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Messages - Polk5440

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1651
Mini-Set Design Contest / Playtesting: Canal (Challenge #3)
« on: July 22, 2012, 12:09:47 am »
This evening the pirate ship economist, Bella Cullen, and I played a couple of games with Canal (and 9 other randomly determined cards) to test it out. The first game ended up being much more interesting than anticipated:

Game 1: Vineyard, Herbalist, Fortune Teller, Develop, Village, Masquerade, Apprentice, Goons, Possession, Canal (with Platinum and Colony, too)

Before I reveal how it went for us, I am curious how you would have played this Kingdom in a three player game?

In a few days, I'll post how it went for us along with a second game that we played.

For reference:

Canal
$6* - Victory

When the game ends, if the Province or Colony supply pile is empty (if it was available), then this is worth 4 VP. Otherwise, this is worth 2 VP.
--
During your Buy phase, if two supply piles are empty, then this costs $3.

1652
Some thoughts on some of the Trash for Benefit cards (Challenge #6), by category:

Gain something less

I really like the new idea of trashing a card and gaining one that costs less.

Marlene and Lya are almost identical. Marlene forces you to gain and is $1 cheaper than Lya which gives you the option of gaining. I like them both.

Clara, Dolores, Renee, Corinne, and Thelma are the others that seem to fit in this category, and for the category overall I like Clara the best. It’s like a more powerful Bishop that only works on Victory cards. For example, when you play Clara with an Estate, it’s like you Bishoped it and got the Baron bonus. In addition, the card gives you the ability to use the green in your deck later in the game to get more green. Cool!

There are some cards that focus on trashing and gaining a card of the same cost, but those didn’t seem nearly as interesting to me. Personal preference, I guess.

Type Matters

Of the cards where Type matters for either ability to trash or benefits received, I like Louise and Janet. Louise is a nice, limited Expand. Janet feels like a nice combination of Steward and Tribute which makes sense to me at $4.

Dorothy and Betty are competing to be the next Transmute – but I don’t think either really works. Theda, Gloria, Anna, Mabel (the IGG externality; ugh!), Colleen (should it read: “Otherwise, +1 Card and you may trash…”?), Virginia, Alice, Ethel, Joan, Brigitte, Mae, and Pearl all miss the mark with me for one reason or another.

Cost Matters

I really like Sarah. I like alternate Treasures, and I would certainly find this card more interesting to play than Loan in a lot of Kingdoms. Of the other cards that care about the cost of the cards trashed, nothing really strikes me.

Other Thoughts

I really like the incentives in Pola to trash useful cards (I’d take Pola over Mildred), but I am worried that it gives too much benefit for trashing curses in Attack-heavy games. But wait -- maybe this would play out as an incentive to not attack so much and to run out the curse pile? Hmmm, now that I think about it, that is a very interesting knife-edge incentive!

I also like that Edna utilizes Coppers in an interesting way, but I’m not sure how this would play in practice.

Constance seems really cool. I like the way it allows other players to also trash a Treasure and gain a Silver. I am not at all concerned about it being too strong.

[Disclaimer: One of the cards mentioned in this post is mine.]

1653
Quote
Gilbert
$5 - Action
+1 Buy
Reveal and discard the top card of your deck.  In its place, you may gain a Treasure costing up to the value of the card you discarded.
Weak, weak, weak.  Good (basically) if and only if you discard a Province to gain a gold, but even that compared to Explorer is nothing special.  Most of the time you'll gain a silver, which is worse than Bureaucrat.

Err, alt treasure? I can see this being awesome with Venture, Bank, and potentially useful with FG

Also, note "up to" in the text. You can turn over any $6 card (Gold, Goons, Farmland, etc.) and gain a gold even in games that do not have alt treasure.

1654
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 2!
« on: July 19, 2012, 07:20:53 pm »
Congratulations to the winners!

My thought behind Master was to recreate the play I really like from Pawn. You can either go for guaranteed +$1, or you can hope to draw a good card. So I stuck it onto a terminal draw card. 4 cards/3 cards +$1 seemed too good at $5, so I bumped it up to $6 and added +Buy accordingly. I still like it for it's simplicity, but it might be a bit too simple.

There weren't really any other attempts to merge +Cards and +$, but most of the versions of those cards have already been done to death in other threads, so it's understandable.

