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What is collusion?


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#1 Dobbler

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:53 AM

 Like we really need another topic on this, but I think it is important to really try and identify what collusion looks like.

 

Let me start by saying that I believe the Missouri meta colluded in 2009.  I remember driving to Gencon that year and having the discussion how we would always work together when playing at the same table.  There were no collusion rules at that time, but clearly we colluded.  

 

FFGs current tournament rules specifically states that premeditated collusion is prohibited.

 

In my mind, collusion is any premeditated decision made outside of the actual game played at a table that helps someone else and manifests itself through actual game play.  

 

So if hypothetically, Kennon and I realize we've found an infinite win Dual-deck combo by each of us playing King's Landing Joffrey and putting Apprentice Collar's and Gold Link's on our Joffrey's, and then hoping we end up at the same table so we can pull off the combo, we have made a premeditated choice to help ourselves and help each other by playing the same combo/deck.  Now, if we never end up at the same table, our premeditated decision will not manifest itself in the form of "in -game" assistance thus it will be collusion that never can be proved, and collusion that never helped us or hurt our opponents.

 

The idea of a melee tournament is that you are ONE of many trying to win the championship, not TWO of many, or FIVE of many, or FOURTEEN of many.  When you make a decision about YOUR deck that intentionally helps another before the event starts, or another person makes a decision about their deck that intentionally helps you, you are no longer ONE of many trying to win.

 

So when looking at what happened at the World Championships, ask yourself this simple question, did that group of 14 players make a premeditated choice to bring a deck that they knew grew exponentially better when playing at a table with a friendly metamate using the same deck?  Yes they did.  Not only did several of them admit it at the event, but it was obviously manifested in many games throughout the tournament.  Did they also believe it was the best deck available?  Yes they did, but that isn't the point.  An intentional, premeditated decision was made to play a deck that grew in power when played at a table with a deck using the same combo.

 

Now, all that being said, anyone who has ever said to a friend "we will work together if at a table together" has essentially colluded in melee. They just may not have a brilliant deck design to back up it with :)

 



#2 dcdennis

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:06 AM

 I disagree with exactly 0% of the above text.



#3 papalorax

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:10 AM

 You have essentially (and efficiently) explained why "melee without collusion" is something that will never exist…and why trying to pretend it could exist if only you have a rule that the judge can DQ someone they think has violated the collusion rule is pure folly.

 

Is collusion bad only if you are really good at it? I assume no collusion penalties were given except the final table…but it would be a joke to think that friends at the same table didn't work together to better each other. It doesn't need to be spoken, it just is. The question isn't hypothetical. It is essentially the Pete Rose argument -- is it o.k. to bet on your team if you always bet to win?

 

Once you try and create a rule that can't be enforced without an arbitrary decision problems will follow.



#4 Shenanigans

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:17 AM

 I agree with both your definition of collusion and your take on how a group of friends bringing the same deck that way is clearly collusion.

For a long time I had exactly one meta-mate, and while I enjoyed seeing him do well at tourneys we both attended, I would (and did) try my best to beat him when we were matched up, either in Joust or Melee. To me, you honor your opponent, close friend or complete stranger, by doing your darndest to defeat him. Doing otherwise cheapens their victory. 

Yes, part of the fun of a melee table is the deal-making, backstabbing, etc. However, it rises to a different level when you know ahead of time you have an absolute ally at the table. As far as I''m concerned, all alliances, friendships, agreements, etc. need to begin and end at the table. You need to come in and leave the game as an individual looking to win that game. To me, doing anything else taints the competitive spirit of the game and makes it less fun for those who aren't part of a big meta or don't have a lot of friends at the tourney.



#5 Dobbler

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:25 AM

Shenanigans said:

 I agree with both your definition of collusion and your take on how a group of friends bringing the same deck that way is clearly collusion.

For a long time I had exactly one meta-mate, and while I enjoyed seeing him do well at tourneys we both attended, I would (and did) try my best to beat him when we were matched up, either in Joust or Melee. To me, you honor your opponent, close friend or complete stranger, by doing your darndest to defeat him. Doing otherwise cheapens their victory. 

Yes, part of the fun of a melee table is the deal-making, backstabbing, etc. However, it rises to a different level when you know ahead of time you have an absolute ally at the table. As far as I''m concerned, all alliances, friendships, agreements, etc. need to begin and end at the table. You need to come in and leave the game as an individual looking to win that game. To me, doing anything else taints the competitive spirit of the game and makes it less fun for those who aren't part of a big meta or don't have a lot of friends at the tourney.

