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Subject: Kublacon Eclipse Tournament Rules! - Join us this Saturday near San Francisco rss

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Peter O
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The following are the tournament rules we will be following at the up coming Kublicon Eclipse tournament near San Francisco this coming Saturday.

1) Format:
18 players
3 tables
2 Rounds
1 Judge per table
1st round table seating will be random. Picking races will be in reverse order of 1st turn starting order as per game rules.
No extras or variants (except the timed actions listed below)
Players can select alien races per game rules.

2) Time
Each round will last 3 hours. Any game still underway at the 3 hour mark will finish out the current turn and score the game, even if they haven't gone the full 9 turns.

IMPORTANT! Players will be on a 20 second action timer.
You have exactly 20 seconds with which to make a decission. Judges will give a verbal 3 count for the last three seconds. Failure to complete your action results in the loss of the current action during the action phase (the influence token is moved to the action taken area without getting a benefit). Failure to roll during combat results in misses. Failure to decide hit placement results in the Ancients targeting schedule being used. Each player will be issued two 30 second time extension tokens (per game) that can be turned in to think longer about a turn. Both can be used on the same turn if desired. We're all here for fun so Judges will be timing and start with being generous (meaning if you're in the process of moving they will let things slide), then issue warnings to common violators, then strict enforcement for everyone.

3) Experienced players only.
Due to time constraints we will be turning away players who need a rules explanation. If for some reason lots of new players attend and we only have two tables worth of experienced players, we'll shrink the tourney to 12 players and run one beginners game at the third table.

4) Standings.
After game 1, the top two players at each table will go to the winners table. The middle two go to the middle table. The bottom two go to the bottom table. In order of scores, with the highest scorer going first, players will then pick their seat at the table. Players will know which seat will be first player on turn 1 before choosing. (Meaning they can pick seat 6 if they want their pick of races, or seat 1 if they want to go first, or anywhere in between) Players will not know starting tech before picking seating. Ties will be decided by first turn start player order with player one beating player two and so forth. (We choose this because player 6 gets first choice of race which has a longer and more persistent game effect than going first on the first turn)

5) Mirrored Game-1 set-ups
For the first game only, we will be setting up identical stacks of hexes, techs, and discovery chits. The order will be a random set-up which is then mirrored by the other two tables. There is an expectation that if one table gets ahead of another that people not seek out advanced knowledge (such as techs). If it is unavoidable for some players to overhear another table, then the overheard knowledge should be made public to all at the current table.

6) No alliances made beforehand.
We're all doing this for fun, not for money. If you're really that much of a slime that you need to cheat by making pre-game alliances with your friends (including unsaid assumptions that you will automatically work together with those you know) then we will record your name and you will not be invited back (ie banned from future tournaments). When in doubt, have fun screwing your buddy and make a new friend you've just met.

7) Misplays
If someone accidentally misplays then Judges will attempt to role back time IF possible and no previously unknown information has been revealed. If it is not possible or if its clear cheating has transpired then judges will issue a VP penalty commensurate with the damage done to game state. Judges will by default be instructed to issue penalties on the heavier side in order to discourage misplay.

8) breaks
Each table can decide to take a break after upkeeps for the round have finished. The table will still be on the 3 hour clock. Length of break will be by consensus. If no consensus is reach then the judge will choose. Players will be subject to the 20 second rule as soon as the allotted break is over (applying only to the active player).

There will hopefully be a SHORT lunch/dinner break between games depending upon how long the first went.

9) All judges decisions are final. The head judge has been appointed by heaven and is infallible. (or maybe not)


Let me know if I've missed anything.
 
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Jeff Wood
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'Decisions of each table's Judge are final.'
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Kelvin Lau
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i would love to come but could not come due to obvious reasons. but dun you think 2-30seconds tokens is a bit harsh strategic wise?
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Jim Richardson

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I know. 10 seconds seems too punitive. It might be fine for many moves, but certainly not for all situations in the game. And even if you said just 10 seconds to pick the action type, that doesn't even stop AP: "I know I'm researching... I just don't know..... what I want...... to pick......... hmmmmmmmmmmmmm............."

Similarly, I don't see how you could set a 10-second or other relevant timer for the entire action. Some actions take longer than others. Explore might not be a hard choice, but Influence could be longer to resolve. And even for Explore, you might hit a discovery tile with a tough choice. How can you standardize everything to one set time?

