# Dominion Strategy Forum

## Dominion => Dominion Online at Shuffle iT => Dominion General Discussion => Dominion Isotropic => Topic started by: RaVeNLoRD on April 30, 2012, 09:39:03 am

Title: First player bias
Post by: RaVeNLoRD on April 30, 2012, 09:39:03 am
It is well known fact that the 1st player has a slightly higher chance at winning.
However, on everage you should have 50% of your games as 1st player and 50% as secound player.
Right now I have 494 games as 1st player and 606 games as secound player.
The odds for this, assuming even chances, are 1 in 10940.  :o
This most likely makes me the player with the worst luck on isotropic (as far as starting first goes).  >:(
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on April 30, 2012, 09:40:58 am
The iso algorithm is more likely to start you in 2nd position if you won your last game, much like the rules suggest that the player who won the previous game goes last.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: paddyodoors on April 30, 2012, 10:21:46 am
The iso algorithm is more likely to start you in 2nd position if you won your last game, much like the rules suggest that the player who won the previous game goes last.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Deadlock39 on April 30, 2012, 10:37:44 am
There might actually be something else happening to RaVeNLoRD here...

I checked my own stats, and even with a ~65% win rate, my split is only 880 games in first position, and 909 games in second.

A quick look at WW's stats shows a 4727/4755 split, but his win rate a bit lower at 60% since he matches mostly (exclusively?) against high level opponents.

RaVeNLoRD on the other hand, has a win rate pretty close to 50%, but is still playing from second position a disproportionately large amount of the time.

My expectation would be that the higher your win rate is, the more games you would have from second position.  It is possible there isn't anything going on, but the numbers make me wonder if RaVeNLoRD is somehow logging out after every game, putting himself back in the Winners pool even after a loss.  I vaguely remember a thread where another forum member had this issue.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: RaVeNLoRD on April 30, 2012, 11:52:50 am
I log out often.
I also didn't know you have a higher chance at 1st seat after a lose.
Also I had a miss clicked and the odds are roughly 1 in 3,000 for 50%/50% split.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Deadlock39 on April 30, 2012, 12:35:49 pm
Yeah, so there are two pools.  The first is everyone who just won a game, and everyone who just logged in.  The second is everyone who just lost a game.  If you are matched against someone in the opposite pool, the player who just lost will always go first.  If you are matched against someone in the same pool, the match will be random.

Any time you log out after a loss, you lose the increased chance of being in first position that you should have had.  In the extreme case, where you log out after every match, you will end up being in first position for 50% of the games you play against other people in the winners/just logged in group.  Any games against the just lost group will be from second position.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: ecq on April 30, 2012, 01:59:11 pm
Interesting.

I have a 2:1 win/loss ratio in 750 games, but I've only started from P2 28 more times than P1.

Does auto-match try to make people play others in the same pool to even things out?  Or perhaps most people only play 1-2 games after logging in, so the just-logged-in pool is big?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Fabian on April 30, 2012, 02:36:18 pm
WW,

Do you have an explanation for your 50/50 split despite the 60% winrate?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on April 30, 2012, 02:40:25 pm
WW,

Do you have an explanation for your 50/50 split despite the 60% winrate?
Not really. I mean, I basically always win-quit, which is going to help, um... lots of very long sessions as opposed to really short ones, and I guess lots of other people play shorter, which means that 1 instance of having second-player bias just from entering the lobby is going to be a smaller percentage of my games in comparison to other people, I mostly always play other really high-level opponents, so they're more likely to be coming off a win too. Do those things all add up to make that much difference? I wouldn't think so, but I guess they do...
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Fabian on April 30, 2012, 02:45:44 pm
WW,

Do you have an explanation for your 50/50 split despite the 60% winrate?
Not really. I mean, I basically always win-quit, which is going to help, um... lots of very long sessions as opposed to really short ones, and I guess lots of other people play shorter, which means that 1 instance of having second-player bias just from entering the lobby is going to be a smaller percentage of my games in comparison to other people, I mostly always play other really high-level opponents, so they're more likely to be coming off a win too. Do those things all add up to make that much difference? I wouldn't think so, but I guess they do...

This describes my playing habits pretty well (my long sessions are shorter though since you play more I guess), and it turns out my numbers aren't that far off. Seems like I go first in 47% (1830 - 2041) of games with a winrate 0.5% higher than yours. Would have guessed more games in second position before double checking, oh well.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on April 30, 2012, 02:51:52 pm
How to get on top of leaderboard on iso:

Make sure not to tell your opponents when they are clearly doing something suboptimal (playing banks first for \$1).
Make sure you leave after every win (but never after a loss), so that you can maximize chance of being first player.
Bias towards prosperity.

Anymore gems? :)
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Deadlock39 on April 30, 2012, 02:54:41 pm
Buy cards that you don't have enough cash for ;)

(And unleash KC/Goons/Masq on unsuspecting players)
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: olneyce on April 30, 2012, 02:55:31 pm
How to get on top of leaderboard on iso:

Make sure not to tell your opponents when they are clearly doing something suboptimal (playing banks first for \$1).
Make sure you leave after every win (but never after a loss), so that you can maximize chance of being first player.
Bias towards prosperity.

Anymore gems? :)
Get good at the game?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: greatexpectations on April 30, 2012, 03:15:48 pm
i've seen this question a few times so i figured i'd throw it on the FAQ.  i also cleaned up the formatting so it should read a little easier.

Yeah, so there are two pools.  The first is everyone who just won a game, and everyone who just logged in.  The second is everyone who just lost a game.  If you are matched against someone in the opposite pool, the player who just lost will always go first.  If you are matched against someone in the same pool, the match will be random.

Any time you log out after a loss, you lose the increased chance of being in first position that you should have had.  In the extreme case, where you log out after every match, you will end up being in first position for 50% of the games you play against other people in the winners/just logged in group.  Any games against the just lost group will be from second position.

i know i have seen this explanation before but do you happen to have a link to where dougz (or someone else?) explained this method?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on April 30, 2012, 03:34:43 pm
How to get on top of leaderboard on iso:

Make sure not to tell your opponents when they are clearly doing something suboptimal (playing banks first for \$1).
Make sure you leave after every win (but never after a loss), so that you can maximize chance of being first player.
Bias towards prosperity.

Anymore gems? :)
If you are likely to be P1, use identical starting hands. If not, don't.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: DG on April 30, 2012, 03:48:57 pm
Play lots of games. Hard to get to the top of the leader board when you have variance 15.997.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on April 30, 2012, 03:54:41 pm
Anymore gems? :)

-Use classic proposal instead of auto-match with point counter turned off.   (Ben Warden)
-Propose these games against players that are higher level than they should be. (Ben Warden against me haha)
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: ecq on April 30, 2012, 04:37:13 pm
Anymore gems? :)

-Use classic proposal instead of auto-match with point counter turned off.   (Ben Warden)
-Propose these games against players that are higher level than they should be. (Ben Warden against me haha)

I was just about to put up a separate post on that.  It's annoying but ultimately fine when that happens.  Yesterday, though, I had an auto-match game proposed, declined, proposed again, declined, then a direct invite from the auto-match player with point counter turned off.  Again, the burden was probably still on me to notice that and not just click "yes" to every proposed match.  What got my goat is that the guy denied doing it when I asked him about it.  I assumed the best, then returned to the lobby and noticed that I indeed had point counter enabled so I have no better explanation.

I assume Ben Warden is above board with it.  He probably just likes to pick his opponent, rather than waiting for auto-match.  There's at least one other player, though, who uses it to gain a cheap advantage.  Annoying.

Anyhow, didn't mean to derail.  I'm still fuming just a little.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Axxle on April 30, 2012, 05:14:05 pm
How to get on top of leaderboard on iso:

Make sure not to tell your opponents when they are clearly doing something suboptimal (playing banks first for \$1).
Make sure you leave after every win (but never after a loss), so that you can maximize chance of being first player.
Bias towards prosperity.

Anymore gems? :)
If you are likely to be P1, use identical starting hands. If not, don't.
I assume if you're likely to be P2 then you want to play veto mode?  So you can get rid of the cards that vastly favor P1?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on April 30, 2012, 05:18:48 pm
It seems like if you are likely to be P2, you are doing it wrong.

Edit: The only wrong thing is me!
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Captain_Frisk on April 30, 2012, 05:58:49 pm
It seems like if you are likely to be P2, you are doing it wrong.
If I understand it correctly, any time you're in the winner / neutral pool and playing random opponents - you are "likely" to be P2 - given that they are a mix of people in the Winner / Unknown Pool + the Loser Pool... and the losers will always go first.

Am I missing something?

Edit: Response now invalid because rrenaud was wrong!
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on April 30, 2012, 06:07:36 pm
I am not sure how iso works.

I thought there were 3 states.  Won last game, lost last game, or unknown.  If you are laddering well, you should never be in the won last game state when playing.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Fabian on April 30, 2012, 06:09:02 pm
Thought we established many times over it doesn't work like that?

Edit: I suck!
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on April 30, 2012, 06:41:44 pm
I never delete information, I just fix up spelling mistakes and grammar.  It's still there, just struck through!
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: theory on April 30, 2012, 06:53:18 pm
This is the relevant thread where Donald X / dougz explain how isotropic determines first player: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/620928/isotropic-player-order-complaint
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on April 30, 2012, 09:35:04 pm
I actually DO know ways of gaming the system better than this first-turn wise, that will look totally legit, but because I don't want people using them, I won't say what they are.

Axxle: yes, probably veto helps p2 more than p1, I would guess.
Would be awesome if we could get splits on these (p1 v p2 with and without veto, and with and without identical start hands).

I don't have any problem with what Ben Warden does. I also find it weird that you guys are so reliant on point counter. Maybe I should stop playing with it so much - it might indeed give me a competitive advantage.

ecq, I've had someone do the same thing to me, but insists that he just wants to have identical starting hands. But it irks me, and I always nag back at him to just not use auto-match then. But overall, if this is my biggest problem, life is good.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: olneyce on April 30, 2012, 10:01:09 pm
Anymore gems? :)

-Use classic proposal instead of auto-match with point counter turned off.   (Ben Warden)
-Propose these games against players that are higher level than they should be. (Ben Warden against me haha)

I was just about to put up a separate post on that.  It's annoying but ultimately fine when that happens.  Yesterday, though, I had an auto-match game proposed, declined, proposed again, declined, then a direct invite from the auto-match player with point counter turned off.  Again, the burden was probably still on me to notice that and not just click "yes" to every proposed match.  What got my goat is that the guy denied doing it when I asked him about it.  I assumed the best, then returned to the lobby and noticed that I indeed had point counter enabled so I have no better explanation.

I assume Ben Warden is above board with it.  He probably just likes to pick his opponent, rather than waiting for auto-match.  There's at least one other player, though, who uses it to gain a cheap advantage.  Annoying.

Anyhow, didn't mean to derail.  I'm still fuming just a little.
I don't even understand what Ben Warden is doing 'wrong.'  He proposes games directly.  And doesn't use the point counter.  Is that it?  The point counter is a variant.  It almost by definition can't be 'gaming' the system to not use it.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Deadlock39 on May 01, 2012, 12:11:30 am
It bugs me when it happens, but the player(s) doing it aren't doing anything wrong.  It's just, I'm sitting in the lobby, wanting to play non-veto games, and when I get proposed a game and don't realize it wasn't an auto-match, it can be annoying if it is veto.  The same goes for the point counter even though it personally bothers me less (unless I didn't realize until it is far to late for me to have any clue what the score is).
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 01, 2012, 01:51:13 am

[/quote]
I don't even understand what Ben Warden is doing 'wrong.'  He proposes games directly.  And doesn't use the point counter.  Is that it?  The point counter is a variant.  It almost by definition can't be 'gaming' the system to not use it.
[/quote]

Never said it was wrong.  Just as I don't consider the previous example of bias-prosperity wrong.  The question was how to get to the top of the leaderboard and these are the answers.  Doesn't mean anyone is "gaming the system."  Ben Warden is an excellent player and deserves rank 1.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: timchen on May 01, 2012, 02:20:14 am
Just make sure I understand:

is it right that it actually does not do you a favor if you log out every time after a win?

If so, how does WW get such even split between p1 and p2? admittedly I played mostly random so I win more often, but my split is ~1400 p1 and ~2000 p2.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on May 01, 2012, 02:59:37 am
I think the optimal "ranking strategy" is to never log out after a loss, because you squander your probable first player advantage.

