by Stephen Agar
I have agonised over this. After having considered several alternative scoring systems (many of them discussed in US zines) I have decided to adapt a scoring system invented by Allan Calhamer in 1974 (published in El Conquistador in 1975) which was used for the CITEX 74 Tournament in the US. Tournament games are often not played to completion, usually a final year is agreed 1908, 1910, 1911 etc. Three sort of results can therefore be expected, outright victories (rare), agreed draws (more common), and unfinished games (i.e. games reaching the agreed end date without a resolution). The basic material that any scoring system can use is the supply centre chart, so this rating system focuses on supply centre totals at the time the game was ended, but it goes one step further and adjusts the points awarded to each player on the basis of how well all the powers on the board have performed. Let me explain further.
It may appear that a player with 12 units when the game ends is doing pretty well. However, there is a world of difference in being the largest power with 12 centres when the game ends, and being a poor second to a 16 centre power. In both cases the player has achieved 12 centres, but his relative success in the two games is very different. One way to incorporate this into a tournament scoring system is to consider how close each player is to victory compared to his opponents. A player with nine centres usually has nine pieces and needs nine more centres to win, thus if he attempted to rush for victory he would have one unit to send against each of the nine centres he needs. If a player gets to 12 units, he needs only another six centres, so he has 2 units to send against each centre he needs. At 15 units the 15/3 ratio produces a result of 5.0. At 17 units, the ratio is 17/1 or 17.0. From this we can produce a table which rates the “prospects” of each Power when the game was terminated:
|SC Total||SCs Needed||Prospects|
Having calculated the “prospects” for each Power, how do we use this to produce a rating? Well, let us assume that each game is worth 100 points and if we were to apportion the 100 points between all surviving players in the same ratios as their prospects are to each other, then you would have a rating which reflects not only the strength of the player being rated, but also the strength of the opposition.
The Survival Bonus
Each player receives 0.1 Points for every complete game year they remain in the game.
Having come up with a system for rating unfinished games, what happens if the remaining players agree a draw, but they have different SC totals? The simple answer is that if players want to agree a draw then they have to agree SC totals which show the drawing players as having the same SC totals – a 12 centre power cannot “draw with an 8 centre power – but they could both agree an end which puts them both on 10 centres.
These, of course, score 100 Points.
The Application of this Scoring System to MidCon
The National Diplomacy Championships at MidCon will be run over two rounds, with the final score being the average of the score each player achieves over the two days. A player who only plays in one round can still win the Championship (so it is worth playing even if you can’t make both days), but all one day scores will be discounted by 66.66%. Thus a player who has an outright victory on the Saturday (100 points) and doesn’t play on the Sunday will have a score of 33.33 (unlikely to be the NDC Champion, but could still be in the prizes). Of course, this means that it is always better to play in both rounds, even if you end up being eliminated on day two – but participation is something which should be encouraged.
Examples of Unfinished Games
A. A 12 centre Power behind a 16 centre Power (finishing in 1910)
B. A 12 centre Power as the leading Power (finishing in 1910)
In previous years we have had complaints about poor time keeping from participants and this year we will provide a folder for each game and be stricter about players having their orders in the folder in time. Players (and there may be more than one to blame in the same game) who ignore an official warning about playing the game to schedule (which after all is one of the disciplines inherent in the game) will, at the absolute discretion of the Tournament Organiser, have a supply centre docked from their nominal end game totals. So that people know when they receive an official warning, we will have some Yellow Cards to hand. I trust that we will not have to use this sanction (which may be repeated if behaviour is still sub-standard) but we all owe an obligation to all the other competitors as a whole and individuals shouldn’t be allowed to spoil things for everybody else.
Reprinted from Spring Offensive 38