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Subject: Absolute Boardgamers Evaluation System (ABES) rss

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Ippokratis Gnostopoulos
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Having played boardgames for quite a few years, always the same problem comes up in the end: who's the best player in every single board game. Quotes like "I've always winning you in Puerto Rico" is the rule and not the exception (at least in my board game company). So, all these must stop. If you have the same problem (or someday passed from your mind) please continue reading...

The Absolute Boardgamers Evaluation System (ABES) is an idea that came up one hot greek night. It is a formula that can be used in games that can be played from 2 to any number of people. The story goes like this: every gamer who haven't ever played the game we want to evaluate its players, is starting with 100 ABES points. Let's say that 3 people want to play the game. The winner will get 9 points, the second player will lose 4 points and the third player will lose 5 points. So, their new ABES score will be 109, 96 and 95.

The formula for this is very simple: the second player always loses 4 points. Every player ranking after him, loses one more than the player before him. So, the third player loses 5 points, the fourth loses 6 and so goes on. The winner takes the sum of all the points the losers loose.

So, in a 5 players game the winner takes 4+5+6+7 = 22 points. The formula for winning points is 4*(ν-1) + (ν-1)*(ν-2)/2 where v = the number of players (thank George Koliousis for that!).

Now comes the tough part: when you play a game (and win!) against -let's say- four experts, you must earn a larger amount of points than against a bunch of losers. Therefore the points calculated above are multiplied by a difficulty factor. The difficulty factor is unique for every player for every single game.

The difficulty factor for the winner of a 3 player game is calculated like this:

(1st loser ABES)+(2nd loser ABES)+(3rd player ABES)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
3*(winners' ABES)

So, if you are a new player (100 ABES) playing against 3 better players (let's say with ABES 110, 130 and 150) your difficulty factor if you win will be:

130+140+150
--------------------- =
3*100

420
----- = 1.4
300

The actual points you'll get are (4+5+6)*1.4 = 21 and your new ABES will be 121.
 
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Ippokratis Gnostopoulos
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Similarly, the difficulty factor for every loser is

SUM of all others ABES
----------------------------------------
[(number of players)-1]*(his ABES)
 
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J
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It's weighted far too heavily in favor of the winner.

Scenario:
Player A wins a five-player game of something and scores 22 points and then takes dead last in the next four five-player games. That gives Player A a total of -6 points over five games.

Player B finishes in second place in all five games. Player B will have -20 points after those five games.

There's no way that makes sense. Player B did way better overall and yet has earned a much larger negative score.
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Ippokratis Gnostopoulos
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Thank you for giving me the opportunity to analyze the causes for suggesting such an "unfair" system:
The winner takes it all! The general idea was not to disturb the traditional alliance between the players that are losing. If the system disturbed that, then there would be thoughts of just catching the second or the third player allover. And that wouldn't be nice.
 
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Christopher Scatliff
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civil wrote:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to analyze the causes for suggesting such an "unfair" system:
The winner takes it all! The general idea was not to disturb the traditional alliance between the players that are losing. If the system disturbed that, then there would be thoughts of just catching the second or the third player allover. And that wouldn't be nice.

Wouldn't be nice? But that's what's done. If I can't finish in first place, I try to finish in second place. If I can't finish in second place, I try to finish in third place. Etc.
 
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Mike Thompson
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jarredscott78 wrote:
It's weighted far too heavily in favor of the winner.


I wholeheartedly agree with this. Also, it rewards he winner too much for more players in the game. Rewards should diminish with more players, not grow. Thatis, the difference between winning a 5 player game and winning a 4 player game is much less than the difference between winning a 3 player game and winning a two player game.
 
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Mike Thompson
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Re:
Might I suggest, instead, that last place, regardless of if there are two or 5 people playing, loses four points, and that every person who finishes in front of them loses one fewer point.) in a six player game, second place loses nothing). This solves my objection, and slightly reduces the effects of the original objection, but doesn't eliminate it.
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Christopher Scatliff
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CyanideNow wrote:
Might I suggest, instead, that last place, regardless of if there are two or 5 people playing, loses four points, and that every person who finishes in front of them loses one fewer point.) in a six player game, second place loses nothing). This solves my objection, and slightly reduces the effects of the original objection, but doesn't eliminate it.