 

This past weekend, I didn't let Kennon win a melee table we were at together.  He said he could win and guarantee me second.  I worked the table and prevented him from winning.  Kennon is one of my very best friends in this game and I would vote for him for President of the USA if he ever ran.  But in his words, "Greg, you f***ed me over".  

 

Yes, I did.  Not because we broke a deal (we had no such deals), but because I let the competitiveness of a game trump our friendship for 90 minutes.  In the end, the ideal melee game should be every single person doing everything in their power to win the game regardless of friendships, marriages, metagroups, state of undress or anything else.



#6 dcdennis

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:39 AM

Shenanigans said:

 

 To me, doing anything else taints the competitive spirit of the game and makes it less fun for those who aren't part of a big meta or don't have a lot of friends at the tourney.

 

 

hehe. he said taint.

 

by the way, seating people alphabetically in the first round of melee was dumb. I know of two sets of siblings and at least one husband and wife sitting together round one.



#7 SirDuck

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:47 AM

I agree greatly with the original post.  I was unfortunate enough to be paired with my wife in the first round of melee(I am a little disappointed that alphabetical order was done rather than random pairing) and I had an amazing draw.  I was able to play 4 epic battles in the first round with a Flank, a couple carrion birds, guard at riverrun and a hungry mob.  I made a deal with the martell player that I would pick him to go first so he could take the gold, if he did not use Myrcella on me that round and he agreed.  With the lord commander title I was able to win 7 military challenges the first round(I was playing siege, but could not trigger 1 win because of Brienne of Tarth).  I had figured that after the first epic phase was over I would be able to win the game without much problems since my flank was not kneeling to attack, the crown regent redirect had already been used and most characters where knelt out.  The martell player did take my flanks icons, and with battle of the whispering wood as the first epic I was afraid someone would sneak a military challenge through and kill them.  The first two players did not, I won my military challenge with my carrion birds and passed to my wife.  She attacked me with Eldon Estermont, I could block with the hungry mob(+3 for my title) or I could let her have it uo and leave my mob standing in case something happened to my flank.  I offered to let her have it uo if she would not kill my flank.  She would have gained renown plus uo power and had a chance to move into second place.  Instead she refused my deal so I blocked.  I won on the 4th epic phase, which would have happened either way and if I had it to do all over again I would still offer that deal to someone that I knew before I would offer it to someone I did not know.   I will say this that I would never target someone or play kingmaker from the beginning of a game, but there have been times when a player has pissed me off enough that I want someone else to win.

My friends and I(I am speaking generally here because I don't like to speak for other people) always play to win, but once winning is out of the question even in our playtesting games fight for second place.  Even if that means giving up an uo challenge when we could block, just so that we can take second. 



#8 papalorax

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:52 AM

 

 

Dobbler said:

 

But in his words, "Greg, you f***ed me over".  

Yes, I did.  Not because we broke a deal (we had no such deals), but because I let the competitiveness of a game trump our friendship for 90 minutes.  In the end, the ideal melee game should be every single person doing everything in their power to win the game regardless of friendships, marriages, metagroups, state of undress or anything else.

 

 

But the question that is more important is - did you do that because it bettered your standing (a lot of times 2nd is worthless) if not - why? Would you have done the same thing if you were x-0 in the final round and a 2nd got you in the finals? What if you were out of it and winning got him in the finals?

There are times in melee games were it is clear you cannot win (whether that is 1st place in that round or advance in the tournament). Often times you still can play a significant factor in the game. This is ultimately where the trouble arises (both from friends and random people just trying to 'have fun'). There is no 'good way' to play in these situations…you can decide who wins or loses based on your actions or inaction…and why I would never play competitive melee again.



#9 KhalBrogo

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:55 AM

What is collusion?

What is love? Baby don't hurt me… Don't hurt me… No more…



#10 orclrob

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:58 AM

SirDuck said:

I agree greatly with the original post.  I was unfortunate enough to be paired with my wife in the first round of melee(I am a little disappointed that alphabetical order was done rather than random pairing) and I had an amazing draw.  I was able to play 4 epic battles in the first round with a Flank, a couple carrion birds, guard at riverrun and a hungry mob.  I made a deal with the martell player that I would pick him to go first so he could take the gold, if he did not use Myrcella on me that round and he agreed.  With the lord commander title I was able to win 7 military challenges the first round(I was playing siege, but could not trigger 1 win because of Brienne of Tarth).  I had figured that after the first epic phase was over I would be able to win the game without much problems since my flank was not kneeling to attack, the crown regent redirect had already been used and most characters where knelt out.  The martell player did take my flanks icons, and with battle of the whispering wood as the first epic I was afraid someone would sneak a military challenge through and kill them.  The first two players did not, I won my military challenge with my carrion birds and passed to my wife.  She attacked me with Eldon Estermont, I could block with the hungry mob(+3 for my title) or I could let her have it uo and leave my mob standing in case something happened to my flank.  I offered to let her have it uo if she would not kill my flank.  She would have gained renown plus uo power and had a chance to move into second place.  Instead she refused my deal so I blocked.  I won on the 4th epic phase, which would have happened either way and if I had it to do all over again I would still offer that deal to someone that I knew before I would offer it to someone I did not know.   I will say this that I would never target someone or play kingmaker from the beginning of a game, but there have been times when a player has pissed me off enough that I want someone else to win.

