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Subject: Sign Up for Season 31 of TM Tour rss

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Steve Haas
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DocCool wrote:
Boat on a River wrote:
Though this bears the questions: are safe, foolproof, can't-backfire early picks even possible? For example, what options do you have as p3 picking into Darklings+Cultists?

If you pick Engineers, p4 will likely ruin your game by choosing Witches.
If you pick Witches, p4 may opt for Dwarves, again making your game difficult.
If you pick anything else, p4 will pick Engineers - making you play infamously unfortunate black-grey-brown-X matchup where every faction struggles even for 3rd place.
So basically in this situation (D+C picked, setup isn't favorable for some yellow/blue/red faction), the 3rd player can only hope for more than a fight for #3 if the 4th player gives up (i.e. doesn't pick grey into your Witches resp. green into your Engineers).


I'm not sure "giving up" is quite the right terminology here.

There are 7 Darklings-Cultists-X-X matchups that have been played at least 10 times over the past year of D1-4 play. They, and their average results, are:

Darklings 2.6 Cultists 5.0 Witches 1.3 Engineers 1.1
Darklings 2.7 Cultists 3.0 Witches 3.5 CMs 0.8
Darklings 2.9 Cultists 1.4 Witches 3.9 Nomads 1.8
Darklings 2.6 Cultists 2.4 Engineers 4.5 Nomads 0.5
Darklings 1.9 Cultists 2.2 Engineers 5.2 Mermaids 0.8
Darklings 1.8 Cultists 2.0 Engineers 5.5 Swarmlings 0.6
Darklings 3.1 Cultists 2.8 Engineers 3.4 CMs. 0.7


So: picking into DCE or DCW as the 4th player, you don't have a lot of good options. Witches into DCE is probably a little better than the alternatives, but its still not great and the margin is small enough that the other picks are absolutely legitimate if they're a better fit. Similarly, Nomads are theoretically the best pick into DCW, but, again, the margin isn't huge, the results still aren't great, and as that's only based on 10 games its entirely possible that that advantage will disappear if the matchup becomes more popular/common.

So: the 4th player has an uphill battle to avoid terrible results no matter what they pick into DCE/DCW. Its not a question of giving up, its just a question of whether you want to explicitly have a dogfight between Witches and Engineers for 3rd, or if you want to play something that's a better fit but a less clear opponent in the hunt for a non-last result.

Thus, the logic (or at least, my logic), when picking 3rd into Cultists+Darklings, looks something like:

* If I pick Engineers, my opponent's best choice in the abstract is Witches, which makes me unlikely to finish better than 3rd; but if they pick anything else, I probably win.
* If I pick Witches, my opponent's best pick is unclear; some of them give me a good chance of winning, and some of them have me fighting to avoid the cellar.
* If I pick any other color, my opponent picks Engineers (or maybe Witches) and I lose, so I shouldn't do that.

The pick is therefore usually Engineers or Witches, but its a gamble either way. There's nothing you can pick that's really "safe".

Note, however, that these "no good options" matchups are starting to lead to some experimentation to see if something disruptive enough to shift the final results can be find. If you're probably losing anyway, you might as well take a swing with an unusual faction or a niche strategy, because the worst thing that can happen is that you still lose, and there's some chance of the weird matchup giving you an opening. I think this is among the reasons we're starting to see more Dwarves, and it did play some role in my picking Mermaids into CDW this season as well.
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James Ataei
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Well the Map Balanced VP per map is going to simplified and published in Merchants of the Seas.

15VP: Darklings, Engineers, Cultists
20VP: Everything Else
25VP: Acolytes, Auren, Alchemists
30VP: Fakirs, Giants

So would you think that Witches should also start at 15vp instead?

I would think that if these values were used in the tournament, you could start to see some changes in picks.
 
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Steve Haas
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Oh look, its an attempt to hijack a discussion in the tournament thread with shilling for map-balanced VPs. That hasn't happened before.
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James Ataei
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Steve496 wrote:
Oh look, its an attempt to hijack a discussion in the tournament thread with shilling for map-balanced VPs. That hasn't happened before.


Well, if people want to lament again how tournament setups are mostly the same where people are trying to find a new meta, then sure, I'll mention it again. But hey, would you like to answer the other question?

JamesWolfpacker wrote:
Would you think that Witches should also start at 15vp instead of 20vp?
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Lumin Sperling
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JamesWolfpacker wrote:

Well, if people want to lament again how tournament setups are mostly the same where people are trying to find a new meta, then sure, I'll mention it again. But hey, would you like to answer the other question?

