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Mage Wars => General Discussion => Topic started by: Sailor Vulcan on September 27, 2015, 09:35:45 PM

Title: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on September 27, 2015, 09:35:45 PM
I used to think that Mage wars games between two equally skilled experienced players in general should take no more than an hour and a half, and that the 75 min time limit at tournaments was enough time for a long game deck to at least stabilize and gain the upper hand in a way that would decide the match. However, I just watched a very close 3+ hour game between the most recent gen con champ and another very skilled player on octgn.

How much of an effect does the time limit really have on the metagame? Is there any way to solve this problem without going over allotted time at conventions? I already have an idea but I'd like to hear other people's ideas first.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: ringkichard on September 27, 2015, 11:21:44 PM
That game was the mage wars equivalent of two assassins running out of ammo in their rifles, both getting disarmed of their pistols, having their knives break, and resorting to picking up furniture to use to bludgeon each other to death. It was intense, but thankfully rare.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: exid on September 27, 2015, 11:51:09 PM
i like long games...

i agree that normally, if each player uses his opportunity well, a game shoudn't go for more than 2 hours.
but a time limit will allways close the possibie strattegies! a waiting spellbokk, a "surprise for later" spellbook, etc. will be disadvantage... nobody will play them, and everybody will play knowing there opponent won't play such spellbooks, that closes the game.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Laddinfance on September 28, 2015, 12:04:38 AM
That game was the mage wars equivalent of two assassins running out of ammo in their rifles, both getting disarmed of their pistols, having their knives break, and resorting to picking up furniture to use to bludgeon each other to death. It was intense, but thankfully rare.

So the Mage Wars equivalent to using "struggle"?

It's not very effective?
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Halewijn on September 28, 2015, 02:15:14 AM
Another thing to note. Games on octgn are imo a LOT slower then in real life. Even though octgn improved a lot it will never be as fluent as in reality. I think that game could easely be 30 min faster then.

And indeed, what ringkichard said.  :P
Title: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on September 28, 2015, 05:48:17 AM
That game was the mage wars equivalent of two assassins running out of ammo in their rifles, both getting disarmed of their pistols, having their knives break, and resorting to picking up furniture to use to bludgeon each other to death. It was intense, but thankfully rare.

So the Mage Wars equivalent to using "struggle"?

It's not very effective?

LOL!

Anyways, the idea I was thinking of was to have a time limit for the whole tournament and for planning phases, but not for matches. And to do everything in Swiss format because if you run out of time in Swiss format then the person with the highest win:loss ratio by that point is the winner, but if you do the last round in bracket form, then you can't afford to run out of time early because then you would have no winner at all. I was thinking that each player's win:loss ratio could be converted into a score, where a win=+1 and a loss=-1. You could have it so that anyone who descends into the negatives would be eliminated if you want.

I mean the way it is now, I think a lot of people would avoid using longer game playstyles because even if it's unlikely to be a naturally 2+ hour game that gets cut short to 75 min and making you lose a game that you might otherwise have won, the fact that this rare occurrence can and does happen means that using longer game playstyles is always going to be at least a little risky.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: ringkichard on September 28, 2015, 07:42:57 AM
I'm still a fan of the following : 3 rounds of overtime, keeping track of damage dealt each round (taking into account life gain and healing). The player who takes the most damage each round awards their opponent a point. First to 2 points wins. Or, of course, you can still kill your opponent outright.

Alternate versions include just taking the total damage done during 3 rounds of overtime, and that'd be fine, too.

Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Laddinfance on September 28, 2015, 08:16:11 AM
Keeping things realistic, any events that are ran at a convention will need to have round time limits. The question has always been what is the smoothest way to implement them. No matter how you do a tiebreaker you're showing favor to one style of book or another, and need to be aware of that. We want to have the best convention experience possible in our events, but we also don't want a single tournament to eat up three days and prevent players from experiencing the rest of the convention.

