Competitions Pieman Mk II - Proof of Concept 2020

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dogwatch

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NB: This is not a thread for the regular Pieman Competition for 2020. If that's what you're after check the WB board for the weekly thread.

Pieman Mk II

I started a conversation in the Pieman Rd 11 thread regarding a proof of concept for next year's Pieman competition which I'm calling Pieman Mk II to avoid confusion with the regular Pieman comp for this year. If you want to go back over any of that discussion and some examples of how it might work then click here. However I'll try to summarise below. I'll keep all of the Pieman Mk II stuff in just this one thread (so it doesn't clutter up the board) and carry it on for the rest of the season.

This post gives a general background and description. If you're already on top of that you can just skip to the next post - how to participate in the Proof of Concept.

Why Pieman Mk II?

The existing comp works OK and still attracts good numbers but has the following weaknesses:
  • You are stuck with the team you picked before the season starts for half the year (until trade period). If it's performing well, that's great but if it's not you might find your season's chances have evaporated before you get a chance to swap players in and out. And even after that you're stuck with your traded team for the rest of the year. Trade periods involve a fair bit of admin and programming overhead so it wouldn't be easy to set up extra trade periods throughout the year.
  • Long term injuries, retirements and lengthy suspensions can decimate a team. Apart from the trade period we have tried to counter this problem by allowing you six players per team (it used to be 5) with only the best 4 to count each week. It helps a little bit but again it adds unwanted complexity which makes it harder to program, harder to test and increases the chances of errors creeping in during maintenance and upgrades.
  • Not all your players play every week. Even without LTIs your team is susceptible to players being dropped or missing a game from week to week for some other reason. So it's not unusual to find teams with only 2-4 active players. So you might be at a significant disadvantage in any given round even before the ball is bounced.
  • Limited tactical interventions available. On a week by week basis the only tactical intervention available to you is when to use your banker and who to use it on. Some people would like more options available to them. And anyway deploying a banker probably won't get you the inroads you need if you're trying to make up a deficit of say 200-300 points in the last 4-5 rounds. This means that for many players the season is effectively over by mid-year.
  • Blowouts due to surprise performances. In at least three of its 9 seasons the Pieman has suffered from having a player unexpectedly become a significant goalkicker with a big handicap. This happened with Zaine Cordy (late 2016), Billy Gowers (all of 2018) and Laitham Vandermeer (all of 2020 so far). This splits the comp into the haves and the have-nots. The latter are quickly assigned to the "can't win the comp" category so it takes a lot of the fun out of it. A good comp should have you in with a chance for at least 60% of the season, and ideally about 25% of the players in with a chance with only 2-3 games to go. We tried limiting this effect of blowouts by having a maximum point score (a cap) of 60 for a banker but that's only tinkering at the edges. We could do some more tinkering with this cap and with pre-season handicapping but neither measure is terribly satisfactory.
  • Complexity. The inclusion of tweaks like bankers, trade periods, banker caps and "best of 4" all add unwanted complexity which is bad for reasons explained above. Complexity may also be a deterrent for new players of the Pieman.

So what is Pieman Mk II?

The idea is to go back to a simpler game concept.
That concept is that you get 5 player picks every single week. Naturally the player handicaps will change from week to week.
(I'm assuming you know how the current Pieman system works - basically it's Pieman points for each player = goals x handicap.)

Benefits
  • Simpler game concept. No need for bankers, trade periods or "best of 4" rules.
  • No season-long blowouts. If a player unexpectedly gets a huge score the impact is only for one week because the handicaps will be adjusted for the following week. And everybody else can pick him the following week if they want.
  • You get five certain starters every week. No problems with suspensions, injuries etc - you just switch to somebody else.
  • You can re-jig your team strategy and player selections every week. The tactical interventions available to you are much more extensive.
  • Each week's competition is likely to have close results.
  • The season comp is likely to stay competitive for more teams and for a longer period of time. This makes it a more interesting comp to follow.
Potential problems and what can be done about them:

