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An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitiveness

 
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An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitiveness - 1/4/2018 8:06:24 PM   
Canoerebel


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The ongoing, rather acrimonious threads taking a look at various issues all seem to be weighing in on game balance. There are others better able to offer insight than me, but I wanted to share my thoughts.

The Victory Point system goes a long, long way to providing the proper balance - giving Japan a reasonable chance to win the game. Many players ignore the VP system, either through sheer hard-headedness or myopia. Probably many IJ players don't enjoy the VP system because it means playing late into the game when the game is imbalanced (properly so) so that they can't stand toe-to-toe with the Allies. But the VP system is rich and rewarding. I think Lowpe would be an outstanding example of a player who understands this.

Nearly all players agree that it is necessary and desirable to give Japan many extras in the name of balance and enjoyment. Most of us recognized early on that the imbalance made it tough for the IJ player to play late into the game (though I think our collective understanding of the VP system was very poor at that time).

Those of you who know me know that I have always sought out experienced IJ opponents who play mods that give Japan big boosts. I want a strong Japan. It makes it more fun (I'm in for the competition rather than simulation).

I have long advocated that the need is to make Japan stronger mid- or late-war. Not early war. Japan is now on steroids early war. Witness the aggregate number of games in which Japan invades California or Australia or India. Making further early game concessions to Japan only adds fuel to the fire.

Japan does have trouble in the late game, so I'd be more interested in changes that address that, within reason.

But it's possible that even these aren't necessary. Hypothesis: if a Japanese player attended to defense in 1942 instead of invading India, would that make it more feasible to defend later - to compete in the late game? I don't know that, but I'd listen to input from experienced players (but not ones that whine and call names and say they can't dare play a PBEM because their opponent might have an attitude, waa, waa, waa)

I have read Lokasenna's comments today that the VP system is good but probably could do with some tweaking. IE, the idea that, between players of equal capaibilities, right now the VP system still probably favors the Allied player by 70-30 or some such. That's worth considering. But against that I'd also want to carefully explore the idea that IJ players could compete deeper longer if they weren't so prone to invading India or Oz and otherwise running amock.

We have a great and experienced community. Many will have good insights into these things. But those of you on the periphery calling names and deriding respected people as "AFBs" or "JFBs" need a healthy dose of maturity. Cut it out.
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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/4/2018 8:34:13 PM   
Canoerebel


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The main point I'd hoped to make is this: Beware any change in the game that affects competitive balance early in favor of Japan. But there may still be merit in exploring changes later. Most intriguing of all is the idea of somehow adjusting Victory Points to make the matches truly as fair as possible, so that instead of 70-30 (or whatever Allies) it's 50-50 (when equal opponents square off).

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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/4/2018 9:03:44 PM   
Macclan5


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Interesting and nicely reasoned thoughts.

I am not familiar with the other thread and I don't think I have opined. At least I hope not. I am not experienced enough to add much value in that manner.

However I assume you are referring mostly to PBEM?

I think most gamers reasonably agree:

1) If you ignore VPs then you are not playing a competitive game.

Its like Golf. If you play golf you keep score. If you don't keep score you are likely on the practice range.

Perhaps like golf players WITP AE players should develop a handicap system ...+500 rating for IJN players +1000 for Rookie IJN players.

2) The VP mechanism tries to ably represent restraints on both sides ; early in the game for the Japanese, late in the game for the Allies.

It may be imperfect but the greatest enemy of "good" is "perfect"

3) The 70/30 - 50/50 debate is probably the heart of the matter. I do not know there is an ultimate solution to this for both sides - both fans to be entirely satisfied.

Understand that the entire combined GNP of all Axis Nations was in sum - less than the United States of America in 1939 - 1940. In fact less than 50% if I recall correctly.

This statistic is meaningful as a proxy to indicate: that despite weapon design superiority, relative populations, service conscription levels, etc - the USofA had an enormous advantage in any war of attrition lasting more than a year or two. Period.

Simply - no other Nation could sustain the Abomb experimentation and production. So if the Abomb ends the war... conclusion is obvious.

Anyway your well reasoned and thoughtful post 'engaged me to reply'.

I hope I have not muddied the waters or made the debate worse.








< Message edited by Macclan5 -- 1/4/2018 9:04:24 PM >


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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/4/2018 9:31:49 PM   
BBfanboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

But it's possible that even these aren't necessary. Hypothesis: if a Japanese player attended to defense in 1942 instead of invading India, would that make it more feasible to defend later - to compete in the late game? I don't know that, but I'd listen to input from experienced players (but not ones that whine and call names and say they can't dare play a PBEM because their opponent might have an attitude, waa, waa, waa)


When our now-MIA Italian friend (dang my old memory -can't pull out his forum name) was playing as Japan he did exactly that - he limited his conquests early, set up interlocking airfields in each area the Allies would come after, kept KB as a reserve to strike when the time was right (and wrecked several landings), and importantly, had a system for pulling out troops after their situation was hopeless so he could strengthen the next defence perimeter. Air support troops were just as important as cadres of infantry and artillery units. He made the Allies suffer for every gain and delayed them big time.


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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/4/2018 9:37:46 PM   
Canoerebel


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Greyjoy? He did all that? All that beauty and personality...and brains too? Swoon!

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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/4/2018 9:46:28 PM   
Aurorus

 

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Here are my opinions on the matter, for what they are worth.

