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 Post subject: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:44 am 
Master of the Order
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There's been a lot of chatter about the issue of slow play over the last few years, and suggestions on how to deal with it have come and gone. Play faster is of course the #1 answer but sometimes playing faster = playing less smart. It puts a lot on chance and hands the game to the slow player. I have seen 5-man builds slow play their way through an entire tournament to victory because the clock was running down and the opponent tried to rush at the end of the game.

Anyway, here is what I view as the real problem. It's a 150 pt. game. One player has Dodonna, Rieekan and Rebel support pieces. The other player has Super-stealth with Nom Anor. The Vong player has a 21 point lead with 3 minutes on the clock. The game has gone 4 rounds, as the Dodonna player has had a difficult time positioning figures to actually engage without taking heavy damage in return. The Dodonna player loses init and goes first, activating Dodonna. The decision to just spin Dodonna takes about 5 seconds. Then the Nom player goes and suddenly retreats from the battlefield back toward his starting area. He is counting on the fact that the Rebels won't reach him before time runs out, and is fully expecting to hold the Gambit lead in this round, which is probably the final round. The Rebel player just starts running forward but can't make a shot before time is called and the game ends.

Should the judge give them one more round after the fact? Is that really fair to the Vong player? He played within the rules. If he had known another round would be issued, he would have played completely differently in that final round before time ran out. Now he is in a position to lose the game. (This is a bit of a side-track of the issue.)

So my actual question is: how do we put a stop to people being dependent on points for the win?

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:10 am 
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Dennis Iknow you dont like the guidelines but I guess what they guidelines mean to me is education.


You educate the judges. You teach them how things work. Unfortunately Wizards chose to ignore Star Wars when it came to judges something we hope to change coming soon.

In you example you would give nothing. Because in you example no one called about the time issue earlier. EVen with guidelines if no one calls a judge for slow play early will they get extra time after the clock has expired or with one minute left.

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:36 am 
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Play faster is of course the #1 answer but sometimes playing faster = playing less smart.


Let's just be blunt and say "always" because this is the crux of the issue. The chess clock concept shows this. You play a game with 10 minutes on the clock vs one with 60 and the game will include more "mistakes" but it's still an exercise in skill at the selected speed.

The point is if both players are forced to play at an equivalent speed, whether it be slow or fast then skill--how well you can play at the required speed--remains the determining factor.

Right now we let people play virtually as slow as they want, almost completely ignoring the fact that the game only has 1 hour in a tournament setting and not only that the two players can play at vastly different speeds without much concern. Is it a fair test when one player plays 15 minutes of the game, and the other plays 45? Beyond that, does it tend to be a fun experience?


(And the answer to your question is that probably nothing. Alerting the judge with 3 minutes left is too late in most cases. Something should have been said at the 30 minute mark when they were in round 2.)

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:52 am 
Master of the Order
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NickName wrote:
Something should have been said at the 30 minute mark when they were in round 2.


100% correct.

This is the thing that has been coming to my mind more and more. If you get to the 30 minute mark and are still in Round 2 or the beginning of round 3....need to call the judge. That is the crux of the problem. And I think Dean is right here as well. If neither player called over the judge earlier in the game, then no time should be awarded at the end. That's a good way to look at it. That prevents people from slow-playing when they are behind, hoping to get that extra round (per your examples in the other thread), because in that scenario, the player who is winning and playing fast still, won't call over the judge, because he knows he's winning. And the slow player won't call over the judge because he's the one playing slow. ;)

Perhaps add that to the Floor Rules regarding the awarding of extra rounds. Something like "Extra rounds shall only be added to a game when a judge has previously been notified regarding possible slow play issues in that game". Re-word as necessary.

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:59 am 
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I didn't mean this to be an extension of the other thread.

Let me ask the question again: how do we compel people to want to complete the game rather than get a points lead and hide until time is called?

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:18 am 
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By giving them an incentive. Either you do it through positive reinforcement (you actually finished on time so you get a cookie!) or you do it through negative reinforcement (you didn't finish on time so you get punished). Right now, the only thing available to us is incentive in the area of negative reinforcement.

Perhaps if the combined players scores do not meet or exceed the build total at the end of 60 minutes then they both take a game loss. If players are faced with a double loss if their games does not complete in time I imagine lots more people would call a judge over for slow play issues and most players would keep the goal of playing the game to completion at the forefront of their mind.

There's no way that we can use positive reinforcement under the current system so negative is our only avenue. That's part of the reason why people are resistant to changes like this. I don't know anyone who enjoys punishing others (not counting that one Dominatrix in North Georgia, of course) so it's no surprise that people argue against it.

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:57 am 
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How much does the current system reward margin of victory or total number of points for tie-breaking?

If a player knows that winning by 10 points puts them significantly behind someone who wins by 100, they might be more inclined to go after points within the time limit.


