Do we go to time?

There has been a lot of talk lately about “pace of play” – and as a consequence of that, stats have been circulated showing that more games go to time in X-wing 2nd edition vs 1st edition.

In this post, I will explain how we arrived at those numbers, as well as try to dig a bit deeper to see if there are any good indicators as to what causes more games to go to time. I will try not to speculate and simply state what the data shows. The post is written “in real time”, meaning that I essentially analyze as I go. So you can see my thought-process shine through to some degree.

Thanks to Chris Allen for working with me on this, and to Sozin for providing the 1st edition data needed.

Feedback, in the civilized form, is very welcome – please leave a comment below.

Conclusions

As a sort of TLDR, the summary of the conclusions are:

  • About twice as many games go to time in 2nd edition compared to the Post-wave 11 1st edition.
  • Less games go to time in larger events. This is a smaller effect, and we see it in both 1st and 2nd edition.
  • Games involving the “launch factions” (Rebel, Empire, Scum) are less likely to go to time, which in turn means that games in Extended events historically have been much less likely to go to time, as these events have seen a high representation of these three factions. We don’t know if this is due to increased familarity with the pilots, cards and effects used by those factions, or just because they are inheriently faster to play. Note, however, that the Separatist faction specifically is very close to the “launch factions” in this regard, well within statistical uncertaincy. Also note that it seems unlikely that the “increased familarity” hypothesis will hold, as Resistance and First Order have the lowest game completion ratio of any faction.
  • The total number of ships on the table have a significant effect on the completion-rate of the game, and particulary with more that 8 total ships on the table we can see the completion-rate of games fall quite a bit.
  • Despite looking at the data in many different ways, the general tendency that 2nd edition games are significantly less like to finish in time compared to 1st edition is stronger than any other effect.

If you are interested in the details, please read on 🙂

The data

For 1st edition I am using a complete database dump of Star Wars X-Wing List Juggler provided to me by Sozin.

For 2nd edition the data is extracted from Listfortress.

Note that as this requires more detailed “matchup data” as opposed to only “tournament data”, not every tournament is included – specifically for 2nd edition, we only started getting matchup data in March 2019.

I’ve defined “Finished at time” as “One player got 200 points” (100 in 1st edition). Technically some of these might have gone “to time”, and completed in the current round, but I still count these games as “Finished at time”.

In order to ensure the data is valid, some filters have been applied:

  • Only swiss games are considered. Games in the cut are often recorded as 200-0 in the records, rather than the actual score.
  • Bye-games are discarded
  • “Final Salvo” and “Draw” games are excluded as it is non-consistent how scoring has been applied from them. These were only explicitely tracked in Listjuggler (1st edition) – and the effect is minimal in either case

Baseline – 1st edition

Only basic analysis is done on 1st edition data – the point is mostly to serve as a point of comparison to the numbers we see in 2nd edition.

1st Edition Swiss games
No byes, no salvos
#games#games
finished
at time
%games
finished
at time
%games
not
finished
at time
All1232479570677.7%22.3%
After August 2017 472003677277.9%22.1%
After August 2017,
60+ player tournament
196151587380.9%19.1%

So in conclusion 77.7% af all recorded 1st edition games finished with one player having lost all his ships, while 22.3% of the games was decided on who scored the most points. If we look only at the latter part of 1st edition, the completion-rate increases slightly. If we furthermore narrow down to larger tournaments, where we can reasonably expect more familarity from the players, and also increased focus on the game, the completion rate increases significantly to 80.9%.

Baseline – 2nd edition

In order to compare directly to the 1st edition numbers, here is the same data for 2nd edition. As previously mentioned note that “all” means “after march 2019” as data on individual games were not being tracked before that. Also note that several major tournaments does provide data on individual games.

2nd Edition Swiss games
No byes
#games#games
finished
at time
%games
finished
at time
%games
not
finished
at time
All10846591154.5%45.5%
All,
60+ player tournament
4261 243757.2%42.8%

So in conclusion 54.5% of all recordded 2nd edition games finished with one player having lost all his ships, while 45.5% did not. If we only look at larger tournaments, we see some of the same effect that we saw in the first edition data. (Increased % of games finish at time).

These numbers support the statement that about twice as many games “go to time” in 2nd edition compared to 1st edition.

