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Subject: Implementing "komi" into competitive Dominion rss

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Steven Metzger
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This is going to be a discussion about competitive, high-level Dominion play, for fairly experienced Dominion players, so we'll dispense with the introduction and talking points and just get to the questions:

How can we make the game more "fair," without changing the rules (just how we observe games)? I mentioned komi earlier today and would like to figure out what kind of values for it would work well across the board.

My best simple guess right now would be 1.1 VP per table position, plus 1.0 VP for having fewer turns than the starting player.

Discuss.

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Chris Ferejohn
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I know this falls under "changing the rules" but doesn't granting equal turns and perhaps allowing for 'phantom' Provinces get you like 90% of the way there?

That aside, I don't see any particularly good way to answer the questions without resorting to large numbers of automated simulations, and even then the answer is probably "it varies dramatically depending on the card set".
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George Leach
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I imagine the answer is to bid for start player in two player games, komi for more is rather difficult involving carrying out numerous auctions for seating position, probably not too bad for three. This would all happen after the card set has been seen of course.
This is simlar to the pie rule used in many abstracts and would suit Dominion fairly well.
Phantom provinces diminshes some of the rush strategies available in Dominion so I'd rather a komi method myself.
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Philip R
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If the possibility of having fewer turns was removed (such as how Chris suggested) I think going last is slightly advantageous as you get to see what your opponent(s) buy. You gain insights into what your opponents strategy is going to be and try to play around or against it.

I know you want to discuss komi, but I think a big factor in evening the playing field would be to manage the first two hands. Either force 3-4 start on the first two hands for all players (or alternatively allowing players to select whether they have a 3-4 or 2-5 start).
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Scott Russell
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Play once with each combination of seating and add scores. laugh
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Dave Goldthorpe
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Let players make a secret bid (in vp) for first seat before the hand starts. Bidding games are usually self balancing since the players will pay extra for higher value.
 
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Rob Neuhaus
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FWIW, I think that a "symmetric rematch" is probably the best solution. You play the same set with seating order reversed.

With all of the game data, you could compute empirically the point advantage from going first. Then as a first shot approximation, give that many points to the second player at the start of the game. It's something I would probably do if I wasn't so lazy ;P.
 
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George Leach
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A huge part of the game (in my opinion) is in analysing the setup, the second time through you're playing with recent knowledge which kind've ruins the relevance of that skill for the second game.
Bidding VP for the seating order is the only flexible enough method.
 
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Captain Frisk
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pipperoni wrote:
If the possibility of having fewer turns was removed (such as how Chris suggested) I think going last is slightly advantageous as you get to see what your opponent(s) buy. You gain insights into what your opponents strategy is going to be and try to play around or against it.

I know you want to discuss komi, but I think a big factor in evening the playing field would be to manage the first two hands. Either force 3-4 start on the first two hands for all players (or alternatively allowing players to select whether they have a 3-4 or 2-5 start).


This. I don't have the simulation to back it up, but I have a suspicion that depending on the board, 5/2 vs. 4/3 will easily dominate seating order. Also important is luck of the draw on turns 3,4 and 5.

Buying 2 non treasure cards and being able to play both on turns 3 and 4 is generally the best result

Buying silver + something else is usually #2

Buying 2 non treasure cards and only being able to play 1 of them because they collide is #3 (you bought militia / swindler and drew both)

Having 1 of your buys fall into turn 5 and miss the reshuffle is #4 (really bad for some early game cards: chancellor, sea hag, witch, chapel)

Having both of your buys fall into turn 5... is usually a death sentence against a player with similar skill.

These things have big swings on the game that I believe have more effect than turn position... at least in 2p.

If you're playing 4p with attack cards... 4p is hosed.
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