FAQ: Rounds and Phases

Detailed explanations of Art of War game rules
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FAQ: Rounds and Phases

Postby e_i_pi » Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:53 am

Rounds and Phases FAQ
Each game follows a workflow that is divided into Rounds and Phases. But what are Rounds and Phases, how do they work, and how do they make sure the game is fair?

Each game starts at Round 1, and continues until the win conditions are satisfied, which takes several rounds depending on play. Each round, the following happens:
  • Every Player receives income according to the Territory Income Derivation rules
  • Every player has one turn, and one turn only
  • Players that miss their turn have it recorded as a missed turn. Three missed turns in a row means the player is kicked out, and their territories and income go to teammates, unless they have no teammates, in which case they become neutral

Each Round has several phases. The number of phases in the round depends on the number of factions, and the number of empires per faction, and is a number between 2 and 5 inclusive. The phases in a round can be calculated according to the below:

2 phases
2 teams, 1 player per team
N teams, 2 players per team

3 phases
3 teams, 1 player per team
6+ teams, 1 player per team
2+ teams, 3 players per team
2+ teams, 6+ players per team

4 phases
4 teams, 1 player per team
N teams, 4 players per team

5 phases
5 teams, 1 player per team
N teams, 5 players per team

Each Round starts at Phase 1, and goes through to the final phase, which will be 2, 3, 4 or 5 according to the above table. Each phase, the following happens:
  • Every player in that phase is able to take their turn
  • Every player in that phase receives zone bonuses, if their faction has held every territory in the zone for at least one turn, and the player holds at least territory in the zone
Note that the number of phases in each round is calculated at the beginning of the game. Even if a 5 player game comes down to 2 players, there will still be 5 phases, but the game will "skip over" the 3 phases where players have been eliminated.

Why even have phases at all?
On a lot of other game sites, each player must wait for every other play to play in turn. When a game is a 40 player game, and each player has 24 hours to take their turn, you could be waiting a month between turns. That wouldn't be enjoyable for anyone involved. So, phases were introduced as a way of ensuring that each player waits no more than 4 days between turns, speeding up games, and improving the play experience.

Why not just have everyone playing all at once?
Art of War is a turn based strategy site. Turns are an important part of the way players plan to win. Without any separation between when players take their turns, it would essentialy become a real time strategy, which is a different type of game, and not one we are trying to pursue.

I'm in a 6 player game, and 4 other players are eliminated. Now my opponent and I play in the same phase. How does this work?
Sometimes a game comes down to all players being in the same phase. When this is the case in a 24 hour game, the last player to take their turn in the round will need to wait at least 6 hours before they can take their turn in the next round. This is to help stop players taking turns back to back. If their opponent(s) start their turn before the 6 hours is up, then they can immediately take their turn. This is to stop opponent(s) running down the clock and forcing the last player to miss a turn.

Why did another player in my phase get two turns when I only had one? How is this fair?
When there are several players in the same phase, it is quite possible for the turn order to shuffle around. Let up suppose that Ben and Rachel have joined a game where they each play in phase 1. In round 1, Ben takes his turn first, then Rachel takes her turn. Once all the other phases in the round play out, it is round 2 phase 1. Rachel is online when this happens, and so she takes her turn immediately. It appears that Rachel has an unfair advantage, as Ben played, then Rachel, then Rachel played again. Rachel has had 2 turns back to back, and Ben has had only one turn. But, by the time round 2 finishes, both Rachel and Ben will have taken 2 turns each, and Ben will have an opportunity to take turns back to back.

Ideally, everyone would take turns in order, but then we get back to the 40 player game problem, where it's a month between turns. So why not force players to take their turns in the same order each phase? This too is unfair, as the first player could run the clock down to 10 minutes, take their turn, and then cause all other players in the phase to miss their turn.

The solution is a compromise between fairness and keeping games going at a decent pace. The advantage gained from taking turns back to back is offset by the fact that your opponent can take their next two turns back to back. The opportunity for this is equal for all players each phase. Also, keep in mind that territory income is awarded at the beginning of the round, and zone income is awarded at the beginning of each phase. Players cannot "game the system" and break opponent's income by taking turns back to back - by the time the phase starts for the back to back turn, the income has already been generated.

If you have any questions, or suggestions for improvement to this FAQ, please reply to this forum post. If you have any suggestions to improve rounds and phases, please post in the Suggestions forum, where the community will be able to discuss and hopefully come to a consensus.


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