My friends and I(I am speaking generally here because I don't like to speak for other people) always play to win, but once winning is out of the question even in our playtesting games fight for second place.  Even if that means giving up an uo challenge when we could block, just so that we can take second. 

SirDuck said:

 

My friends and I(I am speaking generally here because I don't like to speak for other people) always play to win, but once winning is out of the question even in our playtesting games fight for second place.  Even if that means giving up an uo challenge when we could block, just so that we can take second. 

 

Perhaps this is the crux of the issue.  What if the victory format for melee were changed?  What if there were zero points for 2, 3rd or 4th.  The only way you win points is to win first place at a table?  There would be less deals struck for 2nd, because it wouldn't matter. Seating would be determined by how many tables you won.. I haven't worked out all the math yet, just wanted to post while it was fresh on my mind.  It seems to me collusion is made worse in melee because of the table rankings.  If winning the table is all that matter, would collusion be reduced?



#11 doulos2k

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:59 AM

 This is the best thread on this I've seen. Clear, cogent, and thoughtful without any personal attack. This is also the best definition I've seen yet on what constitutes collusion. Hard as heck to prove though… but looking at the video and the recounting of those in attendance… I think FFGs decision was sound even if they didn't provide enough backup.

It would be good for them to issue a definitive statement addressing why they believed this was collusion and what events caused them to take the extreme consequence of disqualifying three players from the final table. I can speculate as to why it all happened this way… but until they give their reasons - we're all just speculating.


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#12 KhalBrogo

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:04 AM

I posted this about collusion in the other thread:

By its very nature collusion is subjective. FFG will never be able to give a rock solid definition for what constitutes collusion because it doesn't exist objectively. They may be able to provide a few guidelines and what may constitute as evidence of collusion but that's probably the best anyone can ask for. Unfortunately in the meantime it will have to be up to the discretion of judges at the events.

Although collusion may not be defined in it's entirety it's one of those things that I believe most people will, to quote Justice Potter Stewarts in Jacobellis v. Ohio regarding obscenity, "know it when they see it." 



Want to know the best solution for fixing melee? Get rid of it. It's flawed. It basically encourages cheating and awards those that are best at hiding it. Also get rid of overall champion - it's also flawed and adds to the brokeness of melee.



#13 Dobbler

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:05 AM

Formatting blew up my message



#14 mardukch

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:08 AM

 I judge people by their actions. All the players from the DC meta seem to be nice guys and certainly are as individuals. However, what they did as a group was despicable and totally wrong in so many ways. It goes way beyond collusion here. They decided to play unfairly, to potentially take away the enjoyment of the game to all the other players attending the tournament in order to ensure themselves good rankings, annihilating the spirit of the AGOT community. It doesn't matter if they didn't know what they were doing, they should have know; most of them are long time players and know how the game is played.

If it was up to me, I would exclude these 14 players from the next GenCon and World Championship because they represent such a threat to the AGOT community.

 

Sorry, I know I'm only adding fuel to the fire, but it had to get out. This goes against all the unsaid principles of the card game I love most and the community I cherish.



#15 orclrob

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:17 AM

KhalBrogo said:



Want to know the best solution for fixing melee? Get rid of it. It's flawed. It basically encourages cheating and awards those that are best at hiding it. Also get rid of overall champion - it's also flawed and adds to the brokeness of melee.

ugh.  I happen to enjoy Melee.  I would hate to see it go..



#16 papalorax

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:48 AM

orclrob said:

 

 

Perhaps this is the crux of the issue.  What if the victory format for melee were changed?  What if there were zero points for 2, 3rd or 4th.  The only way you win points is to win first place at a table?  There would be less deals struck for 2nd, because it wouldn't matter. Seating would be determined by how many tables you won.. I haven't worked out all the math yet, just wanted to post while it was fresh on my mind.  It seems to me collusion is made worse in melee because of the table rankings.  If winning the table is all that matter, would collusion be reduced?

 

I don't think it would change a thing, it might make it worse. Instead of fighting for second helping a friend win when you couldn't would be the only useful thing to do in situations.



#17 Francisco G.

