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 Post subject: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:24 am 
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Yo.

I want to tap into your experience if I may. I'm trying to grow our group in NZ (Save11) - not necessarily numerically (although that's all good!), but as players. I've been pushing for as many of our games as possible (all our "tournament" games) to be 200 points to an hour time limit, or 75 minutes in case of Vassal games. Its going well and we're making some really good strides. Everyone is relatively keen to get up to Tournament-speed. That's good - the resistance to being able to get through a 200-point game in an hour (which I keep insisting is how its done) is minimal.

We are still finding, however, that we can sometimes only get through maybe as little as four rounds before time is up and our completion rate is prolly 1 in 4, or 1 in 5. Hmmm. And we do still encounter the issue of running through a game at a good speed and then a tricky decision strikes one of us and - bam! - the round slows down as the indecision mounts.

This is prolly too much a simplistic explanation of the nuances that make up our situation, but I'm keen to get some idea of what I can be doing to grow the group. I'd like to ask y'all two things: 1, What tips/ideas can y'all offer to us for growth in this area - and 2, how do y'all handle 'slow play' in terms of tournament?

(We currently award 3pts/2pts as per SWMGPA rules - so there is incentive to win under time)

Hit me.
kez

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:28 am 
Mandalore
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What ive seen from some of our locals that consistantly went to time without getting very far is getting so caught up in the indecisive moments that is almost literally paralyzes them, assumingly from being afraid to make the wrong move. Add that in to a couple playes who will recount the same 4-5 square movement about 6ish times before moving, and even then maybe not actually doing that move.

Personally, if I find myself in a tough spot, which happens to everyone, I try to spend no more than a minute or so, so as not to slow down the game too much, figuring up the options.

I think most of the time, these kinds of decisions come down to "Do I want to take this risk, and hope I roll well. If I dont, then im gonna lose X" kinds of situations. Its time to go big or go home.

Most of the time, I go big. Doesnt always work though, lol.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:10 am 
Imperial Dignitaries
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I'll let one of our certified judges respond to your second question.

But I can help with the first one: I think it all comes down to the level of confidence that the players have, and confidence is built by experience (no way to improve that except to play more) and preparation (which I'll discuss below).

-Do they know their squads well? That will be the biggest factor, I think. Practice, playtest, etc. The better they know their squad (pieces and tactics), and the better they know the rest of the pieces and tactics in the game, the more quickly they'll be able to respond to their opponent's moves.

-Have they prepared their squad for all the maps they're likely to face? Sometimes it's easy to spend 5 or even up to 10 minutes on setup if you've not thought out how you will setup your squad on a certain map.

-Have they learned to think on their opponent's turn? While my opponent is moving his fodder, I'm already counting the squares to determine where I'll move my next 2 pieces. Again, this has a lot to do with knowing your squad well.

-And then yes, we get to the inevitable game-changing decisions. Knowing how to weigh all the options and think clearly in the face of important decisions...these are situations where only experience will hold the answer. So when it gets to this point in the match, the player making the decision should say, "This'll take a minute; it's a big decision." And there should be no problem with that. But if a minute turns into 5, then you call a judge over. In a situation like that, the player already knows what his options are, so it's not likely that he's missing something. He just needs to jump into his decision with both feet, and learn from it, whether the results are good or bad. Paralysis is not the mark of a good player; rather, the ability to act decisively and live with the consequences is. Make a decision and live with it. This is how experience is built. As they say, people often learn more from their losses than they do from their victories; don't be afraid to make a bad decision...just learn from it.

2 years ago, I started working really hard to speed up my play speed, and I found these factors to be important and helpful to me. I hope they are for your group too. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:22 am 
Big Bad Brad
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In regards to 2:

Assuming you're the judge, make it clear to your group what slow play is and how it will be called. Then stick to your guns and call it when you see it.

Generally speaking, if I've given a slow play warning out to a player I am more likely (but not always) to give his opponent a 3 point victory. I will never (almost) give a 3 point win to a player I gave the slow play warning to.

Slow play warning generally don't carry over from game to game, but in some instance they can. Generally, if I give you two in a single round then it's a loss (usually I can just let the game play out then award a 3 point win), but two over two rounds doesn't result in an auto-loss. If I have to give you 1 every round then we have a problem. I've never had this problem in a tournament (though I have warned a friend he was getting close), but yeah I'm going to DQ the guy.

