TMR Game – Feedback & Ideas

Apologies for troubling non-players with two game-related posts in one week, feel free to skip this if you are not interested! If you didn’t play but have considered it, please have a quick read as I’m interested in your ideas too.

Your Feedback

We’re approaching the end of the season and it is a good time to ask for feedback and ideas about the TMR Game, before people melt away for the off-season (that said, if you saw my post earlier, hopefully they won’t).

I’d love to know what you think of the game.

– Do you enjoy it?
– Would you play again next year? If you didn’t play, what would tempt you to join?
– Is there anything you would like to see changed? e.g. the carryover rule is likely to be changed to be less of a penalty for missing a week.
– Which championships worked and didn’t work? Are there any you’d add, or any standalone races?

Let me know!

My Feedback

The main aim of the game is to enable people to learn more about different types of racing and to do it in a fairly straightforward way – just pick a few drivers by Friday and I hand out scores on Monday/Tuesday. It was never intended to be very complicated and I’ve tried to keep it simple at all times, I hope I have. So far this seems to have worked quite well. The players are all either British or American, I’m pretty sure the Brits have learned about NASCAR Cup and IndyCar and that the Americans have learned about DTM and LMS.

I’ve enjoyed both running and playing the game. Watching the scores unfold as I enter each driver’s total into the player boxes is the best part about it! Writing the blog posts is a bit tedious but this can be solved by simplifying them. The disparity in scores has been disappointing, this can largely be addressed by revisiting the carryover rule which I go into below.

I have to thank Andy (The Speedgeek) for allowing the use of his ARFL game rules, modified somewhat. I’m amazed he hasn’t scored more highly this season, a lot of good picks have had bad runs for one reason or another.

Thanks also to Sebastian, who’s assistance has been helpful in terms of checking my scores, producing the alternative scoresheets and sending reminder emails when I’m otherwise engaged. I should really be doing those so I’ll try to do that next year.

Ideas for 2011

Championships

Suggestion: WRC out, MotoGP in – I’d love to retain WRC but logistically it is a pain. A full day of running has taken place by the time picks close, sometimes 2 days. I think we should move the deadline or drop WRC. An early deadline means people miss weeks. There are hardly any top cars at the moment and the fact Loeb wins everything makes him an automatic pick. Perhaps that will change with the new cars (and teams) in 2011. I’m sure you’ve seen from recent posts that I’m quite into MotoGP and next year is a big year with a lot of big line-up changes, and I think it is an exciting series and fun to watch.

Anything else you want to see in or out? I don’t want to complicate it with championships with 2 or more races per weekend so no GP2, WTCC, Superbike, etc. I don’t want to get bogged down in junior series either or we’ll be here all day (mind you if anyone wants to run a TMRG-junior, I’d play it). The question is.. how many series is too many? Is it better to have lots to open up the options? GrandAm? FIA GT1? Spa/Nurburgring 24 Hours?

Carryovers

The carryover rule isn’t working and should be replaced. I’m open to ideas.
– Perhaps everyone should score the same as the person who scores the least that week of those that entered normally.
– One idea suggested to me was they should score 70% or 80% of the best score that week.
– Perhaps there could be a set pick for non-entries, say the top drivers in the standings for each series (with series ranked preferentially).

Those are the two main issues that have arisen so far. What do you think of them, and do you have any more?

Summary

Anything is open to consideration. I’m looking forward to your input!

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17 thoughts on “TMR Game – Feedback & Ideas”

  1. Hi Pat,

    Firstly all credit to you for the time and effort it has taken to run the game and also to Sebastian for his scores updates (PS why can’t I comment on those Sebastian?) I’ve really, really enjoyed playing. I started out knowing diddly squat on other series so this has helped me immensly in learning about other racing and had me watching more too so from that point of view its been a fantastic success. I quite like the idea of replacing WRC with MotoGP too.

    I wonder if you should have a rule that says that you must pick at least one driver from each race you give us as an option. I’ve noticed that sometimes we just skip a series, is that because more points can be gained from choosing a different series or just our knowledge is weak?. The other anomaly to me is ALMS/leMans were you can have in effect double points by picking both members of the same team and that’s where the really big differences in points come in. I guess it depends whether you want to bunch up the scores a bit more by only allowing someone to choose one of the pair to score points.

    As for the carryovers, I think it would be much less work for you and Sebastian if there was a simple rule that said if you miss a week you will get X points rather than having to look through the persons previous picks. Whilst I like the idea of 80% of the top score for example it could follow that someone who doesn’t play one week gets more points than someone who does and scores badly, so I think that the rule should be something like lowest players score minus 10% as a reminder that you must play to get the most from the game.