Two issues come to the fore. First is the VP system, and second is management of the Japanese economy. With the game as it is currently, the allied player can withdraw completely out of the historical area of Japanese conquest with no fear of Japanese auto-victory and preserve valuable assets to begin an early offensive. I think that recent AARs have demonstrated that if the Japanese player is content to conquer the DEI, Malaysia, Burma, the Phillipines, and make a few gains in SoPac, while sitting pat in China, no amount of defensive preparations, fortification construction, and so forth can prevent a rapid allied conquest and an early loss for the Japanese player. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Japanese player to force an engagement and destroy allied assets in 1942. Yamamoto understood this; the majority of the Japanese high command did not.

Because of the mechanics of the Japanese economy, it is possible for Japanese players to "front-load" their economy, by expanding early war airframe and engine production. With the current PP system, it is also possible for Japan to purchase more units from Manchuria than Japan did historically in the early war period. This presents the impression that Japan is on "steroids" in 1942. In some ways, if playing for VPs, a certain amount of this "front-loading" is necessary in order to expand beyond the historical conquest area and force an engagement, since the better allied players will not come out to meet Japan until Australia or India are threatened.

Several solutions present themselves. The first would involve a hard limit to Japanese early war aircraft production: 60 A6M2s, for example. This could be accomplished as easily as creating a house rule. I think playing PDU:off also greatly reduces Japan's ability to establish overwhelming air-superiority by front-loading its aircraft production. The second tweek would be to the VP values of key bases. As it stands, Japan is only rewarded with significant base VPs if she expands beyond the initial conquest area into New Caledonia, Australia, or India. Finally, increasing the cost of purchasing restricted units with PPs for both sides would also tend to make for a more balanced war. I have not experimented with the editor, so I do not know if this is something that can be edited.

< Message edited by Aurorus -- 1/4/2018 9:47:55 PM >

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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/4/2018 10:20:06 PM   
John 3rd


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I don't believe in VPs. Dan knows this. If I am doing well, I KNOW it. If I am losing, I KNOW it. I'll surrender when it is obvious and certain that the end is here...

It would be my hope that many other Japanese players feel that way as well.

The economy is a better, much more open question for discussion.


< Message edited by John 3rd -- 1/4/2018 10:21:24 PM >


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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/4/2018 10:44:41 PM   
cardas

 

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I'll respond despite being quite inexperienced, using the AARs posted here to inform my views. To be honest it's hard to really get an accurate view how balanced the VP system is due to the long time for a player vs. player game to reach it's conclusion. Add to this that games may have been started with different versions of WitP:AE meaning you are dealing with both game mechanical changes and scenario data changes between the AARs posted on the forums. Furthermore not everyone that gets to the late game is playing with the standard stock scenario. Finally there's nothing that says the two opponents are matched in their mastery of the game.

Despite all the mentioned difficulties of accurately judging the balance I still tend to agree with Lokasenna that the VP system does favour the Allied player in a grand campaign. You may be correct that a bit more defensive minded play by the Japanese player may change things but I doubt it. Hitting the Allied players hard early with far flung offensives may seem somewhat silly and undermine a late game defensive position. However I think that this is actually a rather rational use of the forces available. If there's any issues with it I'd probably say it lies in realizing when to start withdrawing as the Japanese player - the long ranging attacks aren't as such isn't the issue.

You start strong as a Japanese player with your relative strength declining as the game goes on... not like I'm giving any grand insight with that statement ;)
But let's think about what these means in some of the game mechanical aspects, such as infantry squads. If you as the Japanese player manage to hit, say, the British 18th division hard or outright annihilate it that may effect the allied player all the way to 1945. Due to the fixed and low replacement rates on the British infantry squads filling up a division made up of those squads is something that will take a lot of time. Not like the 18th division is the only unit that uses those squads either. As the Allied infantry squads are both mechanically weaker (less firepower) compared to 1945 and you as a Japanese player have more control as to where to fight you may actually put decent dents into the pools.

Late game in a defensive position you would of course have forts and maybe terrain bonuses helping you out. On the other hand at that point the Allies control where and when to fight to a greater degree and the Allied squad will have more firepower than at the start. Airpower will also be a much greater problem making your land battles difficult. Thus I find it likely that trying to deplete some of the Allied pools early is more productive than leaving them unengaged, especially on the Commonwealth side. This way you reduce their staying power and, in a best case scenario, remove some formations entirely from the later Allied advance due to shallow pools.

While I think the land based offensive early easily pays dividends in both improved defense late game and in more VPs for the Japanese the air and naval aspects are more difficult to ascertain. On the sea you do have a significant experience advantage early on. Forcing confrontations with the Allied naval assets is more likely to bring you victory during this time and will also yield a VP boon. Those same Allied ships will have built up their experience later in the game and will be backed up with a whole lot more friends. Reducing the Allied naval forces early will also reduce the amount of screening and escort ships available - potentially making the Allied player more hesitant about starting an offensive and thus delaying the Allied juggernaut. On the other hand you always run the risk of losing your ships despite those advantages. A gamble, but you certainly have to gamble a bit at least early as the Japanese to get anything at all done. Those ships won't do you any good in the very late game anyway if they are simply stuck in port.

In the air I got no clue as what would be for the best. You certainly want to build up an experience cadre of pilots when you have the advantage in the air. On the other hand you don't want to lose your pilots flying useless missions over enemy bases when they may be better employed defending the Japanese industry against strategic bombings late game. So, whatever? You'll need to employ them to some degree at all times regardless.