I really liked it and gave it +2, but I was afraid others would see it as "too simple." I was hoping it would place better, too. I think that there is still some space left for interesting simple cards. But, I haven't read many older forum threads, so I have not been over-exposed to these types of cards, yet.

I gave +2 to Harbor...

Thanks!

1655
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 2!
« on: July 19, 2012, 09:44:08 am »
What a surprise!

Thanks to everyone who voted!

1656
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 2!
« on: July 17, 2012, 09:20:43 am »
I'm confused about why you would get the benefit from duration twice.  When you play sceme and top deck a duration card played that turn, it goes on top of your deck and you don't get the bonus the next turn.  I don't see how the mechanics of this card are so different.

Scheme does not top deck a duration card played that turn, since it reads "At the start of Clean-up this turn, you may choose an Action card you have in play. If you discard it from play this turn, put it on your deck."

So why not: "At the start of Clean-up on the turn you buy this card, you may choose a card you have in play. If you discard it from play this turn, put it on your deck."

1657
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 2!
« on: July 16, 2012, 10:39:47 pm »
Quote
So if you play Fishing Village, then buy a Herald, if you then returned Fishing Village to your deck, you'd still get the extra coin and action next turn, but you wouldn't have the card out to remind you.

That's how I would read it.

Mining Village asks you to trash it immediately, but you have to remember you still have 2 actions to play and get $2 later. In person for our group this usually amounts to turning the card on its side to remind ourselves that we still get two actions, $2, and need to trash the card. So we don't put it in the trash immediately like it's supposed to and usually wait until cleanup since it's much easier to remember what is going on. You can't pull this same trick as easily with top-decking a duration card, though, because it should be in your hand (usually) by the time you resolve its effect, unless you turn it on its side to remind you to put it there after it resolves? I, too, am a little confused on how the card would be practically implemented, but I don't think there are any explicit rules clashes as worded.

Also, pops is right: strategically there usually won't be any problem because you'll buy the card when you want to top-deck something (that's resolved). edit: hmmm. As rinkworks mentions below, I guess putting an unresolved Duration on top of your deck is a good way of doubling the benefit (play it again the same turn it resolves)...

1658
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 2!
« on: July 16, 2012, 08:44:39 pm »
I love the canal / Gannet idea. But museum and Herald are nice too... congrats to the winners.

I liked Canal better than my own empty-pile-based card.  It seems like there is more strategic potential there, as the Canal player wants to get close to three-piling while still ending on Provinces.  But if someone is too heavily invested in Canals, it's an incentive to the opponents to foil that plan.  Very tricky balance.  The only thing I'm not sure of is if it would play as great in practice as it does in theory.  But I'm very tempted to experiment with it in my own live games.

I am glad you (and others) liked it!

I really wanted a card whose strategic purpose changes based on the style of game being played and focusing on Provinces/Colonies vs piles was an easy way to do that. I also like cards that create interesting interaction and wanted more ways of being able to directly affect your opponents' VP count without actually "attacking" them yet remain balanced with different numbers of players. I think Canal meets these criteria.

I know Gannet/Canal got a couple of comments that it might not be playable or interesting often enough, but I think there are a lot of end game situations where it could shine even if there are not any piles out -- for instance, sometimes you just want a clean VP option at $6 that is worth more than a Duchy. This gives it a leg up over other alt VPs -- too often for my tastes in the endgame when you are trying to green, alt VPs STILL aren't worth buying (over say, Duchy).

The only way to know for sure is to play with it, I guess!

FYI, I chose the name "Canal" because canals are more beneficial the more land you have, and games that end with the Province of Colony pile out means players have acquired a lot of large tracts of land! If it ends on piles, you probably don't have as much land in your Dominion, and building canals is not going to be as beneficial.

1659
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 2!
« on: July 16, 2012, 02:46:15 pm »
Congratulations to the winners! Good decision to have them Rejoice in Their Shared Victory! Especially since they are very different Victory cards. (Although, come to think of it, I also would have  approved of a decision to cross them off the list and declare the third place card the winner.   ;))

1660
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 2!
« on: July 12, 2012, 10:46:36 pm »
Man, I had so much trouble coming up with a good terminal action idea, and after seeing these submission, I am surprised how many good ideas there are for such a restrictive category! These are some of the ones I like, by sub-category.