Just things to keep in mind.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Mystery on September 28, 2015, 08:21:17 AM
increase the time to 90min or more, so what the thunderdome avg is. and keep in mind games take longer there do to all the do you want to reveal x questions and rolling dice computation time....
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Laddinfance on September 28, 2015, 08:29:31 AM
I think one of the best things Thunderdome can do is not have a time limit. They aren't encumbered by physical limitations. That being said I think our fantastic organizers are doing a great job so far.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on September 28, 2015, 08:59:59 AM

Keeping things realistic, any events that are ran at a convention will need to have round time limits. The question has always been what is the smoothest way to implement them. No matter how you do a tiebreaker you're showing favor to one style of book or another, and need to be aware of that. We want to have the best convention experience possible in our events, but we also don't want a single tournament to eat up three days and prevent players from experiencing the rest of the convention.

Just things to keep in mind.

Why not use 2-3 minute planning phase time limit and a total tournament time limit with elimination for people whose losses exceed their victories? If you make everything in Swiss format like I suggested then there's likely significantly less risk of the tournament ending without a winner. You could also use chess timers or something for this. You said that any and all solutions will unbalance the metagame to either favor aggro or control because they have to have time limits specifically for rounds, as opposed to phases or a whole tournament. If you have to spread it out over multiple days, couldn't you just not count unfinished games? Even if Arcane Wonders does not decide to implement another method for keeping tournaments within allotted time, I would still like to know what exactly is unfeasible about the solution I proposed in the rather unlikely case I ever manage to grow my current playgroup to 10 or more people. Thanks!
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: SharkBait on September 28, 2015, 09:30:56 AM
I'm personally a fan of (taking GenCon as an example) of a 3 day tournament with 4 rounds of swiss with a Top 4 playing an elimination style bracket on the final day. Days 1 + 2 would be shorter blocks than the current setup (2 rounds each day with a 120 min time limit/round) enabling people to still play other games throughout the Con since we're only taking up ~4 hrs in the morning (or whenever) of each day. It's easier, at least in my opinion, to plan around. I've also almost never played a tournament match that ran to time, with my most recent Thunderdome match being the longest I've had (just under 90 mins.)  I recognize that my style of play is faster than most, but 120 min time-limit still seems pretty doable for the majority of builds.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: ringkichard on September 28, 2015, 12:39:05 PM
There was some slow-ish play during a few of the planning phases, but overall the reason the game too so long was that it went 30+ rounds. Hanma went through all 3 of his Wizard's Towers, all of his Mana Crystals, Nearly all his attack spells, etc. I think Drefan cast all his plants, lost his tree, lost most of his plants, all his walls, and his flowers, too.

It was only conceded when they determined that Nick still had a Dissolve to put on his Mage Wand, while Drefan did not, and nick could therefore, eventually, remove all Drefan's armor and win the inevitable punching match that was going to come when they both ran completely out of cards. Out of their 40+ books, they'd both played at least 30 spells.

Also, exhaustion. You wouldn't think a boardgame like this could be that taxing, but there's a reason Magnus Carlson is in such great shape.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on September 28, 2015, 03:47:58 PM
I just thought of another approach to solving this problem. In the Mage wars storyline, the Mage Wars institution has existed for hundreds of years and the Etherians certainly would have faced this same dilemma. Different duels can vary greatly in length, and spectators have their own lives and schedules. But if they introduce a rule that gives an advantage to aggro over control, nations that tend to have more controlling mages like Sortilege with their wizards, Westlock with their priestesses, or the Wychwood with their Druids would take issue. There would have to be a solution to this in order to maintain international trust in the integrity and fairness of the Mage Wars. And they need to have enough time in a day for every Mage to fight who wants to, because they all have the right to trial by combat and it's also used for civil disputes, and they need time for tournaments as well. So, what would the Etherians do when faced with this dilemma?

