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Subject: Need Help Developing a Contest for my Gaming Group rss

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Brian Foster
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I want to put together a contest for our gaming club. Here’s what I’m thinking:

I’m going to include the following ten games (mostly the BGG top 10 with a few substitutions due to availability and group preference):

Agricola
Puerto Rico
Shogun
Power Grid
Endeavor
Dominion
Race for the Galaxy
Tigris and Euphrates
El Grande
Caylus

I’ll record game results for 12 consecutive gaming sessions, and points will be awarded to each contestant based on their score in the game. I’ll seek to develop multipliers that will make the total points awarded for each game roughly equivalent based on a mean value of points expected to be scored.

I need help with two items:

1 – I need a high/low or mean expected number of points for each of the above games (I’m not even 100% sure that all the above games award VP; please let me know if one or more do not.)

EDIT: Based on advice below, my current thinking is to use actual averages from games played by using the following formula:

Points for a game = Your score for this game * average of all players playing all ten games / average of all players playing this game

END EDIT

2- I need some help making sure that the following rules are fair and that I’ve thought this through well enough.

a) Each contestant is awarded a score the first time he plays a game. This score is equal to the VPs earned while playing the game times a multiplier that brings that game’s mean VP earned in line with the overall mean VP earned by all ten games combined. The multiplier makes sure that one game doesn’t overwhelm the others. For example, if the Game A winner received 1000VP and the Game B winner received 20VP, there wouldn’t be much point in playing Game B. Say that I’m only considering those two games and that the mean of Game A is expected to be 800 and the mean of Game B is expected to be 15. My system will have the Game A winner receiving 1000 * 407.5/800 = 509 and the winner of Game B receiving 20 * 407.5/15 = 543.
b) If a player doesn’t play a particular game, he gets a score of zero for that game.
c) If a player plays the game an additional time, he can replace his previous score with a higher one only if he is playing against an opponent who has a higher score for that game than him. This is to prevent a contestant from seeking out inferior opponents simply to raise his score.
d) The sum of all ten scores is added at the end of the 12th gaming session, and the player with the most points wins a prize (I’m thinking of ordering a couple of new in box games and offering the winner choice) and a championship title.

Any help you can provide with 1 or 2 above would be greatly appreciated. Also, any comments on the list? I wouldn't mind adding Stone Age since I really like it, and it would be nice to add in something besides Shogun that has combat. I've not played Caylus, and El Grande isn't a favorite of mine.

Thanks!
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Most of these games have way too many variables to come up with a good "average". Why not award points based on order of finish rather than raw points? I'm pretty sure these are all VP-based games, though I've not played Endeavor or Shogun, so I can't speak to those two.

Of you insist on doing raw points, then just weight them against the average points scored in the games you have recorded (so it will slide around a bit). At least this will be weighted against *your* actual average rather than the wild-ass-guesses of some people on the internet.
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Christopher DeFrisco
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Don't forget the fun.

Two of my long time friends and I have a yearly gaming olympics. Each year we complete in ten games. The winner of each game is awarded 1,0000 points (with a grand total if they win all ten games of 10,000). The other two players are awarded a percentage of 1,000 compared against the winner.

So let's say the winner won a game with 147 VP.
Second place was 143 VP, third place 105 VP.

First place = 1,000 pts.
Second place = 143/147 x 1000 = 973 pts.
Third place = 105/147 x 1000 = 714 pts.

Yes, there are better ways of doing this... but we have fun.
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Brian Foster
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I think I'd rather stick to total points rather than order of finish. The actual score awards extra points if you truly dominate a game whereas going by order of finish awards the same bonus for a close victory as to a blowout.

I know that Shogun is VP based, and I think that Endeavor is (I've only played it once).

The idea about adjusting it based on actual values has a lot of merit, though. I could publish the equation that will be used in advance:

Points for a game = Your score for this game * average of all players playing all ten games / average of all players playing this game

Good thought.

Thanks!
 
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Craig Brooks
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Yeah, I have to agree with Chris here. While I like the idea you're proposing, I think developing a balance using multipliers is going to be really difficult. Points based on place are better. The nice thing about that method as well is that if someone misses a week due to whatever, they're not automatically out of the running, they just need to find a way to win a few times.
 
