B.O.B.C.A.T. vs Beancounter Challenge (players needed)


  • v1.1

    Calling all Beancounters and B.O.B.C.A.T. (Buyers Of Battleships, Cruisers, Armor, Tacs) team members to the games!

    There have been many opinions and threads, for and against, the cost of some or all 4 of these units.

    It is time to get some data.

    I call on others to start BOBCAT vs. Beancounter games as well, please help add to the data pool.  We can learn things from each other and all can become better players from what is learned.

    -Please label your game as BOBCAT or BOBCATT somewhere
    -next players to go Game 2, Game 3 Game 4, etc.
    -Beancounters, label what units would feel would not purchase (1,2,3 or all 4 of these (or other things))

    Maybe even list on this thread that you would like to try a game and are looking for an opponent.

    General concept:

    BOBCAT (Buyers Of Battleships, Cruisers, Armor, Tacs) team members agree to buy a certain amount of IPC per 1-3 rounds of this stuff. This is per side, not per country.EDIT: The first game played should not have these restrictions, but played with the idea of restrictions in mind. The first game is for data gathering purposes.

    EDIT: As per request we will add BOBCATT (Buyers Of Battleships, Cruisers, Armor, Tacs,Tech). Tech is related to this, but the data should be kept separate because Techs affect the BOBCAT data in many ways.

    Beancounters (may need a better name here) may not buy these 4 things; they may only use those types of units that they start with.

    This challenge needs more data to make the challenge work. (Like how much IPC (or units) must be spent per round (or average in 1-3 rounds, or on round 2 thru 4, or whatever this will mold into to work) for the BOBCAT player on BOBCAT units).

  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    I’m a BOBCAT.

    I propose a minimum of 22 IPC’s per 3 rounds, per side, of BOBCAT items.  22 IPC’s = 2 Tacs, 2 Cruisers, 4 tanks, or a Battleships and a tank per 3 rounds (for example).  Of course, any combination may be chosen.  (A cruiser and a tac would work, or a tac and 2 tanks)

    Alternatively, I think 33 IPC’s per 3 rounds would be an appropriate minimum, too.  That’s 3 Tacs, 3 Cruisers, 6 tanks, or 2 Battleships.

    I am willing to take on any beancounter in 1940 with a minimum of 33 IPC’s spent per turn, and with tech allowed, 1 on 1 or 2 on 2.  If it’s 2 on 2, I would prefer to have BadSpeller on my side, and we will be BOBCATs.

    As most of you know, I frequent the boards and play daily, so I would keep our game moving along.  You won’t wait a week or two for me to make a move, unless I ask you and you OK it.  Just PM me.


  • @gamerman01:

    I’m a BOBCAT.

    I propose a minimum of 22 IPC’s per 3 rounds, per side, of BOBCAT items.  22 IPC’s = 2 Tacs, 2 Cruisers, 4 tanks, or a Battleships and a tank per 3 rounds (for example).  Of course, any combination may be chosen.  (A cruiser and a tac would work, or a tac and 2 tanks)

    Alternatively, I think 33 IPC’s per 3 rounds would be an appropriate minimum, too.  That’s 3 Tacs, 3 Cruisers, 6 tanks, or 2 Battleships.

    I am willing to take on any beancounter in 1940 with a minimum of 33 IPC’s spent per turn, and with tech allowed, 1 on 1 or 2 on 2.  If it’s 2 on 2, I would prefer to have BadSpeller on my side, and we will be BOBCATs.

    As most of you know, I frequent the boards and play daily, so I would keep our game moving along.  You won’t wait a week or two for me to make a move, unless I ask you and you OK it.  Just PM me.

    Well, at least the “per side” allows the UK to turtle when Sealion is threatened

  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @calvinhobbesliker:

    Well, at least the “per side” allows the UK to turtle when Sealion is threatened

    Of course.  It’s unreasonable to require each power to purchase certain items.  Each side, per 3 turns, is very reasonable.

  • TripleA

    @gamerman01:

    I’m a BOBCAT.