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:03 AM

the solution is clear then….everyone HAS to play melee so the number is greater than the joust number and the collusion dilutes itself.XD



#18 Dobbler

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:05 AM

papalorax said:

orclrob said:

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps this is the crux of the issue.  What if the victory format for melee were changed?  What if there were zero points for 2, 3rd or 4th.  The only way you win points is to win first place at a table?  There would be less deals struck for 2nd, because it wouldn't matter. Seating would be determined by how many tables you won.. I haven't worked out all the math yet, just wanted to post while it was fresh on my mind.  It seems to me collusion is made worse in melee because of the table rankings.  If winning the table is all that matter, would collusion be reduced?

 

 

 

I don't think it would change a thing, it might make it worse. Instead of fighting for second helping a friend win when you couldn't would be the only useful thing to do in situations.

 

I agree that only awarding first and ignoring 2nd - 4th won't help much.  

 

But I think we also need to separate different issues.  Premeditated collusion is a completely different issue than someone playing for second in a game where they have mentally assessed that they think it is impossible to get first.  As well, premeditated collusion is different than playing for second when there is no intrinsic value to the tournament points (such as knowing a second place finish will allow for an advancement just as easily as the first place finish).  The decision to play for second place is a tournament or game specific decision based on that specific situation.

 

People should play for first place until there is no more value to play for first.  Granted, people can assess value differently, but its at least a starting point.



#19 papalorax

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:46 AM

Dobbler said:

But I think we also need to separate different issues.  Premeditated collusion is a completely different issue than someone playing for second in a game where they have mentally assessed that they think it is impossible to get first.  As well, premeditated collusion is different than playing for second when there is no intrinsic value to the tournament points (such as knowing a second place finish will allow for an advancement just as easily as the first place finish). 

Not sure I agree. Were the DQ'd 3 not essentially DQ'd because they were friends and they were accused of premeditated collusion based on that? Does anyone think three people who had never met before the melee and played out the game the same would have been DQ'd?

So I am playing a game, is it collusion to have the attitude - "I want to win but if not me I want my friend to win"? Who would possibly expect people to behave different from that?



#20 Danigral

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:48 AM

What is unfortunate is that many are applying their own preconceived notions of what constitutes "collusion" when in reality there were/are no well-defined definitions of collusion, other than making deals outside the game. Although I can respect Greg trying to prompt a community definition.

Some are saying that bringing a net-decked or meta-developed deck is collusion because it does better than it does on its own, or because it creates an NPE experience; I think that's a bit of a cop-out, and I think that perhaps people are just looking to apply their own personal value judgment. Most people have no problem with players net-decking in joust, and if they do it's probably in principle, not because of it's end result. If people did net-deck, then I think it's safe to say that that would not garner such harsh judgment; it would merely serve as an indicator to FFG that a certain build or certain cards are broken. So why then is it all of a sudden a problem in melee? That leads me to think that the melee format in itself is the problem all things being equal. 

However, I'm fine with saying that these "behavioral" type rules are organically, even collectively defined and can be re-defined, just like FFG's errata or restricted list. But retroactively making value judgments and condemning players for something that has NEVER been considered anything more than "weird" (as Rings put it), is folly and fruitless, and only served to propagate inter-meta hatred and hard feelings.

There are a couple different issues here:

1) People are riled up because bringing the same deck "hurts the spirit of the game"? Fine, let FFG create a rule that members of the same meta can't bring decks that are more than 75% the same. (I don't really recommend this btw). I don't have any problem with this, and it's not just because I'm in the DC meta if you're looking for a reason to dismiss my opinion. If there are combos that are broken, FFG should errata it. Again, people don't moralize on a player bringing the Stark maester plot combo deck to joust; FFG just puts it on the restricted list. End of discussion. I expect the Engineer to be placed on the melee restricted soon, or even banned, which is a shame since this is the first time I recall anyone even talking about it as a serious card.

2) People are questioning to what extent it is "legal" to discuss and use table placement as a tool for deal-making and table-talk. And in what situations, or at what specific point it is okay to leverage it. People are just speculating as to "what FFG was trying to say". Was it because it was the final table? Was it because they thought Erick should have only been trying to take first? Was it because Dennis should have even made a deal with table placement as a bargaining chip? That's is a good question.

This is just a tricky a situation. I think we collectively NEED an explanation from FFG so that this doesn't devolve into "my definition of collusion is more right (more extreme? more nuanced?) than yours so that should be the standard upon which we judge all events past and present." Heck, we can't even successfully come to a conclusion about why FFG DQ'd them.

EDIT: Just to conclude, I think if we come away from this with better collusion rules, or at least a list of behaviors to be cautious of, that would be a good thing for the community.

 






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