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Discussion: strategy in a mass-start Score-O course with a twist

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 2, 2019 5:44 PM # 

Jan 2, 2019 5:51 PM # 
I would try to run faster than everyone else.
Jan 2, 2019 5:59 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Good choice based on my past experiments. Doing a 10% prize rate for first to find cash prizes (which c have $$ being unknown to competitors), even if I try to bury them so that's it's not an obvious heading-out kind of route, the fastest folks still get them more often than not.
Jan 2, 2019 6:43 PM # 
In a Search and Destroy O' (which is a mass start control pickup), I know that the fastest people will beat me to the nearest controls. So I make a plan to bypass the closest ones and head for the outer reaches - usually I can pass them while they are stopping to grab the closest controls, and I can perhaps get 3 or 4 farther, harder ones before the youngsters get out that far. A similar strategy is also useful in any mass start score-O so that I don't end up in a pile-on trying to punch the first control.

Next question - does the chance to get a dollar bill or two out-weigh your overall strategy to get the most controls and highest score in the event?
Jan 2, 2019 7:38 PM # 
If my goal is to end up with the most money, I'd stay home and save the event fees and gas ;-)
Jan 2, 2019 7:58 PM # 
A great deal depends on how many people I see assembled at the start whom I believe equal or exceed me in orienteering speed. Different tactics seem likely to be most lucrative depending on whether I think I'm the fastest orienteer present, a clear second or third fastest, one of a handful of orienteers faster than the field as a whole, or respectably fast but not fast enough to necessarily reach any of the nearest handful of controls first. The last case resulting in mikeminium's approach, I suppose. Whether collusion with other orienteers to agree on a division of controls is allowable is also a consideration, though I'm not sure $1 per control is enough to activate high degree cutthroat behaviour.
Jan 2, 2019 9:46 PM # 
Ditto Julie. ;-)
Jan 2, 2019 9:56 PM # 
btw, the organizers of City Spree had it that the points gotten when finding a control varied according to the order of when it was found. So, for the sake of an example, control was worth 20 points to the first finder, 19 points to the 2nd finder, 18 to the 3rd... and 1 for the 20th and later finders. They had participants use a portable cellular phone to text a code that was on the control, and at the end they used the timestamp of the text (SMS) message and order of receipt to tabulate a participant's overall score.

If using SI cards and related software, can something like this (variable points based on order of find) be programmed ?

Came to mind when the comment by Jon, as I remember in that event, some folks that were slower, opted to go to the farthest controls first, so to claim "first to find" in some of them and thus get the higher points.
Jan 2, 2019 10:24 PM # 
If I were a good cross-country runner (and had no clue about orienteering) I would closely follow the best orienteer, and spurt at each control, as soon as i see it, and grab the money. Of course you need to know who the best orienteer is, I would take a guess looking who is dressed in the most trendy star-spangled no-name uniform.
Jan 2, 2019 11:18 PM # 
We've done a few races with this type of gimick:

Mr. Wonderful's Nitrogaine has $5 first to find bonuses on some small fraction of the controls distributed randomly throughout the course (and undisclosed). We've had the pleasure of finding several over the years, always within the first ~2 hours of the race, meaning people head in enough different directions that they are all claimed pretty quickly.

NSF's Frozen Beaver had drink tokens at some fraction of the controls, also undisclosed, to be used at the post race celebration. I had the pleasure of finding one due to a rather strange and somewhat unintential route choice early in the race.

In either of these cases, I would never plan anything other than the best route for the most controls, with the prize being just a fun bonus if i happen to get there first.

At Sheltowee Extreme 2017 (Adventure Race), the course was Rogaine style, with the farthest out control (a bike control), having an MS-2 pack at it (disclosed at the pre-race meeting). In terms of ROI, getting to that control first would have been best because the prize was > than the entry fee... We still just planned to hit the most controls...

Prizes are not a motivating factor for local races, they are a fun bonus whether random or earned.
Jan 2, 2019 11:38 PM # 
Sherpes, it sounds like City Spree used what we have called a declining score-O. First person to each control gets the highest points. This is a great training exercise.

For a fun training day, instead of making people carry a phone, a pad of post-its with declining numbers is at each control. When you arrive, you take the top one. Each pad is coded so you can't use more than one from each control. If just pads are used (no actual control), and there are more people than pages on each pad, it means there's no clean up from the event - no controls to get picked up, and if a few scraps of paper get left, they quickly degrade.
Jan 3, 2019 2:52 AM # 
I've set a number of score-Os where each control had a pull-off tag worth extra points when turned in at the finish. Especially useful for smaller park score-O because it can differentiate the top runners if they get them all and it encourages folks to not all take the same route.
Jan 3, 2019 6:50 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
As long as you can get a raw dump from the timing system (EMIT or SI), it is relatively easy to calculate any desired score calculation. We (Henning Spjelkavik & I) did this on-the-fly during O-Festivalen ~10 years ago when we realized that the youngest competitors had a special event (3-10 runners in each team, all starting and running together), score-O points for controls gathered plus bonus points for leg times on a few special legs etc.

In order to do this for control visit order you just need to calculate the actual visiting time for each control, this should be trivial for SI (I believe this is what is actually stored in the unit, right?), while for EMIT you have to start at the end, i.e. the unit dump time, and then subtract each punch time to calculate the real time this happened. I would probably allow a small window around each punching time to be considered equal so as to avoid punching fights, i.e. similar to road cycling finish times which are considered to be the same for everyone in the peleton.
Jan 3, 2019 10:22 PM # 
Why are some controls round, and others are oblong?
Jan 5, 2019 12:59 AM # 
Collect an egg at the oval ones for the bonus?
Jan 5, 2019 1:40 AM # 
... about developing skills in setting your own course...

This discussion thread is closed.