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A T
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cferejohn wrote:
Why not award points based on order of finish rather than raw points?


I'm with this idea. Why not just keep it simple?

x = number of people playing
(example x = 7 people)
First = x points (7 points)
Second = x-1 points (6 points)
Third = x-2 points (5 points)
...
Seventh = x-6 point (1 point)
No participation = 0 points.

Keep tally of the score and then total it up at the end.
 
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Brian Foster
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cdefrisco wrote:
Don't forget the fun.

Two of my long time friends and I have a yearly gaming olympics. Each year we complete in ten games. The winner of each game is awarded 1,0000 points (with a grand total if they win all ten games of 10,000). The other two players are awarded a percentage of 1,000 compared against the winner.

So let's say the winner won a game with 147 VP.
Second place was 143 VP, third place 105 VP.

First place = 1,000 pts.
Second place = 143/147 x 1000 = 973 pts.
Third place = 105/147 x 1000 = 714 pts.

Yes, there are better ways of doing this... but we have fun.


The point of the contest is definitely to have fun. I want to encourage the members to come to as many meetups as possible, and I'm hoping that this will be at least a little bit of a hook. Surely people who are into gaming would be interested in ratcheting up the competition a bit to find out who's the best, right?

I like the simplicity of your system, but I don't think that it would be the best thing to use since I want to allow the players to be able to improve their scores by playing again. Under your system, they could improve based on their relative play in that game session instead of based on an absolute scale of points scored in the game.

Thanks for the input.
 
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Brian Foster
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gilby123 wrote:
Yeah, I have to agree with Chris here. While I like the idea you're proposing, I think developing a balance using multipliers is going to be really difficult. Points based on place are better. The nice thing about that method as well is that if someone misses a week due to whatever, they're not automatically out of the running, they just need to find a way to win a few times.


Actually, I'm not sure how using order of finish would even work since the same set of people wouldn't be playing each game like in a tournament. Over 12 gaming sessions, there will be a high variability in the number of people attending and which games are played. I might win against one group, someone I beat might win against someone who won against yet another group. Do all of us get the same score? If we get points each time we win, then we're really greatly rewarding people who simply show up each week over people who win because participation in as many games as possible will trump almost everything else.
 
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Brian Foster
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pcktlnt wrote:
cferejohn wrote:
Why not award points based on order of finish rather than raw points?


I'm with this idea. Why not just keep it simple?

x = number of people playing
(example x = 7 people)
First = x points (7 points)
Second = x-1 points (6 points)
Third = x-2 points (5 points)
...
Seventh = x-6 point (1 point)
No participation = 0 points.

Keep tally of the score and then total it up at the end.


I've used a similar system before. It turns out that this system ends up finding the players who attend the most and play the most games, not the people who are the best at playing the games.

I want to find the best gamer in the club.
 
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Matt Kruczek
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Do you keep a record of games played and points scored in your game club? If you do the I'd suggest working out averages from those and going on from there.
 
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Brian Foster
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matt_k wrote:
Do you keep a record of games played and points scored in your game club? If you do the I'd suggest working out averages from those and going on from there.


Unfortunately, we've never tracked points scored...
 
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Chris Pabian
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I would maybe suggest a point system based where only the top finishers receive points. If five people are playing, the top 2 finishers receive points. If six or seven people are playing the top 3 finishers receive points.

For example with six or seven players give:

5 points for 1st place
3 points for 2nd place
2 points for 3rd place
 
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Brian Foster
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jokerfla wrote:
I would maybe suggest a point system based where only the top finishers receive points. If five people are playing, the top 2 finishers receive points. If six or seven people are playing the top 3 finishers receive points.

For example with six or seven players give:

5 points for 1st place
3 points for 2nd place
2 points for 3rd place


Regardless of how many places you reward, it seems to me that basing points on order of finish rewards number of plays. Consider.

I play a total of 30 games in our 12 gaming sessions earning 10 1st place, 10 second, 5 third, and 5 less than 3rd finishes. I get 90 points.

Let's say a hypothetical member who is better than me shows up for only 6 of the sessions. He wins all 15 of the games that he plays and gets 75 points.

