COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

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Ben Wilson
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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Ben Wilson » Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:50 pm

Heather Styles wrote:
Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:01 am
Ben Wilson wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:10 pm
Heather Styles wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:01 pm
I'm disappointed at your lack of backbone on this, Ben. It makes me feel like a mug that I've played by what are self-evidently the rules at previous events.
What 'lack of backbone'? This is the first I've ever heard of something like this happening at an event- it's not like I can police sixteen simultaneous games of Countdown, after all. I've said firmly 'no p-regame sorting', which is what Jono asked about, but generally people would prefer not to play rounds like 'HMNDIIIII'. Preventing four consecutive identical vowels is the sole concession I've made because I've done that before at Edinburgh-style events, turned over three 'I's, saw that a fourth was about to come out, gone 'screw that' and picked the first non-I vowel instead. It makes the game more fun, and that's why people come to these events- to have fun. Decision stands.
Lack of backbone at not being prepared to call being deliberately selective with letters cheating. Also at making exception for a particular type of cheating just because you have done it.
I've unambiguously outlawed pre-game sorting, surely that implies that I consider it to be cheating? Not sure what more I can do other than call Jono a 'big dirty cheaty cheaty ginger cheat', but that would be unnecessarily confrontational and therefore counter-productive.

As for the second thing, I go to these events to have fun. rounds like the example I gave aren't fun. And it's only cheating if it's against the rules. COLIN is my event, therefore I make the rules. 8-)

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Jon O'Neill » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:05 pm

Heather Styles wrote:
Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:52 am
No, I don't think cheating does have to benefit the person doing the cheating. I refer my right honourable friend to Oxford Online Dictionary definition 1.1 of cheat (verb): "Gain an advantage over or deprive of something by using unfair or deceitful methods." Selecting out 4th consecutive vowels is depriving points to players on other tables who are not doing that. Not a lot of points, and people may not care that this has happened, granted, but let's not be afraid to recognise what is going here.

I think the solution to this and other instances of cheating (or anomalies, or whatever you prefer to call them) would be to have identical letter sets at each table. I appreciate that this is a lot of work.
First of all, identical letter sets doesn't work as a solution.. or at least it solves a problem which is not really there. Even if tables have inconsistent letter sets, as long as they're randomly distributed (they are) and players are assigned to tables randomly (they are) then nobody is gaining an unfair advantage, because everybody has an equal chance to benefit from the inconsistency. When I've adjusted the letters previously it was to get rid of long runs of consecutive letters. Which by the way happens on TV gameshow Countdown, the game that we are playing.

Back to the accusation that I am a cheat, which is the first in my 13 years as part of this community.

I wasn't being deceitful, so if your dictionary definition above is accepted then I must have been being unfair. Firstly it's unfair in a very small way, as I've probably raised the average max in each letters round by about 0.1 to bring it closer to the average max of the TV show by removing the horror rounds. Therefore over the course of a tournament I have probably raised the average max on letters in the games I have hosted by around 4 points, if we are being generous. And therefore I have probably influenced the scores of people in games I have hosted by a much smaller amount as most people don't get near 100% of the max on letters. Have I ruined COLIN? I doubt I've even cost anyone a single place.

Secondly it's unfair at the expense of enjoyment for the people involved. I will admit that I see COLIN more as something to be enjoyed than an Olympic sport with rigorous rules that must be unsmilingly adhered to. This is also why I have also advocated against cash prizes, and why I decided to bring this up as now there is effectively a worthwhile prize in the FOCAL finals.

Here are some other examples of cheating that I've done in the past, for full disclosure:

Two people declare the same dodgy 6 - don't bother checking the word, it doesn't make a difference.
Two people declare a word that has been inconsistently adjudicated on the TV show - just give the points.
The target in a numbers game in a not-close match is 101 with a 100 and a 1 in the selection - re-spin the numbers generator (here I have actually cheated against the people in the game!)

I will happily take my punishment from Gev 'n' Hev if I am felt to have cheated COLIN, FOCAL, Ben, my parents and Armand Jammot.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Jon Corby » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:17 pm

Fucking hell Jono, you don't help yourself. You start off by trying to downplay the effects of your actions, fair enough, the actual effect may be small (I failed to see any evidence for your estimate of the scale though) but then casually reel off a list of things that definitely SHOULDN'T happen at Co-events. All of those things are terrible, honestly.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Graeme Cole » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:55 pm

Everyone wrote:lots of stuff
There's nothing wrong in itself with shuffling away runs of five Es or whatever. I believe apterous does this, and as Jono says, even on Countdown it seems they shuffle face up because you almost never get four of the same letter in a row. It's not as if anyone's planting words, or that it gives any player an advantage over their opponent.

