The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

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The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by stockwellpete » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:57 pm

This thread is for anyone to ask questions about various aspect of the rules, to make suggestions for changes in future competitions, and to generally talk about anything relevant to The FOG2 Digital League. Anything goes really, as long as it is conducted in an amicable fashion.

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Re: The Rally point . . .

Post by MikeC_81 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:38 am

I read the rules of competition post but I am confused (don't mind me I am always confused).

-There are 5 time periods and I assume FoG 2 will eventually have lists for all periods? Each time period will be its own league?

-Upon wishing to join any particular time period, each player chooses 3 armies appropriate to that time period and will get assigned one of those 3 by the committee?

-How do challenges work? Who gets to issue and how many are you allowed in a season? I assume multiple games will have be run concurrently?
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Re: The Rally point . . .

Post by stockwellpete » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:03 am

MikeC_81 wrote:I read the rules of competition post but I am confused (don't mind me I am always confused).

-There are 5 time periods and I assume FoG 2 will eventually have lists for all periods? Each time period will be its own league?
Yes, that's right. If you look in the archive thread you will see the sections have titles like "Classical Antiquity" and "High Middle Ages" so gradually the FOG2DL will move towards that set-up again as more expansions are released. For the first season we are only going to have the "Rise of Rome" and "Immortal Fire" army lists so I have had to work harder with the relatively limited number of armies available at the moment. I do remember that back in the day we had discussions about splitting the "High Middle Ages" section into western and eastern European components because the armies in "Storm of Arrows" were quite different from those in "Eternal Empire".
-Upon wishing to join any particular time period, each player chooses 3 armies appropriate to that time period and will get assigned one of those 3 by the committee?
Yes, that is the basic idea. Two out of the four league sections will work this way in Season 1. Another section will offer a more limited choice of armies and the remaining section will specify the various armies to be used for each match.
-How do challenges work? Who gets to issue and how many are you allowed in a season? I assume multiple games will have be run concurrently?
For Season 1, in the four league sections players will be able to organise matches at their own pace. Some players will race through their matches in a month or so while others will need the full ten weeks of the tournament. In the themed event players will be following a schedule with matches having about 10 days for completion (so you have to be able to play quickly in this section). Either player can issue the challenge for a match because the terrain will always be "pot luck" in the league sections, unless it is otherwise stipulated.

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Re: The Rally point . . .

Post by MikeC_81 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:25 am

stockwellpete wrote: For Season 1, in the four league sections players will be able to organise matches at their own pace. Some players will race through their matches in a month or so while others will need the full ten weeks of the tournament. In the themed event players will be following a schedule with matches having about 10 days for completion (so you have to be able to play quickly in this section). Either player can issue the challenge for a match because the terrain will always be "pot luck" in the league sections, unless it is otherwise stipulated.
So in a 10 man division/section its going to be a round robing of 9 matches correct?

Also at the end of each season we get to redraw for armies if we intend to compete in the same time period?
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Re: The Rally point . . .

Post by stockwellpete » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:32 am

MikeC_81 wrote:So in a 10 man division/section its going to be a round robin of 9 matches correct?
Yes.
Also at the end of each season we get to redraw for armies if we intend to compete in the same time period?
Yes, the seasons are completely separate so the process of army selection will start all over again in the next recruitment phase.

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by stockwellpete » Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:14 am

I have slightly amended the rules of competition in the light of the queries that I am receiving. Nothing major at all, more a slight re-wording or fuller explanation of what was already there. This process will continue until shortly before the tournament starts. I will also provide a FOG2DL FAQ for the start of the tournament.

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by 76mm » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:41 pm

Sorry, I still don't understand some things, including the wording below:
*************
2. Joining the league and selecting your armies

Players are usually required to select three different army lists for each of the core sections that they wish to enter and to post them in the relevant “recruitment” threads. Players will then usually be allocated one army for each section they have entered.

************
So I will be playing an army more or less of my choosing for all of the games? What does "usually be allocated" mean in the sentence above? What determines who gets what armies?

For instance, if I select Macedonian, Pyrrhic, or Ptolomaic, and am then allocated Carthaginian (or Persian, etc.) for whatever reason, honestly I probably won't be very interested in participating in the league. I don't mind playing armies I don't like every now and then but would not want to go through a whole season of battles like that. On the other hand, I would guess that most people will select Roman and Seleucid or one of the other pike armies--picking Sparta or Persia does not seem like a viable strategy--so games could get a little monotonous.

So how do you see the faction allocation process working?

And all maps will be potluck?