Going to pitch in here, not as a Terra Mystica expert but as an Agricola expert. In expert Agricola play, we ban a select few cards because they are too strong in the hands of experienced players. However, I've seen almost all casual players pass up the banned cards in a draft, or just completely misuse them. I think a similar thing happens in TM with wanting to balance VPs - it will only really matter at the top level. You could give a less experienced player a 50VP start in their first Fakirs game and they still wouldn't be able to piece a win together against an average player playing Witches at 15VP. So if you're looking to print VP offsets, I think the impacted audience would be very small.

Now, regarding VP offsets among experienced TM players and this thread. When we all sign up for the tournament, we agree to play by tournament rules. Implicitly we agree that the game is fair enough with tournament rules, and pick-whatever-you-want-and-start-with-20VP. So if anyone wants VP offsets for their definition of a fair game, they shouldn't play tournament games! I think it's safe to say most competitive players know that the VP offsets exist. And to Steve's point, I agree that I see it brought up more than enough times.

In my experience, which has only recently been against strong competition, VP offsets often don't provide enough excuses to avoid the most common matchups with the strongest factions. If the tournament were played with offsets, my belief is that there would still be enough similarity among matchups to complain about. Because of variable setup, I think the only fair way to assign starting VPs is to bid.

James, thank you for your work on the upcoming expansion(s). It's clear you care a lot about this game and want the gameplay to be solid and diverse at the highest level. I would like to think that we're all on the same team in that respect, and we should all remember that when we disagree on the definition of "diverse" (which is what I think is going on here.) Lastly, if the goal of VP offsets is to create rounded numbers that encourage faction diversity, then I'd say why not put Witches at 15VP. Knock Darklings down to 10VP! They'd still be playable...
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Steve Haas
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Discussing the limitations of the 7 most common variations of a family of matchups comprising ~40% of high-level tournament play is not the same thing as complaining about a lack of matchup diversity. Particularly when accompanied with a discussion of how those limitations are giving rise to some more diverse picks, as had already been noted in this thread, which is less than a page long.

Moreover: even assuming map-balanced VPs do improve the game and don't just dump us into a different broken meta - a fact that you have asserted but never provided any evidence in support of - they do not help with this particular situation in the slightest. Any *specific* matchup is always going to be more imbalanced than the factions in the abstract. For example: in MEDC, Engineers are 15 points better than every other faction. The fact that map-balanced Mermaids pick up 5vp relative to the other three factions means they're only -5 relative to Darklings instead of -10, but they're still -22 relative to Engineers so they still ain't winning.

Also note that a lot of these color imbalances persist across both factions of the same color, even when the two factions play quite differently - Mermaids and Swarmlings perform similarly in most matchups, as do Halflings/Cultists and Engineers/Dwarves. So even if map-balanced VPs improve representation of the lesser factions, it won't change the fact that color matchups wildly (dis)advantage certain factions and all these imbalances still exist.

So, again: Map Balanced VPs might solve some problems. Maybe. Or not. Again, I've seen no data to support that assertion. But it does not address the situation under discussion, so is kind of a derail. And has a number of other flaws that I have enumerated at length in other posts.

So, should Witches be 15 or 20? If you want my honest opinion: they should be 20. As should Engineers, and Darklings, and Cultists, and Fakirs, and Giants. Because I think Map-Balanced VPs are fundamentally solving the wrong problem in a way that makes the game worse. And I refuse to engage in speculation about which "solution" is less bad for the game, when "not doing any of it in the first place" is a superior answer across the board.
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Robert
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Steve496 wrote:
DocCool wrote:
So basically in this situation (D+C picked, setup isn't favorable for some yellow/blue/red faction), the 3rd player can only hope for more than a fight for #3 if the 4th player gives up (i.e. doesn't pick grey into your Witches resp. green into your Engineers).
I'm not sure "giving up" is quite the right terminology here.
Maybe not. Maybe the wording was chosen to extract further thoughts on the topic. whistle

Steve496 wrote:
Note, however, that these "no good options" matchups are starting to lead to some experimentation to see if something disruptive enough to shift the final results can be find. If you're probably losing anyway, you might as well take a swing with an unusual faction or a niche strategy, because the worst thing that can happen is that you still lose, and there's some chance of the weird matchup giving you an opening. I think this is among the reasons we're starting to see more Dwarves, and it did play some role in my picking Mermaids into CDW this season as well.
Now if the tournament only also allowed F&I factions (who'd need variable VPs then? )! I couldn't think of anything more disruptive than Dragonlords in seat #4 (probably green if 3rd picked grey, and grey if 3rd picked green?). Fear, surprise and ruthless efficiency! devil
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I don't really want to get into it on the merits of map-balanced VP again, but on a meta/balancing related note:

To me, one of the most interesting open questions is, "What happens if there's a playable red faction other than Chaos Magicians?" CMs being both narrow and relatively non-disruptive contributes to this "Witches or nah?" gamble situation with the Engineers, where Engineers are either runaway favorites or someone falls on the sword to nerf them into the cellar. (See earlier discussion in this thread.)

This also has some knock-on effects in the meta, particularly related to blue factions. While both blue factions are outside the top tier, in a vacuum there are situations where I think I could justify taking either of them early. But both factions have the hidden drawback of discouraging Witches and thus greatly increasing the chances of a runaway Engineers, which is a deal-breaker if you want to give yourself a chance to win. If you could take a blue faction and know that Engineers getting challenged by a red faction was still a possibility, that would significantly change the calculus.

Giving Giants 30 starting VP is obviously one way to (try to) address this, but there are others. I've been toying with the idea of starting up a bunch of games with what I call the "Red Yetis Variant", where F&I factions are enabled but all F&I options except Red Yetis are banned. (The "Red Ice Maidens" variant also has potential... I think you can guess what that entails.) I've been too preoccupied to actually do it yet, but it's an idea I'd like to see tested.
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Steve Haas
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I think the lack of a general-purpose red faction is among the major forces shaping the current meta, yeah; the red ice approach is interesting, but I'm not entirely sure it solves the problem, as both ice factions are somewhat niche in their own right. For the specific family of Cultist-based matchups my guess is that Yetis would be a better disrupter, but I'm not sure how big the impact would actually be.

(The other major force shaping the meta is that there's no such thing as a bad Darklings game. The fact that there's no such thing as a bad Cultists game helps shape the DEC/DCW meta we've been discussing, but with only half as many Cultists games as there are Darklings games, its hard to argue that they're dictating the meta more broadly).
 
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Robert
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Steve496 wrote:
(The other major force shaping the meta is that there's no such thing as a bad Darklings game. The fact that there's no such thing as a bad Cultists game helps shape the DEC/DCW meta we've been discussing, but with only half as many Cultists games as there are Darklings games, its hard to argue that they're dictating the meta more broadly).
Tell us: how do games with DC in them usually end? Who tends to gain the upper hand? How much depends on whether Nomads are in the game?
 
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Steve Haas
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I think that can be mostly inferred from the stats at the top of the page. The way I'd summarize them is: Cultists usually win DECW and are disadvantaged in DCWN. In basically every other matchup, Cultists and Darklings are very closely matched.
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Dhrun
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Steve496 wrote:
Oh look, its an attempt to hijack a discussion in the tournament thread with shilling for map-balanced VPs. That hasn't happened before.

James will not be taken aback or slowed down by irony.
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James Ataei
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Dhrun wrote:
Steve496 wrote:
Oh look, its an attempt to hijack a discussion in the tournament thread with shilling for map-balanced VPs. That hasn't happened before.

James will not be taken aback or slowed down by irony.


What can I say? I'm a pit bull. GGGRRRR!!! CHOMP!!!
 
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JamesWolfpacker wrote:

What can I say? I'm a pit bull. GGGRRRR!!! CHOMP!!!

And you know this, man!
 
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Jasper Vercruysse
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Got this question when playing on the board and didn't know where to put this so I'll just put it here:

What's the maximum amount of points one can obtain by placing a dwelling?
 
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Steve Haas
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Depends on what you count. But, in rough terms:

* 2 points from fav11
* 1 point at end of round from bon9
* 11 points from finishing a town with TW8 (or more, if you want to count cult points from TW5/TW6).
* 18 points from creating your connection, bumping you from last to first in network size.
* Another 18 points from expansion final scoring.
* Round scoring. D >> 2 is obvious; but if it counts, TW >> 5 is better. Or if you want to count the digging that precedes the build, up to 12 points from Spade >> 2.
* Faction scoring. If digging counts, I think the best you can do is 12 from darklings priest-digging. Failing that, 9 points from creating the 2nd end of 3 different bridges as engineers. Failing that, 5 extra point from the town as Witches. If none of those count: 4 from Fakirs/Dwarves ability.