Positive Externalities
It looks like only Elephant, Zebra, Leopard, and Duiker offset benefits to you by giving benefits to your opponents. I like this type of interaction, and of the submitted cards, I like Elephant (as mentioned, this could clog the other players' deck and function as an attack, as well!) and Zebra (gives a Bridge-like bonus to your opponents; King's Court at your own risk!).

Borrow from the Future
I also really like the cards that kind of have a "reverse Tactician" feel -- moving cards from the future to the present -- but I feel like all three would benefit from a +1 Action (even though it violates the terminal draw challenge rules).
Rhinoceros: I really like this idea, but it seems a little weak at $3.
Fossa: I really like this idea, too, but it is worded in an ambiguous way: do I get to resolve Durations (e.g. Fishing Village) next turn but not get to buy? Or do durations wait to resolve until you get a turn? I think I would have liked better: "+6 Cards, +1 Action, Do not draw any cards during your clean-up phase." This way you are taking 5 cards from the future to the present, but again, this would kill the terminal action condition... Maybe I am missing the main idea of the card?
Bonobo: Again, I really like it and the choice aspect, but I wish there could be a +1 Action, too.

$$$
Cheetah, Hippopotamus, and Wildebeest all seem to rely on nifty interactions with Treasures. Cheetah seems to have a lot of moving pieces, but I like the idea. Hippopotamus looks like a nice, cheap, restricted Library (and I think I like this one the best of the Library-style cards). I like Wildebeest a lot, but don't have a good feel for its power. I think it's okay since the only way you can get it on turn two is if you open Nomad Camp, and if you can get it on turn 2 or 3, it means you risk action clash, so the +1 Buy looks like it's needed, but I'm not sure. It certainly would be amazing in engines later in the game. Rinkwork's point about the power of plus buy is well taken, too.

Other Slick Ideas
I really like Baboon's implementation of an exchange rate for potions. I wish it would apply to all cards bought instead of just it!

Okapi, one of my favorite animals, has a neat take on one of my favorite cards. To me, this is the Un-Wishing Well.

I didn't think there would be so many good Hunting Party-style abilities (where you get something specific by hunting through your deck), but of those style cards, I like Aardwolf and Kudu, but as with Wildebeest, don't really know how to think about their power.

Last, but not least, I like Pangolin for its simplicity and its choice. Having more cards at the $6 level would be nice.

[Disclaimer: One of the cards mentioned in this post is mine.]


1661
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 1!
« on: July 11, 2012, 01:09:47 pm »
Is the +2 Cards a main reason the card won? To me it seems like the curse-on-mat mechanic is, rather than being the "witch with choice," so could the draw bonus be modified slightly to better justify the $4 cost? Say, +1 Card +$1 or +$2 instead?

I agree, as is, this card is almost Witch and Witch is strong...

Or maybe, discard a card rather than discard a treasure?

1662
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 2!
« on: July 10, 2012, 10:37:46 am »
For what it's worth, my thoughts are below. For me, it helps to group the cards into categories when thinking about them.

Interaction
I am liking the cards that allow your opponents to more directly affect your victory point count by buying certain cards. I also like the cards that interact with Provinces or Estates and how the game ends. For instance: Gannet, Guillemot, Bittern, Waxwing, and Loon. Although, some are better than others.

Alt VP, Straight Up
I guess there is still space for straight-up alternate VPs counting certain types of cards and getting VP tokens. For instance: Petrel, Cormorant, Bluebird, Warbler, Woodpecker, Osprey, and Spoonbill. Some of these are better than others, but there are a couple I would definitely like to play.

VP+Action-like ability

Some of these cards wish they were actions (or from engine-builders who don't like buying boring green cards and would rather just buy actions?). While some of these cards are interesting, I wish some of these cards had been billed as Victory-Action dual types instead, or just were an improved action card submitted for a different category. They might be even more interesting that way.

Flamingo: If I'd only played a Pawn, then I wouldn't need to buy this.
Shearwater: If I'd only played a Scheme or an Herbalist...
Tanager: If I'd only played an Outpost...
Heron: I like the Peddler influence, but is it going to be an ignorable card in too many kingdoms?
Harrier: I wish I'd played a Haggler and purchased a Duchy, then I wouldn't need to buy this.
Plover: I wish I'd played a Chapel,...
Oystercatcher: I wish I'd played an Upgrade to get rid of those curses and coppers,...
Tern: If only I were a better Dominion player, I wouldn't need this to make Ironworks work.
Hummingbird: I wish I'd played a Bishop, then I wouldn't need to buy this.
Lark: If I'd only played a Workshop...
Nuthatch: If I'd only gained a Lark....jk [edit: b/c it's actually better and leads to a game breaking cycle with Border Villages -- see nopawnsintended post below].

