Discussion of a Staged SGOTM

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Succession GOTM' started by Frederiksberg, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Frederiksberg

    Frederiksberg Deity

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    Moderator Action: Moved from the Xteam SGOTM 14 thread
    Posts relating to the possibility of a Staged SGOTM competition, à la Tour de France.

    As far as I remember the Ducks didn't build the GLH. Kakumeika missed it by a turn or so. Don't know about OSS. Mids were built by most if not all teams.

    Regarding my participation in the next SGOTM I think I would rather help to create an SGOTM with this staged approach I outlined some time ago. If that has any support, of course...
     
  2. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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    I can bring it up in staff if you wish?

    Do you remember where it is or have an outline I can provide?

    Nice to see you again. Would lave to have you holding a mouse again.

    Best wishes for a :xmassign:
     
  3. Frederiksberg

    Frederiksberg Deity

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    This is the post where I outlined the Staged SGOTM.

    Needs some polishing. Part of the concept is that points are assigned to the teams after each stage and that should make it easier for the team members and the spectators to judge how the teams are doing. My guess is that this will in turn create more excitement and it can also serve as a basis for later comparison of the games.
     
  4. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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  5. Cactus Pete

    Cactus Pete Deity GOTM Staff

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    Like Fred's idea. I posted in the spoiler at the end of the Vanilla SGOTM72 that stages would have added a great deal to the compettion in that very close game.
     
  6. LowtherCastle

    LowtherCastle Deity

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    Interesting. I toyed with the idea of creating a game in stages, but with a fairly different concept than this:
    My idea ran more along the ideas of mystery stages. My initial motive was to create equalizers for less advanced teams, although the purpose could any other.

    In other words, teams are instructed to play to a certain date, such as 1000 BC, stop, upload, and receive their next instructions. Of course, the mapmaker would plan all the instrucions in advance and AlanH or the primary admin would have a master copy. But the scoring would still be just as always: fastest finish. This would allow teams to play at their own pace and immediately continue after reaching a certain stage.

    So my thinking was along the lines of possibly good or bad surprises. For example, at the end of Stage 1, the team might be informed that if they have more than 3 cities, they have to pick one for removal (a bad surprise). No one would know in advance what the surprise might be, so its kind of like events. Another equalizer might be to remove a wonder, if and when built...

    Could be a brutal game, but it would be fun for the thick-skinned, I think.
     
  7. LowtherCastle

    LowtherCastle Deity

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    The one concern I have with Fred's idea is that the stages, pre-defined, would appear to heavily influence the direction of the game and thus have the opposite effect of what happened with Neil's scenario, which created a wide variety of gameplay, which I thought was most laudatory about Neil's map.
     
  8. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Alan has opened this thread, so please discuss as you wish. :)


    Please, this is not the thread in which to discuss Fred's idea. I have raised the issue with the admins and if they choose to open a thread concerning Fred's idea, that is up to them. It is being discussed in staff now. :thanx:

    edit-
    If you wish to pursue the idea, please PM Fred about it. Perhaps objections can be overcome but too much discussion in a public thread may provide spoilers.
     
  9. AlanH

    AlanH Mac addict, php monkey Moderator Hall of Fame Staff Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Spoilers should not really be an issue if the game concept under discussion is purely hypothetical. I doubt if it will affect the game design for SGOTM 15, since that is already underway.
     
  10. Frederiksberg

    Frederiksberg Deity

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    The primary reason for having pre-defined stage goals is to allow fast teams to play on after reaching a stage goal. If the next stage goal is not disclosed before the stage deadline these teams will have to wait. It is of course an option to have secret stage goals or a combination of pre-defined and secret goals.

    Any restriction you apply to a game will influence the direction. Setting a fixed VC will also influence game play considerably since you play a Conquest game very differently from a Culture Game or a Diplomatic Game. Basically it's a matter of taste if you like maximum freedom with all VC's enabled or a game with fewer degrees of freedom. The benefit of less freedom is that the games are more comparable.

    My suggestion for a Staged SGOTM is to have general stage goals in order to keep a fair amount of freedom for the teams. As an example a stage goal could be to discover a selection of techs rather than a specific one i.e. instead of having "Discover Currency" as a stage goal the goal could be to have discovered techs with a combined value of >1000 beakers. In a game were Astronomy is obviously required it would still make sense to let "Discover Astronomy" be a stage goal and in a Space Colony Game "Build Oxford" also seems reasonable.
     
  11. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    So a stage like reach 3 cities. How does a team reach that goal?

    One team may expand to 3 cities. Another might build 2 cities and capture an Ai capital using a metal. The point is every task can be done in different ways. So a staged process needs to be prepared for teams doing the unexpected or it may fail if a team acheive a goal before it's stage.

