POG Tourney October 2017 Update

With but twenty days left, we are starting to close the books on Round 3 of the tournament.  The moderators have been pushing hard to ensure games complete in a timely fashion, expect that to continue.  Be forewarned:  There will be NO time extensions and we will close out the round on October 20th.  Any adjudications involving lopsided time consumption will take us about two seconds to declare a winner.
Round 4 should commence no later than October 27 and we project an end of February completion.  Early indications are that we will have twenty matches with one of them being an elimination match.  We will have six games featuring undefeated players,  the remaining having contestants all having a single loss.
Round 3 status highlights:
  • We have 24 of 40 matches now complete.  The CP is now 14-10.
  • Seven out of 16 matches not having progressed beyond turn 13 – very far behind schedule!
  • Seven of the 24 completed matches finished on turn 20 – the games are tightening up.
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Based on the multiple queries this round about details about how ACTS tracks and assigns time usage, we’d like to take the opportunity to provide some details.  Bear in mind that this ‘process’ is defined and implemented by ACTS, the POG event moderators had no role in defining or configuring this.  ACTS has tracked time this way for at least the past decade but some of the nuances can be a shock to even experienced players who are just now realizing that they may need to change their ACTS behavior when playing in a time-constrained match.
How it works:
  • The game clock starts when the first action is taken.  An action is a message, a die roll, any activity that results in an entry being recorded in the log.  In these tourney games, the clock starts with the moderator creating the game and then posting his ‘welcome’ message.
  • The clock keeps running until the next entry is made.  ACTS then calculates the time difference between that entry and the prior one and assigns it to the player making the current entry.
  • The next player makes entry #3 and would be assigned the time between entry #2 and entry #3.
  • If the moderator makes a comment, the moderator gets the time assigned between his entry and the last.
  • If a player makes two comments in row, he will also be assigned the time between both comments.
  • The system does not distinguish between card plays, messages, or die rolls; ACTS log entries are the triggers for the time assignment.
As mentioned in an earlier newsletter, it’s counter-productive for a player to prompt his laggardly opponent in ACTS as that will result in the time being assigned to the non-lagging player!  It’s best to follow-up with a direct e-mail, cc’ing the moderator if necessary.  Of course, if the game is moving briskly, managing the time clock should not be an issue.
September Puzzle Reviews:
These turned out to be trickier than I thought, for both the players and the GMs  (You can refresh yourself with the prior puzzles, here.)
Puzzle #1691:  Delaying Italy:  The intent of this puzzle was to see if folks were paying attention to the commentary in the same newsletter about how to handle combat card discards when shuffling in new decks.  It seems like they were.   (For those who have no clue about that which I speak, check out the FAQ which now includes a new “ACTS POG Etiquette” entry, #16, on “New Deck Discards”.)  Using this knowledge, POG veterans were asked to identify the % likelihood that Italian entry could be delayed given visibility to the remaining cards.  The solution was centered on the likelihood of the CP NOT getting Bulgaria in their next draw and the AP NOT getting Italy in their next draw.  From the set of puzzle choices, 19% was the correct response.
  • The AP will start the next turn with a draw deck of 27.  (20 Limited War cards and 7 mobilization cards.)  The chance of NOT getting Italy is ~19/27.
  • Most respondents understood that increasing the chance of drawing Bulgaria was best accomplished by reducing the deck to draw from and several pointed out that the CP dumping two  combat cards would lead to a starting deck of 25 cards.  (20 Limited War cards and 5 Mobilization cards with 2 Mobilization combat cards in the discard pile)  The “Trick” to this puzzle, however, was recognizing that the best option for the CP, given the objective, was to play a 1-OP on round 6, thus allowing THREE combat cards to be put into the new discard pile.  The chance of NOT getting Bulgaria would thus involve drawing eight cards from a deck of 24 cards or ~2/3.
  • 2/3 * 19/27 = .1975 or 19.75%.   (There was no 20% choice, so 19% was the ‘best’ choice of the available answers.)
Kudos to Steve K. for being the first (and only) person to get this one right.  Matt J. and Nevenko L. were very close, doing the math right but missing the discard of the third combat card.  (Pete R. gets credit for noting the ambiguity with regards to AP cc’s being removed from the deck, I’ll be more specific in the future!)
Puzzle #1692:  Lloyd George’d.  The “Path to Glory” in this puzzle was tortured and unforgiving to all, including yours truly, the contriver of puzzles.  Key features of this puzzle:
  • The British had an MO to make and the play of the Lloyd George move was intended to forestall any British attacks at claiming a VP because of the CP level 2 trenches.
  • The moderators had bounced this around a bit and I made a tweak, putting an AHc in Munich, to prevent the BRc in Spittal from running loose across southern Germany.
  • The Trent situation looked a bit odd and this was the key to the puzzle.  There was no fort destroyed marker so the CP fort was still presumably intact.  There was an AP force in the space but it was not sufficient to besiege the fort.  (It’s probably a trivial mind exercise to imagine how this situation could arise but presumably it involved a previous CP attack from Innsbruck into Trent that failed to clear out all the defenders.)
So what was the “best” way for the AP to NOT lose a VP this turn?
  • Many people, including the moderators, simply chose to have the BRc attack the AHc in Munich to satisfy the MO!  This puzzle maker was feeling bad for having tossed up a softball as I’d had another solution in mind.  Luckily, Matt J. was quick to point out that a BR MO has to involve attacking a GE unit, i.e., attacking an AHc would not suffice.
  • The odds of the Brits winning the Munich battle and advancing, 1c vs 0c, were correctly calculated by numerous folks to be 1/3.
  • The correct answer, however, was for the AP to use their 1-OP to move the flipped IT army into Trent, thus establishing a siege with a 1/2 chance of destroying the fort and thus winning the game for the CAP.
In the end, no one solved this puzzle but several of us still ‘won’ as we learned that BR MOs can not be satisfied by attacking AH units.
Puzzle #17101:  Quick Wins:  Let’s take it down a notch.
What is the earliest turn a POG game can end ‘naturally’ for each side and how is this accomplished?  Constraints:
  • A ‘natural’ ending is one that conforms to the rulebook.  (Assume the WBC Historical Scenario is in play.)
  • Assume that for each side the dice, cards, and opponent are fully cooperating.
  • There should be two responses, one for the AP quick win and one for CP quick win, do not assume they have to be the same.
The best answers will also specify how many card plays are involved, solutions with fewer card plays are better.
Final GM Advice and Admonitions:
You know the drill:  Play fast, play furious.  We have twenty days to go and a significant number of you have miles to go before you sleep. We had no adjudications last round so that’s the new benchmark.  Players should strive to reach a conclusion by any means necessary but bear in mind that, should an adjudication be called for, ACTS time clock usage will be the most significant factor if there’s a significant disparity.
Michael Dauer
Tom Gregorio
Paul Hubbard