Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Unbalanced Maps

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Unbalanced Maps

    Although I appreciate the time and effort that must go into creating a MAP, I am compelled by experiences in my two most recent games to protest the poor play balance of some of these maps.
    In Game 60 the map has an "island" in the center. One does not even have to play the game to see the disadvantage that the players on the center island operate under. The island is virtually indefensible and with 4 players on the island, there aren't enough resources to defend and expand at the same time. And, as I suspected the players on the center have been carved up by the players on the outer ring who entered in a series of agreements that allowed them to attack the center. Play this map in the future at your own risk. If you end up on the center, you are dead.
    In Game 72 the map has 4 players at a particular disadvantage. They are in the 4 extreme corners and do not have the range necessary to get from their initial 5 worlds to the center. Meanwhile, there are four players around the center who are far enough from everyone else that they can expand without worry and create sizable empires. Oh, and did I mention that apparently ALL the worlds in this game are worth 12? This map is ridiculously out of balance. I predict that at its every use one of the 4 center players will be the winner.
    Map Creators, please put some thought into play balance when you creat a map. They may look nice, but some are just worthless as play sites.
    Just my $.02, but feel free to counter my points. (But let's keep the discussion to the map designs and not personalities.)
    No plan survives first contact with the enemy - von Moltke, Prussian General
    Everyone has a plan until they get hit - Mike Tyson, American Felon

  • #2
    Shrike,

    I (politely) disagree with both your hypothesis and your specific points.

    First, you seem to promote a (fairly standard) belief that players with unlimited room to expand are at an advantage. I haven't found that to be the case at all, but rather am fairly convinced of the converse myself--that players who expand quickly into neighbors will be at an advantage over players who expand into NOBODYs. They're effectively sacrificing ships for factories rather than ships for wealth which is a much better long term strategy in my book.

    But, moving on to the maps themselves:

    I think it's pretty easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to a map upon looking at it, but my experience thus far isn't that the knee-jerk reaction is always correct.

    In game 032 and 053 you'll note that there are 3 types of positions: clusters, lines, and corners. I heard a number of people say that either the lines or corners were the absolutely worst spaces, while the clusters were clearly primo. Game 032 ended with the four survivors being 2 lines and 2 corners. Conversely, game 053 shows two clusters and two corners in the lead; we'll see how it shakes out.

    Game 063 is another interesting example because I've seen people alternatively congratulate and commiserate with Ronin on his position.

    I can firmly agree with you on one point, which is that I think that people will lose on new maps if they try and use traditional strategies. And, that's really much of the point. I don't mind there being slight offbalances created by the map because I am confident that people can find both advantages and disadvantages based on their position, and they can use strategy and diplomacy to take best advantage of them.

    For example, in game 032, when I ended up in a corner I went ahead and built all of my factories on a central location, because it was so well defended. I would have been much more loathe to do that in a game where I wouldn't have 2 days warning of an attack.

    In game 060 the centralists might have done better to form an at-least 3-person alliance of people in the center, then they could have used their location to quickly strike anywhere on the board.

    In game 072 I assume players in the corners will take advantage of their well-defended positions, but also suspect some will grow too complacent in that and be defeated by underexpansion.

    Every position has its plusses and minuses. One of the reasons that I like the different positions is that it forces people into different types of game play, and so the game doesn't become rote.

    By the by, I can understand some peoples desire to play on the simpler, more symmetric maps. Thus I've opened a new "private" game which will be on the donut map. No bells or whistles. It's open to all, so go sign up if you'd like to play a Classic.

    Shannon

    PS: Moving this over to the main forum ...

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for comments on maps... could additional thoughts
      be added to this thread:

      http://forum.skotos.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=9114

      "Suggestion Request - Maps"


      Thanks

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with shrike

        Consider this. As I note in my manual, more starts=more dosh=more fasctories=more ships. Add to this an easly defended postion and that player is going to have a huge advantage.
        Shade: General, remaind me to send flowers to [insert current SE enemy here] for the death of his son

        Rhodan: The one you had murdered?

        Shade: Yes, thats the fellow

        Http://www.changingthetimes.co.uk

        Comment


        • #5
          There was alot said in Shannon's post, and for the most part I agree, but this stuck out.


          "...I haven't found that to be the case at all, but rather am fairly convinced of the converse myself--that players who expand quickly into neighbors will be at an advantage over players who expand into NOBODYs..."

          Only true if factories are captured in my opinion because in almost every game I've played where I was near a no-show(s) I have won every game. And usually by a large margin. A couple points of BP and you can cut through nobodys like butter.

          Also, Shrike has been playing since somthing like game 5 (SE) and I don't take his opinion lightly. Players near more nobody stars do have a high advantage and on that point I strongly agree with Shrike.
          - Gump

          Comment


          • #6
            Quigg asked for this to move to another thread, but people have continued the discussion here so I will do the same for continuity's sake.



            I think it's good that there's a lot of experimentation with maps going on and I'd like to see it continue. Naturally those maps are going to come under discussion and over time this will lead to a large collection of well-tested and polished maps.

            I agree with Shrike on the Game 72 map. The gulf that separates the four corner players took a LONG time to get across, and it forced those players to sink a big chunk of money into range very early in the game. The other players, meanwhile, were free to choose to spend their money any way they wished. That put the four corners at a huge disadvantage. I would argue that the map should not dictate a player's spending patterns to that extent.

            I'll also back up the other players that having an uncontested area next to you --whether it's from a non-participant or because of the map layout -- is an advantage. It doesn't guarantee you'll win but it sure does make it easier.