Summed up I think you might want to push further than the historical Japanese did even when taking the late game defence into account. I don't think that explains any late game VP problems. Now where perhaps some Japanese players go wrong is by being slow in withdrawing from forward positions or forgetting to harden the inner defensive perimeters. That may be an avenue worth looking into though I think the VP system does favour the Allied player regardless.

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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/4/2018 11:02:36 PM   
MBF

 

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As pointed out by people more familiar with the DESIGN than me - the game is based on VP

From there - you can play it any way you want - including ignoring VP if you want but they are still there (sort of like the 12 inches of new snow I have to shovel in the morning - nothing I do is going to change the fact that it is there)


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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/4/2018 11:40:20 PM   
geofflambert


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The game is about history. The closer it cleaves to that the better. History doesn't care about what anyone's concept of winning or losing is. History doesn't care about play balance or any of that stuff. History is what it is. Approaching the game from the Axis point of view, thinking that you can "win" is foolhardy. You can't win. You can just do the best you can and maybe flabbergast your opponent. Why would we need to get away from that? Why wouldn't it be fun to surprise your opponent? I don't, as Daedelus, need to invent nylon just so I can laugh at my son Icarus falling to his death. WWII was what it was. We don't need to reconfigure it so it conforms to anyone's idea of what a game should be.

< Message edited by geofflambert -- 1/4/2018 11:41:53 PM >

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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/4/2018 11:44:45 PM   
zuluhour


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ZEN and the art of motorcycle maintenance.

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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 12:16:26 AM   
Oznoyng

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: zuluhour

ZEN and the art of motorcycle maintenance.


Nope. Zen and the Art of Japanese AC production.

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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 12:21:34 AM   
geofflambert


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Let me make myself clearer (I'm employing a Romulan cloaking device to accomplish that). Hitler made a stupendously stupid decision to take on the Soviet Union. There was nearly no chance that could pay off, but there was a chance. That chance, slim as it was, expired before 12/7/41. It had been dead as a doornail for awhile. The decision that Japan made to take on the US was absurd from the start. They couldn't possibly have won any war against the US even if the rest of the entire planet were at peace. The US ended the war in Europe in a way that was favorable to the West, and in a way that was not foreordained. The US crushed Japan with more than one arm tied behind it's back.

Playing the Japanese side in this game means nothing more or less than trying to do better than they did historically. I have a lot of fun doing that. No matter how well I do, I am going to lose. If you have a problem with that, it is arbitrary and artificial. By the way, those two words are synonyms, arbitrary and artificial, and citing one to ridicule the other is something we've seen way too much of lately.

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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 12:43:06 AM   
zuluhour


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"trying to do better than they did historically."

why I have always played

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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 1:13:08 AM   
spence

 

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quote:

Several solutions present themselves.


My preference would be for a game that started about April 1942 going to about April 1943. It would encompass the entire map so that the Japanese Player gets to pick a strategic direction for his "Phase 2 Expansion" to move in to force some sort of "Decisive Battle" with the Allied Player. Both Players will need to destroy a lot of enemy units or gain a lot of ground or some combo of both to win. Players start with 0 Victory Points. VPs are scored for "advances" and for destroying enemy forces.

The initial turns would be used to move into position for the coming contest (do not want the IJ Player to be forced into any particular strategy simply because his forces are already positioned for (and probably only for) that particular offensive (thus at least the month of April 42 would be for strategic redeployment). The China War would have to be adjusted so that the historical stalemate exists and if Japan moves that way (still a choice) then basically the IJN is completely on its own on the rest of the map. The IJ Player will have to live with the mistakes made in IJ production (such as stopping D3A1 and B5N2 production because the D4Y and B6 were supposed to come on line by July or so (thus they sail for "THE Decisive Battle" early on they sail with their historically less than full strength air groups.

The Allied carrier forces would have been blooded by their Feb/March/April raids. Various bases would be fortified/developed somewhat. Training of all units would have occurred to some extent. USN torpedoes improved somewhat over the 80% dud rate but still a bit funky (IIRC some improvement occurred in 1942)?

The game would end before the Allied Players forces become overwhelming based on victory points.




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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 2:24:26 AM   
Lokasenna


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Essay incoming, having only read the first 2 posts thus far.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

But it's possible that even these aren't necessary. Hypothesis: if a Japanese player attended to defense in 1942 instead of invading India, would that make it more feasible to defend later - to compete in the late game?



I can page through my notes (a Word doc) on what happened when in my game against Bullwinkle. We're in a Scenario 2 game. I did not invade India (I think I may have tried to advance on Akyab, but I'm not sure I even did that). I did not invade Hawaii or Alaska or CONUS. I did invade Darwin and made an attempt at Perth (which failed, but it was successive in VP terms if not really in strategic delay terms). I did capture Noumea and Suva early on as a delaying tactic. I didn't spend too many of my resources defending places like the Solomons or the Gilberts or the Marshalls. I attempted to extract a tithe every time there was an invasion, but sometimes I was caught too much off balance to react in time. I did put a major effort into capturing China, and into defending Burma on the ground and in the air (while I was able).

I don't subscribe to the idea, often put forth by Alfred and maybe he's just on another level (but I'd want numbers to prove it instead of just hypotheticals), that Japan never has to give up the initiative. There comes a time when, if you know the Allied OOB, it depends on the Allied player to screw up big time in order for Japan to keep the initiative. If the Allies play conservatively enough and bide their time, they can simply wait for Japan to overstay their welcome on that "initiative space" of the semi-psychological game board and pounce in one (or even two) extremely important places at the same time while Japan's major forces are out of position to respond.