However, now the subject has been brought up, in a tournament with several games going on at once and standings decided partly by points scored, it's only fair if it happens for everyone or doesn't happen at all. It's more practical to choose the latter, so that's the ruling now. That doesn't mean it's sensible to go back through past events and call people cheats for having done it then when there wasn't a clear ruling on it at the time, any more than it would be sensible to prosecute today everyone who used a mobile phone while driving in the 1990s.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Graeme Cole » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:14 pm

I know someone's going to ask "What if the consonant pile on my table has, say, five Qs in it? Am I not allowed to remove any? What about three Qs? Two?"

My "you are the ref" take on this would be to show the deck to the organiser, and if they're satisfied it has a silly distribution then they can remove letters as necessary.

Not sure how you then deal with a deluge of people pedantically complaining their table has one more R or one fewer T or whatever than their neighbouring table, but I'd like to think we're above that.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Jon Corby » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:29 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:14 pm
but I'd like to think we're above that.
:lol:

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:07 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:14 pm
I know someone's going to ask "What if the consonant pile on my table has, say, five Qs in it? Am I not allowed to remove any? What about three Qs? Two?"

My "you are the ref" take on this would be to show the deck to the organiser, and if they're satisfied it has a silly distribution then they can remove letters as necessary.

Not sure how you then deal with a deluge of people pedantically complaining their table has one more R or one fewer T or whatever than their neighbouring table, but I'd like to think we're above that.
Not all packs necessarily have the same distribution anyway, and I remember Jack Hurst saying that he took out letters in his to being it in line with the "proper" distribution before bringing it to COLIN. I don't see a problem with that.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:14 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:05 pm
I will happily take my punishment from Gev 'n' Hev if I am felt to have cheated COLIN, FOCAL, Ben, my parents and Armand Jammot.
I don't really give a shit, but you brought up the subject obviously thinking that maybe what you've done in the past wasn't necessarily entirely correct. And I offered my opinion. And while I may not think that sorting letters is really above board (more because of the level playing field and lack of any global agreement rather than because it's intrinsically a bad thing - see Graeme's post), on my scale of BAD, it doesn't register very highly.

So what I'm saying is that you should be banned from all future CO events and Apterous for being a massive cheat. It also brings into question your max game against Jack Worsley in the 30th birthday thing and taking Conor to a crucial conundrum.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Ryan Taylor » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:48 pm

I think all past Co-events that Jono has attended need to be discarded from the record books and all titles removed. Sorry Jack Worsley.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Matt Morrison » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:17 pm

This is amazing. This is what we COlin for.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by JimBentley » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:25 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:07 pm
Graeme Cole wrote:
Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:14 pm
I know someone's going to ask "What if the consonant pile on my table has, say, five Qs in it? Am I not allowed to remove any? What about three Qs? Two?"

My "you are the ref" take on this would be to show the deck to the organiser, and if they're satisfied it has a silly distribution then they can remove letters as necessary.

Not sure how you then deal with a deluge of people pedantically complaining their table has one more R or one fewer T or whatever than their neighbouring table, but I'd like to think we're above that.
Not all packs necessarily have the same distribution anyway, and I remember Jack Hurst saying that he took out letters in his to being it in line with the "proper" distribution before bringing it to COLIN. I don't see a problem with that.
Last time I brought the board game to COLIN I did exactly this the night before. Consonants didn't need many removals but the vowels were all completely over-represented (over 20 each of A, E and I, about 16 x O and 9 x U) so I just took a few out so that it more accurately reflected the distribution on the show. Don't know who played games with my set on the day, though. If I remember right I left it behind one year for Ben to use in future events so presumably it should turn up on Saturday.

As for pre-game sorting, all I've ever done is shuffle the two letter piles like you would packs of cards.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Heather Styles » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:35 pm

I've never said anything about anyone being punished, and I never asked for full disclosure, Jono. And Ben, yes, you can make rules, and other people can object to those rules. I've said all I'm prepared to say publicly on this now.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by JackHurst » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:15 am

FWIW I totally agree with Jono here. You go to Co-Events to play countdown, so may as well make it as much like the show as possible.

I've always found letters rounds at co-events frustrating, firstly due to the excessive duplication of letters, and secondly due to bad shuffling (and so getting near repeated rounds in consecutive games on the same table).

Instead of whinging about whether Jono is a cheat or not, why don't we take the opportunity to discuss whether there is a feasible system to make the letters rounds better for future co-events?

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Mark Deeks » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:33 pm

Did someone not at one point have a standardised set of decks made? Because that seems to solve the problem. Unevennesss of the various board game editions does make a difference - for instance, there's that one set with about 57 U's, and if you're on table 3 with a 3-1 record needing two big wins to make the final as the 5-1 guy, you're screwed if you get that set. So it's a small but real injustice that can be fixed.
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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:23 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:33 pm
Did someone not at one point have a standardised set of decks made?
You might be thinking of the same thing as me.
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:07 pm
Not all packs necessarily have the same distribution anyway, and I remember Jack Hurst saying that he took out letters in his to being it in line with the "proper" distribution before bringing it to COLIN. I don't see a problem with that.
Matt Morrison wrote:
Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:17 pm
This is amazing. This is what we COlin for.
Troll post. It's COLIN.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:59 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:33 pm
Did someone not at one point have a standardised set of decks made?
Dandy McPlatt had some made for CoLeam but I think that had a slightly 'kinder' distribution than on the show, and Callum made some for CoLeeds which I think followed the show's distribution. (I'll be doing the same for London.)
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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:17 pm


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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Chris Marshall » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:28 pm

You're all missing the point here.