I've been hesitant to bring this up, but in MechWarrior, the game accounted for points killed, points retained, and a gambit equivalent system. The big difference was that each of these categories were separate, so you could be winning on the gambit victory condition, but be losing on the others. The winner was the player who managed to take two out of three victory conditions. Is this entirely suitable for SWM? Probably not. Particularly since MW had a couple mechanics that would add to points retained, but not points killed. However I think it does point to tweaking the way gambit is handled as a way of altering the disposition of the game.

For instance, what if gambit required exclusive control of the gambit zone?

Or what if you could score up to X number of figures in the gambit per round?

Or some combination of these two?

In the realm of something more MW-like would be having points for units killed plus half value for opposing units at 50% or less HP, points for friendly units still alive, and gambit points. Best 2 of 3 wins with units killed being the tie-breaker.

I'm just throwing these ideas out there. I really haven't thought them through much beyond what it took to write them down for this post.


Last edited by eMouse on Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:00 am 
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eMouse wrote:
How much does the current system reward margin of victory or total number of points for tie-breaking?


It doesn't.

You either win or you lose.

That's pretty much it.

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:01 am 
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Nivuahc wrote:
eMouse wrote:
How much does the current system reward margin of victory or total number of points for tie-breaking?


It doesn't.

You either win or you lose.

That's pretty much it.


I mean in the scope of the tournament... although recalling the post about alphabetical order being one of the key tie-breakers in the DCI pairing system, I suppose the answer is still the same!

To draw an example from MW again, there were a variety of tiebreakers, official and unofficial, that you'd see used at tournaments, such as total victory conditions won, and total points retained. At a high level, players will always play not just to win, but to maximize their standings in the rankings. So if, in the case of MW, total VCs are a tie-breaker, the player will go into a match knowing if they need to win all three to get an advantage against similarly ranked players, or if they can get by just winning with two VCs.

In the same way, making 'total points earned' and 'margin of victory' may increase the need to gain points in high level play, and thus increase play speed.


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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:25 am 
Really Cool Alien from a Cantina
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Potential scoring option (a positive reinforcement method):

1 game point for majority point total (current method)
1 bonus game point for 50% opponent kill, either player
1 bonus game point for 100% opponent kill (obviously last man standing)

Potential scores at 150 points are:
1-0 for a 5-3 game
2-0 for a 80-70 game
2-1 for a 100-90 game
3-0 for a 155-70 game
3-1 for a 155-90 game


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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:31 am 
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Potential Gambit changes:

-Only characters that count toward kill points can gain gambit points.
-only 1 player a turn gains gambit points
-character with highest team points gains gambit points
-if equal points, character closest to center gains gambit points
-if both equal points and equal distance, neither gets gambit points

Reduces influence of gambit scoring on win conditions but not the need to be in gambit


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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:57 am 
Really Cool Alien from a Cantina
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MandalMauler wrote:
Potential scoring option (a positive reinforcement method):

1 game point for majority point total (current method)
1 bonus game point for 50% opponent kill, either player
1 bonus game point for 100% opponent kill (obviously last man standing)

Potential scores at 150 points are:
1-0 for a 5-3 game
2-0 for a 80-70 game
2-1 for a 100-90 game
3-0 for a 155-70 game
3-1 for a 155-90 game


Ok, this will require new DCI tourney software (which will be a problem), but is the concept in the right direction? Will this promote more engagement?


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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:04 pm 
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So you know, you can edit your own posts instead of replying to them here. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:26 pm 
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MandalMauler wrote:
Ok, this will require new DCI tourney software (which will be a problem), but is the concept in the right direction? Will this promote more engagement?



Well that's part of the problem... if it were a simple task to change the DCI software (or write our own) it would be pretty simple: Matches get scored by victory points. If you want to win, score more points. And the total for the day determines the winner of the day. Problem solved (also solves the tie-breaker issues since two people getting the exact same score would be pretty rare).

But that's just it. The current software doesn't allow for that (or anything else outside of what we've always had) and the odds of us getting it changed are about equal to the odds of me being put in charge of Design and Development of Star Wars Miniatures at WotC. Is there a chance? An extremely, extremely, extremely small one, sure. But is it very likely? No, not at all.

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Last edited by Nivuahc on Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:26 pm 
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Hmmm....interesting suggestion in there though.

What if you only get gambit if your character is the highest point piece in the gambit area? If both pieces are the same cost, then you go to the closest from the center rule. If still tied, then look at the next closest pieces. If there are no other pieces in the gambit zone, then neither player gets the points?

Makes gambit a tad more complex, but it would serve to encourage players to put their larger pieces in the gambit area, rather than just camp out with a Mouse Droid or a Gran Raider.

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:28 pm 
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LoboStele wrote:
Hmmm....interesting suggestion in there though.

What if you only get gambit if your character is the highest point piece in the gambit area? If both pieces are the same cost, then you go to the closest from the center rule. If still tied, then look at the next closest pieces. If there are no other pieces in the gambit zone, then neither player gets the points?

