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Online draft

Postby wobnam » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:05 am

Bluesecrets and me were talking about the possibility of doing an online draft.

(For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a draft is a fun AFOL activity where everyone who wants to participate purchases a copy of one particular set. The sets are then parted out by piece, and the participants pull a random number and start picking pieces in order until all the pieces are gone. Basically, it's re-parting a set to give each participant more of what s/he wants.)

We haven't really figured out all the details for how this would work online, but having one person who makes the actual purchase and parts/ships seems reasonable to avoid excess shipping. For the actual drafting process, one could just do it in a forum thread or chat, but we've also thought about setting up a web page with participant user accounts that handles it. One issue here is that the regular way of picking by turn can prove to be very time consuming unless everyone is on at the same time, so a sort of prioritized list might work better..?

Anyway, at this point it's just an idea, so we'd love your input on how to do it and/or whether it's something you'd want to be a part of.
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Re: Online draft

Postby Eklund » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:44 am

What would be the price range of the set?
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Re: Online draft

Postby Seasian » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:02 am

Id also be interested depending on the set price range
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Re: Online draft

Postby Bluesecrets » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:06 am

Guys we are looking for input so it can be fully planned and run smoothly. Its not ready to be run yet.
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Re: Online draft

Postby Fraslund » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:35 am

I would be down for this.
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Re: Online draft

Postby Handar » Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:26 am

wobnam wrote:Anyway, at this point it's just an idea, so we'd love your input on how to do it and/or whether it's something you'd want to be a part of.


I think it's a really neat idea, and the suggestion to have only one person buy the sets and handle the shipping makes a lot of sense.

Since you asked for input, let me suggest a few things.

(i) Choose someone to buy the sets who has access to (relatively) cheap Lego prices and shipping costs. This obviously varies by country, and it would be worth keeping in mind. It's also something that could easily be overlooked.

(ii) It might be wise to determine some sort of public way to set the draft order. There may be hurt feelings if someone hosting the draft draws a high first pick, and that could turn unpleasant. I think there are online dice rolling programs that allow you to record your results (they're often used by play-by-post online roll players). You might want to look into that, or think of some other public way of setting up the draft order.

(iii) Look into how drafts are conducted for online sports fantasy pools. This seems like the closest analogy. You can dictate that those participating must be online at a certain time (probably a weekend, given the potentially wide disparity in time zones), and then give each person five minutes to make their decision. Chat would work, but it might be more fun to watch it unfold on the forum. Alternatively, you might want to look into seeing if there was any custom software for running fantasy drafts. Surely that must exist and could be easily customized for your purpose.

(iv) Don't by the sets until after the draft actually takes place. Even though everyone will have the best of intentions, it seems that emergencies frequently interrupt these sorts of things. You don't want to buy six sets, for example, and have only five people able to participate in the draft. This creates money problems (refunding the money collected from the sixth person who had to back out, collecting just a bit more from those who did participate to cover the now extra set).

(v) Be firm. Set the date and time, and expect people to show up then. If they do not, for whatever reason, then they are ineligible to participate this time around. Otherwise, trying to sort out the individual schedules of an international group of people would be a nightmare.

(vi) If I may be so bold, I'll even offer a suggestion for the set to choose. The Cannibal Escape turned out to be a very pleasant surprise for me when I picked one up on a whim a few weeks ago. It's chock-full of very interesting and useful pieces in handy colours. I'll just toss that out there.

Hopefully some of these thoughts will turn out to be useful to you. Even if they don't, I hope you'll enjoy the whole event. :)
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Re: Online draft

Postby Albatross_Viking » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:53 pm

Depending on the set and final rules, I like this idea, and may want to participate.
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Re: Online draft

Postby wobnam » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:04 pm

Eklund, Seasian & Albatross_Viking: What price range/themes/sets do you think are good?

Handar: Thank you for your excellent input.

I agree that if the draft is to be done by live turn, it has to be done at a specific time when everyone is on. But is this the best way to do it? Finding a time that is good for everyone, with participants potentially from around the world, might prove difficult. Then there's all the problems that will arise if someone doesn't show up, or experience technical issues - seems very unfair that you should end up with all the worst parts just because your net is down for half an hour sunday night. I imagine a lot of people would want out if something like this happened.

A different way of doing it, as I mentioned in the first post, is leaving it to a computer program. Here's the software I'm imagining:

1: The draft lots are added to an online database, and each participant is given a user account.

2: Everyone logs in and create their personal prioritized list, sorting all the lots by how much they want them.

3: When all the lists are ready, the computer assigns a random draft order.

4: Using this order, the computer performs the draft, always picking for each individual the highest prioritized available part on their list.

What do you think?
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Re: Online draft

Postby AK_Brickster » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:36 pm

Wobnam, I think you are on to something as far as practicality goes. That definitely seems like the most fair, simplest way to do something like this.
I also like the idea of one person buying all of the sets, as it enables them to take advantage of BOGO or a local sale (don't forget about "Bricktober" at TRU this month!)