Also, it seems like it would be worthwhile to know who just finished a game (stalk current games).  Never play against those people, they might have just lost.  Instead, play against someone who joined the lobby fresh.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Axxle on May 01, 2012, 03:52:54 am
Just make sure I understand:

is it right that it actually does not do you a favor if you log out every time after a win?
From what WW said before I think he does this just so he doesn't play against the person he just beat two times in a row and thus is guaranteed 2nd position.  Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Fabian on May 01, 2012, 04:18:22 am
WW definitely plays the same person twice (or more) in a row, win or lose. What I believe he's describing, and he will correct me if I'm wrong, is that he doesn't end a playing session when he just lost a game, as he would be more likely than average to go first in the next game, and quitting at that point would be a "wasted" p1 game.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 01, 2012, 08:29:38 am
Yeah, Fabian is right rather than Axxle. I play people in long matches all the time. Probably not doing that at strategic points could help me, but I don't care about ranking that much.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Papa Luigi on May 01, 2012, 10:58:01 am
I just checked my stats and I've won about 45% of my games and I am first player about 54% of the time (I threw out 3- and 4-player games). I have a better record as first player (62-67-3) than as second player (45-66-2). So I would say it seems to be working, at least in my case.

The other thing is I tend to play several games in a row rather than playing just one and then leaving. I might do that if I'm playing one quick game on my lunch break, but I usually play at home and I have time to do several. I'm also more likely to log out after winning than after losing - I prefer to end on a high note, and if I lose several times in a row (which happens often; just look at my record) it makes me want to keep trying until I win.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Captain_Frisk on May 01, 2012, 11:21:32 am
Yeah, Fabian is right rather than Axxle. I play people in long matches all the time. Probably not doing that at strategic points could help me, but I don't care about ranking that much.

I can back this up, WW graciously allows me to lose to him multiple times in a row... I always take the rematch (time permitting) because being I'm arrogant and think that I can win as 1st player....

41 - 54 - 2

Fortunately, it appears to have been about 50/50 since mid February - doesn't feel that way though!
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Ozle on May 01, 2012, 01:25:06 pm
I know in the proper rules it says that if you lose then let that player go first, but thats presumably presuming you are playing the same people.

If your playing a random person I would think the idea would be to go randomly last, as that last game could have no effect on the next game.

For example, I play 5 or 6 muppets and win handily, then Fabian comes along, who is vastly better than me, but just lose a game to someone above him on the leaderbaord. And now im likely to go second and be at a disadvantage?

It seems to me the original intention of the rule is to let the worse players go first, which on isotropic would be thier level rather than a game against another completel stranger.

Unless I have completely misunderstood this discussion on how isotropic works of course....
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Captain_Frisk on May 01, 2012, 03:15:52 pm
I know in the proper rules it says that if you lose then let that player go first, but thats presumably presuming you are playing the same people.

If your playing a random person I would think the idea would be to go randomly last, as that last game could have no effect on the next game.

For example, I play 5 or 6 muppets and win handily, then Fabian comes along, who is vastly better than me, but just lose a game to someone above him on the leaderbaord. And now im likely to go second and be at a disadvantage?

It seems to me the original intention of the rule is to let the worse players go first, which on isotropic would be thier level rather than a game against another completel stranger.

Unless I have completely misunderstood this discussion on how isotropic works of course....

I have seen my hat.

For the longest time I have been super angry about this method of starting player assignment.  1st player advantage is HUGE.  For me, I win 67% of my games as 1st player, and 61% of my games as 2nd player.  Over my lifetime, I have played 44% of my games as  first player, and 56% as 2nd player.  Every time I start from 2nd player, I'm angry that i've lost 6% of a game.

This thread got me thinking... if we assigned starting player fairly (50% of the time)... how many games should I have won?

I've played 5313 games.

The answer?  Take a minute to think and estimate.  This rule has cost me 23.78 games or 0.448%

The takeaway: be angry that 1st player advantage is so strong, not angry at how Doug assigns starting player.  Clearly I'm going to keep playing despite those 23 wins.  If they helped other players stay with the game longer // buy more expansions... good for them!
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 01, 2012, 04:36:05 pm
I would like to see(in the official version perhaps?) a system where it has a memory of whom  you have played and the results of those matches.  First time playing someone = random.  Every game against a previous opponent = the loser goes first.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 01, 2012, 04:44:27 pm
Actually, whoever is programming this stuff can probably pick something up form the chess servers. White/Black is a pretty big deal there too. I think generally they just keep track of how many whites/blacks in a row you've had, up to a few. If you've been white most recently, you're due black. But if your opponent is also due black, they check to see who's 'more due' whatever colour.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 01, 2012, 05:29:02 pm
Actually, whoever is programming this stuff can probably pick something up form the chess servers. White/Black is a pretty big deal there too. I think generally they just keep track of how many whites/blacks in a row you've had, up to a few. If you've been white most recently, you're due black. But if your opponent is also due black, they check to see who's 'more due' whatever colour.

Would it be possible to take advantage of this by playing lower level opponents when queued to black(or play second)?  That was my thinking at least when I thought of the opponent memory system, though Im not sure if there is an advantage there to gain by playing lower level games as black/2p.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Ozle on May 01, 2012, 05:34:23 pm
I know in the proper rules it says that if you lose then let that player go first, but thats presumably presuming you are playing the same people.

If your playing a random person I would think the idea would be to go randomly last, as that last game could have no effect on the next game.

For example, I play 5 or 6 muppets and win handily, then Fabian comes along, who is vastly better than me, but just lose a game to someone above him on the leaderbaord. And now im likely to go second and be at a disadvantage?

It seems to me the original intention of the rule is to let the worse players go first, which on isotropic would be thier level rather than a game against another completel stranger.

Unless I have completely misunderstood this discussion on how isotropic works of course....

I have seen my hat.

For the longest time I have been super angry about this method of starting player assignment.  1st player advantage is HUGE.  For me, I win 67% of my games as 1st player, and 61% of my games as 2nd player.  Over my lifetime, I have played 44% of my games as  first player, and 56% as 2nd player.  Every time I start from 2nd player, I'm angry that i've lost 6% of a game.

This thread got me thinking... if we assigned starting player fairly (50% of the time)... how many games should I have won?

I've played 5313 games.

The answer?  Take a minute to think and estimate.  This rule has cost me 23.78 games or 0.448%

The takeaway: be angry that 1st player advantage is so strong, not angry at how Doug assigns starting player.  Clearly I'm going to keep playing despite those 23 wins.  If they helped other players stay with the game longer // buy more expansions... good for them!

I dont think im super angry about it, just quizzical.

And those numbers add up because you have played 5k games, plus, your good enough that I would imagine against a lot of the players on Iso you would still be favourite despite playing second. My example was to point out how this system is designed to give the weaker played the advantage actually can just as likely make the WEAKER player play second against the stronger player.

Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Fabian on May 01, 2012, 05:35:02 pm
ICC (Internet Chess Club) seems to have a great system (don't know about other chess servers) where you enter a pool and is auto-matched against an opponent and can't accept/decline. You get black every other game, and if you're due black, you meet someone who's due white, and it matches you up against someone of a similar rating. I think it might take a bigger pool of players to make that viable on isotropic (or the new app), but in theory it's pretty much exactly what I'd want. I don't like results dictating whether you go first or second, I'd like it if it was every other game like on ICC.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Captain_Frisk on May 01, 2012, 05:40:12 pm

I dont think im super angry about it, just quizzical.

And those numbers add up because you have played 5k games, plus, your good enough that I would imagine against a lot of the players on Iso you would still be favourite despite playing second. My example was to point out how this system is designed to give the weaker played the advantage actually can just as likely make the WEAKER player play second against the stronger player.

To be clear - I feel like at the end of the day - this is a completely inconsequential number.  I've played ALOT of games, and even if it was done "fairly", it wouldn't make hardly any difference!
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 01, 2012, 06:03:49 pm
ICC (Internet Chess Club) seems to have a great system (don't know about other chess servers) where you enter a pool and is auto-matched against an opponent and can't accept/decline. You get black every other game, and if you're due black, you meet someone who's due white, and it matches you up against someone of a similar rating. I think it might take a bigger pool of players to make that viable on isotropic (or the new app), but in theory it's pretty much exactly what I'd want. I don't like results dictating whether you go first or second, I'd like it if it was every other game like on ICC.

Sounds perfect.  Especially not being able to dodge/decline once you enter the queue.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Insomniac on May 01, 2012, 06:17:25 pm
ICC (Internet Chess Club) seems to have a great system (don't know about other chess servers) where you enter a pool and is auto-matched against an opponent and can't accept/decline. You get black every other game, and if you're due black, you meet someone who's due white, and it matches you up against someone of a similar rating. I think it might take a bigger pool of players to make that viable on isotropic (or the new app), but in theory it's pretty much exactly what I'd want. I don't like results dictating whether you go first or second, I'd like it if it was every other game like on ICC.

Chess is only ever 2 player. While most of us play dominion 2 player alot of people play 3-8 player. And well I don't know that that system work well unless you always play with the same number of players (ie for 3 you rotate 1,2,3,1,2,3; for 4 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4, etc)  So it would maybe have to have a memory of what your do with each set of players. And with an increasing user base that gets to be more and more space consuming, although its probably still negligible.

Not to mention auto-match is great but sometimes you want to play with your friends and not be auto-matched. Additionally if I was first player and lost to player X and was immediatly repaired with him (he was due first I was due second) I would expect to go first as the rules dictate that the player who lost goes first and this would not be the case
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 01, 2012, 06:53:43 pm
I think for competitive purposes anything beyond two player should be completely disregarded.  And I dont think games requested against friends should count for rating.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 01, 2012, 06:56:28 pm
I think for competitive purposes anything beyond two player should be completely disregarded.  And I dont think games requested against friends should count for rating.
I STRONGLY disagree with your first point, and somewhat disagree with the second.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 01, 2012, 06:56:56 pm
Though, as I've said before, I think separate ratings are appropriate.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on May 01, 2012, 07:02:56 pm
Donald balances the game for 3p, and all of the official tournaments are >2p.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 01, 2012, 07:04:47 pm
Donald balances the game for 3p, and all of the official tournaments are >2p.
I've always felt this, but I've never seen confirmation. Frisk told me he did some playtesting and it was mostly 4p. I'm pretty sure I've read somewhere that they will play 2, 3, and 4 in testing. So I don't really know what goes on, maybe you do. I'm sure Donald does ;)
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Fabian on May 01, 2012, 07:31:19 pm
Well obviously the chess pool system I mentioned would be for 2p. I don't know what you do about multiplayer games.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Deadlock39 on May 01, 2012, 08:55:12 pm
Chess is only ever 2 player.

Nah...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-handed_chess

(FYI: I'm not serious here...)
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: O on May 01, 2012, 10:18:41 pm
Chess is only ever 2 player.

Nah...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-handed_chess

(FYI: I'm not serious here...)

More seriously... Bughouse!!!  ;D
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 01, 2012, 10:22:06 pm
Chess is only ever 2 player.

Nah...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-handed_chess

(FYI: I'm not serious here...)

More seriously... Bughouse!!!  ;D
... is not chess!
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 02, 2012, 01:34:48 pm
I think for competitive purposes anything beyond two player should be completely disregarded.  And I dont think games requested against friends should count for rating.
I STRONGLY disagree with your first point, and somewhat disagree with the second.

Regardless of balance purposes or inclinations of fun games(being third player is not fun) anything beyond two player will have too strong of a "kingmaker" influence to be viable competitively in any of the same sense that the two-player format has the potential to be.

With a fair and balanced queue system I don't see any argument for allowing custom games being rated.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 01:48:21 pm
I think for competitive purposes anything beyond two player should be completely disregarded.  And I dont think games requested against friends should count for rating.
I STRONGLY disagree with your first point, and somewhat disagree with the second.

Regardless of balance purposes or inclinations of fun games(being third player is not fun) anything beyond two player will have too strong of a "kingmaker" influence to be viable competitively in any of the same sense that the two-player format has the potential to be.

With a fair and balanced queue system I don't see any argument for allowing custom games being rated.
On the first point, you just don't know what you're talking about.

I'm not making an argument for allowing custom games (though really this is quite ironic coming from you...), but not all games between friends are custom games.
Unless you mean 'any game where you pick your opponent' by custom games. Which I think is way overboard and ridiculous.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 02, 2012, 01:52:16 pm
Pretty confident I understand what I'm talking about.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 01:54:51 pm
Pretty confident I understand what I'm talking about.
You of the 16 multiplayer iso games?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 02, 2012, 01:58:45 pm
Pretty confident I understand what I'm talking about.
You of the 16 multiplayer iso games?

That's your argument that three player dominion isn't a kingmaker game?  Instead of talking about the design of the game or the function of kingmakers you look up my stats?

There are more than enough scenarios where the third player can either end/not-end the game thus giving a game-winning turn to the first player or ending the game and giving the win to the second player that have nothing to do with how many multiplayer games I have played. LOL.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 02:02:37 pm
Pretty confident I understand what I'm talking about.
You of the 16 multiplayer iso games?

That's your argument that three player dominion isn't a kingmaker game?  Instead of talking about the design of the game or the function of kingmakers you look up my stats?

