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Subject: Pro Tips: Strategy based on BGA stats. rss

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CD Nowak
United States
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UCTG has been up on BGA for about a week now, so I thought I would post some strategy observations.

Initially, we had realized a few trends to who won games we played or where we were teaching people how to play. Those who got their pieces out first and those who managed to jump over at least one piece (moving forward) on most moves tended to win, obviously enough.

In playing two player online, however, I noticed a different trend among highly rated players as two distinct strategies emerged: one defensive (similar to expert strategies at Checkers, preventing your pieces from getting jumped), the other more aggressive posture (I am still a fan of the two-pronged variant of this strategy). Both took on a characteristic of preventing jumps as more important than finding them for yourself.

Looking at the winners vs all players stats from BGA, we find this is actually a strong trend: winners jump nearly 12 fewer pieces and are jumped nearly 14 fewer times, on average!

Perhaps this isn't as surprising as it seems, maintaining a strategy beyond first contact requires keeping pieces on the 50% of faces that can move as planned (in effect each die roll is a coin toss for preserving the desired forward movement).

As a side benefit, you are effectively limiting your opponents options for forward movement, by occupying central spaces and by preventing full board chains.

Our previously observed basic strategy, "empty your home row", is also born out, with winners managing to evacuate their starting position nearly 10 turns earlier than the general average.

There is another interesting factoid in the stats: length of turn. I am not sure how this occurred, but the average thinking time for a winner to play a game is trending downwards, approaching 10 minutes. The time for all players to think, while also trending downward is approaching 57 minutes! (BTW, this brings to mind a game we heard about but cannot understand, that took 2 hours!). Given that the typical game runs well under 15 minutes per player (ie 30 to 60 min), I would be thrilled to be enlightened on how these epic matches work!
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