If the question is "what increases your current score by the most in a single terraform and build maneuver, not counting end of round/end of game scoring", I think the best I can come up with is 37 from 6x priest dig on the spade scoring turn as Darklings, completing TW8, with fav11. If we're not allowing terraforming, just building, I believe it is 23 from witches finishing TW8 on the Town scoring town, with fav11.

Once we start counting final scoring... things get complicated. We probably shouldn't count both spade scoring (which can't be later than R4) and final scoring (which isn't determined until R6), but even short of that... 2 (fav11) + 1 (bon9) + 34 (TW6, passing a three-way tie for first on every cult track) + 18 (network) + 18 (final scoring) + 12 (6x digs as Darklings) + 5 (TW>>5) is 90 points.
 
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Jasper Vercruysse
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Oooh this is more complicated than I thought

I was calculating within the normal tournament setup and got to 60 points:

2+2+1+18+2(tw6)+32+(12/3)-(3/3)

Forgot to count in faction scoring nor did I factor in a TW >> 5 round. If we add resources gained and lost to your last calculation that would add an extra point just for shits and giggles.

A 91-point dwelling, how satisfying would that be

 
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Jasper Vercruysse
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Sooo in this game which is still ongoing (so no discussions about the game pls) I had enough structure to build my first town though I formed it only after completing another action by writing the commands myself. This was possible because everyone else had already passed so I could enter multiple commands before saving. Also I'm cultists so I'm waiting everytime I have build a structure to see what my opponents will do.

https://terra.snellman.net/faction/4pLeague_S31_D2L2_G6/cult...

When I was planning that worked fine but now I see at the bottom there is a red line saying:

town tile not taken by cultists

I suppose this isn't working as intended and I shouldn't be able to do that (unless I'm mermaids) as after looking it up I see it's against the rules.

I'm open to retracting that move ofcourse if any admin wants to interfere so going to hold off my next move untill I get an answer here.
 
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Manpanzee
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Milphi wrote:

town tile not taken by cultists


Wow! I'm surprised the interface allowed this to happen... Something must have broke. Definitely should be rolled back by an admin imo.
 
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James Ataei
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I notified Juho. Not sure if he will change it or not.
 
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Jasper Vercruysse
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Thanks. Discussed it in the ingame chat and 2 are open for moving on as I could have the same result with a different approach. Last player hasn't responded yet.
 
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James Ataei
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Juho e-mailed me back. The rules are that there will be no personal modifications in games even though this is a clear error in the rules. So continue playing.

He knows about the error but there is no current timeline for getting this error fixed.
 
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Manpanzee wrote:
Definitely should be rolled back by an admin imo.


I definitely understand that feeling, but do not share it now, knowing the background including some history.
(Surprised myself I continue to feel strongly about this even though I stopped/paused playing TMtour for some time now)
There has been discussions and explanations on similar situations years ago, related to minor bugs as well as to stalling, this is my personal recap:
There is no such thing as an "admin" as you understand it.
Juho and Daniel created this world we populate here and though they turned their attention to other things, they are kind enough to continue to host and maintain it...!
Even in their most active days they decided that this should run without any manual interference.
Personally I applaud this decision mostly based on these thoughts - which I hope to remember correctly to be similar to what they said, probably several times:
If you do not have the resources to have a really sophisticated and fully staffed supervisor/judge/arbiter team, a "blind" algorithm is a better decision maker.
Even if you find a competent, impartial body of people to do that work, it will have many downsides, just to name the most important ones in ascending order (sorry, can't resist):
1) Delays
2) The most vocal (and smart and dogged) people might get "more" "justice" than the others, even if the judges do their best
3) It seems unrealistic that such a body of arbiters would continue to work reliably for several years - if Snellman was not such a smooth interface and TMtour such an autonomous system, all this might have faded years ago (see 1,2 minor hiccups in the past during holidays)

Just my off-stage voiced 2 cents..
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Manpanzee
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Dhrun wrote:
There is no such thing as an "admin" as you understand it.


Oh I just meant someone with admin privileges. I get that the tourney is mostly automated, but presumably someone still has manual access.

Not looking for an impartial arbiter enforcing things either... it's more that the tourney setup means that the players in the game literally CAN'T roll things back, even if they all want to. I'd expect if anyone in the game had admin privileges they'd universally agree to roll back, and it would quickly get fixed... I interpreted this as more of a call for tech support than a call for judge support.
 
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Brian Hawaiian
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Quick shout out to Eunck for his D1 win!
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