There are more than enough scenarios where the third player can either end/not-end the game thus giving a game-winning turn to the first player or ending the game and giving the win to the second player that have nothing to do with how many multiplayer games I have played. LOL.
No, that's my argument as to why you're wrong, not my argument as to THAT you're wrong. My best guess as to why what's coming off your keyboard is just so patently false.
Sure, there's going to be more variance in 3 player than in 2 player. You know, there's shuffle luck in 2-player too, we really oughtn't count those results. It's a dumb argument. The situation you're talking about just isn't a factor the vast majority of the time.
Even if it were, that simply means there's more variance, more uncertainty in the ranking system. It certainly is a long jump from 'gee, there's some extra problems' to 'eh, there's no point, screw it.'
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Axxle on May 02, 2012, 02:07:33 pm
I think for competitive purposes anything beyond two player should be completely disregarded.  And I dont think games requested against friends should count for rating.
I STRONGLY disagree with your first point, and somewhat disagree with the second.

Regardless of balance purposes or inclinations of fun games(being third player is not fun) anything beyond two player will have too strong of a "kingmaker" influence to be viable competitively in any of the same sense that the two-player format has the potential to be.

With a fair and balanced queue system I don't see any argument for allowing custom games being rated.
On the first point, you just don't know what you're talking about.
There are plenty of times in a two player game where one player ends the game while behind.  Why wouldn't that extend into three player?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 02, 2012, 02:10:09 pm
To WW: So your argument is that I'm wrong because it doesn't happen the majority of the time?  I never said it did.

And I'm not talking about variance that has nothing to do with it, Im talking about opening the door to collusion in a tournament format not variance in rankings over thousands of games.

Axxle: Because in a two player game the tactic only costs yourself the game whereas in a three player game the tactic will have a direct influence over which of your two opponents wins.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 02:14:16 pm
I think for competitive purposes anything beyond two player should be completely disregarded.  And I dont think games requested against friends should count for rating.
I STRONGLY disagree with your first point, and somewhat disagree with the second.

Regardless of balance purposes or inclinations of fun games(being third player is not fun) anything beyond two player will have too strong of a "kingmaker" influence to be viable competitively in any of the same sense that the two-player format has the potential to be.

With a fair and balanced queue system I don't see any argument for allowing custom games being rated.
On the first point, you just don't know what you're talking about.
There are plenty of times in a two player game where one player ends the game while behind.  Why wouldn't that extend into three player?
I'm not sure what your point is or who you're trying to make it at.
Yes, this happens. It happens at every number of players you have. This actually goes to say that things aren't that different. Except instead of one other player whose deck you have to gauge as to how fast it is for them to end the game, there's more. Just another dimension. Certainly no reason to just throw the 3-player games away, rating-wise. A difference to have them be separate, I absolutely agree.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 02:15:41 pm
To WW: So your argument is that I'm wrong because it doesn't happen the majority of the time?  I never said it did.

And I'm not talking about variance that has nothing to do with it, Im talking about opening the door to collusion in a tournament format not variance in rankings over thousands of games.

Axxle: Because in a two player game the tactic only costs yourself the game whereas in a three player game the tactic will have a direct influence over which of your two opponents wins.
No, my argument is that this happening occasionally doesn't particularly matter. That, even if you accept your premise (and I don't fully), but even if you totally accept it, it certainly doesn't imply that it's pointless to have a 3-player or 4-player rating pool.
Edit: or that the game isn't 'competitively viable' whatever that's supposed to mean...
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on May 02, 2012, 02:16:31 pm
I think you guys are coming from two different perspectives.

Obi Wan Bonogi, maybe because of the poker background (where real money on the line), wants to make the rules as ungameable as possible.  Zero sum two player games, difficulty in arranging games against dummy accounts, etc, all go in this direction.  Anything I do to help my opponent hurts myself.  He is optimizing the ladder rules against the worst case.

WW's perspective is assuming a less "malicious" or "adversarial" player population, that doesn't systemically trade wins against dummy accounts, have cooperative play in >2p games, etc.  He is optimizing the ladder rules against a plausible set of real player behavior.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 02:20:44 pm
I think you guys are coming from two different perspectives.

Obi Wan Bonogi, maybe because of the poker background (where real money on the line), wants to make the rules as ungameable as possible.  Zero sum two player games, difficulty in arranging games against dummy accounts, etc, all go in this direction.  Anything I do to help my opponent hurts myself.  He is optimizing the ladder rules against the worst case.

WW's perspective is assuming a less "malicious" or "adversarial" player population, that doesn't systemically trade wins against dummy accounts, have cooperative play in >2p games, etc.  He is optimizing the ladder rules against a plausible set of real player behavior.
Sort of. But not really. I mean, yes, people are going to game the system, people are going to... whatever. I'm EXTREMELY cynical, and I do think that people will do all of those things. They'll do those things in 2 player, 3 player, 4 player, whatever. It's just, that doesn't mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater and not have a rating system.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 02, 2012, 02:21:13 pm
Rrenaud is on to something.  To be clear I'm not saying 3p+ player isn't a viable format to be rated and have a ranked pool etc.  Im saying 3p+ player is not "competitively viable" in a tournament format where there are tremendous stakes on the outcome of a single game.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 02:23:08 pm
Rrenaud is on to something.  To be clear I'm not saying 3p+ player isn't a viable format to be rated and have a ranked pool etc.  Im saying 3p+ player is not "competitively viable" in a tournament format where there are tremendous stakes on the outcome of a single game.
I disagree here, too, but....
Who's arguing that?

Edit: Well, actually, I probably agree here. But then, I'd say 2p isn't either.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 02, 2012, 02:37:24 pm
Rrenaud is on to something.  To be clear I'm not saying 3p+ player isn't a viable format to be rated and have a ranked pool etc.  Im saying 3p+ player is not "competitively viable" in a tournament format where there are tremendous stakes on the outcome of a single game.
I disagree here, too, but....
Who's arguing that?

Edit: Well, actually, I probably agree here. But then, I'd say 2p isn't either.

Sure is hard to get some agreement out of you but I suppose I'll take what I can get :P

The original thing you disagreed with said "For competitive purposes anything beyond two player should be disregarded."  My sentiment here is coming from an unrealized potential competitive level of Dominion.   I don't consider the Isotropic leaderboard "competitive" in this sense and consider it by its very nature "casual."
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Robz888 on May 02, 2012, 03:38:26 pm
Is the kingmaking problem all that bad in 3 player? I play a lot of IRL 3 player games, and I've never thought it was a particularly big problem.

If 2 people are playing, and I am in 2nd (but could end up in 3rd if I don't end the game) it's not kingmaking for me to end the game and cost the other two people the chance of fighting it out for 1st. Getting 2nd is preferable to 3rd. I suppose if you end the game while you are in 3rd, perhaps your are kingmaking... but, I mean, you're playing badly then, because why end the game when you are in 3rd? It costs you nothing to keep going, and you might somehow improve your standing.

So, how does kingmaking become a problem in Dominion, in 3 player games?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 02, 2012, 03:41:54 pm
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 03:42:50 pm
Is the kingmaking problem all that bad in 3 player? I play a lot of IRL 3 player games, and I've never thought it was a particularly big problem.

If 2 people are playing, and I am in 2nd (but could end up in 3rd if I don't end the game) it's not kingmaking for me to end the game and cost the other two people the chance of fighting it out for 1st. Getting 2nd is preferable to 3rd. I suppose if you end the game while you are in 3rd, perhaps your are kingmaking... but, I mean, you're playing badly then, because why end the game when you are in 3rd? It costs you nothing to keep going, and you might somehow improve your standing.

So, how does kingmaking become a problem in Dominion, in 3 player games?

The only way is if the 3rd person has absolutely no chance of winning, and presumably, absolutely no chance of getting 2nd either. This is possible, but it almost never comes up.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 03:43:05 pm
You can collude just as much in 2 player.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 03:43:42 pm
Also, you presumably have rules against collusion which, in a real competitive environment, SOMEONE will be able to enforce.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 02, 2012, 03:56:33 pm
Also, you presumably have rules against collusion which, in a real competitive environment, SOMEONE will be able to enforce.

Ok so in a tournament setting: what happens when someone in third place ends the game on their turn ensuring a win for a different player?  Should they be disqualified?  What if they say it was an accident?  What if you know they are friends?  What if someone buys the second to last village instead of VP allowing the next player to 3pile and win an otherwise unwinable game?  Should the first player be DQ'ed?  Should they both be DQ'ed?  What if a player passes a province instead of an estate during a masquerade?  What if a player passes a duchy instead of a gold during a masquerade?  You quckly run into a lot of grey area where you are left trying to enforce "proper play" which would simply not be needed in a two player scenario.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 04:00:13 pm
Also, you presumably have rules against collusion which, in a real competitive environment, SOMEONE will be able to enforce.

Ok so in a tournament setting: what happens when someone in third place ends the game on their turn ensuring a win for a different player?  Should they be disqualified?  What if they say it was an accident?  What if you know they are friends?  What if someone buys the second to last village instead of VP allowing the next player to 3pile and win an otherwise unwinable game?  Should the first player be DQ'ed?  Should they both be DQ'ed?  What if a player passes a province instead of an estate during a masquerade?  What if a player passes a duchy instead of a gold during a masquerade?  You quckly run into a lot of grey area where you are left trying to enforce "proper play" which would simply not be needed in a two player scenario.
Of course that's all needed in two player. Why are people magical darlings in two player? You get the exact same problems in chess, and there's these things going on all the time.
I'm SHOCKED if this doesn't come up in poker.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 02, 2012, 04:00:31 pm
You can collude just as much in 2 player.

No.  No you can't.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 04:01:59 pm
You can collude just as much in 2 player.

No.  No you can't.
Sure you can. It's just not always the same form of collusion. You throw games, you tip people off, you have pre-arranged results of all kinds... why do you think you can't do that?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 02, 2012, 04:08:47 pm
The only collusion fear involved in two player is someone throwing a game.  There are obviously various tournament scenarios which this becomes a strong incentive(see sumo wrestling collusion for a great study).  But by in large it is generally in the best interest of an individual to win their match instead of lose it.  There are also ways to construct tournaments that you offer very little incentive for such scenarios.

In poker there are MANY anti-collusion rules that have evolved over time.  They are a huge pain in the ass, troublesome to enforce and ultimately only partially effective.  Three player dominion would be WAY worse.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 02, 2012, 04:10:37 pm
The only collusion fear involved in two player is someone throwing a game.  There are obviously various tournament scenarios which this becomes a strong incentive(see sumo wrestling collusion for a great study).  But by in large it is generally in the best interest of an individual to win their match instead of lose it.  There are also ways to construct tournaments that you offer very little incentive for such scenarios.

In poker there are MANY anti-collusion rules that have evolved over time.  They are a huge pain in the ass, troublesome to enforce and ultimately only partially effective.  Three player dominion would be WAY worse.
This is wrong on so many levels. But, you've got me to a point where I actually have to go back to work.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 02, 2012, 04:13:55 pm

Sure you can. It's just not always the same form of collusion. You throw games, you tip people off, you have pre-arranged results of all kinds... why do you think you can't do that?

How is this "just as much as" three player?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Eevee on May 02, 2012, 05:04:06 pm
2p dominion (i think) would be fun to play for money "just to make it more interesting". 3p wouldnt, because of the collusion problems Obi Wan is trying to explain. I mean, in an isolated single match, it isn't possible to collude on 2p. (I'm sure people understand the problems with gaming the leaderboard/letting a simulator play for you/what have you for 2p real money games, but those are the same in 3p with the added hurdle of two people working together to cheat the 3rd).
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: tlloyd on May 02, 2012, 05:42:59 pm
Not to break up the discussion here, but it seems like 3P involves, in addition to as much or more potential for collusion as 2P, the possibility of unilateral king-making. It obviously depends on how the games are scored (does second place score higher than third?), and how turn order is determined for the next game (does seating order remain the same so it's best to be to the left of the previous winner? Is it even the same three players?), but it's pretty easy to imagine a scenario where a player would give the win to opponent A in order to take it from opponent B.

I can also think of circumstances in which the winner might be able to influence which of his opponents came in second, rather than just playing the game "straight." Is that legit strategic play? I tend to say no. So that's another potential problem that you face with 2+ players.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: timchen on May 02, 2012, 07:13:05 pm
In principle OWB is right. Saying a 3p game is qualitatively the same as a 2p game is plainly wrong.

Whenever there is interaction between players, there exists a situation in a more than 3-player game, where a player's decision just marginally influences his own situation but affects the other players critically. In this respect 2p games are just different.

To what extent it is possible depends really on games. I think dominion is a game where king-making or collusion is not so bad.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Robz888 on May 02, 2012, 08:00:47 pm
So long as each player wants to do his best, and second place "counts" more than third, I think there is very little room for collusion or kingmaking in 3 player Dominion. Not zero, but very little.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: GigaKnight on May 02, 2012, 08:12:29 pm
So.... steering the conversation back towards first player advantage... has anybody experimented with bidding?  In a tournament setting, letting players bid negative points to go first after they've seen the Kingdom seems like a decent way handle the first player issue.