    I propose a minimum of 22 IPC’s per 3 rounds, per side, of BOBCAT items.  22 IPC’s = 2 Tacs, 2 Cruisers, 4 tanks, or a Battleships and a tank per 3 rounds (for example).  Of course, any combination may be chosen.  (A cruiser and a tac would work, or a tac and 2 tanks)

    Alternatively, I think 33 IPC’s per 3 rounds would be an appropriate minimum, too.  That’s 3 Tacs, 3 Cruisers, 6 tanks, or 2 Battleships.

    I am willing to take on any beancounter in 1940 with a minimum of 33 IPC’s spent per turn, and with tech allowed, 1 on 1 or 2 on 2.  If it’s 2 on 2, I would prefer to have BadSpeller on my side, and we will be BOBCATs.

    As most of you know, I frequent the boards and play daily, so I would keep our game moving along.  You won’t wait a week or two for me to make a move, unless I ask you and you OK it.  Just PM me.

    hey gamer, from what i have seen i think you are more of a bobcatt that an bobcat.(2nd t is for technology). i prefer the term bobcatt.

    i know we have only played 3 rounds which is not enough to determine your buying preferences, but you have spent 275ipcs up to now with only 12ipcs on tanks. now you did drop 40ipc on technology. the rest was spent on all the good units inf, art, mech, fig, bomber, transport, sub, and destroyers.

  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    You’re right, I am a BOBCATT.

    Why are you auditing my purchases in the first 3 rounds of a game, when we never talked about purchases?  Maybe your point is that I’m under my proposed 22 or 33 IPC’s, coming in at 12 (And Italy hasn’t gone 3 times yet).  I can only guess, because you’re not saying what your point is.

    We never talked about purchases, so your observation that I have purchased 2 tanks so far, IMO, is meaningless to me.  If you would like me to agree to start purchasing a minimum of 22 IPC’s of BOBCAT items, I would be willing to agree to that.  (But you have to ask, if that’s what you want.  I’m not promising it right now.  If you want me to promise this, then you need to promise never to buy a BOBCAT item, and then we have pretty much a BOBCAT vs. Beancounter game going)

    Yep, I “dropped” 40 IPC’s on technology (assuming your count is correct), and I have three technologies (I see you conveniently left that fact out).  Interesting that you use the term “dropped” - it just shows your stubborn bias against tech.  I wouldn’t call it “dropped” when I have THREE techs.  I’d call that “invested”.  Sorry, I know this is not the thread for our tech disagreement, but it’s kind of related, because the whole BOBCAT vs. beancounter issue is about what is and is not a smart purchase.

    I have radar and super subs for Japan, and paratroopers for Italy, and it’s Italy round 3.  I’m sure there are multiple players who think I got a good return on my 40 IPC’s (assuming your count is accurate - I’m not keeping track.  It would be 40 if I spent 5 IPC’s on research dice each and every turn, which I may have, I don’t recall if I ever skipped yet).

    We haven’t completed 3 rounds yet and I’ve already proven one of my points - that you can’t win (get tech) if you don’t play (buy dice).  And I’m saying that you can win, if you do play.  If I bought dice 8 times and hit 3, I am extremely lucky.  .375 hit percent as opposed to average .166.  But that just goes to show one of my points, that although .166 is average, if you buy tech you give yourself a chance to be luckier than average.  And you have approx. a 50% chance of being lucky, and a 50% chance of being unlucky.  So far I’m winning the coin flip, and I’m lucky.  Now I just have to prove to you (no small task) that the techs I got are useful.  Give me time.  Don’t audit me after 3 turns of a game - be patient!  If you audit me for 3 turns, then I feel free to show you the results of 3 turns - that I have 3 techs already and Italy hasn’t gone yet.  “Say your prayers!” - The hot streak I’ve been on (besides our game, believe it or not), may lead to a FOURTH tech.  But not if I don’t buy a die (not sure if I will or not).

  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    Hey Jer, audit my tech rolling in my game with Boldfresh so far.  We’ve played about SIX rounds…  That’s a big sample size, compared to three.

