I promised Dear Readers in my initial post regarding 2020 Imperial Struggle VASSAL Tournament that as Rounds progress, I will be sharing more details regarding the results and how the initiative unfolds. So here it is – after over 3 months from the start, we are past Round 2 and some of the Round 3 games were already played.

Before going into the details and statistical jargon, kind of reminder for those who are hearing about this initiative for the first time. 2020 Imperial Struggle VASSAL Tournament – an idea which came to life thanks to tremendous effort by Jason Sample and started to shape into a pretty concrete endeavor. A group was gathered, tools and rules defined, communication channels established. And then in early September 2020 we started.

Interesting Imperial Struggle article which I hope you can fund useful!
Imperial Struggle – initial strategic considerations
Imperial Struggle – online play options – Vassal vs. Tabletop Simulator
2020 Imperial Struggle VASSAL Tournament Round 1
Imperial Struggle – very early review and first impressions
Imperial Struggle – initial game set-up analysis

Tournament Rules

Let me also repeat some of the ground rules of our endeavor. It will depict how we operate.

  • Of course the rule number one is that we play for fun! While it is still a tournament in itself, we are building the community of like-minded fellow boardgamers, connected by common fascination by Imperial Struggle.
  • Something which should be obvious but as you will see in the summary, was not to everybody – we do not cheat. Thanks to modern technology, we implemented some ways to objectively determine the regional awards as well as commodities – example is the Discord DiceParser – a great tool for this. You can script almost anything and great code created by Jason helped us a lot:
Using a DiceParser – available for everybody who uses Discord – a very elegant script was developed for awards and commodities
  • I mentioned this already but it is worth stressing – the main medium to exchange communication as well as game files is Discord. The games itself are played via VASSAL module, with Spain optional rule:
Imperial Struggle VASSAL module is not only very functional and easy to learn but also beautifully designed and developed
  • Our tournament consists of 24 players. Being conscious of time needed to play, Jason decided on a multi-round Swiss style competition. With that number of contenders, that should result in about 5 rounds to play. You can check more on the system here: VT Chess Swiss pairing system.
  • To calculate players rating, we use ELO method (more here)
ELO rating and win probability

On top of above, it is worth to mention that we have also started Round Robin Tournament – two groups, 8 players each. Why? For all those who finished early their main tournament games and were itching to play again. That allows for additional statistical data which I will of course gladly use!

Results & statistical analysis

I think everybody is interested how, from statistical point of view, the tournament is going on. This time I have much more data:

  • 12 results from Round 1
  • 10 results from Round 3
  • 2 results from Round 3
  • as well as 13 from Round Robin

That give us 37 game which is nice statistical sample! Now, putting this into the table:

# of gamesFR victoriesBR victoriesavg game durationTrP price
Round 112937,91,16
Round 210737,51,33
Round 320262
Round Robin1358N/AN/A

Let us analyse together the above statistics:

  • The statistical sample is pretty good, as with 37 games you can already draw some conclusions
  • Winners – in our 37 games, France won 21 games (57%) and Britain was victorious in 16 plays (43 %). The advantage is still on the French side, but as you will see the trend, the gap is narrowing rapidly. After Round 1 there were as many as 75% of French victories and now it is down to 57%. So I am putting any discussions about the game being imbalanced or any side overpowered to rest.
  • Game duration – this is interesting. Only 7 games lasted till the Final Scoring – I do not have data for this parameter from Round Robin; still his is 7 out of 24 games. That clearly shows that you need to be careful during the play. On the other hand, the game length – due to very rare full 10 turns played – is definitely shorter then expected.
  • Bidding – in some of the games the sides were decided randomly, in some via bidding. Players were willing to sacrifice from 0 to 2 Treaty Points, with average close to 1 TRP for France. Still, the value was growing as we can see between the rounds.

My sessions

This is in the end my blog 🙂 so I would like also to share my games. Picture being worth thousand words I will present the final situations form my Round 2 & 3 games as well as one Round Robin games I played. You can click on every picture to enlarge it and see the details.

Round 2 – my game with eduardo (Ed from London). I play BR, Ed FR. Situation at the end of 7YW. Automatic BR victory – debt helped me a lot. Great game and really challenging opponent. (click to enlarge)
Round 3 – my game with knaveofdiamonds (Roland, also from London). I play BR, Roland FR. Situation at the end of WAS. Automatic BR victory – that was crazy game, as Roland was building great board position and I was just accumulating VPs. At some point it become dangerous for FR but then it was slightly too late… Great game with so far undefeated opponent! (click to enlarge)
Round Robin – my game with Javaslinger (Ken from US). I play BR, Ken FR. Situation at the end of WAS. A BR victory by conceding – a tense game, where conflicts were flying everywhere over the globe. Ken was resisting greatly the BR onslaught but the situation after WAS was probably un-fixable (click to enlarge)


Now, the time for a quick summary and recap. I hinted in my above article that not everybody in our group respected the rules we set, especially the “no-cheating policy“. I do not have all the facts – Jason has – but the mood went sour and the atmosphere unfortunately deteriorated. There is too much distrust to continue. We decided to conclude the Tournament in the current shape – some Round Robin games will for sure still be completed. However, a refined approach is needed to make sure that fair competition is assured. It will happen, rest assured. Jason great idea of bringing like-minded Imperial Struggle fans together was great and it will not perish – it has to evolve and restart. And so it will.