Kaskavel wrote:Some very interesting points have been made during this conversation focusing around the ability to define the strongest CC player. People tend to have different opinions about various playing styles and settings. There is a lot to be discussed here and I would like to make a start by stating my own opinion.
1. First of all, we have to understand-and I think everybody would agree in this first point-that there are two kind of players in this site. Those who care about points and their status, at least during some time, and those who do not and want to have fun and try different games. Players of the first category generaly, but not always, tend to change their behavor after accomplishing a goal they had been targetting upon. For example Catman seems that he defined a personal target to reach the top of the realm and become a conqueror, specilized in a very strict and demanding kind of setting in order to achieve so, and after accomplishing his goal and proving himself or the rest of the players his ability and worth, he dropped down in order to have fun, enjoy the game and try new things. In short time, I will certainly do the same.
There is nothing wrong with those two different behavors, but what I would like to emphasize upon, is that they create a scoreboard that does not represent the true skill of the players. During my thousand of hive 1 vs 1 games, I have faced some very bad colonels and even higher ranks who seem to ignore very basic elements of risk play and mathematic understanding. Colonels who constantly make 3v2 attacks (with no specific reason that makes this good idea at the specific point) and brigs who instead of breaking enemy bonuses keep recovering a specific big bonus that they will obviously never going to exploit because it will be broken can hardly be considered good players "deserving" their rank. On the other hand, I was extremely impressed by the number of powerful majors and captains exist in this site. Players with a score of 1600-2200 that posess an almost perfect gameplay in 1 vs 1 are very very common. It is just that they do not care to rise and instead keep playing classics 1 vs 1 and similar kind of settings where dice is deciding for the most part the outcome of the game. Well done, this is a good thing, they enjoy the game. And the colonels mentioned above, they are specilized in some specific kind of game, resulting in a very increased score compared to their true risk understanding because they emphasize on a strengh of theirs, thus masking their weakness in other styles of play. This is not necessary a bad thing, well done to them too, but the main point here is that a player's score DOES NOT REPRESENT HIS GAME SKILL. The scoreboard we have is a quite subjective one, we can compare some players who behave the same way, but we cannot compare some others who play differently in comparison.
2. In order to make succesful comparisons, we need to define what a strong CC player is. Here do the problems begin. The site has made a good (in my opinion) effort to create very different kinds of settings, which in turn has the side negative effect of making such a definition problematic. I will try to define what a skillful player may mean under different settings. This is going to lead to some different definitions and it is well known that players keep arguing about what of those definition is "correct" or "better". Please, do not turn this conversation into a debate about flat or escalating spoils or about risk supposed to be a two- or a multi- player game, this is not my intention. My intention is to put down all different definitions and work some reasonable results and suggestions.
A. Diplomatic-strategic style
This category includes settings involving medium or big maps, played with more than 2 players, typicaly 6-8, with no spoils or with flat rate spoils. Here, we do not have an objective verdict about the correctness of a player's action. It is impossible to make statments that a particular move was correct or wrong because arguments about the subjective reaction of the rest of players enter the play. People who succeed in those games, tend to do so, not because they understand and exploit the answer to the question if it is better to make a 4 vs 1 attack and a 7 vs 3 attack instead of a 5 vs 1 and a 6 vs 3, but because they use diplomacy, polite or aggressive chat behavor, the ability to mask their intentions, their agility in using truces in their favor, the quite amazing charisma to predict different people's intentions and moves, their patience to recover from weak positions etc. In general, those kind of games lead to boring and frustrating stalemates, while also have the disadvantage of being in danger of being destroyed by a bored or stupid's player action to suicide, deadbeat or throw the game to a specific player for various reasons. Due to this, this kind of play has not, as far as I know, produced a conqueror till now and is also problematic in creating brigs and generals.
This kind of play can generaly be improved by some of the site's features. One is the round limit. One other is the use of fog, which immediately doubles or triples the significance of a player's abilty to negotiate and bluff. One other is the use of maps with strange features that demand reasonably achievable winning conditions or some major strategic targets. A combination of those features can potentionaly create and produce a very high ranked player, although I am aware of no example at this point. A fogged, trenched, 100 round limited, 8 player oasis can be a real battle for this kind of players. An argument of those setting's fans is that it resembles the original non-escalating version of risk.