My last seaborne offensive operation was the invasion of SW Australia, which was in September 1943 (IIRC). Bullwinkle recaptured Geraldton in December 1943 and had to do some mopping up to the north. I don't recall the exact timeline of events, but thus far he's just finished capturing Java at the end of 1944, as well as Balikpapan and everything due east of there all the way to Rabaul. He got Truk, but it cost him some transports. In fact, aside from the Marianas and Palau/Babeldaob, I don't have any islands east of the Philippines besides the Bonins. He's got a toehold at Sabang on Sumatra but hasn't captured the base. As I mentioned in the other thread, the VPs are still in my favor by about 1.5:1 and my navy is in OK shape (only 1 BB down, only a few CV/CVL/CVE down). I have been conservative in moving the BBs around in general, often sending KB without BB escorts. KB mostly sat in port disbanded for much of 1943 and 1944, coming out for a week or two at a time to play the fire breathing dragon bit. The point I'm trying to make is that I think I've been conservative with my fuel usage when it comes to combat ships, but not too conservative.

The reason I transitioned directly from mentioning VPs to mentioning my supplies/fuel situation is that without those things, Japan can't attempt to slow the Allied VP juggernaut. Strategic bombing is an inevitability. The only way to attempt to beat it is to delay it as long as possible and then to try and shoot down as many B-29s as possible. Both are tall orders. I've begun a glide for my Japan industry (turning off some Refineries and a few of the more minor HI centers) so that I don't have to suddenly adjust. Once the flow of Oil/Fuel from Pbang is completely shut off (it's already been hurt from bombing), I've really only got what I have in Japan already. Everything else is sucked dry or recaptured by the Allies.

At that point, at present rates of consumption (not counting fleet consumption), I have less than a year of fuel. I'm 16 months away from achieving a draw if he reaches the 2:1 VP ratio. That's a big, big gap during which the full might of the Allied OOB will be present, including the Soviets.

I'm not saying that's inherently a problem - the supplies bit. It might be about right. I wouldn't mind a little extra breathing room in a scenario in terms of more LI and more Resources to feed them - essentially, more supply. But the real crux is that, assuming China doesn't get recaptured by the Allies (Bullwinkle has his doubts, I'm not totally convinced it wouldn't fall in late 1945 even if he never got through in Burma), nearly the entirety of my VP lead will evaporate as the Philippines and Singapore fall to the Allies. These are probably inevitable. Even if it takes him 6 months from now to conquer Luzon, it's still only the start of June 1945 at that point - ample time to conduct a strategic bombing campaign that harvests the necessary 50K or so VPs he would then need before the clock runs out and I am awarded a draw.

If you ask him, he would say that I am beating the pants off of him militarily. I wouldn't go that far, but I have come out on top in nearly every naval battle since mid-1942 - sometimes without having to even trade anything. In the long run, I don't think it will make more than a few months' worth of difference. Even if I sunk another 10 CVs at the cost of only 1000 of my planes, that only adds 4K - 4.5K (assuming 1K planes lost for him) to the VPs he would need to harvest with strat bombing.

I still think I can prevent an Allied minor victory, but I'd put my odds of that as only right about 50-50. There's simply too much time between Soviet activation and 01/01/1946. I would need to hold him to under 1.75:1 VP ratio in his favor to achieve a minor victory of my own, and under a 1.25:1 in his favor to achieve a decisive victory.

So if the ability to contest later into the war is not on the table (or even if it is, really), what I think actually needs to be looked at are the VP values of bases for Japan. Without taking a long look around the map, I don't know where precisely I would do it, but I would do two things in general: (1) increase the value of bases to Japan that are closer to Japan, and (2) either decrease the value of bases to Japan that are currently worth a lot OR increase the value of bases to the Allies that are not close to Japan.

To that end, I would look at tweaking upwards the value of the following regions for Japan, in order of the proportional magnitude that I would increase it:
- Okinawa
- Taiwan/Korea
- eastern China
- Manchuria
- Kuriles/Sakhalins
- Hokkaido

I would look at decreasing the value to Japan of the following bases:
- Singapore
- Manila
- Rangoon

I would look at increasing the value to the Allies of the following regions:
- Solomons
- Marshalls
- Western Aleutians
- Indochina

I would err more on tweaking only the Japanese side without changing the current maximum available if considering all those places. If I could tweak those areas to my satisfaction without changing the current maximum points available to Japan, I would not touch any values for the Allies. If the Japanese VPs ended up increasing by a certain amount, I would increase the Allied VPs in the regions listed by a total of 50% of that amount (I think) to counteract the possibility that Japan could use the additional VPs (if they numbered in the hundreds or even 1000 or so) to trigger an autovictory that would not have otherwise been possible.

(in reply to Canoerebel)
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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 2:29:42 AM   
Lokasenna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Aurorus

The second tweek would be to the VP values of key bases. As it stands, Japan is only rewarded with significant base VPs if she expands beyond the initial conquest area into New Caledonia, Australia, or India.


I'm hesitant to increase VPs elsewhere, or to make these even more valuable, because there is a real threat of Japanese AV in these cases - particularly in Scenario 2 or another strengthened Japan scenario.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Aurorus

Finally, increasing the cost of purchasing restricted units with PPs for both sides would also tend to make for a more balanced war. I have not experimented with the editor, so I do not know if this is something that can be edited.


