
mbmb
fwduewer wrote:

Alternately, maybe a 'for glory' mode would be useful: Pick corp from UNMI, Inventrix, and Polyphemos.
Great idea. Often consistently winning player, wins to thanks to stagnant meta. With this corp will be forced to learn other strategies.

Also let play without draft. Experienced player can benefit from draft a lot, while it helps a little beginners.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls