POG Tourney February 1 2017 Update


Winter is here but Round 1 of the tournament has gone.  Spring is around the corner and now Round 2 of the BPA-sponsored POG tournament is about to bloom.  On paper fields our cardboard warriors will sweat, bleed, and cry, knowing full well that’s what it will take to make it to the next round.  The following is aimed at ensuring you’re ready to kick off Round 2 this weekend in proper POG fashion!

Round 2 Overview
A few things worth highlighting:
  • “Reinforcements”:  We will continue to take late entrants but please be aware that starting with Round 3 there will be no new registrations taken for this double elimination event.
  • “Order of Battle”:  We’ll have over one hundred combatants engaged in this second round which is slated to go for 125 days.  The official start date will be February 4th with a target completion date of June 9th.  Moderators will be setting up matches in the coming days and you may start immediately once you receive the announcement from the ACTS log.
  • “The game remains the same”:  The same rules and scenario will be used for round 2.  Some clarifications have been documented, see the Rules Q&A and Game Rule Updates sections on the FAQ page.
  • “A card a day keeps the moderator away”:  Time management is important.  There were four adjudicated games last round which, for us, was four too many.  Please try to maintain your game pace and let your opponent know if you’re taking a break.
An “ask” of all participants:   Please inform a GM immediately if any of these situations is true:
  • The Round 1 outcomes list don’t correctly reflect a game outcome.
  • You have changed your mind about playing in Round 2.
  • You do NOT get an ACTS message inviting you to your Round 2 game by midnight, February 4, AND you had intended to participate.
Round 1 Reflections
  • Despite this being the largest PBEM field ever for a BPA sponsored event, the three GMs had their jobs greatly simplified by having over a hundred engaged participants who were able to agreeably get along in their war-making.  Having a significant number of folks who were playing POG on ACTS for the first time, we were also pleasantly pleased with how quickly folks caught on and how little game administration we had to perform.
  • The GMs were not in a position to actively review moves for legality so a lot of stuff slipped by when we looked at the logs later.  (Two space advances through mountains, anyone?)  In later rounds we may be more proactive but for the most part we count on the players themselves to identify and remediate illegal actions.
  • Sportsmanship was in good supply which is particularly welcomed when we had such a diverse set of participants – nicely done, everyone.
  • There were more than a few upsets so there are a few experienced players who will particularly appreciate the double elimination format.  The finals match will feature someone who is undefeated versus someone with a loss so it’s accurate to say that everyone in Round 1 still has a shot at the title.
  • And, finally, an administrative note:   During the course of round 2 the moderators will be closing out the round 1 games, if there’s something you want to keep from your prior game, copy it.
Round 1 Numerical Recap
  • Decisions:  There were 26 AP wins and 24 CP wins.  The median bid was 1 with the AP winning 45% of those games.  (The six bids of zero for the CP, ‘pick-em’, or  ‘random selection’ were counted as zero bids for the AP in this tabulation.)  The “average” match completed on turn 13.
  • Full Distance Matches:  There were eight games that went to Turn 20.  None of these matches were adjudicated and bid outcomes were fairly balanced.  (As a reminder, barring any concessions, bids only directly impact VP counts in games that go the full twenty turns or end in Armistice.)
Time Management
There are a few things worth knowing about time management on ACTS:
  • “Play fast, play fair”:  When you’re looking at the ACTS journal, there is a link in the top left that says “View elapsed game time.”  The GMs use “Total Time” to figure out who used a disproportionate amount of time.  We were pretty lenient in Round 1 but once one player gets above 60% of the time they need to be concerned.  Maybe VERY concerned.  The GMs reserve the right to award a win based solely on usage of time but we will also not tolerate any attempts by players to ‘game the clock’.
  • “Giving away your time”:  If you believe time will be an issue, and your opponent is setting a very ‘deliberate’ pace, do not post ACTs messages as reminders; that time will be credited to YOU.  Instead, just send a direct e-mail and don’t hesitate to alert your moderator.
  • “Playing Quickly”:  If you want to have protocols to speed up the game, such as attacker rolling the combat dice, feel free to do so but make sure your opponent agrees beforehand.
  • “Loser Fatigue”:  I’ll be the first to admit that this is something I’ve experienced.  The primary symptom presents itself as a marked difference in responsiveness depending on whether one is winning or losing.  Yes, it happens to all of us, but please be courteous and inform your opponent if you’re going to take a break or otherwise plan on taking more time with your moves.
Puzzle Time
  • January Puzzle:   Bill Pettus was the first to correctly solve the January puzzle on the first shot, several others also were able to respond with a correct answer.  Well done, Bill!  The keys to taking Brussels, assuming the most unfavorable combat outcomes, included:
    • “Landships” and “Everyone into Battle” were previously played as events by the AP.
    • Yanks and Tanks was the OPS/Event to be played this round.  That +2 DRM for US attacks this round is critical.
    • Multiple (FOUR!) AP combat cards would be needed this round including Phosgene Gas, Mine Attack, Hurricane Barrage, and Air Superiority.
    • Four German corps would have to be pulled out of the reserve box to ensure none existed for the final Brussels assault, that meant attacks on four spaces with flipped German armies and inflicting a guaranteed 3 LF.
    • Sufficient DRMs would have to be used against Brussels to ensure a 7 LF result which, combined with no replacement GEc being available, would get the AP into that puzzle victory space.
  • February Puzzle:  Let’s dial it down a notch from last month and focus on a seemingly trivial map change:  The connection between Taranto and Valona used to be a solid line, it’s now a dashed line.  What is the practical impact of this change and why do you think it was made? (Note that the current VASSAL module still shows the solid line.)
  • 2004 Map:
  • 2014 Map:
Stay tuned for messages from ACTS for your new game and good luck to you all in Round 2!
Tom, Michael, Paul