I would suggest some kind of chess timer for each player. No set time for individual actions, but a total time for the game that they have to ration out. And if they run out of allotted time, then have some kind of really short move time, like 5 seconds to choose the action and however long to resolve it. Which would be fine then because it's punitive - they didn't ration their total time properly and now have to play really fast.

Also not liking the "mirrored game" thing. Just rewards cheating.
 
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Nat Brooks
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tranenturm wrote:
Let me know if I've missed anything.

Bathroom breaks.gulp
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Peter O
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natbrooks wrote:
tranenturm wrote:
Let me know if I've missed anything.

Bathroom breaks.:gulp:


We can have some between turns if the tables want.


As for the 10 s rule. You have more than 10 seconds to think. You have the 50 seconds it takes for the other players to have their turn. I would consider bumping it up to 20 s per action and that shouldnt put too much over. We need to get two games in under 7 hours time and I'd like a little time between games for folks to get food and so forth.
 
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Peter O
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Chess clocks would be nice but we don't have the means to do so efficiently.

The mirrored game is just an experiment. If people are cheating for a tournament that is just for fun, then they would cheat in any game which I can't do much about. The only reason we're being strict with time is that we're trying to have three separate game resolve at roughly the same time. I also don't want to be there forever and have everyone being held hostage by a single AP player.
 
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Tom McThorn
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natbrooks wrote:
tranenturm wrote:
Let me know if I've missed anything.

Bathroom breaks.gulp


Maybe just provide each player with some Depends...
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Kelvin Lau
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i dun think it is very practical when your player to your left/right has just invaded your space with interceptors fast and unpinned fully armed with noob seeking missiles. even with 20 seconds thinking time

chess clocks are way better
 
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Nat Brooks
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So, how did it go? Any lessons learned to pass on to the rest of us?
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Poland
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tranenturm wrote:
Chess clocks would be nice but we don't have the means to do so efficiently.

http://www.chesscentral.com/DGT_Cube_p/dgt-cube.htm
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Peter O
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natbrooks wrote:
So, how did it go? Any lessons learned to pass on to the rest of us?


It went well for what it was. We had a full 18 but 11 had never played before...

So we had three separate tables, 2 beginner games and 1 "Tourney" table. As the tourney table was the only competition table I gave the participants the choice of how strict they wanted to be with time. They choose to do a single game of "fast" play but no timer and finished at roughly the 3 1/2 hour mark (after a half hour of reorganizing the cats players into the different tables and waiting for people to show, yada yada...)

Player Choices: (number is starting turn order, aliens chosen in reverse order)
6) Planta
5) Draco
4) Hydran
3) Mechanema
2) Orion
1) Red Terran

Player 1 starts the game making low percentage attacks on double ancients twice, ends up losing twice, and is never in the game. His first attack was three single hull interceptors versus two ancients. His second attack wasn't much better. He eventually threw everything into one last attack on Draco and bankrupted himself out of the game.

The Orions explored straight back into the Tier III and didn't explore into Tier II or I until turn 4 or 5. He finally tried to take the center, lost to Draco super-dreadnaughts and then eventually lost another big battle he was needing to win which resulted in being bankrupted out of the game.

Mechanema explored into ancients and launched one or two really bad odds attacks into the ancients and then sat around for about 6 turns in a small corner. They eventually got eliminated by the Hydrans on turn 8 or 9.

Hydrans (a second time player) turtled in his corner, and played really well for his relative inexperience in Eclipse. He was clearly experienced with other games of this sort and did well with diplomacy and general strategy. He did the things he needed to do to be moderately strong but never directly challenged Draco to his own detriment.

I'll come back to the Draco.

The Planta did their Planta thing but because everyone except Draco explored outwards to Tier III they didn't end up with a massive backfield. The player didn't really challenge Draco directly until some minor stuff late and essentially tried to out-turtle Draco even though he was far behind in the race. He did come in a distant second just before the Hydrans.

Draco had a massive victory. Draco started exploring the center and quickly had 5 of 6 Tier I systems with no competition. People finally started attacking him around turn 5 but at that point it was too late. The rest of the table never launched a coordinated attack instead attacking one at a time on different turns allowing Draco to easily repulse most attacks. The player was a very competent player and the rest of the table essentially served him up a victory. By turn 2-3 I was already expecting a Draco win.



