Time Limits

Time Limits in TS: fair or not? Should they work? How should they exactly work?

Please discuss in comments.

Category: Uncategorized

19 Replies to “Time Limits“  

  • Janusz says:

    Hi guys!

    Regarding the time limit I would like to respond to all points raised by Nestor while making a general statement first – regardless of what we agree to be the best decision now, we can not change any tournament rules now. It won’t be fair for the participant, neither to change the result of already played games, not to have different players play different number of games under two different set of rules. Also note, that some players might not have joined if there were no time constraints, or a high ones. We can make the adjustment for next season and allow people right to decide if they want to join. I assume you were aware of the time limits, by the way – and if not, you should have read the rules (sorry for direct language, but it’s true).

    With this being said I will address every point of Nestor 1 by 1, defending the time limit.

    1. One also does not have unlimited free time to play game at home. We have different duties, work, families et c. Not to mention, that same argument you’re making is also valid for 2 hours limit, 3 hours limit et c, and “logical timeframe” is highly subjective.

    2. Limit is a limit. Just like win by 1VP is a win, exceeding limit by 1 sec. is a loss. I see no problem with this. Otherwise we also tun in heap paradox.

    3. I don’t see a reason why breaks should be guaranteed, or “right for a break”. Game of TS i s a really short one and no break is needed unless some extraordinary event happens. In such case I am quite sure the other player would allow pausing game – if not Wojtek will surely rule accordingly.

    4. This is actually a very good opportunity for those, who have more time, to allow themselves such luxury. If players can’t agree, they use standard setting, obviously. I am sure, it is enough just to drop an e-mail beforehand, no need to wit for response, so point is moot.

    5. Opens just Pandora’s box. The whole idea of rules is to have guidelines of what’s allowed and what’s not before engaging in activity. First of all, we do not need to get information about someone’s playing time to know, what timeframe is acceptable and what not. Secondly, if I know, what is allowed, I can plan to make the game in time and even rush few moves, if needed. If I don’t, I can’t predict, how to act – is rushing a justified risk, or not?

    Please also note, that this allows deliberate slow playing as a form of abuse, distraction to the opponent. And awarding more then 1 point per game (for both player jointly) is highly unfair towards competitors in group.


  • admin says:

    Actually, I did not think about pauses (I sometimes have to make a pause, usually to get to the toilet, and never stop clock for such thing). If the pause is forced (for example, Internet connection fails), the game crashes and stops measuring time anyway.


  • Tim Bina says:

    Time limits are a necessity. 50 min would be more reasonable.


  • Paweł Januszewski says:


    It seems that the game in which I played with Alex made a little mess. So I would like to show my point of view for whole situation.

    From one side Alex broke time limit and if we want to strictly hold the rules the score which now is published (my victory in 7th turn) is the proper one.

    However maybe we should take other things into consideration. First it was first game (I suppose) which Alex played using wargameroom application. Perhaps he wasn’t sure of consequences. This league is just starting and it was quite obvious that there will be sooner or later (rather sooner) some conflict situations.

    I cannot be judge in my own case but I am able to agree to repeat that game. Especially that I think increasing time limit will not be necessary because in our second game there were no problems with time. Game ended in T6A6 and Alex used less than 30 minutes of his time.



  • Daniel Dunbring says:

    I support Janusz in this.

    In addition I would like to point out that the reason to add a time limit is to prohibit some players to overthink actions too much. Not to speed it up faster then intended. Some players unfortunately have problems with making a decision and somehow think that they need to have all the time in the world to do “the correct move”. Not only is this frustrating for everyone else, but often that correct move never shows – either nothing happens or the move doesnt save the situation enough (with the player then sometimes complaining that they were “stressed” and that somehow this is bad and the game shuldn´t count because they weren´t able to play their best etc…)

    We can discuss if 2 hours per player is better than 1 and change accordingly but there will always be players that want more time regardless of whatever the time limit is. Don´t appease that player.


  • admin says:

    One more thing I’d like to add.

    I have played twice (so far) a game which was so tense that every move counted. I spent 30 minutes for the first 9 Turns, then 15 minutes for the first ARs in the Turn 10. When I was on my very last move in the game, I was spending all the time I had looking for the move that would win a game instead of drawing it or save a game instead of losing it by 2 VPs. I ended both of the games about 20 seconds before I ran out of the time limit.

    The crucial thing is: if I had more time, I’d also end the games about 20 seconds before I would run out of the time limit. This is the situation where it is reasonable to use all the time in the world you can. However, this is also the situation in which you just can’t have forever to your disposition.

    You may discuss whether the best option is 45 minutes, 50 minutes, 1 hour, 1 hour 15 minutes, or 2 hours. I have my preferences and 1 hour is not the preference, I declared this in this tournament to ensure maximum comfort to maximum number of players. But it’s clear for me that we have to have SOME limit exceeding which loses the game even if only by one second.