2nd edition, split by wave

While the 2nd edition data is limited, I’ve split the data in two:

  • Wave 2b games; i.e. games recorded after the points change in january 2019 and before the official launch of Wave 3
  • Wave 3 games; i.e. games recorded after the official launch of Wave 3 and before the official launch of Wave 4.
2nd Edition Swiss games
No byes
#games#games
finished
at time
%games
finished
at time
%games
not
finished
at time
Wave 2b1359 80058.9%41.1%
Wave 2b,
60+ player tournament
592 38765.4%34.6%
Wave 38416451153.6%46.4%
Wave 3,
60+ player tournament
3669 2050 55.9%44.1%

Here we see an obvious outlier – Wave 2b tournaments with 60+ players have a much higher completion rate. The data is, however, very limited in number – 592 games are not a lot. They come from just three early hyperspace trials. Digging down into those we find:

2nd Edition Swiss games
Wave 2b, 60+ players
No byes
#games#games
finished
at time
%games
finished
at time
%games
not
finished
at time
Element Games (UK)
Hyperspace Trial
23617272.9%27.1%
Game On Bathurst (AU)
Hyperspace Trial
16810864.3%35.7%
Games U (US)
Hyperspace Trial
16810763.7%36.3%

Hard to conclude anything from this directly. All three tournaments are well above the average in completion ratio with the Element Games Trial being way above. A hypothesis could be that the Hyperspace format itself lends to more games completed. Another could be that these three trials all took place in the back half of Wave 2 – with most of the used content having been out for a long time, and hence players were more familiar with it. A third perspective could be that the completion ratio has dropped as a direct result of content introduced in Wave 3 that slows down play significantly. These hypotheses will be explored below.

2nd edition, split by format

Hypothesis: Hyperspace games are inheriently more likely to finish at time.

Note: In order to counter any specific issues with the small dataset for Wave 2b in general, we will be using wave 3 data only here. If there is a “hyperspace effect” if should be visible in wave 3 data as well. If we were to use Wave 2b data the three tournaments above would be such a large part of the data, that the hypothesis would be proven by default.

2nd Edition Swiss games
Wave 3
No byes
#games#games
finished
at time
%games
finished
at time
%games
not
finished
at time
Wave 3 baseline8416451153.6%46.4%
Wave 3 baseline,
60+ players
36692050 55.9%44.1%
Hyperspace5018260451.9%48.1%
Hyperspace,
32+ players
3874206653.3%46.7%
Hyperspace,
60+ players
137472252.5%47.5%
Extended3398190756.1%43.9%
Extended,
60+ players
2295132857.9%42.1%

Looking at the data above, it quite clearly shows that there is no evidence for suggesting that Hyperspace has a higher completion ratio than Extended, quite to the contrary. It does, however, potentially strengthen the other two hypotheses; as Extended in wave 3 was dominated by the three original factions, i.e. most players played one of the three original factions, while Resistance, First Order, Republic and CIS were played a lot more in Hyperspace in Wave 3. So perhaps something available in these four factions are slowing down the games?

2nd edition, split by faction

Hypothesis: Some factions are more likely to complete their games than others

2nd Edition Swiss games
Wave 3, 60+
No byes
#games#games
finished
at time
%games
finished
at time
%games
not
finished
at time
Wave 3, 60+ Baseline8416451153.6%46.4%
Rebel Alliance1908110357.8%42.2%
Galactic Empire1676 93856.0%44.4%
Scum and Villainy 852 52061.0%39.0%
Resistance 705 34749.2%50.8%
First Order 436 20847.7%52.3%
Galactic Republic 542 27951.5%48.5%
Separatist Alliance 362 20055.2%44.8%

These numbers seem to support that the “original three factions” overall finish more games on time. While the direction of this causal relationsship is not proveable – it is reasonable to conclude that Extended tournaments have more completed games than Hyperspace because most of the participants play those factions, than to argue the reverse. Of special note, however, is that Seperatists are very close in their completion ratio to the three “original factions”, and they are the only faction of the four “new” factions that are above the Wave 3 average.

We can also, with some certaincy, conclude that the “familarity” hypothesis does not hold, at least not for Resistance and First Order. They have been out since December 2018, and despite that they have the lowest completion ratio of any factions.

