file Tournament Finals Structure Promotes Stalling

06 Aug 2018 17:32 - 06 Aug 2018 17:33 #89702 by Kraus
Premise: "The current tournament finals structure fails to offer meaningful strategy and rewards people for stalling/time outs."

I will make this very brief, since this is just an idea, a premise, a thing I have discussed only by pints, but with many people over a couple of years.

The best way of getting a win in finals at the moment is stalling for the last 20 minutes, grinding slightly to get to lunge range, go for an oust and trust the table to time out before others have time to react.

The game experience is dull, does not resemble the flow of a generic VtES game, and promotes stalling.

We have seen the last EC, and both Ropecons 2017 and 2018 time out at the finals.

A fix?

Hard to say. I was thinking of possibly having 2h time, and giving +10minutes per a player ousted to give some room for counter plays, but have not put it to practice. It is just an idea.

How do you guys feel about the finals structure? Not the tournament, but the finals in a vacuum.

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Last edit: 06 Aug 2018 17:33 by Kraus.

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06 Aug 2018 19:01 #89708 by Damnans
In my experience, timeouts in finals usually happen because finalists tend to be more conservative than usual, and therefore neither do they want to be ousted (the understandable "primum vivere") nor are they willing to let another Methuselah oust their prey.

Hence, they spend a considerable amount of time on tough negotiations in the hope of dealing a final blow in the last minutes (for those who are not the top seed) or to stay alive for as long as possible (for the top seed).

What in my opinion many players do not realise is that overall they should not prevent the oust of the first Methuselah (in fact, they should make that happen as soon as possible), because that would grant the remaining players more time, and would change the game dynamics and break the more-often-than-not overrated "game balance".

Note that if a final has a 2 hour time limit, each player has only 24 minutes available to win the game if the other four Methuselahs are still alive. And if we bear in mind that a VTES game lasts for 10 to 12 turns, that means that each player will have 2 minutes and 24 seconds to spend on their turns in the best case scenario.

However, what I witness quite often is finalists not being aware of the time factor. They play their turns as if the final were never going to end. They sometimes get into meaningless negotiations, or useless actions that are not in their best interest, thus wasting their precious time and that of others.

Do not take me wrong though. The top seed can obviously aim for the time out and not be necessarily stalling. That's a perfectly legitimate way of winning a tournament. But the other four finalists should know better and break the game as soon as possible.

Time is running...

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06 Aug 2018 19:12 #89710 by Kraus

What in my opinion many players do not realise is that overall they should not prevent the oust of the first Methuselah (in fact, they should make that happen as soon as possible), because that would grant the remaining players more time, and would change the game dynamics and break the more-often-than-not overrated "game balance".

I 100% agree with this statement.

I tried to write a follow up to this, but can't really find the words. I think players are playing for the top seed if they take any more time than absolute minimum for their initial turns. Not themselves. Still, the culture very much applies a stalling style of play.

Some fault of that is in that the structure rewards those plays more often than not. Some fault is in the culture itself, which is of course player-made.

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06 Aug 2018 20:09 #89715 by brandonsantacruz
I agree that not wanting some random Methuselah to die at the table leads to timeouts. While not as big of a factor as the above, Heart of Nizchtus, Ashur Tablets, and other effects that result in choosing and shuffling cards take time from other players. Couple that with the conservative finals play style that was mentioned and 2 hours is usually enough for a timeout in my area. I would be curious to know how many Berkeley/San Jose finals end in ousts vs timeouts; I think much less than 50%.

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06 Aug 2018 21:37 #89719 by kschaefer

Kraus wrote: I think players are playing for the top seed if they take any more time than absolute minimum for their initial turns. Not themselves.

I'll boil it down for you: playing slowly is playing to lose.
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07 Aug 2018 12:35 #89755 by ScoundrelAtHeart

kschaefer wrote:

Kraus wrote: I think players are playing for the top seed if they take any more time than absolute minimum for their initial turns. Not themselves.

I'll boil it down for you: playing slowly is playing to lose.


this is one of the things that I learnt from 20 years of Magic The Gathering. To get a chance on winning you have to use your deck to maximum potential and one of the parts of this is to play as much turns as possible.

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