They would either have to build more arenas (get more tables), or find some other way to make the matches shorter, or a way to conduct more matches in a smaller amount of space. And I think I might have just thought of a possible way to do that. I'll be right back.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Halewijn on September 29, 2015, 03:58:11 AM
I think even a 3 hour matchup would only be 30 min in real time. It's not like all the creatures are waiting because it's not their turn. During 1 game round all those tings are happening almost at the same time.  :P
Upkeep phases and planning phases do not exist, the regenerate is just a continues process as is the planning of spells.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on September 29, 2015, 07:06:27 AM

I think even a 3 hour matchup would only be 30 min in real time. It's not like all the creatures are waiting because it's not their turn. During 1 game round all those tings are happening almost at the same time.  :P
Upkeep phases and planning phases do not exist, the regenerate is just a continues process as is the planning of spells.

This is a VERY good point. But I also suspect the number of mages in Etheria at any given period of fictional time far exceeds the number of Mage wars players in real life, so time could quite likely still be an issue in Etheria.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Zuberi on September 29, 2015, 09:18:38 AM
Quote from: Sailor Vulcan
They would either have to build more arenas (get more tables), or find some other way to make the matches shorter, or a way to conduct more matches in a smaller amount of space. And I think I might have just thought of a possible way to do that. I'll be right back.

I am very curious what your proposed solution is, as this has been something of a thorn for the tournament scene since the beginning. I think the current solution is perfectly fine, but it's always good to hear new ideas and see if better options are out there.

I do worry though with your comparisons to how it would actually work in Etheria that you may be conflating an issue of needing to accommodate multiple mages with the problem of needing to accommodate the same mages multiple times. Building more arenas (getting more tables) and conducting more matches in a smaller space only serve to allow more mages to fight simultaneously, but we aren't having an issue accommodating the number of players simultaneously. Our issue is in allowing the same group of mages the ability to have multiple matches in a row, which thus far the only solution you or anyone else has proposed to do this is to make the matches shorter in time. I have trouble conceiving that another solution may exist.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on September 29, 2015, 11:37:31 AM
Quote from: Sailor Vulcan
They would either have to build more arenas (get more tables), or find some other way to make the matches shorter, or a way to conduct more matches in a smaller amount of space. And I think I might have just thought of a possible way to do that. I'll be right back.

I am very curious what your proposed solution is, as this has been something of a thorn for the tournament scene since the beginning. I think the current solution is perfectly fine, but it's always good to hear new ideas and see if better options are out there.

I do worry though with your comparisons to how it would actually work in Etheria that you may be conflating an issue of needing to accommodate multiple mages with the problem of needing to accommodate the same mages multiple times. Building more arenas (getting more tables) and conducting more matches in a smaller space only serve to allow more mages to fight simultaneously, but we aren't having an issue accommodating the number of players simultaneously. Our issue is in allowing the same group of mages the ability to have multiple matches in a row, which thus far the only solution you or anyone else has proposed to do this is to make the matches shorter in time. I have trouble conceiving that another solution may exist.

Good point, the analogy kind of breaks down there.

What I was thinking was that there might be a way to make a shorter game that was faster, balanced, didn't require any cards to be banned, basically the same cards, very similar or the same strategies, but in a way that doesn't take so long. The different rules, stats and map features interact in different ways to make the game either more or less balanced and either shorter or longer. Pretty much everything in the game can be categorized by whether it increases, decreases or doesn't affect game length. For instance, a smaller arena makes the game shorter. Setup rounds make the game longer. Most terrains do both, but likely tend to increase game length more than they decrease it. Higher life makes game longer, shorter life makes game shorter.

So the question is how can one make tradeoffs between all these kinds of variables to decrease game length without decreasing balance?

