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 Post subject: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:00 am 
Master of the Order
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For those of you that missed a discussion, Nickname posed a question on wizards regarding using an optional restricted maplist for top level tournaments (essentially regionals, GenCon championship, etc.) <Link to that thread: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/ ... um=10&pg=1

The "sure bets" on his maplist consisted of the following maps:

Chancellor's Starship (Throne Room)
Ravaged Base (Commander's Office)
Cloud City (Bespin)
Muunilinst Grand Plaza
Jedi Temple (Hall of Judgment)
Rancor Pit


I really liked this list the more I thought about it. I have played several games since this discussion specifically on these maps and once thing has become clear to me - Games move much faster on these maps.

I believe there are many factors to why slow play is prevalent. Maps are a huge contributing factor IMO.

Huge power output non-melee pieces with mobility (double-twin greater mobile, etc) and movement breakers (Swaps, high speed, etc) often make any minor placement mistake you might make fatal.

Couple this with out-activating an opponent (I'm looking at you three, San Hill, Ozzel and Dodanna), and you can always safely get a piece into gambit at the end of the round for an early point lead.

Using maps where there are large unprotected areas (Taris, New Muunulinst, Teth Monastery) - especially in gambit, often forces an opponent with this decision: Lose by a minor amount of points, or make a suicidal run across un-protective terrain to desperately (and usually unsuccessfully) attempt to win the game.

Here is how many GenCon matches went for many people:
-Bring a squad with mobile, non-melee high power output.
-Have a way to out-activate an opponent.
-Bring a map that strongly favors shooters.
-gain a lead early through sniping figs or out-activating and safely placing a fig in gambit at the end of the round.
-sit back and watch your opponent scratch their head and try and figure out what they heck they can do.
-winner is decided by only a few points scored(ie 10-5), or a slaughter if they make the suicidal run.

I think the new rules will combat some of this, but I think that losing bad maps will have a bigger effect.

If you look at the "Nickname 6" - all of these maps have relatively safe paths of advancement to gambit. They also have walls in gambit - so an opponent can just sit back in their starting area and shoot any square in gambit. This is a good thing - no both teams can and must advance.

Most of the games I've played and observed recently on these maps it goes something more like this:
-Bring any competitive squad you want
-Bring a "Nickname 6" map
-Both teams advance carefully but quickly to gambit or near gambit.
-a great battle takes place - with no easy way to predict it. Excellent play usually prevails.
-winner is decided by who emerges victorious by killing the entire other team.

Everyone of my games I've played on the "Nickname 6" (since this discussion started) has finished in 30-40 minutes. This was WITHOUT playing with the new DCI changes that are upcoming. Heck I've only seen one single match go to time since then on one of those maps, and it was a mostly melee anomaly between Jake and Deri this weekend.

Long story short - I really hope we do adopt the "Nickname 6" for high level competitions. Everyone seems focused on how to help stop slow play - and I think this would be a huge contributor.


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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:55 pm 
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Tim, I agree with you that maps are part of the issue. But I've faced slow play on Ravaged Base just as often as Taris. Matt P and I played a game on Starship in 08 that was done in 15 minutes. The issue isn't primarily about the maps, it's about the mindset of the players I believe.

Now don't get me wrong, I proposed the solution Jason was working off of, that is to have a hyper-restricted map list for a Championship format, and then more open map lists for other formats. But slow play isn't the primary reason for doing so. The issue is fairness, competitiveness and fun. These maps are the best ones because they let you get into the battle and give a fair chance for melee figures to do something in the game. That's the primary reason they are better for competitive play.

Slow players will do it equally on any map. The difference tends to be how easy or difficult it tends to be for the guy trying to play the game to catch up. On these maps you have more options than simply play by their slow play rules. On the others you have a few other options, although, a 4 round game on Ravaged base still plays out pretty much the same as a 4 round match on Teth.

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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:50 pm 
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There are always going to be some extenuating circumstances or matchups that will lead to slow games.

But I do think there's something to the gameplay on these maps that does tend to increase the speed.

They don't require the same level of precision movement and piecemeal advances that some maps do that doom you with a bad move. Those maps can bog down into 3 rounds of very pinpoint movement and endless LOS checks on potential enemy moves without much combat.