    Then comes the question of what a task might be. If it is to be a tech then this clearly has to be something every team would go for. Perhaps currency is such a tech. Of course one team may get Currency in 1000bc if they use Oracle and another maybe 400bc. Even CS could be got by oracle on a strong start.

    Does staged SGOTM have to define a teams exact strategy? One of the things we all liked about the last SGOTM was the fact it showed many different interesting strategies. So I think allow teams to put their stamp on a game.

    So stage ideas?
    Techs - Could work. Requiring certain techs could be used to stop certain bulbings paths. ;)
    Cities - Seems logical but be prepared for teams reaching x number of cities before a stage is introduced.
    Eliminate 1 AI - Unless you create a hub map or isolate us could be tough stopping the top teams doing this before a stage.
    Having techs in later stages would only be useful if you wanted them to reach a certain game victory type or perhaps a certain unit like Navy Seals.
    Pop level - Reaching a certain number of pop across your empire. 8 cities at pop 1 = 8. One city at size 8 =8. Now this make early expansion more interesting but harder to control or count.
    National buildings - I could see Oxford uni being built before 8 cities. HE might work better but this would force a certain game strategy.
    Resource - Grabbing 4? happiness or 4? health resource. (Within the cultural ring) Or a total of both!. Downside is it could define where teams place cities if you just do health.
    Wonders - A team could be required to build a certain wonder. Again restricts teams putting a stamp on the game.
    Build an academy (edit)
    Reach a certain great person (edit)
    I liked Adrianj idea for side quests. (How to reward these?) (edit)

    Of course one thing you could use to make this work is game rules at the start. Like 'old wall of china' idea. The idea being you could not attack China till you had for instance a gunpowder unit/tech. This would force later game play and stop lots of phants/mace/pikes invading the world. Of course don't box in the player at the start if you do something like this.

    Of course the challenge will be to make as many VC open to the player. Of course the old ideas of getting the player to do certain tasks before the game end could still be used.

    Such as: A city reaching legendary status before you win? Destroy a certain Ai before the game is won. Building 200 cavalry! :lol: Capturing certain wonders.

    You could for instance ban the building of world wonders and require each team to capture certain wonders by the end of the game. These could be gifted to certain Ai at the start. Mid/GLH/Great Wall.

    Oh the weeks timing would need to be right. Leave others to comment on that. Also if you chose dates to do something by instead of week. I think weeks is safer.

    Overall my main concern is teams reaching stages before they arrive. The restriction of game play creating 10-11 carbon copy games. Of course no stage should be acheived by pure dumb luck.

    Anyway lots of thoughts hope some help. Not many new ones really. :)

    Oh in terms of wins you could give a target date and reward teams who beat these dates by largest margin or come closest too. (edit)
     
  12. adrianj

    adrianj Deity

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    Let me first say that I like the SGOTMs so much that I'll most likely participate regardless of the setup. The Stage Goal idea is certainly interesting, and would make for a rather unique Civ4 experience.
    Having said that-
    :agree: (my emphasis)
    One of the things I really like about Civ4 in general is that there are often multiple ways to achieve the same result, and it's not always clear which way that is. The most obvious example I can think of is rapid expansion versus early techs/crazy Oracle slingshots.

    Setting stage goals might lead to more optimal short term micromanagement, but at the expense of long term strategic planning. It might also lead to fewer teams taking risks on the out-of-the-ordinary strategies, that might have little bearing on what the stage goals are. Oxford Uni sure is a great National Wonder, but in some space games it might be more important to go out and conquer a neighbour at that time instead of putting maximum effort into an early OxU date :dunno:

    It seems to come down to a difference between more choice/variation and more comparability. However, at the end of the day the comparability might just be MM details.

    What I think would be interesting... is if the stage goals were completely strange things. Like forcing the teams to learn Feudalism before Sailing; Must build/capture Chichen Itza; Must use espionage to steal a tech from a neighbour. In this case we might actually get MORE variation in games as the teams devise unique ways to overcome the unusual side tracks. Kind of like the BtS Quest feature, except all teams are guaranteed to have them.

    Edit: xpost with Gumbolt
     
  13. yatta77

    yatta77 Emperor

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    Uhm... I personally liked this SGOTM 14 game the way it was set up.

    So, just an idea, what if x stages would be x (different) Wizards of Oz?

    I mean, stages as additional tasks, different from what is the usual gameplay, so without interfering too much with usual strategies. The wizard in this game allowed 4 different victory condition to be reached in the end, and only required to discover astronomy to be accomplished. However, each team had to complete that mission in order to accomplish its chosen victory condition.

