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Board Game: Terra Mystica
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Subject: Fire & Ice Ladder - Official Thread rss

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Chris Harris
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It's time for the Fire&Ice Ladder! It's Sunday somewhere in the world so I feel justified in kicking this off - look out for your first game appearing soon!

Whilst generally there will be 2 weeks between games, the second game will begin after just one week. This is mainly to accommodate my holiday the week after but I also think it'll be a good way to get started. Both the first two rounds will be randomly allocated.

If you want to join, leave, or just opt out of the second round of games, email FireIceLadder@gmail.com with your snellman username
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Chris Harris
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Full ladder here: fireiceladder.azurewebsites.net

Top Ten as of 16th June 2018:
1 MattTheLesser
2 harq
3 Kin
4 sprockitz
5 Greenraingw
6 Dhrun
7 CTKShadow
8 Grovast
9 thejordan
10 steve496
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Robert
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First upvoter!
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Ryan Feathers
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Just to be clear, I don't need to email you if I want to continue to stay on the ladder after I've joined, right? I think that's how it works but I'm not 100% certain.
 
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Chris Harris
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That's right - it's opt-out not opt-in
 
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Chris Harris
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I want to introduce the concept of "Champion Points" - this is supposed to be analogous to "winning D1" in TMTour (note I said analogous not equivalent!)

Basically you get a Champion Point for "winning from the top of the ladder". i.e. when a game finishes, if the winner of the game was *already* at the top of the ladder, they get a Champion Point and these points are displayed on the main page.

I hope this will also mitigate an issue I've spotted with the current format - there's a fairly high incentive if you're topping the ladder, to delay completion of a game you're winning until something else happens to push you off the top of the ladder (e.g. you lose a different game; someone else in the top 5 wins one of their games).

Thoughts - and better name suggestions - welcomed!
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Roland Bakker
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Perfect idea; I was thinking about champion points myself too! I really think this is an enhancement; although chances are I wont benefit myself
 
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Robert
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fruityharris wrote:
I want to introduce the concept of "Champion Points" - this is supposed to be analogous to "winning D1" in TMTour (note I said analogous not equivalent!)

Basically you get a Champion Point for "winning from the top of the ladder". i.e. when a game finishes, if the winner of the game was *already* at the top of the ladder, they get a Champion Point and these points are displayed on the main page.
Isn't that going to be quite hard, unless the #1 player again "massages" the duration of his/her game so it happens?

At time T, a player X wins a game and makes it to #1. While playing the next game, some of the games with players on #2-#5 will end, and with some likelihood one of these will become the new #1 - and there's nothing which X can do to prevent this. So the best way to get a champion point will be to win two games in close succession: one to get you to #1, the next to get you the Champion Point. Which encourages the undesirable behavior of dragging out the earlier game until the next one is almost finished too.
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Ola Caster
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DocCool wrote:
fruityharris wrote:
I want to introduce the concept of "Champion Points" - this is supposed to be analogous to "winning D1" in TMTour (note I said analogous not equivalent!)

Basically you get a Champion Point for "winning from the top of the ladder". i.e. when a game finishes, if the winner of the game was *already* at the top of the ladder, they get a Champion Point and these points are displayed on the main page.
Isn't that going to be quite hard, unless the #1 player again "massages" the duration of his/her game so it happens?

At time T, a player X wins a game and makes it to #1. While playing the next game, some of the games with players on #2-#5 will end, and with some likelihood one of these will become the new #1 - and there's nothing which X can do to prevent this. So the best way to get a champion point will be to win two games in close succession: one to get you to #1, the next to get you the Champion Point. Which encourages the undesirable behavior of dragging out the earlier game until the next one is almost finished too.
Yes, maybe better (if it can be checked) that you get a CP if you win a game that you _started_ at the top of the ladder.
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Robert
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kruppy wrote:
Yes, maybe better (if it can be checked) that you get a CP if you win a game that you _started_ at the top of the ladder.
That's clearly an improvement.

We'll see how it goes, but I expect to see the #1 change several time between two game starts, especially when games drag on beyond the start of the next session. If that is so, then some player X may become #1 but before the next session starts, some other player Y whose game ran slower (for whatever reason whistle) may already replace X as #1. However Champion Points are awarded, it should not encourage slow play.

Maybe simplify this and award a daily Champion Point to the player on #1? Ideally start this only in a month or two when the ladder has at least begun to sort itself out?
 
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Chris Harris
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Hmm, good points.

kruppy's idea would be good but yeah, a bit of a pain to implement.

Something more like "ending 2 consecutive games on top of the ladder" might work?

As Doc says, this should wait a bit anyway.
 
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Ola Caster
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DocCool wrote:

Maybe simplify this and award a daily Champion Point to the player on #1? Ideally start this only in a month or two when the ladder has at least begun to sort itself out?
Not so bad, but there could be multiple leader changes over the course of a day, right?
 
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Ola Caster
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fruityharris wrote:
Hmm, good points.

kruppy's idea would be good but yeah, a bit of a pain to implement.

Something more like "ending 2 consecutive games on top of the ladder" might work?

As Doc says, this should wait a bit anyway.
How are you planning to keep track of games anyway? Do you have an automatic parser or is it manual labour?
 
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Robert
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kruppy wrote:
DocCool wrote:

Maybe simplify this and award a daily Champion Point to the player on #1? Ideally start this only in a month or two when the ladder has at least begun to sort itself out?
Not so bad, but there could be multiple leader changes over the course of a day, right?
Yes, that could be. But it will be rare, as during each two week session, there are only 3 games or so which may catapult somebody to the top, so I'd expect to see only a few changes over the course of a session.