B. Tactic-sweeping style
Probably the most favored kind of play today in CC is the multiplayer escalating one. There may be variations depending on fog, round limit etc but the basic charisma a player needs to have here, is the ability to calculate. Mathematic understanding of chances and percentages enter the play with tremedous effect, since in top levels, you also need to calculate your opponent's moves as well in order to put yourself in a more favourable situation. Luck is generaly of moderate influence here, far more importnat than similar flat rate games, far less importnat than 1 vs 1 games. Playing those games will eventualy reduce the dice influence. If you make 100 elimination-winning attempts at 40% success estimation, you will eventualy win 40 of those games, no matter what. Everybody have failed a 98% won game, it happens. This kind of play also resembles one of the original risk versions. Many conquerors have reached the top by their ability to handle those games succesfuly. A weak point for those games is that they demand an understanding from all players. An unexperienced player taking irrational actions can destroy the game, not because of his stupidness to suicide (as it may happen in a flat rate game), but because of the lack of experience ot understand how these games work. Naturaly, private games of this style dominate the top of the scoreboard.
C. 1 vs 1 strategic style
The advantage of those games is that we have a quite high and many times absolute verdict of whether a move is correct or wrong. There are situations where any strong player would agree that red needs to put 1 troop here to cover the 1 and repel the enemy stack next to them and the rest 5 there, trying to break opponent down to 11 regions and stopping after failing in a 3 vs 1 attack. Then he needs to reinfoce A to B since those troops play no part in the battle and they will increase chances to break the enemy bonus next turn. This kind of play has some absolutes. A move tends to be either correct or wrong. Players playing this style tend to be "white and black" guys, scientific style of life, interested in playing correctly and exploiting opponent's mistakes. Understanding of probabilities is of major importance, but in a different way compared to escalating games. Here calculation of a major sweep is not the key, it is general understanding of probabilities, value of attacking 1s, reinforcing correctly, optimizing their attacking actions, breaking before capturing and other strategic kind of decisions. I do not want to debate the meaning of strategy and tactics in this post, I am very well aware of their meaning by being a chess player and coach myself, let's restrict in saying that strategy involves long term planning and tactic involves precise calculations that have meaning only for a short period of time beacuse a completely different situation will occur next round.
This kind of play necessarily finds support and success in Hive map. It is not a coincidence that 2 out of 3 conquerors of the last day used this map. Its features of reducing the drop-dice-first turn significance and emphasize on strategy is a unique feature of this map because of its size, multiple bonuses and restriction to regions bonuses. No other map I am aware of succeeds in even approaching hive in this. A powerful player making no single mistake in world 2.1 or First Nations America in 1 vs 1 games will never succeed in becoming more than a major. In Hive, you can become a conqueror. The difference with other maps is simply too big. This kind of play will not represent scoreboard points in medium maps and will only represent half the true in big maps, other than hive.
D. The conquest style
This is a somewhat unique kind of 1 vs 1 kind of game. It is basicaly represented by feudal and Peloponesian maps, combined with fog. The difference here, lies in the lack of knowledge of the opponent's position combined with various difficult decisions about how players should gradualy eliminate the neutrals between the two players. It is in fact a quite respected and difficult strategic setting which involves knowledge of the map, reading the log, guessing opponent's position and correctness of his actions as well as manouvring yourself in order to exploit the attacker's advantage in the forcoming single battle. The major drawback is that the game is usualy decided in this single clash of armies. This style has increased its influence after trench was introduced in CC. The original importance of first round's dice has been reduced, attacking neutrals has become a more complicate strategic problem and strong players have better chances to overrun weaker opponent's initial luck. This style does not, as far as I know, offer chances of promoting into a brig but can produce strong majors and colonels.
E. Freestyle style
Let me be honest to myself, I am not an experienced freestyler so I will just describe the situation in a few words and someone else may expand onto it. In this kind of setting, we check the ability of a player to think and act fast, correctly and at the precise moment. This is in turn very very different than all the previous categories of games since it represents an entirely new stack of abilities. Many conquerors and generals have reached their max by mastering the freestyle art. This typicaly has 2 subcategories, the 1 vs 1, used by Catman to reach the top and the multiplayer version, which can get pretty messy if a map objective exists.
