Is Versailles unbalanced?

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Re: Is Versailles unbalanced?

Postby ColonelApricot » 12 Jun 2020, 01:55

Charleroi wrote:I’m not sure that major power statistics alone are particularly helpful here. Poland paired with Czech or Sweden, for example, has quite a comfortable position. A polish-Egyptian pairing is on quite a different position.

The stats are virtually meaningless without considering the minor powers. A better comparison would be by excluding all major power results where the minor is not within two provinces distance. This also provides a clue as to which major powers might be stronger than they seem by virtue of having a high probability of a nearby minor. Against this, if there are too many minors nearby then this advantage is negated.
For example, Turkey has the highest probability of a nearby minor (four out of seven); however if those other minors gang up then Turkey is in trouble. And if Turkey does not have any of those then it is toast.
On this basis France stands to be weakest - anything but Spain will be an unhelpful minor; also the split in France's starting positions is a weakness.
Germany, USSR and Britain are slightly better, each with access to two minors.
Poland, Italy and Turkey have adjacency to four minors, but this many becomes a problem, except in the case of Italy that has good natural defences against each of them.
IMO if ignoring the minor considerations then Poland is just as playable as any other power.

A MUCH MORE significant problem is the imbalance in the MINORS. Spain and Sweden are great, while Greece is horrible.

A good solution to the imbalances of the minors would be to enable Escalation to be used to allocate the Versailles major powers, and then random;y allocate the minor powers among the remaining provinces (because by not using escalation for the minors enables the secrecy of associations to be preserved).

..CA
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Re: Is Versailles unbalanced?

Postby adebruyn666 » 12 Jun 2020, 02:35

The stats are virtually meaningless without considering the minor powers.


That's a pretty strong statement, and not very nice to drillbit who took the time to put them together.

It's also completely wrong.

Minor powers are assigned randomly, and this randomness is averaged out in the provided statistics. Sure, if you're Poland, you're much better off if you draw Sweden then if you draw Greece (Poland-Greece is the draw I got in my last Versailles game, by the way, thanks for asking :P ). But the statistics drillbit provided average out all these scenarios. So, maybe Poland has a 3% solo win rate with Greece and an 8% solo win rate with Sweden (it would take many more than 46 solos to figure it out), but ON AVERAGE, it's around 6.5%, and that's about four times worse than Italy. That's quite meaningful if you ask me, and that's all we really need to know to confirm my hunch... Versailles is really fun, but badly unbalanced.
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Re: Is Versailles unbalanced?

Postby ColonelApricot » 12 Jun 2020, 07:30

adebruyn666 wrote:
The stats are virtually meaningless without considering the minor powers.


That's a pretty strong statement, and not very nice to drillbit who took the time to put them together.



Criticising drillbit's statistics does not mean I'm not being nice to drillbit, only to his statistics.
drillbit himself admits that he has not included data relating to minor powers so the criticism is reasonable.

adebruyn666 wrote:
It's also completely wrong.


umm ... while on the subject of "strong statements"...hellooo?

You go on to make claims about the averaging of randomness and that you have some kind of hunch. The size of the samples here really don't support meaningful conclusions (as implied by drillbit when he mentions the small amount of data available).

Best you continue to rely on your "hunch" I suppose.

But let's revert to the OP that questioned the balance with regard to Poland. My personal experience is that Poland is a reasonable power to play - just like in just about any Dip game, a relationship can usually be worked out between adjacent powers. But the effect of the minor power assignments is also important and may facilitate or inhibit such relationships.

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Re: Is Versailles unbalanced?

Postby adebruyn666 » 12 Jun 2020, 10:07

I love when people try to explain me statistics and how to analyze experimental data. :D

So, to clarify my thoughts...

First, the statement that these statistics are meaningless is, I repeat, categorically wrong. Yes, they do not tell the whole story, but they are very meaningful nonetheless. We are talking about two experimental treatments here: the major power draw, and the minor power draw. Since both treatments are random and independent of one another, it's perfectly valid to analyze one while ignoring the other, since the effect of the second is averaged out. And while the minor powers will eventually refine the story, they will not change the means.

Second, while the sample size is limited, it is more than enough to draw conclusions already. For instance, claiming that "Italy has a distinct advantage over Poland to win a solo" is supported by the data at p<0.0001 (t-statistics: 6.147). It means the results are not due to chance with >99.9999% certainty. Incorporating the minor powers in it will not change that result at all.

Third, I mean, come on. If you spend your time digging into a database for the enlightenment of the community, and someone qualifies your work as "meaningless", yes, it's disrespectful. This being said, I agree I haven't been tender in my response either, so let's call it a two-way draw... :)
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Re: Is Versailles unbalanced?

Postby drillbit » 12 Jun 2020, 12:50

Thanks adebruyn666, it was interesting to look in to it. I'm not bothered for it to be argued against in a frank & open discussion.
It's fair for the stats to be questioned, it was a small sample size for a specific type of Versailles game (i.e. All Vanillla options only).
Yes the minor would likely have an affect, but I don't think this renders the info totally useless. It shows that regardless of the Minor, some powers have a significantly higher success rate than others for this specific scenario.

