are Tournament Rules the Louis Pasteur of SFB?

for someone who has never played tournament rules or ships in his life (me) - is the purpose of tournament rules to hammer out a level playing field to the point of taking the flavor out of the game?

I'm not saying that to be critical (because SFB is like pizza - always good) - but I find sometimes a little bacteria ain"t such a bad thing

I'm guessing (with no basis to support this assumption) proponents of tourney rules have tried it all, moved on, and find "regular" SFB not a true measure of prowess

I can dig it - not trying to start a fight

Tournament Rules

>>for someone who has never played tournament rules or ships in his life (me) - is the purpose of tournament rules to hammer out a level playing field to the point of taking the flavor out of the game?>>

Nope. It is to create a reasonably balanced and even playing field, in a game with a ridiculous number of variables to consider, that is playable in 2-3 hours at a time, and still maintains enough of the flavor of the game and the tactics and strategy of the game as possible. And given that that is the goal of the tournament rules, it does a very good job of it.

>>I'm guessing (with no basis to support this assumption) proponents of tourney rules have tried it all, moved on, and find "regular" SFB not a true measure of prowess>>

I'm not quite sure what you are trying to get at here.

The tournament rules are a specific subset of the game. The people who like playing tournament SFB, like it because:

A) It is a reasonably balanced game. There is a bit of Rock/Paper/Scissors, balance wise, and some of the more "recent"/fringey TCs still aren't real good. But generally speaking, the outcome of a given game is *vastly* more the result of player skill and luck than wonky rules imbalances or whatever.

B) It is easy to play. You can sit down across from a random opponent (who, as a assumed given, knows the tournament rules) and play a game with zero set up or figuring out what is going on, pretty much instantly. If I want to play a pick up game of SFB that *isn't* a tournament game against someone, we have to decide how big of a game? What specific rules are we using? What kind of map? Is there terrain? Are we using any optional rules? And *then* we need to select forces. Etc. With a tournament game, I can walk onto SFBOL, say "Hey! Who wants to play a tourney duel?", open up a room, and we both just pick a tournament ship (usually with no discussion at all) and start playing. And we both know exactly what rules are in play, and nothing needs to be figured out.

C) It is easy to analyze. Which is half the fun of the game. Tournament SFB is like chess. There are standard openings, well discussed standard strategies for all the ships for all of their opponents, etc. The rules set is small, so the number of variables is small. This means that game analysis is easy to generate and discuss, as everyone has the same assumptions and understandings of the particular match up. If I want to argue, for example, that the Gorn TC is disadvantaged against the Romulan TFH, I can write an essay about it (without having to detail all the assumptions about the game set up and parameters), and people can respond and debate easily, due to everyone involved in the conversation all having the same understanding and assumptions of the rules and game set up. It is *vastly* more difficult to generate interesting tactical and strategic discussion about random pick up games, as there are just too many variables to take into account.

I'm not remotely sure what you are talking about when you mention "a true measure of prowess". Tournament SFB is a game. It is a subset of regular SFB. People who like tournament SFB play it, like playing it, and like discussing it. That doesn't really have anything at all to do with how they look at the regular game. I like non tournament SFB. I don't play it as much as Tournament SFB (full disclosure--I'm a very solid tournament SFB player, having won many tournaments over the years, and was the world champion a couple years back), for the reasons listed above, but mainly 'cause it is just so much easier to play tournament SFB online than anything else. I occasionally play non tournament games FtF in town with friends. I occasionally play non tournament games on SFBOL. But as they require so much more setup, it doesn't happen as much. Often, I'll just, like, get a random e-mail on a day when I'm not working from my buddy Droid, and he'll be all "Hey! I got a couple hours! Hop on SFBOL!", and in 5 minutes we'll be playing a tournament game that we play for an hour or two, and then someone has to go back to work. That would never in a million years work if we weren't using the tournament rules. No one is using tournament SFB as a "measure of prowess". It is a good game with a whole lot of strategic depth that still has enough SFB to be fun for people who like SFB (it has vastly more of the rules than not).

thank you, bakija

the intent of my post was not to be adversarial or belittling, so i hope no one took it that way

now that you say it, i can see how tournament games are easier to set-up and faster to play - both of which are appealing

>> " the outcome of a given game is *vastly* more the result of player skill and luck than wonky rules imbalances or whatever."

this is one of the things i WAS trying to "get at" when i asked if tournament games were considered a better measure of SFB prowess (skill or expertise) than non-tournament games and - if i interpret this statement correctly - you say that indeed they are

>> "No one is using tournament SFB as a "measure of prowess"

So "no one" plays tournament SFB to more accurately gauge their skill level against other players, and yet the outcome of a tournament SFB game is vastly more the result of skill than non-tournament games? I will be the first to say that this is NOT a contradictory statement. Players can choose to play by tournament rules because the set-up is faster and the games go quicker, and the fact that the games are decided more by skill and less by luck is just a by-product of the tournament rules, but not the appeal of them. Fair enough - that's easy enough to understand.