F. Team game style
Another style of play. This could also split into an escalating and a non-escalating version, but the general points are common in both. Here, the skills needed tend to adjust around teamplay. This involves communication, team planning, maybe leadership and cooperation. Its quite different than the rest styles from this aspect, but it typicaly also combines itself with one of the other styles. An escalating team game where you have to decide if to take out your partner is a big and difficult dilema. A no-spoil version is very common and is similar to the strategic 1 vs 1 style, but with luck factors reduced down. 3 or 4 teams doubles may be similar to category A.
A common aspect is that many strong players "hide" in such games, because the point rewarding system protects the higher ranked players there. Another disadvantage is that the combination of team games with the freestyle option can lead to devastating farming and such a combination should in my opinion not be allowed.
Many of the world's best have reached a high point of their careers via another style, then gradualy sink into teamplay and advance even further. It will not produce a high ranked player by itself, but it can keep stable or further advance an already high ranked one.
3. Those are, as far as I understand the concept, major types of play. Obviously, other people may have different opinions and diregard some of those, as well as promoting a new one and this is a good thing to disuss. Some of the game options can vary many or all of those categories but do not seem able to distinct themselves as a unique specific category. I do not think there is a fog-style or a speed-style of play in general and if we try to do so, we get things too complicated. A 1 minute fog quads freestyle escalating feudal game may as well be the most difficult thing to handle in this site, but this does not mean that it defines a major category of game style that we can use in order to rank and compare players. Some settings adjust only to a certain extend to the above categories but not completely. Catman's favourite complicated settings in hive is generaly a freestyle kind of play, but his huge map, trench and 1 min speed preferances complicate the overall style to a very specific combination of skills that could not defy a seperate mass style of play.
4. So, returning to the major questions about the strongest player and the fair and unfair conquerors we had, my opinion is that there is no such thing. First of all, in order to prove that you are the best, you need to want to prove that you are the best. It is not unlike that the CC's "strongest" (if we can somehow agree on how to define the meaning of this) player is currently an unnoticed captain having fun in 1 vs 1 doodles. And we will never know. Second problem is that we cannot define the kind of play that will lead to such a conclusion. And I did not start this duscussion so that we start arguing about whether the ability to play 1 min games is evidence of skill or if fog is a good or bad idea, so please do not turn this into an escalating-nonescalating argument, this can be done and has been done without conclusions in many different topics.
5. Some people congrats some of the top players and some people do not. It is just that they view CC from a different prospective. For example, from the last conquerors, I have proved my ability to handle 1 vs 1 strategic games, Catman proved to be a powerful freestyler, mc has proven to be a strong escalator etc etc. My personal opinion is that I somewhat mostly respect people who dare to overlap different kind of games, like Rodion, mc, 100mates etc, but this may just be me.
6. If we want to define a conqueror, a world champion, the strongest player, we need to somehow seperate those styles of play. It is not a bad thing to have a freestyle champion and a conquest champion, this would add more fun and would increase the objectiveness of such ranks-titles. There have been many topics in suggestion forum with a similar point of view I described here and the only real conclusions I would dare to reach here is that "There is no strongest player" and that " CC's next step should be to seperate some form of ranking in order to handle different gameplay styles".
Happy and willing to keep this discussion alive and interesting. Sorry for my long post.
Keefie wrote:kaskavel is a top player and a great Conquerer. I was fortunate enough to beat him on Hive a few months ago and took over 50 points from him, so reaching Conquerer with the tactics that he does is not a walk in the park.
macbone wrote:These are some guidelines to help you learn how we play terminator escalating games. Once you master these concepts, you'll be able to play almost any other game type.
Kaskavel wrote:Thanks everybody, I will now start diving down to enjoy the site's many different kind of options. How much have I missed playing 1v1 in classic, lol. Good luck to the next conquerors! See you as a major soon!
Kaskavel wrote:I would have 5200-5300 if I waited one more day...I didnt think about that...What is the record by the way?
Kaskavel wrote:Damn. I dropped 350 points and then I won a battle royal and got them back! Help! I do not want to be a conqueror....
Kaskavel wrote:DoomYoshi wrote:Kaskavel wrote:I would have 5200-5300 if I waited one more day...I didnt think about that...What is the record by the way?
What? Wow.... who did that and how???