So what did we learn?
1) There are not enough experienced players yet to have a Tourney
2) One guy came into the game saying he hated the game (yet still came) complained about his resounding loss, and never once admitted that his own glaring mistakes might be the cause of his failures. I should have seen this coming (he said he hated eclipse before starting) and had a different player play (a friend of mine bowed out when it was clear there were one too many players for the experienced table). In a multi round tournament this wouldn't be as bad as poor players would be weeded out.
3) Other players can NOT cede the Tier I systems to Draco and expect to do well.

It was a pretty mismatched game. Maybe in a year or so there might be enough players (in our area) for elimiantion play. I was hoping to see some really tight play between good players and instead saw a giant mismatch in skill level.
 
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David Cunkelman
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@Peter O - Nice replay of the Tournament game. NOW, you should review the "real tournament" game that was played after this one.

I was the Hydrans in the game above, having played my first game of Eclipse the night before, where everyone played humans and we were told we should all explore the tier III systems. Seemed reasonable, so I did the same in this game, not knowing the aliens (It seemed that Hydrans should explore out to the tier III tiles and hide till their techs give them an advantage) and the impact losing your tier I tile could have. Draco in the above game crushed us deserving the win hands down!!!

As for the second, "real tournament," game on Saturday at Kubla Con... I was running on little sleep by Saturday evening, so I didn't keep track of the details, other than to say that Draco (me this time in the 6th position, choosing races first) went on to win primarily through diplomacy and negotiations. ninja

David
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Peter O
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3ripmav wrote:
@Peter O - Nice replay of the Tournament game. NOW, you should review the "real tournament" game that was played after this one.

I was the Hydrans in the game above, having played my first game of Eclipse the night before, where everyone played humans and we were told we should all explore the tier III systems. Seemed reasonable, so I did the same in this game, not knowing the aliens (It seemed that Hydrans should explore out to the tier III tiles and hide till their techs give them an advantage) and the impact losing your tier I tile could have. Draco in the above game crushed us deserving the win hands down!!!

As for the second, "real tournament," game on Saturday at Kubla Con... I was running on little sleep by Saturday evening, so I didn't keep track of the details, other than to say that Draco (me this time in the 6th position, choosing races first) went on to win primarily through diplomacy and negotiations. :ninja:

David


You certainly had some of the best (and honest) diplomacy I've seen in a while. My standard group is a little more backstabby and your play made me realize I've gotten a little sloppy in my own diplomacy. I didn't bother with a recap of that game considering the Eridani player played without their two disc penalty (and I didn't catch this till the end being tired myself at that point), pretty much invalidating the game in terms of a useful session report for others. It was still a good game with lots of great moments, and great strategic and diplomatic meneuvering. I'm kicking myself for several of my own misplays that I simply should have known better. I was too eager to pick on my poor Hydran neighbor (me as the Orions) and the Draco and Mechanema rightly hit me when I was out of position. I also built Orbitals instead of Dreadnaughts with military targets abounding which is counter to my own standard tactics.
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Argothair _Bialyvich
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It was a fascinating game. I played as the Mechanema -- I'd played several games with one or two friends, but had had no exposure to an experienced play group, nor had I played anything close to a 6-player game, so there were a lot of strategic revelations for me.

Draco was two positions to my left, but was still able to influence my Tier I hex on the first impulse of Turn 2 -- Draco started off with massive holdings in ancient hexes because Planta (to my immediate left) and I didn't really understand what needed to be done to block him. I eventually got the Tier I hex through negotiation; my first two alien discoveries yielded a Materials bonus and Hypergrid Source (11 power), and Draco didn't want to be tangling with my free Dreadnought after I finished upgrading it.

Planta had a successful (although not ridiculous) early expansion into Tier III, and proceeded to defend its single chokepoint with a pair of ultra-shielded and up-armored Dreadnoughts...they didn't pack much punch, but I think people stayed away from them just because the sheer number of dice you'd have to roll to destroy them would be boring. They were also reasonably well defended against Plasma Missiles, which dominated warfare during Turns 6, 7 & 8. Unfortunately, Planta either didn't understand or didn't care about the way that colonizing extra sectors early drains your energy -- he left about six influence discs in hexes with one or zero planets. Granted, those netted him 2-3 VP each...but he had a tendency to pass on his first impulse on multiple turns, building Monoliths as a "response" action whenever he felt reasonably sure that nobody was going to attack him.