>> "Tournament SFB is like chess. There are standard openings, well discussed standard strategies for all the ships for all of their opponents, etc."

Yes i was trying to "get at" this point also. Isn't this exactly what turned Bobby Fischer off concerning chess? The opening strategies, the defenses, and mid-game objectives had been studied, analyzed, and dissected to the point that there was nothing new under the sun for him . . . in effect he became bored with the game and proposed that placing the pieces randomly on the board (thus making it HIGHLY variable) and letting two players go at it would be a much better measure of skill (and more interesting) than having two players playing by rote (instead of with imagination and cunning when facing an entirely new problem than they're accustomed to).

>> "It is easy to analyze. Which is half the fun of the game."

I'll go along with part of that. Analyzing the game is fun. I take it, if I am reading your post correctly, your opinion is that adding more variables and levels of complexity takes some fun out of the analysis (by making it harder). For me, I find the opposite to be true. Once again, that's fair enough by me.

How many tournament ships are there? Twenty or thirty? And all of the games are played on an open-space fixed -map? With a smaller number of rules?

It SEEMS to ME that playing tournament rules would lead me straight to a bad case of ad nauseam. But, since I've never played them in my life, I was curious if I was missing out on something and if people who preferred playing by tournament rules did so - not because they find it more entertaining - but because the appeal was the tournament rules provide a better measure of skill.

Thank you for taking the time to post your response. As always, I appreciate the input and differing opinions. I'd like to hear any other comments people have, then maybe I'll understand it a bit better.

Tournaments

The best thing about Tournaments is any Empire can play any other Empire, or itself and it will be pretty well balanced.

With the regular game you really need historical enemies fighting eachother because they are balanced. There is not a lot of balance between Empires which never fought - I doubt very little thought was ever given to how Lyrans would go against Romulans, or Gorns against Hydrans.

It makes for interesting campaigns because the various Empires all get their updates and refits and new ships at different times.

But you dont have to worry about any of that with Tournaments.

thanx Hoju

I"ll go along that

we got tired of flying the same races against the same races (warring neighbors) - so we are making an effort to add some variety to our battles from now on

and yes we are encountering situations that are ambiguous

when we're tired of digging thru rulebooks, we reach a common sense agreement and - if we can't resolve it between battles - it becomes our house rule

I can see how tournament rules would eliminate that problem

Open campaigns

There are heaps of ideas around how to balance things for an open campaign so you dont need to play historical enemies.

Things to look at:
1. when Empires get the new ships/refits/updates/faster drones/fighters/etc.
2. how much you should make fighters/PFs cost
3. the use of Ph-G (this is completely open to abuse for Hydrans and LDR who historically didnt have a lot of ships but had very powerful ships - for 300 BPV you can get 16 Ph-G for the LDR, or 8 Ph-G plus 12 more on the 12 Stingers on a Hydran CVE + DE)
4. the cost of some ships with scout channels and drone control (compare the Klingon D6D to the Kzinti CD, and also look at the Kzinti CLD and tell me they got those right !!!)

Tournaments

>>now that you say it, i can see how tournament games are easier to set-up and faster to play - both of which are appealing>>

Yeah, that is a huge part of it. No debating setup. No overhead. You just sit down and play, and both players are playing with the same assumed rules and the same assumed purpose (to try and win the game).

>>this is one of the things i WAS trying to "get at" when i asked if tournament games were considered a better measure of SFB prowess (skill or expertise) than non-tournament games and - if i interpret this statement correctly - you say that indeed they are>>

Ah. I find your use of the word "prowess" weird. I mean, I guess it is being used correctly. But it seems like a vastly more loaded word than I suspect you intend it to be.

If you mean "do people play tournament SFB to try and do well and win?", then yes. It is a competitive game, in so far as any hobby game can be competitive. People play tournaments, and they try and win them. There are prizes. And people like winning games and being good at them. Just like any other game that people play competitively, like Chess or Bridge. When folks enter SFB tournaments, they hope, generally speaking, that they'll have a positive outcome. For some folks, they are just hoping to, like, win a first round game and advance. Some folks feel that they have a reasonable chance of doing well. Some folks feel like they have the chance to win the whole event. Just like in any other game that people play competitively.