You can do this if you increase the size of the OOB of the units, or by adding lots of artillery devices (they cost more PPs to buy out, still). However, this will in turn eat more Japanese supply. In the end, I think this would be extremely counter-productive.

A better solution would be to simply have the units spawn later, instead of being in Manchuria right from the start.

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RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 3:11:50 AM   
Lokasenna


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There's simply too many data points bouncing around in my bin of knowledge for me to mention them all in one cohesive post. In the other thread, I alluded to my 2 completed Allied games (well, 1 is still going on, but I reached the AV screen already) and the late-war Japan game that I have ongoing. In that game, VPs are all-important. It is the only way I can win. As the Allies, after a certain point I was never concerned about whether or not I would reach the 2:1 threshold - it was just a matter of when. In one game, I felt I did have to push to do it before August 31, 1945, but I made it with more than a month to spare despite coming off the throttle a little bit when it became obvious that I would do so. I let off the throttle a bit because we'd already agreed to play beyond the victory screen, so I wasn't going to throw bombers away for less than the returns I wanted to get. It became more about hitting specific factories than obtaining points.

In any case, the focus on what the VP ratio (and therefore the absolute totals) looks like in the Japan game has had me ruminating on this topic for months. There are differences between the games.

Air war
In the most recent Allied game, the air war was very hyperactive. Air losses were in excess of 50,000 planes for Japan around the time of autovictory. For the Allies, my losses were just around 26,000 points (not planes - every 4E was worth 2). So that game was much more active in the air than the other 2 games, but in terms of victory ratio it wasn't that different. Only about 1000 points of difference, and in his favor, not mine (this is about a 3-4 days' worth of strategic bombing in July 1945). Comparing this game to my Japan game, Japanese air losses are about 20,000 planes less than at the same point in the war. For the Allies, they are a few thousand less.

The other Allied game concluded about one year ago. The pace of the air war in that game was more similar to the pace in my Japan game, although the Allies were a bit more on top. Total losses for Japan were approaching upper-30,000's in May 1945. For the Allies, they were approaching 18,000 or 19,000. This is where similarities between that game and my Japan game end.

Sea war
My second Allied game, the one with the hyper air war, is also rather similar to my Allied game. Points for ships are pretty much in-line, and the ships sunk are similar. If anything, I'm doing better in the Japan game than my opponent was doing in the Allied game - in terms of Japanese ships still alive, so points the Allies haven't earned. The points Japan has earned are within the same ballpark, as well as the number/types of ships sunk.

Ground war
This one I don't have as much of a handle on. In the Allied game, I harvested more than 50,000 LCU VPs and it came very quickly as large armies were defeated. In my Japan game, I have similar large armies. Several thousand LCU VPs are given up every time a major area is taken, despite evacuating what I can whenever possible once it's clear that my forces aren't going to delay his for any longer nor wear them down appreciably. The key difference between my Japan game and the game as Allies is that as Japan I have killed many more VPs of Allied LCUs than I lost as the Allies - about 10K more. But the Japanese LCU losses might end up being comparable if a couple of major retreats turn into routs instead of being organized.

Base VPs are about the same, barring perhaps China. There are 5400 Japanese VPs between Chungking and Chengtu. A concerted Soviet effort could probably retake them prior to March 1946.

Adding it all up...
Even assuming Chungking/Chengtu remain in Japanese hands, I'm only looking at an advantage in my Japan game vs. the Allied game of about 15,000 VPs - perhaps 20,000 at most. When I measure this, I am measuring this vs. the autovictory threshold, not the absolute point totals in each game. My opponent, despite being delayed in the Pacific and stalled in Burma, is only a few months behind where I was in that Allied game. I'm forced to assume/guess that he will be able to begin token strategic bombing of Japan by April 1945, with perhaps a moderate campaign able to reach the bases west of Tokyo (maybe as far as Osaka) by June 1945 at the very latest. If he surprises me somewhere, it would be sooner.

Once he is able to drop atomic bombs, based on my admittedly limited experience with them (all of 2 bombs), I am estimating he will be able to achieve 10-15K VPs with 2 of them. Perhaps more, perhaps less. That more than nullifies the current VP advantage I have right now (if assuming that 10K of my base VPs will be lost to him before the end of 1945, which is everything but China/Taiwan/Okinawa, without even counting the VPs he would gain for the bases). Based on current VPs and a 12.5K boost from 2 A-bombs, he would have 66K VPs to my 63K.

Assuming a light campaign based on the edge of B-29 normal range is able to harvest an estimated 200-400 VPs per week, that is about 1K - 1.5K VPs per month. Let's assume 2.5K for April and May 1945. That's somewhere around 69K VPs to my 63K - 57K to go for him, minus whatever difference he was able to claim in combat.

Eventually, B-29s will be based in places I can't touch and within range of the southwestern Home Islands. My typical B-29 night-time raids, even against aerial opposition, were able to achieve an average of around 400-500 VPs per raid - often less than that, but in a few cases much more, which skews the average higher than the median. Assuming 3 weeks every 2 weeks, that's 6 or 7 raids per month. That's about 3.5K per month and there would be several months of this. Being generous to my defense, perhaps I could delay him from getting even more bombers into range for 3 months (until September 1945). That's about 10K in VPs for him during that time, dropping the running total he needs to 47K, minus whatever difference he was able to claim in combat.

