Unbeaten for 55 games?

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Unbeaten for 55 games?

Postby Guest » Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:42 pm

Hi, new member here.

I've owned Korsun Pocket for several years, but have never managed to learn to play it. There's nothing too different or difficult about this game, compared to others, but it seems in the last several years I've really not been able to learn any new games. But I've installed it again and will try again. In any case, that is not why I'm posting.

I've lurked here for a number of years and there is something I've always wondered about.
There is a player on the PBEM ladder, handle of Fantassin, who has a record of 55 wins, no losses. This player is not currently active, so in order to see his record, one has to click on All Time, as opposed to currently Active players.

Now I'm thinking, how is an unbeaten record like that possible? I've been playing computer wargames for nearly 25 years, including various games played by email and I find it hard to believe such a win streak is possible without cheating somehow - or exploiting some kind of loophole in the game, which essentially amounts to cheating as well.

This is actually what I'm kind of concerned about, namely, the possibility that the game's PBEM system is in fact not entirely secure and can be manipulated to one's advantage.

I'm not here to admonish anyone, or accuse anyone of cheating, although it seems to me that a winning record such as this is bound to elicit some comments, although it doesn't appear to have.

So what's the story with this player?

Edit: And not just 55 wins, but all except 3 were either overwhelming or decisive wins. The 3 others were marginal wins.
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Postby Joe » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:59 pm

One time there was a controversy we are not allowed to talk about.

The only way to break the security would be to be a programmer.

I played that character in the game before Korsun pocket (TAO2) which had no security and he was a good player then.

The latest game is 4 games later - the User Interface is so much better I would recommend you move to Kharkov.

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Postby Strax » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:45 pm

Joe wrote:One time there was a controversy we are not allowed to talk about.

The only way to break the security would be to be a programmer.

I played that character in the game before Korsun pocket (TAO2) which had no security and he was a good player then.

The latest game is 4 games later - the User Interface is so much better I would recommend you move to Kharkov.

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Not allowed to talk about it...The bloke was a cheat and spoilt a tournament. Because of him nobody uses the ladder anymore either.
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Postby Guest » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:08 am

Joe wrote:One time there was a controversy we are not allowed to talk about.

Allright, then someone PM me please with all the juicy details.

The only way to break the security would be to be a programmer.

Programmers are a dime a dozen, from what I understand. I did read some of Fantassin's old posts last night and he comes across as a person who knows a thing or two about computers.

I played that character in the game before Korsun pocket (TAO2) which had no security and he was a good player then.

"That character"?
There's such a thing as a good player, granted. Then there's a 55-game winning record which, all things being equal and in my opinion, seems near impossible to achieve.
A 10-game winning streak? Yeah, that's possible, I suppose.
15-20 would be really stretching it, in my opinion.
55? Impossible.
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Postby Guest » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:15 am

Strax wrote:Not allowed to talk about it...The bloke was a cheat and spoilt a tournament. Because of him nobody uses the ladder anymore either.

If that is true then that's all the more reason to discuss the details, so that everyone knows of any potential problems.

I've always been of the opinion that gaming clubs and ladder clubs should always strive to publicize any shortcomings of a game that some unscrupulous players might take advantage of, in order to keep everyone informed and on notice what to look out for. I think it's very important for clubs to do that because I think this is the best way to keep things honest.

Not allowing players to talk about these things strikes me as bizarre. It gives me the impression that there indeed might be "issues" with a game that some players with a little more knowledge might be able to take advantage of, while others remain clueless.
Not the way to do things, in my opinion.
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Postby Strax » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:27 am

You're scratching at old, nearly heald, sores.
I wonder why a noob would have such an interest?
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Postby Guest » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:43 am

Strax wrote:You're scratching at old, nearly heald, sores.
I wonder why a noob would have such an interest?

Why wouldn't a noob be interested when he sees a 55-game winning streak on the ladder, with nary a comment about it on the discussion board?