Isotropic / online is a bit more complicated since people generally just want to play and going through a bidding process before each match would be obnoxious.  I can imagine a gentle handicap system working here, though if going second has cost Captain_Frisk .4% of his 5000+ games, maybe it's just not a big enough deal for a casual online format.

EDIT: Typo
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Mic Qsenoch on May 02, 2012, 08:21:48 pm
So long as each player wants to do his best, and second place "counts" more than third, I think there is very little room for collusion or kingmaking in 3 player Dominion. Not zero, but very little.

Making second place worth more than third doesn't necessarily reduce kingmaking. As tlloyd mentioned earlier, this could allow a person in first to choose who gets second/third (I guess this is actually princemaking). This could be a strategic decision or a petty one. And it doesn't address situations where a person's actions don't improve his final standing but do decide the positions of the other two.

I can't say how often these situations come up, but I have seen it happen (and done it) in some multiplayer games.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: timchen on May 02, 2012, 09:23:53 pm
So long as each player wants to do his best, and second place "counts" more than third, I think there is very little room for collusion or kingmaking in 3 player Dominion. Not zero, but very little.
No. For example: in a pile driving game, suppose I am last place, but can get the last Duchy and end the game. Unfortunately the Duchy is not enough for me to get to the second place. In addition, suppose the first two players are very close, and if I don't end the game the player who ends the game can win. Should I get that Duchy?

Or even in longer terms, suppose one player goes for a rush and the other player builds up. I fell behind both players, but should I get as many cards as possible to help the rush player, or just sit and watch?

Yes, lots of this situations technically comes from playing with the end game. But even discounting that, whether to play a militia, take a curse from the torturer, or get to a pile that is strongly competed can affect the other players differently. As long as their score are closer than yours to theirs, it can cause some form of king-making.

The only way to eliminate that is to require all the interaction from me to be strictly equal to the rest of players. Unfortunately it is usually not possible due to both the fact that players have to play in order, and that different strategies take the same interaction differently.

For the second point, simply put, say there is a paper-scissors-stone occasion. The other two player is playing paper and scissors. Do you play paper, scissors, or stone?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Fabian on May 02, 2012, 09:32:39 pm
3+ player Dominion clearly has lots of potential problems which 2p Dominion doesn't have, both in tournament formats and in "cash game" formats (to continue with the poker analogies). It surprises me (though I guess it shouldn't) that WW denies this so fervently. Collusion issues exist in 2p too, but obviously (or so I thought) to a much smaller extent.

I wouldn't necessarily feel comfortable playing multiplayer Dominion for cash online, though I would be super trilled for a 2p cash game mode :)
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: popsofctown on May 02, 2012, 09:48:25 pm
Team Gardens versus Team Province seems a totally unsolvable form of collusion.  Of course, if we're talking about online with anonymous players, there's little need to worry about collusion.  Kingmaking just becomes a luck thing.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: dondon151 on May 02, 2012, 11:06:54 pm
In a lot of circumstances (but not all) it is possible to defend against unintentional kingmaking by figuring out how the opponents can work against you and adapting to it. In the circumstances in which it's not possible to defend as such, it usually boils down to a first player bias, anyway.

Granted, there's not a whole lot that you can do to defend against active collusion, except just to play better.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Robz888 on May 03, 2012, 12:11:41 am
So long as each player wants to do his best, and second place "counts" more than third, I think there is very little room for collusion or kingmaking in 3 player Dominion. Not zero, but very little.
No. For example: in a pile driving game, suppose I am last place, but can get the last Duchy and end the game. Unfortunately the Duchy is not enough for me to get to the second place. In addition, suppose the first two players are very close, and if I don't end the game the player who ends the game can win. Should I get that Duchy?

No, you shouldn't. The game would end, and you would not improve your position by buying it. Your correct move is to not buy it. If you do buy it, it's a strategic blunder (possibly from a situation in which your chances of winning were effectively zero), but it's hardly kingmaking, at least in my view.

Quote
Or even in longer terms, suppose one player goes for a rush and the other player builds up. I fell behind both players, but should I get as many cards as possible to help the rush player, or just sit and watch?

Neither. You should try to win, or barring that, get second.

Quote
Yes, lots of this situations technically comes from playing with the end game. But even discounting that, whether to play a militia, take a curse from the torturer, or get to a pile that is strongly competed can affect the other players differently. As long as their score are closer than yours to theirs, it can cause some form of king-making.

The only way to eliminate that is to require all the interaction from me to be strictly equal to the rest of players. Unfortunately it is usually not possible due to both the fact that players have to play in order, and that different strategies take the same interaction differently.

Okay, if kingmaking just means "taking actions that affect other players disproportionately," than there's nothing wrong with kingmaking.

Quote
For the second point, simply put, say there is a paper-scissors-stone occasion. The other two player is playing paper and scissors. Do you play paper, scissors, or stone?

I would play the strategy, then, that I think is most likely to triumph if the other two make mistakes in their own strategies.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Robz888 on May 03, 2012, 12:18:41 am
Look, part of the fun of 3+ player Dominion is trying to guess what other players are going to do and when the game is going to end. It's time to buy Victory cards much sooner. Do I really need that last Gold, that last Engine part? Remember, too, that not all games are played with a Point Tracker. I may be able to end the game but unsure that I am winning, or even in second. But if I suspect that my finishing place will be worse if the game goes another round, I will end the game. That's not really collusion or kingmaking. Your strategy needs to take into account whether the next person will try to end the game. Is it different from 2 player? Yes. Is it, like, less valid? I really don't think so. Yeah, there's more luck involved--the first player advantaged increases, certain cards scale poorly, etc.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: dondon151 on May 03, 2012, 12:22:20 am
No, you shouldn't. The game would end, and you would not improve your position by buying it. Your correct move is to not buy it.

If there is weight in the number of total points earned over X rounds (which, though stupid, seems to be a fairly common metric), the correct move would be to end the game on a Duchy buy if you know that it's your final turn.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Robz888 on May 03, 2012, 12:25:13 am
No, you shouldn't. The game would end, and you would not improve your position by buying it. Your correct move is to not buy it.

If there is weight in the number of total points earned over X rounds (which, though stupid, seems to be a fairly common metric), the correct move would be to end the game on a Duchy buy if you know that it's your final turn.

True, but I think most people agree--most people in this forum, at least--that final score is a specifically bad way of determining anything. And in fact, if I want the most amount of points, or something, over the course of a certain number of games, I think that will tend to exacerbate what everybody in this thread is worrying about. So I would advise against that, too. 1st should count more than 2nd, and 2nd more than 3rd, etc., etc., and that's all.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: dondon151 on May 03, 2012, 12:26:46 am
True, but I think most people agree--most people in this forum, at least--that final score is a specifically bad way of determining anything. And in fact, if I want the most amount of points, or something, over the course of a certain number of games, I think that will tend to exacerbate what everybody in this thread is worrying about. So I would advise against that, too. 1st should count more than 2nd, and 2nd more than 3rd, etc., etc., and that's all.

Of course we all agree on it - but that doesn't mean that it's not used as a metric, and that doesn't mean that everyone agrees with us (in particular, it seems that players outside of this community don't disagree with this metric).
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 12:30:24 am
True, but I think most people agree--most people in this forum, at least--that final score is a specifically bad way of determining anything. And in fact, if I want the most amount of points, or something, over the course of a certain number of games, I think that will tend to exacerbate what everybody in this thread is worrying about. So I would advise against that, too. 1st should count more than 2nd, and 2nd more than 3rd, etc., etc., and that's all.

Of course we all agree on it - but that doesn't mean that it's not used as a metric, and that doesn't mean that everyone agrees with us (in particular, it seems that players outside of this community don't disagree with this metric).
Fine, but it's a straw man argument. 'Multiplayer has kingmaking' conditioned on the total point tiebreakers... you're pinning the blame in the wrong place here. It should be on the tiebreakers, rather than on the multiplayer.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: dondon151 on May 03, 2012, 12:51:58 am
Fine, but it's a straw man argument. 'Multiplayer has kingmaking' conditioned on the total point tiebreakers... you're pinning the blame in the wrong place here. It should be on the tiebreakers, rather than on the multiplayer.

It's not a straw man argument. I wasn't saying that multiplayer has kingmaking just because of the existence of poor tiebreaking metrics; I was saying that circumstances exist where a player would play kingmaker as an "irrational" decision, and tiebreak-by-VP is one of those circumstances.

Another circumstance that I encounter fairly often is when one player just wants to get the game over with and move onto the next game, and as such seeks to hasten the end of the game. I could potentially see this as a problem under the standard rules because if you're losing anyway, there's no benefit to yourself if you prolong the game. Meanwhile the megaturn engine guy is probably steaming mad, but you know what, he should have seen it coming.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Robz888 on May 03, 2012, 01:10:50 am
It's not a straw man argument. I wasn't saying that multiplayer has kingmaking just because of the existence of poor tiebreaking metrics; I was saying that circumstances exist where a player would play kingmaker as an "irrational" decision, and tiebreak-by-VP is one of those circumstances.

Another circumstance that I encounter fairly often is when one player just wants to get the game over with and move onto the next game, and as such seeks to hasten the end of the game. I could potentially see this as a problem under the standard rules because if you're losing anyway, there's no benefit to yourself if you prolong the game. Meanwhile the megaturn engine guy is probably steaming mad, but you know what, he should have seen it coming.

Those circumstances do exist, but I am saying that those ways of playing are flawed for other reasons and you shouldn't play them. Or rather, you should play whatever way you want, but if you play in certain ways (using total points over many games, or with people who don't care about winning and just want to get to the next game), you will have disappointing results.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: timchen on May 03, 2012, 01:18:47 am
No, you shouldn't. The game would end, and you would not improve your position by buying it. Your correct move is to not buy it. If you do buy it, it's a strategic blunder (possibly from a situation in which your chances of winning were effectively zero), but it's hardly kingmaking, at least in my view.
This is paradoxical. You don't improve your position so you don't buy it. But as I have supposed, you don't have the chance to win if you don't buy it either. So you can't improve your position by not buying it. Why is the correct play to prolong the game and just wait for the inevitable?

The point is that in games with any number of players there are situations where your play just do not affect yourself that much. In a game with more than three players, however, that play can affect the other players much more than it affects yourself. In this case the other players have no way to control their fate; who wins depends on your decision which is irrelevant to yourself.

As others have said, if players don't know each other and cannot communicate, then it is equivalent to some form of luck, for the rest of the players. But otherwise this situation is highly susceptible to collusion.

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Neither. You should try to win, or barring that, get second.
Either strategy can get you to a win. And in this example it is indeed likely that whatever strategy you choose that strategy will win out. So your choice entirely depends on which other player you'd like to help.

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Okay, if kingmaking just means "taking actions that affect other players disproportionately," than there's nothing wrong with kingmaking.
There is nothing wrong as long as you are playing to win yourself. The problem is there are situations how you play does not affect your own winning chance, but still affect others disproportionately.

Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Robz888 on May 03, 2012, 01:32:14 am
No, you shouldn't. The game would end, and you would not improve your position by buying it. Your correct move is to not buy it. If you do buy it, it's a strategic blunder (possibly from a situation in which your chances of winning were effectively zero), but it's hardly kingmaking, at least in my view.
This is paradoxical. You don't improve your position so you don't buy it. But as I have supposed, you don't have the chance to win if you don't buy it either. So you can't improve your position by not buying it. Why is the correct play to prolong the game and just wait for the inevitable?

Okay, you absolutely, positively will not improve your position if you buy it. You know this for fact. If you do not buy it, your opponents could blunder horribly, and you might improve your position. It could be that you lose either way. Yeah, let's say there are not enough points left for you to improve your standing. Should you buy it? I mean, I would still say no, just in case you overlooked some Curse-giver, or Saboteur, or something. Anyway, I think that situation is rare. In most cases, buying it or not buying it will be better or worse for you, and you base it on that.

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The point is that in games with any number of players there are situations where your play just do not affect yourself that much. In a game with more than three players, however, that play can affect the other players much more than it affects yourself. In this case the other players have no way to control their fate; who wins depends on your decision which is irrelevant to yourself.

Yes, and it's fine to make moves that disproportionately affect certain players. I mean, look, if you go after Possession you really hurt the guy who comes after you, and not the other guy. And if you buy Possession because your thinking, "I want to screw this guy over big!" then yeah, you have a problem, whatever. But you probably bought Possession because you thought it would be best for your position in the game. So the player after you suffers more than the other guy, but it's still strategic, not kingmaking.

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Either strategy can get you to a win. And in this example it is indeed likely that whatever strategy you choose that strategy will win out. So your choice entirely depends on which other player you'd like to help.

Your choice depends on which strategy you think has a .000001% chance of beating the other strategy.

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There is nothing wrong as long as you are playing to win yourself. The problem is there are situations how you play does not affect your own winning chance, but still affect others disproportionately.