  • Nestor Thomopoulos says:

    One proposal is that before any game starts the players to send the agreed time which will have for example 5 or 10 min as extra time only if game is in Late Period (just like injury time in football) in order to cover urgent or unexpected events that may occur to a player during play eg. Unavoidable telephones, wc,etc and consumed his time of play.In this extra time of course no one will have the time to redeem the time spent to wash a car..
    If players do not agree in time then default time will be 1h+extra time.
    With this way I believe that game can be fair enough and cover.


  • doumpas says:

    I am on Janusz on this one,
    1 hour is a very good time limit.
    If people are not familiar with the wargameroom they can practice and come play next year.
    I don’t 3 hours to spend on a game because someone thinks that he should think every move 15′



  • Nestor Thomopoulos says:

    Dear Januz and guys,

    In order to clarify what I meant with my first e-mail so as not to be misunderstood.
    1) We all have no unlimited time as we have families etc. Of course a game cannot be limitless and there must be a limit. The point is that if the game is at the very end aka Late period it should be an extra time of 5min, lets say, in order to cover unexpected cases and promote the chance that a game will not be judged by time.
    2) Not all limits are the same and even in nature limits can be extended. A balloon’s diameter is its limit but if you pump it the diameter goes bigger.If you pump it more than it should then it will break. Winning by a 1 VP is a limit that it is by default acceptable as it is a rule of the game. Loss by time is not in the game rules. I can’t imagine that someone can play at his home TS with a clock at his hand timing his/her opponent.
    My proposal is to grant an extra time of 5 or ten minutes only when the game is in Late period.This will cover all cases and will protect the fun of the game which will prevent as much as possible the games not to be judged by time.

    I am waiting your feedback about this proposal.The rules if are going to be changed it should be from next period or phase.


  • Janusz says:

    Hi again,

    responding to Nestor’s last suggestion to divide the playing time in “regular” and “overtime” (applicable in case of game moving to Late War and planned as time to cover unforeseen events).

    I think it does not make much sense to make the time limit dependent on the amount of the turns played, if that was the suggestion, however this barely makes any difference, since all cases of breaching time limit happen (hopefully) in Late War, anyway.

    If it was suggestion to EXTEND the time limit to 70 minutes, however – first of all, I still wouldn’t divide the time anyway.

    Secondly, as per my fist post, it would have to be applicable starting next season.

    Lastly, I’m against it and I personally believe 1 hour is too much. This is not complex war-game nor a tough euro-game, depending hardly on optimizing engine. This is obviously personal matter, but for me 45 minutes per player is already an amount of time, enough to finish the game with NO time pressure at all.


  • George Young says:

    I’m a proponent of strict time limits. IMO, 1 hour max per player. In my experience, this allows time for breaks, long-thinking, etc., anyway (at least it does for me).


  • Piotr says:

    In my opinion there should obviously be a time limit. We all have to respect each others time.

    Id rather want the time limit to be rather longer than shorter. I personally play quite fast usually but there are games, I would say the best ones, that require thinking about every AR. Those games are best because every move every op has sginicifance, vps are near, domination in regions swaps from round to round. Therefore u have to think longer. For those games i would increase the time limit. I think it would be highly unfair is someone loses that kind of game due to time limit.

    I would personally agree to extend time limit to 70 minutes, especially for new wgr players (i disagree with what doumpas said “learn wgr and come next year”. We want to have a league that connects Twilight Struggle players or league that separates wgr players from another ?)


  • Nick says:

    I’m in favour of time limits, and 60 minutes feels about right.

    New wgr players are already able to agree a different time limit with their opponent in advance, and email Wojciech before starting the game. They are also able to play a non-YATSL game first to familiarise themselves with the interface if they’d prefer (as I probably would, to avoid any unintended actions having meaningful consequences).

    The same is true if two players agree to not playing under any time constraints.

    Losing on time may not be in the TS rules, but it is (and was) in the YATSL rules that we signed up to. I disagree about there being any meaningful ambiguity in the original wording, but am happy for it to have been clarified regardless.


  • Denis Larocque says:

    I’m comfortable with the current rules and I really don’t think that we should change them once the season has started. A time limit is a necessity. We can debate whether it should be 1h, 1h15 (like in ETSL), or something else, and make the change next season. But it should be a simple rule. For my part I think 1h is the minimum. 1h15 is probably a better balance between giving a chance to newer player while maintaining a reasonable game length. I would support that next year. I agree with the misclick rule. It is related to the time limit rule. Many (not all of them) misclicks are caused by time pressure. Also, it is not clear how to decide if a player made a mistake or a misclick. Allowing takebacks would add too many complications. I’m a big fan of keeping things simple.