Beginning in September 1945, he should have some bases in Manchuria from which he could hit even more targets, and perhaps bring bombers besides B-29s to bear on my juicy strategic targets. Perhaps he is able to harvest 4.5K this month as more B-29s arrive at the front. Down to about 42K, minus whatever difference from combat, with just 3 months remaining before entering Draw territory. At this point, we are also outside of Japanese Decisive territory as he will be beyond the 1.25:1 ratio.

Obviously, the exact points he will need will depend on how many LCU devices he kills, which is where he will gain the bulk of his points outside of bases and strategic bombing. He will get points for planes, but so will I - I don't know what this ratio will be and don't know how it will trend. At present, I am able to keep rolling average trades for the past few months at under a 2:1 in his favor, but he doesn't have his best planes yet. Eventually, I will probably lose my navy. I will probably be able to trade slightly better than 2:1 in his favor, but this is an enormous wildcard. If I lose my navy without achieving much in return, he's several thousand points closer and many several thousand points closer than if I had traded roughly 1:1 with him in a naval battle. In all, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that he gains another 15K VPs beyond a 1:1 trade from LCUs alone. That puts him within 30K of achieving a victory, not a draw. An extremely concerted strategic bombing effort in October - December 1945 might be able to achieve that. It can almost certainly achieve that in 6 months, before the clock runs out. And it can even more almost certainly achieve a 1.75:1 ratio in his favor prior to March 1946 as well - which means it's still a draw.


These are all conservative estimates, although I also admit they could vary by a substantial amount. I'm just guesstimating based on my experience as the Allies x2, what how I've been able to do so far in this game. And what's why I think the VP scale is tilted towards the Allies such that evenly matched players do not have a 50-50 on which side wins.

(in reply to Lokasenna)
Post #: 18
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 3:17:13 AM   
Lokasenna


Posts: 7951
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From: Iowan in MD/DC
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lokasenna

To that end, I would look at tweaking upwards the value of the following regions for Japan, in order of the proportional magnitude that I would increase it:
- Okinawa
- Taiwan/Korea
- eastern China
- Manchuria
- Kuriles/Sakhalins
- Hokkaido

I would look at decreasing the value to Japan of the following bases:
- Singapore
- Manila
- Rangoon

I would look at increasing the value to the Allies of the following regions:
- Solomons
- Marshalls
- Western Aleutians
- Indochina

I would err more on tweaking only the Japanese side without changing the current maximum available if considering all those places. If I could tweak those areas to my satisfaction without changing the current maximum points available to Japan, I would not touch any values for the Allies. If the Japanese VPs ended up increasing by a certain amount, I would increase the Allied VPs in the regions listed by a total of 50% of that amount (I think) to counteract the possibility that Japan could use the additional VPs (if they numbered in the hundreds or even 1000 or so) to trigger an autovictory that would not have otherwise been possible.


After my last post where I was looking more in-depth at the VPs in my various games and running with some actual rough numbers instead of going off of mere estimates... I think the value that I would shoot for here, for starters, would be somewhere around what you might expect 1/8 of Allied VPs to be when an AV would normally be achieved for them.

In my Allied games, that was around 136K and 120-something. It looks like Canoerebel is going to get it somewhere in that ballpark as well. The reason I would try and "backload" about 1/8 of this VP total into Japanese bases is because that is the difference between an Allied Marginal Victory in late 1945 (*originally I said 1946 here) and a draw. Given that this amounts to somewhere in the vicinity of 15K Allied VPs (or 7.5K Japanese VPs), I would have to tweak both sides.

And then I'd have to play a PBEM with somebody for 3 years to even know if I was in the right ballpark.

< Message edited by Lokasenna -- 1/5/2018 6:00:01 AM >

(in reply to Lokasenna)
Post #: 19
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 4:24:19 AM   
John 3rd


Posts: 15825
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From: La Salle, Colorado
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Great, well thought out Posts Sir.


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(in reply to Lokasenna)
Post #: 20
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 7:20:05 AM   
Barb


Posts: 2357
Joined: 2/27/2007
From: Bratislava, Slovakia
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I had to confess, I am not looking into VPs at all so far (PBEM as Allies in Sept 1943, PBEM as Japan in Aug 1943) - maybe there will be some point in 1944/1945 for me to check the ratio for Defeat/Victory screen. But I am having my own "competition" with game.

As the Allies I am trying to be early on the schedule, even if the KB is still untouched so far (just single IJN CVL sunk), I am already in the Gilberts and in the Marshalls while New Guinea is mine up to Hollandia. I have positive loss ratio in the air, minimum ship loses, etc. My subs are active and effective against IJN merchant marine (few turns ago 5 tankers went down in a single replay, yayks!). So far I am certainly on the winning "streak" at least till KB shows up and slows me down.

As the Japan I am having my share of defensive action, lost some carriers, most of my CAs (5 remaining!). But I kicked allies from Kuriles (about 2-3 divs worth of troops killed), I am hanging in the southern Burma, sucessfully evacuated everything south of Wewak-Manus despite US having Kavieng! Enemy battleship force was whittled down as well as his cruiser and destroyers got their share of kicks. Allied air forces had lost more B-17D/E/Fs, LB-30s/B-24Ds than they had received as replacements (thus I mostly cleared their pools). P-40B/E/K and P-38E/F/G suffered accordingly. Brits had their Blenheim/Hudson pools cleared too. So now it is a matter of enemy replenishing his units and preparing for a new air offensive. Not to mention overall air losses are still in Japans favor!