Including the Minor would give better results, but then some might say that is not the full picture either as you haven't taken in to account the variance in the other players Minors. If my maths is right there is 5040 possible Major & Minor combinations in a game and as it stands there's only 1847 completed Versailles games of all variations on PlayDip, so there's no chance of getting the full picture.

I have taken some other stats which muddy the waters a little tho.
I have also looked at All Vanilla except Anon Players/Countries (48 Solo results), and Vanilla except Gunboat AoE (103 Solo results).
Vanilla except Anon Players/Countries show a broadly similar result to All Vanilla (USSR(25.5%) & Italy(20.2%) most successful, Poland(8.5%) & Germany(8.5%) least successful).
Vanilla except Gunboat & AoE is vastly different (Britain(27.2%) & Poland(22.3%) are top of the tree here with USSR(6.8%) right at the bottom).
Too small a sample size? Possibly.

If I had to guess I would say Vanilla and Gunboat AoE are both skewed to favour certain powers, however totalling every Versailles solo result together regardless of specific game type may well show relatively balanced results for all Powers overall.
I believe specific stats, given a large enough sample size, are valid. Vanilla and Vanilla with Anon showed relatively consistent results, but it is possible to show different answers too depending on the data used.

There's that famous quote, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." :D
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Re: Is Versailles unbalanced?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 12 Jun 2020, 21:14

If you like, I can put together a chart that tracks Versailles performance as a function of player rating. I've done that before for Classic.

There are some major differences though, and I'm not sure how we'd cleanly deal with the issue of the minor power pairings, since a 49-category comparison of what's probably going to be a few hundred games is pretty shallow.

But just for the core seven we could get some data. I do think it's not necessarily wise to look at it solely in terms of solos, though.
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Re: Is Versailles unbalanced?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 12 Jun 2020, 21:20

For reference, this is what I put together for classic:
https://www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=60428#p990577

NoPunIn10Did wrote:
Strategus wrote:It would be interesting to see analysis of performance per country by ranking. For instance, does Germany do better with better players?


This was an interesting question, so between some SQL magic and so forth, I have a graph that can show the trends by country. I used Standard Game ratings in this instance and excluded (1) surrendered positions and (2) players whose ratings were equal to 1000, which tends to designate a brand new player to the site. I also limited the games to only the last rated 2-3k games that fit these stipulations.

Image

To be clear, what's shown above is a visualization of the calculated regression curves, not the actual results (which were chaotic and all over the map). Linear regression is, in general, not a great way of analyzing data like this, but it can identify rough overall trends. Likewise, these don't show the distribution of persons with those ratings for each country.

To your question, as it turns out, Germany (on average) appears to be the country whose performance is least impacted by player rating.
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Re: Is Versailles unbalanced?

Postby ColonelApricot » 13 Jun 2020, 02:00

The discussions around the major power stats are fine with me as far as they go.

But what I was hoping to draw attention to is the imbalances that arise, not just due to differences between the major powers, but also between the minor powers. This seems to me to be the greater flaw in the game design.

The big attraction to me of Versailles is the unique concealed major-minor power relationships that give great scope for deception and subterfuge. My proposed solution involving the escalation method addresses imbalance issues, both between majors and minors, while preserving this vital feature.

While I have no knowledge of the code base, it seems likely to me that the escalation process as developed for the other games could readily be implemented only for the major powers in Versailles. The addition of random allocation of the minor powers among remaining centers would then be an elegant solution to imbalances between the minor powers as well.

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Re: Is Versailles unbalanced?

Postby adebruyn666 » 13 Jun 2020, 12:20

If you like, I can put together a chart that tracks Versailles performance as a function of player rating. I've done that before for Classic.


I think that would be great, but I wonder if we have enough data already. Only one way to know, right? ;)
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Re: Is Versailles unbalanced?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 15 Jun 2020, 16:54

ColonelApricot wrote:The discussions around the major power stats are fine with me as far as they go.

But what I was hoping to draw attention to is the imbalances that arise, not just due to differences between the major powers, but also between the minor powers. This seems to me to be the greater flaw in the game design.

The big attraction to me of Versailles is the unique concealed major-minor power relationships that give great scope for deception and subterfuge. My proposed solution involving the escalation method addresses imbalance issues, both between majors and minors, while preserving this vital feature.

While I have no knowledge of the code base, it seems likely to me that the escalation process as developed for the other games could readily be implemented only for the major powers in Versailles. The addition of random allocation of the minor powers among remaining centers would then be an elegant solution to imbalances between the minor powers as well.

.. CA

So after having seen the code for the Versailles map and all the special cases it introduces, I'm not sure Escalation would be all that easy to introduce there without creating a whole set of new bugs. Not impossible, but ultimately a huge mess.
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