    In the end, this is just a game. Most of us have played (or will play) hundreds of games. Sometimes we are lucky, sometimes we are not, we may make a misclick one and a while (even though it’s quite rare in my experience). But personally, I think the important thing is to have fun. If bad things happen during a game, I tend to move on since there will always be another game. Geez, I don’t want to sound too philosophical, ha ha!

    Many thanks to Wojciech for starting and managing this league.


  • Nestor says:

    Dear all,

    Piotr talked correctly and in the spirit of goodwill and sportsmanship.All participants have played hundreds of games and in average we finish games in less than an hour.However, as Piotr mentioned there are some good games that require a little extra time to get finished or for other reasons I have stated in my previous postings.

    One other proposal ,apart from extra time in Late period,is the game not to end in the time limit if the difference of time between two players is not more than 5 or ten minutes.If the thinking time difference is too little then it would be unfair for cases like player A:59min and player B:1h1sec.Today this happened with my opponent but I told him to continue and at the end he won me after an exciting finale.

    Dogmatic and absolute logic of 1h1sec currupts the game itself and it is out of the game and out of the spirit and logic of time limit.

    The purpose of time limit is to protect the game from players who take ages to think and not to judge the fate of a game.


  • Tim says:

    Here are some alternatives to Time Limits:
    1. Time Limits would be in effect at all times, except when one player went over the limit, then the limit would no longer be in effect.
    2. Time Limits could be abandoned. This would allow a player who is falling behind on score or board position to extend the game indefinitely, avoiding an unfair result based on either luck or skill.
    3. Time Limits could be put into place, but each party would have the option of abandoning the time limit if his wife demands that he drive to the store to pick up some milk.
    4. Time Limits could be in place, unless there is too much stress developed during the course of the game. We could get Bruce to add a “Stress Overload” button, which could be used as a sort of Panic Button, allowing the clock to temporarily stop the clock while the player meditates.
    5. We could always agree on a 1 hour time limit per player, but have Bruce fix the clock so that it always stops at 59:59.
    6. We could add 10 min so that the time limit was 70 min. This limit would be in place until we have the debate again, in which case, we might need to go to 80 min, which would remain the default until the following debate.


  • Janusz says:

    Actually it makes sense to add to the rules, that one only loses by time, if he, at any point, exceeded both the time limit and thinking time of his opponent, by for example 5 minutes (or 3 minutes?). Though needs to be considered further for any loopholes, implementation difficulties et c.


  • Nestor says:

    Hi guys,

    Playing with M.Stryker and Sergey Mukailov we agreed over this proposed rule for time:

    A person wins by time if BOTH (1) diference between players is greater than 5 minutes and (2) thinking time exceeds 60 mins

    That means that If thinking time between players is less than 5min and time is over 1h but game is not finished then the game is continued.If after this,a player’s thinking time exceeds the 5min diff then the game ends

    In the game with Michael the rule was not triggered.
    In my game with Sergey happened this:Before the game ends Sergey had already overpassed the 1h for half a min but the difference with me was less than a minute so according to our agreement the game continued for a couple of minutes to end finally in FS.

    I believe that this rule tested in two games(thanks to M.Stryker and Sergey) so far is fair enough and it is the golden rule between absolute 1h limit and judging a game result in field and not by time when the two opponets time are too close.If Sergey was winning it would be unfair to lose by a few secs.

    So the advantages are:
    it keeps the basic 1h rule.The extension rule may not be triggered if the diff of thinking time is>5min when a player reaches the 1h
    it doesn’t prolong the game too much after 1h as the player who is ahead in thinking time must play faster to keep the diff <5min or else if he doesn't he will lose by time.Also the other player will want to play faster in order that the time diff be equal or greater than 5 mins and win game by time in case that his opponent delays.

    it protects the same as the strict 1h time from players who deliberately or not think too much or want to take a break to wash their car..

    it makes more games to be judged on the field of battle and not by time ,eliminating cases like P1:59:00 and P2:1h30sec.

    I am waiting comments and any flaws or loop wholes over this rule.


  • Laurent says:

    I’m a supporter of the strict 1 hour rule. I don’t have a lot of time to waste. I have other activities. Now, I know a game is a 2 hours slot and I can manage my time. No-time-limit would make it totally impossible. More than 1 hour would be too long for the rest of my life. Less than 1 hour too short to play properly. 1 hour is clean, clear cut and reasonable.
    Breaks are possible as long as agreed. It’s just a matter of quitting and saving.
    On top of that, this is a competition. If one doesn’t like rules and limits, competition is not a good place to be. Wargameroom allows for social play too. And VASSAL works pretty well nowadays too.
    I’d like to add that I am totally new to Wargameroom. And yes it’s an additional stress to learn the platform. I make misclicks. I headlined NATO in T1AR1 for example. That sucked really hard. And I miss information that is not well displayed. I’ve lost all my games so far. But hey, that’s life. I’m here to learn to play better. And playing quicker is part of it.
    Wojciech, you made and run an excellent competition. Thanks a million for that.


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