Well, I think another thing to consider is that the difference between 1st and 2nd place should diminish with increasing players. Now, his original system flies completely in the face of that. Yours makes that kind of a strange curve. Almost a constant with >2 players.

2 players: 1st/4pts, 2nd/-4pts; diff = 8
3 players: 1st/7pts, 2nd/-3pts; diff = 10
4 players: 1st/9pts, 2nd/-2pts; diff = 11
5 players: 1st/10pts, 2nd/-1pt; diff = 11
6 players: 1st/10pts, 2nd/0pts; diff = 10

Better, but not best. Also, what does the winner get in your system in a 7+ player game?
 
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Ippokratis Gnostopoulos
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Smoo wrote:
civil wrote:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to analyze the causes for suggesting such an "unfair" system:
The winner takes it all! The general idea was not to disturb the traditional alliance between the players that are losing. If the system disturbed that, then there would be thoughts of just catching the second or the third player allover. And that wouldn't be nice.

Wouldn't be nice? But that's what's done. If I can't finish in first place, I try to finish in second place. If I can't finish in second place, I try to finish in third place. Etc.


I totally disagree with that. Most games are welcoming the unofficial alliance between the players that are losing. Especially games that keep score in front of everybodys eye (Tikal, El Grande) are supporting their balance at that fact.

So, yes, if i can't finish in first place, I try to finish in second place (my system gives a small bonus for that) but how many times were you tottally sure that you may be second but won't be first?
 
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Christopher Scatliff
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civil wrote:
Smoo wrote:
civil wrote:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to analyze the causes for suggesting such an "unfair" system:
The winner takes it all! The general idea was not to disturb the traditional alliance between the players that are losing. If the system disturbed that, then there would be thoughts of just catching the second or the third player allover. And that wouldn't be nice.

Wouldn't be nice? But that's what's done. If I can't finish in first place, I try to finish in second place. If I can't finish in second place, I try to finish in third place. Etc.


I totally disagree with that. Most games are welcoming the unofficial alliance between the players that are losing. Especially games that keep score in front of everybodys eye (Tikal, El Grande) are supporting their balance at that fact.

So, yes, if i can't finish in first place, I try to finish in second place (my system gives a small bonus for that) but how many times were you tottally sure that you may be second but won't be first?

In your first paragraph you say you totally disagree with it. In your second, you totally agree with it. I'm confused.

Let me try to clarify this with a scenario: say, based on whatever game you were playing, you knew you couldn't finish first. However, you had a chance to finish second but doing so would ensure that the current second place player who does have a chance to finish first would not be able to do so. Would you do it?

I would because it improves my own position in the game. I'm guessing you wouldn't?

Anyway, the point is that 1st place is too over-rewarded in your system.
 
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Ippokratis Gnostopoulos
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CyanideNow wrote:
Might I suggest, instead, that last place, regardless of if there are two or 5 people playing, loses four points, and that every person who finishes in front of them loses one fewer point.) in a six player game, second place loses nothing). This solves my objection, and slightly reduces the effects of the original objection, but doesn't eliminate it.


That's nice, perhaps last place losing 7 points (so even in a 7 player game the second player loses at least something!).
Plus, it's easy to remember!
 
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Ippokratis Gnostopoulos
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Smoo wrote:
civil wrote:
Smoo wrote:
civil wrote:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to analyze the causes for suggesting such an "unfair" system:
The winner takes it all! The general idea was not to disturb the traditional alliance between the players that are losing. If the system disturbed that, then there would be thoughts of just catching the second or the third player allover. And that wouldn't be nice.

Wouldn't be nice? But that's what's done. If I can't finish in first place, I try to finish in second place. If I can't finish in second place, I try to finish in third place. Etc.


I totally disagree with that. Most games are welcoming the unofficial alliance between the players that are losing. Especially games that keep score in front of everybodys eye (Tikal, El Grande) are supporting their balance at that fact.