    I mean all of my comments in good fun and to provoke intelligent discussion.  I’m not trying to aggravate anyone or put down anyone.  I may try to put down ideas, but not you as a person.  I like you, Allweneed.  So far, anyway.


  • @gamerman01:

    ……Sorry, I know this is not the thread for our tech disagreement, but it’s kind of related, because the whole BOBCAT vs. beancounter issue is about what is and is not a smart purchase.

    I was thinking about tech and BOBCAT data on my way home.

    Yes, tech is related but tech data needs to be kept separate from the BOBCAT data.

    When analyzing the data, then both can be looked at.

    Tech throws off the BOBCAT data.

    Example: let’s say the BOBCAT player gets Jet fighter tech, which means there is no reason to buy Tacs.

    Many of the techs alter purchases based on the tech obtained.

    Tech is related in that money vs. value is the issue for debate, but it is like comparing grapefruits vs. oranges type of thing.

    Tech should be discussed here as well, but thought of as different too.

  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    Thanks.  Allweneed and I have corresponded using PM’s, and we both agree that tech purchase and BB, CA, Tac, Armor purchases are related discussions, but not exactly the same, yes.  (Actually, we agree on a number of different points in addition)

    You make good points - Like when you get jet fighters it renders tacs completely redundant and inferior, because the only thing they can do that fighters can’t, is attack at 4.  Once fighters can attack at 4, tacs are obsolete (an unfortunate result that could have been avoided).

    Allweneed and I would like to see you add BOBCATT to your lexicon - Buyers of Battleships, Cruisers, Armor, Tacs, and Tech dice.  (In other words, players who will buy anything, I guess)

    So, I’m a BOBCATT.

    Allweneed raised a good point by PM that he thinks in a match a BOBCAT should not have to meet a quota of BOBCAT purchases, and the Beancounter should not be strictly disbarred from BOBCAT purchases.  I believe I understand his point, but it doesn’t make for good data gathering.  To be able to segregate, and analyze differences between BOBCATs and beancounters, it’s a good idea to enforce a minimum for the BOBCAT (within reason) and a ban on the beancounter (but never a complete ban on tech for one player and not the other, because that’s a guarantee to the BOBCATT that his opponent cannot ever get any tech).

    Hope I’m making sense, and I hope I’m being helpful.


  • By introducing restrictions not present in normal games, the players may find it more difficult to play using their standard strategies and this may cause performance to suffer for a reason unrelated to what type of player they are, thus confounding the data.

    I think the most scientific way of approaching this would be to have the players who agree to participate fill out a survey regarding their standard purchases and strategies for the various nations and then classify them using objective criteria as bobcats or beancounters. Some players may fall into one category as the Axis and another as the Allies. After separating the players into the two categories, the only rules necessary would be for them to adhere to their standard ways of thinking and not try any new ideas in the games. Players will stay within their schools of thought without any restrictions present.

    The only restrictions that may be necessary would be for those players unable to be classified as bobcats or beancounters. After examining the data from the survey, the research team will likely be able to generalize the strategies employed by these two types of players and their schools of thought. Players who are in the middle would then be instructed to favor one set of strategies or another depending on which side is lacking players in order to balance out the teams.

    Another factor that may confound the data in this study would be the (apparent) weighting of the game towards the Allies. This could end up being the biggest factor in determining who wins. To compensate, the research team should record data about the severity of the victories and/or the relative success of the strategies employed. If the allies win all the games, but they do it an average of two turns sooner when played by one or the other of the sides, the data will still be meaningful.

  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    Good thoughts, Larry - so would you like to be on the research team?  Would you like to help develop and interpret the surveys?

    Is your last name Harris?


  • I actually created my alias a long time before I discovered Axis & Allies  🙂

    Yes, I’d be happy to be on a research team. This kind of stuff intrigues me. However, bear in mind that I’m also toughing my way through my first year as a high school teacher, so I may not have as much time to devote to this as I’d like.


