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Escalation placement order

PostPosted: 23 Jan 2017, 23:30
by duckling
Not sure if this is a rules or variant question, but here goes:

In the announcement and rules for escalation, I saw no explanation for the "snake" placement approach.
I haven't played escalation yet, but on the face of it, it sounds unfair that some players should be allowed to place two in a row.

I assume there is a reasonable explanation that I have missed?

Re: Escalation placement order

PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 00:19
by WHSeward
The player that gets last choice in the prior round gets first choice in the next. It is a game balance mechanic.

Nothing is going to be perfectly fair. This is a little more fair than the same powers go first in every round.

Re: Escalation placement order

PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 00:39
by duckling
Thanks,I guess I see what it's meant to do.
I'm just not seeing that this brings more balance, rather it looks to me like it skews things more.
One round isn't really independent of the previous, so the starter doesn't seem to have that much of an advantage.
In round 2 he isn't #1, he's really #8. But placing two units in a row sounds like more of a real advantage.
But then again... smarter people than me set up these rules.
I should give it a go first before getting too opinionated! :)

Re: Escalation placement order

PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 01:13
by WHSeward
You will find it is best to be first or near first. Next best is to be last or near last. Middle, as you surmised has it the hardest, however they generally do get a good starting position as the first 4 placements all tend to get good starts. How much difference it makes depends on how many players there are too.

Re: Escalation placement order

PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 07:47
by super_dipsy
Just to add to what WHS has already said, there are two other points I want to bring up.

First is that whatever process we use, it is important it is predictable. You might feel that a random selection each round would be good, but the idea is the placements should happen as quickly as possible, and knowing where you are in the chain increases the chance that you will be checking to make your placement at the right time.

But the second is the clincher, at least to me. What other approach would be fairer? You could go in order and repeat each time, but that seems very unfair to the person always picking last. You could always shift by one, so player 1 picks first in the first round, player 2 in the second etc.. That is going to confuse the heck out of people in terms of knowing their place in the chain because they have to remember the rule, and also in a game with lots of players it would mean only the first 3 players ever get to choose first. Random is out for the reason above.

So the snake seems the best choice. As WHS says, nothing is ideal but it is the best available option.

Re: Escalation placement order

PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 11:50
by ColonelApricot
Now can we just have Escalation for Versailles : snake for majors (same as for standard) followed by random for minors.

Re: Escalation placement order

PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 12:24
by duckling
I'm not explaining myself well enough.
It's the concepts of "round" and "always last" that I don't understand in this.

As I understand it, the "round" serves no other purpose than just adding temporal deadlines and barriers for unit placement. I place one unit, you place one unit etc, and I cannot place one more until the next "round".

But as far as the game and tactics is concerned, the placement is still one consecutive sequence of placements, just as around an IRL board.
(This would be where I have misunderstood something.)

There is only one first: the very first unit.
There is only one last: the very last unit.

The "first" and "last" in each round have no bearing on the game, they do not really exist. They are only called so because they happen to follow / precede an artificial line drawn at a point in time. In other words: the unfairness you want to level out does not exist either.
If we were playing this IRL on a board, placing units consecutively, nobody would think about player 1's unit 2 as a "first". It would just be the next unit (#8) in a row, even if it is the first in the next pass around the table.

By adding the snake, you are allowing two players the luxury of placing two consecutive units. This I perceive as a significant advantage.

Re: Escalation placement order

PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 16:00
by super_dipsy
Snake is used in F2F games as far as I know.

I don't really understand your argument.
duckling wrote:There is only one first: the very first unit.
There is only one last: the very last unit.

The "first" and "last" in each round have no bearing on the game,

I disagree. Look at it like this.

In the first round of placements, the first players snatch up the best locations. Someone placing in England for example stringly educes the likelihood of anyone else going there because it is likely to end up as a 2 v 1 - there are better fish to fry. Turkey is a good bet too. Spain might be considered to have advantages. By the time the last player int he round gets to place, all the 'first pick' places are gone. The compensation is he gets to place two and the 6th is the 8th to place so also has a better chance of compensating. By the time you come back down the snake, the first player has to handle aboard where although he got the first low-hangling pick, everyone else has had two goes now. So he gets two to compensate and the next player is also compensated (but less) etc..

You seem to be arguing that there is no advantage in picking in any particular position, and therefore it is onyl a case of the double place being unabalnced.

Re: Escalation placement order

PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 16:46
by duckling
Ok, thanks. Good explanation!
I see how it's meant to work now, which is better than I initially perceived it.

It was the notion of someone having the the disadvantage of being "last" somewhere within what, according to the Birsan rules, is a consecutive string of placements, that threw me off.

Re: Escalation placement order

PostPosted: 24 Jan 2017, 19:11
by Carebear
An alternate approach could be something like Plus Four Order:
Round one set player order and cycle.
Round two same player order, start with fifth player (plus four), and wrap around.
Round three reserve order from middle with skip four.

A bit more complicated, but that is nothing for a computer. It balances choice strength.

p1: 1, 4, 7 = 12
p2: 2, 5, 5 = 12
p3: 3, 6, 3 = 12
p4: 4, 7, 1 = 12
p5: 5, 1, 6 = 12
p6: 6, 2, 4 = 12
p7: 7, 3, 2 = 12

Could swap round two and round three rules if you like the order interchange better.