These maps are more forgiving on first round movement, and tend to force closing distance earlier (making combat start earlier) to avoid getting more than one round of gambit behind.

And then of course the obvious that you have far fewer stalemate situations where neither player wants to get near gambit at all. Stalemates, if they occur, will generally be more related to sitting on opposing sides of a door in gambit that's locked or disadvantageous for the person who opens it.

PS. This probably should have been discussed sooner, but is there any reason NOT to change the 10 round inactivity countdown to 5 rounds in this new era where we are trying to promote completing games? I can't think of a reason where a game that's gotten to 5 is doing anything other than waiting for it to reach 9-10 so a move is forced.

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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:39 pm 
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Yeah, I've seen my fair share of stalemates on Ravaged Base where neither person wants to come out of their gambit hidey-hole, or on Starship where nobody wants to come around from the safe side of the gambit wall. In most of those situations though, it's pretty obvious who will end up winning if neither player makes a move, so the player who will lose is usually forced to take action. At least with maps like Starship or Ravaged Base, there is less detriment to that losing player while trying to charge. Less distance to cross, and harder to set up long shots to really punish that player.

Also, in many situations that become a stale-mate, the higher point piece in gambit is often a melee piece. On a map like Ravaged Base, it means the shooters have to close the gap, and make the charge. This still provides a reasonable amount of protection for the melee units, and helps balance the game. On a map like Taris, the shooter squad knows it can sit back, or advance towards gambit, because they know that the melee squad doesn't stand a chance of closing the gap.

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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:08 pm 
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I like the list, and as I mentioned on WOTC I'd have no problem making it 7 or 8 by including Mos Eisley.
My quote from there;

[quote author=57159998 post=381175349]I've spent a lot of time thinking abotu it and I think Mos Eisley should be included, without a doubt. It well balanced and even teams with Stealth or Cloaked still need some careful movement to get where they're going safely, and there is plenty of ways to advance safetly.

As for Courascant Nightclub, I like it, but I'm not sold on it, reason is, it's not a common map, however it is very one half used, it's hard to effectively use the full map.[/quote]

And while I agree with Bill that it's often a player problem more so then a map problem, but some of the maps sure as heck make it easy for that style of play.

I love so much of Chris' new stuff I wish he had learned this stuff when WOTC was prepping the map packs so we'd get some of his newer releases available here...too bad....because a lot of the other maps are bad.

I'm still considering Death Star as a possible, I think it's just very well known and howmany of us really need to even pull string on it anymore we've used it soo many times we should have them memorized by know, but it does have a big open area that shooters thrive in.

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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:39 pm 
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The thing about the limited list is that it's trying to force a different style of play.

As much as I know and love Death Star, it's a complete enabler for the style of play we've come to accept (though not always prefer) for the last couple years. If you include it, everyone uses it, and nothing changes making the list pointless.

If you want that style, just play the standard list instead of the limited list because it contains 3-4 maps that promote it including Death Star.

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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:14 pm 
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put this on wizards but i'll post it here too

the recent tests that i've been involved with didn't have activation control and, as far as when i was involved, there wasn't really a desire to track points.

Furthermore, no squad was built to push for a points victory (we also had no locking of doors closed).

There is a huge dependency on intent in how a game plays out.
The maps that have been abused of late allowed a common strategy where a player gets ahead and stays ahead by getting gambit and denying to to others.

Its harder to do on the NN6 maps but not impossible.

The fact remains that the easiest way to compete is to stay alive, the easiest way to stay alive is to avoid close contact and the easiest way to avoid contact and win is to amass points.

The real test is to take one of these maps and try to push for somekind of points/lockout win. Jedi Temple looks like the best candidate for that due to the huge open expanses on either side of the central divide and a lot of central doors.

Build with several override pieces, fast accurate shooter etc and aim to control doors while controlling the center and taking out door control.

This tactic is still valid but it is disadvantageous (or it will be in the new year) as you win a fraction victory not a full victory.

The real change to game time will come when intent of the players changes from "i will out score you" to "i will beat you down".

The result of these maps preventing easy point scoring (as its fairly easy to get to the center on most) coupled with the change in intent of each player is what has amounted to a shorter game, IMO.