1People forget to put their team in and risk falling well behind the pack if they don't get any points.Anyone who fails to put a team in gets the same players as last week (and gets substitute players if any of them aren't playing this week)
2A player is a late withdrawal and there's no time to pick a replacement.The emergency player who comes in becomes your pick that week. (Emergencies will have handicap values too).
3It's hard to engineer large scores or try to get a tactical advantage. There are no bankers.Instead of bankers you will be able to use two of your picks on the same player. Or even three picks (but no more than that). This gives you the chance of having an even bigger impact than the current banker facility.
4What if I would rather a "set and forget" approach than have to make selections every week?This is a legitimate issue. Some want set and forget, while others want to be active participants every week. For the set-and-forget mob you can still do that by letting your team automatically carry over from week to week. You can of course jump back in at any stage and tweak your team make-up.
5Teams aren't known until 1-2 days before the match so there's little time to pick the teamsThis is just a fact of AFL life. It is also a problem with the existing comp because you want to know who's playing before choosing your banker. Over the season some people will undoubtedly forget or not have time to put their teams in but the default will still be there - last week's teams. There's also the option of naming your Pieman team early (before teams are announced and before handicaps are out) just in case you are busy later in the week. You can always amend them if you don't like the handicaps when you finally see them.
6Higher administrative overhead on a weekly basis and the importance of promptly posting handicaps after teams are announced.It's only a very slight weekly overhead and not too hard because the handicaps won't be drastically changing from week to week.
7Pieman leader might just copy the picks of the nearest challenger to stay ahead.This would be a sneaky trick but no doubt any leader would be tempted to do it in the last round or two of the season. It's a risky ploy though and it could come unstuck if there is a large chasing pack. What I'm proposing is that for the last 5 rounds the leaders (or any players really) can PM me their picks which won't be revealed until after the game starts. It's optional - you can still post in the weekly thread if you prefer.
8The person running the comp can bend the handicaps etc to his own benefit.Moi? Yes, it's an issue. I'd have to become a non-contestant to avoid any apparent conflict of interest.
9But will it work?I definitely think so, but that's why I want to run a proof of concept for the remainder of the 2020 AFL season. It'll help me understand what's needed to run it properly too. Naturally if people just want to stick with the existing Pieman that's OK. I'd need some convincing to run both comps side by side though - they're too similar.
 
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dogwatch

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The Pieman Mk II trial - who wants to be a guinea pig?

What I'm looking for is any number of people to participate in a trial for the last 6 rounds of the season (and finals if we get that far). You don't have to be a current player of the Pieman. Anyone can be in it.

You also don't have to play every single week (although that'd be preferable). You can pull out any time. Or come in any time too.

I'd appreciate any feedback on the comp - is it better than the existing Pieman? what works well and what doesn't? concerns, suggestions etc. However even if you don't feel like providing any feedback, just participating will help because I can watch the dynamics of the comp and the tactics people employ.

Ideally a comp like this should have a range of equally attractive options - is it better to double/triple up on one player or to go with five separate players? which players represent the best handicap value? How can I steal a break on the opposition? I imagine you'll quickly figure out some tactics that suit you. However I'll be striving to keep that fine tactical balance so that it's always a tease.

I'll aim to run the trial like a mini-season. So there will be weekly winners as well as a running leaderboard of cumulative scores.

Here's what you have to do

1. Wait until I post some handicaps for this week's team. I might in fact post them early this week and include all 30-odd fit players just so you can contemplate your options, but normally I'd only post handicaps for the selected 22 (plus emergencies) after the club has announced its selected side.

2. Select five players by naming them here. Remember you can select one player up to three times if you want, so for instance you could go:
Gardner (x2), Gowers, Garcia, Khamis or​
Keath (x2), Cordy (x2), Daniel or​
Bruce (x3), Naughton (x2) or​
English, Macrae, Vandermeer, McLean, Bont​
Any combination, just as long as your picks add up to five. You can also change your selection if you want but please do it in a new post, not by editing your original post (it makes it hard to track if you edit an old post).​
And that's it!

I'll post results here a day or so after the game.

Feedback welcome at any time.

I might also tweak the rules in the course of the trial, depending on how it goes and the feedback I get.

For instance I'm wondering whether to limit doubling/tripling up to only one player so that you can only choose from three selection options: 1+1+1+1+1 / 2+1+1+1 / 3+1+1. Also I might experiment with providing a bonus of about 20 or 25 points for selecting four players (or more) who kick at least one goal each. This would be to offset the temptation to triple up every week.

Finally, I'll be entering this trial myself ... just to make up the numbers and to experience the tactical aspects first hand. (However if we go ahead with Pieman Mk II in 2021 I'll probably have to be a non-playing admin.)
 
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dogwatch

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OK, here are this week's (Rd 12 v Adelaide) handicaps. I'll post a reduced list of 26 players (22+4 emergencies) after the teams are announced.

