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Subject: brass online ranking (total brag post inside) rss

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Daniel Corban
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I remember reading some strategy threads here which had some replies from someone who was highly rated and had played something like 100 games on the web-based Brass site (brass.orderofthehammer.com). I read his tips and thought they were fairly insightful and it was interesting to hear from someone who appeared to have mastered the game. I was hesitant to play online since the interface isn't very intuitive, but his posts eventually led me to begin playing online.

Well, I am totally bragging here, but I just noticed that I am currently ranked #7 on the entire site. I really don't know what it takes to break 8000 as one person has done, but I am just a hair under 7000 myself. It would be exciting if I could get in some games specifically with these top players. I wonder how difficult it would be to organize a tournament with the top 20 players.

I really feel like I have truly mastered this game, both online and face-to-face. It is an extremely deep and rewarding game. I strongly encourage everyone to play this using the online site, as your skills will increase exponentially. I had hit a plateau until I started playing online. It's almost like cheating after you play a few dozen games online, then go back to playing with your friends. They won't stand a chance.

I have taken a break from the game, but if any other relatively high rated players here want to get in a game and can commit to a turn a day, speak up and I would be willing to further test my skills.
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Juho Snellman
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dcorban wrote:
Well, I am totally bragging here, but I just noticed that I am currently ranked #7 on the entire site. I really don't know what it takes to break 8000 as one person has done, but I am just a hair under 7000 myself.

Assuming only 4p games it'd roughly require winning 2/3 of your games, coming second 1/3 of the time, and never doing worse than that.

Quote:
It would be exciting if I could get in some games specifically with these top players.

Note that the current rating system is a bit flawed, since it doesn't take into account the quality of the opponents. So a high rating won't necessarily be a sign of someone being any good against other good players, it might also mean that they're just great at beating up newbies. It'd be great to have an ELO-style rating available as well.

The way to play just against top-rated players is to create some games with a minimum rating requirement. They fill up a little slowly but tend to be a lot more rewarding to play than matches against random rabble.

Quote:
I have taken a break from the game, but if any other relatively high rated players here want to get in a game and can commit to a turn a day, speak up and I would be willing to further test my skills.

I created a 6000 min-rating game, feel free to join.
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Daniel Corban
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All of my games after I hit around 4000 rank were set up with a minimum rating required. I also created every game, setting it to not automatically start. This gave me the opportunity to kick undesirables. I have a mental list of players you should never allow in your games. I should put it to paper before I forget.
 
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Randy Brown
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If you do get a tourney of top rated Brass players, I sure would love to kibitz it.

To me, the online game is a very different animal than the game face to face. For some reason, I just have a knack for playing it as a board game that doesn't translate to online play. I think it mostly has to do with the speed of play and focus that I just can't achieve online.

That said, I really do enjoy online play, and I might have a half decent rating if I could ever wrap my head around the 2p game (which has completely trashed my rating with an 0-6 showing yuk ).

R
 
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Daniel Corban
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In the two-player variant, you must take into consideration the extra actions you have over the normal game. Having a reasonable income is more important than usual.

Ports are also much more viable due to the extra actions. I'd even say they are the key to winning. The distant market is harsh, with usually only two cotton able to be shipped to it. The extra actions give you the freedom to build more cotton, ports, and canals (to link up the ports).
 
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Randy Brown
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Yeah, I definitely realized that about the importance of income. In my narrow losses, that's all it came down to. It has actually inspired me to try to build up income on even 3 and 4 player games. I love that you can build income, or ignore it, and win either way (though not in the 2p game).

The 2p has the same number of actions as 3p, so I do have a good familiarity with that. In both you can run out of things to do, if you're not careful. However, the loss of the 3rd player makes 2p a bit tougher (you can't really find a niche).
 
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Rich P
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dcorban wrote:
It's almost like cheating after you play a few dozen games online, then go back to playing with your friends. They won't stand a chance.


And this is why Phil (who wrote the program) can't get a face-to-face game round here anymore!
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Ed Chen

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Random thoughts not altogether coherently:

I think to some extent the ratings have some noise. As people pointed out, it has a lot to do with the people you play against.

Even in the 6k rating games I've played, I've seen some great play, and I've seen some (imo) bad play.

There was a tournament at one point (before I knew about the site unfortunately), but unfortunately I think it took a long time to get all the games played, and then there was some... unusual... play in the final game which some people didn't like.

Even though I've played a ton (over 600 at this point), I still don't feel like I've mastered the game... I still feel there is more for me to learn still.

I think it's easier to win against non-beginners than beginners. Brass (like many other games) has the ability for a bad player to greatly gift another player, and when there are one or more beginners in a game, it sometimes comes down to who gains the most from the random gifting.

Online is a little different than f2f in that the final scores are readily apparent. Thus, it's easier to decide who to help and who to hinder. F2F could be that way too, but in the interests of time, people I play with generally don't calculate the exact points throughout all of the game.
 
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Daniel Corban
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Well, this game is already going to be iffy for me.

