The PDL TieBreaker System

Suggestions to improve the concept of a PlayDiplomacy League

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The PDL TieBreaker System

Postby Shyvve » 03 May 2018, 19:24

Hey everyone.

I have been wondering if our current tiebreaker system (final centers - starting centers) might also be a positive driver for some of the 3-way, or larger, draws we're seeing. Let me preface this by saying that I think, that with only 4 games per player per season, there will always be an incentive to "gather ye League points while ye may" and accept draws. This overlays the perennial Carebear vs Solo or Bust playing styles that are just part of the game.

With our current tiebreaker, and the fact that our games are not DIAS, there is some incentive for players on their way out of a game to cut their losses and accept draws that do not include themselves, merely to hang onto some tiebreaker points. I've done it. And instead of earning -3 pts I only earned -2. Weeeeee!
And, this incentive is still valid in other cases. In my first League game, we had a pretty stout England, although undeniably on the decline, who voted himself out of a draw to cut his losses. This England was not on the precipice of elimination just yet in that game but he was losing centers.

My point is that, our current tiebreaker system may actually be serving to push folks to accept draws that do not include them.

So, how to address this?:
1) We could just make the games DIAS. This opens up another can of worms and doesn't address the tiebreaker issue.

2) In order to provide a positive incentive for folks to hang in there, we could institute a "year of elimination" tiebreaker as the primary tiebreaker. This would work well enough to resolve ties during one slate of games league-wide (i.e., the first set of games in each division of the League). If there are two (or more) players from the same division which are all eliminated in the same year, then these players just stay tied temporarily until a final sorting is done at the end of the season.

There would also be the potential complication of a replacement player joining a game and this replacement player being eliminated during the same game-year as an original player. In this case we would need to only count the number of years the player actually played.
The 'time of elimination' would always be agreed as the Fall turn in which the player loses his last center/unit. IOW, no spring eliminations.
If a replacement player joins a game any time AFTER the Spring moves for that game year have processed, then the replacement player is considered to have joined the game on the Spring turn of the following year (for solely tiebreaker purposes).

So, what I am proposing is that our Primary Tiebreaker change to a "number of game years played" system.
In the event that two or more players from the same division end up tied at the end of the season (which would mean that these players just happened to end up having the same total of cumulative game years played summed over their four games) , then we could use a secondary tiebreaker to resolve this. Which could be as simple as a damn RNG to help preserve Mr. Parrett's sanity.

Or, the secondary tiebreaker could be, 'greatest improvement in Standard Rating'. This would mean that all League players' Standard Ratings would need to be recorded at some agreed initial point (e.g., the day the new League Fixtures are posted) and some agreed ending point (e.g., once their last PDL game has processed/updated). This would require a bit of added bookkeeping on (presumably) Mike's part. And he probably already has enough on his plate.

Or, the secondary tiebreaker could be simply the players' Standard Ratings at the completion of their last PDL game of the season. No attempt to measure improvement.

Or, and lastly, the secondary tiebreaker could be "total number of centers owned summed over all four games". But again, more bookkeeping.

I realize this proposal needs to be focused a bit more. Which is why I'd like to start a dialog about it and hear others' thoughts on this, especially regarding whether our current tiebreaker is possibly encouraging more, and earlier, draws.

EDIT: One nice thing about having any needed secondary tiebreaker be "total number of centers owned summed over all four games" is that, this restricts tiebreaker considerations to League-only factors. Something that using Standard Ratings doesn't do, as one's rating is obviously also affected by non-League games.
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Re: The PDL TieBreaker System

Postby jay65536 » 03 May 2018, 20:01

I'm not in the PDL, but I've played a fair number of tournaments under draw-based systems that were non-DIAS.

Based on that experience, I have to say, I don't think the tiebreaker is really relevant to the issue of people voting themselves out of draws. There are a couple reasons I think this.

1) My own experience in PDET last year. I saw many games (including my Round 2 game) where someone voted a draw without them in it even though that tournament structure did not reward such behavior.

2) In theory the only way you'd vote yourself out of a draw is if you truly believed your position to be lost. Otherwise, wouldn't you just vote down draws unless you're included? If you have something going for you that's genuinely keeping you in the game, why vote yourself out then?

In practice, would it be good if players never voted themselves out of a draw unless they were sure they were lost? Yes; and there's a certain skill involved in seeing you're lost. It's the same as in chess, where if you're a beginning or intermediate player there may be value in never resigning, but when you get to an advanced level you always know when you're lost.

I guess my point is, I don't see the harm in allowing people to vote themselves out of draws, as long as they're skilled enough to know when not to; and furthermore, I don't think this behavior is motivated by the league structure.
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Re: The PDL TieBreaker System

Postby The SHIV » 03 May 2018, 20:02

Wow! Didn't know you could write! What is "IOW"?

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Re: The PDL TieBreaker System

Postby Shyvve » 03 May 2018, 20:38

The SHIV wrote:Wow! Didn't know you could write! What is "IOW"?

The SHIV

IOW = in other words, Mr Shiv.
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Re: The PDL TieBreaker System

Postby Shyvve » 03 May 2018, 20:41

jay65536 wrote:I guess my point is, I don't see the harm in allowing people to vote themselves out of draws, as long as they're skilled enough to know when not to; and furthermore, I don't think this behavior is motivated by the league structure.


I'm not proposing that the games be DIAS. I am suggesting that having our tiebreaker based on number of net centers is possibly increasing both the number draws accepted and an earlier time of acceptance in-game.
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Re: The PDL TieBreaker System

Postby mhsmith0 » 03 May 2018, 22:19

OTOH, I'd think that a tiebreaker based solely on how long you survive would lead unneccesarily to games dragging on; incentivizing people to simply drag games on as long as possible makes things less fun. If there's incentive the other way, i.e. you get plus points for quicker results when you win or draw, that helps diminsh that issue, but at the same time probably even more greatly incentivizes draws, since getting a 3-way draw in like 1905 is then much better than dragging a game out to like 1910 in search of a better result, failing, and getting stuck with the same 3-way draw but with substantially fewer tiebreaker points.
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Re: The PDL TieBreaker System

Postby V » 03 May 2018, 22:27

Personally I think the SC count was a good idea & worth retaining. There are so many factors involved in draw acceptance, especially in a league format, that tinkering with the tie breaker method is unlikely to have a noticeable impact in my opinion. This one is simple & clear.
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Re: The PDL TieBreaker System

Postby The SHIV » 03 May 2018, 23:42

Games dragging on? Don't get in a game with me because I will fight you to the bitter end. As they say, "when you pry my last SC out of my cold dead hands". What else was there.......

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Re: The PDL TieBreaker System

Postby The SHIV » 03 May 2018, 23:44

Mmmmmm........mutter.....putter.......sputter......nope....don't see anything.....get off my lawn!......Damn whippersnappers anyway.....boy I'll tell ya.....back in my day.......where's my beer.....

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Re: The PDL TieBreaker System

Postby mjparrett » 07 May 2018, 13:30

Not enough votes. Answered in survey thread. CASE CLOSED!
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