WDC 2017: AAR and General Impressions

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Re: WDC 2017: AAR and General Impressions

Postby asudevil » 10 Jul 2017, 01:25

WarSmith wrote:- the regulars know each other and are wary of others, you have to really try hard to prove your quality to them.


Always my fear and with 2 people expressing similar...turns me off to major desire to planning for DC
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Re: WDC 2017: AAR and General Impressions

Postby Big Gun » 10 Jul 2017, 01:41

After one of the most intense and exciting long weekends of Face-to-Face diplomacy, I am literally too exhausted to write anything substantial for now, but I will endeavour to do so in the next few days.

Here's the link to the PlayDip players' results for those of you who might have missed it:

viewtopic.php?f=105&t=55846

Meeting fellow PlayDip enthusiasts in real life was fantastic. You guys are great - we had a fantastic team spirit! Cheers and goodnight
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Re: WDC 2017: AAR and General Impressions

Postby Machiara » 11 Jul 2017, 00:30

asudevil wrote:
WarSmith wrote:- the regulars know each other and are wary of others, you have to really try hard to prove your quality to them.


Always my fear and with 2 people expressing similar...turns me off to major desire to planning for DC


This almost completely removes any desire I might have to make the effort to attend one of these events myself.
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Re: WDC 2017: AAR and General Impressions

Postby WarSmith » 11 Jul 2017, 00:34

Don't take my quote wrong Mach!!!
I made the effort and it paid off. I had a good alliance with the champ in one game, and other strong work with high-ranking regulars. There just needs to be good effort to get to know them. It's standard feeling-out process.
They are often likely to stab each other and it's good to be useful ally in those cases.
I survived all my games, took draws in all and finished comfortably above a former world champ and other regulars in the ranks. I just took each game on its merits and tried not to let the fact that people knew each other get in the way of the rapport-building efforts.
Noted that you hammered me in ODC round 1 - you should definitely try it out!!!
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Re: WDC 2017: AAR and General Impressions

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 11 Jul 2017, 01:36

Machiara wrote:
asudevil wrote:
WarSmith wrote:- the regulars know each other and are wary of others, you have to really try hard to prove your quality to them.


Always my fear and with 2 people expressing similar...turns me off to major desire to planning for DC


This almost completely removes any desire I might have to make the effort to attend one of these events myself.

It's no different than playing with people you've played against before on site. You know what to expect from them a bit, but you're not locked into an alliance just because you know them.

I think what warsmith is describing is something you have to do in any game in any full press format, really. You have to convince them you're the best option. You might be starting from a slightly different point of not knowing them beforehand, but you're not starting from a disadvantage. (Sometimes, that might even work in your favor--it certainly did for me in one of my DixieCon games.)
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Re: WDC 2017: AAR and General Impressions

Postby WarSmith » 11 Jul 2017, 09:03

Good points Nanook!
And for anyone wondering if playdippers were metagaming... the truth is very far from it!
I had two games with dippers.
1) got stabbed by Big Gun (R to my T) very early on. I took great delight in being the one to eliminate him in Sevast :) having been penned into the corner by him and Austria (an eventual top-boarder), it was a great defensive game and karma was served.
2) played reasonably well with a tired GPD as me G, he R. Holding back a dominant France for a while with fleets together. The whole board was happy with that. However I stabbed him at the end for a couple of SCs and he hardly even noticed - poor guy was exhausted - I'd kept him out drinking too much. Helped me to a decent score there... we shared some more beers after of course.
I really wanted to play Carebear, especially as we finished just one point apart, but alas it was not to be. I'll just have to accept what small bragging rights come along now and wait until next year!
Great Cameo on the final day as Mr Wyse turned up and we reminisced some old games from the site. He was pretty much the only dipper there who I 'have history' with :)
There were lots of high quality F2F players but also a handful of pretty weak hobbyists to take advantage of. I'd really encourage everyone to try it! Next year is Washington DC! Hopefully the Playdip team will have a decidedly more American make-up.
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Re: WDC 2017: AAR and General Impressions

Postby Iggy » 11 Jul 2017, 18:49

asudevil wrote:
WarSmith wrote:- the regulars know each other and are wary of others, you have to really try hard to prove your quality to them.


