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  1. The concept of what determines if a particular scenario (or QB) is "balanced" or not can be a very subjective thing to try and grapple with. For the sake of this discussion I will limit this discussion to "head to head" games between two players. I'm not sure how others might define what makes a "balanced" scenario/QB, but I think of it in statistical terms: for instance, if the particular scenario/QB was played "double blind" by multiple pairs of "equally" rated players many times (ideally (though impossibly) an infinite amount of times), you would expect the win/loss distribtion to approach 50:50 ie. an equal number of Allied to Axis "wins". Any bias away from a 50:50 distrubution of wins would give grounds to indicate the particular scenario/QB is "unbalanced". The greater the bias/deviation in wis/loss distribution, the greater the "imbalance". However just considering the resolution of scenarios/QBs as just a pure binary "win" or "loss" outcome for one side may still hide an imbalance that otherwise remains evident. Outcomes of CM scenarios/QBs however aren't actually just purely binary outcomes. A degree or level of victory/defeat based on actual "victory points" gained by each side, or more specifically, the numeric differential in the victory points gained by each side at the end of every battle determines the actual victory level assigned by CM. ie. either draw, minor victory/defeat, tactical victory/defeat, or total victory/defeat. But is it that simple? Consider a scenario/QB that has an equal 50:50 win/loss distribution that makes the scenario/QB appear "balanced". Should it still be considered "balanced" if the average magnitude (or level) of victories being recorded for each side is different for both sides? eg. the Allies might win 50% of the time, with the average victory level being "total victory", yet the Axis win 50% of the time but with the average victory level being "minor victory". It could be argued here that the scenario/QB actually is not totally "balanced" but rather favouring the Allies. So perhaps considering the actual victory points differential (or VPD) of each game played may be the better metric or indicator to monitor when studying "balance". Note that when monitoring VPD (rather than just wins and losses), you would expect the average VPD of all games played to approach zero (0) if the scenario/QB was to be considered "balanced". For the purposes of this discussion and to set a convention, we can always consider the VPD: Victory Point Differntial (VPD) = [ALLIES victory points] minus [AXIS victory points] That means the VPD could be a positive or negative number, with a positive VPD typically meaning an Allied victory/Axis defeat and a negative VPD meaning an Allied defeat/Axis victory. Keep in mind that there is a range of positive and negative VPDs centred about zero that CM will nevertheless consider as being a draw. When considering VPD, the "ideal balanced" scenario/QB could be seen as one where the average VPD of all games played would follow a normal distribution (or bell curve) centred about zero (SIDE NOTE: For those of you who are more statistacally inclined, it is worth considering that I can not see reason to assume that the actual distribution of VPD for all games played for any CM scenario/QB has any reason to even assume, let alone appraoch, a normal distribution. Unless it can be pointed out otherwise, I don't think the central limit theorm (and any inherint/inevitable tendency that the VPD would tend towards a normal distriution) can be applied here. The actual distribution of VPD for any scenario/QB in question could follow one of many other types of distributions (eg. skewed or gamma, bimodal etc). Certainly, idealistically a symmetrical distribution centred about zero would probably be considered more balanced than say one that has a population VPD average (expected outcome) of zero but is otherwise asymmetrically skewed about zero. Let me know if you think otherwise.) That is all just background to what I really wanted to discuss and present however..... Having recently considered a prospective QB battle with a PBEM opponent, I got thinking about how two competing players could come to a mutualy achieved agreement on the QB parameters to ensure the QB battle was "fairly balanced". My inspiration was based on the "I cut, you choose" protocl that ensures fair division and allocation of a divisible resource between two parties. The typical example is of two brothers who want to "evenly and fairly" share a cake. The protocol proceeds as follows: one person ("the cutter") cuts the cake into two pieces; the other person ("the chooser") chooses one of the pieces; the cutter receives the remaining piece. If we consider CM QBs played H2H, I would say the vast majority of them are essentially meeting engagements (MEs) played on maps that have some degree of geographical symmetry, be it in the distribution of terrain, setup zones and/or Objective Locations, mirrored about an imaginary mid-line that would typically evenly divide the map in half between the Allied half of the map and the Axis half of the map. Of course, these ME QBs would typically be setup so that both sides get the same amount (or near enough to be close enough) of unit purchase points. I will use the term force points (FP) to mean the same thing as uniy purchase pioints. Choosing to play on an "unbiased" ME map with equal FPs each side just seems to be the easiest way to ensure the QB is "fair", so it may not be surprising why ME QBs are more likely to be played than the other types of QBs (probes (PR), attack (AT) and assualts (AS). I should also introduce at this point the concept of force ratio (or FR). It is defined as: Force ratio (FR) = [side A FP] / [side B FP] where side A is typically the "attacker" and side B the "defender" (ie side A FP is either equal to or greater than side B FP). ie. a FR of 1.25 means the "attacker" has 25% more FP to spend than the 'defender". With FR already defined in terms of the attacker FP to defender FP ratio, it does help to now simply consider the use of the global term force size (FS) as refering to just the "base" defenders FP, from which the attacker FP can be then be readily calculated by multiplying it with the the force ration (FR) The CM QB generator has pre-programmed FRs associated with each QB type. They are as follows (without any force modifiers applied): ME FR = 1 PR FR = between 1.45 and 1.49 AT FR = between 1.59 and 1.65 AS FR = between 1.76 and 1.84 However, messing around with the force modifier parameter, the range of FRs possible extends to: ME FR = between 1 and 2.48 PR FR = between 1.45 and 3.7 AT FR = between 1.42 and 4.11 AS FR = between 1.29 and 4.57 But what really makes an ME an ME, a PR a PR, an AT and AT and a AS and AS? What CM suggest are really just "guides" and broad categories