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Allocate system tiles with balanced resource and influence for Twilight Imperium 4
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ti4_planet_selection.py

README.md

Twilight Imperium 4 Tile Allocations

Allocate system tiles with balanced resource and influence for Twilight Imperium 4. Each run of the script generates a new set of decks, randomised within the constraints.

Use from the command line with a single parameter, to specify the number of players (3, 4, 5 or 6 are supported).

The script will allocate wormholes, anomalies and blank tiles using a simple heuristic to mean that each player has a similar total number of non-planet tiles, and each player has at most one wormhole.

The available resource and influence is balanced across all players, and a simple recursive backtracking alogrithm used to pick a randomised set of tiles that balances resource and influence between players. Technology, planet traits, and number of planets are not balanced.

Tile descriptions, and the heuristics to allocate non-planet tiles are factored out to ease upgrades when TI4 expansions are released.

Background

The base rules of both Twilight Imperium 3 and 4 involve building a deck of tiles to use for the game and then randomly allocating them to players. The group we normally play with found, over time, that this often resulted in very unbalanced games. In Twilight Imperium 3 we found that balancing resources between each deck of tiles was sufficient to balance the game. But with the increased importance of influence in Twilight Imperium 4, we found that balancing both resource and influence helped to create a balanced game.

There is already an excellent universe builder available online for players who would prefer to skip the universe building stage of the game. Our group enjoys building a universe; hence this script. Running the script provides a list of systems to allocate to each player. What we normally do is build these decks, then randomly allocate each deck out to a player.

In order to not have too many constraints, we do not balance technology traits, planet traits, or the number of planets. Since these are primarily used to score secret objectives, and TI4 now involves a deck building component with secret objectives, we are comfortable with that limitation.

How does it work

Firstly, depending on the number of players, a simple set of rules are used to allocate wormholes, anomalies and blank tiles. Each player is allocated a resource and influence budget, and the number of tiles required are recorded.

Secondly, each player in turn takes a shuffled deck of remaining tiles (all planet tiles) and uses a simple back-tracking recursion to find a set of tiles that exactly matches the resource and influence budget. It is feasible that selection of planets for an early player creates a situation where the resource and influence budget can no longer be exactly matched for a later player. When this occurs the solution is thrown away and recomputed. The shuffling of the deck allows the system to converge on a feasible solution. Testing on the base TI4 game tiles has shown that the 4 player version solves 90% of the time and the 5/6 player version 35-40% of the time. Therefore, we expect rapid generation of a valid solution.

Configuration options

The most important configuration option is the number of players. This can be set from 3 to 6, and depending on the number of players further configuration options may be enabled. The second option is style. There are a number of potential styles:

  • Default: This builds the decks using my standard algorithm. In this case, the number of wormholes, blanks and anomalies are independently balanced, along with resources and influence. Furthermore, the standard algorithm tries to maximise the resources and influence available in the game. A side effect of using this is that the number of red backed and blue backed tiles will not exactly match the base game rules.
  • Original: This builds the decks following the base game rules as much as possible. Wormholes, resource and influence will be balanced. But blanks and anomalies are allocated entirely randomly in accordance with the base game rules. The number of red and blue backed tiles will match the allocations that the base game specifies.
  • Warp: This is used solely for 5 player games using the warp zone rules. In the warp zone rules, one section of a 6 player configuration is left blank and special warp zone rules are used to join the 2 players on either side of the warp zone. A warp zone set of decks will be similar to taking 5 decks from a 6 player deal, with the notable change that the amount of allocated resource and influence will be higher.

Upgrading for expansions

Upgrades to new expansions should be possible by reconfiguring the 2 data structures and 2 global variable at the top of the file. New tiles should be entered into the tiles vector. When allocating tiles for a given number of players, left over tiles are automatically swept into the shared pile. The allocations vector should be populated with the number of tiles per player, the allocations of resource and influence per player, and the allocations of special tiles. Special tiles are allocated in 3 passes. All wormhole tiles are allocated to the first <num_wormholes> players. If <num_wormholes> is greater than the number of players this wraps around. Then a set of special tiles are allocated to random players. Finally a set of special tiles are allocated to fixed player numbers - this is intended to allow the number of special tiles to be balanced, even though the wormholes are allocated to fixed positions. An error will be thrown if the resources and influence allocations create something that doesn't converge. In this case, adjust resource and influence accordingly. Further configuration options may be necessary at this stage to handle things like high or low resource decks; or the option to take 3 or 4 ring universes. Assuming that these become options in future TI4 expansions like they did for TI3.

Files

  • compile_to_js.py
    • Used to compile and/or upload website.
      • build - compile _ti4_planet_selection.py to Javascript.
      • all - build and upload the code.
    • Command line arguments explained through --help.
  • ti4_planet_selection.py
    • Command line entry point into the tool.
    • Arguments described through --help.
    • Uses _ti4_planet_selection.py for all computation.
  • _ti4_planet_selection.py
    • Main code base.
    • Used both by command line and web version (via Javascript compiler).
  • index.html, ti4.css, ti4.jpg
    • Webpage source.
  • LICENSE
    • The project is licensed under the MIT license.
  • README.md
    • The readme for the project.

Requirements

  • transcrypt
    • Version >= 3.7
    • python -m pip install transcrypt
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