Just to clarify, I'm not here to try to find faults with a six-year-old game. In fact, I'd really very much like to learn to play it, but as I said in my original post, nowadays I install a game, read the manual, try to work my way through a tutorial - and my eyes just start to glaze over at the mere thought of all that. Not just KP, but just about any other newer games as well.
I have Battlefront, I have Advanced Tactics WW2, I have Pacific War and I have scores of HPS games. They're all suffering the same fate.
Eventually, I fall back to playing Civ III, which I'm really, really tired of after playing it for some 10 years - or Railroad Tycoon II, or Combat Mission.

So, like I said, someone PM please, or at least send me a link to where this business might have been discussed.
I realize this is a company website, so maybe this was discussed someplace else?

The more you try to sweep this issue under the rug, the more mysterious and alluring it becomes.

Edit: I scrollled about half-way down the Announcement/News forum and there indeed appears a topic in which someone asked some questions about this. It is the topic entitled Ladder scoring system observation... started by Canuck.
In that topic, sorcerer explains:

When I first signed up for the ladder a few years ago, I was also struck by that...wow..that guy hasn't lost a ladder game ever. I thought surely once the dice have gone against him in a close game.

Anyway...there have been a couple of ''scandals'' regarding the member you refer to in your post. Some long standing and respected members of this forum put forward evidence of that user cheating. However it was then explained that the level of evidence has to be at ''smoking gun'' level for something to be done.

So the user in question wasn't removed from the website or ladder, but from that time he did stop playing games and also since then certain forum members refuse to play PBEM against him.


Interesting. So at least I'm not the only one who finds a 55-game winning record suspicious.
I agree that, often in these cases, the only way to try to rectify the situation is to boycott the player in question, as "smoking gun" evidence might be impossible to obtain.
Still, it leaves open the question of exactly how this person may have cheated. Hacking into the program is beyond most player's abilities, but as I said earlier, people with programming knowledge are a dime a dozen.
It would take a rare combination of programming skills, along with a strong interest in this niche hobby, for someone to play no less than 55 PBEM games, knowing that he would win every one and thereby removing most of the fun aspects of playing.
Who would have an interest in doing that? A competitor maybe? A former disgruntled employee?
:?:
Last edited by Guest on Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Strax » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:07 am

Ok, to start with, welcome to the forum. All of us welcome debate and the question you have is valid. I can't answer it though. I too am amazed by Fantasin's results and it was questioned at the time and eventually put right. He was disqualified from a tourney and that, we all thought, was that.

I think he damaged this forum and ladder system beyond repair, certainly the ladder has never been taken seriously since. Also the forum has changed a little. Politics and cheating are no longer to be discussed. I think this move was made for the sake of harmony between players. It seems to work.

This is more a fans forum than a SSG Forum. We discuss tactis and bugs. We arrange games amongst ourselves and join tourneys. Please feel welcome to join in.
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Postby Guest » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:42 am

Strax wrote:I think he damaged this forum and ladder system beyond repair, certainly the ladder has never been taken seriously since.

And that is precisely the point I am making. While I see nothing wrong with the forum, I think the ladder has definitely suffered. I can see that even without having been a member.

Re-read my previous post, as I added to it considerably.

Thanks for the welcome, but as I said, I've yet to learn KP, let alone Battlefront, so don't hold your breath waiting for me to do much playing anytime soon.
It's just this ladder business that's fascinated me for all these years. :?
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Postby Strax » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:36 am

We're all very freindly. Grognards would be happy to teach you the game and show you a lot more than the AI ever would. It's the best way to learn.
I won't hold my breath waiting for you, no. Just join in if you want.


EDIT: as you have said, you've added to your above post. Perhaps then you can see that it was a long time ago. Nobody here , as far as i can tell, now cheats. Don't let this ugly episode of the past put you off playing these great games.
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Postby Joe » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:21 am

The thread was here and then deleted.

Anybody who tells you anything is working from memory. Probably faulty memory. From my faultless memory 8) it was about 4 years ago.

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Postby Fantassin » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:28 am

I still read these forums and my memory is very good. Members may believe what they want, I can't do anything about it. I gave my word to not comment about this so I won't start today.

AFAIK, SGG games have no problem with PBEM security so you don't have to refrain you from playing any of them. And if you're interested in learning different strategies, don't hesitate to read the various AAR you may find here http://www.ssg.com.au/?page=afteractionreplays. You can read my own contributions as I still maintain my web pages for pictures publication.