I agree that if people are not playing to get their best possible finishing place, you will have problems. But if everyone is playing to win, most situations do affect your own chance of winning, perhaps slightly, but they affect it.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Robz888 on May 03, 2012, 01:36:15 am
Maybe part of the issue is that people tend to give up in Dominion too easily. They think "that's it, I've lost for sure." And perhaps that's why you worry about kingmaking in 3+ players, because you'll have some people who aren't in it. Well, those people need to be careful. They are often more in it than they think. This happens in 2 player, too. I mean has everyone seen this game? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlUXDs6mrtI&feature=plcp

Comebacks happen in Dominion. Or you might be totally off about your odds of winning. You might get a lucky hit with Saboteur. It happens! So if you play to win, even where you seem totally out of it, there's not going to be much of a kingmaking problem.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: timchen on May 03, 2012, 01:54:14 am
No it's not the problem at all. The problem is both a conceptual thing and a practical thing.

While you can continuously speak a percentage of the relevance of your play to your position, at some point this number is just not meaningful. When this number is much smaller than the percentage that you'll affect the relative position rest of players, I'll just ignore it.

And in practice, even if we say, we can rigorously determine this tiny percentage, not everyone plays according to that. And that creates problems. Suppose in a 3p game, first player get \$10, second get \$5 and third get nothing. If you are in the position that you are third and your decision can improve your winning chance by 1% but you can decide who wins if you choose to do so, why do you not request \$3 and play for the player that pays you? Your expected income is much better than 5c, which is what you expect to get if you just play to win. That is collusion.

Sure, further rules can forbid this, but that is not the point of the discussion. My point is to point out there is no such situations in 2 player games. And that is conceptually how 2p games and multiplayer games are different.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 02:02:38 am
No it's not the problem at all. The problem is both a conceptual thing and a practical thing.

While you can continuously speak a percentage of the relevance of your play to your position, at some point this number is just not meaningful. When this number is much smaller than the percentage that you'll affect the relative position rest of players, I'll just ignore it.

And in practice, even if we say, we can rigorously determine this tiny percentage, not everyone plays according to that. And that creates problems. Suppose in a 3p game, first player get \$10, second get \$5 and third get nothing. If you are in the position that you are third and your decision can improve your winning chance by 1% but you can decide who wins if you choose to do so, why do you not request \$3 and play for the player that pays you? Your expected income is much better than 5c, which is what you expect to get if you just play to win. That is collusion.

Sure, further rules can forbid this, but that is not the point of the discussion. My point is to point out there is no such situations in 2 player games. And that is conceptually how 2p games and multiplayer games are different.
But this is the whole problem. The percentage is not meaningful, so you say. But really, why not? No seriously, why isn't it? You're not playing to win anymore. So long as it's not absolutely 0, it doesn't matter what the percentage is. And of course, you can have the same situation in a 2 player game. "I'll resign right now if you give me 2 bucks (playing 10-0)." It's the exact same thing.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: timchen on May 03, 2012, 02:12:44 am
Exactly. Except in the 2p game, that player won't give you any. If you are already losing, he can just take the whole \$10.

To put it more clearly, in a 2p game, collusion is at your own expense, whereas in a game with more players, it is at others. There is no problem to collude at your own expense (as it is not distinguishable to very incompetent play), but collude at other's expense is totally different.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Robz888 on May 03, 2012, 02:20:06 am
Suppose in a 3p game, first player get \$10, second get \$5 and third get nothing. If you are in the position that you are third and your decision can improve your winning chance by 1% but you can decide who wins if you choose to do so, why do you not request \$3 and play for the player that pays you? Your expected income is much better than 5c, which is what you expect to get if you just play to win. That is collusion.

This scenario violates my one condition: that getting 1st is preferable to getting 2nd, and 2nd to 3rd. In the above situation, getting 3rd is preferable to taking a 1% chance at getting 2nd, because you are colluding and splitting the pot. So yeah, that's bad, and I explicitly ruled that out from consideration when explaining how you could play 3+ Dominion without kingmaking (namely, you can't do the thing you just suggested people could do).
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: timchen on May 03, 2012, 02:38:57 am
Sure, for that I agree: If you ban collusion there will be no collusion problem.

For that matters, the situation we talked about will then just increase the variance, especially when people have trouble identifying their 1% advantage when making their decisions. All I am saying here is this increase of variance is an intrinsic property of games involving more than two players; and one interesting property of this particular variance is that if you don't ban collusion it will lead to collusion problems, which is entirely absent in 2p games.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Robz888 on May 03, 2012, 02:59:25 am
Sure, for that I agree: If you ban collusion there will be no collusion problem.

For that matters, the situation we talked about will then just increase the variance, especially when people have trouble identifying their 1% advantage when making their decisions. All I am saying here is this increase of variance is an intrinsic property of games involving more than two players; and one interesting property of this particular variance is that if you don't ban collusion it will lead to collusion problems, which is entirely absent in 2p games.

I guess I was talking more about kingmaking than collusion. You could introduce all sorts of outside-game reasons, I guess, for two players to work together, that wouldn't hold if each person was just playing to finish best. As WW said, you can have this in 2 player. Here's \$10 if you lose on purpose. That's collusion, it's just collusion that doesn't screw a third party. So anyway, yeah, collusion should be prohibited in both cases.

You know, you could make the argument that collusion is much more possible in 2 player. If I pay you to throw the game, hey that's easy. In three player, I have to pay two people to throw the game. Because even working together only goes so far. Depending on the Kingdom, it's probably more likely than not that you could beat two people who were explicitly working together. Masquerade, Possession, Ambassador, Attacks might trip you up, but yeah... it's not as big a deal as in a lot of other games.

Anyway, if everybody is playing to win, you will not have much of a kingmaking problem in 3+ players, because virtually every decision you make affects whether YOU will win the game or not. Okay?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: timchen on May 03, 2012, 03:31:44 am
No. You are still missing the point. Maybe this example can make it clear.

Suppose in my early example, the player made the "wrong" strategic choice of getting that Duchy.

Suppose you are the second ranked player. Now you are angry about the situation, because you lost due to a wrong play from someone else. You explained to that player in length why he shouldn't take that Duchy. Well, He shrugged and moved on.

It's not a problem of whether this is called collusion or king making. The point is that this phenomenon does not exist in 2p games. In 2p games an error from your opponent can only benefit you.

In your words, if everybody is playing to win, you will have a kingmaking problem in 3+ players, because other players can win by your mistake. And even if your decision is not a mistake, it can take long long time to persuade others that you are right. And frankly speaking, if your correct play only produce 1% advantage for yourself, you shouldn't be optimistic at convincing the other players that you are not kingmaking...

Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 08:16:54 am
timchen, you're upset that you can lose because of what someone else does, which makes neither them nor you actually win. This is just a part of the game though. Every multiplayer game can and does have that, bad play or not. It's fine that you hate it, of course, but it doesn't need to be nefarious.
And my earlier point is that the 2 bucks can happen in 2 player also. I only have a 10% chance of winning right now, or something terribly low (I can't likely calculate precisely), so I look to make the deal. Obviously if it's exactly 0, they reject. Hey, that's also true in multiplayer.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on May 03, 2012, 08:30:09 am
In 2p against an optimal opponent, you can't improve your expected value with a deal.

If you offer too much (more than reward * p to win), your opponent rejects.

If you offer too little (less than reward * p to win), your opponent accepts, but you would have been better off playing it out.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 08:33:29 am
In 2p against an optimal opponent, you can't improve your expected value with a deal.

If you offer too much (more than reward * p to win), your opponent rejects.

If you offer too little (less than reward * p to win), your opponent accepts, but you would have been better off playing it out.
Right. You can abate your risk though.

In 3p, you can't improve your expected value with a deal either (that both other players accept). To do it without the consent of everyone else, that's going to be totally illegal.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on May 03, 2012, 08:42:34 am
Surely the colluders agree apriori.

(http://www.troll.me/images/megyn-kelly/multiplayer-dominion-its-bridge-essentially.jpg)
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 08:49:43 am
Surely the colluders agree apriori.

In which case we're talking about game-throwing. Which is also a problem in 2 player.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on May 03, 2012, 09:00:56 am
The difference is that it is mutually beneficial to collude.  We can both win more at the expense of the third player.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 09:03:30 am
The difference is that it is mutually beneficial to collude.  We can both win more at the expense of the third player.
No. It's not mutually beneficial. Only one player is benefitting....
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on May 03, 2012, 09:10:50 am
Imagine there is a set where there is a rush strategy that will win if 2 of 3 players go for it, and lose if only 1 of 3 players goes for it.

I agree with you that we'll both go for it iff the 3rd player does not.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 09:16:54 am
Imagine there is a set where there is a rush strategy that will win if 2 of 3 players go for it, and lose if only 1 of 3 players goes for it.

I agree with you that we'll both go for it iff the 3rd player does not.
First of all, this is a gross oversimplification of any kind of game state. But moreover...
First player shouldn't do this, because he's likely to win anyway, going with the non-rush strategy. So he's actually hurting his chances. Now, second player maybe should or maybe shouldn't, depending on the amount of help he needs, and how good his chances are in the non-rush. Third player obviously goes after it iff one of the other two has. And because you can expect that to happen, you keep that in mind when choosing your strat as p1 and p2. There is a prior equilibrium, game-theory wise. And disturbing that equilibrium is, in any event, going to hurt that person who disturbs it. Not foolproofedly, but in the vast vast majority of cases.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: rrenaud on May 03, 2012, 09:31:16 am
I agree it's a simplification.  Really what happens is that there is a rush strategy that is not quite viable alone (p = .25, say) , but when paired with another rusher, beats the long game strategy (p = .75 combined, perhaps).  I am sure you can find some kind of weak gardens strategy that has this property with the simulator if you tried.  This also requires that players strongly and irrevocably commit to different strategies, which isn't totally true in dominion either.

Of course, acting in concert requires trust and coordination.  But given that you trust your co-conspirator, you can definitely both get ahead by 'playing for the team'.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 10:02:23 am
I agree it's a simplification.  Really what happens is that there is a rush strategy that is not quite viable alone (p = .25, say) , but when paired with another rusher, beats the long game strategy (p = .75 combined, perhaps).  I am sure you can find some kind of weak gardens strategy that has this property with the simulator if you tried.  This also requires that players strongly and irrevocably commit to different strategies, which isn't totally true in dominion either.

Of course, acting in concert requires trust and coordination.  But given that you trust your co-conspirator, you can definitely both get ahead by 'playing for the team'.
This doesn't address my basic point that: either one of them has to decrease his/her own winning chances in order to do this, in which case it is, to some extent, throwing, and definitely not mutually beneficial, or it helps them both, in which case it's probably just good strategy rather than collusion. Or it's collusion but the effect isn't different from good strategy. Either way, I'm not seeing the problem, even in this unrealistic, super-simplified scenario. Unless the problem is throwing. 'cause yeah, that's a problem.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Geronimoo on May 03, 2012, 10:10:03 am
A Bureaucrat/Gardens strategy vs BM Smithy could lead to interesting observations in multiplayer. Playing a bit with the simulator I found that if one player goes for Smithy, the three other players can gang up by going Bureaucrat/Gardens and beat Smithy. If one player goes for Bureaucrat/Gardens the others can all go Smithy and beat him. But the bots are far from optimized and this result might be wrong.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 10:11:19 am
A Bureaucrat/Gardens strategy vs BM Smithy could lead to interesting observations in multiplayer. Playing a bit with the simulator I found that if one player goes for Smithy, the three other players can gang up by going Bureaucrat/Gardens and beat Smithy. If one player goes for Bureaucrat/Gardens the others can all go Smithy and beat him. But the bots are far from optimized and this result might be wrong.
Yeah, but this isn't collusion. It's just strategy.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: timchen on May 03, 2012, 10:27:45 am
... I can only say, when someone refuses to see something, it cannot be helped. But maybe just let me try one last time:

In my previous Duchy example, suppose I can improve my position by 1%, not buying the Duchy.
If the prizes are \$10, \$5, and \$0, I can reasonably request \$2.5, if I am mean I can request arbitrarily close to \$5 from either player. The amount I can request has nothing to do with my position.

If there are only two players, again suppose I can improve my position by 1%...
If the prizes are \$10 and \$0, now I can only request 20c.  The amount I can request is just proportional to how much my position is changed.

That's how the two kinds of collusion are different; the second one is not really collusion as you effectively trade nothing.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 10:40:14 am
... I can only say, when someone refuses to see something, it cannot be helped. But maybe just let me try one last time:

In my previous Duchy example, suppose I can improve my position by 1%, not buying the Duchy.
If the prizes are \$10, \$5, and \$0, I can reasonably request \$2.5, if I am mean I can request arbitrarily close to \$5 from either player. The amount I can request has nothing to do with my position.

If there are only two players, again suppose I can improve my position by 1%...
If the prizes are \$10 and \$0, now I can only request 20c.  The amount I can request is just proportional to how much my position is changed.

