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Terra Mystica» Forums » Organized Play

Subject: Season 33 of the Terra Mystica tournament rss

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Manpanzee
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The tournament signup page says players should be prepared to make a move every day, and I think that's a good standard to adhere to (in both directions). Players shouldn't be regularly taking multiple days between moves, but someone who consistently makes moves every day shouldn't be facing much time pressure.

If you look at the slowest of slow players, they're typically taking multiple days between moves multiple times in a season. That's what causes problems. While it's theoretically possible to play problematically slowly without multi-day gaps, it's not common.

Focusing on total clock time seems most appropriate to me, as it discourages long gaps without placing undue pressure on players who are merely on the slower side of acceptable.
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Robert
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This was my fastest season so far, but to my horror another league (7-4) finished less than 1 hour before ours.
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Manpanzee
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Meanwhile, my group still has two games that haven't gotten out of Round 2. In one of those games, I've used literally zero time on the 8 hour clock, and we're still projected to finish in late December.

What to do?

Well, one thing you could do is actively try to time people out. Look up time zones for people's listed countries. Study their active playing hours. Always make your moves around their bedtimes, so that their 8 hour grace period is always already gone by the time they see their moves. Sequence your actions based on whose clock you can make run via leech offers.

Now, it wouldn't be very nice to play this way. But it's also not very nice to use up 40% of the available clock time in a 4-player game...
 
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Francisco Woodland
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Oof. 2 games still not out of round 2 is a bit brutal. I'm thankful that my group is playing at a very reasonable pace.

Are there statistics kept on group times? I'm sort of curious what the record is for fastest group finish ever.

I still recall being in this group a number of seasons ago, and it ending in what I felt was an unusually fast time. Shout out to S27_D5L11!
 
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Saikat Banerjee
Germany
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Thanks for the polls @DocCool.

I think the results show consensus for 5d+1d per round chess clock, with 8h grace period. What do everyone think? If so, are you planning to implement it from Season 34?

It would be great and would reduce many unfinished games. Unfortunately I would not be able to participate in Season 34 because of Christmas holidays.
 
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Robert
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banskt wrote:
Thanks for the polls @DocCool.

I think the results show consensus for 5d+1d per round chess clock, with 8h grace period. What do everyone think? If so, are you planning to implement it from Season 34?
Indeed, a clear majority voted in favor of a clock setting of 8h grace, 5d+1d/round. (Caveat: the number of voters is only a small fraction of the actual participants in the tournament, and it's not even guaranteed that the voters are actually playing in the tournament ).

My personal expectation is that those three days less over the course of a game would actually reduce the number of unfinished games somewhat, without increasing late drops. That's because (as people mentioned further up already) the slowniks will speed up (slightly) to avoid dropping, as their previous "They gave me 14d, so why shouldn't I use them?" attitude will change to "They gave me 11d, so why shouldn't I use them?" instead of making them drop 3d before the deadline.

Anyway, the decision is up to Daniel.
 
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Matt Decker
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gmg159 wrote:
I wonder why more people aren't in favor of slightly shortening the grace period?

I agree, particularly considering opponents' leeching decisions reset the grace period.
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Greg W
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mattpdecker wrote:
gmg159 wrote:
I wonder why more people aren't in favor of slightly shortening the grace period?

I agree, particularly considering opponents' leeching decisions reset the grace period.

Because it feels like a huge change for a small problem, adds stress, and is particularly unfair to people in different timezones from the majority of their league. (My answer.)

In any event, the no-change option seems to have won resoundingly re: the grace period. And yes, it's a small subset of players, but if anything it may be overstating the desire for a change - I'd guess that those people who want a change to the current system would be more, rather than less, likely to vote.
 
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Steinar Nerhus
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DocCool wrote:
My personal expectation is that those three days less over the course of a game would actually reduce the number of unfinished games somewhat, without increasing late drops. That's because (as people mentioned further up already) the slowniks will speed up (slightly) to avoid dropping, as their previous "They gave me 14d, so why shouldn't I use them?" attitude will change to "They gave me 11d, so why shouldn't I use them?" instead of making them drop 3d before the deadline.

Juho has stated several times that with previous changes in the clock it has not been any indication that players change their speed, instead it leads to more drops. This was in the season 32 thread:

jsnell wrote:

There's a theory that reducing the time on the clock will make people play faster. The time settings have changed four times during tournament history. So far it has never made players play faster, just increased the number of finished games via drops and hopefully letting the other players finish the game in time.

But still, my opinion is, and it seem many others share this: It is better that these players drop than having unfinished games. Unfinished games just feel terrible when it leads to the wrong person promoting/relegating.

(I'm not playing in the league, so not sure my opinion really matters...)
 