With these cards plus all the trash and gain on gain/on buy cards (Gadwall, Egret, Kestrel, Yellowlegs, Puffin, Macaw, Woodpecker, Pelican, and Vireo), and I'm beginning to think a lot of submitted cards are vying for the upcoming expansion of the Hinterlands expansion! I love that expansion and its on buy/on gain theme, and evidently lots of designers do, too. But how much of it do we really need?

Tokens, Mats, and Accounting, Oh My!

For me Dominion has reached a saturation point with regards to new mats and token types. When playing in person, it's time consuming to set up and do all the token accounting needed during the game when you have more than one type of special set-up card in play and are switching them in and out each game. Online there is not that constraint, but with so many cards that require detailed accounting (which is fun only when done really well), some of the following entries should come with a warning: "card counter required."

Loon: Serious accounting ("Did I put territory token on when I bought my last Province?" "Yes." "No." ...). One thing that wasn't mentioned above is the ability to Ironworks, Remodel, Upgrade, etc. into Loons without affecting its worth, which adds (too much?) power to the card.
Grebe: Concerns about stength
Pipit: I like that this is a riff on the Young Witch set up. Does require you to remember the cost of the card is one more than printed, though.
Ibis: Accounting every time you don't use a buy ("Did I...?")
Sandpiper: Uses existing tokens, which I like. Seems to have the potential to be more balanced than Grebe, if the starting price was a little higher.
Kingfisher: Another token! And introduces politics in a way that isn't normally present in a game of Dominion.
Flycatcher: Another token!
Bunting: More special decks! (and not as streamlined as Pipit)

I think this Challenge shows that coming up with a good, balanced Victory Card is more difficult than it first appeared.

[Disclaimer: one of the cards mentioned in the post is mine.]

1663
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 1!
« on: July 09, 2012, 03:04:45 pm »
Sorry Witch/Io, I just like the card. I've posted it before, it parallels Sea Hag very nicely, that's that.

I like it, too! I like cards with positive externalities. It presents another dimension of tradeoffs to think about: it's not just helping yourself and hurting your opponent, but also helping them in some different way, as well. And it is all sorts of fun when your opponents draw lots of cards via multiple Council Rooms, then you Militia them. 

1664
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 1!
« on: July 09, 2012, 02:49:14 pm »
Congratulations to the winners!

There were a lot of good choices, but I was really pulling for Diplomat! I am a little bummed it didn't win. I think it introduces an interesting new mechanic without having to introduce new pieces, tokens, or mats (my I.R.L. Dominion box is getting too heavy!).

[Of course, I'm happy my Peddler-variant was liked and disappointed my curser didn't do better, but I understand some thought Offertory was too weak. Maybe it would have been better if it allowed you to put one of the gained treasure cards into your hand? I really think the game would benefit from a better Thief.]

Onwards to the next week! I have high hopes for my submissions there!

Thanks again, rinkworks for organizing. It's fun!

1665
Quote from: Personman
It's pretty hard for me to see from your rules quote how using it is "clearly cheating". Those words (and the similar ones used for the rules this time) prescribe some things that should be true about games; they don't say anything about what shouldn't be true.
As I and nopawnsintended pointed out earlier, the official rules cannot point out every possible thing in the universe that can be proscribed. The rules explicitly mention every possible option you could make using the standard Isotropic platform alone, and the spirit of the tournament games was, through the use of the standard Isotropic platform, to make the games ex ante identical and to find the best player to play an in person 4 player game. It's a very strange reading of the tournament rules to assume that using aids not part of the standard Isotropic platform is okay. In addition, theory should have ruled that not only is it a strange reading of the rules, it is incorrect. Regardless of how theory ruled, it's his tournament, and ultimately his decision on how the rules are applied.

Unfortunately, changing some things after the first day (e.g. seating order and points allocated for placement) may have given the impression that the rules were malleable by anyone with a complaint. Once rules are agreed to and you sign up for the tournament, abide by those rules and argue for changes in the next tournament, unless something is obviously wrong and everyone agrees to a change.