    With regard to simplifying the game workload for you I have found this wordpress plugin http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/motor-racing-league/ that might help. I’m not sure if he can be used for multiple series but if it can and it can do the calculations for you…

    It’s early morning as I write this (insomnia again) but I’ll have more of a think when I’m properly awake. Thanks so much for doing this. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  2. The reason I disabled commenting on my score-pages is that the TMRG is Patrick’s project on his blog and I am just using stand-alone pages on my blog as a convenient place to put the score-tables, keeping them separate from my own blog, essentially with them just intended as an extension to what Patrick is doing. If I allowed comments, they would appear on my blog-front-page, establishing a connection I was trying to avoid. Maybe I should have put this on the score-pages as my thinking was that if people wanted to comment they might do so on the Game Week page that linked to that score-table page. Sorry if you have found this unhelpful. Mostly, I do them so Patrick can do the scores and double-check we agree on the numbers, and I consider them as more part of his blog than mine.

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  3. I really like the way you present the data you collect for the game. What I said wasn’t intended as a criticism but rather that I would have liked the opportunity to say thank you for the work you do behind the scenes and the timely email reminders 🙂 so ta muchly, it’s appreciated.

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  4. Interesting idea with the one-from-each-race rule. I tend to skip some series because there are more points available elsewhere – it doesn’t always work though!
    I’m certainly not willing to dig back through past picks unless there is suspicion of an error, far too time-consuming and I don’t have the patience! Interesting point on the 80% potentially scoring more than someone’s actual entry.

    Thanks for the link, unfortunately the plugin is for WordPress.org for self-hosted blogs, and I’m using WordPress.com which is much less customisable (you can’t add plugins).

    Glad you’re enjoying the game. 🙂

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  5. I am not wild about Moto GP. To misquote George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “Four wheels good, two wheels bad.” No objection to FIA GT or GrandAm. I would miss WRC but I do appreciate the problems. Is there an argument for moving the deadline to Thursday night every week of competition? That would avoid the hassle of having to keep an eye on such as practice times, or perhaps being disadvantaged for not doing so. If it was the case every week, then people would get used to that, reminder e-mails could be sent twenty-four hours earlier, and I figure people are more likely to be in to spot and heed the reminders on a Thursday than a Friday. Something I note is this season included four NASCAR-only weeks, which without WRC would be six including four-weeks-in-a-row early in the season. Whichever series are selected, anything that fills out the earlier and later parts of the season might be favoured.

    Sorry Jackie to disagree, but I am not keen on the idea of being forced to pick at least one choice from all events. I feel the two areas of interest in this game are picking within events and working out how to split between events (possibly more the latter). Differences in strategy would be considerably reduced, which I feel makes for a duller game, and in a week with four, five, or six events would be even more restricting. (I think skipping a series or two can be because of either of the reasons you suggested, for more points or lack of knowledge, depending on individual cases. I believe in picking the ten drivers I think will do best whatever split that creates, and refer to Wikipedia or the NASCAR-site to cover areas of poor knowledge.)

    Much as I really deeply hate to admit it, as my aggressive strategy in this area has done me well, it seems a valid point Jackie makes about being able to pick more then one driver-per-car in sports-cars leading to disproportionate differences in scores from these events, when picking the likely runners is surely no more deserving than in any other series. However, I would not grieve if you completely ignore this suggestion, Patrick.

    As I proposed a while back, a carry-over system that goes back though previous selections until a set is achieved would be my suggestion. (I do not think it would take too long to administer. My approach would be to keep a WordPad file that each week’s choices are copy-and-pasted into, which would be a minute or two a week, so that would make assembling the carry-over selections fairly routine.) Competitors might be advised to add a reserve list to earlier selections for series that start later. In order to avoid someone entering a few of the early weeks and then having to score them for the rest of the year, as well as some penalty for not bothering or forgetting to enter, I would put forward the restriction that miss a week, only nine drivers will be included, miss a second consecutive week it will only be eight, the third consecutive week only seven, and once it gets down to five we stop scoring them. If NASCAR-only for two consecutive weeks, under these rules, all seven would be carried-over. (Maybe a simpler rule might be up to eight picks carried over for missed weeks with two or more events, six picks only for one-event weeks (unless two consecutive NASCAR-only weeks), up to a maximum of four missed weeks before we stop scoring them.)