So, yes, if i can't finish in first place, I try to finish in second place (my system gives a small bonus for that) but how many times were you tottally sure that you may be second but won't be first?

In your first paragraph you say you totally disagree with it. In your second, you totally agree with it. I'm confused.

Let me try to clarify this with a scenario: say, based on whatever game you were playing, you knew you couldn't finish first. However, you had a chance to finish second but doing so would ensure that the current second place player who does have a chance to finish first would not be able to do so. Would you do it?

I would because it improves my own position in the game. I'm guessing you wouldn't?

Anyway, the point is that 1st place is too over-rewarded in your system.


No, you're guessing wrong, i would do the same thing with you. I'm just saying that those situation happens too rare (or at the very end of the game). So, we don't need a system that promotes the equal hostility between players. I prefer the alliance against first player. But that's a matter of taste!
 
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Mitsaras Dimotsirigkos
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Quote:
So, we don't need a system that promotes the equal hostility between players. I prefer the alliance against first player. But that's a matter of taste!


The alliance against the first player is impossible to disturb - nobody will let someone else win if they can help it. So I would not worry about that. Nobody thinks of the rating system while the first place remains contested.

One of the reasons for using a ranking system like this one is because it can give some incentive to actually keep playing when it's clear you will not win. ABES fails to do that. The example jarredscott78 gave you clearly shows how bad this can get. The gap between the reward of the first and the second player is way too large - decrease it.
 
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Mike Thompson
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New suggestion: Don't give all of the points to first place. Anybody who finishes above the median place gains points and anybody who finishes below loses points, in a symmetrically increasing amount.

That is, in a two-player game, First place is +1, Second place is -1.

Three-player, First +1, Second +0, Third -1.

Six player: First +3, Second +2, Third +1, Fourth -1, Fifth -2, Sixth -3.

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Ippokratis Gnostopoulos
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too small difference between first and second place.
What about this:
2 players: +1, -1
3 pl.: +3, -1, -2
4 pl. +6, -1, -2, -3
5 pl. +10, -1, -2, -3, -4 etc
Eliminates the problem with that guy who finished once first and five times last, and the other guy who finishes always second.
 
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George Koliousis
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the last upgrade of ABES is that:

2 players: 2, -2
3 pl: 3, -1, -2
4 pl: 5, 0, -2, -3
5 pl: 8, 1, -2, -3, -4
6 pl: 11, 2, -1, -3, -4, -5
7 pl: 14, 3, 0, -2, -4, -5, -6
8 pl: 17, 5, 1, -1, -4, -5, -6, -7
9 pl: 21, 7, 2, 0, -4, -5, -6, -7, -8

we expect your opinion!

George.
 
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Philip Eve
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If I play games with a group then I absolutely won't alter my style of play in order to optimise my performance in a larger metagame. I would also be unhappy knowing that others may be doing this. (Things like tournaments, which are unusual events, aside.)

Maybe it's your intention not to let your system influence how people play. But you're bound to fail at this because any system you come up with will affect how people see the vale of coming 2nd place, 4th place or whatever place in a game. That's any system, not just the one you originally suggested that places undue weight on coming in 1st. You didn't see too much problem with that because to you (if I read you right - or perhaps I'm just misremembering the views of responders to this thread?), any player should strive to be first, and only attempt to come second, third etc. when absolutely blocked from coming in a higher position. Fine for you (though I think it untenable, that's a separate issue); but what if I will in general try to be first only until I have less than 20% chance, in my own estimation, of being in the running for first place? Your system, because it massively incentivizes coming in 1st, will oblige me to greatly alter my style of play in a way that I'm not necessarily happy with.

Now you might decide "well, I don't want you to play according to the style you described as your preferred", but what if I or my kind are running a metagame that unlike yours, gives relatively minor benefits for each increase in rank? Participants in such a system are incentivised to take an approach much more similar to mine, viz. refusing to strive absolutely for first but instead going for the highest rank that in their estimation they are able to reach. You wouldn't like that, I guess.

