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Subject: BGG.con 2007 T&E Tournament rss

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Marshall P.
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Wichita
Kansas
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With two exceptions my sole purpose in going to BGG.con is to play games that are new to me, preferably the latest Essen releases. One of the exceptions to that rule, however, is that I also want to play my favorite game Tigris & Euphrates, which I rarely get to play at home, preferably more than once.

To help accomplish goal I selfishly set up a “T&E Tournament” and recruited 11 other players. This assured me of three solid games of T&E – mission accomplished. Now, on to the tournament format and results.

The tournament used a three round swiss system which tends to pair players of equal ability against each other. One point was awarded for each player defeated in a game (thus first place got 3 points and last place got 0, you get the idea). The players are seeded before each round according to how many points they have and the player with the most points at the end wins.

With such a narrow spread of points I knew there was going to be a need for a tie-breaker. I tried to devise a tie-breaker that took into account the inherent turn order bias in the game. To that end I kept track of a second tally of points called “tie-breaker points”. Tie-breaker points were awarded for each game by multiplying the points a player earned by defeating other players by that players turn order position. In this way a win from fourth position is worth more tie-breaker points than anything else.

For example, a player who finished second would earn 2 points. If that player was third in the turn order then he would earn 2 x 3 = 6 tie-breaker points. He would thus win ties against all of the other second place finishers who went first or second in the turn order. The theory being that it’s harder to do well from further back. Tie-breaker points were cumulative as the tournament progressed.

With that bit of explanation out of the way let’s see some results. First is the player list. It turns out that the player list order was important. I should have foreseen the need for another tie-breaker in case the tie-breaker points were themselves tied, but I didn’t. When the need arose in the first round I settled the tie by giving the higher seeding to the person listed first in the player list. Essentially, that’s a random tie-breaker so that seemed fair at the spur of the moment.

PLAYER LIST
Gabe
Chris A.
Karl
Greg
Jeremy
Katelyn
Kristopher
Marshall
Norm
Jeff
John
Chris B.

ROUND 1

For Round 1 the players were assigned to game randomly.


GAME 1

Turn Order Player Finish Points Tie-Break Points

1 Karl 1 3 3
2 Norm 3 1 2
3 Gabe 4 0 0
4 Chris B. 2 2 8

GAME 2

Turn Order Player Finish Points Tie-Break Points

1 Jeff 4 0 0
2 Greg 2 2 4
3 John 1 3 9
4 Kristopher 3 1 4

GAME 3

Turn Order Player Finish Points Tie-Break Points

1 Marshall 1 3 3
2 Chris A. 2 2 4
3 Katelyn 3 1 3
4 Jeremy 4 0 0


My Game:

When you play three back to back games of T&E they all start to run together and I suppose this is the one I remember the least about. I remember that Chirs A. started unorthodoxically in the center of the board. I think I got a black and blue monument pretty early on and never had to worry about points in those colors. Later on I won green and red external conflicts to fill out my score. I do remember ending up with an obscene amount of treasures (5) this game which helped quite a bit. Since it was pretty clear that I was in the lead I ended the game by swapping tiles twice. That’s about all I can remember.

SEEDING



Player Points Tie-Break Points

John 3 9
Karl 3 3
Marshall 3 3
Chris B. 2 8
Chris A. 2 4
Greg 2 4
Kristopher 1 4
Katelyn 1 3
Norm 1 2
Gabe 0 0
Jeremy 0 0
Jeff 0 0


At this point the top four players were assigned to game 1, the middle four to game 2, and the bottom four to game 3.

ROUND 2

I should say that in all games turn order was determined randomly



GAME 1

Turn Order Player Finish Points Tie-Break Points

1 Karl 3 1 1
2 Chris B. 4 0 0
3 John 2 2 6
4 Marshall 1 3 12

GAME 2

Turn Order Player Finish Points Tie-Break Points

1 Katelyn 1 3 3
2 Greg 4 0 4
3 Kristopher 3 1 3
4 Chris A. 2 2 8

GAME 3

Turn Order Player Finish Points Tie-Break Points

1 Norm 1 3 3
2 Jeff 4 0 0
3 Gabe 3 1 3
4 Jeremy 2 2 8


My Game:

In this game Chris started out near the 4 river temple on the east of the board, and I started right below him. We each went and collected one treasure and Chris collected a second treasure. We were then at an uneasy standoff because our kingdoms were close but neither of us could win all of the resulting conflicts, thus it didn’t pay for either of us to initiate the attack. After a couple of turns of just placing tiles Chris mistakenly played a tile that reduced the separation between our kingdoms to one square. He probably didn’t even realize he did it. This allowed me to play a disaster on his kingdom before initiating the conflict.