Normally I wouldn't post them this early but it might help you get your head around your options.

1597213283474.png
 
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dogwatch

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I too am in.

But DW, say it ain't so. Josh Schache.....delisted? When? Source...link...:eek:
Relax NW, I didn't bother including any players who are listed as injured or clearly not going to play. I nearly didn't include Khamis either as he would be long odds against to get a debut, but somebody here said he had been showing good signs and ... well who knows? Bevo loves debuts.

Pretty sure Schache has groin soreness. And as we have all learned from experience, you don't take risks with your groin.

If he has miraculously recovered and is picked I'll re-issue the handicaps.

Thanks for being in on the trial BTW...
 

grassman75

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I'm in DW - the only thing i'd suggest different to what you have listed above is to do with point 1 - who are the substitute player you receive if you forget to put your team in. You mention in the second point, that a late change gets you the emergency, would it be safe to assume that if you didn't edit your team, you would receive any players you already had plus the lowest handicapped players for the week

eg: My team is Wallis, VDM, Naughty, Bont & Cavarra - Cavarra and VDM get dropped and I don't edit so you would give me a Team of Wallis, Bruce, Lloyd, Naughty and Bont or is there a different thought process from your end?

It sounds like a lot of work at your end to do this, but i'm not sure how else you would do it, unless you said if you had a team but didn't edit it, you would just get the top 5 for the next week. That would be the easiest and probably fairest way to do it and would still give those who forgot a chance....heck it may even be better than the team they picked!
 

dogwatch

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I'm in DW - the only thing i'd suggest different to what you have listed above is to do with point 1 - who are the substitute player you receive if you forget to put your team in. You mention in the second point, that a late change gets you the emergency, would it be safe to assume that if you didn't edit your team, you would receive any players you already had plus the lowest handicapped players for the week

eg: My team is Wallis, VDM, Naughty, Bont & Cavarra - Cavarra and VDM get dropped and I don't edit so you would give me a Team of Wallis, Bruce, Lloyd, Naughty and Bont or is there a different thought process from your end?

It sounds like a lot of work at your end to do this, but i'm not sure how else you would do it, unless you said if you had a team but didn't edit it, you would just get the top 5 for the next week. That would be the easiest and probably fairest way to do it and would still give those who forgot a chance....heck it may even be better than the team they picked!
I can see you’ve been paying attention gm! There is indeed an unexplained contingency there but I thought I wouldn’t confuse the bigger picture right now by going into it.

Yes I had in mind the lowest handicapped player as a sub. Or I could do a randomised pick from say the 8 lowest handicapped players. Or whatever seems fair, as long as the rules are known ahead of time. It's a valid question but it won't matter much for the trial this year.

I doubt it's going to mean any extra work. No more than entering everyone's banker selection each week as I do now (and that only takes a few minutes). Say there are 40 people playing. In any one week we might have 5-10 people who forget (hope it's less than that but let's use those numbers). Of those, maybe only a couple will actually need a sub because one of their players from last week got dropped. Result is two minutes to enter the updated team/s and maybe two minutes to post something to that effect.

One thing I don't know is whether some people will deliberately enter as set & forget team. I don't mind at all if they do, but clearly their team will be subject to possible subs nearly every week, or until they step back in and fix it themselves.

And before you ask (because I know you consider these things!) ... if a player is dropped one week and requires a sub I won't automatically reinstate that player if he gets back into the senior side the following week. The Pieman team continues with whoever the sub was. It's too complex to try to do reinstatements of the original 5 picks. In some cases it could be many weeks later that the player gets back into the seniors.
 

grassman75

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That all makes perfect sense - especially the bit about not changing the sub. I think you would be safer to just offer the lowest hcp player as the sub rather than random because that would keep it fair for everyone. With your multiple player rules / options and the likelihood that any team would have more than one or two players dropped each week, you could nearly even just fill the gaps with the same lowest hcp player. If I had Wallis once in my team and I lost two others but didn't change my team, I automatically default to a trio of Wallises, if I had him twice already, I get 1 x Wallis and 1 x Bruce and so on

I think you are on a winner DW...lets see how it plays out
 

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dogwatch

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Now that the team has been announced here are the Pieman Mk II handicaps for this week. If you select a player who is withdrawn before the start of the game you can post (before the game starts) your own choice for a replacement player. If you don't you will get the player who came in as his replacement.

1597489233043.png


So for those who want to be in the trial, it's time to pick your five players.
 

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