    80% of the winning score seems a lot. In a previous suggestion, I suggested 75% of the lowest score for any full entry. I was thinking that maybe to encourage late starters (as I expect this year anyone that missed two or three weeks believed, possibly correctly, that it was too late to catch up), up until maybe the start of the F1 season or a week or two beyond, we have a minimum score of 80% of the lowest full entry, so late entrants have some points to get going with, and this minimum score would be given to anyone that had already entered but ended up scoring less during this period because their carry-over did less well or they had not prepared a reserve-list. After the introductory-offer period, the minimum-score would be withdrawn.

    Anyone that expressed an oppinion seemed to be irked by the way at Le Mans retired cars are judged to finish below cars that had covered less distance but were running at the end. May I suggest that it is made clear to players for TMRG purposes that point-scoring will be based on distance covered such that if applied to this year the Oreca Peugeot would be considered to be fourth, not 29th?

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  6. Hi Pat, I’ll start off with the simple basics and say I enjoy playing the game and I am enjoying this little battle with Sean that I hope to come out as a winner of. Its a simple enough game to play and its something I’ve stuck with, which for me is impressive! Thanks to Sebastian as well, many a time I must admit I’ve been reminded by him so thank you.

    One of the things I don’t like is the double scoring in the Le Mans series. As you’ve noticed, to my gain (Le Mans) and to my disadvantage (last week), I’ve had mixed fortunes and I feel it ultimately effects the scores too much. I think a rule should be that you can only pick one driver per car, which would make it a whole load fairer I think.

    I think I agree with Sebastian that we we shouldn’t choose from every category. I like the strategy side of things and if I had to choose one from every category, I’d feel a bit limited with it all.

    I agree on the inclusion of MotoGP at the expense of WRC. I feel more or less I’ve picked the same group of people for WRC every race (out of Loeb, Ogier, Solberg and Latvala I think). MotoGP is a new challenge and I’ll take it.

    Good game mate, I do love it, hope its just as great in 2011!

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  7. Oh, I’ve just had a thought, maybe get rid of the DTM as well. Like the WRC, its the same cars over and over again. My only issue with that is I don’t know anything else to replace it with really…

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  8. If the deadline is a Thursday I suspect a lot of people would miss it. The deadline to Pitmonster’s game at VivaF1 is Thursday night and I feel I’ve missed several rounds. That said if they received a reminder Wednesday night perhaps they would be more prone to enter.. don’t know.

    I quite like having more than one driver per car in sportscars though I can definitely see the argument against it, how about one driver per car and a bonus for 24-hour races? It could be Double points, or x1.5 points with the 0.5 awarded at half distance?

    Your carryover rule could work and I like the idea of reducing the entry by one for each week missed. However there is the complication of deciding which driver to remove and a lot of potential for accusation of bias I’d really like to avoid. You could say ‘remove the lowest in points’ but then which series do you pick if there is a tie.

    With the other method my percentage values were for illustration only with the real values for discussion. 75% of the lowest seems reasonable.
    The idea of giving points to new entrants is interesting. There are other games out there that have a game-run player called something like ‘Shadow’, which is given points entirely in that way all season, and then any new player is given Shadow’s points for every round they have not entered even if they first enter in July. Does that sound like a runner?

    Le Mans opens a can of worms, if I do that I’d possibly be expected to do that for every sportscar round because LMS does something similar. Don’t know. I open it up to comments from others.

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  9. Thanks, glad you’ve enjoyed it. 🙂

    Good feedback. I also like the strategy element.

    I’m hoping 2011 will have more of a pool of WRC drivers to choose from as it was a few years ago but there are still other reasons to remove it. I’m not sure about DTM, it has a level of prestige yet I know hardly anyone who watches it – but that’s true of any replacement as well.

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  10. To keep it a bit less complicated, how about we are allowed two drivers a car at longer events such as Le Mans, Sebring, Petit Le Mans, and the Daytona 24 Hours? I would suggest the principle is picking the car, so that if at Spa someone picked a driver like Sarrazin this year who withdrew, that choice would automatically be replaced with one of the other drivers in the same car.

    The version of the carry-over I suggested would not involve difficult decisions about which driver or drivers to exclude. Say that I had missed my entry last week. First thing to do would to go back to Week 41. That would give Harvick, Kurt Busch, Ragan (the others being DTM). Back to 39, all ten would be relevent as it was also an F1/WRC/NASCAR week, but we only take the top-six listed to make nine, adding Button, Hamilton, Kubica, Loeb, Sordo, P.Solberg (from my second entry that week). The only complication I would worry about is a driver that appears in two series. Maybe they should only count for this type of carry-over if originally listed for the series (or a series) relevent to the week the list is being generated for, with LMS, ALMS, ILMC, and Le Mans counted as one series for this purpose.