My wookiee squad was purely a rush squad and Jakes was a melee squad also. Niether had a defensive playstyle so the games on the weekend were short mainly because of intent (and as you point out, my game v Jake was not short). If i had brought a Cad Bane Thrawn squad and played Meta then my goal would have been to win by whatever means.
That would probably have consisted of high activations and snaking points from whatever source i could and playing defensively. I have no doubt that taking that tact would have slowed games down considerably unless Jake got frustrated and ran at me.

You have to consider the mindset of the players when making these tests. Are the players just looking to get in a ruck? Or are they trying to turn the screw and squeeze whatever juice they can out of the rules?

I believe the maps and the rules changes will go a long way to prevent the point fests and gambit hogging that was prevalent at GC in 2009 but i'd be lying if I said that i don't believe it still won't occur.

SWM is increasingly becoming a game that, when played intensely, takes a significant amount of time to play. Its interactions are complex, the maps are large and square counting of distances +18 squares is common place. You can't expect a player to make a judgement that might cost him the game in a few short seconds when he has to first find the safe squares for his piece and then decide which is best for his strategy. The fact that this happens 5- 6 times a round makes a round easily last 15 mins.

Even when you restrict a map to 5 x 14 games often take 30 mins. Add a 10 fold increase in the number of squares (70 to 748) and you significantly slow the rate of thought.

I don't have a summary sentence as i'm just regurgitating thoughts but i don't believe the speed of this game is purely what maps you bring. Its probably some combination of
Point total, map size, intent, skill level, activation number and survivability of the pieces.

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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:00 pm 
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Of course maps aren't the only factor. Didn't mean to imply they were. I agree that there are many factors, and no matter what, some games will go to time. I just wanted to explore and get others input on specifically how maps effect playspeed. Maps shouldn't be chosen for playspeed - I just find it interesting that when you choose maps for other factors (fairness and competitiveness as Bill pointed out) - it also makes games quicker. I can't really disagree with anything anyone has said in this thread so far. I just thought that the relationship between map selection and playspeed hadn't been examined as closely as I'd like, and that specific point was my intent. I didn't think it was the miracle cure all, but rather another reason to push for the restricted list.


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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:50 am 
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TimmerB123 wrote:
Of course maps aren't the only factor. Didn't mean to imply they were. I agree that there are many factors, and no matter what, some games will go to time. I just wanted to explore and get others input on specifically how maps effect playspeed. Maps shouldn't be chosen for playspeed - I just find it interesting that when you choose maps for other factors (fairness and competitiveness as Bill pointed out) - it also makes games quicker. I can't really disagree with anything anyone has said in this thread so far. I just thought that the relationship between map selection and playspeed hadn't been examined as closely as I'd like, and that specific point was my intent. I didn't think it was the miracle cure all, but rather another reason to push for the restricted list.


I agree with this :)

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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:22 am 
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NickName wrote:
The thing about the limited list is that it's trying to force a different style of play.

As much as I know and love Death Star, it's a complete enabler for the style of play we've come to accept (though not always prefer) for the last couple years. If you include it, everyone uses it, and nothing changes making the list pointless.

If you want that style, just play the standard list instead of the limited list because it contains 3-4 maps that promote it including Death Star.


I agree wholeheartedly.

Death Star is treated with disgust by many players I know (and myself) because as much as I hate to say it the layout of Taris and Death Star are not that dissimilar. Death Star has all of it's ugly points taken to another level with Taris.

Outside of YoBuck/Skywalker and loads of other Movement breakers/mass tempo control Melee is virtually never played because of maps like Death Star.

You want to get people excited for GenCon and top level play? Let them use iconic pieces like Yoda, Vader, etc and not just two Generals who showed up in a half a dozen scenes combined in two movies with Han and Leia.

Widening the maps not only widens meta, it widens interest.


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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:24 pm 
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joelker41 wrote:
NickName wrote:
The thing about the limited list is that it's trying to force a different style of play.

As much as I know and love Death Star, it's a complete enabler for the style of play we've come to accept (though not always prefer) for the last couple years. If you include it, everyone uses it, and nothing changes making the list pointless.

If you want that style, just play the standard list instead of the limited list because it contains 3-4 maps that promote it including Death Star.


I agree wholeheartedly.