Lastly, you may have friends who play the game, but people playing the game are not your friends :)

Trust me, the good friends and healthy competitors will respect that.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:10 am 
Mandalore
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The_Celestial_Warrior wrote:
I will never (almost) give a 3 point win to a player I gave the slow play warning to.


What if the person who got the slowplay warning won the game before time was called? Just curious.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:13 am 
Big Bad Brad
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Disturbed1 wrote:
The_Celestial_Warrior wrote:
I will never (almost) give a 3 point win to a player I gave the slow play warning to.


What if the person who got the slowplay warning won the game before time was called? Just curious.


It's never happened, but I would think it would be obvious in context. Especially since a judges call never comes into play in a game that gets to 200 (or X) before time.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:25 pm 
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One thing that can be helpful is to get everyone on the same page about the time limit. It's not about playing your absolute best--it's about playing as well as you can while still being able to complete the game in the time limit.

During the transition, you'll make a few more mistakes. But not too many. And you'll learn from them. From watching people play slowly, I've found that they don't make better decisions in most cases after taking a lot of time. The delay is from complete indecision, not from careful planning, and that indecision tends to remain until guilt eventually prompts them to make a move they remain unsure about. So if you remain unsure after a minute, just move something because you aren't likely to be in any better position in 5 minutes.

Another thing is spending time on insignificant moves. Pick your battles. You should know going into a round if you're moving attackers or scrubs first. If it's scrubs, then you should be moving them almost instantly. Slow player spend way too much time recounting and checking LOSes for Ugos.

Another thing is checking a bunch of possible moves, then activating a scrub or commander in place. You should be checking all those things during your opponents turn in most cases. If you're going to waste a bunch of time, it should lead to something relevent. If you're pretty sure you're going to spin Mas Amedda, just do it and conserve the "thinking time" for something more important.

Another thing that can be helpful is thinking of the game like a sport. You've got a 30 second clock and 3 time outs that are a couple minutes each. Outside of those time outs you should be moving within 30 seconds. And when you reach a moment you think important, say "I'm going to think about this for a minute". And be strict with yourself about not doing that more than 2-3 times per game.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:52 pm 
Death Star Designers
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NickName wrote:
Another thing is spending time on insignificant moves. Pick your battles. You should know going into a round if you're moving attackers or scrubs first. If it's scrubs, then you should be moving them almost instantly. Slow player spend way too much time recounting and checking LOSes for Ugos.



This is something that I see a lot of and definitely slows a game waaaay down.

Also, if you have an obvious good move, take it. Don't be TOO eager (if you do, you'll easily be baited by your opponent), but if I make a big mistake or if you pretty much have to do something, go ahead and do it. I hate when my opponent has a really obvious move that I know both he and I see but he spends 5 minutes making sure he does it exactly right.

For example, in a game recently I had a 30 HP Republic Commando adjacent to my opponent's Ferus Olin, who had activated. It was my opponent's turn, and he had a Mouse Droid within 6 squares of Ferus and Leia un-activated. It was very late in the game so there wasn't much left on the board, and late in the round so I think Leia was actually the only un-activated piece left (maybe a couple of scrubs left); using Leia to give Ferus an attack to kill the Commando was very obviously the best move (Leia couldn't give the shot to anyone else significant). He then spent multiple minutes trying to figure out how he could get LoS to kill one of my diplomats with Leia who wasn't really doing anything, and wasn't even worth victory points because I brought him in with Lobot. There was only a few minutes left on the clock so we would only get one more round in, and he was up by a pretty large number of points. That was NOT the time to burn time trying to get an insignificant kill when he already knew exactly what he was going to do.

It was pretty blatant slow playing. It was also very frustrating for me as a player because I knew he was going to kill the Commando, HE knew he was going to kill the Commando, and we also both knew that it really didn't matter much what Leia did, because neither her positioning nor the presence of that diplomat had any bearing on the outcome of the game. He was going for the best move, but like NickName pointed out, you're not supposed to be playing your best necessarily, you're supposed to be playing the best that you can within the time limit. Oh, and he didn't even get the shot on the diplomat; he figured out there was no way to do it, and just ran Leia around a corner and didn't shoot with her, then gave her CE to Ferus and killed the Commando.