    Thinking about it you do have a point in that if entrants have not made enough previous entries, assembling the requisite number might be an issue especially earlier in the season. Firstly, we should encourage players to add reserve lists to earlier selections for upcoming events they do not have any previous drivers picked for. Secondly, they are in no position to complain who else is filled in as it is their own fault for not doing their entry. Thirdly, I suggest pre-season we assemble a reserve list based on drivers that did well this season that we fall back on if all else fails. I imagine it might start, Spengler, Vettel, Brabham, et cetera. Depending what series are included, start with all the champions, then runner-ups, and so on, with more predictable-to-pick series down to NASCAR, and some Audi and Peugeot drivers listed fairly high up. If you go for this idea, once I know the series and events to be included, I will do a list if you like.

    Also I forgot to add that if a player has attempted a full entry, but accidentally only listed nine drivers (or even eight), we make it up to ten with the same process.

    I do not really think that a Thursday night deadline would make much difference to people missing it. The pattern I detect is that people put off their entry until later and then forget. The Friday afternoon/early evening reminders I have been sending mostly result in players remembering to enter that evening (although no way of knowing how many would have remembered to enter anyway). Move the whole thing forward twenty-four hours, presumably it would be the same pattern twenty-four hours earlier, and are not people less likely to be too busy to notice a reminder on a Thursday? Also, with an improved carry-over arrangement, it is not such a catastrophe if a player misses a week. (I almost sent myself a reminder last week as it was only Friday afternoon I remembered to do my entry.)

    I half-like the shadow idea but if it is too ungenerous, then it will not encourage people to enter, and if too generous, then it hardly seems fair if someone can enter half-way through the season with a chance to move up into contention. The principle I had in mind was for late entrants in the first few weeks to have a chance to get into contention. This year if we had the shadow rule up to Week 8, it would seem about right to me.

    Not allowing for the new proposed carry-over, these would be the scores after Week Eight based on a minimum score of 90% of the lowest score by a full entry. (James had missed the high-scoring Week Eight, Sean and I had missed the low-scoring Week One, whilst Jackie, Dank, and Startledbunny had missed three or four entries.)

    1669 Sebastian
    1631 The Speedgeek
    1554 James
    1538 RG
    1530 Sean
    1520 Pat W
    1434 Burwellian
    1391 Jon Waldock
    1353 Startledbunny
    1333 Dank
    1160 Jackie
    1134 New Entries

    At 80%:

    1659 Sebastian
    1631 The Speedgeek
    1538 RG
    1524 James
    1520 Sean
    1520 Pat W
    1434 Burwellian
    1391 Jon Waldock
    1306 Startledbunny
    1251 Dank
    1060 Jackie
    1006 New Entries

    At 70%:

    1649 Sebastian
    1631 The Speedgeek
    1538 RG
    1520 Pat W
    1510 Sean
    1495 James
    1434 Burwellian
    1391 Jon Waldock
    1260 Startledbunny
    1172 Dank
    942 Jackie
    882 New Entries

    What the scores actually were:

    1631 The Speedgeek
    1580 Sebastian
    1538 RG
    1520 Pat W
    1441 Sean
    1434 Burwellian
    1391 Jon Waldock
    1286 James
    1087 Startledbunny
    909 Dank
    553 Jackie

    (James had been leading until he zero-scored the very high scoring Week Eight.) I put these figures forward so if a minimum-score clause is introduced, this will give some idea of how much in contention new players might be at different levels of percentage. Even at 90%, they would have been 257 points behind the lowest player that had thus far entered every week and 535 points behind the leader (Sean and I were fortunate that Week One was low-scoring) which would take some catching.

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  11. I agree with adding MotoGP and getting rid of WRC.
    Maybe also allowing people to pick 10 drivers from one series,
    and perhaps limiting 1 driver pick per car in the case of Endurance Races.
    Just ideas though. Happy with the rules as they are now TBH.

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  12. Fantastic entry from Sebastian above. So really, I blew it in the first month by which time Burwellian was already almost 900 points ahead of me. I think it was the little battles further down from the lead that made it interesting and gave you something to play for so I wouldn’t mind having the 90% thing for the first 8 weeks as Sebastian suggests. Other than that the game was fab, definitey grew on me as the weeks went on and now I’m kinda sad that it’s all over for the year.

    Massive thanks again for all your work and to Sebastian too, I loved the way he presented the stats and gave me the emai reminders.

    Much love
    Jacs

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