Always my fear and with 2 people expressing similar...turns me off to major desire to planning for DC


This is an interesting comment. I actually had a fear when I first started joining games on this site that are not anonymous that I would suffer a similar fate. My online experience before coming over here earlier this year is exclusively on bounced where all ranked games are anonymous games and anonymity is prized above almost everything.

I really thought in my first couple of games that I would be at a disadvantage by playing with people that know each other and being more willing to work with those they knew. It didn't take long for me to feel comfortable that was not the case but early perception felt it was possible. I think I projected that more than it actually occurred but maybe it is more likely/prevalent in a face to face type of setting? Maybe it could also just be a perception.
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Re: WDC 2017: AAR and General Impressions

Postby Strategus » 11 Jul 2017, 20:32

I'm going to post under a number of headings, to try to answer most of the questions and add my two penne'th to the discussion points raised by other WDC "Veterans". I think the following are the best categories I can go with. Conq's question on differences and challenges I think is covered by other topics. If I have missed anything important out, I will add in later. I will also add to this post as I have time, so most of the titles will remain blank until I do:-

1. Equipment
Basically, all I needed was a pen. There were several people who used IPADs, taking pictures of the board after every move, and then trying to use it to focus the conversation. Personally, I found this to be not too much of an incentive to talk to those people. They tended to stand talking to people but looking at their screen. Hence, no eye contact, and a geeky feel to the conversation. I took a notebook with me as well, but just used this to lean on while writing orders. The other ESSENTIAL was a bottle of water. I played the first half of the first game without water, and when lunchtime came, I had a sore throat from talking non-stop for about three hours, and was spitting out feathers (I am certain). The organisers had provided a good pro-forma for writing orders, so that was easy.
2. The Setting
The setting was historic, interesting and more than adequate. We had the reception drinks in one of the quadrangles, which I believe was used in the Chariots of Fire movie, when they ran around it as a challenge. It felt like the right place for a competition between a lot of intelligent individuals (and me too :)). The games were spread out across three or four rooms, depending on how many games were required on the session. Usually 9-11 games being played at once. The rooms had to be big enough to hold the tables, but the best part about the main two rooms was the ease by which you could exit into a lawned area to get some privacy. This was important, because otherwise you found people could listen in and look over your shoulder at your orders etc. People were actually doing this! Sneaky bastards imo.
3. The 1910 game limit
This led to some strange looking boards. Basically, the 1910 limit means that you can ally with someone who would normally solo in a full game, but knowing there is not enough time means that you can do a deal so that you both get what you want from the game. Players tended to set a target number of centres and work out who in the game could have a goal that was consistent with achieving that. Some players were happy to survive with 5, 6 or 7 centres, and were happy to allow someone else to win the board. Some wanted or needed to win the board with 10-12 centres. etc. There were some stabs at the end, if players knew a vote was imminent or in 1910, but I really didn't see too much of that. Also in one game I played, a draw was agree in 1908, because all the players knew that the board would not change substantively in the next two years. So it was all about being able to see what you could achieve given the time remaining in the game, not trying to solo as the primary goal.
4. The 15 minute deadlines
This was interesting. Having been told that this was the biggest challenge I would face, I found it quite easy in the first game. I was playing in a game with four really good players (including the last and the new world champions in the same game). In the second game, I found it much more difficult. There were a couple of very good players, and I suspect they were wily old characters who know how to take advantage. I believe I was being deliberately "verbalspammed" (I just made that word up, but it fits the bill). Essentially taking turns to talk at me while I don't talk to anyone else, and can't write my orders. I made sure this didn't happen in my third and fourth games. But my take away point was that the "world class" players actually managed both their time and your time really well. Lesser players were more time consuming also in that they needed input of ideas, and a lot of discussion to get a plan agreed. Therefore it was more of an advantage to ally with better players (against that criterion) in my opinion.
5. The scoring system