That's how the two kinds of collusion are different; the second one is not really collusion as you effectively trade nothing.
No, I get this. But you can't do the second thing, because it's absolutely illegal. If you could, sure, it would be a problem.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: mnavratil on May 03, 2012, 12:21:26 pm
Okay, but now replace actual money with some other form of utility. Say by buying that duchy you will end the game with the player you absolutley hate taking second. Not buying the duchy means that player has high probability of taking first. How can you make this detectable/illegal?

Even then, replace hatred with a rank system. Now it is possible to end the game prematurely when you are behind with little hope of catching up. Doing so is not the ideal play for this game (you guarantee yourself 3rd place); but it ensures that the high-ranking player in the game will take second to the middle-ranking player. So without any change in your position; you just changed the relative ranking of the other players. I think this could lead to a better relative ranking then would otherwise be possible (if you played the game "straight").

There is no way to gain a ranking advantage in in two-player by throwing a game in this way.

I'm not saying that this is too big of a problem to overcome, or that there is no way to game the system in 2-player; but I think the evidence suggests that multi-player and 2-player should not share the same rating system.

Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 12:37:01 pm
Okay, but now replace actual money with some other form of utility. Say by buying that duchy you will end the game with the player you absolutley hate taking second. Not buying the duchy means that player has high probability of taking first. How can you make this detectable/illegal?

Even then, replace hatred with a rank system. Now it is possible to end the game prematurely when you are behind with little hope of catching up. Doing so is not the ideal play for this game (you guarantee yourself 3rd place); but it ensures that the high-ranking player in the game will take second to the middle-ranking player. So without any change in your position; you just changed the relative ranking of the other players. I think this could lead to a better relative ranking then would otherwise be possible (if you played the game "straight").

There is no way to gain a ranking advantage in in two-player by throwing a game in this way.

I'm not saying that this is too big of a problem to overcome, or that there is no way to game the system in 2-player; but I think the evidence suggests that multi-player and 2-player should not share the same rating system.

Sigh.
Again, you can have this happen if people care about things other than their own placement more than their own placement. I've said this multiple times. And uh, what's the problem here. The problem is that you are valuing game placement, and they're valuing something else. Which isn't a problem with the game. It's a problem with the people.
Second situation, huh? So by hurting someone who's good, you're helping yourself, even though you're losing? In fact, because you're losing? Run that by me. Once again, your assertion that you're doing something 'without any change in your position' is simply untrue.
And yes, they shouldn't share the same rating system. How many times have I said otherwise? None. How many times have I said this, IN THIS VERY THREAD? Like 3 or 4 at least.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: mnavratil on May 03, 2012, 01:32:45 pm
I'm not saying you play from the start to lose. That would just be ridiculous. But given that it and can happen that you end up in an unrecoverable (or at least statistically very unlikely) position to get anything but 3rd; it is possible to affect the outcome for the other players by either buying cards that are scarce; or outright ending the game early. So in 3-player, unlike 2-player, you can be out of the running, but still have a say in who wins.

Example: Let's say the top 2 players on the leaderboard are playing against each other in a 3-player game. The #2 player finds himself in the above situation (didn't try to lose, but is has 0% chance of not placing 3rd). If the #1 player wins the game outright, the relative standing between #1 and #2 becomes greater; so it is in player #2's best interest to help and ensure a win for the other random player, right? Even though the given scenario is highly unlikely; it is not even a possibility in 2-player.

And of course people care about things other than their own placement in a single game. Like how about their placement in an overall tournament, or on the leaderboard, or some petty grievances they have? People do strange things for many reasons. How can you detect if a someone is just playing badly; or they have an ulterior motive for forcing the game in some way? A players motivation for playing badly doesn't really matter; it still costs you the game.

2-player alleviates this by only allowing you to affect your own position. 2-player: If I want player 1 to lose I have to beat him. There is no other recourse.
3-player: If I want player 1 to "lose" I can either beat him, or help someone else beat him, even if doing so means I also lose.

Fair enough to your last point. I guess I am just agreeing that 3-player introduces these (perhaps unlikely) "kingmaker" situations that are simply not present in 2-player. This leads me to believe that 3-player is inferior as a competitive format compared to 2-player. Even though 3-player still is a competitive format (this much I do believe); I think it's a shame that there aren't more strictly 2-player tournaments IRL.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 01:45:36 pm
I'm not saying you play from the start to lose. That would just be ridiculous. But given that it and can happen that you end up in an unrecoverable (or at least statistically very unlikely) position to get anything but 3rd; it is possible to affect the outcome for the other players by either buying cards that are scarce; or outright ending the game early. So in 3-player, unlike 2-player, you can be out of the running, but still have a say in who wins.

Example: Let's say the top 2 players on the leaderboard are playing against each other in a 3-player game. The #2 player finds himself in the above situation (didn't try to lose, but is has 0% chance of not placing 3rd). If the #1 player wins the game outright, the relative standing between #1 and #2 becomes greater; so it is in player #2's best interest to help and ensure a win for the other random player, right? Even though the given scenario is highly unlikely; it is not even a possibility in 2-player.
Once again, I'm not denying this. This isn't the point. The point is that this is part of the game. It's just part of the game. Something you have to live with. The worst player has an impact on things. Not an overwhelming one, but yes, there is an impact. Deal with it. Or don't play multiplayer. Just don't tell other people not to play, or that they can't, or that there isn't legitimate skill in what they're doing. That's all I'm saying here.
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And of course people care about things other than their own placement in a single game. Like how about their placement in an overall tournament, or on the leaderboard, or some petty grievances they have? People do strange things for many reasons. How can you detect if a someone is just playing badly; or they have an ulterior motive for forcing the game in some way? A players motivation for playing badly doesn't really matter; it still costs you the game.
You can't, so much. Which means that it's not really a big deal if it happens. If the most collusive negative thing you can get is indeterminable from reasonable play...
But yes, it costs you the game. This is not a problem with the game. It's a problem with the people. You shouldn't be upset with the game here, you should be upset at the person who cares more about you losing than himself winning. Or maybe he's upset with you for playing to win. You're upset with him because his motivation isn't the same as yours. He can reasonably be upset with you for the same reason. Now, I'm much more sympathetic to the person trying to win here but...
Also, in a tournament, isn't the goal to win the tournament? So I don't have a problem playing with that as my motivation.
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2-player alleviates this by only allowing you to affect your own position. 2-player: If I want player 1 to lose I have to beat him. There is no other recourse.
3-player: If I want player 1 to "lose" I can either beat him, or help someone else beat him, even if doing so means I also lose.

Fair enough to your last point. I guess I am just agreeing that 3-player introduces these (perhaps unlikely) "kingmaker" situations that are simply not present in 2-player. This leads me to believe that 3-player is inferior as a competitive format compared to 2-player. Even though 3-player still is a competitive format (this much I do believe); I think it's a shame that there aren't more strictly 2-player tournaments IRL.
I don't like the way you phrase it. It's not a kingmaker situation... I guess that's a semantic issue anyway, so I won't belabor that. Yes there are situations that are different, strategic intricacies that aren't present in the 2-player game. But please, don't say that makes it inferior. It makes it different. You don't like it as much, I don't like it as much, but it's different. That's what it is.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: tlloyd on May 03, 2012, 02:15:09 pm
Not to break up the discussion here, but it seems like 3P involves, in addition to as much or more potential for collusion as 2P, the possibility of unilateral king-making. It obviously depends on how the games are scored (does second place score higher than third?), and how turn order is determined for the next game (does seating order remain the same so it's best to be to the left of the previous winner? Is it even the same three players?), but it's pretty easy to imagine a scenario where a player would give the win to opponent A in order to take it from opponent B.

I can also think of circumstances in which the winner might be able to influence which of his opponents came in second, rather than just playing the game "straight." Is that legit strategic play? I tend to say no. So that's another potential problem that you face with 2+ players.

WW - rather than responding only to the weakest arguments with which you are challenged, why don't you address the following hypotheticals:

#1: P3 is so far behind on points that he has literally 0% chance to win or even take second. P2 has a narrow lead over P1, and there is one Duchy left. P3 can buy it to give P2 the win, or can leave it and give P1 the win. If the tournament is played in multiple rounds, each with a series of games, P3 will likely give the win to the opponent who has the lowest score up to that point. Or, if seating order doesn't change, he may give the win to P2, in order to go first in the next game. That is optimal play, and is problematic in a way 2P games would never be.

#2: P3 is guaranteed to win the game (he has built an insurmountable VP lead with a Goons deck), but second place is still up for grabs. P1 is ahead of P2 at the moment with a traditional Province-buying strategy, but P2's Goons deck is just starting to click, and he is likely to overtake P1 in the next few turns (before P1 could end the game). P3 can end the game on this turn, or can continue extending his VP lead while P2 overtakes P1 and then end the game. P3 is likely to give second place to the opponent with a lower score up to that point in the tournament. Again, optimal play, problematic, and only possible with 3 or more players.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: mnavratil on May 03, 2012, 02:29:48 pm
WW- I definitely see what you are saying now. I think we both agree that 3-player is different enough to warrant treating it as such.

Thinking about this more; I will totally retract my "3-player is an inferior competitive format" statement. Perhaps playing mostly 2-player puts us in a mindset that dominion is about building/playing the best deck; but in actuality it is about building the best deck after taking into account the other players. In 2-player this just happens to be the same thing; while in multi-player this can become subtly different.

I just happen to like the "build the best" deck variant because it is easier to quantify who was the best at building/playing a deck. This is the part of dominion I enjoy the most. (As a side note, this probably explains a lot of the hatred for Possession too. Now I wonder if there is correlation between how much a a player likes/hates that card and how often they play multi-player.)

Tlloyd -I think WW did answer this in his post. The answer he gave (and I am starting to agree with) is that this is just part of the 3-player game. If the game is that close and you come in second because the last place player ends prematurely; I guess you deserve second. If you went for a BM-deck against goons hoping for a quick 3-pile; don't blame another player for not 3-piling, blame yourself for picking that strategy. I think the fundamental nature of what dominion is changes for 2-player and 3+ players.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 02:38:24 pm
Not to break up the discussion here, but it seems like 3P involves, in addition to as much or more potential for collusion as 2P, the possibility of unilateral king-making. It obviously depends on how the games are scored (does second place score higher than third?), and how turn order is determined for the next game (does seating order remain the same so it's best to be to the left of the previous winner? Is it even the same three players?), but it's pretty easy to imagine a scenario where a player would give the win to opponent A in order to take it from opponent B.

I can also think of circumstances in which the winner might be able to influence which of his opponents came in second, rather than just playing the game "straight." Is that legit strategic play? I tend to say no. So that's another potential problem that you face with 2+ players.

WW - rather than responding only to the weakest arguments with which you are challenged, why don't you address the following hypotheticals:

#1: P3 is so far behind on points that he has literally 0% chance to win or even take second. P2 has a narrow lead over P1, and there is one Duchy left. P3 can buy it to give P2 the win, or can leave it and give P1 the win. If the tournament is played in multiple rounds, each with a series of games, P3 will likely give the win to the opponent who has the lowest score up to that point. Or, if seating order doesn't change, he may give the win to P2, in order to go first in the next game. That is optimal play, and is problematic in a way 2P games would never be.

#2: P3 is guaranteed to win the game (he has built an insurmountable VP lead with a Goons deck), but second place is still up for grabs. P1 is ahead of P2 at the moment with a traditional Province-buying strategy, but P2's Goons deck is just starting to click, and he is likely to overtake P1 in the next few turns (before P1 could end the game). P3 can end the game on this turn, or can continue extending his VP lead while P2 overtakes P1 and then end the game. P3 is likely to give second place to the opponent with a lower score up to that point in the tournament. Again, optimal play, problematic, and only possible with 3 or more players.
I'm sorry if I don't see a substantive difference between this and the other things people are bringing up.
1)Why is this problematic?
2) There's no such thing as an insurmountable lead in a goons deck! I guess, nobody else has goons or ways to get them, you have enough VP chips that it's impossible to catch up. Ok seems unlikely but sure, you can come up with scenarios where you've got a similar thing going on. Again, why is this problematic?
Both of these things are just part of the game. In a tournament setting, you should try to maximize your tournament standing at this point by affecting the other players in the way that's best for you. I don't see a problem with this. In any setting, if it truly doesn't matter, I don't see why there's a problem in the person doing whatever they want. Typically, they'll go to end it, to save time. This seems as good a thing as any. Furthermore, the other players, who it matters for, have to prepare for different eventualities. That's just part of the game, and again, I don't see the problem here, per se. Though I do understand why you might not like it.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: GendoIkari on May 03, 2012, 03:05:12 pm
To throw in my opinion here... if a third player who is losing ends the game, giving the victory to player B instead of player A, then in my view, player B fully deserves that victory. The game is basically a race. A race to see who can get the most points the fastest; who can get the most points by the time the game ends. In this case, player B basically played better; he got more points in his deck than player A did.

Now, if player C plays Masquerade, and then passes a Colony to player A because he likes player A more than play B, that's different. Player A did nothing to deserve that Colony; he did not play better to get it. This would be a King-making problem. So sure, it can happen. But I'm pretty sure that situation is quite rare.