Death Star is treated with disgust by many players I know (and myself) because as much as I hate to say it the layout of Taris and Death Star are not that dissimilar. Death Star has all of it's ugly points taken to another level with Taris.

Outside of YoBuck/Skywalker and loads of other Movement breakers/mass tempo control Melee is virtually never played because of maps like Death Star.

You want to get people excited for GenCon and top level play? Let them use iconic pieces like Yoda, Vader, etc and not just two Generals who showed up in a half a dozen scenes combined in two movies with Han and Leia.

Widening the maps not only widens meta, it widens interest.


I get most of what you are saying but hte last sentince seems to be an annomilly as it counter points the rest of your remark. Limit the maps widens the meta, and in turn widens interest is what I was expecting. After all, we've seen as you and Jason agree, the deaht star has flaws but not the the same degree as Taris. But I can let hte DS go in big tounries if thats the conscensis. Not a deal breaker at all. I'm more interested in Tatooine remaining the DS anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:30 pm 
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dalsiandon wrote:
joelker41 wrote:
NickName wrote:
The thing about the limited list is that it's trying to force a different style of play.

As much as I know and love Death Star, it's a complete enabler for the style of play we've come to accept (though not always prefer) for the last couple years. If you include it, everyone uses it, and nothing changes making the list pointless.

If you want that style, just play the standard list instead of the limited list because it contains 3-4 maps that promote it including Death Star.


I agree wholeheartedly.

Death Star is treated with disgust by many players I know (and myself) because as much as I hate to say it the layout of Taris and Death Star are not that dissimilar. Death Star has all of it's ugly points taken to another level with Taris.

Outside of YoBuck/Skywalker and loads of other Movement breakers/mass tempo control Melee is virtually never played because of maps like Death Star.

You want to get people excited for GenCon and top level play? Let them use iconic pieces like Yoda, Vader, etc and not just two Generals who showed up in a half a dozen scenes combined in two movies with Han and Leia.

Widening the maps not only widens meta, it widens interest.


I get most of what you are saying but hte last sentince seems to be an annomilly as it counter points the rest of your remark. Limit the maps widens the meta, and in turn widens interest is what I was expecting. After all, we've seen as you and Jason agree, the deaht star has flaws but not the the same degree as Taris. But I can let hte DS go in big tounries if thats the conscensis. Not a deal breaker at all. I'm more interested in Tatooine remaining the DS anyway.


What I meant is all of the 6 maps could be used by a vareiety of squads. Taris/teth/train station were the dominant maps in regionals and gencon mostly due to speeder and anti speeder squads working on their respective maps.


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 Post subject: Re: How the "Nickname 6" restricted maplist affects play speed
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:10 pm 
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joelker41 wrote:

What I meant is all of the 6 maps could be used by a vareiety of squads. Taris/teth/train station were the dominant maps in regionals and gencon mostly due to speeder and anti speeder squads working on their respective maps.


Okay

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:55 pm 
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joelker41 wrote:
What I meant is all of the 6 maps could be used by a vareiety of squads. Taris/teth/train station were the dominant maps in regionals and gencon mostly due to speeder and anti speeder squads working on their respective maps.


This is precisely why the map list has to be heavily restricted. Even one abusive map will push it's use to the top, and the squads that function on it. Very few people will bring a balanced map to a top level competitive event, they will always go for the one that gives their squad the biggest advantage. Hence why a lot of people are questioning the use of Deathstar in this. I am 50/50 on Deathstar, but I don't pretend that it wouldn't be the map of choice for any shooter squad should this map list be utilized. It would be, and then anyone who wanted to play in that tournament, would need a squad that could deal with it, and so on.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 8:56 pm 
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Agreed. As much as I've always enjoyed playing on Death Star, I do personally think it has to go if we're hoping that the hyper-restricted map list is also well-balanced.

And yes, I DO think that the map plays a significant factor in the play speed of the players. When both players' squads have a chance to maneuver well on a given map, those players will be able to take their turns more quickly than they would if they were constantly having to double- and triple-check their LOS because advancement and movement are so unbalanced in one way or the other. I think it's fair and obvious to say that a melee-centric squad will play faster on Rancor Pit or Ravaged Base than it will on Death Star and Rattatak Arena, because it has far more advancement options and safe zones (and is therefore harder to pin down) on the former two maps than it does on the latter two.

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