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by stockwellpete » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:16 pm

76mm wrote:Sorry, I still don't understand some things, including the wording below:
*************
2. Joining the league and selecting your armies

Players are usually required to select three different army lists for each of the core sections that they wish to enter and to post them in the relevant “recruitment” threads. Players will then usually be allocated one army for each section they have entered.

************
So I will be playing an army more or less of my choosing for all of the games? What does "usually be allocated" mean in the sentence above? What determines who gets what armies?
Yes, you will usually get one of the three armies that you have chosen and you will use it for each of the nine matches in your division. Well, I am the person who decides who gets which armies. I try to give as many players as possible their first or second choice army. Occasionally, I will have a division where I know two or three of the players are a bit better than the others. On these occasions I will try and avoid allocating the strongest armies to those better players in order to make the competition as fair as I can. Players who miss out on their favourite army in one season stand a greater chance of getting it in a subsequent season.
For instance, if I select Macedonian, Pyrrhic, or Ptolomaic, and am then allocated Carthaginian (or Persian, etc.) for whatever reason, honestly I probably won't be very interested in participating in the league. I don't mind playing armies I don't like every now and then but would not want to go through a whole season of battles like that. On the other hand, I would guess that most people will select Roman and Seleucid or one of the other pike armies--picking Sparta or Persia does not seem like a viable strategy--so games could get a little monotonous. So how do you see the faction allocation process working?
Well, I wouldn't allocate you an army that you hadn't chosen without talking to you first. It happened a few times each season that I had to ask a player to choose another army and there never was any real problem with it. Usually what I did was to look at the other sections that player was in and to make sure that they got their first and second choices there, so overall they could be quite happy with what they had been allocated. I don't remember having a player say to me that they didn't want to play unless they got such or such army.
And all maps will be potluck?
Yes, in three of the core league sections and the themed event they will all be "pot luck"; in just one of the core league sections in the first season the terrain will be stipulated by me. With the "pot luck" terrain option I think this will encourage a wider choice of army selection anyway.

Each week now leading up to Xmas I will be revealing details of one of the core sections for Season 1 so you can all see what is going to be on offer. As we will probably only have two expansions released by the time Season 1 starts on February 1st 2018 it means I have had to come up with some different ideas for a couple of the sections this time, because we are using a relatively limited number of armies (around 100). As more expansions are released the format of future seasons will more closely resemble that which you can see in the archive thread - "Classical Antiquity", "Early Middle Ages" and so on (as indicated in Section 1 of the Rules).

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by 76mm » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:00 pm

Thanks, helpful. My only concern with this approach is that everyone would end up selecting the same couple of armies, which would get monotonous after a while--hasn't that been the case?

I haven't had time to dig into the archives yet but will try to do so.

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by stockwellpete » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:47 pm

76mm wrote:Thanks, helpful. My only concern with this approach is that everyone would end up selecting the same couple of armies, which would get monotonous after a while--hasn't that been the case?
No, it hasn't been the case in the 4 seasons of FOG1DL. With the "pot luck" terrain option being used I think there will be a lot of different opinions about what "a good army" might be.

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by MikeC_81 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:47 pm

Personally, I wish people could just play what they want. It makes no sense to me trying to handicap better players with lesser armies. This is a competition after all and what better way to learn than to have your lunch fed to you by an expert playing the best armies.

If we do find that a large number of people are gravitating to a small subset of options, and there is no obvious deviation, then we know that the lists and or units have balancing issues
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Re: The Rally Point

Post by stockwellpete » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:16 pm

MikeC_81 wrote:Personally, I wish people could just play what they want.
No, we are not going to have divisions where 3 or 4 armies are the same. It gets boring for players to continually play against the same army and it has always been the case in the FOGDL that we maximise the different types of army available. We have four seasons' worth of experience now and we know what does and doesn't work. :wink:
It makes no sense to me trying to handicap better players with lesser armies. This is a competition after all and what better way to learn than to have your lunch fed to you by an expert playing the best armies.
First of all it is not at all clear which might be the "stronger" or "weaker" armies in a competition where "pot luck" terrain is going to be used extensively. I think it might take a few seasons for a consensus to develop about that. But handicapping is completely the wrong word to use here. There is no formal handicapping system in place but what we found in FOG1DL was that the top divisions did have a wider spread of player abilities than in the other divisions. So what we did in those top divisions was to allocate first-choice armies to the weaker players first, and in some circumstances this would mean that the stronger players would get their second or third choice. Doing this made it a much better competition all round and that is what we will be doing again if the skill gap appears again in the top divisions (it might not do). The deal here is - you choose 3 armies and we will endeavour to give you one of them.

