Sunday, 23 August 2015

Head-to-head Divisions

Ah, Sunday mornings and a spreadsheet. What could be more civilised?

Recently I found myself looking at the Division and reflecting sadly on how some players only had a handful of games while others had several dozen. I asked myself what would a division look like if it were made up of games where the same players had played each other.

I decided to got back through the 2014 spreadsheets to find out. First, I took out all the non-Tuesday games because Tuesdays are when we all bring our A-game, right? Then I searched for those groups of us who’d played each other often enough to make a decent division. In this case, seven times was the most that the same players faced off against each other (not including the Bracknell Bunch). I included division with five and six games, too.

I think it’s made an interesting study of how we influence each other and how the balance of power in a group can be altered by newcomers. Or, possibly, I’m looking for patterns in an otherwise meaningless set of data. I prefer the former.

This will make more sense once we get going. Let’s start with myself, Adam and Martin. We’ve played each six times, and Adam is top on points and points ratio. In fact, he’s never come lower than second. I win on the medal table.

Pergamon: Andrew 29, Adam 27, Martin 21
No Thanks: Adam 19, Martin 42, Andrew 81
No Thanks: Martin 43, Adam 67, Andrew 74
No Thanks: Andrew 30, Adam 31, Martin 49
Five Tribes: Adam 191, Martin 160, Andrew 136
Love Letter: Andrew 3, Martin 2, Adam 2

This is all well and good but, I hear you cry, what if you take out Adam and put in Joe? How does that effect things? Well, suddenly my form evaporates and Martin starts acting like a silver-backed gorilla warding off any potential rivals. It’s a clean sweep of all three titles, and by a considerable margin, too.

Russian Railroads: Martin 388, Joe 307, Andrew 299
Quantum: Martin 5 cubes, Joe and Andrew 4
Five tribes: Martin 188, Andrew 164, Joe 143
Wizard: Joe 200, Martin 180, Andrew 0
Greenland: Martin 27, Andrew 8, Joe 6

It’s a similar story in another Division: one with myself, Martin and Ian.

Port Royal: Ian 13, Martin 11, Andrew 8
Palaces of Carrara: Martin 80, Andrew 49, Ian 42
Abluxxen: Andrew 44, Martin 42, Ian 13
Impulse: Martin 10, Ian 3, Andrew 0
Red 7: Ian 36, Andrew 34, Martin 28
Love Letter: Martin 3, Andrew 1, Ian 0

It's a much closer affair in another three-player division: one which involves Martin, Joe and Andy. This time, Martin drops to last place with Joe and Andy share the honours.

Quantum: Andy 5 cubes, Joe 4 cubes, Martin 3
Splendor: Joe 16, Andy 10, Martin 5
Splendor: Andy 16, Martin 15, Joe 9
10 Days in Africa: Joe 1st, Andy 2nd, Martin 3rd
Port Royal: Martin 12, Joe 9, Andy 8

Into the only four-players division. Myself, Ian, Martin and Joe have played each other five times

Timeline: Andrew all cards down, Ian, Martin and Joe, one card left
Lost Valley: Andrew 18, Joe 10, Ian 8, Martin 5
Lost Valley: Martin 38, Ian 28, Joe 17, Andrew 17
Potato Man: Joe 9, Martin 8, Andrew
Potato Man: Ian 22, Joe 19, Martin 19, Andrew 10

So that’s the four player division done. What happens when we look at the tricky arena of the five player game?

Abluxxen: Andrew 30, Andy 21, Sam 16, Martin 16, Joe 8
Igloo Pop: Andy 29, Andrew 21, Joe 17, Martin 16, Sam 14
Port Royal: Andrew 13, Joe 11, Andy 9, Martin 9, Sam 4
Skull & Roses: Joe, Andrew, Martin, Sam, Andy
6nimmt: Joe 10, Sam 20, Andy 23, Andrew 23, Martin 59
Port Royal: Andy 12, Joe 10 (and cash), Martin 10, Andrew 7, Sam 5
Skull & Roses: Andy, Martin, Sam, Andrew, Joe

So, all of this means that if we want to do well:

Martin should avoid me and Adam or Andy and Joe
I should avoid Martin and Joe
Ian should avoid Martin and me
Joe should avoid Martin, Ian and me
and Sam should avoid Andy, me, Joe and Martin.

If we keep that in mind, we're bound to win all our games!


  1. Does this cover every game since 2014, or just the games from one season?

  2. Awesome Andrew! (Is there a head to head division where I don't come last?)