Makes gambit a tad more complex, but it would serve to encourage players to put their larger pieces in the gambit area, rather than just camp out with a Mouse Droid or a Gran Raider.


Neat concept but what does it accomplish? Not much, in the arena of encouraging faster play.

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:28 pm 
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Ok, just an idea from the top of my head:

Why not bring down the points total needed for a victory? If you needed to end a round with 100 victory points in order to win a 150 points game, wouldn't that precipitate engagement? It's rewarding engagement with victory. As a further incentive, why not add that if no one manages to score a victory within the aloted time, then both players get a loss. I can't imagine a game going to time in those conditions. In any case, if you managed to kill 2/3 of a Rebel team, there isn't much left to keep up the fight. Gives more power to Lobot, that's for sure. Gambit is even more important as well. The rule against reinforcement pieces scoring gambit would become even more important. Anything else obscenely horrid about it?

I also like the idea of contested gambit (points going to the most expensive figure). Kind of like an auction for points.

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:36 pm 
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LoboStele wrote:
Hmmm....interesting suggestion in there though.

What if you only get gambit if your character is the highest point piece in the gambit area? If both pieces are the same cost, then you go to the closest from the center rule. If still tied, then look at the next closest pieces. If there are no other pieces in the gambit zone, then neither player gets the points?

Makes gambit a tad more complex, but it would serve to encourage players to put their larger pieces in the gambit area, rather than just camp out with a Mouse Droid or a Gran Raider.


But with gambit as open as it is on the newer maps, that's a fools errand. And not worth the points

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:43 pm 
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Nivuahc wrote:
LoboStele wrote:
Hmmm....interesting suggestion in there though.

What if you only get gambit if your character is the highest point piece in the gambit area? If both pieces are the same cost, then you go to the closest from the center rule. If still tied, then look at the next closest pieces. If there are no other pieces in the gambit zone, then neither player gets the points?

Makes gambit a tad more complex, but it would serve to encourage players to put their larger pieces in the gambit area, rather than just camp out with a Mouse Droid or a Gran Raider.


Neat concept but what does it accomplish? Not much, in the arena of encouraging faster play.


No, good point, doesn't encourage faster play, but it would force people to risk more in order to get those points. If all you have on your squad are some Ugnaughts, and then your big pieces, but your opponent has gran raiders or Caamasi, well, then you aren't going to be getting gambit until you start putting your big pieces out there in the middle. In some match-ups, putting your big guys in the middle will just get them killed. So, in that case, the only way to win will be to go engage the enemy.

I don't know, might be ways to abuse it. Was just an idea based off what MandalMauler posted.

@ darth_waste: making the victory conditions 2/3s of the squad build instead of the full thing doesn't really make much difference. People will just play to get to 100 instead of playing to get to 150. If you're going to consider awarding losses for people not reaching the victory condition, then you may as well just do it for the full amount.

In addition, a system like that would give an unnecessary amount of power to B&B or GMLS style squads, where it would be possible to kill a few of your opponent's pieces and then retreat. Granted, that would cause a double-loss, but if you're sure you can't win, there are people who would abuse it to make sure their opponent couldn't win either.

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 Post subject: Re: So how do we put a stop to this?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:57 pm 
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LoboStele wrote:
Hmmm....interesting suggestion in there though.

What if you only get gambit if your character is the highest point piece in the gambit area? If both pieces are the same cost, then you go to the closest from the center rule. If still tied, then look at the next closest pieces. If there are no other pieces in the gambit zone, then neither player gets the points?

Makes gambit a tad more complex, but it would serve to encourage players to put their larger pieces in the gambit area, rather than just camp out with a Mouse Droid or a Gran Raider.



I think you might be on the mark there lobo. The idea of only one person getting gambit has been floating around for a while. I think to solve some of the open gambit problems, Don has brought up, is to change it a little from what it is to a line or a couple rows of cells that crosses the map in the center. This would also simplify the counting squares for closest to center point to closest to center line for a gambit line or just being in the cell rows for the other. If there is a tie then the larger piece gains gambit and if there is a tie in that then no one gets gambit.

The line or rows of cells would also cause more incentive to use other parts of the maps, which may lead to other types of squads to be used that can compete in the rooms or such but don't have a chance with the current gambit. (some of the illegal maps may be usable again and keep some of the current ones legal)

EDIT: I just realized I didn't answer Boris's question.

Well I wouldn't be opposed to a time thing like chess. If you don't activate one piece and move it within 1 minute and hit the timer stop then your highest cost piece is activated in its spot.(This is only for making a move movement and you will still get attack rolls, evades, fp or other uses after movement or the 1 minute move time)

Another thing is just to get rid of time limit and make it so many rounds.

A third option is the chess timer again, but you hit it after each activation is done. So it keeps a running tally of how much of the game time you used. Defender pieces who use evade and fp like riposte would also have to hit time to show time they use also. At end of game if there is a 10 minute gap between players, the person who uses less time gains a 20 victory points to there total. Less then 10 minutes gap would equal no VPs.

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