to describe certain kinds of battles of various FR. FR is really just only one parameter in a CM QB that influences the "balance" of a QB, or can be adjusted to balance a QB. The parameter against which the FR is typically compared against are what I would call the QB battlefield parameters. This would comprise of the actual QB map itself (the distribution of terrain/topography/feratures) in relation to any Objective Locations (including their value) and the respective setup zones, and how they all interact together as a whole on the map. Additional to this you would also need to consider the soft factors such as weather/visibility/conditions and battle duration. The "date" and "theatre" a QB is based on may also be an influence as it may determine the availability of some units that might otherwise potentially be influential (if purchased) in the QB. I might make the assertion here that most players looking to play QBs might first start by searching for a QB map that looks interesting and suitable enough to play (size/layout etc) and typically determine these QB battlefield parameters without much trouble. With all these QB battlefield parameters predetermined and considered togther, the question can be asked: What method can players use to help determine what force ratio (FR) to assign to any QB map to make it "balanced"? I have considered the following procedure that can be used by two prospectiive players who face this question when they have already selected the map and the QB battlefield parameters: 1. Both players preview the QB map and the QB battlefield parameters and consider playing the QB from both the "attacker" and "defender" perspective in terms of force ratio (FR). They may at this point secretly record what force size (FS) they think would be suitable to use on the QB map selected (if not already agreed upon). 2. They secretly record the force ratio (FR) they think that should be applied to the QB in order to make it a fair/"balanced" contest. 3. Both players then reveal their nominated FR (and FS if required) and the average between the two numbers is calculated. This average becomes the FR (and FS) that will be used in the QB. 4. The player who nominated the HIGHEST FR plays as the 'defender". The player who nominate the LOWEST FR plays as the "attacker". 5. Players can now consult the QB Force Ratios Table that I have made available here that fully details every possible QB Force Ratio (FR) and Force Points (FP)/Force Size (FS) combination that can be achieved by the CM QB setup screen: 6. Look up the values of FR and FS determined/calculated in the previous steps that best match the "Ratio" and "DEF Points") combo values respectively in the QB Points Combo/Force ratio table. Note down these values "actual" configurable CM QB paramters. There are only a discrete number of QB combinations possible in the CM QB setup screen, so the goal in this step is to sort through all the possibilities to find the one that best matches the FR and FS parameters determined in step 3. eg. If FR = 1.70 and FS = 4750 was determined in step 3, the best match in the table would be achiveable by reading off 4500 (approx 4750) and 1.68 (approx 1.70) and configuring a Large ME with a +70% modifer in the CM QB setup screen (which will result in the Attacker getting 7580 FP and teh defender 4500 FP (FR=1.68): 7. Depending on what QB parameters get selected in step 6, players may need to use the Sceanrio Editor to open and edit the actual QB Map file to tweek one parameter to allow the QB map to actually be visible and selectable in the QB setup screen. eg. players may have selected to play a particular QB map that had previously been tagged as an "Allied Probe" map. The"actual' QB parameters determined via step 6 may have however pointed to setting the QB battle up as a Large ME (LME) with + 70% modifier. The player will need to use the Scenario Editor, Load the chosen QB map file, modify the "Battle Type" field from say "Allied Probe" to "Meeting Engagement" as per the example. Doing so makes the particular QB Map file visible and selectable when the time comes to browse for the human selected QB map. Save file as new name and exit the Scneario Editor. 8. Load the QB setup screen and and configure all the "actual" QB parameters determined from the table (typically that best matches the values of FR and FS determined/calculated in Step 6, as well as any other QB parameters: . Pressing OK will prompt the user to select the QB Map (review Step 7 if the QB does not appear in the file list). (It is important to note that when considering FR, the actual FS (force size) that is used in the QB is probably best considered a separate individual factor for consideration that just determines the number of units that appear on the map in proportions defined by the FR. We can assume that the FS are independant to and do not affect QB balance, and just determine the actual size of each of the forces. This may not actually be the case but I will assume it is fair enough assumption for simplicity unless otherwise convinced). I don't know if this method has ever been considered or used before, but unless advised otherwise, I think it is quite a simple, fair and robust means of determining how to "balance" a QB.I don't think the system can be "gamed" by either participating player to force a QB parameter outcome that somehow favours them over their opponent. Players just need to be able to look at a QB map, consider all the relevant battlefield parameters (eg setup zones, terrain, Objective Locations etc) and put a number to what they think the attacker:defender force ratio should be to make the QB "balanced", prior to even knowing whether they will be the atatcker or the defender. This may take some experience to get the right feel. It certainly will be interesting how players react to the outcomes of their QBs. If they claimed that the QB was "unbalanced" not in their favour, then perhaps their own poor misjudgment when they originally 'evaluated" the QB map and nominated their own FR may have something to do with it. Again, assigning a FR to a QB to achieve balance is not something players typically have exactly been doing. They HAVE and DO evaluate QB maps for balance however, though without ever really assigning a metric to it. Now that metric exists. It just needs tio be calibrated. I hope the "fairness" of this method is self evident by understanding the dynamics at play behind the method described. i can see that some folks might not be able to see it that way and would need some kind of explanation to convince them of how this is a "fair" way of determining QB balance. I could spend some time explaining that if asked. Happy to hear your comments/crticism/thoughts/experience with it as it really is like an alpha/beta level idea that needs some vigourous testing/scrutiny. Bull
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