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A New Pinochle Rule Proposal
#1
In a recent discussion, there was some division on the best way to handle/penalize an Offense that is Set.

Some believe that penalties must be stiff to discourage over-aggressive bidding.

Well, I had a beautiful brain-child in the shower this morning!

What if Pinochle took a page from Basketball?  What if a team could "foul out"?  What impact would that have?

Let's talk about 4-handed Double-deck Partnership Pinochle, as we do most of the time...
Playing to 500 generally takes an hour to complete and can be 8 to 10 hand long on average.
Online tends to have some speed advantages, like computerized shuffling, melding, and time-limits per play.
However, if you play online long enough you will invariably cross paths with a ridiculous, unsporting, troll-like nuisance.
These players seek out the misery of the other 3 players at the table, by doing things like stalling, throwing the worst possible cards in the Play phase, and worst / most impactful is running up Auctions only to be Set.

rdwrites, talks about a negative score limit as a condition of Defeat in his software.
I think this is wise, but it takes an awwwfully long time to achieve negative 500 (I don't actually recall the lower limit).

But if we are looking at a sensible player's Contract record spanning one full game, how many times is a single player going Set?  1? possibly 2?
No sensible team that I have ever played against has gone set 5 times in one game.

So I would like to propose a new rule to be considered by online hosts (at least) to limit the impact of naughty players.
But let's discuss the specifics of the condition...
Do we try a rule that applies to a single player: 3 Sets = Defeat
Do we try a rule that applies to the team: 5 Sets = Defeat
My preference is a team rule.

Good rules address bad sportsmanship, and guarantee a smooth, classy game.
If the rules don't address bad behavior, then highly competitive players will deem the behavior "fair game".

This proposal marries well with my other view of not gifting meld to the Defense if the Play phase is omitted from a hand because of a No Trump or No Board condition.
And I am sorry to beat a dead horse, but I still can't think of a scenario where the Defense is worse off by the loss of their meld while the Offense loses the Contract amount.
I am going to retain this belief until someone can show me the flaw in it.
It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing all your life. -- Mickey Mantle
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#2
goodness knows the misery that online players face. For many people online both gives an opportunity to play but also encounter those who take advantage of opportunity for maliciousness.

It probably is dealt with as well as possible with Dislikes to flag players acting out. But beyond the obvious hostile actions is the situation of not being able to evaluate players on their own merit. Fine if they play with a partner they know, but even then, if they do well accusations of cheating will occur.

That"s why I thought an individual rating would address the problem of being able to establish a reputation independent of random partners and all that brings. I see that marya also has individual against the bots and could rate players as well. There could even be some ratings competition there which is a good thing for players.

If the player doesn't rate very highly yet then there is no surprise of poor play and getting set. Playing hands through the Animator or my Learning Version (all hands displayed as beginners are usually taught for a few hands) will let them get better and eventually rate higher (Learning games are obviously not rated).

So does it help to end the game early after x number of sets? I put a lower limit of -500 to end the game and free up the slot for another player, but that's an individual playing against bots. Anything involving other people would have the others shut the game down long before that I imagine. How much before? I don't know, maybe a set that leaves a team 500 behind is enough to call it (a version of -500). Even that is probably too much.

I'm not expereinced with online playing and how wins and losses affect rankings but I would think that you'd want to cut a disaster short and give the winning team their credit without too much burden.
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#3
(03-06-2016, 09:02 PM)mickmackusa Wrote:  So I would like to propose a new rule to be considered by online hosts (at least) to limit the impact of naughty players.
But let's discuss the specifics of the condition...
Do we try a rule that applies to a single player: 3 Sets = Defeat
Do we try a rule that applies to the team: 5 Sets = Defeat
My preference is a team rule.

At first blush, I am not in favor of this, or any rule that determines the outcome based on the number of times a team has gone set.

First of all, you must realize that there are several ways to go set - no marriage, not enough meld, not enough trick points, not enough total points. Each of these can happen for different reasons, and in my opinion some are more egregious than others. For example, a Dealer who gets left with the bid and has no marriage is completely innocent. Someone who meld bids with no marriage and gets stuck with the bid is probably not 100% innocent - he decided to take the risk of meld bidding without a marriage - but not 100% at fault either. (Suppose this player's partner dealt and also had no marriage.) So if the above rule were to be applied, I think the weight of a no marriage / < 20 meld should probably be less than the weight of a hand that is fully played where the team is set.

But once this rule is applied with the weights as above, the obnoxious people who take pleasure in others' misery will find new ways to exploit it without being penalized. (Also, if using the team approach, how is itt fair to an innocent player whose partner is accountable for all of the sets?)

The proposed rule also has the disadvantage of discouraging players from learning the game. Early on when I was learning to play double-deck, I made a lot of poor decisions. Your post uses the term "sensible player." I take this to mean someone who has played more than a few games and knows - maybe by intuition, maybe by using a formula such as those found in these Forums - the limit of what their hand can reasonably make. To me, if changing the rules we also need to appeal to the less skilled players who are learning to play; otherwise, they will be no more likely to stick around than if they have to put up with one or two obnoxious players along the way.

Furthermore, sometimes going set is part of the strategy of the game. I have played in some lopsided games where one team was close to going out and the other team clawed back to win. During this comeback, there were some times where a player took a bid he had no business taking under normal circumstances because he knew he could pull 31 trick points. (I won't get into the "sportsmanship" of doing this - it has been discussed in another thread. For the record, I personally have no problem with it.) Take that away, and the lopsided games become more out of reach.

I'm all for finding ways to eliminate the bullies, but to me this does not solve the problem without creating some additional and perhaps more damaging (in terms of appealing to the masses) ones.
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