Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Even Historical Driver Strategies for Championship Formula Racing

Back in June I talked about the three basic Historical Driver strategies for Championship Formula Racing: Front A, Even, and Back S.  A couple weeks ago we discussed variations on the Front strategy.  This time out, lets compare the three Even-ish Strategies and see how they riff on the theme of spending resources evenly.

My intent with the Mathy strategy was to have a car that took advantage of starred moves as much as possible.  The idea behind the Stalking strategy was to stay within striking distance for a move a little later in the race.

Same note as last time that these are not exactly the same as the versions of these strategies published in the game.  Reasons and links at the bottom of the article.

Now lets look at each Phase by Phase.  Same analysis process as last time... basically I'm measuring how much faster this strategy wants to go than a safe 0-wear plot.  More words at the bottom.

Phase 1

Not Starred:
Mathy: net +0 mph (100% +0)
Even: net +6 mph (72.2% +0, 27.8% +20)
Stalking: net +24 mph (11% +0, 58.4% +20, 30.6% +40)

Mathy: net +37 mph (44.5% +20, 27.8% +40, 27.8% +60)
Even: net +28 mph (58.4% +20, 41.7% +40)
Stalking: net +34 mph (30.6% +20, 69.5% +60)

In the first phase we can also look to see how likely the car is to push it's start speed:
Mathy: 56%
Even: 33%
Stalking: 72%

Starred vs. non-starred is going to be a real theme for this group of strategies.  You can see here that only Stalking is willing to spend some wear into the first corner unless it is an efficient play.

Phase 2: 

 All three of these strategies include conditionals if they have more wear than c.  So lets look at both parts of that equation separately.

For most races and drivers their wear will be lower than c initially but if no wear gets spent in the first couple of corners that can change on shorter tracks.

W < C
Not Starred:
Mathy: net +0 mph (100% +0)
Even: net +6 mph (72.2% +0, 27.8% +20)
Stalking: net +8 mph (58.3% +0, 41.7% +20)

Mathy: net +43 mph (41.7% +20, 58.4% +60)
Even: net +14 mph (27.7% +0, 72.3% +20)
Stalking: net +28 mph (58.4% +20, 41.7% +40)

W >= C
Not Starred:
Mathy: net +12 mph (41.6% +0, 58.4% +20)
Even: net +20 mph (27.7% +0, 44.5% +20, 27.8% +40)
Stalking: net +25 mph (16.6% +0, 41.7% +20, 41.7% +40)

Mathy: net +43 mph (41.7% +20, 58.4% +60)
Even: net +31 mph (44.5% +20, 55.6% +40)
Stalking: net +28 mph (58.4% +20, 41.7% +40)

So mostly, none of these strategies want to spend much in this phase... But Even will spend if it has w >= c; Stalking will spend more than Even if the move is starred or they have w >= c; and Mathy will spend more than either if its a starred move.

Phase 3

Not Starred:
Mathy: net +0 mph (100% +0)
Even: net +34 mph (27.8% +20, 72.3% +40)
Stalking: net +0 mph (100% +0)
Stalking (w >= 2c): net +8 mph (58.3% +0, 41.7% +20)

Mathy: net +37 mph (58.4% +20, 41.7% +60)
Even: net +34 mph (30.6% +20, 69.5% +40)
Stalking: net +20 mph (100% +20)

After last phase's variables, Phase 3 sees the Mathy and Stalking strategies revert to being mostly concerned with stars.  Even picks this middle phase of the race to be consistently prepared to spend some wear.

Phase 4

As usual, phase 4 has a lot of conditionals and cars will generally spend based on how much wear they have left at this point.  But one thing to note is that all three strategies can transition to this phase differently.

Mathy can get pushed here if they did not spend much wear earlier in the race and eventually gain w >= 2c.  Phase 4 for Mathy is much more willing to spend wear without there being a star than it's previous phases.

Even will only move to this phase if the car has entered the last 3rd of the race -- which is unusual.  And phase 4 for Even is very clearly defined by the wear remaining on the car -- have little wear: spend 1; have lots spend 2; in between spend 1 or 2.

Stalking has a more common transition to Phase 4 that includes moving here if w <= laps *2.  Which is really just a way to get them to Phase 5 quicker because Phase 4 for Stalking is actually its fastest phase.

Strategy Trends

Over the course of a race, HDs will spend most of their time in phases 2-4.  So let's quick see each strategy's progression over time:

(Not Starred/Starred) phase 2 >> phase 3 >> phase 4
Mathy net +0/43 >> +0/37 >> +5/48
Even net +6/14 >> +34/34 >> +20/20
Stalking net +8/28 >> +0/20 >> +23/42

I had to provide two numbers for each phase for these strategies because so much changes with stars.

Mathy basically only spends wear if there is a star for the whole race.

Even doesn't actually care much about stars and spends more middle and late than early.  Although that can vary if Even has a lot of wear left early in the race.

Stalking does care about stars but also defaults to spending wear late if it has it.

Next up I'll discuss the variations on the Back strategies.  Remember, links to the above 3 strategies below.

What is the Analysis Here?
The main way to measure a phase's intent is to look at the first starred and non-stared symbols in each tactic.  This gives you a sense of how much faster the car will likely try to go.  Think about it this way -- a car that wants to spend 1 wear in the upcoming corner will try to go 20 mph faster than a car that does not want to spend any wear, all other factors being equal.

If you then multiply each of those possible results by the odds of them being first choice, I get a net result of how much faster this car wants to go.  It might not be able to go that fast, but that's on the driver not the strategy.  I'm going to call this "net" in tables below.

Note that anything with 3 circles of any kind, should be considered starred because that is how the tracks are designed.  Also note, that if a tactic does not lead with a starred option, I'll count the first un-starred option for that tactics starred value since its more likely to be used.

How Are the Strategies Different?
Three minor editorial choices I've made since publication: 1) HDs can push start using only 1 green skill (the start speed test table changed a bit right before publication...); 2) I decided that the red skill chip could be used more places in relation to HD die rolls; 3) there were a few tactics that had 6 symbols on them and my BYO tool only allows for 5...  Links to these version in my BYO tool are at the end of this article.

Stalking (version 1.1)
Even (version 1.1)
Mathy (version 1.1)

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