Personman, your argument that the rule is unenforceable and unfair is weak because you signed up for the tournament and agreed to play by the rules (that includes how they are interpreted and enforced by the organizer).

1666
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 1!
« on: July 03, 2012, 07:22:27 pm »
I think I need a couple of clarifications:

For Procyon, how are cards like Bank treated? Is it 1 (because it generates 1 by itself)? Or reveal your hand and calculate what it would be worth in your buy phase in which case it could be worth a lot?

For Tethys, does the if-then trigger mean an additional 2 actions, for 4 actions total and the person who played the card discards (not anyone else)? This was clarified for me: +2 actions either way. You either give out curses if no one reveals a curse, or you discard down to three if someone does.

For reference:
Procyon
$5 - Action
+1 Card
+1 Action
+$1
You may discard a Treasure card.  If you do +Buy for each $ the card generates.

Tethys
$4 - Attack
+2 Actions
Each other player gains a curse.
If another player reveals a curse from hand: +2 Actions, discard down to three cards in hand.

1667
Interesting. So now I'm curious -- Did anyone actually use the unofficial point counter during the tournament games (quals/semis)?

If I had seen a player using it (and knew about the one-sided change in display), I would have stopped playing right there and requested a restart without it since it seems to violate the tournament rule "Games must be played with randomly selected cards, no veto mode, identical starting hands, and with the official point counter enabled unless all players agree otherwise." On three of the four tournament days I actually did request restarts when people started games without the official point counter, the wrong seating order, or different starting hands (each time we just restarted with the correct parameters and same kingdom). If people did use the unofficial counter, I am surprised no one was challenged on it before the finals. Although I do see that since the unofficial point counter isn't explicitly mentioned in the rules (like veto mode is) that MAYBE a player can argue that it's not against the rules; however, it certainly seems to violate the spirit of "ex ante identical games for everyone" that the rules were trying to achieve.

Also, shouldn't the tournament admin have final say over how the rules are implemented and their interpretation?

1668
Dominion World Masters / Re: DominionStrategy Qualifying Day Results
« on: June 26, 2012, 10:35:54 pm »
Results from justbegladnow, methods of rationality, Richardis, and Polk5440.
By my count, Richard got 17, methods of rationality 14, Polk5440 11, justbegladnow 6. The games were well-played.

Details:
Game 1: http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201206/26/game-20120626-181126-fc60c4db.html

#1 methods of rationality: 34 points
#2 justbegladnow: 28 points
#3 Richard: 22 points
#4 Polk5440: 20 points

Game 2: http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201206/26/game-20120626-183305-bdfad1a0.html
#1 Richard: 22 points
#2 Polk5440: 15 points
#3 justbegladnow: 13 points
#4 methods of rationality: 6 points

Game 3: http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201206/26/game-20120626-185259-907f9b7d.html
#1 Polk5440: 35 points
#1 Richard: 35 points
#3 methods of rationality: 31 points
#4 justbegladnow: 25 points

Game 4:http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201206/26/game-20120626-191337-d3275a32.html
#1 methods of rationality: 24 points
#2 Richard: 23 points
#3 Polk5440: 3 points
#4 justbegladnow: 0 points

1669
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 1!
« on: June 26, 2012, 02:18:34 pm »
If you go too far one way, like towards LastFootnote's system, you'll knock out the most objectionable cards, which can at some point include the best options.

Wait, what? How does this make any kind of sense? Could you give an example of how this could happen?

I'm trying to follow your train of logic. How is it that the most 'objectionable' cards can include the 'best options'? If people think a card is objectionable, they won't vote for it. If they think a card is one of the best options, they will vote for it. If what you mean is that the cards that people vote for aren't actually the best options, then no sensible democratic voting system is going to give you what you're looking for.

If what you're worried about is that everyone will vote for not only the interesting cards they like, but also all the boring cards that they see as 'good enough', then that's a problem with the voters themselves. However, I don't think we have to worry about this, because I think most people will find boring cards 'objectionable' and will therefore not vote for them. If people genuinely like the 'boring' cards, then who are we to argue?
Possession. I love possession, and it's a great card, but lots of people hate it.
King's Court. Great card, hated card.
Swindler.
Ill-Gotten Gains.