Who's better, me with 90 or him with 75?
 
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J e f f T o m a k
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It's still quite relative. Lots of games can have total scores driven down by aggressive strategy (or 'running out the clock' in games like Ticket to Ride). In those cases, a low score was the actual tactic - and in no way representative of poor play (it could easily be an example of great play if he ends up winning).

Nominal values will not necessarily get you to where you want to go any better than relative values within each game.
 
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Occu Pant
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See Capturing-scoring-data-to-rank-players-track-score for much discussion related to your quesiton/topic.
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Brian Foster
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potomak wrote:
It's still quite relative. Lots of games can have total scores driven down by aggressive strategy (or 'running out the clock' in games like Ticket to Ride). In those cases, a low score was the actual tactic - and in no way representative of poor play (it could easily be an example of great play if he ends up winning).

Nominal values will not necessarily get you to where you want to go any better than relative values within each game.


But knowing that the overall rules for the contest encourage you to score as much as possible will lead the better players to adjust their strategies to maximize VP.
 
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Chris Pabian
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BWFoster78 wrote:
jokerfla wrote:
I would maybe suggest a point system based where only the top finishers receive points. If five people are playing, the top 2 finishers receive points. If six or seven people are playing the top 3 finishers receive points.

For example with six or seven players give:

5 points for 1st place
3 points for 2nd place
2 points for 3rd place


Regardless of how many places you reward, it seems to me that basing points on order of finish rewards number of plays. Consider.

I play a total of 30 games in our 12 gaming sessions earning 10 1st place, 10 second, 5 third, and 5 less than 3rd finishes. I get 90 points.

Let's say a hypothetical member who is better than me shows up for only 6 of the sessions. He wins all 15 of the games that he plays and gets 75 points.

Who's better, me with 90 or him with 75?



But that's an extremely unlikely situation. I am no actuary, but the chances of one player winning all 15 games they play among a group of 6 or 7 players is very low.

Its possible that one player maybe shows up for 1 session and plays only 3 games and wins all three. They deserve to win the contest having only played 3 out of 30 games and maybe they just were on a roll that day?
 
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Brian Foster
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jokerfla wrote:
BWFoster78 wrote:
jokerfla wrote:
I would maybe suggest a point system based where only the top finishers receive points. If five people are playing, the top 2 finishers receive points. If six or seven people are playing the top 3 finishers receive points.

For example with six or seven players give:

5 points for 1st place
3 points for 2nd place
2 points for 3rd place


Regardless of how many places you reward, it seems to me that basing points on order of finish rewards number of plays. Consider.

I play a total of 30 games in our 12 gaming sessions earning 10 1st place, 10 second, 5 third, and 5 less than 3rd finishes. I get 90 points.

Let's say a hypothetical member who is better than me shows up for only 6 of the sessions. He wins all 15 of the games that he plays and gets 75 points.

Who's better, me with 90 or him with 75?



But that's an extremely unlikely situation. I am no actuary, but the chances of one player winning all 15 games they play among a group of 6 or 7 players is very low.

Its possible that one player maybe shows up for 1 session and plays only 3 games and wins all three. They deserve to win the contest having only played 3 out of 30 games and maybe they just were on a roll that day?


It is a very likely situation that a player who wins a higher percentage of games will be beat by someone who played more games though. A lot of the good gamers in my group will not be able to attend all the sessions. I don't want them to be penalized for not attending.
 
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R.T. Sloan
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You could let people play a game as many times as they want, but only give them points for their best showing. This would encourage players to replay games that they don't finish as well in, and to stop playing games that they have won.

I mean am I really the best gamer if I can only win one game, but I play that game 100 times.
 
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sloan66 wrote:
You could let people play a game as many times as they want, but only give them points for their best showing. This would encourage players to replay games that they don't finish as well in, and to stop playing games that they have won.

I mean am I really the best gamer if I can only win one game, but I play that game 100 times.


That's essentially what the rules in the original post do, except with points scored instead of place. If you did that based on place, you could conceivably have every single participant tie because they'd all keep playing until they won one game.
 
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Levi Applegate
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It sounds like you're looking for affirmation, not advice.

