Your opinion is needed: competitive mode and game variants

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For the new competitive "Arena mode", should we:

Poll ended at 03 July 2019, 19:49

Force all games to be played with the same variants and number of players.
48
60%
Force all gamed to be played with the same variants, but authorize different number of players.
6
8%
Let players choose any variant / number of players for their competitive games.
26
33%
 
Total votes: 80

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sourisdudesert
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Your opinion is needed: competitive mode and game variants

Post by sourisdudesert » 02 July 2019, 19:49

Dear all,

We will soon introduce a new game mode dedicated to competitive play: the "Arena mode". This mode is distinct from the "Training" and the "Normal" modes, and is designed for those of you who wants to play for rankings, trophies and prestige, with a seasonal ladder.

There is going to be ONE "ladder" main competition each season for each game. The winner of this seasonal ladder is going to be the BGA champion of this game for the corresponding season.

These latest years, many of you wrote messages here to explain that they are uncomfortable with BGA rankings because a game can change a lot depending on variants and players number. If a game extension or a game variant drastically changes a board game, there is no doubt that it is difficult to take into account these different "tastes" of the game in a single competition. This is why all board games championships defines a "tournament format".

As a consequence, for Arena mode, we have a simple solution: force all tables using Arena mode to play with the same variants and/or number of players.

Ex: all Carcassonne tables with Arena mode would use extensions 1 and 2, and will be only 2 players games.

Of course you would be able to set table speed (fast, turn based...) in anyway. It would be also possible to do a "cycle" between the popular variants (ex: for Spring competition, play with option A, while for Summer competition play with option A and option B). Players who do not like the chosen format would simply continue to play with "Normal mode" like they are doing today.

So question: what solution should we choose for variants and Arena mode ? Should we restrict the freedom to choose between option to have a more reliable competition, or should we allow you to choose any variant - with the risk to have broken rankings ?

You can vote above for your preferred solution.

Thanks for your feedback!

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RicardoRix
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Joined: 29 April 2012, 23:43

Re: Your opinion is needed: competitive mode and game variants

Post by RicardoRix » 02 July 2019, 21:18

I only see the specific variant/players as a possible reduced freedom of choice, and also a reduced player pool.

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Jest Phulin
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Joined: 08 July 2013, 21:50

Re: Your opinion is needed: competitive mode and game variants

Post by Jest Phulin » 02 July 2019, 21:25

sourisdudesert wrote:
02 July 2019, 19:49
There is going to be ONE "ladder" main competition each season for each game.
Why only one ladder? Why not a ladder for 1v1 (which many people who play for rank seem to prefer) and a ladder for multiplayer (which others seem to enjoy)?

Number of players has a bigger impact on most games than any variation ever released.

If restricted to a single ladder, it could be a looooonnng time between competitions that people are interested in. Take Carcassonne, the most popular game being played now. Listing the variations, there's:
Base game
Base + River
Base + River + (Inns & Cathedrals)
Base + River + (Inns & Cathedrals) + (Traders & Builders)
I'm not even considering all the variants that don't include previous expansions. Realizing that each of these could be done with or without Tactics, and that's 2 years between competitions. Add in 1v1 or multiplayer, and that jumps to 4 years, or about half the age of BGA itself. (This without even adding in the scoring variations.)

I'm not saying that every player count needs to be considered for every game, but there is a drastic difference in most games changing from minimum player count allowed by the rules to more than the minimum. I mean, 7 Wonders with 7 players is only slightly different than with 6, but is a much different game than at 3 (where both players are your neighbors and you see half your starting hand again).

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sourisdudesert
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Re: Your opinion is needed: competitive mode and game variants

Post by sourisdudesert » 02 July 2019, 22:25

Jest Phulin wrote:
02 July 2019, 21:25
Why only one ladder?
Because no one wants to invest plenty of effort and time to be the world champion of game X, and after that discover than he/she is only the world champion of "game X variant A", and that there are 4 other champions with 4 other variants.