Let’s explore some other facets of the data – starting with the number of ships on the table

2nd edition, by total shipcount

Hypothesis: More ships on the table decrease the chances the games complete on time

2nd Edition Swiss games
Wave 3, 60+
No byes
#games#games
finished
at time
%games
finished
at time
%games
not
finished
at time
Wave 3, 60+ Baseline8416451153.6%46.4%
4-5 ships total 162 11269.1%38.9%
6 ships total 652 43066.0%34.0%
7 ships total1106 65759.4%40.6%
8 ships total 936 47851.1%48.9%
9 ships total 398 18346.0%54.0%
10 ships total 249 11245.0%55.0%
11 ships total 84 4047.6%52.4%
12-14 ships total 47 2144.7%55.3%

From this we can see a clear tendency that number of ships on the table matter a lot. There is a large effect here. An obvious remark could be whether this effect explains the faction-difference shown before. To examine this, let us look at the average shipcount of lists split by faction:

FactionAvg. Shipcount for Wave 3%games
finished
at time
Wave 3, 60+ Baseline3.853.6%
Rebel Alliance3.757.8%
Galactic Empire4.156.0%
Scum & Villainy3.361.0%
Resistance3.849.2%
First Order3.347.7%
Galactic Republic4.151.5%
Separatist Alliance5.055.2%

There seems to be no strong relation here. First Order and Scum on average have the lowest shipcount (3.3) – but while Scum is also the faction most likely to complete games in time, First Order is the least like to do so. Separatists have the highest shipcount, but actually complete more games at time than the average.

This does, however, lead to two new hypothesis:

  • The list size of the winning player matters more than the total number of ships, as the winning player can choose to play slower
  • The initiative of the winning player matters quite a lot as evidenced by the low First Order completion rate (“Aces drag the game out”)

2nd Edition, by shipcount of winning player

2nd Edition Swiss games
Wave 3, 60+
No byes
#games#games
finished
at time
%games
finished
at time
%games
not
finished
at time
Wave 3, 60+ Baseline8416451153.6%46.4%
2 ships 198 10352.0%48.0%
3 ships1213 70458.0%42.0%
4 ships1600 92958.1%41.9%
5 ships 357 17749.6%50.4%
6 ships 202 9145.0%55.0%
7-8 ships 64 29 45.3%54.7%

From this we can conclude that 3 and 4 ship lists are significantly more likely to finish at time if they win. 2 ship lists are slightly more likely to “win at time”, which might confirm the hypothesis that there is a certain element of aces playing it safe close ti time. In order to explore this further, I had originally intended to look at the average (and/or maximum) initiative of lists and compare their completion ratio – but let us instead look at specific pilots and upgrades that are likely candidates for going to time.

2nd edition, by content of winning list (selected)

2nd Edition Swiss games
Wave 3, 60+
No byes
#games#games
finished
at time
%games
finished
at time
%games
not
finished
at time
Wave 3, 60+ Baseline8416451153.6%46.4%
Upgrade: R2 Astromech
or R2-D2
391 21454.7%45.3%
Upgrade: R2 Astromech
or R2-D2 – Rebel
229 13458.5%41.5%
Upgrade: R2 Astromech
– Republic
160 8050.0%50.0%
Pilot: Soontir Fel 294 16355.4%44.6%
Pilot: Kylo Ren 123 5847.2%52.8%
Pilot: Lt. Tavson 126 4838.1%61.9%
Pilot: Anakin Skywalker
(Aethersprite)
164 7646.3%53.7%
Pilot: Poe Dameron 112 5246.4%53.6%
Pilot: L’ulo L’ampar 279 13548.4%51.6%
List: Quad Phantom 174 11063.2%36.8%
List: Rebel Beef 611 38763.3%36.7%
List: Iden Howlrunner
swarm (6 ships)
104 4846.1%53.9%

From the table above it is clear that some pilots (Kylo, Tavson, Anakin, Poe, L’ulo) have an effect in not having the game go to time. Surprisingly Rebel Regen is higher than average in completion ratio, but they are still above the average rate for rebel lists (57.8%)

2nd Edition, by type of ship

Hypothesis: Repositioning is a bigger part of the game in 2nd edition, so moving ships and deciding on actions take longer

Lets look at ships. Note that the numbers no longer mean “number of games” – but rather “number of ship-games” – meaning that for instance one game with 6 TIE-fighters vs 3 Aethersprites will count as 6 “TIE fighter games” and 3 “Aethersprite games”. This also means that we need to calculate a new baseline-number, as included in the first row. Since this table is substantially larger, I will reduce the detail-level in the data, showing only the ship-name and the percentage of games that ended with one player losing all ships. I have also limited the data to ships with at least 200 “ship-games”. This limits the list from 59 ships to 32. If anyone wants the full table of data to check my calculations, please reach out to me.

