Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Binary Homeworlds: Start player house rule and strength of banker opening

  • FromDon Sheldon <don.sheldon@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 30 Mar 2009 12:22:40 -0400
I think someone already did the analysis of past games that you're
talking about and The Banker's advantage was either small or
statistically insignificant.  Trying to fix it with this new house
rule introduces the lightning attack strategry you mentioned
(something I've been itching to try out in a normal game but have thus
far been too scared) and way overcompensates for the slight (if even
real) advantage of The Banker.

But since your one of the most experienced Homeworlds players out
there, I think you probably already know all this, so I feel a little
weird trying to preach it to you.

On 3/30/09, Joseph Peterson <jeepeterson@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> This weekend at Gamestorm (www.gamestorm.org), I played Binary
> Homeworlds against Andy as part of Andy vs. Everyone.  In it, he
> proposed using a house rule that the person whobuilds the Homeworld
> second, plays first.  I had no objection to that rule at the time, but
> now that I've thought about it, it seems to be giving a double
> advantage to the second player. (Although we can debate the strength
> of Banker later.)
> I started with this configuration: B3 Y1 and a G3 ship
> This is a losing start with Andy's proposed rule.  I cannot win if he
> builds his Homeworld like this: Y2 G2 and a R3 ship
> He immediately builds R1.  Then what do I do?  I have to switch to R3
> or lose next turn.  If any other, he plays- move R3 from Andy to
> JEEP. Now I have a G3 G1 or B3 or Y3 (since it's illegal for me to
> move away, those are the only three other legal moves).  Next turn he
> will take over my large ship and I lose.  If I switch to R3, it's
> still a win.  I'm out of Green and can never re-enter, so I must pass
> or change away from Red and putting myself back in the position listed
> above.
> So I think that the house rule proposed limits the first players
> options significantly.  It requires that (s)he play red in the
> homeworld.  Anything else loses first turn.  So I'd be limited to RG
> with Blue or Yellow.  I'm not saying that is bad.  I actually like
> starting with red in my homeworld.  It just limits the options
> significantly.  Does that hurt the game in any significant way? If you
> both know the rule, I don't know that it's too bad, but I'm curious
> about what others think about it.
> Fortunately, he didn't take advantage of me picking poorly given the
> added rule.  Am I missing something or is that kind of the point of
> the rule?  I think that the second player has a slight advantage in
> being able to react to the first players homeworld.  With the standard
> rule, I think that the first move at least, and possibly more than
> makes up for that advantage.  With this alteration, you get the double
> whammy of reaction plus first move.  Did I miss something?  (Other
> than Banker possibly.)
> Before we move on, some terminology that I learned today will be
> useful:
> Banker: A homeworld consisting of a small and medium.  Thus, it is
> connected directly to larges.  You can move your pieces into large
> worlds and therefore save up large pieces to bring back when ready.  A
> single green piece in a large can be sacrificed, returning the large
> to the stash to be build by the build action.
> Goldilocks: A homeworld consisting of a small and a large.  Thus, it
> is connected directly to mediums (not too small, not too big, just
> right!)
> Fortress: A homeworld consisting of a medium and a large.  Thus, it is
> connected directly to smalls.  Smalls run out easily, and this can
> limit the ways into your fortress homeworld.
> Okay, now onto Banker.  I suspect that the reason for the house rule
> is that Andy perceives banker to be overpowered. (He didn't say that
> exactly, so I'm speculating based on what he did say.  He did say
> explicitly that he feels it's the strongest opening.) Is Banker really
> so strong?  I find that Thibault cancels out Capo Ferro, don't
> you?.... err, sorry Princess Bride digression... I think that
> Goldilocks counters Banker.  Goldilocks gets to control the timing
> that you get to the larges.  Fortress can stop some of the banker
> strategies, but can't control when they get to large themselves as
> easily as Goldilocks can control it.  Maybe I haven't played enough to
> really understand the power, but timing seems to be more important
> than banking in the games I've played.  Maybe I should go through the
> SDG archives to do some analysis.  I only have a 47% win ratio in the
> game on SDG over 57 games, but the players I've played against have
> tended to be pretty good, so I'm 89th percentile and before I had to
> drop out fo the ladder, I was number 2 after TwoShort (well, 3 after
> the game I was in timed out).  That plus my across the board games
> feel like I have enough experience to speak, even though my "study" of
> the game is pretty lacking.
> I guess my question is: Is Banker really that strong?
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