It would be a bad design decision to do otherwise.

HOWEVER:
_ If you take all games on BGA, most of them clearly have a format 90% of players will agreed for the tournament.
_ Some, especially those with expansions, can benefit from a "cycle". Except specific games, very few variants combination are really interesting (see real world tournament formats).
_ the seasonal ladder is not the whole competitive play. The tournaments are still there, and they will become more important in the future, so there are space for each game variant in BGA competitive play.
_ the good thing with seasonal ladder is... no rules or design concept is definitive. We are going to setup a first season, and it will probably be very imperfect, but for the following seasons we will be able to change the rules. So no decision is definitive here anyway...

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Jest Phulin
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Joined: 08 July 2013, 21:50

Re: Your opinion is needed: competitive mode and game variants

Post by Jest Phulin » 03 July 2019, 00:06

I was unclear on my question, I apologize.

My main question is, "Why not a 1v1 ladder and a multiplayer ladder?" As I stated before, number of players seems to have a bigger universal impact on game play than any other variant.

I fully understand trying to run 64 simultaneous ladders* in Carcassone is overkill, but 2 should be fine.

Yes, I realize this is extra work, but I would prefer a dual ladder system (2p and 2p+), rather than waiting the year or two between them for my Carcassonne example.

------------
Only keep reading if you care how I came up with the 64 variants.
*64 variants of the game, not including player counts:
1 base
3 1 expansion (river, Exp1, Exp2)
3 any 2 expansions
1 all 3 expansion
8 variants on expansion
x2 with or without tactics
x2 Cities scoring -- first ed. or international
x2 Field scoring -- first ed. or international
64 variants, (not counting variable player count, or even using the "Tiles Only" option on the expansions).

Serilo
Posts: 9
Joined: 28 February 2019, 20:43

Re: Your opinion is needed: competitive mode and game variants

Post by Serilo » 03 July 2019, 13:23

sourisdudesert wrote:
02 July 2019, 19:49
Dear all,

We will soon introduce a new game mode dedicated to competitive play: the "Arena mode". This mode is distinct from the "Training" and the "Normal" modes, and is designed for those of you who wants to play for rankings, trophies and prestige, with a seasonal ladder.

There is going to be ONE "ladder" main competition each season for each game. The winner of this seasonal ladder is going to be the BGA champion of this game for the corresponding season.

These latest years, many of you wrote messages here to explain that they are uncomfortable with BGA rankings because a game can change a lot depending on variants and players number. If a game extension or a game variant drastically changes a board game, there is no doubt that it is difficult to take into account these different "tastes" of the game in a single competition. This is why all board games championships defines a "tournament format".

As a consequence, for Arena mode, we have a simple solution: force all tables using Arena mode to play with the same variants and/or number of players.

Ex: all Carcassonne tables with Arena mode would use extensions 1 and 2, and will be only 2 players games.

Of course you would be able to set table speed (fast, turn based...) in anyway. It would be also possible to do a "cycle" between the popular variants (ex: for Spring competition, play with option A, while for Summer competition play with option A and option B). Players who do not like the chosen format would simply continue to play with "Normal mode" like they are doing today.

So question: what solution should we choose for variants and Arena mode ? Should we restrict the freedom to choose between option to have a more reliable competition, or should we allow you to choose any variant - with the risk to have broken rankings ?

You can vote above for your preferred solution.

Thanks for your feedback!
How are you going to pick what option pick for the tournament format?
Automatically with no manual switch built in?(automatically= based on number of games played with that variant)
Automatically with the possibility of a switch?(e.g. a site admin disabling an automatically picked option)
Manually?
That said, you should not allow different player counts and different versions if you want to make it a ladder like this.

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sourisdudesert
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Re: Your opinion is needed: competitive mode and game variants

Post by sourisdudesert » 03 July 2019, 13:32

Jest Phulin wrote:
03 July 2019, 00:06
"Why not a 1v1 ladder and a multiplayer ladder?"
Sorry, but we really want to have a single champion for each game, so only one ladder, like it is the case in real life championship.
Serilo wrote:
03 July 2019, 13:23
How are you going to pick what option pick for the tournament format?
Good question. We don't know yet, but it's not going to be automatic.