    A stage like building a wonder or an early NW, for example, already has some benefits which give advantages to specific strategies and VC gameplan compared to others; building x early cities might advantage good REXers for example; and so on...

    In this model instead the Wizard (aka stage) task can be whatever the mapmaker might think of that doesn't advantage a specific strategy or VC; just make sure that you cannot accomplish one stage task before having the opportunity to accomplishing the previous one somehow. If stage B requires Astronomy, stage A requires just Sailing. And the most the stages tasks are different between them and not VC/strategy/gameplan related, the better is.

    I don't know if this might be interesting, or it is me playing probably too much The Legend of Zelda when I was kid... :lol:

    It is very likely that my opinions here are lacking some important points, I just wished dropping my 2 cents in this interesting discussion. :)

    - yatta
     
  14. adrianj

    adrianj Deity

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    The multiple victory conditions idea has been explored in previous SGOTMs, and on the whole I think they have been quite popular. These conditions are not necessarily the typical Civ4 victory conditions. Just to recap some of the interesting game conditions/options in previous SGOTMs:
    • Kill the Wizard of Oz (SGOTM14)
    • Kill a certain Civ (SGOTM12)
    • Be at peace with all living Civs (SGOTM12)
    • Clear all Fallout (SGOTM12)
    • All Civs alive and running state religion (SGOTM11)
    • All cities access to certain resources (SGOTM11)
    • Cannot declare war on more than 2 Civs (SGOTM11)
    • Party of 4 Great People and 4 Warriors on a certain tile (SGOTM11)
    • Must nuke all enemy cities before capturing (SGOTM10)
    • Maximise Wonders per Turn (SGOTM8)
    • One City Challenge (SGOTM7)
    • Always War (SGOTM6)
    • Playing as a team with Barbarians (SGOTM5)
    • Achieve a Spaceship LOSS (SGOTM4)
    The idea of stages is different in that the team's must reach certain targets (presumably in order) DURING the game, rather than only at the end.
     
  15. yatta77

    yatta77 Emperor

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    ^^__ Thanks. :)
    The above model I proposed included this. For example:
    - stage (wizard) 1, done in turn 35, 1st team to meet the condition
    - stage (wizard) 2, done in turn 75, 3rd team to meet the condition
    - stage (wizard) 3, done in turn 105, 2nd team to meet the condition
    and so on...
    This doesn't mean it is a better solution of course. It was just an idea. :)
    And of course, I don't know if it would cover what the stages are supposed to cover, and if it is easily implementable making a map. I mean, we just play, the map maker instead has already a quite hard duty making a challenging and well done map. I mean, adding the duty of fitting 8-9 balanced stages in there might be asking for too much.

    - yatta
     
  16. kcd_swede

    kcd_swede Jag är Viking!½ GOTM Staff

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    My main concern with stages is that continuous participation over a 4 month time period is giong to be impossible to manage for all but a few teams. It would not only force a number of conditions on the game strategy (which I see as OK), but would force some teams to vastly alter their style (which I see as not OK).

    For example, a team like OSS would either gain a vast advantage by being very slow and deliberate at the beginning, by benefitting from the knowledge of how all other teams fared at the various stages, before proceeding. Or else this knowledge would be hidden until completed by all, and the ability to judge the stages wouldn't be available until near the end of the game anyhow. Or else you force them to play at the same pace as everyone else (submit a save at x turns before such and such date), thereby altering the way they play (or the way they chatter, at least).

    So even though I think it is an interesting idea, I recognize that it would make for a vastly different type of game than just setting finish conditions does. So we'd need either an overwhelming majority of players wanting this, or a unanimity among teams wanting this, (or an edict from Alanh :mischief:) to make it so, imho.

    Can someone clarify what the purpose would be of such a major change? As I understand it the arguments are:
    - give more chances for all teams to succeed at something
    - reveal more about the opposing teams progress throughout the game (to help spectators and participants alike enjoy the comparisons)
    - provide some variation to prevent SGOTM's from becoming stale and predictable
    - anything else?

    Are these an accurate description of the purpose? If so, do people agree with these aims?

    And then I would ask are there ways to fulfill these functions in the existing format without such a major overhaul?
     
  17. kcd_swede

    kcd_swede Jag är Viking!½ GOTM Staff

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    In multiplyer there is a type of game where they score by stages (I think they call it "Epic" but not sure). In MP, however, everyone reaches the same stage at the same time!

    My own idea would be to break the 4-month period up into 4 stages. In the first stage, highest base score wins; the second stage the highest tech contribution to score wins; in the third stage the highest culture from top 3 culture cities wins; and in the fourth stage the fastest Spaceship wins. (Or some variations on those, or other empire-wide quantitative goals).