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by MikeC_81 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:11 pm

stockwellpete wrote: No, we are not going to have divisions where 3 or 4 armies are the same. It gets boring for players to continually play against the same army and it has always been the case in the FOGDL that we maximise the different types of army available. We have four seasons' worth of experience now and we know what does and doesn't work. :wink:
I'll trust your good judgement then.
stockwellpete wrote: First of all it is not at all clear which might be the "stronger" or "weaker" armies in a competition where "pot luck" terrain is going to be used extensively. I think it might take a few seasons for a consensus to develop about that. But handicapping is completely the wrong word to use here. There is no formal handicapping system in place but what we found in FOG1DL was that the top divisions did have a wider spread of player abilities than in the other divisions. So what we did in those top divisions was to allocate first-choice armies to the weaker players first, and in some circumstances this would mean that the stronger players would get their second or third choice. Doing this made it a much better competition all round and that is what we will be doing again if the skill gap appears again in the top divisions (it might not do). The deal here is - you choose 3 armies and we will endeavour to give you one of them.
I am aware there is a gap between what one consider's best and that is why competitions are fun. I do think there is some agreement that there is definitely second rate armies out there and some lists are simply better constructed than others even if they share a similar unit pools. I am ok with any army in the mirrored tournament settings but in a league format but am wary of bringing a knife to a gun fight so to speak in a 10 man round robin tournament. That said it won't affect my decision to participate though.

I can appreciate your goal of making sure army diversity exists and minimizing what could be considered unpleasant experiences if a player is severely outmatched in skill. I am the kind of person that doesn't mind seeing the same armies multiple times as I always view the competition between the players and the armies are just the tools at hand. But I do come from a different competitive background in other games where players will work for any edge available and if something is perceived as 'the best', it is expected that you will meet 'the best' often and if you choose to deviate, its own you to show that its a viable alternative.
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Re: The Rally Point

Post by TheGrayMouser » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:48 pm

Hey Pete, what is the purpose of the rating system? It does not appear to be used to place players in divisions. Why does one in Division A get 10 times as many point as someone in Division F for a win?. If they are playing similarly skilled opponents, aren't their (F divisions) battles just as hard won?

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by stockwellpete » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:54 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote:Hey Pete, what is the purpose of the rating system? It does not appear to be used to place players in divisions.


Hello TGM. yes, we absolutely do use it to place players in divisions. What we often found in FOG1DL was that in some divisions only 5 or 6 players from the previous season would enter the same section in the next season, so we would have gaps in some divisions (often in Division A). In these circumstances we had a couple of options to consider. We might decide to promote (or relegate) players from adjacent divisions to fill the gaps or, we could decide to put in players who had not entered that section before, but who had a rating that suggested that they would be competitive at that level. Over a number of seasons it was noticeable that the regular players (those who entered each season) tended to drift slightly upwards as some players stopped playing FOG and dropped out of the league. So if you are someone who is regularly coming second or third out of ten then you can expect to get promoted quite frequently and therefore your rating will rise.
Why does one in Division A get 10 times as many point as someone in Division F for a win?. If they are playing similarly skilled opponents, aren't their (F divisions) battles just as hard won?
Well, it is 6 times more for a win in Division A compared to Division F. One of the main purposes of the ratings is for players to see how they compare to everyone else. So, we award higher points for matches won in Division A than we do for the other divisions because generally those matches are much harder to win. Players who may be relatively inexperienced and are playing at first in Division D or E would not be able to win many matches, if any at all, in Division A.

However, the ratings are based on a rolling system of assessment where only the last two seasons results are used to compile them. So a player who is working his/her way up the tables will gradually see their ratings rise as they progress. For example, sometimes a player will enter the league who we know very little about. They may have only just purchased the game so we put them in Division F. However, the player is an experienced gamer and quickly gets to grips with the game and comes top of the two divisions they have entered (winning, say, 17 and losing just 1). So, for the next season, we would consider promoting them two divisions, not just one. And exceptionally, if we were being told that this player was beating players even higher up the league in friendly matches then we might move them right up to Division B. So at the end of their second season their ratings would be a combination of Division B and Division F results. But, at the end of their third season, their Season F results would become obsolete and their ratings would be based on their Division B results (or their B and A results if they had got promoted again). So within 6 months of achieving an initial rating that players' rating would reflect their true performance level in the FOG2DL.

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by 76mm » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:20 pm

stockwellpete wrote: First of all it is not at all clear which might be the "stronger" or "weaker" armies in a competition where "pot luck" terrain is going to be used extensively.
Honestly I think you're putting far too much weight on this "pot luck" terrain issue; having played several dozen games now, for which almost all of which I chose hilly, wooded, or mountain, about 75% of the maps were essentially flat open maps with some hills, woods, mountains scattered about the periphery. This is Mediterranean (I've played one hilly Northern European map, and it was a doozy, pretty rough).