Hints:
_ If there is an official format for official tournaments for a given game, the chances are high that we pick the same (ex: If I'm not wrong Carcassonne official championship are 2 players only so it's going to be 2 players on BGA).
_ we are going to take into account the best ideal of players for each game (ex: taking into account the community polls on BGG).
_ if we have the choice between several possible format for players number, we are going to choose the format with the less players to maximize the chance for you to organise games.

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RicardoRix
Posts: 601
Joined: 29 April 2012, 23:43

Re: Your opinion is needed: competitive mode and game variants

Post by RicardoRix » 03 July 2019, 13:50

If you're good at the game, then you should be good at the game in all variants and with different number of players.

But the vote seems to suggest the consensus is different without one word of a supportive argument.
Looks like the BGA version of the brexit vote.

You've just created a system that will be more difficult to explain and join-in with a more elitist mindset behind why it should operate only with ALL options turned on and 2-player - really doesn't sound like fun for all.

Liallan
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Joined: 26 May 2014, 07:01

Re: Your opinion is needed: competitive mode and game variants

Post by Liallan » 06 July 2019, 12:25

RicardoRix wrote:
03 July 2019, 13:50
If you're good at the game, then you should be good at the game in all variants and with different number of players.
Agreed. There are games in which I'm great 2 player, but suck at multiplayer, or the other way around. I would therefore say I am good at a specific "variant" of that game, but not at the "overall" game.

Serilo
Posts: 9
Joined: 28 February 2019, 20:43

Re: Your opinion is needed: competitive mode and game variants

Post by Serilo » 06 July 2019, 14:05

Liallan wrote:
06 July 2019, 12:25
RicardoRix wrote:
03 July 2019, 13:50
If you're good at the game, then you should be good at the game in all variants and with different number of players.
Agreed. There are games in which I'm great 2 player, but suck at multiplayer, or the other way around. I would therefore say I am good at a specific "variant" of that game, but not at the "overall" game.
Yeah so there is one problem with this. If there is a variant for the newbies that gets uninteresting for most experienced players pretty fast, and there is a variant for the skilled people, which rewards strategic play more, then there can be a discrepancy. If these experienced players are roughly the same strength their ELO will be quite low. On the other hand one or two people using the less interesting variant would get more ELO, despite needing less skill. That's bad. You shouldn't be forced to play with(and squash) newbies in a variant that is less strategic to get more ELO(it's better for newbies to play with someone with lower skill), especially if it is designed as newbie variant.

Ironically, it is the players variants that jumble things more. In a 2-player game, you don't have problems.
As soon as you have a 3-player game often enough your overall ranking is taken into account. This means it can be beneficial to make plays that reduce your win rate as 1st but have a vastly reduced risk to put you as the last player on the table. In large player games the best strategy to gain ELO might be one that gives you 2nd place very often and 1st place... nearly never.

Taking this into account, the following rules could be applied:
All variants and player numbers of a game may count for Arena mode, unless
- they give a player unfair advantage(e.g. Go Handicap, Not Alone Who Plays Creature Settings not random)
- the game/variant/player number itself is not competitive(e.g. the game Hannabi, single player Dark Agent)
- they are designed as training mode (e.g. Through the ages handbook)
- BGA has concluded that a specific variant or player number is unhealthy for competitive play
- there is an official tournament play version tied to a number of players and the number of players is higher than in the official version with the highest number of players
- the application of variants/player numbers rules changes the game in a way that nearly all working strategies and tactics are completely different. In this case, the legal variants may alternate, or only one will be played, based on what is officially tournament legal, and on if one variant is vastly more popular than the other. If the legal variants alternate, then each trophy will note the variant played.

I ordered these in this specific order; the highest is the one I am most sure about, the lowest is something I am unsure about.

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