  • @gamerman01:

    ….Allweneed and I would like to see you add BOBCATT to your lexicon - Buyers of Battleships, Cruisers, Armor, Tacs, and Tech dice.  (In other words, players who will buy anything, I guess)…

    I edited the first page to include BOBCATT (v1.1) and release restrictions of the first game for data gathering.

  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @larrymarx:

    However, bear in mind that I’m also toughing my way through my first year as a high school teacher, so I may not have as much time to devote to this as I’d like.

    That makes two of us (my first year teaching middle and high school as well), but I probably have smaller classes than you.  My biggest has 9, and my smallest has 3.

    So…… how are you (BadSpeller and larrymarx, so far), really going to gather useful data?

    The beancounters are quick to point out that “in a vacuum”, BOBCAT items are not as cost effective as the others.  I don’t disagree with this.  My point in this discussion is that each and every unit has a distinct advantage or capability that no other unit has, and therefore each unit can be useful, and therefore merits purchase in certain game situations.

    I think this is going to be difficult or impossible to quantify, at least that’s what I think right now.  I’ll be blunt.  If I’m playing against someone who can’t see the value in buying a tank, tac bomber, cruiser, or battleship, then I believe they are an inferior player.  I mean, there’s probably a lot of other strategic options they’ll miss, if they can’t see why you’d ever buy a tank, tac, cruiser, or bomber.

    OK, I think I answered my own question.  Just tally the win/loss records (separating Axis/Allies to rule out inequities between the sides) of BOBCATTs vs. Beancounters.  If my hypothesis that BOBCAT’s are strategically superior players holds true or does not hold true, then the results (win/loss) should speak for themselves.

    So, I will go on record, predicting a statistically significant difference between BOBCATTs and Beancounters success results.  I predict BOBCATTs will win greater than 60% of their games (if each side has equal opportunity at Axis or Allies)


  • I have a class with 14, a class with 22 and another class with 34 students. I’m not complaining because some teachers at this school have upwards of a hundred students total.

    What you propose above is that beancounting is a symptom of inferior thinking and not a cause of poor success at games. So, you haven’t actually argued that strategies based on beancounting are bad strategies, just that the players are bad. Axis and Allies is a game of attrition over the long run, so it could very well be that a strategy based on trying to spend IPCs as efficiently as possible (beancounting) is an effective strategy. All good players should have an understanding of the unique value of bobcatt pieces and should be willing to purchase them if the situation calls for it. If there is a player who realizes this and yet never bases their grand strategies on these units, I think we can call that person a skilled beancounter, don’t you?

    Should the hypothesis be about the nature of players who are beancounters or about strategies based on beancounting?

    Also, do you have a good understanding of statistical significance? I’m asking because I don’t but I do realize it’s an important factor in validating results. Is winning 60% of games statistically significant? I think it depends on the sample size.

    As far as how to collect useful data, I think we have to work out these issues before beginning to think about that.

  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    So refreshing to communicate with another intelligent human being.

    Larry, you nearly summed up my thoughts perfectly.  I’m not quoting you only because of the annoying scrolling issue when a post gets long - otherwise I would.

    Yes, you are fortunate to have small classes.  14 and 22 are fairly small, I think.  Our school is growing, and I may have 14 or 22 in a class before I know it (could be within a couple years).

    As for Axis and Allies, yes, I did find myself making a hypothesis that, in general, “beancounters” as defined by BadSpeller are not understanding some things about A&A that BOBCATTs perhaps are.  Oh my goodness.  This will get confusing if I’m not careful.  You know what, here’s a diagram.  This is only my opinion, based on my experiences and analysis.

    In increasing order of skill/success in winning A&A:
    The Worst - BOBCATTs who are BOBCATTs because they don’t understand some of the basics of A&A.  Like that in general, subs and destroyers are better purchases than battleships, and infantry is the most useful land unit in general.  These players buy battleships and cruisers because they’re cool, because more expensive must mean better, and to intimidate their opponents.  These players say a stack of infantry is weak, because they all attack at 1.  They don’t understand that when you then buy a few planes to support the infantry stack, they become a fearsome offensive and defensive force.