Now if we could each find a gaming group composed entirely of people whose views on gaming objectives matched our own then this would not represent a problem. But most of us are not lucky enough to have a large selection of players locally from which to select those we see eye-to-eye with. The only thing we can do is to accept that different players have different views on when to go for 1st place, and when not to, and not unhappily disturb their inclinations with scoring systems and other distractions that reduce the game at hand to a small component of a wider attempt at supremacy.

tl;dr: any meta-scoring system that persists between games will alter each and every game - excluding maybe the first few - through the changed priorities of the players, and is therefore, to me, unwelcome.
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Ippokratis Gnostopoulos
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I'm happy to read such a reasonable article like philip's. The truth is i cannot really argue with you, as you have said many things that crossed my mind too.

I must say though, that the mechanisms of the game you play really matters. I cannot imagine four players playimg Settlers, having -let's say- 8, 7, 7 and 6 points and the fourth player is trying to harm second and third player in order to gain a position. On the other hand, i could see such an attitude in a Civilization game (7 players playing for 7 hours ).

We are using ABES for the last two months, playing a variety of games with a variety of players (that's another issue: players that appear in the group for one or two games) and it really gave us the push to pay more attention to our gaming group and exchange e-mails about ABES and about ranking changes in one or the other game. That was the impact we would like to have, a meta-game that keeps you warm until you find your friends again gathered around a small mountain of boardgames!
 
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Simon Lundström
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Precisely what Philip wrote. Excuse me, but you're not evaluating how people play board games. You're simply playing a game called ABES.

The mere fact that it's a matter on how many points you give to each player is a pretty clear proof that there is no reason to set this up at all, unless you're holding some one-day tournament. What you're doing is not a board gamer rating system at all, it's just a big meta-game which consists of a lot of sub-games (which are board games), and as such, the sub-games will change radically to adapt to the meta-game, so it's inherently an invalid way to judge people's ability to play the sub-games, as you are changing the sub-games themselves.

Or, more clearly spoken, if you start giving out points each time people play El Grande and inform them about it, what you'll get isn't people playing El Grande, but people playing the "Ippokratis El Grande tournament" that inherently is largely affected by your distribution of points.

To set up a system like this – ANY system – and NOT change the sub-games is theoretically impossible unless you do the counting all in your head without informing the players. And as you've seen in this thread, there can be completely different views upon how the scoring should be done and how 2nd and 3rd place should be valued, and I doubt people would just accept your view upon how they should be weighed. I, for instance, think you've 1) ridiculously overweighed 1st place, and 2) haven't taken into account by how much the winner wins (is it by 1 point or by 100 points?), something that is exactly as important and also next to impossible to come up with a fair weighting for.

Even if you do an ultra-fair thing, skip your point system and just play 10 games of Ticket to Ride and simply add up all scores for all 10 games, what you'll get is players playing the "Ticket to Ride-score-as-much-as-you-can-in-10-games" game, not 10 games of Ticket to Ride. The last games you'll see the 3rd place blocking the 4th place just because 4th place has a better ranking on the overall list, not caring about 1st place becase he's overall last anyway. And that's not Ticket to Ride. That's something else.

If you and your group is happy with playing the ABES game, then all the win for you. But it's a separate game, not a board gamer evaluation system. At all.

Personally, when I play a game I play a game to play that game. If I went to a gaming night and the host said something about a meta-game like this I'd most probably just leave. I'd HATE to have the ways I play a game be influenced by the game yesterday.

Edit: Toned down.
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Ippokratis Gnostopoulos
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Re: Absolute Boardgamers Evaluation System
ok... What about an athlete running in IAAF Golden League? He is running in every single Grand Prix, trying to win each and every one of them. He is also taking place in a big-meta-game, the IAAF Golden League. There were allways many grand prix all over the world. So, what was the reason for IAAF to organise them to a big meta-game, such as the Golden League? Do you think of any? Exactly! MONEY! FAME! Such a system makes famous athletes and the whole season more interesting.

That's what we are trying to do...
 
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