I'm not sure what all people were hoping I'd have to say about this.
I agree with most of the analysis, numbers don't lie.
I also agree that random neutrals are bad and most of these numbers result in a lot of them in most player counts. Turning this disadvantage into math is difficult and I have no idea how to go about it. Instead I'd want to focus on avoiding them entirely within the numbers provided.
Something to add...
- Code: Select all
So the numbers that give 5 players a high number of neutrals don't concern me as much because 5 players is played least often. Solving 6 and 4 is probably best.
So with 6 and 4 players in mind. I believe 42 and only 42 is truly optimally fair for 6 players.
For 4 players 44, 52, 80, 88, 104, 116, and 160 are best.
Just for completeness if we wanted to start designing maps with 3 or 5 players in mind...
For 3 Players 42, 141
For 5 Players 35, 70, 80, 160, 190
Finding the absolute ideal for 2 players merits some extra discussion as 1/3 of the numbers are going to be neutral anyway so I'm not sure a random 1 or 2 on top of that matters a lot in the long run. My opinion right now is anything between 18 and 35 isn't too bad and anything above will favor the first player.
It is important to note that no one number is optimally fair for all the player counts while avoiding starting neutrals.
If you are wondering why I ignored 7 and 8... They are not a reality yet so they are not really on my mind.
In Response To D-Day
Starting both planes neutral 3 (my ideal solution) drops the total number into your desired 70, but that is only optimal for 5 players in avoiding starting neutrals, which is the least played (but still played enough) player count. I don't have a huge problem with this myself but mibi might, as it changes the focus from avoiding neutrals for 2, 3, 4, and 6 players to a game optimally designed for 5. The xml change would be negligible.
My largest concern with it is that the majority of players used to no neutrals would suddenly be confused by the high count of them when playing the map and may send false bug reports or unjustly dislike it as nothing says "D-Day is a map optimally designed for 5 players" and there is no sane way to notify everyone who plays it of the change.