I've started brainstorming how do accomplish this on this thread: http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=16037.0

Basically what I'm looking at right now is 3x3 zones arena, a secret passageway (probably with the ends on opposite side zones rather than corners), 1 setup round, and probably a terrain or two from battlegrounds, potentially of the players' choice before the game. I'm hoping this will be faster while still preserving balance and strategic diversity.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: wtcannonjr on September 30, 2015, 05:23:14 AM
Doesn't Domination mode work to solve this issue? The right mix of orbs and arena layout would provide another option to win which should result in faster matches.

Has Domination mode been tried in tournament play yet?
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Laddinfance on September 30, 2015, 09:01:58 AM
it has not been used in a Tournament yet, to my knowledge. It's something Scott and I have talked about. Regardless we felt that if you wanted to speed up a game, having some form of scenario objectives could be good for speeding up the tournament scene.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on September 30, 2015, 10:56:30 AM
I think the important question that needs to be answered is this: not counting wizards, how likely are control decks to win a tournament anytime soon compared to aggro decks? How viable/competitive is control relative to aggro in tournament settings using the current rules?
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: ringkichard on September 30, 2015, 01:59:25 PM
Druid does well against Forcemaster, both Beastmasters, both Warlords, Priest and Priestess, Necro, etc.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on September 30, 2015, 02:12:33 PM

Druid does well against Forcemaster, both Beastmasters, both Warlords, Priest and Priestess, Necro, etc.

And just to clarify, she does that well using the current tournament rules, including the 75 min time limit? If so, my worry is that this might be a result of the perception of her power of people who play her on octgn where there are no time limits, and that this perception has carried over into offline organized play, causing the more skilled players to use her more, when they would be even more likely to win using a faster Mage.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: V10lentray on September 30, 2015, 02:38:58 PM
As the only druid at gen con, I only had one match go to time, and I only lost one game which was on a bad rules call.

Druid can play aggro.

I have also noticed that games on Octgn seen to take forever. I can't even watch the OCTGN videos because i'm bored out of my mind because they are so slow. I also Don't play on OCTGN for the same reason.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: rant on September 30, 2015, 02:48:09 PM

I have also noticed that games on Octgn seen to take forever. I can't even watch the OCTGN videos because i'm bored out of my mind because they are so slow. I also Don't play on OCTGN for the same reason.

I've noticed this too.  People seem to take their time while playing on octgn. Lots of "planning" and "thinking".  Definitely extends the time by a bit.  but I disagree with it being boring.  I still love watching the matches because of how creative everyone is.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: sIKE on September 30, 2015, 03:10:14 PM
Druid can play aggro.
If your not running an Agro/Control build then in my opinion, you are not doing it right.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on September 30, 2015, 03:24:54 PM

As the only druid at gen con, I only had one match go to time, and I only lost one game which was on a bad rules call.

Druid can play aggro.

I have also noticed that games on Octgn seen to take forever. I can't even watch the OCTGN videos because i'm bored out of my mind because they are so slow. I also Don't play on OCTGN for the same reason.

Yes except we weren't talking about aggro Druid. We were talking about how well control mages in general perform under the current offline tournament rules relative to aggro mages. You named a druid as an example, I assumed you were talking about a control Druid since otherwise what you said would not be relevant to the question I asked.

Yeah I think you're right a lot of people play too slowly on octgn, including me when I'm tired. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm wondering whether part of the reason I take too long to think sometimes during a game of Mage wars despite being an experienced player is because my opponent takes too long to think and my mind starts to disengage and have more trouble concentrating or something. I think we should start using the timers on octgn. I'm pretty sure there's a feature for that.

Now I'm actually really curious how much shorter games would be if there were 2-3 minute time limits on the planning phase, 1 min for every other phase in the ready stage, and 1 minute time limit for each period of inactivity during the action stage. Did Hanma or Driffen ever take more than 3 minutes in a planning phase during their thunderdome match?
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: V10lentray on September 30, 2015, 03:26:17 PM
turn 3 - 4 Raptor vines coming at you is pretty aggro

but the druid is almost always the focus of people talking control builds.