The situation of a person ending the game because they are behind, and just want to get it over with, is not king-making. The player who wins that game wins because they managed to get more points faster than the other players. Someone else didn't make them the king; their superior play made them the king.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: tlloyd on May 03, 2012, 03:38:17 pm
To throw in my opinion here... if a third player who is losing ends the game, giving the victory to player B instead of player A, then in my view, player B fully deserves that victory. The game is basically a race. A race to see who can get the most points the fastest; who can get the most points by the time the game ends. In this case, player B basically played better; he got more points in his deck than player A did.

...

The situation of a person ending the game because they are behind, and just want to get it over with, is not king-making. The player who wins that game wins because they managed to get more points faster than the other players. Someone else didn't make them the king; their superior play made them the king.

I cannot agree with this. It's easy enough to say that whoever won deserved to win, but the point is that one of the players is choosing when the race ends, and that may be a factor in who wins. If the player who chooses to end the game does so not to win, but to determine which of the other opponents will, that's just not legitimate. It's perfectly rational meta-strategy, but it's exactly the kind of "politics" that Donald has said repeatedly he didn't want to be a part of the game.

Perhaps you'll see why your statement is wrong if I alter the hypothetical: now say that it's P2 who is far behind with the choice to end the game. If he does, P1 will win, but only by virtue of having an extra turn. If P2 allows P3 to have another turn, P3 will end the game and score more points in an equal number of turns. Now who has played better? And if P2 gives the win to P1, are you still willing to say that P1 somwhow deserves to win?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 03:53:33 pm
To throw in my opinion here... if a third player who is losing ends the game, giving the victory to player B instead of player A, then in my view, player B fully deserves that victory. The game is basically a race. A race to see who can get the most points the fastest; who can get the most points by the time the game ends. In this case, player B basically played better; he got more points in his deck than player A did.

...

The situation of a person ending the game because they are behind, and just want to get it over with, is not king-making. The player who wins that game wins because they managed to get more points faster than the other players. Someone else didn't make them the king; their superior play made them the king.

I cannot agree with this. It's easy enough to say that whoever won deserved to win, but the point is that one of the players is choosing when the race ends, and that may be a factor in who wins.
Yes... nobody's denying this...
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If the player who chooses to end the game does so not to win, but to determine which of the other opponents will, that's just not legitimate. It's perfectly rational meta-strategy, but it's exactly the kind of "politics" that Donald has said repeatedly he didn't want to be a part of the game.
No, it's a different kind of politics. Because he designed the game, he knows this stuff is in there. Are you trying to say he's too stupid to realize that? Or just too stupid to be able to get rid of it? I have trouble not reading this post as insulting Donald.
Even if it WERE that kind of politics... so? I mean, the designer doesn't like it (in this hypothetical construction). So what? He's also said innumerable times that if you like X, then do X, provided it's not illegal/immoral. I don't get your point here.

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Perhaps you'll see why your statement is wrong
Wrong?!?!
How can his statement be wrong? It seems like a pretty opinion-y thing to me. Like X played better is his statement. How can that be wrong. I guess if we had some way to objectively measure who won. But the only way I see that is... by the results! Mind you, I don't think this is really right, like I don't think that you can definitively say one way or the other, but if you could, then you're the only one who can be wrong, and he's the only one who can be right. "Aww man, torturer chains are cheap." Maybe so, but they win.
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if I alter the hypothetical: now say that it's P2 who is far behind with the choice to end the game. If he does, P1 will win, but only by virtue of having an extra turn. If P2 allows P3 to have another turn, P3 will end the game and score more points in an equal number of turns. Now who has played better? And if P2 gives the win to P1, are you still willing to say that P1 somwhow deserves to win?
Yes. He deserves to because he played within the rules, and he did win. Of course he deserves to. I mean, that doesn't necessarily mean he had the best strategy, but...
2 player. I play big money. You play big money smithy. I win. Now, you might say that I'm undeserving but... I mean, what do you want to do about this?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: tlloyd on May 03, 2012, 03:55:55 pm
WW -

The first substantive difference is that in my hypotheticals the game-ending player is playing rationally, not randomly.

Also, you keep moving the goal posts. The initial dispute was over whether 3P is different from 2P in a way the makes it less legitimate in trrms of competition. You denied that it was different ("you can do the same thing in 2P"). Now you've been presented with several negative aspects of 3P games that are not possible in 2P, so you change your argument to "it's different, but not bad." When we then explain why these aspects of 3P games are bad, you give a very slippery defense that they can't be bad because they are aspects of the game. If targeted attacks became part of the game, that wouldn't change the truth of Donalds reasons why they are bad for the game.

When these circumstances come up in 3P games, success comes not to whomever is best at the game, but to whomever is best at gaming the game. Surely you will admit that this makes 3P tournaments less sporting, less "pure" in some sense, than 2P. That's all we're saying. There are other aspects of 3P that male the game more fun or strategically intereting, but these are offset by aspects that make it less fair.

UPDATE: after reading your responses to my previous post, I've lost all hope for a productive conversation. Clearly you are determined to avoid the question and change the subject whenever your views are challenged.

Nobody said that 3P is not worth playing or not part of Dominion. We have merely been noting some ways in which 2P competition is less susceptible to collusion, kingmaking, and other anti-competitive behavior. I think other aspects of 3P more than make up for this, but then I see it as a game rather than a serious competition. So don't act like I'm somehow criticizing Donald by asking you to defend your own views. Both 2P and 3P are part of the game of Dominion - that doesn't mean we can't note differences in how they play.

I'll wait for GendoIkari to respond before I waste any time on your "opinion-y" rant.

And your final comment is just the same circular crap regurgitated. You say as long as you win within the rules you deserve to win. I show how that statement is harder to justify in 3P, and you say "that's 3P!" Come back when you're ready to actually make and respond to real arguments.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: GendoIkari on May 03, 2012, 04:20:07 pm
To throw in my opinion here... if a third player who is losing ends the game, giving the victory to player B instead of player A, then in my view, player B fully deserves that victory. The game is basically a race. A race to see who can get the most points the fastest; who can get the most points by the time the game ends. In this case, player B basically played better; he got more points in his deck than player A did.

...

The situation of a person ending the game because they are behind, and just want to get it over with, is not king-making. The player who wins that game wins because they managed to get more points faster than the other players. Someone else didn't make them the king; their superior play made them the king.

I cannot agree with this. It's easy enough to say that whoever won deserved to win, but the point is that one of the players is choosing when the race ends, and that may be a factor in who wins. If the player who chooses to end the game does so not to win, but to determine which of the other opponents will, that's just not legitimate.
How is it not legitimate? Part of the basic strategy of the game is that you cannot guarantee when the game will end; so you need to get points as fast as possible. (At a certain point in the game, of course). When there's only 1 Province left; or a 3-pile is possible; you simply cannot know if you will get another turn. Whether it's a 2 player game or a 3 player game; if you count on getting one more turn, and don't get it, you gambled and lost.
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Perhaps you'll see why your statement is wrong if I alter the hypothetical: now say that it's P2 who is far behind with the choice to end the game. If he does, P1 will win, but only by virtue of having an extra turn. If P2 allows P3 to have another turn, P3 will end the game and score more points in an equal number of turns. Now who has played better? And if P2 gives the win to P1, are you still willing to say that P1 somwhow deserves to win?
That's no different than the first player advantage in general. P1 won because he got an extra turn. In 15 turns; he got more points than P3 got in 14 turns. Did he play better? Maybe, maybe not; it's all situational. But it's the same as it would have been if it were a 2 player game and P1 ended on his turn with a win. P1 may have only won because he got an extra turn.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 04:27:33 pm
WW -

The first substantive difference is that in my hypotheticals the game-ending player is playing rationally, not randomly.
I've dealt with that too.

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Also, you keep moving the goal posts.
No I don't.
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The initial dispute was over whether 3P is different from 2P in a way the makes it less legitimate in trrms of competition. You denied that it was different ("you can do the same thing in 2P").
Actually the original thing was that multiplayer isn't competitively viable. Like at all. I disagreed and still do. No change.
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Now you've been presented with several negative aspects of 3P games that are not possible in 2P, so you change your argument to "it's different, but not bad."
I never said that it wasn't different. I also didn't say it was not bad. I said that it's different, and that it's possible to play competitively. Whether it's 'bad' or not is a matter of taste. Again, no change here.
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When we then explain why these aspects of 3P games are bad, you give a very slippery defense that they can't be bad because they are aspects of the game. If targeted attacks became part of the game, that wouldn't change the truth of Donalds reasons why they are bad for the game.

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When these circumstances come up in 3P games, success comes not to whomever is best at the game, but to whomever is best at gaming the game. Surely you will admit that this makes 3P tournaments less sporting, less "pure" in some sense, than 2P. That's all we're saying. There are other aspects of 3P that male the game more fun or strategically intereting, but these are offset by aspects that make it less fair.
No! 'Gaming the game' is part of the game! Anticipating this stuff is part of the game! Preparing for it is part of the game! So inherently, it IS about who is best at the game. But the game is different than 2 player dominion. So it's of course not about who's best at 2-player dominion. It's why the simulators suck at multiplayer - you really really need a good grasp of what EVERYONE is doing, there's all kinds of reactions you need to do. Sort of like, you want like 8 workshops in WS/Gardens if your opponent is going BM, but only like 3 in the mirror - you have to react. Here you have to react to more different people, as well as the board state, in totally different ways. It's not less 'fair', except inasmuch as there's more imbalance from the turn order; it's just that there's less control by the players, and more control by a player who is not in contention. But everyone is playing by the same rules, so of course it's fair. In fact I don't personally think that multiplayer is more fun than 2 player - quite the opposite - but I wouldn't say people who disagree with me are 'wrong' - they just like different things.
As for less sporting or "pure" - I really don't know what you mean. What do you mean? Because the only thing I can tell, there's more stuff out of my hands in a 3 player game. Which basically means that you need more games in order to figure out with the same amount of certainty who the best player is. But if that's less sporting... you think Baseball is less sporting than Basketball, which is less sporting than football? That's just, well I don't know what sporting means, but if that's true, then who gives a care about what is sporting. Explain to me why this is important? I like baseball better anyway. I fully respect your decision to prefer a different sport. We have different tastes, for different games. And they're different, that's all.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: tlloyd on May 03, 2012, 05:15:53 pm
Unfortunate that we're having this debate across two threads now, but what can you do. When I say someone is gaming the game, I'm not talking about 3P strategic interaction. I'm talking about multi-game meta-strategy, which is only relevant in 3P games. Choosing to lose a game in order to give yourself a better chance of winning the series is gaming the game, and can happen in 3P.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 05:28:54 pm
Unfortunate that we're having this debate across two threads now, but what can you do. When I say someone is gaming the game, I'm not talking about 3P strategic interaction. I'm talking about multi-game meta-strategy, which is only relevant in 3P games. Choosing to lose a game in order to give yourself a better chance of winning the series is gaming the game, and can happen in 3P.
Just part of the game that has to do with the way the tournament's structured. You shouldn't ever have a tournament structured where losing>winning. However how you lose can be important, yes. And isn't so much in two-player, if you have that set up right. Ok. What's your point, though?
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: MJ23 on May 03, 2012, 06:27:23 pm
Unfortunate that we're having this debate across two threads now, but what can you do. When I say someone is gaming the game, I'm not talking about 3P strategic interaction. I'm talking about multi-game meta-strategy, which is only relevant in 3P games. Choosing to lose a game in order to give yourself a better chance of winning the series is gaming the game, and can happen in 3P.
Just part of the game that has to do with the way the tournament's structured. You shouldn't ever have a tournament structured where losing>winning. However how you lose can be important, yes. And isn't so much in two-player, if you have that set up right. Ok. What's your point, though?

Hi, long time lurker on the forums but decided to make an account just to respond to this thread.  Btw, WW, I've watched all the videos on your Youtube channel, huge fan.

But in regards to your question, I think tlloyd's point is clear, from three posts above: "We have merely been noting some ways in which 2P competition is less susceptible to collusion, kingmaking, and other anti-competitive behavior."

It appears you disagree with this point, though, I'm not sure how anyone could as the scenarios painted by tlloyd are explicit.  There are no parallels in 2P.

With that as the point, I think the disagreement is just where to draw the definitive line of "competitive game".  It appears that to WW, games with levels of collusion, kingmaking, and other anti-competitive behavior similar to 3P+ dominion can still be played competitively.  But tlloyd and others believe that in view of these third-party variables or outside factors, the game should not be played competitively.  Everyone and anyone can argue semantics all day (WW) but I believe that this is what remains after all the hashing.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Jfrisch on May 03, 2012, 09:25:42 pm

As somebody who thinks that this community unfairly demonizes multiplayer I still maintain it is worse as a tournament game. To be clear, Donald X specifically designed Dominion in order to minimize/mitigate Kingmaking/attacks influencing other players unequal amounts and did about as good as in possible in a multi-player game. Nevertheless, In multi-player games, a given player's move often helps/hurts other players different amounts. There are, in my mind several ways which this makes it less suited for tournament play.