>>So "no one" plays tournament SFB to more accurately gauge their skill level against other players, and yet the outcome of a tournament SFB game is vastly more the result of skill than non-tournament games?>>

No, I misunderstood what you were trying to figure out. Yes. People play tournament SFB to try and win and do well and to measure their skills (in tournament SFB) against other players. Much like in any other game that has tournaments.

>>Yes i was trying to "get at" this point also. Isn't this exactly what turned Bobby Fischer off concerning chess?>>

I dunno. Maybe? I don't know much about Bobby Fischer.

>> The opening strategies, the defenses, and mid-game objectives had been studied, analyzed, and dissected to the point that there was nothing new under the sun for him . . . in effect he became bored with the game and proposed that placing the pieces randomly on the board (thus making it HIGHLY variable) and letting two players go at it would be a much better measure of skill (and more interesting) than having two players playing by rote (instead of with imagination and cunning when facing an entirely new problem than they're accustomed to).>>

Yeah, that is certainly possible. But on the upside, tournament SFB has *vastly* more variation than chess. But then, going from zero to Bobby Fischer is a really extreme way to look at this. People play competitive chess all the time, still, regularly and reliably. And they enjoy doing it. And it is a very popular (relative to things that are like chess) competitive pastime. The vast majority of people who play chess competitively? They aren't Bobby Fischer. So they aren't turned off by the "solved" nature of the game, I'd imagine.

Tournament SFB has a lot of variation. And randomness. So isn't as deterministic as chess. But still, skill at the game is vastly more relevant to the outcome than luck or vagaries of matchup.

>>I'll go along with part of that. Analyzing the game is fun. I take it, if I am reading your post correctly, your opinion is that adding more variables and levels of complexity takes some fun out of the analysis (by making it harder). For me, I find the opposite to be true. Once again, that's fair enough by me.>>

It's not that it takes the fun out of the analysis. It is that it makes the analysis verge on impossible, in terms of an actual discussion. The more variables you put into the equation, the less likely you are to be able to have a cogent discussion about something without spending a significant amount of discussion time just establishing the parameters of the discussion.

I certainly read non tournament tactical discussion about SFB on the official BBS. But most of that discussion breaks down at "Oh. You guys aren't using EW? I don't even know how games happen without EW. We always use EW. And hidden cloaking. So if you guys aren't using EW and hidden cloaking, I have nothing to add…", or "Oh. That is on a closed map? Closed maps aren't at all realistic, so we always use open maps. And on an open map, that would never happen…", or whatever. As there are just so many different possible setups for any given game, that discussing the strategy of a given situation is inordinately difficult.

In tournament games, the parameters are pre-set, and everyone has the same experience and expectations. As such, interesting tactical and strategic discussion is really easy.

>>How many tournament ships are there? Twenty or thirty? And all of the games are played on an open-space fixed -map? With a smaller number of rules?>>

There are about 12 solid, good tournament ships. There are about 5 more either redundant and slightly worse than their redundancy partner (i.e. extra 2 extra Romulans, an extra Tholian, and an LDR) or just not that good (Seltorian) ships. There is one ship that is intentionally hamstrung and has been under playtest for improvement for a decade now (the Andro). Games are on a single, closed map, with a very specific set of rules and very limited options for ships with options (like drone racks, drone upgrades, limits on option mounts for ships that have those, etc.)

>>It SEEMS to ME that playing tournament rules would lead me straight to a bad case of ad nauseam.>>

You could say the same thing about chess and bridge. But plenty of people play those competitively all the time and for their whole lives. Except for Bobby Fischer, apparently.

>>But, since I've never played them in my life, I was curious if I was missing out on something and if people who preferred playing by tournament rules did so - not because they find it more entertaining - but because the appeal was the tournament rules provide a better measure of skill.>>

Well, sure, yeah, people like competition. People play sports, generally, to try and win. People play cards to try and win and see if they are good. People play chess to try and win. Any game that is played competitively is played to see how well you do. Which makes the games work well--when both players have the same assumed outcome in mind (i.e. trying to win), it makes for a vastly better game than not.

I'm a buyer

thanx & thanx

bakija the offer for the retainer is always on the table (that's a compliment)

and yer posts are always worth reading (would've I caught the bad math if I wasn't paying attention?)

I occasionally learn things on this site

Sure!

Heh. No problem. Glad I could help.