I'm saying you end up with good cards like lab. Everyone likes lab. But it's not GREAT. I mean, I guess the other issue is that it's only up-or-down, with no differentiation between 'well, I like all these, but this is my FAVOURITE.' Because, if people actually vote as you're saying here, you basically end up with... a plurality system, where people don' vote for anything other than their favourite, because they don't want to help anything else beat their favourite, and hence voting for anything else would be a strategic blunder.

WW, this is not correct. Approval voting does not lead to people voting for just their most favorite. Approval voting has a very nice property that allows strategic voting: Voters can vote for BOTH a compromise candidate and their favorite without harming the chances that their favorite will win. This is not true with plurality voting.
This is obviously false. I like candidate A best, but B is, I guess, okay. There's, I don't know, 4 candidates. I vote A and B. B beats A by a single approval. I have harmed the chances that my favourite won by voting for B. Of course, going in, I could have only voted A, but then this makes it more likely I get C or D. Now, I do think people will vote for more than just their favourite, but I was responding to LF's answer to my previous objection, which is my main thrust, and which I believe still stands.

You're right. I misstated what is true. It should have simply read: Under strategic voting in equilibrium, approval voting does not necessarily lead to all people voting for only their most favorite.

The gist of the result is that people will vote for compromise candidate and better (weighing benefits and costs), but I was completely incorrect to say there is no harm from doing so.

1670
Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Mini-Set Design Contest, Part 1!
« on: June 26, 2012, 01:09:18 pm »
If you go too far one way, like towards LastFootnote's system, you'll knock out the most objectionable cards, which can at some point include the best options.

Wait, what? How does this make any kind of sense? Could you give an example of how this could happen?

I'm trying to follow your train of logic. How is it that the most 'objectionable' cards can include the 'best options'? If people think a card is objectionable, they won't vote for it. If they think a card is one of the best options, they will vote for it. If what you mean is that the cards that people vote for aren't actually the best options, then no sensible democratic voting system is going to give you what you're looking for.

If what you're worried about is that everyone will vote for not only the interesting cards they like, but also all the boring cards that they see as 'good enough', then that's a problem with the voters themselves. However, I don't think we have to worry about this, because I think most people will find boring cards 'objectionable' and will therefore not vote for them. If people genuinely like the 'boring' cards, then who are we to argue?
Possession. I love possession, and it's a great card, but lots of people hate it.
King's Court. Great card, hated card.
Swindler.
Ill-Gotten Gains.

I'm saying you end up with good cards like lab. Everyone likes lab. But it's not GREAT. I mean, I guess the other issue is that it's only up-or-down, with no differentiation between 'well, I like all these, but this is my FAVOURITE.' Because, if people actually vote as you're saying here, you basically end up with... a plurality system, where people don' vote for anything other than their favourite, because they don't want to help anything else beat their favourite, and hence voting for anything else would be a strategic blunder.

WW, this is not correct. Approval voting does not lead to people voting for just their most favorite. Approval voting has a very nice property that allows strategic voting: Voters can vote for BOTH a compromise candidate and their favorite without harming the chances that their favorite will win. This is not true with plurality voting.

Any type of rank voting (say, allotting points among candidates or saying "how much" you like a candidate) is vulnerable to extreme strategic manipulation and can result in very bad outcomes. I would definitely not recommend these types of voting systems. In fact, approval voting can be thought of as the limit of rank voting when people vote strategically, another nice property.

There are issues with Alternative Voting that do not occur in Approval Voting: for instance, one can cause a candidate to eventually lose by ranking it too high. Some of these issues actually creep up on American Idol. Also, Alternative Voting may fail to elect the Condorcet winner if it exists (a Condorcet winner is a candidate that wins every possible head-to-head match up) -- approval voting does not.

The Wikipedia pages on Approval and Alternative voting are pretty good, by the way.

I strongly think Approval Voting is the way to go here. It's simple. It's easy. It has nice strategic properties.

1671
The problem we have isn't that we have a lack of tournament experience. We know how to set up two-player tournaments (or at least have a general idea about what's fair and what's not)....The trouble is that we're dealing with a type of tournament that we've largely avoided. We were forced to play 3-4 player matches, as to maintain a similar format to nationals/ world championships. This is something that we're pretty unfamiliar with, and we had a very short time to put it together.

That's a good point.