I gave it a deep think trying to decide where to cut his kingdom in half. On the one hand the more you cut off the fewer points the resulting conflict brings you. I decided to play it safe in the early game and cut off as much of his support as I could (that gave me a 4 tile advantage in blue instead of a 3 going into the conflict, counting the tiles on the board and in my hand. And a 3 tile advantage in Black). I defeated him in black and blue netting me two points in each and avoided the green conflict which I would have lost. Chris was left with three leaders off the board.

Eventually, that kingdom in the east grew to enormous size and attacked John’s kingdom when John built a monument towards the center of the board. Karl also built a large kingdom that got in on the action against John.

My trouble color in this game was green, I drew almost no green tiles. Fortunately, I was able to maneuver my green leader into a kingdom with a lot of green tiles and then win an external conflict. I was also helped by generous treasure grabbing again (three this time I think).

Eventually, I saw that I could end the game by grabbing a treasure and I did so even though it wasn’t entirely clear that I was in the lead. In general, if you have the power to end the game it’s almost always best to do so. It most cases it won’t make it back around to you again.

SEEDING



Player Points Tie-Break Points

Marshall 6 15
John 5 15
Chris A. 4 12
Katelyn 4 6
Norm 4 5
Karl 4 4
Chris B. 2 8
Jeremy 2 8
Greg 2 4
Gabe 1 3
Jeff 0 0

(at this point I mistakenly had Jeff down with 1 point which led me to believe he beat Greg at the end of the tournament. I also had Jeremy and Chris B. switched for some reason, but Chris should be ahead based on his higher seeding last round.)

ROUND 3

At this point it was technically still possible for Katelyn, Norm, or Karl to win the whole tournament if I finished in last, John finished in third, and Chris A. finished in second.. Chris A. could still win it as long as he won from a worse turn order than me and I finished at least third. Unfortunately for Chris he drew the first seat which means he needed our game to end in a specific order: Chris – Katelyn – John – Marshall.



GAME 1

Turn Order Player Finish Points Tie-Break Points

1 Chris A. 3 1 1
2 Katelyn 4 0 0
3 Marshall 1 3 9
4 John 2 2 8

GAME 2

Turn Order Player Finish Points Tie-Break Points

1 Chris B. 3 1 1
2 Jeremy 2 2 4
3 Karl 4 0 0
4 Norm 1 3 12

GAME 3

Turn Order Player Finish Points Tie-Break Points

1 Kristopher 2 2 2
2 Gabe 1 3 6
3 Greg 4 0 0
4 Jeff 3 1 4


My Game:

This was a very well played and tough game as you might expect for the highest ranked table in the third round. Chris and Katelyn built early monuments (in the same kingdom ironically), which is typically a big advantage if they can be held for awhile. I built a monument a couple of turns later but I was feeling behind.

Chris’s monument was towards the center of the board which enticed John to build over and attack that kingdom (he had to do it because he did not have a monument and was falling behind.) What happened next was classic T&E. The conflict opened holes in a kingdom with two monuments. Everyone wanted to fill those holes so more conflicts ensued, both internal and external, and more than one disaster was played. In the mean time I was left to myself off in the corner and I built a second monument in my kingdom.

It was tough to determine who was in the lead at this point because all of the conflicts generated a lot of points but also cost a lot of actions. I had been unmolested in building a kingdom with two monuments covering all four colors.

The other players realized they could not leave me alone any longer or I would surely surge into the lead. But the problem was that I had build my kingdom without any exploitable weaknesses. All leaders were protected by at least two temples, and all leaders were redundantly connected to their temples such that a single disaster could not separate them. Because my kingdom had not experienced any conflicts it hadn’t had any tiles removed, which meant it was stronger in all colors than any other kingdom which could reasonably reach it for an external conflict. The upshot was that even though all of the players wanted to stop me, on any given turn there was always a more enticing move involving the center kingdoms and monuments than trying to break into my kingdom.

Eventually I did lose my blue leader to an internal conflict and some other damage was done to my kingdom, but it remained largely intact with my green leader. This proved key when someone claimed the fourth treasure leaving three on the board. I realized I could claim the third and final treasure as long as I lost an external conflict in Black (I needed the black tiles in the opposing kingdom to remain in place so that the treasures would be connected.) So I attacked with a minus one disadvantage and didn’t add any black to end the game.

The final result was close but I won by a point. Overall, it was a very well played and enjoyable game.

FINAL RESULTS



Player Points Tie-Break Points

Marshall 9 24
John 7 23
Norm 7 17
Chris A. 5 13
Jeremy 4 12
Kristopher 4 9
Gabe 4 9
Katelyn 4 6
Karl 4 4
Chris S. 3 9
Greg 2 4
Jeff 1 4


I would like to thank all of the players for participating, and seeing it through to the end and for being such great sports. They sacrificed three hours out of their con where they could have been playing other games so I hope you all had a good time and felt it was worth it. The whole point was really just to get a chance to play this great game and have fun, and in that respect I think it was a success!
 