    You don't specify a game-date to reach the stages. At the 1month interval, the last save (less than max 1/4 of the total turns on gameclock) submitted is used to judge. At the 2-month interval, the last save submitted less than than max 1/2 max turns is used to judge. At 3-month its the max 3/4 turns save. At 4 month its the same for as always - fastest finish time.

    Really slow teams will have earlier saves that probably hurt in the judging of early saves. Really fast teams get their 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and final saves judged at the various times. Noting that if you finish the game in less than 1/4 the max number of playable turns, its the same save getting judged all four intervals.

    I don't think that would be a great deal of additional work, and wouldn't penalize the final finish in any way for playing slow, but give more teams more things to aim for.

    Perhaps this could be initiate this in the next SGOTM15 as a trial, whereby laurels are determined ONLY by the last save, but the stage results are published for fun.

    If it gets good reception, then you could in later SGOTM score it for laurels as a sum of the different stages, with the final stage counting double.

    Any thoughts?
     
  18. LowtherCastle

    LowtherCastle Deity

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    To me, a key factor in the scenario-specific victory conditions from past SGs has been that they often focused our attention on particular features of CIV. In SG5, we learned a lot about barb mechanics, which has been useful ever since. In SG8, for example, I experienced the power of the Kremlin for the first time. In SG10, Murky Waters leveraged the Kremlin for a very fast victory. One concern I have with my equalizer idea above is that it might lead to changing in some way the game of CIV, as opposed to focsuing attention on inherent aspects of the CIV.

    Another benefit of SGs, for me and others I've talked to, is all the sharing of info and learning that takes place. I think it's bringing the gameplay level of everyone up. So another concern I would have about my idea is that equalizing might lead to less motivation to learn.
     
  19. Frederiksberg

    Frederiksberg Deity

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    It has become clear to me that no one understands my explanation of the Staged SGOTM so I will try with an example :).

    Five teams have enlisted for the Staged SGOTM: Straw Men, Plastic Fantastic, 6th Sense, Nutty Gypsies, Balaleika.
    The stages are published together with the save and the game begins. Here is the beginning of the stage list:

    1. Scout Master. Find all 4 ruin cities. (Week 4)
    2. Super Rex. Found 5 cities. (Week 6)
    3. King Midas. Reach an income per turn > 200 (Week 8)
    4. ......

    After two weeks Plastic Fantastic have already found the 4 ruin cities and they upload the save on the turn where the last ruin is found. They can now continue, because they already know the next stage goal. After 3 weeks they upload a save with 5 cities founded. Note, that they could also upload intermediate saves, but the saves meeting the stage crtiteria must be somehow marked when uploading. After 4 weeks all teams have completed at least the first stage and the results are published:

    Scout Master:
    1. 6th Sense T34 5 points
    2. Balaleika T35 4 points
    3. Straw Men T35 4 points
    4. Plastic Fantastic T37 3 points
    5. Nutty Gypsies T40 2 points

    Game continues and after 6 weeks the next set of results are published.

    Super Rex
    1. Straw Men T75 10 points
    2. Plastic Fantastic T76 8 points
    3. Balaleika T78 6 points
    4. Nutty Gypsies T82 4 points
    5. 6th Sense T85 2 points

    Along with the

    Current Standings
    1. Straw Men 14 points
    2. Plastic Fantastic 11 points
    3. Balaleika 10 points
    4. 6th Sense 7 points
    5. Nutty Gypsies 6 points

    Points could be assigned based on placement within the stage or turn number or some combination of these two. It would probably make sense to let later stages give more points than early stages. Perhaps "Quest" like stages as the first one in the example should also be weighted lower.
     
  20. Frederiksberg

    Frederiksberg Deity

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    You are pointing out a Gordian Knot, which can be solved in much the same way as the original :). You simply add the rule that you can't achieve a stage goal unless you have already achieved the previous goals in a previous or the same save. I.e. you can upload a save where multiple stage goals are all achieved at once. In the example this would be the case if you have an income >200 when you found the 5th city. If you already had an income >200 with four cities you have not achieved the stage goal because the 2nd stage has not been achieved yet. With careful planning of the goals it should be possible to avoid this situation in most cases.

    I think you have a point here. The stage goals should be formulated so that no single strategy fits all goals. I.e. some goals may require very fast REX and other goals may require fast tech or a lot of culture. You could also mix it up with some "Quest" like goals that doesn't make sense in an optimal game.

    I think this concern is already handled in my proposal - see the more elaborate explanation. All teams can play as fast or slow as they like as long as they do the following:
    1. A stage must be completed before the publishing deadline for the stage
    2. All stages must be completed in the designated order
    3. A special save must be made for each stage at the turn where the stage goal is met.
     

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