I am not going to talk about any future play, and I hope no one else does either, but I will comment on the existing state.

http://brass.orderofthehammer.com/board.php?GameID=14181

Red did what I consider a huge mistake. Build a coal in Manchester (or any iron capable city). This allows other players to gain a "free loan". That is, to take a loan, then immediately recover the income by building and flipping an iron in that city.

For whatever reason, green failed to take advantage of it. That leave me as the gatekeeper. Unfortunately, I do not have the cards to do a loan/iron. I feel the free loan is such a huge play, that it is worth me doing a double-action build to prevent someone else from getting it. So that's what I did.

It's not ideal, and is a clear case of me harming myself to prevent someone else from having a big gain thanks to another player "gifting". Red has a high rating, so I give him the benefit of the doubt, but I still feel it was a huge mistake.
 
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Randy Brown
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That same open has just plagued me in my most recent game. I opened w/ coal in Oldham, and some choad built coal in Manchester. I opted away from the free loan, and build my IW in Rochdale, but I always wonder at a play like that. What advantage does that player derive by gifting another player (often the player who already had the advantage of the cheap $2 development) with that free loan?

Edit--Regarding why I chose to build the IW in Rochdale rather than take the free loan: I've been working on building income in my recent games. This focus has resulted in a couple of games where I got by with only 1 loan early, and culminated in this game where I managed to win w/o taking any loans at all. Obviously that takes some sub-par play on the part of my opponents, and I can hardly expect to duplicate that work. However, I've been intrigued, of late, about trying an income focused strategy.
 
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Ed Chen

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There have been very specific times where I think placing a coal in Manchester is a good move -- I've done it myself on occasion for various reasons.

This is especially true if you are playing in a 4p game against two newbies and an experienced player, and the experienced player places in Oldham, as your random gifting of someone (especially if that someone is likely to be a newbie) is outweighed by the hassle of the experienced player having to try and use up their coal in Oldham and messing with their game plan.

Here is a link to one game where I coal in Manchester:

http://brass.orderofthehammer.com/board.php?GameID=12714

My starting hand was:

Barrow-In-Furness, Bury, Manchester, Preston, Rochdale, Cotton Mill, Cotton Mill, Port.

I used Barrow to develop mills, and I think I draw Bolton.

Player 2 also develops mills.

Player 3 signals they are going iron by placing a coal in Wigin.

Player 4 signals they are going iron by developing a coal and an iron works.

I'm first to act on the second turn and place a coal mine in Manchester and take a loan. Here's why I think it's a good idea, or at least the best out of the card draw I received:

There is a high probability that one of the two following players will place a level 1 iron works in Manchester. Player 4 has already developed their level 1 iron works. So in an ideal world, someone places an iron works using my coal, there is some development, then player 4, by using a swing turn to get 4 actions overwrites the level 1 iron works with his own level 2 iron works. This would flip my coal and get me back out of negative income quickly, and give me enough capital to continue my primary goal of cotton mills, and player 4 overwriting whoever gets the iron works kind of evens out the gifting.

Furthermore, I'm racing with player 2 to get high level cotton mills down, and if I can encourage that person to deviate from that strategy, that is to my advantage, so I'm not too bothered if they loan/iron works (especially as I said it gets overwritten). And if they iron works/develop, then they've screwed up their income situation (whereas I believe mine to be in good shape) to some extent so it's kind of a wash except I'm in a better income situation. Lastly, based on their ratings, player 2 is less likely to be able to take advantage of this gifting.

What I really don't want player 2 to do is build a low level mill.

If that all doesn't pan out, I still have Bolton, so I can use up my own coal and get out of negative income by placing an iron works myself. Because two other people are already going iron works, there is a high chance my iron works will get overwritten, which is good because I have two cotton mill cards which will otherwise be hard to use effectively. And if they don't overwrite it, then that's one more spot closed off to them. True, my income situation won't be great, but I'll be able to stave off my second loan for some time at least.

Regardless of whether why I did it was sound or not, I ended up with 170 points in that game, so certainly it's not always the case that placing a coal mine in Manchester dooms you to a low score.

 
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Randy Brown
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random user wrote:
There have been very specific times where I think placing a coal in Manchester is a good move -- I've done it myself on occasion for various reasons.


The more I play Brass, the more I realize that there are no rules when it comes to strategy. Every move that I thought was dumb at some point manages to make a case for itself in another game eventually. And moves that seem powerful in most games don't have a good pay off in others. This is why we keep going back to this game: it refuses to be conquered.

random user wrote:
This is especially true if you are playing in a 4p game against two newbies and an experienced player, and the experienced player places in Oldham, as your random gifting of someone (especially if that someone is likely to be a newbie) is outweighed by the hassle of the experienced player having to try and use up their coal in Oldham and messing with their game plan.


The one caveat with this is that you may inadvertently end up gifting your experienced rival after all. Your newbs might totally miss the opportunity that you're throwing to them, and then you may really be in a dire straights when your likely rival gets the windfall.
 
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