And about overwhelming victories in the ladder, you must know that resigning a game gives such a level of victory to the victorious side. Except for short scenorios, a lot of game aren't played to the end.
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Postby Guest » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:41 am

OK, I'll just make a final comment before this thread gets locked or I get banned. :wink:

Roger Keating has sent me two PM's, explaining what he thought had happened. Actually, I almost thought the first was a carefully worded cease-and-desist letter :P (it probably was) , but the second went into a fairly detailed explanation.

I'm obviously not going to repeat here what he said, but suffice it to say that I don't think there is anything earth-shattering that was "revealed". I think if he posted the PM he wrote to me here on the discussion board, it might put to rest questions other people may have.

I just don't understand the necessity for all the drama and mystery, but since this is Mr. Keating's company website, one can only respect his wishes.

One final point.
If a person really wanted to cheat and get away with it, he would at least be smart enough to occassionally lose a game on purpose, so as not to arouse suspicion. So instead of a 55-0 record, a person might accumulate a 40-15 record, or something like that, and still remain at the top of the ladder.
So the question now becomes, why would a person accumulate a 55-0 record, knowing this would surely arouse suspicion?
The only logical answer I can think of, is to draw attention to the fact that the PBEM security can in fact be compromised. However, if the compromise was made by hacking into the program, then this certainly would not reflect badly on the program itself, since 99.9% of players do not have the ability to hack into a program and the developer has done everything to make the program secure.

Well, I don't know what else to say. As I stated in my original post, I haven't even learned to play the game, so at least I could be considered an impartial observer.

Oh and Fantassin, thanks for your input. I guess everyone's sworn to the utmost secrecy. :?

Oh, the drama! :lol:

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Postby Dale H » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:38 am

AllTempaCheer wrote:
I have Battlefront, I have Advanced Tactics WW2, I have Pacific War and I have scores of HPS games. They're all suffering the same fate.
Eventually, I fall back to playing Civ III, which I'm really, really tired of after playing it for some 10 years - or Railroad Tycoon II, or Combat Mission.



You have been playing a lot of Civ3. Why did you not go on to Civ4? Just curious. If you are getting tired of Civ3 why not go on to Civ4, probably the best game of its type on the planet?

What about SSG's games have you stalled? Have you not tried to just jump in & play the AI? What exactly gets you stuck? Again I am just curious.

You have a stable of some of the best computer wargames around (SSG's, of course) & they just sit & yet you can play Civ3. I am missing something here. It doesn't compute.

Are you just trolling?
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Postby Guest » Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:15 pm

Dale H wrote:You have been playing a lot of Civ3. Why did you not go on to Civ4? Just curious. If you are getting tired of Civ3 why not go on to Civ4, probably the best game of its type on the planet?

I'm tired of the Civ series in general, for one thing. Although I understand it's an optional part of the game, I don't like the prominence given to religion in the game - 'nuff said on that score.
They also apparently took out some features of CivIII that were very good, instead of expanding on them. Volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters for example. Earthquakes and floods have been major catastrophes that previous civilizations have suffered. The remnants of the great library in Alexandria, for example, currently sit underwater. Who knows how many earthquakes leveled cities in ancient times?
I think Sid Meier and his lot have gotten enough of my money over the years.

What about SSG's games have you stalled?

You mean installed? Currently only KP, but in the past also Battlefront. Oh and I also have CCAW installed. I mean the old one.

Have you not tried to just jump in & play the AI? What exactly gets you stuck? Again I am just curious.

Yes, I've tried to just jump in and that used to work with games 20 years ago, but nowadays that won't get you far with any game worth playing. There's just too much to do. Too many little ins and outs.
Basically, what gets me stuck is just apathy.

You have a stable of some of the best computer wargames around (SSG's, of course) & they just sit & yet you can play Civ3. I am missing something here. It doesn't compute.

Are you just trolling?

Yes, I know I have some good games and, no, I'm not trolling.

ps- I just read the sticky topic asking people not to discuss cheating. Uhh...oops, too late. Sorry. Doesn't anybody know that the first rule about sticky topics is that no one reads them? :lol:

Now let me get back to playing pool on Pogo and maybe later on I'll reinstall Empire Deluxe. :roll:
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