Daily Archives: September 5, 2018

Fall Movie League – New Season, Original Rules, New Scoring

I am committing to at least one more season of Fantasy Movie League.  We will see how the fall season goes before I try to predict further out into the future.

There will be some changes for the Fall 2018 season.

First, the league will be moving back to the standard rules.  Most importantly, the league will go back to locking at 9am Pacific Time on Friday morning in the hope that fewer people will forget to pick.

Likewise, the bonus structure will return for best performer and perfect pick.  I think not having the bonuses was an interesting experiment and, in small way, kept people from opening up huge leads or falling way behind based on a bad pick.  But the change wasn’t all that great and didn’t do much for people who fell too far behind as there was still no way to catch up.  Malcanis again.

Also, I was expecting the perfect pick to be different for a no bonus league a lot more often.  Instead it was the same overall most weeks.

Second, the Fall season will have two forms of seasonal scoring, the traditional cumulative box office score as well as a well as a weekly point rank system.  This is another experiment and, if it works out well, I could see adopting the new scoring method as a differentiator.

The way it will work, as was discussed in TAGN FML Chatter, is that with every week’s score lineup, players will receiver a point based on their ranking.  First place will get 10 points, second 9 points, third, 8 points, and so on with everybody below ten getting a zero.

Testing this on the Summer League scores, it didn’t change things radically.  The top three places were still the same people, the order changing on the final week showing the “catch up” potential of the system.  And it did bubble at least one person who had a few good weeks up into the top ten.  Here is what the top ten looked like with that scoring system:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – 91
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 88
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – 76
  4. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 62
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 55
  6. I HAS BAD TASTE – 49
  7. Too Orangey For Crows – 48
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express – 43
  9. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 38
  10. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 35

The gap between Corr and I was such that it wasn’t decided until the week 14 scores were final.  Up through the Saturday morning estimates he seemed poised to win with that scoring system.

Compared that to the raw box office score ranking:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $1,233,260,784
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $1,192,800,479
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $1,168,442,901
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $1,099,917,789
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $1,068,381,300
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $1,053,023,190
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $1,050,270,086
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $1,046,285,672
  9. Too Orangey For Crows – $1,012,717,545
  10. Joanie’s Joint – $1,012,254,458

The system eliminates the “big win” weeks which have, in the past, seen people open up insurmountable leads or fall so far behind that they are completely out of the running.  It also does away with the flat weeks, like week fourteen, where we’re all so close in score that only those who failed to pick changed in ranking. The new scoring system makes winning the week, or at least getting into the top ten, more important.

The question will be how many points should be given out each week?  My run through last season’s scores with the 10 point scale worked in part because there were only 12-14 people playing consistently over the season, so only a few people got a zero on any given week. (Everybody got at least one zero. Nobody made the top ten every week.)

I am not sure a 10 point scale would work if we had 25 people and 15 people got no points on any given week.  If that were the case it might have to be a 15 point scale, or maybe a 20 point scale.  Or maybe not.  I am, as I said, not sure how this ought to play.  But that is why this will be an experimental scoring system this week, and it may very well get changed as the season progresses. (If you have any insight into this, please pipe up in the comments.)

Third, I am going to try and cut down on the length of the weekly league update posts.  These are starting to get into the 2,000 word zone and that really isn’t necessary.  So I will try to simplify them largely by omitting the narrative about how I ended up with my picks for the week.  I am not sure anybody reads that besides me and, honestly, I am not sure I even care that much.  My need to write stories just gets the better of me some days.

So I am going to try, starting next week, to keep things to a much more terse style, with the movies in play, which, if any, did better or worse than expected, the scores, a summary of what picks did well, the overall scores, the experimental overall scores, then a summary of what is coming up for the next week.

Also, for scores, I am only going to list out the top ten when it comes to scores every week.  That, if nothing else, will keep me from having to figure out who picked badly versus who forgot to pick but their whole lineup rolled over to the next week.

We shall see if it sticks.  Some days I am overcome by the desire to write excess narrative.

And, since this is the first post of the season, let’s get on to the movies in play.  The choices this week are:

The Nun                     $615
Crazy Rich Asians           $218
Peppermint                  $205
The Meg                     $88
Mission: Impossible         $62
Searching                   $62
Operation Finale            $52
God Bless the Broken Road   $48
Christopher Robin           $42
BlacKkKlansman              $37
Alpha                       $32
Happytime Murders           $30
Mile 22                     $26
Incredibles 2               $26
Hotel Transylvania 3        $16

We are not quite to the point where candidates for the Oscars are hitting the screens yet.  That will be at the back end of the season, since the academy can only remember movies from November and December when nomination time shows up.  We’re entering the pre-Halloween zone first.

Gone from the list this week are Kin, A.X.L., and Ya Veremos.

New this week are The Nun, Peppermint, and God Bless the Broken Road.

The Nun is a “Gothic supernatural horror” genre entry about an demonically possessed undead Romanian nun.  I think.  The copy I saw included the line “…the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned…” which certainly seems exciting, if not exactly what the Catholic Church really wants on screen these days… or ever.  There has been some buzz about the film, enough that even I have seen bits of it.  It is also part of a sucessful horror franchise, though I only figured that out when I looked it up.  And FML has it priced high, so it should top the charts.  But the horror genre and what succeeds and fails in it remains a mystery to me.