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Robert
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gmg159 wrote:
I wonder why more people aren't in favor of slightly shortening the grace period?
As per Juho's earlier post, "slightly" is not an option. The next shortest option is 4h, which is "cut in half". Personally, I also felt that 6h grace would be nicest. And while I did vote for 4h grace in the 2nd poll (where I had to remove the 6h option), 4h are quite short given that players come from all around the globe and most people sleep much longer than those 4h per night (or so I hope ).
 
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Ryan Feathers
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DocCool wrote:
As per Juho's earlier post, "slightly" is not an option. The next shortest option is 4h, which is "cut in half". Personally, I also felt that 6h grace would be nicest. And while I did vote for 4h grace in the 2nd poll (where I had to remove the 6h option), 4h are quite short given that players come from all around the globe and most people sleep much longer than those 4h per night (or so I hope ).

I also suspect there are participants in the tournament whose work schedules may not allow them to check at all during the work day, which potentially represents two 8 hour periods each day where they can't take moves. Adjusting the grace clock to 4h could begin to result in this type of player getting screwed and create a brand new problem we don't really currently see: players getting dropped who would actually be playing fast enough to have games finish on time.

Overall I'm very against shortening the grace clock. I don't really see how that even is fair or makes much sense either--I highly doubt there are many players who will begin to take quicker moves simply because they have a few hours less grace period. Instead that change would just be punishing those players who can't check in every few hours and instead just check in 2-3 times per day.
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Dhrun
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Ranior wrote:

Overall I'm very against shortening the grace clock. I don't really see how that even is fair or makes much sense either--I highly doubt there are many players who will begin to take quicker moves simply because they have a few hours less grace period. Instead that change would just be punishing those players who can't check in every few hours and instead just check in 2-3 times per day.

Ryan, there are several people who voiced concerns like yours, but I think you see grace offsets too positively, neglecting that one sacrifices elsewhere to "make them possible".
I at least sympathize with the idea of shortening the grace period to 4h.

What is our starting point?
We (I say "we" when I think there is vocal evidence that this reflects the majority of players) want to start a season every two month.
Why don't we
X) just give everybody 15 days?
Because we consider sometimes people will need a bit more time due to
a) "general handicap" (e.g. bad time zone, single parent of four with merciless job, no mobile)
b) "unforseen hardship" (e.g. illness, holiday)
I put these in quotes to suggest the categories are not quite homogeneous.

Case-based time boni can't be realised (and would possibly generate disharmony anyway).
So how is this supposed to work?
Without complex implementation, we can only allot the same excess time (buffers) to everybody every season and hope everybody understands they are actually supposed to move QUICKER than under X) if at all possible.
It can be discussed if any such solution can be fairer than X).

Now, any form of buffer will help both a) and b), but to different degrees.
A) Grace offsets: will usually mostly help a)
B) More start buffer and more time/round: will usually mostly help b)

Both have been combined in a compromise we hope(d) to hit a sweet spot.

But currently we find we want to
c) decrease: timeouts and at least IMHO room to stall for meta-gaming, stress due to danger of timeouts, stress/boredom due to waiting, worse results due to stress/boredom
Therefore we need to reduce the excess time either cutting A) or B) again.

(Not playing TMtour for the moment) personally I'd be happy to cut both slightly at the same time, but I definitely don't think keeping A) high is fair in any regard, as it will afflict b) and/or c).
I have an opinion that situation a) should actually stand back to b) and c) (-> there are other hobbies that might suit people better), but this is somewhat philosophical.
At least in practical terms A) with 8h/move currently offers the biggest time wasting potential on TMtour if people use up grace periods systematically, so you might argue with current parameters it is more detrimental than B) or X).

But in any case fairness is a compromise here, if you cover one aspect "more fairly", some other loses. This has been discussed multiple times, I spare you another length meditation on those aspects (illness, holidays, time zones, work pressure, drops, timeouts, waiting time, gauging metagame, stress, boredom, forgetfulness, individual enjoyment, 1000 happy+1 unhappy vs. 1001 barely content etc).

That's the essence, for somewhat consistent reading I drove out the following, if you don't mind unedited thoughts, feel free to read on:

--- --- ---

People who check their games 2-3 times a day will not run into drops or cause timeouts, even if the stars align badly (=all players acting like this and schedules match rather badly). Of course they need to be prepared to usually ACT on their checks and only sleep over a check in exceptional situations (e.g. setup and round 6).

The "unfairness" of getting an unlucky match-up in that regard is pretty fuzzy, you could be one American with 3 Europeans or three Americans with one Eastern Asian.
And in the first example the one European generally going to bed 2h earlier than the others will be much worse off than anybody else if all four tend to be most active in the evenings.
And maybe the same person sits ahead of you in three rounds, who always takes his one daily action in his and your morning when you just got unavailable due to work for the next 8 hours.
Etc.

There is only so much you can do to dampen this with grace offsets, but see above, in itself the risk to the game is small as I am sure some good modelling/simulation would prove.
Meanwhile grace offsets currently offer the biggest time wasting potential if people use them up systematically.