However, the two main problems, comparing across pods and how to deal with seating advantage, are present no matter the number of players, so it still may be helpful to think about how to structure tournaments from scratch with only two players even if you are interested in 4 player versions. For instance, what I proposed deals with these two problems for 2 players. The problems are just compounded with 4 players.

For three/four players, in order to eliminate comparing across pods one could either
1) Add an extra round to have playoffs among winners of pods (so we don't need to determine whether a winner of a three player game is the same as a four player game).
or
2) Have only four pods and more people and 4-player only matches within each pod round robin style. The problem with more than 2 players per game is how to pick a winner out of a pod.
     a) One way this can be done is to play a "reasonable" number of matches and choose the Condorcet winner, if present, and sudden-death playoff among Condorcet ties otherwise.
     b) Another way to do this is to play a "reasonable" number of matches (of 4 players per match) allocate a "point" to each winner in the match-up. To earn the point for the match, play first to three wins to earn the point (rotating seating appropriately). This preserves the inventive to win a little better than allocated points per place and playing a fixed number of games.

Really, it seems like most of the problems boil down to: In order to have better tournaments, more games need to be played. This is especially true with 4 players.

1672
Introductions / Re: Hello
« on: June 25, 2012, 04:04:15 pm »
Can I summon Krugman, call you a fresh water economist, and start a flame war? :P

Probably, but I think Krugman's started enough flame wars with other economists on his own. In any case, some Fresh Water Truth can easily put out any Fire inadvertently started.

1673
Introductions / Hello
« on: June 25, 2012, 12:42:27 pm »
My name is Ryan and I am an economics graduate student at the University of Chicago. When I have the time, I enjoy playing most games, including Dominion!

On Isotropic and on this forum I am going by Polk5440. This is a reference to the last strong pre-Civil War American President James K. Polk and his slogan "54'40" or fight" (his slogan for trying to stake claim to the Oregon Country for US expansion). Polk strongly supported US expansion and as President-elect presided over the annexation of Texas. As President he acquired part of the Oregon Country (settling for the 49th parallel) and won the Mexican-American War which resulted in acquiring most of the rest of the western states. I like using this name when playing games of conquest -- it seems very fitting. And since Dominion is loosely thematically about having the most territory, I play under it here. 

1674
The tournament was organized so quickly at the last minute, people are bound to disagree with how it is set up. I am just happy that there was a tournament. It's been fun so far.  It would have been better to have these discussions about structure before the tournament since there seems to be a tradeoff between fairness and fun. The way it's set up now with four players, everyone gets to play, everyone has a chance to win, and there is no down time. It's fun! I think it would be a big mistake to change the rules of the tournament while it's in progress unless there is an obvious, glaring, easily-fixable issue --which there isn't.

However, for the future, it would be worth thinking about what the ideal tournament would look like. To me, something like the on-line Starcraft tournaments would be a good fit for Dominion.  For example, see: <http://www.ign.com/ipl/starcraft-2/ipl4/tournament>. Starcraft is a real time strategy game of 2 or more players, but is at its most fair/strategic with two players. In particular:
     1. Tournaments have a large selection of approved maps (picked for symmetry/fairness) among which the ones played are randomly selected.  Likewise in Dominion there would be "tournament approved cards/kingdoms."
     2. There are pods in which a round robin tournament is played. Usually there are 4 pods and members determined by seed to have equal strength across pods. Everyone plays 1 on 1, best of three for the "point." Two player games avoid the hassle of trying to decide how to interpret 2nd-, third-, fourth-, ... place finishes.
     3. Winners of each pod compete in a elimination-style bracket tournament to determine the winner. (Ties within pod are broken by most games won, then sudden-death playoff.)

Really it's like having a mini football season with conference play then a post-season playoff all in one tournament. The downside of this would be significant set-up costs for administrators and more downtime for participants. But it is on-line, so times for each set of 3 games in the round robin can be organized ahead of time.

Even with two players there are concerns about fairness in Dominion that are not present in Starcraft -- namely first player advantage. Here we could take a cue from tennis. The reason you must win by two in tennis is that the server has a distinct advantage and to win and prove you are the better player, you must "break" your opponent's serves. This is also why each tennis match is so long and has so many parts (points, games, sets) even though it is a bracket-based tournament. To adapt this to Dominion and the structure outlined above: make it "first to 4, win by 2, alternating who goes first" instead of "best of 3."

The downside here is that it adds significantly to the number of games played.

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