Mean Comparison Scoring system

Remember the Hurst Tournament Scoring system? No? Go and read about it, then, because the Mean Comparison Scoring system is based on HTS.

In this case, however, MCS scoring is a DBS system, whereas HTS is an SCS system. In other words, MCS is based on points awarded by the outcome of the game.

What is the MCS system?

This is my version of HTS but based on DBS scoring. It’s never been used in a tournament, and I’ve never trialled it. So, yeh, yet another concept rather than a proven system. Woohoo, eh?

Like the HTS, it doesn’t deal with games as single entities. Instead, while games are scored singularly, they are scored for tournament purposes, over the whole tournament.

So, if you’re playing Germany in your game, your outcome will be compared with every Germany played in every game to get your ranking in the tournament.

Game points are scored as described below:

  • A solo scores 420 pts; everyone else scores 0.
  • Draws are scored by dividing 420 by the number of players in the draw.
  • This is denoted by p – player score.

When scoring the tournament:

  1. Find the total number of game points scored by each power in every game played – T (power total).
  2. Find the average of T for each power – aveT = T/g, where g = number of games.
  3. For each entrant, calculate the difference between p (player score for the game) and aveT; s.
  4. For each entrant, find the total of s across all games played – Sc.
  5. Divide Sc by the number of rounds played (R), which produces the number of points the player has – Pts.

Let’s assume, in a four round tournament, an entrant controlled England, France, Austria and Russia and got these scores in each game: 140, 105, 0 and 105.

The average of points for each power across all the games for England, France, Austria and Russia were: aveE (average for England) = 95, aveF = 150, aveA = 63, aveR = 82 (I’ve just pulled these figures out of thin air).

For the powers the entrant controlled their s is: E = 140 – 95 = 45, F= 105 – 150 = -45, A = 0 – 63 = -63, R = 105 – 82 = 23.

The player’s score (Sc) for all four powers is then: 45 – 45 – 63 + 23 = -40.

Their final tournament score (Pts) is, then Sc/4 = -40 Ă· 4 = -10

If the player managed to qualify for the final, and this was a one-off game, then they could still win the tournament by winning the game. If the game ended in a draw, then the score for the final would be doubled (putting an emphasis on the final). The points would be recalculated (divided by 5 rounds), and the player in the final that ended on the highest number of points across the tournament declared the winner. (The entrants who played in the final would have a separate top seven table for themselves to prevent the final moving them down the tournament rankings.)

1. What is the MCS system designed to do?

Simply put, to score tournaments. It couldn’t be used as a Ratings system because, over a larger number of games, the scores for each power would tend to level out.

If the tournament was awarding credits for “Best England”, “Best France”, etc it is ideal – all you need to do is look at who got the best s for each power! Any ties could be split by how many SCs they held at the end of the game in which they played that power.

2. Is the system effective in differentiating between players/results?

It would be very effective in achieving this result. This is because, over the whole tournament, it is unlikely that the points awarded at the end of the tournament would be the same. This is because the aveT scores would differ significantly.

The stronger powers would have higher aveT scores and, although it is certainly possible that players may get the same score in terms of the total of scores across all games, the difference between the scores for each power and the average score for that power would produce a total points that is different.

3. What are the objectives when playing to the system?

As with all DBS systems, the objectives are to solo or prevent someone else from soloing and surviving to be in the draw.

In a draw, the fewer players involved in the draw the more points a player will receive.

4. Are the objectives consistent with the design of Diplomacy?

Unlike HTS, the number of SCs has no impact at all, which is – frankly – what Calhamer wanted from a game.

The games could be DIAS or DINS (non-DIAS); this isn’t really important. I’d suggest DIAS is the preferred option as DBS games tend to run on longer than SCS games. This would mean there’s consistency when using a Game End Date (GED) to end games at a certain point.

5. Is the system a ‘good’ system?

I don’t know, frankly. I can see no reason why it wouldn’t be: it is compatible with Calhamer’s design for Diplomacy and it would produce differentiated results, which non-comparative systems may not.

One possible negative is that it compares results not just in a game, but across all games. I know some players would look at this aspect and not be impressed. Scores the games as separate entities, they’d cry. But this is a tournament and every game is affected by every other game in any tournament, so why not have this reflected in the scoring system?

It would also even out the differences between comparative power outcomes in games. If you’re one of those people who believes that scores should be weighted because some powers – Russia? – are demonstrably more successful than others – Italy? – then the MCS system removes this issue. Your outcome as Russia is compared with the outcome of every Russia in every game. This is markedly different from comparing Italy’s outcome with Russia’s.


Published by Mal Arky

I'm a Diplomacy nut... if you haven't guessed. I write about the game Diplomacy, mainly as played online on websites, such as Playdiplomacy, webDiplomacy and Backstabbr. I write books on Diplomacy, too. First one to be published soon!

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