Despite the practicality, however, your above suggestion seems a bit dry as far as participation goes. Maybe that's not something that anyone is worried about, but it might be more fun if there was a way to do it with a little more participation from those who could be there live. Why not combine ideas and do something like a Skype conference call (host could be on video stream so people could see what they are picking) and use a combination of your above suggestions for those who can't be present along with live participation from those who can be?

Attendees could see what's left and choose accordingly, and those who aren't there would have their selections made via pre-submitted priority list.

What do you think?

PS, I'd be interested if we keep it below $20 each. Also, since it seems like one person is going to be doing the purchasing, it seems you could do a larger set like the village raid (which is on sale on Amazon now anyway) and just buy a few sets with the cost being split equally among participants.

I'm interested in what you think of these ideas...
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Re: Online draft

Postby Handar » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:05 pm

wobnam wrote:I agree that if the draft is to be done by live turn, it has to be done at a specific time when everyone is on. But is this the best way to do it? Finding a time that is good for everyone, with participants potentially from around the world, might prove difficult. Then there's all the problems that will arise if someone doesn't show up, or experience technical issues - seems very unfair that you should end up with all the worst parts just because your net is down for half an hour sunday night. I imagine a lot of people would want out if something like this happened.


I think the live turn based approach would be the most fun, and part of the appeal of a draft is this fun aspect. Similar activities, like fantasy league drafts, manage to get everyone online at the appropriate time, so I suspect that people would make it a priority to be online and attend.

My suggestion is that should someone not show up or should a person have serious technical issues then that individual would be dropped from the draft altogether. It seems unfair to stick him or her with all the worst pieces. It would be unfortunate still to miss out, but less unfortunate than spending the money and getting the bad bits in return. It's for that reason that I also suggest buying the sets only after the draft has actually been performed. That way you would have only as many sets as those who actually participated, as opposed to those who merely signed up.

On that system, there would be concerns about prompt payments, people backing out after the draft, etc. This would be minimized, I would think, if participation was limited to those in good standing here. I'd check with Josh to see if the system he used for his jambalaya was reasonable on that point.

----Edit----

This probably goes without saying, but I would suggest having each of the lots already sorted out and posted at least week in advance to give people time to make their own wishlists. If you do hold a 'live' draft, it will make that run much more quickly.
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Re: Online draft

Postby svede » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:29 pm

wobnam wrote:
A different way of doing it, as I mentioned in the first post, is leaving it to a computer program. Here's the software I'm imagining:

1: The draft lots are added to an online database, and each participant is given a user account.

2: Everyone logs in and create their personal prioritized list, sorting all the lots by how much they want them.

3: When all the lists are ready, the computer assigns a random draft order.

4: Using this order, the computer performs the draft, always picking for each individual the highest prioritized available part on their list.

What do you think?


I don't think I will be able to join the draft this time, but I would be very interested in the particulars of how it goes and how you decide to run this. I am a software engineer that specializes in internet applications so something like this would not be difficult to create.. Of course I would not have the time for this go around to write it, but perhaps in the semi-near future, if details were tracked I could use that to design the system.

Let me know!

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Re: Online draft

Postby Seasian » Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:19 pm

I think the system wobnam suggest might be best. Id be in for anything 50$ or less.
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Re: Online draft

Postby wobnam » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:23 pm

AK_Brickster and Handar; I agree, the list system is a bit "dry" and takes out some of the fun. It also takes away the option of making choices depending on what you've already got or missed.

I was already thinking about the possibility of having the website announce each pick with a minute or two delay between each, so that it could at least be followed by the people involved.

Extending this idea further; how about this?

1: The draft lots are added to an online database, and each participant is given a user account.

2: Everyone logs in and create their personal prioritized list, sorting all the lots by how much they want them.

3: When all the lists are ready, the computer assigns a random draft order.

4: The computer announces whose turn it is. If the user is logged in, s/he can manually pick a lot (overriding the list). Each turn lasts a few minutes.

5: If the user is not logged in, or if the allotted time runs out without the user making a choice, the system uses the list priority to make a choice.

This process can be witnessed on the website and, I imagine, those of us active on chat will use that for live discussion - but this, along with Skype or whatever other form of communication you wish to use - is optional.

svede wrote:perhaps in the semi-near future, if details were tracked I could use that to design the system.

I'll keep that in mind, thanks! :)
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Re: Online draft

Postby Eklund » Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:54 am

AK_Brickster wrote:PS, I'd be interested if we keep it below $20 each. Also, since it seems like one person is going to be doing the purchasing, it seems you could do a larger set like the village raid (which is on sale on Amazon now anyway) and just buy a few sets with the cost being split equally among participants.

I like both of those ideas.
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Re: Online draft

Postby Fraslund » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:27 pm

King’s Carriage Ambush on sale for $27... =)
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