Due to different strategies, there isn't a "magic number" average score that you could use as a benchmark. The only way that you could do this is to record every score during the contest, then come up with the benchmark after the fact, based upon the average scores in the games played. The downside here is that nobody knows how they are doing until the end... but that could also be seen as an upside to some. It makes players keep playing to the end.
 
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Brian Foster
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LeviJay wrote:
It sounds like you're looking for affirmation, not advice.

Due to different strategies, there isn't a "magic number" average score that you could use as a benchmark. The only way that you could do this is to record every score during the contest, then come up with the benchmark after the fact, based upon the average scores in the games played. The downside here is that nobody knows how they are doing until the end... but that could also be seen as an upside to some. It makes players keep playing to the end.


Actually, I already took the advice of the first guy who posted about using averages, which seems to be exactly what you're saying. Read the edited portion under number 1.

I want opinions on the things that I asked about. However, just because an opinion is given doesn't mean it's right. So far, conversations are going this way:

1. Poster states that order of finish is better than points for determining winner.
2. I state the reasons that I disagree with the posters points inviting further rebuttal of my point of view.
3. Crickets.

Your post seems to indicate that I should be using the order of finish method even though no one has addressed my concerns about the matter. Why would I do that?

Thanks.
 
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RoamDog wrote:
See Capturing-scoring-data-to-rank-players-track-score for much discussion related to your quesiton/topic.


Good thread. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

The overall topic didn't apply, but a lot of the conversation about points vs. order of finish did.

Everyone has to stipulate that it is hard to objectively determine who is the best gamer across multiple games unless you're in a pretty rigid tournament setting. Basically, if you use order of finish, you reward quantity over quality while there is also a lot of question as to whether points are truly indicative of overall skill unless you're playing with the same group each time.

That discussion, however, focused on a general rankings system. I'm not trying to do that. I'm trying to set up an open ended tournament. The winner will be defined as the gamer who is best able to maximize points for ten different games.
 
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BWFoster78 wrote:
potomak wrote:
It's still quite relative. Lots of games can have total scores driven down by aggressive strategy (or 'running out the clock' in games like Ticket to Ride). In those cases, a low score was the actual tactic - and in no way representative of poor play (it could easily be an example of great play if he ends up winning).

Nominal values will not necessarily get you to where you want to go any better than relative values within each game.


But knowing that the overall rules for the contest encourage you to score as much as possible will lead the better players to adjust their strategies to maximize VP.


True, but for some games that would mean altering strategy significantly, and in some cases changing the balance of which strategies are better. Basically you are changing the definition of "victory" to some extent. For example, in resource centered games - Agricola comes to mind - denial strategies just took a big hit, since they tend to lead to lower scores all around.

Also, you end up with weird corner cases where a player would rather get 2nd place but score a lot of points than win the game. You also get some general implied collusion where a 3rd place player with no hope for 1st would often rather take actions that would tend to inflate everyone's scores than try to get 2nd place. Assuming of course the player pool is large enough that the benefits of inflating ones own score outweighs inflating the winning scores of the players in this game.

Personally, I don't particularly like the idea that winning by a lot is better than winning by a little, except perhaps as a tiebreaker. It is of course a matter of taste.

So returning to the original question, I think that trying to peg averages to a "correct" number is fraught with problems. I think you are better off using the percentage of VPs a player gets in a given game (or the percentage of VPs they got in all of their plays of a game relative to all of the VPs scored by all players in all plays of the game). This isn't perfect, since some games are probably more prone to wide distributions than others, and you have to come up with a solution for something like Power Grid where several players often tie for "1st" and the money tiebreaker tends to come into play.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Quote:
Regardless of how many places you reward, it seems to me that basing points on order of finish rewards number of plays. Consider.

I play a total of 30 games in our 12 gaming sessions earning 10 1st place, 10 second, 5 third, and 5 less than 3rd finishes. I get 90 points.

Let's say a hypothetical member who is better than me shows up for only 6 of the sessions. He wins all 15 of the games that he plays and gets 75 points.

Who's better, me with 90 or him with 75?


So divide the total by games played (90/30 = 3, 75/15 = 5, so the player who I think we all agree is "better" wins), and maybe institute a minimum (so someone can't win one game and thereby win the whole contest.
 
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