But if it's an important move, feel free to spend a few minutes thinking about it, as long as you can keep up the pace for the rest of the game. Here's another example: I was playing a game against an opponent playing Double Lancer. Round 1 went by very quickly (just positioning), but Round 2 he started looking at how to attack me. He spent a few minutes figuring out his attack strategy, using one of his "time outs" as NickName put it (I really like that analogy). His strategy actually surprised me, so I immediately used one of my own "time outs" to figure out how to react. All in all, Round 2 of that game probably took 10-15 minutes (WAY longer than an average round should). However, we both got back to our regular speed after that, and played the game to completion in about 45 minutes total. Neither of us really considered the other to be abusively slow playing, because we only played slowly for that one round, while we played relatively quickly after that.

The real key is playing the game to completion. If you play 4 or 5 really slow rounds, but finish the game under the time limit, so be it. If you play 10-15 rounds and complete the game under the time limit, that's fine, too. If you play 4 or 5 slow rounds and don't finish in the time limit, someone was probably slow playing. If you play 10-15 rounds and don't finish in the time limit, someone was probably stalling, which is a slightly different issue than slow playing.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:53 pm 
The One True Sith Lord
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Completion of the game should be treated by all parties as a requirement.

why is there a shot clock in basketball?

Why is there a delay of game penalty in football?

I mean would you watch football if the game was over after the first touchdown?

We scored first lests go home we win!!!

For a time that seemed to be what Star Wars Miniatures was headed to. Your folks should have an absolute goal of finishing the game. Nobody plays a game to be ahead. They play it to win the game. A 2 point victory really isnt a victory. We use that term but really you did not win anything. You were ahead in the game.

Sometimes I think people forget this is just a game. Dont stress out.... it is supposed to be a stress release not a cause of stress. Enjoy yourself and dont be afraid to make a move even if it isnt the best one.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:23 pm 
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Rule. This all rules. You all rule.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:43 pm 
Name Calling Internet Bully
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Kezz, we had a fairly long conversation about this on the SHNN last night. Make sure you listen in to this particular show, and it might be worth it to have some of your players listen as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:36 am 
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I KNOW!

I listened to it today on my way to and from Teachers College - it was awesome guys, thanks! I'll definitely be emailing the link to that .mp3 and this thread to my guys. I think what you've all provided thus far is gold - and I got heaps out of the stuff you covered in the podcast for how to encourage them too.

Tumeke! Tino pai rawa!

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 Post subject: Re: Slow Play: The Definitive Post...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:08 pm 
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Oh... forgot to add: on your show, you were talking about how you tried the 3-2-1 scoring system and couldn't get it to work. Here's what we've been doing up until now which I think is a touch different... we award 3pts for a Win, 2pts for the tiebreaker of being ahead at time (as per what you guys do), but also award 1pt for the loser making half or more of the points required, eg. in a 200pt game, you'd get 1pt for getting at least 100. We did it to try and get people to compete to the last, in that they could even get a point out of a losing game, but they had to commit to it. That system may be detrimental or may not... I don't know how it affects game completion though. Just a thought.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:42 am 
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It was a good segment of the show.

There was some slight confusion about the alternately proposed 3-2-1 scoring. (understandable given the time and an unscripted show.) It's true I didn't really think that worked but it wasn't the one I had suggested.

The system I proposed and still think would have worked okay was:

(3-2-1-0)
3: Win complete game
2: Ahead on tiebreak
1: Lose complete game
0: Behind on tiebreak

3-2-0 is working fine right now so there's little reason to try something else just for the sake of trying, but I liked the concept of having a reward built into the scoring system for completing games even if you lost. And the math worked out okayish:

2-1 all complete beats 3-0 all incomplete.
1-2 all complete loses to 3-0 all incomplete.
3-1 all complete beats 4-0 all incomplete.
2-2 all complete ties 4-0 all incomplete. (this is where it drops to okayish vs 3-2-0, but I have a hard time fealing sorry for someone who can't complete a game in the rare case he loses this on a lower tiebreak.)

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:34 am 
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Bill and SWMgamers crew - after your advice regarding Slow Play and the great SHNN episode that had a chunk of it dedicated to our plight down here, I sent emails all around our local group with links to the gamers page and the SHNN .mp3 with instructions to study it prior to our day-long LowerHuttaCon2011 (our local Tournament in Lower Hutt, NZ) where we had 14 combatants, two entirely new folk, and a whale of a time! I am proud to annouce that of the 41 games played, 21 of them were finished in time - and the Top 8 players had 21 completed games (within time) in their 30 games! That is 70% completion from our Top 8! That's a whole mess better than where we were! (We also ran a 3-2-1 scoring system like I mentioned before and it was a pretty good indicator of where everyone was at.)

Thanks for all your continued help!

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