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Subject: Session Replay: FINA 2003 Men's World Championship rss

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Mike D
Thailand
Nakhon Nayok
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I haven't seen any session reports on TCS Games' extensive line of sports simulations so I thought I'd do one. If you enjoy these kind of spectator replays they are simple, quick and fun.

Sports replay games vary in the level of simulation detail provided, and the focus of most TCS games is in generating match results, instead of play-by-play or play-by-highlight. With "Kings of Pools" each match is decided quickly with just a few dice rolls, making it possible to recreate a complete tournament in a single sitting.

Match highlights are applied in an abstract fashion by an additional die roll which could result in a modification of either team's scores, and I like to imagine this to be due to good performance from a valued player. Overtime and penalty shootout rules add some nice extra tension and it's not uncommon for professional water polo games to go right down to the wire.

Roberto's rules do suffer somewhat in the translation (Italian into English) but with only two pages, including examples, it's hard to go wrong. The only thing I noticed in the demo version is that the Top and Bottom teams for the sample tournament are not marked as described in the section "Versus Top/Versus Bottom". (more on that later)

The one other stumble I had was the mental gymnastics required to perform column shifts on alphabetic ratings (e.g J +6 = column P). It can be solved by converting all the ratings to numbers but I didn't like the look of that. Instead I settled on simply adding an extra row at the top of the Scoring Table to enumerate the columns, which helped my poor brain immensely.

For this session report I played all 48 matches of the 2003 FINA Men's World Water Polo Championship, held in Barcelona, Spain from July 14 to July 26. All the rules and team statistics needed to replay this tournament can be found in the Files section on BGG (thanks for the demo Roberto!)

Back to the missing Top/Bottom rankings mentioned earlier. I'm not sure if Roberto works out these rankings based on historical ranking before the tournament, or based on the historical results at the end; but for my session I decided it was easier to use the latter. So Top teams in this session are: Hungary, Italy, Serbia and Greece; and Bottom teams are: Brazil, Canada, Japan and China. And on to the tournament...

The Draw
To keep things simple I'm sticking with the draw from the actual competition. So, groups for the tournament are as follows:



Preliminary Round (July 14th - July 18th, 2003)

July 14, 2003
Croatia 6-8 Hungary
Romania 9-3 Canada

July 16, 2003
Hungary 12-4 Canada
Croatia 8-4 Romania

July 18,2003
Hungary 15-4 Romania
Croatia 10-2 Canada



July 14, 2003
Serbia 8-6 Australia
United States 12-4 Japan

July 16, 2003
Australia 12-0 Japan
Serbia 5-7 United States

July 18, 2003
Australia 7-7 United States
Japan 8-12 Serbia



July 14, 2003
Italy 12-2 China
Greece 8-5 Germany

July 16, 2003
Italy 18-6 Germany
China 3-12 Greece

July 18, 2003
Germany 12-3 China
Italy 13-8 Greece



July 14, 2003
Slovakia 7-7 Brazil
Spain 6-4 Russia

July 16, 2003
Slovakia 6-7 Russia
Brazil 4-8 Spain

July 18, 2003
Spain 7-7 Slovakia
Russia 11-5 Brazil


Second Round (July 20th, 2003)
Croatia 7-2 Australia
Romania 4-9 Serbia
Greece 9-4 Slovakia
Germany 9-8 Russia [EXTRA-TIME]


Final Round

July 22, 2003
Hungary 8-12 Greece
United States 9-5 Germany
Italy 8-11 Croatia
Spain 4-13 Serbia

July 24, 2003
Greece 7-3 United States
Croatia 4-8 Serbia

July 26, 2003
United States 8-5 Croatia
Greece 5-8 Serbia


Play-Offs


July 20, 2003
Canada 8-6 Japan
China 4-10 Brazil

July 22, 2003
Japan 6-9 China
Canada 6-7 Brazil



July 22, 2003
Australia 7-6 Slovakia
Romania 6-7 Russia

July 24, 2003
Slovakia 9-7 Romania
Australia 6-7 Russia



July 24, 2003
Hungary 11-6 Germany
Italy 13-5 Spain

July 26, 2003
Germany 5-8 Spain
Hungary 10-6 Italy


Final Ranking


Conclusions
An interesting tournament with the preliminary rounds coming up a close match to the historical event. The mechanics for generating the tournament results do not disappoint. I tracked the dice rolls carefully and I'll note that the 'luck of the die' favored Australia (greatly), followed by Italy and Greece, then United States and Canada. Final positions for these teams show that the all research that went into creating the statistics counter-point nicely against the luck factor to produce very believable results.

Any complaints? Well, I probably made a few mistakes with all the column shifts but that kind of thing is par for the course. The game does feel a bit generic but it's designed to be simple, and looks like it would easily adapt to other team sports. For a water polo simulation I had also expected to see closer matches and get some nice action on penalty shootouts, but that didn't happen at all in this tournament.

Anyway, as with all these kind of games it really helps a great deal to have a match playing in the background to leave you with the best impression. I quite enjoyed the replay and, although I'm not sure how easy it is to get hold of TCS games, I'll certainly be looking to pick up some more titles from their extensive catalog in future.
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Everett Hathaway
United States
Virginia Beach
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I found TCS games on this site:

www.wargamedownloads.com

TCS games are under the "Sports" category.
There are a lot of sports games.

This link may help as well:

http://www.wargamedownloads.com/cat.php?cat=32&pics=1
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Mike D
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Nakhon Nayok
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Thanks for the link! I had been looking at the wargamesvault site where only a few games are available.

There's some good sport replay specialists around (Lambourne games a favorite) but there's not much available in pdf. Nice to see such a large collection online.
 
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