Scoring more points in rounds 1 and 2 is bad anyway as it just leaves you with likely tougher games so IIII could actually work to the advantage of players. Iiiif IIII had IIII iiiin everevery round iiiin aaaa game, iiii'd get to play Prune at the perfect time and move up the leaderboard accordingly.

Obviously in round 3 it is totally cheating and Jono should be sent south for 360 days as a punishment.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Adam Gillard » Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:16 pm

Came on to this thread to see what had happened in the main event and see everyone shouting at Jono instead. Can't believe there is so much passionate debate about this as personally I couldn't care less!
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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Tracey Anne Mills » Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:36 pm

Great tournament yet again Ben on behalf of everybody I would like say thank you for all of your hard work that has gone into this brilliant tourney !!!!
I will be seeing some of you at future tourneys looking forward to Co:Lin18 where the draws will be fun and entertaining yet again !
Tracey 'Old Enough To Be My Mum' Mills

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by DJ Marky Mark » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:04 pm

Yes a great tournament yet again, well run by Ben yet again on both days a hard job to do organising things like this. Also really enjoyed the darts and James Lavertys card game...lol.. and overall a super weekend... PS all the Q's and I's missing out of our two sets... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Ben Wilson » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:19 pm

Thanks to everyone for their kind words and thanks to all who came along to make this COLIN the biggest and (dare I say it) the best ever! :) believe it or not, I've already started work on COLIN XIV, and I've got the small matter of CoNot VI in the meantime...

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Ben Wilson » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:21 pm

A few announcements I forgot on the day-

-The puzzle magazine contained a 'number one on this day' quiz that somehow got its credit missed off- you can thank Callum Todd for that one
-The branded notepads that I ordered didn't arrive in time. Sorry about that.
-Some of the event dates on the calendars have changed since they were printed, so keep an eye on the FOCAL website to make sure you're up to date
-I've somehow come home with two coats (one of which has been claimed)
-And Conor Travers's trophy as well.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Mark Deeks » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:33 pm

Conor also left his passport in the pub. I can only assume he is disassociating himself from himself in a piecemeal manner and is going into the Witness Protection Program.
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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:56 pm

I'd just like to add that I also thought this was a great pair of tournaments, and it's a shame you weren't well enough to come to the pub afterwards, Ben!

Apologies again for being late to the hangover. I think maybe more people would have been on time if there had been a definite Doors open/draw/start demarcation like there was with the main event, rather than just the one time.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Jonathan Wynn » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:04 pm

Cheers for a great event, Ben, really enjoyed this one and very happy with how I did and my free entry next year :). Really enjoyed the games with people who I would say are all very close matches(except for Rob Foster of course as I always have a 10-point handicap with the con :) ). Sorry I couldn't make it to the evening fun, I promise I'm not antisocial (well actually I am slightly tbf but that's more due to social awkwardnes/retardation) and will definitely be coming for the full whack next year :). Was very excited at the prospect of making the final but glad I didn't really as I'd have been soundly thrashed :D

Can I just ask is this the first time (or at least in recent memory say 2010 onwards) that a B seed has finished in the top 3 (probably not, just curious) :) ?

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Ben Wilson » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:15 pm

Jonathan Wynn wrote:
Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:04 pm
Can I just ask is this the first time (or at least in recent memory say 2010 onwards) that a B seed has finished in the top 3 (probably not, just curious) :) ?
I'm not 100% sure. For some reason the earliest list of seeds I can find is from 2013, but I can probably root out the older ones given enough time. I might actually do that anyway, just to add to my ridiculous stats file I keep on all things COLIN-related. :)

The next closest was Zarte in 2014, who finished runner-up and was seeded 16th on the day, but was originally seeded 17th and would've been top of the B group had it not been for Ed McCullagh hitting the local McDonalds only for the local McDonalds to hit back much, much harder.

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Re: COLIN XIII- Countdown in Lincoln, 28-29 January 2017

Post by Ben Wilson » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:17 pm

Many thanks again for all your kind words. :) I was gutted to miss the afterparty but was feeling truly shocking after what was a supremely long day for me, lol. Thanks to those who stayed behind in the Ark to keep me company whilst I waited for the caretaker to arrive- I did appreciate the gesture, even though I was so tired it probably came across as 'exhausted irritation', lol. :)

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