There may still be an incentive to delay an almost-won game until the other #1-competitor's game has ended, at least if there are situations where the sequence in which two games are evaluated determines who ends up on #1, and it's the winner of the second game. I didn't check out the math - is there such a situation?
 
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Chris Harris
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kruppy wrote:

How are you planning to keep track of games anyway? Do you have an automatic parser or is it manual labour?
I'm in the middle of writing an automatic parser. But I've currently architected it so that it doesn't need to know much (if at all) about when games started, or even which games exist - ideally it would just download all games whose ids fit a given pattern and process them in order of completion.

(I'll need to do *something* to avoid abuse - e.g. people creating games with similar ids - but that's relatively straightforward or at a pinch could quite easily be done manually on an infrequent basis)
 
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Roland Bakker
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fruityharris wrote:
Hmm, good points.

kruppy's idea would be good but yeah, a bit of a pain to implement.

Something more like "ending 2 consecutive games on top of the ladder" might work?

As Doc says, this should wait a bit anyway.
Kruppy's idea sounds as the best idea to me. And perhaps it is not so hard to implement. Basically it means that when new games are started you have to note which player had the number 1 position on the ladder. This could be done by adding a column or just by marking his name in bold. When this top level game finish a check is needed to see if it's won by that player.
 
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George Sprockitz
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why not just do it that after the completion of a game you are in, if you come out #1 on the ladder then you get a point?

This would result in a few more points than the other versions, but it seems harder to abuse.
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Oedipussy Rex
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Will there be a Mr. Irrelevant award?
 
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Sparr Risher
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Crazy idea: Apply ladder position changes at the start time of the game, retroactively. I think this would eliminate many possible motivations to delay the end of a game. The down side is that it makes the visible state of the ladder less consistent. You would probably want to provide two views of the ladder, one with all available information but subject to change, one with information up to the point before the oldest unfinished game which is guaranteed not to change.

Which of these two views you use to seed new games... that's where it gets tricky.
 
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Chris Harris
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This is an interesting idea (and for the record, relatively easy to implement since the info is there in the game id).

I feel like either view would be "unsatisfying" - either a long feedback loop between winning a game and seeing it have an effect on the table, or a table that doesn't "mean" anything until other games have finished.

Would be interested to hear other people's thoughts though.
 
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Robert
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The current effect of a finished game on the ladder is based on the assumption that it's done sequentially. Evaluating all games in parallel would require a different mechanism.

Maybe Chris could evaluate all games which finished in the last two weeks just before the next session starts (as part of setting up the next session), but still use the sequence in which they finished. So the official ladder would be stable for two weeks, and in parallel a dynamic version could be shown which changes with every finished game.

Champion Points would be awarded for holding #1 at the start of a session, or -more difficult- in two consecutive sessions.
 
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Steve Haas
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If you wanted to get really crazy, you could declare that all games started in batch N get evaluated in the order they finish, and before all the games from batch N+1. This has some weird properties of having to go back and "insert" games and then recalculate a new finish order, and that the final standings for batch N don't become official until like 3 more seasons have started, but it would let you update the table as each game finishes rather than needing to batch them up.
 
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Greg W
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Steve496 wrote:
If you wanted to get really crazy, you could declare that all games started in batch N get evaluated in the order they finish, and before all the games from batch N+1. This has some weird properties of having to go back and "insert" games and then recalculate a new finish order, and that the final standings for batch N don't become official until like 3 more seasons have started, but it would let you update the table as each game finishes rather than needing to batch them up.
I actually really like this idea - it’s the cleanest way to avoid any incentives to delay a game (or move quickly). I don’t know how you were planning to present Championship points exactly, but if you didn’t want to wait too long, you could denote the leader in italics or something until it’s confirmed.
 
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Chris Harris
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gmg159 wrote:
why not just do it that after the completion of a game you are in, if you come out #1 on the ladder then you get a point?
Yeah, this is a nice and simple idea that may well be enough in practice to avert gamesmanship. Let's do that.

Steve496 wrote:
If you wanted to get really crazy, you could declare that all games started in batch N get evaluated in the order they finish, and before all the games from batch N+1. This has some weird properties of having to go back and "insert" games and then recalculate a new finish order, and that the final standings for batch N don't become official until like 3 more seasons have started, but it would let you update the table as each game finishes rather than needing to batch them up.
This would be easy enough to implement, and I can see how it wouldn't involve *too* many retrospective ladder adjustments. I don't quite see how it would reduce the incentive to delay games though - in most cases two games which were near completion and whose finishing order mattered would be from the same gameweek so this wouldn't actually change anything. Unless I'm missing something?
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Steve Haas
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As long as you're doing anything based on game finish order, you're going to have some level of timing effects to deal with. If you wanted to completely avoid them, you'd update the ladder in a way with no time-dependence - i.e., instead of updating games by order of finish, update them from the top of the ladder to the bottom (or vice versa, not sure which works better). Or even do them "simultaneously" - you give everyone a score equal to the appropriate multiple of their current rank, and then sort people in order of that score.

Short of that, you can at least minimize the impact of timing effects by having them only affect things within a batch of games and not across batches. It doesn't stop the #1 player from stalling his game to re-pass the #5 player when/if he wins his game, but at least they're only stalling to defend against that one game in that one batch, and not any potential future wins for the next two or three sets of games.
 
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