So while I am not looking at the VP ratio right now, I had set up "my own competitons within game" - aircraft looses ratio, ships sunk, territory, troops saved/destroyed, submarine operations, etc.

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(in reply to John 3rd)
Post #: 21
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 7:54:22 AM   
geofflambert


Posts: 12736
Joined: 12/23/2010
From: St. Louis
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Oznoyng


quote:

ORIGINAL: zuluhour

ZEN and the art of motorcycle maintenance.


Nope. Zen and the Art of Japanese AC production.


The difficulty with that is coming up with enough R2Dtoos to crew the AC you produce. Oh, wait, you're telling me R2Dtoo isn't even in Beta yet!? OMG.

(in reply to Oznoyng)
Post #: 22
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 8:50:21 AM   
Aurorus

 

Posts: 1314
Joined: 5/26/2014
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

I have read Lokasenna's comments today that the VP system is good but probably could do with some tweaking. IE, the idea that, between players of equal capaibilities, right now the VP system still probably favors the Allied player by 70-30 or some such. That's worth considering. But against that I'd also want to carefully explore the idea that IJ players could compete deeper longer if they weren't so prone to invading India or Oz and otherwise running amock.




I tend to agree with Alfred. In my opinion, the question of Japan being more competitive later in the game depends on Japan being aggressive, albeit selectively, into 1943. The issue is not so much how much territory Japan occupies. Rather the question is how many allied assets does Japan destroy. Keeping the allied fighter pools low, depleting the British, Indian, Australian force pools, sinking U.S. naval assets in 1942 and 1943, these are the keys to Japan being competitive into 1944 and 1945.

I think that the older AARs, in which Japanese players were able to defend by a series of parries and ripostes, were responses to different era in allied player thinking, when the VP system was not fully understood. Today, I think that the better informed allied players, who understand the VP system, realize that achieving a VP victory is only a matter of acquiring one or more large airbases in range of Honshu. Island hopping, picking up small amounts of base VPs in places like Truk or Java is not essential to an allied strategy for a VP victory, because the points that can be gained here are small compared to the points that can be gained by strategic bombing. Therefore, island hopping can be abandoned in favor of a few all-in, kitchen-sink moves in 1944, covered by the full USN. This makes the Japanese construction of layered defensive zones of inter-connected airbases inconsequential, because most of these defensive zones can be bypassed without consequence.

This is one reason why I believe that depleting the U.S. force pool and forcing a major naval engagement is essential to Japanese victory and that Japan should play aggressively for auto-victory: though not for 1943. Rather Japan should play for auto-victory on Jan. 1, 1944. If Japan does not achieve auto-victory on Jan. 1, 1944 but if Japan has depleted the auxiliary force pools (Britian, India, Australia, etc...), sunk significant U.S. naval assets, and held its perimeter through 1943, Japan may be able to delay the start of the allied offensive campaign until mid 1944, which does make possible a late-war draw or even a Japanese marginal victory.

Paxmondo has laid out an alternative strategy for Japan that is more defensive minded (since Japanese naval air will be badly outclassed in 1943, pitting A6M5s against Hellcats) and depends heavily upon R&D in several late model Japanese aircraft, especially the A7M2, as part of an attempt to seek a Kentai Kessen against the full USN in early 1944. This strategy is only available for PDU:On games, however, since the idea is to bypass most A6M research and move directly to the A7M2, which is impossible in PDU:off.

So, my suggestion to balance the VP system, is to increase the base values of bases that lie just outside the periphery of the Japanese historical area of conquest: places such as Port Moresby, Ndeni, New Caledonia, Darwin, and the border region of India. This encourages the allied player to contest these regions rather than yield them without fear of Japanese auto-victory. In exchange, the PP points available to each side could be lowered, or alternatively, the best Manchurian garrison units could be placed on a carefully crafted release schedule as you suggest (either appearing later or as permanently restricted until a set date). Also, hard limits would be placed on early-mid war Japanese aircraft production, which makes it more difficult for Japan to achieve overwhelming air superiority in the early war and completely drain the allied fighter force pools.

< Message edited by Aurorus -- 1/5/2018 8:57:02 AM >

(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 23
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 9:08:03 AM   
LargeSlowTarget


Posts: 3676
Joined: 9/23/2000
From: Hessen, Germany - now living in France
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There is a vexatious tendency on this forum to postulate dogmas and to denigrate anyone who does not abide. Those who do not embrace the VP system are hard-headed or myopic? That's pretty rude. How about some tolerance for a point of view which differs from your own?

For some players VPs seem to be the holy grail, the core of the game design around everything revolves, something that must be maximized in order to "win" with the highest possible score. For others VPs are just an indication how well one is doing, but not the determining force behind gameplay decisions. And others again ignore VPs completely, they don't need a more or less artificial score to tell them it's game over, they decide themselves when they have had enough and it is time to concede defeat or claim victory.

The "one true way" does not exist. There is no law that states the VP system must be used. It's in the game, but each player has the liberty to use it or not. To denigrate those who elect not to use the VP system as some sort of second-rate players (or not even players, since for some not using the VP systems means "not playing the game") is pretty arrogant.