The druid is typically a slower mage.
Title: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on September 30, 2015, 03:31:01 PM
Druid can play aggro.
If your not running an Agro/Control build then in my opinion, you are not doing it right.

Um, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that, but I think I can guess. All builds require offense and defense, and sometimes you'll need to win a bit earlier or a bit later in the game depending on the matchup. Playstyle in Mage wars very clearly exists on a spectrum, and the words "aggro" and "control" are approximations which I use to refer to strategies that are respectively "more likely to win earlier in the game" and "more likely to win later in the game". Although it would be better if we started using different words than aggro and control so as not to confuse new players who might be familiar with other customizable strategy games where aggro and control have a slightly similar but still very different meaning.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: exid on September 30, 2015, 11:23:02 PM
what does agro mean?
what does control mean?
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: ringkichard on October 01, 2015, 01:42:35 AM
I think of Druid as Control because she's so dependent on Treebond, so she often defaults to a defensive stance to try to recover her initial investment. Barkskin, too, is a potent defensive tool. Combined with uproot costs, Druid is pretty heavily penalized for attempting to chase down the opponent without building some economy first. Of course, Aviary plays Lair, so it's not like Druid can't play agro. It's just working against some of her natural strengths.

Regarding time: I'm not the fastest player, especially after 5 games, so I can't really play Druid at a competitive level in a timed setting. But I've got no trouble playing a single match within 70 min, if that's what's called for.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: Borg on October 01, 2015, 07:08:23 AM
I'd say it's a fact that fatigue is an important factor at a long drawn out tournament. The less fatigue, the better your play.

Therefore you improve your chances of success at a tournament by playing a relatively simple, straightforward, fast finishing book as it gives you the opportunity to end the game within the time limit and it keeps you fresh for a longer period of time because you have to "work" less and you can "rest" more between matches.

Just like in the NFL where you want to keep your Defense fresh by generating as much as possible three-and-outs or by playing a fast and simple burn or sligh deck in a Magic tournament as opposed to playing a taxing, time consuming deck.

Even without a time limit, a tournament is an environment that benefits fast and simple books simply because of the limitations of the human mind and body.

However, if you could have something like a Mage Wars League, a competition, where you play like 1 game a week against a different opponent every week and then tally the standings over the course of the "season", that would certainly would be an environment where the more complex and time consuming strategies could shine.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: ringkichard on October 01, 2015, 07:48:33 AM
It sounds unlikely to say Charmyna or Hanma are under-rated, but it might be true! I don't think they get enough credit for their endurance. When I play Wizard for two or three games I'll start making dumb mistakes. If you've got the stamina, go watch Hanma's recent Battledome game against Drefan: top level play from both of them throughout, for three+ hours. (Disclaimer, I had to take a break from the live stream to eat dinner, so I didn't actually even have the stamina to *watch* the whole thing.) Or go watch Charmyna's 30+ game winning streak.

The best Wizard players have mental clarity, even after hours of brain-burning play. Convention tournaments can't really do that in any specific game, but the final match after a long day or two of thought can be similarly demanding.
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: gdieckhaus on October 01, 2015, 04:11:50 PM
As the only druid at gen con, I only had one match go to time, and I only lost one game which was on a bad rules call.
If I remember I only won that game by 1 life difference.  It could easily have gone the other way too.
Gregg "House"
Title: Re: Is the time limit at tournaments problematic after all?
Post by: V10lentray on October 05, 2015, 01:51:56 PM
As the only druid at gen con, I only had one match go to time, and I only lost one game which was on a bad rules call.
If I remember I only won that game by 1 life difference.  It could easily have gone the other way too.
Gregg "House"

If that was the case, I never felt that I hade much chance at winning. Although the game took a big swing back in my favor when I got rid of all of your enchantments. Albeit a quick action too late as you wallopped me pretty good with the enchantment transfusion trick.