            On the symmetry issue -- I don't think Shrike was arguing for symmetry necessarily, and I personally like the idea of asymmetrical maps. The gaps in Game 72 were just too big.
            Got any World War II vets in the family? Check out my oral history web site, www.memoriesofwar.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Regarding Map 72, which was mainly meant to be about
              high value stars, I would be interested on comments/observations from the players on the impact these have on play.

              My thought was they would be *almost* equivalent to making all the purchasing prices less, i.e. effectively making range, for instance, porportionally cheaper.

              But I have not done any careful analysis, and would be interested in player comments during play or after the game.

              I *thought* the more heavily defended higher income stars would tend to slow expansion, giving the folks in the corners more time to make the leap and get a foothold, but that did not seem to be the case to the extent I expected...


              On the matter of taking Nobody stars vs. other player stars, my rough calculation is that taking a Nobody star pays for itself if you can hold it for 3 or 4 production ticks... why? well say a star has income 5 and costs 6 ships to acquire...

              The first tick after taking it, you get the income, buy 1 factory.
              The second tick, you get 1 ship, buy 1 factory.
              The third tick you get 2 ships, buy 1 factory.
              The fourth tick, you get 3 ships, buy 1 factory.
              At this point, you have recovered the 6 ships the star probably cost you. Everything from then on is gravy.

              This tells me, that from my own point of view only, it is a bad deal to take a planet if I am going to lose it within 3 or 4 ticks.

              Now, the complicating factor is the BP which you get alone if fighting Nobody's, while when fighting another player, both get BP. But when fighting Nobody's only you lose ships, while when fighting another player, you both lose ships.

              But all analysis aside, it does appear that grabbing a lot of stars early seems to lead to victory more often than not, as long as the player does other things well, protecting production, and retaking stars which are lost.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Blargg
                Quigg asked for this to move to another thread, but people have continued the discussion here so I will do the same for continuity's sake.
                Look out below! Blargg lemmings!

                While the conversation is interesting, and I think all parties have a point, let's remember that even the classic map had its problems, such as the Position O'Death.

                Change is not necessarily bad.

                The only board I've ever seen that is consistently fair is a chessboard. And even there, there is the advantage of playing white and going first.

                But for those who prefer the "Classic" experience above all else, would it be possible (or too much work) to put in a another variable in the game selection to request the "Classic" map? (As opposed to an entirely separate game type?)

                At your service,

                Kazak
                SLOGH!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Kazak,

                  Yeah, it's been my intention for a while for players to be able to put in requests for what their game looks like, which may or may not eventually be heeded.

                  Right now I'm cleaning up some standing orders expansions for the NOBODYs in the newest regular, then I plan to finish up some expansions on star system info and player-available standing orders using infrastructure I've had in place for a while. THEN I plan to revise the Diplomacy interface.

                  And after that will be a good time to get back to how you sign up for games.

                  .

                  Shannon

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    to quigg about map 72:
                    the higher number of nobodies is slowing expansion.. im in the middle and hitting nobody planets with 20+ ships does hurt a bit... but me having 14 stars and a crazy wealth... the extra factories is going to swing the tide soon.. its a nice variant map type... as far as the guys in the corners.. its not to bad.. they have one of the easiest defensible positions in any game... while i have 6 neighbors... makes for a much harder defense... so i think it balances out.. out of the 4 of us who started in the middle only 2 of us are doing good... zwoc and connor are both not doing so well... so i think the map is not unbalanced
                    -Shadow

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I remenber a game which was a compleate filled-circle of stars and everyobe was spaced round the circle. I think that one is fair.
                      Shade
                      Shade: General, remaind me to send flowers to [insert current SE enemy here] for the death of his son

                      Rhodan: The one you had murdered?

                      Shade: Yes, thats the fellow

                      Http://www.changingthetimes.co.uk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Quigg
                        I *thought* the more heavily defended higher income stars would tend to slow expansion, giving the folks in the corners more time to make the leap and get a foothold, but that did not seem to be the case to the extent I expected...



                        I wonder if there's just not enough variation in the wealth of stars to get people to factor that into their strategy. What if the wealth of stars varied between 1 and 25? Or 1 and 50? And I'm not talking about just home stars having high wealth, I'm talking about at least a dozen other high-value stars sprinkled around the map. What would that do?
                        Got any World War II vets in the family? Check out my oral history web site, www.memoriesofwar.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes, some of the maps do have some sprinkled high-value stars, but I don't want to give away surprises so...


                          One thing which really slows down expansion is the attacking, factory building nobodies in the RP games. It is almost a stalemate for me in 065 since I choose to head to the area most inhabited by Nobodies (the middle). I am likely to end up squeezed between the Nobodies and the other Somebodies in that one

                          Watching the "Pass the Buck" game, I was wondering about Zwoc, whether he was just choosing to expand slow, or meeting stiff resistance or? Oh well, time will tell.

                          General comment to anyone reading: If any map proves truely unbalanced, or just plain unfun for some reason, it should be constructively complained about. They are not hard to change. Personally, I think the interest of variety and surprise makes for a fun game, but I understand folks who want to play the same map a few times, trying different strategies, so maybe having occasional "classic" games offered as Shannon has done is a good idea. And the number of folks who sign up on the waiting lists is a great automatic built in meter for what folks want.

                          But mainly, I think it is great that the gamemaster is so closely involved in the day to day playing and is so responsive to player requests - keep it up Shannon, and you will build a loyal fan base!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            to shrike
                            as you can see being in the middle in game 72 is not all that beneficial.. out of the 4 starters in the middle 1 is dead, im down to 3 stars, connor is hurting, but locke is doing well
                            as far as the corners, now that you have crossed the gulf its not so bad... you and blargg are both large empires ... the other 2 corner people are going decent with little chance of emminent destruction
                            i still see this as a very nice variant... to bad the double range dps have not been used yet....
                            -Shadow

                            Comment

                            Working...
                            X