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Post #: 24
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 9:23:22 AM   
Aurorus

 

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Joined: 5/26/2014
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The irony is that I am playing one game at the moment where my opponent has expressed a concern for VPs, and I am playing another game in which my opponent has told me that he does not consider VPs very important. I am content to play either way: to play for VPs or not to play for VPs. The real objective for me, is to try to play my best and be as competitive as I am able every day. If this results in a VP victory for me, that is fine. If it does not, that is fine too. The journey more than the destination is the real reward.

However, many people view the game as having no clearly defined objectives without VPs, and I can understand that position. The question at hand is how can the VP system be modified to make for more interesting games for those who play for VPs. This is a relevant question even if one merely uses VPs as a rough guide, rather than a definitive measure of performance.

(in reply to LargeSlowTarget)
Post #: 25
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 11:15:13 AM   
HansBolter


Posts: 6090
Joined: 7/6/2006
From: St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
Status: offline
What I see here is the standard litany of elite PBEMers shouting down the interests of solitaire players.

While we soloers may well represent 80% of those actually playing this game we certainly don't have equal representation in this so called community.

Any time a soloer contributes an opinion it is shouted down by the overrepresented PBEM crowd who make it perfectly clear they have no interest in our interest.

Why should we have any interest in your interest in return?

You get the treatment in return that you dish out. Its how life works.

You reap what you sow.

This "community" always has been, and apparently always will be, hostile to solitaire players.

You have made it quite clear you don't want me and my kind in your 'community'.



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Post #: 26
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 11:38:32 AM   
Macclan5


Posts: 699
Joined: 3/24/2016
From: Toronto Canada
Status: offline
There are various and mostly thoughtful responses ...

Its very interesting reading.

Again I do not want to "muddy the waters through inexperience" so please accept this suggestion with a grain of salt.

Why not agree upon a handicap system using 'off scorecard' VPs ? The Golf analogy once again.

The objective as I understand is:

1) Balance the game for as long as possible
2) Encourage both sides to play deep into the game i.e. September 1945 the historical conclusion of the war

However these objectives are counter balanced by real life history and the modeling of game mechanics on real life history.

Defacto overwhelming logistics and material superiority for the Allies by 1945.

Is not the answer to "reward" the Japanese player "off scorecard VPs" at the conclusion of the game ?

1) A sliding scale of off scorecard VPs based upon experience and tenure. i.e. 500 for a veteran IJN ; 1000 for a rookie.

2) Additional off scorecard VPs based on duration. 100 bonus for every month in 1945. 200 bonus for every month in 1945 post August 1945

3) In line with the suggestion to increase or decrease the relative value of selected bases... Build a matrix that rewards the Japanese player for holding those bases in 1945 ....

Of course most of this 'handicap' system must be done with pen and paper or on a spreadsheet. I am certain the large brained contributors that developed the Tracker and the Intel Monkey could easily adapt something.

Anyway ... I suggest this only as a rookie with limited experience... so please accept its relative value in that light

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Post #: 27
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 11:49:45 AM   
Macclan5


Posts: 699
Joined: 3/24/2016
From: Toronto Canada
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: HansBolter

This "community" always has been, and apparently always will be, hostile to solitaire players.



I am sorry you perceive that - honestly - and perhaps there is a history that I should simply stay out of here.

So please accept that I do not wish to open scars or 'meddle in the affairs of wizards...'

However I personally do not perceive the same.

I have only been around for a year or so - but everyone including yourself Hans... have been tremendously supportive.

Additionally I must say I am so very impressed with the historical acumen of this community as well. I have learned or unlearned a large number of things.

_____________________________

A People that values its privileges above it's principles will soon loose both. Dwight D Eisenhower.

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Post #: 28
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 12:07:44 PM   
Zecke


Posts: 1462
Joined: 1/15/2005
From: Hitoeton
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: geofflambert

The game is about history. The closer it cleaves to that the better. History doesn't care about what anyone's concept of winning or losing is. History doesn't care about play balance or any of that stuff. History is what it is. Approaching the game from the Axis point of view, thinking that you can "win" is foolhardy. You can't win. You can just do the best you can and maybe flabbergast your opponent. Why would we need to get away from that? Why wouldn't it be fun to surprise your opponent? I don't, as Daedelus, need to invent nylon just so I can laugh at my son Icarus falling to his death. WWII was what it was. We don't need to reconfigure it so it conforms to anyone's idea of what a game should be.


GeoF.....FLAMBERT¡ you COOL; very...TOP...(Me also)

MOD edit: This paragraph may violate forum rules

About single players that came to play alone but not participate; the community Known this problem; its a question of EGGS.

< Message edited by wdolson -- 1/5/2018 10:32:44 PM >


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Post #: 29
RE: An Old Timer Steps Back to Measure Game Competitive... - 1/5/2018 3:01:55 PM   
witpqs


Posts: 23148
Joined: 10/4/2004
From: Argleton
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: HansBolter

What I see here is the standard litany of elite PBEMers shouting down the interests of solitaire players.

While we soloers may well represent 80% of those actually playing this game we certainly don't have equal representation in this so called community.

Any time a soloer contributes an opinion it is shouted down by the overrepresented PBEM crowd who make it perfectly clear they have no interest in our interest.

Why should we have any interest in your interest in return?

You get the treatment in return that you dish out. Its how life works.

You reap what you sow.

This "community" always has been, and apparently always will be, hostile to solitaire players.

You have made it quite clear you don't want me and my kind in your 'community'.



I don't think that describes the community as a whole. Most of the contentious discussions seem to revolve around HR's, a subject which obviously has much less effect on solo play.

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Post #: 30
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