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Billy McBoatface
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Some day...

Because I don't game so much (other than with kids), I am always most interested in replaying my favorites. Would love to make it to a real life T&E tournament. Thanks for the writeup, it makes me jealous.
 
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Lou Moratti
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How about organizing a tourney here at the Geek? I'd bet there would be quite a few takers.....
 
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Jeff Fournier
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Thanks for hosting the tournament, Marshall! I had great fun despite being soundly crushed in every game. I knew with underpreparation and getting a terrible night's sleep before hand, I could ensure my rightful position at the bottom of the heap.

Thanks again, T&E and the other games we played were great fun!
 
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Kris Wolff
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I also had a wonderful time in the tournament. I hope you have it again at next year's BGG.con!
 
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John Daniels
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Thanks for all the effort you put into the tournament. I enjoyed taking 2nd place. There were a lot of really good players there. I play a lot online at the Geek, but very little f2f. My groups don't seem to like the game that much, darn it. Come join a game with me - redneon. I start a couple of new games every other day here.

John
 
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Chris Aylott
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Thanks for running this, Marshall. I had a blast playing in all three games, and I would love to do it again next year!

Chris
 
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Gabe Alvaro
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Wow! That's some box score! Much thanks Marshall for organizing this. It was my first tournament at my first con. Having played T&E more than most games, I thought it was going to be a way to relax from all of the new game learning I was doing. Instead, I was up against some very tough competition. After three tough games in three hours though, my brain was toast. Btw, I thought that was a great prize. Too bad I didn't win it. Maybe next time.
 
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Marshall P.
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PaleHorse wrote:
How about organizing a tourney here at the Geek? I'd bet there would be quite a few takers.....

Been there done that and then some.

I'll probably do it again in the future so watch for it, but not for awhile. I've got some other projects going on.
 
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Marshall P.
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I'm glad to hear everybody had fun. I guess we'll have to do it again next year devil
 
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As much as I like the little boost, my score in Round 2, Game 2 should be 0, not 4.
 
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Marshall P.
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"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
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There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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Gregarius wrote:
As much as I like the little boost, my score in Round 2, Game 2 should be 0, not 4.


Thanks for the correction. Now I know someone actually looked at all of those tables. That was just a typo transcribing from my spreadsheet, correcting it doesn't affect any of the standings.
 
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Karl Schmit
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mdp4828 wrote:
I'm glad to hear everybody had fun. I guess we'll have to do it again next year devil

What if I just agreed to play a game of T&E with you? Do I have to do 3 in a row? When does it stop!?!?!

Seriously, I had previously logged 4 face to face games of T&E, so this really almost doubled my games played. Also, I was seriously mentally wiped out after this, probably due to lack of sleep more than anything.
 
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Marshall P.
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Karl, I'll certainly take feedback from the players who are signed up next year and if the consensus is to do only 1 or 2 games that's no problem. I thought we were only going to be doing two games this year until a flurry of last minute signups drove the field to 16, which I figured was big enough for three games. 12 actually showed up which is probably borderline for a 2 game or 3 game tournament. In reality, stopping after 2 games wouldn't have changed the outcome very much.
 
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Michael Clark
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How do you feel about the scoring system you used? Do you think that it encourages passive play, where somebody is unwilling to go for the win because he doesn't want to risk his comfortable 2nd place to come last? It seems to me that I'd much rather have a 1st/4th (and score 3 points) than 2nd/2nd (and score 4), but perhaps that's just a personal thing.

This is not a criticism, just wondering what your observations were. How important do you think the win is in T&E?

Cheers,
Michael
 
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Marshall P.
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Blue Uriah wrote:
How do you feel about the scoring system you used? Do you think that it encourages passive play, where somebody is unwilling to go for the win because he doesn't want to risk his comfortable 2nd place to come last? It seems to me that I'd much rather have a 1st/4th (and score 3 points) than 2nd/2nd (and score 4), but perhaps that's just a personal thing.

This is not a criticism, just wondering what your observations were. How important do you think the win is in T&E?

Cheers,
Michael


I have already thought that I will use a different scoring system next time. Not so much because the current one encourages sandbagging, but because there were a lot of ties with the current system. I think I'd go with 1 - 3 - 6 - 10 points awarded for fourth - third - second - first place finishes respectivey. This will elimniate ties unless players have the exact same finish orders. A first-fourth finish will net 11 points while a second-third finish will net 9, whereas these finishes would have been tied under the old system.

 
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