Orion, to my immediate right, had a successful opening run against the Ancients, using the extra power on his alien Cruisers to cover the power source with Improved Hull. For some reason, he spent Turns 3 and 4 graciously pursuing alliances with his weak neighbors (Mechanema & Hydra) rather than crushing either one of us.

As Peter points out, the Eridani forgot to play two discs down. We wondered how he was able to build a Dreadnought on Turn 2 with no additional brown Materials planets, but Eridani played so modestly other than that that we let it slide. There was an interesting (and tense) negotiation between Eridani and Draco about who got to occupy the center hex, and for how long...at one point it looked like total war might break out over whether the hex was vacated in the middle of Turn 5 or at the end of it! For the most part, the Eridani stayed put in a five-hex corridor running in a straight line from a couple of Tier III's right into the galactic center.

As the middlegame wore on, I had a powerful economy (seven free actions per turn plus 12 or so Science and about 14 Materials, which go a long way with the Mechanema's discounted building costs), but no obvious source of victory points -- I didn't have the diplomatic cache to hold the center, there were no more Monolith techs available, and my territorial holdings were efficient but modest. If I attacked the militarily weak Planta (as everyone urged me to do, since their Monoliths were looking ominous), I would be vulnerable to both Orion (who wanted revenge for my betrayal on Turn 5) and Eridani (through the center, which led straight to my Tier I world), and Draco (who was my ally, but who had kept ownership of a strategic hex behind my front lines). On the other hand, if I attacked Orion further, I would have been breaking my promise not to take more than 1 hex from him, and I believed he would have suicided on me (not without some good cause!) had I done that. Planta wanted a joint attack on my ally Draco, but I didn't trust Planta's ability to field a competent fleet.

While I was pondering my options, Orion made a stunning comeback by wiping out the Hydra with a little help from Draco, seizing the center (by mutual consent of all involved) and distributing his forces across the right-hand half of the board.

I also had some trouble figuring out how to upgrade my fleets appropriately -- I used the Mechanema's triple-upgrade to equip my ships with absurd numbers of Plasma Missiles and Positron (+2) Computers -- but Orion, who had Gluon (+3) Computers and Fusion Drives, was able to seize the initiative on me despite having fewer upgrade actions. While I was building Orbitals and Interceptors and Starbases, he saved pretty much his entire economy for outrunning me in the upgrade game, and it worked -- I lost two Starbases, two Cruisers, and an Interceptor vs. his two Cruisers before he retreated. Next time I'll make sure to blockade his retreat!

On Turn 9 of our erroneously counted 10 turn game, I finally made my move against the Planta, shattering his main battle fleet when he configured it to use Plasma Missiles but no Computers. Planta followed up with a scorched earth strategy, which worked surprisingly well! He removed his influence discs before I could even shoot at his planets, withdrawing his forces and leaving token Interceptor guards. Without a chance to beat down his reserves, I had to split my forces, and had to be very cautious about which hexes I colonized. I couldn't follow him deep into his territory because I had no Drive technology and I still had other threats to defend against. Meanwhile, all his Monoliths remained safely behind the new front lines. I got about 3 VP in hexes and 3 VP in reputation points out of the war -- good, but not enough to put me in the lead.

Draco, in the closing stretch, negotiated hard for access to the last two Ancient ships, moving there in force across half the Galaxy and making sure they would survive. This proved decisive -- although Eridani wound up winning with an absurd 45 VP on Turn 10, we discounted that because Eridani played with too many discs, and Draco was the next highest scorer, with about 33 VP. I had 30 VP, pushed down by my Traitor card (which nobody ever saw fit to relieve me of) and by an overly general strategy (4 Science, 9 Reputation, 1 Alliance, 2 Alien Discovery, 16 Hexes, -2 Traitor).

All in all, it was a fantastic game, with excellent strategy, diplomacy, tactics, and fun banter all around. If I ever have the chance to play 6-player Eclipse again, I'd sink the 6 hours required in a heartbeat.
 
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