OTOH there are other timing risks to the game and covering them conflicts with covering above:
E.g. somebody becomes unavailable for a long stretch of time, like 6 days or 2x4 days (I am not really doing the maths here).
He/she is little helped by an offset, but rather by any general buffer, initial and/or round based.
(BTW only offering a start buffer might be fine, except there could be people lacking overview/discipline to manage that correctly - a small minority is enough to justify the per day bonus.)
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Saikat Banerjee
Germany
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Dhrun wrote:

I definitely don't think keeping A) high is fair in any regard, as it will afflict b) and/or c).
I have an opinion that situation a) should actually stand back to b) and c) (-> there are other hobbies that might suit people better), but this is somewhat philosophical.
At least in practical terms A) with 8h/move currently offers the biggest time wasting potential on TMtour if people use up grace periods systematically, so you might argue with current parameters it is more detrimental than B) or X).

Very well summarized. I observed c) was the most important factor in the threads over the past few seasons. The current clock times were optimized for a) and b). It worked well, but unfinished games and meta-gaming emerged to be the new problem in the higher leagues. Now, to optimize c), people with situations a) or b) or both have to compromise. Of the current 80 voters, 77.5% do not want to compromise on A): that means, they feel that they have situation a).

Re: here are the annotations used by Dhrun →
Dhrun wrote:

a) "general handicap" (e.g. bad time zone, single parent of four with merciless job, no mobile)
b) "unforseen hardship" (e.g. illness, holiday)
c) decrease: timeouts and at least IMHO room to stall for meta-gaming, stress due to danger of timeouts, stress/boredom due to waiting, worse results due to stress/boredom

A) Grace offsets: will usually mostly help a)
B) More start buffer and more time/round: will usually mostly help b)

X) just give everybody 15 days

However, in my opinion (and also speaking philosophically) situation b) is not predictable and it is not possible to plan it for TMTour. If someone knows that he/she is going to have holidays, then he/she can skip the season. Otherwise, keeping spare time because someone can have emergency is good, but not viable beyond a certain point.

------------------------------------------------------------

Since we already have a poll, we should also focus on interpreting the results. We should have done it before starting the polls, but its never too late. For example, how many votes do we need for the change of rules? How much percentage of votes do we need for the change of rules? When do we close the polls?

I can propose: close the polls on 25 November, and implement any change if and only if at least 100 people cast their vote and 66.67% (that is ⅔) want that change. For example, currently 51% wants to reduce base time of 5d: so that will not be implemented. 78.8% want to reduce extra time per round, so that will be implemented. A total of 88.7% (66.5% want 1d + 26.2% want 5d or less) want it to become 1d or less, so it will be changed to 1d. 22.5% want to reduce grace period, so that will not be implemented.
 
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Juho Snellman
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Quote:

Since we already have a poll, we should also focus on interpreting the results.
Daniel will have to actually do the change, so the interpretation will be up to him no matter what.

Quote:

I can propose: close the polls on 25 November,
That's likely too late if you want something for the next season. Daniel has in the past wanted to make sure that any changes to settings are clearly communicated before sign-up starts, not just before the season starts.

Quote:

and implement any change if and only if at least 100 people cast their vote and 66.67% (that is ⅔) want that change.
That's a bit risky. It's assuming that people voting on multiple options are saying "I want all of these changes" rather than "I could live with any one of these changes".

 
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Saikat Banerjee
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jsnell wrote:

Quote:

I can propose: close the polls on 25 November,
That's likely too late if you want something for the next season. Daniel has in the past wanted to make sure that any changes to settings are clearly communicated before sign-up starts, not just before the season starts.

Quote:

and implement any change if and only if at least 100 people cast their vote and 66.67% (that is ⅔) want that change.
That's a bit risky. It's assuming that people voting on multiple options are saying "I want all of these changes" rather than "I could live with any one of these changes".


Great job in including the poll announcement at your game website!

This is the exact reason why I wanted to start the discussion about result interpretation. Different people can have different interpretations, and that's why it is also important to agree on result interpretation.

Here, I must reiterate that I have no personal interest in changing the chess clock. I have played only 8 games in TMTour, four in D7 and four in D6 and have never faced the problem c). I am moving up to D5 but I am not playing S34 because of my Christmas holidays, I will play again in S35 and I don't even know how does it feel emotionally to be involved in c).

As I stated before, I just happened to notice that there existed a unanimous solution for the complaints but no one was taking any action to implement the solution. The polls now show that the solution is unanimous (open to interpretation, of course). I am now requesting the admins to implement the change.
 
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Eric Zhu
China
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Is it possible to open a new tournament (for example: vps balanced or ice&fire) separate from current one and open new season every two month in turn? Then, each season have 4 month to finish and we can keep all time related setting unchanged. We can still enjoy new match every two month.
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