Ship%games
finished
at time
Baseline53,9%
A/SF-01 B-wing55,4%
ARC-170 Starfighter55,2%
Alpha-class Star Wing53,0%
BTL-A4 Y-wing54,2%
BTL-S8 K-wing53,6%
Delta-7 Aethersprite51,3%
Fang Fighter65,6%
Firespray-class Patrol Craft56,7%
Lambda-class T-4a Shuttle51,9%
Modified YT-1300 Light Freighter60,2%
RZ-1 A-wing51,4%
RZ-2 A-wing43,2%
Scurrg H-6 Bomber60,5%
Sith Infiltrator60,1%
StarViper-class Attack Platform53,6%
T-65 X-Wing59,9%
T-70 X-wing51,0%
TIE Advanced x157,9%
TIE Interceptor58,9%
TIE Reaper50,5%
TIE/fo Fighter48,0%
TIE/ln Fighter46,2%
TIE/ph Phantom57,1%
TIE/sa Bomber61,8%
TIE/sf Fighter50,2%
TIE/sk Striker57,6%
TIE/vn Silencer48,9%
UT-60D U-wing54,9%
Upsilon-class command shuttle40,9%
V-19 Torrent Starfighter42,1%
Vulture-Class Droid Fighter48,6%
Z-95-AF4 Headhunter42,8%

While the numbers above are not directly comparable to the other data, it can be compared to the baseline, and to the other ships in the table.

It is quite clear that the primary driver for the differences within 2nd edition is the factions. If look at some of the ships with linked repositioning actions, there is no strong evidence that this, by itself, drives game-completion-rates down. The Fang Fighter, for instance, has a quite flexible dial, and the ability to both boost and barrel roll – but it is also the ship with the highest game completion-rate of any. The TIE Interceptor likewise is above average. The Aethersprite and and the TIE Silencer also have double repositioning and quite low game-completion-rates – but that is consistent with the general completion-rates seen in the faction-numbers for Republic and First Order.

Conclusion

So what can we conclude from all this?

  • About twice as many games go to time in 2nd edition compared to the Post-wave 11 1st edition.
  • Less games go to time in larger events. This is a smaller effect, and we see it in both 1st and 2nd edition.
  • Games involving the “launch factions” (Rebel, Empire, Scum) are less likely to go to time, which in turn means that games in Extended events historically have been much less likely to go to time, as these events have seen a high representation of these three factions. We don’t know if this is due to increased familarity with the pilots, cards and effects used by those factions, or just because they are inheriently faster to play. Note, however, that the Separatist faction specifically is very close to the “launch factions” in this regard, well within statistical uncertaincy.
  • However, it seems unlikely that the “increased familarity” hypothesis will hold, as Resistance and First Order have the lowest game completion ratio of any faction.
  • The total number of ships on the table have a significant effect on the completion-rate of the game, and particulary with more that 8 total ships on the table we can see the completion-rate of games fall quite a bit.
  • Despite looking at the data in many different ways, the general tendency that 2nd edition games are significantly less like to finish in time compared to 1st edition is stronger than any other effect.

Let me know in the comments if you have a theory on this that would like to explore – I might just do that 🙂

2 Replies to “Do we go to time?”

  1. I would ve interested to break it down more by faction style. If you consider the particular identities of each faction.

    Rebels Scum and imps have more than one viable competitive style that plays differently to the other. In broadest terms, tie swarm vs trip aces. These lists will have different time constraints due to the findings you have already posted above.

    With resistance or republic, most people have gravitated towards one type of list as opposed to different styles. Or is the faction deaigned so that it plays in a certain way?

    Something to consider maybe

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