Peppermint is an action revenge story in the I Spit on Your Grave genre where I gather people die horribly.  But it stars Jennifer Garner, which could give the venture the gravitas it needs to succeed.  Maybe.

Then there is God Bless the Broken Road, which is based off the country western song Bless the Broken Road.  I mean sure, films have been inspired by flimsier themes than a song.  Hell, The Gambler ended up launching a five movie series for Kenny Rogers, and most of us only remember the chorus to the damn song.  But this tale of a window and her daughter getting caught up with a race car driver isn’t as popular as The Gambler, doesn’t have any big names, isn’t exactly trending, and the only review I have seen so far puts it below Happytime Murders.  Ouch.

My Monday Hot Takes league pick was 4x CRA and 4x Alpha, mostly because it spends an even $1000.

So there it is.  The league is back to locking on Friday at 9am Pacific Time, which is 16:00 UTC, so you have time to do some research and make your picks.

If you want to join the league I will put a link in the comments after this posts.

Summer Movie League – With a Whimper

And so it goes, week fourteen, the final week of our summer Fantasy Movie League is done.

And with that we have but to tally up the scores and declare the winner.  The choices for the final week were:

Crazy Rich Asians     $460
The Meg               $204
Mission: Impossible   $143
Operation Finale      $133
Christopher Robin     $116
Searching             $111
Happytime Murders     $108
Alpha                 $97
BlacKkKlansman        $92
Mile 22               $89
Kin                   $82
Incredibles 2         $62
Ya Veremos            $56
Hotel Transylvania 3  $49
A.X.L.                $44

And none of them really shook expectations, save for The Incredibles 2, which turned out to be the best performer for the week.  To answer last week’s question, I guess it is kids who go to see movies on Labor Day.  Or maybe not.  CRA still topped the box office.

I vacillated on picks over the course of the week.  On Monday I was in with 4x The Meg and 4x A.X.L. as my pick.  Come Friday morning I was spooked by some optimistic predictions and jumped on 7x Operation Finale and 1x The Incredibles 2.

But on Thursday morning my mind was set on 3x The Meg, 2x Alpha, and 3x The Incredibles 2.

Summer Movie League – My Week Fourteen Picks

As it turns out, even with no bonuses in the TAGN league, that was my best scoring pick.  It also wasn’t a bad pick overall.

The perfect pick for the league was a bit better, but not a ton better.  Three screens of The Meg appeared to be the best anchor when it came down to it.

Summer Movie League – Week Fourteen Perfect Pick

The thing is, this was a week without a huge winning or losing pick.  Everybody who picked this week ended up within a $11 million band of choices, which wasn’t enough to dislodge many people for their spots in the ranking.  The scores among those who were in for the final week looked like this:

  1. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $68,033,788
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $67,688,509
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $65,327,962
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $61,869,121
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $61,846,280
  6. Goat Water Picture Palace – $59,840,549
  7. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $59,840,549
  8. Joanie’s Joint – $59,840,549
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $59,840,549
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $58,819,921
  11. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $57,381,443

Only eleven people picked this week.  Vigo led the pack anchored on The Meg, while I was just behind with the same anchor but different filler.  Then Ben with a heavy bet on Mission Impossible, Bhagpuss with CRA as his anchor, and Miniature with and anchor on The Meg and Mission Impossible.

After that there was everybody who went with seven screens of Operation Finale, less Grannanj, who had a CRA anchored lineup.  That left the final scores for the season looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $1,233,260,784
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $1,192,800,479
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $1,168,442,901
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $1,099,917,789
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $1,068,381,300
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $1,053,023,190
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $1,050,270,086
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $1,046,285,672
  9. Too Orangey For Crows – $1,012,717,545
  10. Joanie’s Joint – $1,012,254,458
  11. grannanj’s Cineplex – $1,003,319,433
  12. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $996,001,692
  13. I HAS BAD TASTE – $890,174,972
  14. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $743,497,331

The narrow gap between first and last this week meant not much change, with the first eight spots a duplicate of last week.  Bhagpuss snuck back into the top ten by virtue of acing out Joanie by a hair and due to Po being out of town and not picking.

So there it is, the final score.  Corr takes the crown for the summer season!

And that is it for the summer blockbuster season.  As usual, it starts big but loses steam before Labor Day.  Look for another post in a bit about the updates for the Fall season.  Yes, there will be a Fall season.

Pirates Reef Sails for the Storm Ahead

Pirates of the Burning Seas, one of the odd MMORPG titles from the failed post-WoW golden age of the genre looks set to close at the end of September.

My sloop back in the day

An interesting concept in an age of WoW clones, the title never really took off, spending five years with SOE under the Flying Lab banner.  I played it at launch but, while there was some interesting aspects to it, the game didn’t really hold my interest.  Then it broke off as Wizardry Online was coming on with SOE and spent another five or so years solo under Portalus Games, a company made up of some of the original devs set to take on sole responsibility for the title.

Now, however, Portalus Games is planning to close up shop, and with it will likely go the game.  However, the company has left the option open for somebody else to take over the game.  It doesn’t seem a likely course unless somebody who knows the code is along for the ride.  A similar venture with Merdian 59 was only viable because Brian “Psycochild” Green, one of the game’s creators, was there to run it.

The message is copied below.  I will be interested to see if anybody will be able to take up the game and make a go of it.  Otherwise the end is nigh.

Portalus Games Closure