  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    Intermediate players - (remember - this is a huge generalization)

    In the middle, you have Beancounters.  They’ve learned that some units are more efficient than others.  They’ve done the math.  They will show you post after post about how a certain stack of units will defeat another stack of units that costs the same amount of money.  These players are getting lost in the details, but they are vastly superior to the players earlier in the evolutionary cycle (or earlier in the learning curve), who still think that the more expensive units must be better to buy.  Beancounters are starting to learn the game mechanics, like that you need some cheap fodder in your battles, in most cases.  Balanced attacks are more effective than unbalanced, in many situations.

    (I’m thinking of similarities in the progression of skill in a chess player)

    The advanced players are BOBCATTs.  They’ve come full circle (back to buying everything, at times).  Experienced BOBCATTs are the most experienced and most skilled A&A players.  They understand that every unit has a purpose, and they are not opposed to buying a battleship, a tac bomber, tanks, or cruisers when the situation calls for it.  Each unit does things that no other unit can do - each has an advantage over all other units.

    BOBCATTs (like advanced chess players) understand that position is sometimes more important than material, and that the makeup of an army needs to be adapted to the situation.  Advanced players understand the dynamics of the entire game, and are never hesitant to adjust or completely change their strategies when need be.  For example, the battleship’s ability to soak a hit, get repaired for free, and bombard most efficiently (as in hits per ground unit used) make them unique.  You can buy 3 destroyers, but if you get hit, you lose a unit, and they cannot bombard.  It is misleading to say that destroyers are better than battleships, or that battleships are better than destroyers.  It’s like saying a horse is better than a mule, or a mule is better than a horse.  It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish as to which is better.

  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    So I think this is what has been happening.

    Beancounters (intermediate players) encounter beginners (who are BOBCATTs) who are making bad purchases.  Realizing that they are smarter or more experienced than the beginners, they start to spout their knowledge, preaching the evils of buying too many tanks, cruisers, tacs, or battleships.  They are right.  However, they sometimes go overboard, and say that you should NEVER buy BCATs, or very rarely buy them.

    Then you have the experienced players scoffing at the intermediate players (because often, they’ve been there, done that) and then you have disagreements.  Disagreements largely caused by differences in experience, ability, and perspective.

    Here’s what I think would happen if you had this contest.  Your beancounters will mostly be intermediate players.  They will beat the BOBCATTs who are less than intermediate, and the BOBCATTs who are advanced will defeat the intermediate beancounters, and so your overall results will be misleading.

    Statistically significant means you have a big enough difference that the error from small sample size is overcome.  For example, if you have a ±3% sampling error, than if BOBCATTs win more than 53% of the games, then you can conclude that they are better, because they’ve overcome the sampling error.

    When I predicted BOBCATTs would win 60%, that was before I realized that some BOBCATTs would be less skilled than intermediate players.  I predict that experienced BOBCAT players (like myself, and BadSpeller) would defeat beancounter players more than 60% of the time (and I think I’m picking a low percentage to be on the safe side).

    Thoughts?  Thanks, guys.


  • Very good points you brought up Gamerman01. My reasons for this thread was the Beancounter claim of “never buy this or that unit no matter what. It just cost too much.” Nice how you showed that some beginners may be doing a large % of luxury purchases, and this would throw. The data off.

  • TripleA

    there is an accurate way to crunch these numbers. accurate and very boring.

    luckily for us we have the play by forum site with 1000’s(i am guessing here) of games. you could go over the games and see what has been purchased by players. after tallying the games results you can determine if the players were bobcatts or beancounters. if you get a match with a bobcatt vs a beancounter you make note of the game version, which powers won, and which player style won.

    add up the results and you have your real life answer to this fun question.

    the more fun way to find out is by playing. but i am guessing there will not be enough players getting on board and it would take forever to get accurate results. in the mean time i am a proud beancounter and willing to defend the cause.

  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    Good idea, Allweneed.  And good point.  So far, zero people have answered the poll question saying they would play as a beancounter.

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