Basically, I didn't really grasp this until probably too late in the tournament. But the way it works is a sum of squares, and so it starts to make a massive difference if you add one centre to your tally, and if you can keep everybody else at a fairly low level. Carebear said this before the tournament, but it only really registered after I had played a couple of games how important it is. So it meant that being able to hold three centres after a really poor stat could give you maybe 8 points, whereas two centres gives you half that. Finishing with 7, 8, 9 gives you 25-40 ish points, depending on what everyone else does. So keeping a view on what other players want, and what your goal is also helps in negotiating near the end of the game.
6. Stabs and Alliances
The most odd factor I encountered was the fairly neutral reaction to strong alliances like a Juggernaut. Due to time constraints, it is a lot easier to get away with this sort of alliance. England and France are not really worried about it to the extent we are on this site, as they only have to hold it off for a relatively comfortable time, and they can also benefit in the mean time. Although in one of my games, I was playing Italy, and a Jug got going. I tried to help Austria to stop it, but France stabbed me. So I ended up teaming with ART, and headed the Jug to finish on 3 centres. France also ended up on 3, regretting his decision to mess with me :)
7. Meta-Gaming
There was definitely some of this going on. Players form certain groups who were friends or even countrymen were teaming up. Again, I didn't see too much of this. I did overhear at one point some people discussing the possibility of meta-gaming the team round. I.e. two or more teams agree to help each other to do well in that particular competition, although I don't think this actually happened. Another instance which I found interesting was that in one game I played, one of the players had a clear chance to solo. And I mean obviously a solo. I we saw that position on a Playdip board, it would most likely have been grabbed with both hands. But tha player agreed to a 6 (I think) way draw on 14 centres, as he said he would be "too tempted" if he played any further. I suspect that his consideration was that he wanted to get to the top table (and he did), but if he got there with a solo behind him he would be punished for it. Also certain players were very conscious of their reputation, and wanted to avoid stabbing in case they played the same player later in the tournament. This is probably quite normal in non-anon games online, but I included it for completeness.
8. Being a newcomer
I know there was a bit of feeling among our team that we were considered outsiders, but I felt welcomed by the vast majority of players. I think some took advantage if they were that way inclined - e.g. time wasting, but all were friendly, and I enjoyed the company of all the players, taking lunch with the players from the game both times this was an option. I learned a lot from those conversations too - people were willing to talk about how they went about the games and their playing careers etc. Quite interesting. Also, the fact that players knew each other was a double edged sword. People who knew each other to be good allies tended to ally, but they also knew players that were not the right sort of ally for them, and they preferred to take a chance on a new unknown face than a stabby known.
9. Surprises
The biggest surprise for me was the exhaustion factor. By the end of the three game days, we had all spent two full days walking around tables and grassy lawns. In the third game, on Saturday night, my feet were killing me and my back was aching to the point I had to sit on the grass instead of walk around on it. Until you try this you won't quite understand, but there it is.
10. My highlights (in no particular order)
a. Meeting Playdippers - a good bunch of people in real life :) - enjoyed their company :shock:
b. Playing my first ever F2F game against the reigning world champion and the former one who went on to win the tournament, and surviving
c. Going for beers and a curry with Big Gun and Warsmith, followed by several double whiskies and a hangover
d. Making new friends from the F2F community, including a couple of pub lunches during the morning/afternoon games - look forward to meeting them all again
e. The venue, and organization of the tournament. Made things relaxed and easy to participate, without worrying about distractions
f. More later?
Last edited by Strategus on 15 Jul 2017, 09:51, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: WDC 2017: AAR and General Impressions

Postby WarSmith » 14 Jul 2017, 09:21

In hindsight, I think I played to cautiously and conservative in the first two games.
The scoring system changed my normal style and although I usually do enjoy a good defend, I was a bit naive to the conventions of playing for scoring points. Survival was my goal since 1902 in both those games.
The final two games I played more expansively and deliberate to a strategy/direction, but was also more flexible to alliance changes. The results improved with every game. For that reason I think I'll go back, and try to find more F2F tourneys.

I was dreaming about placing pieces for three nights after!
And having just started a new job this week i can say that the first negotiations (on budget) were extremely fun. At one stage while in debate with someone quite assertive I just thought "you have no idea what I've been doing all weekend" ;) I didn't offer Belgium in exchange for 10% budget though!!!
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Re: WDC 2017: AAR and General Impressions

Postby Big Gun » 14 Jul 2017, 12:37

I've just posted a photo of our team, with their PlayDip usernames here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/941692105899355

It was a great honour gentlemen!
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