In a tournament situation, unlike in two player, there is tournament benefit to be gained by slightly harming your position in order to help other people's position. You acknowledge as much in the previous post. I view this as a negative tournament feature, in a Dominion tournament I want the results to reflect, as accurately as possible taking into account the inherent randomness of the game, who is the best Dominion player (or n-player Dominion player). Granted, draws can also have a (very mildly) warping influence on how you would play, but I feel that how you should play a multi-player dominion game is far more tournament-status dependent than it is for 2 player.

An opponent playing sub-optimally can harm you more than an opponent. People still play Dominion sub-optimally quite often, this is why it's a fun game. (Yes, 40/45+ are still very much included in here, I'm 43 and make mistakes constantly (and blunders with some regularity), and have beaten players in the top 5 because they've chosen the wrong strategy (not just niche 5-10% higher chance of winning things). However it's extraordinarily frustrating, and not really something you are capable of planning around, when your opponent's suboptimal move hurts you much more than your opponent (though, of course, you aren't necessarily a better judge of their optimal move, but sometimes you are right and they are wrong). I want to play Dominion as close to optimally as possible. I want to play the same way whether my opponent is a level 10 or a level 50, and multi-player is not (nearly as) conducive to that.

Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: WanderingWinder on May 03, 2012, 09:52:07 pm
MJ23, basically yes. I don't actually think collusion is allowable in competitive environments, but the rules you have to have to limit it here, you have to have in two player as well. People will probably think to do it more in multiplayer... yadda yadda I've made this point already. But yeah, the other stuff is part of the game, etc. etc. And of course, I think that it can be played competitively. But more importantly, I don't think anyone here is in a position to tell someone it can't be done, in the hypothetical case that people want to do it. And I don't appreciate people telling other people 'well, you think you're being competitive, but you're not. ' Especially when the people saying that DON'T PLAY MULTIPLAYER. And this isn't a hypothetical here - the only IRL dominion tournaments I've ever heard about, including the world championships, are multiplayer events.
Now, what JFrisch is saying is right on. Except, once again this little issue in his second paragraph. He talks about, in his first paragraph, that this stuff is part of the game. But then he says in the second paragraph that people who use it aren't as good at the game, because they're better at something that he acknowledges is part of the game. Now the issue is, I think, that he doesn't think it SHOULD be part of the game. And I mostly agree with that, actually. It's one of the major reasons I like two player better than multiplayer. He also claims that he thinks that tournament status is a bigger factor in multiplayer than two player. Based on.... really nothing but random instinct/guess. Now, I don't have a lot of experience here, either, but I have a bit more than anyone else I've seen commenting here, and so I disagree with them on points like this, and I could be wrong, but the point is, if people are comfortable with this, then I don't see why we don't let them. Anyway, he's probably right, the question is how much more of a factor it is, and how bad of a thing that is. I think probably it's not negligible, but not a large effect, if you have your tournament set up well.
Anyway, we're basically going in circles here, so I don't anticipate saying more on the subject, because I don't anticipate someone bringing up a point that's really distinct, new ground.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: dondon151 on May 04, 2012, 03:01:02 am
I mean, real life Dominion tournaments have other problems, like the finals being determined by a single match, among other things...

I'm not going to complain about winning the regional tournament a couple of weeks ago, but it didn't seem quite right that a single mistake could completely ruin your chances of winning against a good opponent. If you didn't identify the strongest interactions in the championship kingdom at the outset, you've pretty much lost that game.

Anyway I think that playing more matches and using a rotation format instead of a straight elimination format mitigates the problem of active collusion to a considerable extent. There's still the problem of passive kingmaking, but that's an innate part of 3p and it's something that you learn to take into account once you have more multiplayer experience, especially in casual settings.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Donald X. on May 04, 2012, 05:34:19 am
in a Dominion tournament I want the results to reflect, as accurately as possible taking into account the inherent randomness of the game, who is the best Dominion player (or n-player Dominion player).
At it happens, this is not what Jay wants. Jay wants people to enjoy the tournament as much as possible. And you can only maximize one variable.

For sure two-player games are more skill-based. No argument there.

Are three-player games more fun? Well this will vary by player, but I think they are more fun for the players who aren't the best players. The top players would prefer the more skill-based format, so they had a better chance of winning. They want to play best 4 of 7 and so forth; leave nothing to chance. But most people aren't the top players.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Geronimoo on May 04, 2012, 05:44:32 am
Are there any intentions to organize a separate World Championship for 2-player Dominion? That would be awesome...
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Jfrisch on May 04, 2012, 06:56:16 am
Sure, I guess I was unjustly equating "tournament" with "event designed to determine who played best during the event". I meant it more in analogy to "tournament chess" than I did as a judgement on any particular Dominion tournament.

In general, I draw a dichotomy between games I play competitively (that is, games I'm happy to spend a large amount of time on trying to get better) and games I play casually. I prefer games I play competitively to be more skill intensive/less political than I need games I play casually to be.  Two player meets those preferences better than does three player.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Donald X. on May 04, 2012, 07:22:23 am
Are there any intentions to organize a separate World Championship for 2-player Dominion? That would be awesome...
There are no such plans; Jay prefers 3 players, itself a compromise from 4 players.

However I hope and expect (though cannot guarantee) to have tournaments with 2-player games for the online version.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: GigaKnight on May 04, 2012, 11:42:27 am
Are there any intentions to organize a separate World Championship for 2-player Dominion? That would be awesome...
There are no such plans; Jay prefers 3 players, itself a compromise from 4 players.

However I hope and expect (though cannot guarantee) to have tournaments with 2-player games for the online version.

What does Donald prefer?  Does the "compromise" above mean you prefer 4 players?

I just want to know so I can get all elitist and tell my friends that the best way to play is how the creator intended. :P
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Lekkit on May 04, 2012, 12:14:41 pm
I've played the swedish nationals, the WM and lately a swedish league. I've never had any problems with any kingmaking or collusion. People play to win, and if they don't they probably won't play competitive.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Obi Wan Bonogi on May 04, 2012, 01:02:24 pm
Poor Dominion, forever casual.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Donald X. on May 04, 2012, 07:29:47 pm
There are no such plans; Jay prefers 3 players, itself a compromise from 4 players.

However I hope and expect (though cannot guarantee) to have tournaments with 2-player games for the online version.

What does Donald prefer?  Does the "compromise" above mean you prefer 4 players?

I just want to know so I can get all elitist and tell my friends that the best way to play is how the creator intended. :P
The compromise is, Jay preferred 4 players, but agreed to 3.

I personally enjoy Dominion the most with 3 players, then 4, then 2, then 5. I avoid 5 but will do it; I don't play with 6. I put 5 last because it's slower; I put 3 and 4 ahead of 2 because I like the increased interaction and social atmosphere. I put 3 ahead of 4 because it's faster and there are more Provinces per player. I personally would have supported 2-5 in the main set and would never have supported 6. This is just the way of the world though, many games support one more player than is reasonable, and they do it because of the people who actually want to play with that many players.

For a tournament I would have 2-player games. It's a tournament, it's supposed to be competitive. I would for sure sometimes have multiplayer tournaments, because people like those too, but I would default to 2-player.

This is not something I have argued with Jay about though. I am fine with his stance on the number of players, for tournaments irl anyway. He sees it as about promoting the game and people enjoying games, rather than as a competition. I shouldn't speak extensively for him but you know, that is the impression I get. And that's fine; Dominion can't have a serious tournament scene without some work that no-one is going to put into that, I'm certainly not. Jay initially thought he would never run tournaments, so we have more tournaments than we were planning.

It's different online. Online someone else will actually do that work and probably small tournaments will run frequently, so there I think it matters enough that we should have 2-player rounds be the norm, and like I said, that is what I hope for and expect, but I haven't actually discussed this with Jay.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Kirian on May 07, 2012, 12:33:10 am
It's different online. Online someone else will actually do that work and probably small tournaments will run frequently, so there I think it matters enough that we should have 2-player rounds be the norm, and like I said, that is what I hope for and expect, but I haven't actually discussed this with Jay.

I think another difference between IRL and online is important:  time.  Consider the DS Tournament.  Seven rounds of up to seven games each, nine games in the final.  Now, online, seven games won't take more than two hours, and rarely more than 90 minutes.  Less, of course, if it's first-to-four.  IRL, seven two-player games could stretch to 3-4 hours including setup time.  Qualifier rounds start to stretch for days.  Even best-of-five is 2 hours per round, and most here on the boards would probably agree that a best-of-three match is not enough for a good test of skill.

Compare, say, the Catan qualifiers at Origins.  (I can do this because I helped run them for three years.  Yes, despite hating Catan).  Around 32 people a day play for three days, four games, around eight hours a day.  Each day is separate; the best one can do is to win all four games that day (maybe two people average per Origins), and most semifinalists had three wins and a good score based on closeness of games.  This gets to 16 semifinalists.  One semifinal and one final on Sunday.  Note that all players basically get three separate shots at the semifinals, taking their best day.

What would a similar 2P Dominion qualifier look like?  Thursday and Friday, N people play eight best-of-five matches (four per day).  Top sixteen players go into Saturday, whittling down to two players by Saturday evening.  Finals on Sunday.  Great, OK... but...

For fairness, you probably go Swiss-style.  The first two days  Then you set up... 30? 40? 60? matches, with the requisite number of sets.  You probably need at least four gophers just for setup.  A perfect tournament uses the same five sets for each round, increasing the logistics.  Seating the rounds takes 10 minutes.  Slow play, a definite possibility, stretches those eight hours a day to the breaking point.

Is this a more skill-based tournament?  Without a doubt.  Is it a logisitcal nightmare?  You bet your ass.

An IRL tournament will never be fully skill-based.  It will be skill-biased; a level 30 will beat a level 10 more often than not, but there's no time to figure out which is "more often," only time to figure which happens "this game."  And that's "good enough."  Most of the time.  It's easy to claim that the Official World Tournament ought to be more skill-based than skill-biased, but the logistics are such that it can't and won't happen.

So, in that case, you might as well have 3- or 4-player games for the tournament.  More people can compete with fewer sets and less setup time.

----

I personally think of Dominion as competitive only in 2P.  I enjoy 3P and 4P at an actual table, but then, I don't usually compete when playing at an actual table... I play with friends.  I rarely count cards.  And I agree with Donald that 5P and 6P Dominion are... less than ideal.  Much less than ideal, IMO.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: theory on May 08, 2012, 10:51:02 am
Also, we don't need that copies of the game for online play.  2011 DSC was 256 players with all expansions.  IRL that'd require 128 copies of the game and each expansion.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: DStu on May 08, 2012, 10:54:54 am
Also, we don't need that copies of the game for online play.  2011 DSC was 256 players with all expansions.  IRL that'd require 128 copies of the game and each expansion.

You don't need 128 of each expansion I would guess. The probability that only 1 kingdom gets drawn 128times in the 128 games of round 1 is close enough to zero that you can ignore it.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: theory on May 08, 2012, 11:13:42 am
Yeah, that's true.  And if you impose restraints on Kingdoms you can limit that even more.  Still, way too many games.
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: DStu on May 08, 2012, 11:33:44 am
Seems like you want about 25 copies of each card...
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Insomniac on May 08, 2012, 11:44:17 am
Yeah, that's true.  And if you impose restraints on Kingdoms you can limit that even more.  Still, way too many games.

But a lot of tournaments IRL stipulate that each person must play each game with the kingdom cards once. So there is often one randomized set that everyone plays with. At least a fair amount of the local ones I've been to and some of the ones ive seen rules posted for
Title: Re: First player bias
Post by: Kirian on May 09, 2012, 08:35:53 pm
So in thinking about this... and I know this is way off the original topic, but, well, yeah... a different idea for a 2P in-person tournament.  For an Origins-style con, 4 days, ~100 participants:

Days 1 and 2:  Qualifiers.  Instead of best-of-N matches, each player plays 16 total games against 16 different opponents on one day.  Swiss pairing, with tiebreaking by some reasonable system.  Each day is a separate qualifier, with participants welcome to try both days.  After qualifiers, each player's best result from the two days is used.  Top 32 players by best result advance.

Day 3 Morning:  Rounds of 32, 16, and 8.  Single elimination, best-of-three.

Day 3 Afternoon:  Quarterfinals.  Best-of-five.

Day 4:  Finals.  Best-of-seven.

For a smaller con (2 days, ~30-40 participants), Use only one day of qualifiers, and take the top 16.  Rounds of 16, 8, and 4 are best-of-three; finals best-of-five.

----

Logistics:

Tables are pre-set, one table for each pairing with a different board at each table, but with little or no overlap between cards.  One full set of expansions needed per ~24 players, and of course one set of "base cards" per 2 players.  Players are assigned a table each round; ideally no player sits at the same table twice.