From what I've seen so far, a player would have to be nuts to select anything other than one of the armies that does well in an open field fight.

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by stockwellpete » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:16 pm

76mm wrote:Honestly I think you're putting far too much weight on this "pot luck" terrain issue; having played several dozen games now, for which almost all of which I chose hilly, wooded, or mountain, about 75% of the maps were essentially flat open maps with some hills, woods, mountains scattered about the periphery. This is Mediterranean (I've played one hilly Northern European map, and it was a doozy, pretty rough).

From what I've seen so far, a player would have to be nuts to select anything other than one of the armies that does well in an open field fight.
I disagree here. Many of the battles I have played have been fundamentally shaped by the terrain and recently I certainly lost one battle from the outset because of my army selection. I misread the terrain very badly. So at the moment I am not at all sure what might be the optimum armies to get me through a nine match league section where I could face the full range of army types available.

Certainly the various Roman lists are very strong heavy foot armies with good medium foot and skirmisher support, but their cavalry is extremely weak. So might a Macedonian or Gallic army with stronger cavalry (and chariots) giving them much greater mobility be able to overcome a Roman army on a more open battlefield? Might that same Roman army struggle against a Carthaginian army with elephants, reasonable heavy foot and cavalry, and lots of medium foot to exploit that large rough area of ground that is in the middle of the map this time? The Dacians can also give the Romans a good fight if they have some terrain to work with as well. Then you have got the Indians and Nabataeans with all their archers, and the horse armies from the steppes, who all can just shoot up the Roman cavalry and then use their mobility to keep most of their army out of danger. So the Roman armies do have their problems. They might be OK for six or seven of the matches, but what about the other two or three? Remember - quite often a player will need to win eight of their nine matches to win the division, only very rarely will seven wins be enough.

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by 76mm » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:08 pm

stockwellpete wrote: I disagree here. Many of the battles I have played have been fundamentally shaped by the terrain and recently I certainly lost one battle from the outset because of my army selection. I misread the terrain very badly. So at the moment I am not at all sure what might be the optimum armies to get me through a nine match league section where I could face the full range of army types available.
hmm, very different from what I'm seeing. Which map area are you choosing? I mainly use Mediterranean. The few Middle Eastern and Northern European maps I've used seem rougher, but the sample size is small enough to be irrelevant. With the Med maps, nine times out of ten, to the extent that terrain matters at all, I can select a few more medium foot instead of heavy or a few less cavalry from the list to deal with the issue. Very rarely do I get a map that makes me wish I had a different army altogether.

Anyway, I guess we'll see what happens when people start selecting armies and playing the league.
stockwellpete wrote:So the Roman armies do have their problems. They might be OK for six or seven of the matches, but what about the other two or three? Remember - quite often a player will need to win eight of their nine matches to win the division, only very rarely will seven wins be enough.
But wouldn't you be better off picking the army that would win six or seven matches than two or three? What kind of army does equally well on all sorts of terrain?

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by devoncop » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:32 pm

But wouldn't you be better off picking the army that would win six or seven matches than two or three? What kind of army does equally well on all sorts of terrain?

And here you see the question that is akin to the search for the Holy Grail........ :wink:

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Re: The Rally Point

Post by stockwellpete » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:19 pm

76mm wrote:hmm, very different from what I'm seeing. Which map area are you choosing? I mainly use Mediterranean. The few Middle Eastern and Northern European maps I've used seem rougher, but the sample size is small enough to be irrelevant. With the Med maps, nine times out of ten, to the extent that terrain matters at all, I can select a few more medium foot instead of heavy or a few less cavalry from the list to deal with the issue. Very rarely do I get a map that makes me wish I had a different army altogether.
I am using all sorts now. Tropical, Desert, North European wooded or hilly, you name it. Middle Eastern agricultural can be rougher and have a lot of fields with ditches. A lot will depend on the nature of the ten armies that will make up each division. They will all be different so balanced army lists may well do better than armies that are very strong in some areas but weaker in others.
stockwellpete wrote:But wouldn't you be better off picking the army that would win six or seven matches than two or three?


Certainly, but you won't know which other armies will be in your division when you make your three selections, and you won't know which one of the three armies you have been given until shortly before the competition starts (we normally allow a week or so for players to have a friendly match or two with their army). So you will have to factor this uncertainty into your choices.
What kind of army does equally well on all sorts of terrain?
A versatile one. There are a few contenders in the army lists that I am currently drawing up, but that would be telling, wouldn't it? :wink:

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