Last update : 09 february 2009 (home page)

A rating system :

The ASL AREA site you are visiting proposes a system which aims at assessing an ASL player proficiency and skill level based on how he/she performed during tournament games. By doing that, it tries to contribute to further develop ASL competitve playing and to help TDs in their job of pairing up players.

The rating system uses the same algorithm and approach developped by S. Elo for chess. His system is widely adopted and its name, ELO, is derived from his.

There appears to be variants on how to compute this sort of ratings and I will test some of them (I have GLICKO in mind) and post the results. All in due time.

Origin of the name AREA :

AREA is an acronym for Avalon-Hill Reliability, Experience, Ability, Information Service. It was begun by the Avalon Hill Game Company in 1973, as a paying service for rating AH wargamers. I was among the subscribers and contributed a pair of results (euphemism for defeats).

In 1995, the Avalon Hill Game Company almost went bankrupted and disappeared for a couple of years. A set of volunteers, led by Glenn Petroski, stepped in and took over what was left of the original A.R.E.A. files and system. It is now still running and Glenn is still in charge. It remained independent of Avalon-Hill, which was bought by Hasbro in 1999. You can visit their site.

Glenn has gracefully offered me to keep the name and I've accepted so far. I may change though : what do you tink of that idea ?

The French fork : first steps

In the same time Glenn was trying to get A.R.E.A. pieced back together, exactly in june 1994, a version of AREA developped in France around the defunct TACTIQUES magazine specifically devoted to ASL players.

Even though it was called "European AREA", it was only French back then. People had to submit their games by snail mail in the form of a counter signed sheet of paper.

A simplified (linearized) algorithm contributed by the same Elo guy was used to compute ratings published in the fanzine.

A few hundreds of games were contributed and it was a real success but it almost faded once TACTIQUES ceased as a fanzine.

Alexandre Rousse-Lacordaire was by then in charge (succeeding Walter Vejdovsky)and he somehow managed to get it afloat but it was very confidential and not too many games were reported any more. Maybe only ten a year. The history could have stopped there.

Philippe BRIAUX era : 1998 thru 2005

Fortunately Philippe steps in with a lot of ideas.

First of all, only competitive games would be accepted from then on. In retrospect, this appears to me as a great idea and a main turning point. Goodbye to friendly games that were becoming less so with the chits at stake. Goodbye to sleazy tactics of playing again and again against a single sparring partner until reaching the ceiling.

Secondly, the detailed history was to be stored. Before him, only current AREA rating was stored with no tracability as to where this rating came from.

Thirdly, the system became truly European at that time. Thanks to Christian Koppemeyer it got into Germany and then to Spain through Lluis Sagaz who attended Emmanuel Desanois' TSM. Emmanuel Desanois offered his site to publish the current AREA and sunny days were back.

Philippe ROHMER era : 2005 to 2006

For a short period PhilHIP Rohmer took over. He changed the formats and excel sheets and introduced and idea that still survives : players will have a trigram, a sort a Data Base key, consisting of last name's first and last letter plus first name's first letter. Himself is therefore RRP as I am NOB and Philippe Briaux is BXP.

His work greatly facilitated my translating of all excel sheets data into MySQL data base.

We co-run the AREA during 2006 and after that he quit at least for now : you are welcome whenever you feel like Philippe !

Me, phase one : 2006 to 2008

I converted everything into tables and data bases and coded in Perl programs to compute things.

I chased tournaments thru internet and was able to complete the DB with past events : all of Linkoping, all of ASO and some tournaments from UK.

I established rites and rythms with all major events' TDs and kept my data-base updated and TDs informed. Feed back from TDs was very positive and emails were friendly. And they still are.

Yet, other people would not be so informed though, for I had no site on which to publish so I started thinking of moving online and kept playing with the idea.

Me, phase two : october 2008

September the 30th I decided to buy a web address and rent a web hosting. Next morning my site was alive with hundreds of pages : one per player with a personal record summary. Picasso is supposed to have said he did not paint in five minutes but rather in 80 years plus 5 minutes. Like him, if things moved fast it was because I had worked hard in many of the aspects over the previous two off-line years.

Feed-back was great and I was like a kid looking every morning at the traffic reports seeing from where on earth I had visitors from. Whose personal sheet record was hit, etc.

I proudly confess that ther was not a single day without several different visitors. And first time google bot came to sneak I was even prouder.

Me, phase three : ever since

I could have slow down a little and enjoy but I discoverd Darryl Lundy's excellent site and send him an email.

We started discussing about common projects and I decided to expand the coverga to encompass the world ! Little did I know how much WORK that would entail. And I'm not quite done yet. Non, monsieur.

Bret Hildebran was kind enough to give us access to the HUGE amount of Oktoberfest data... which is in paper. Hundreds and thousands of games. David Goldman sent me ASLOPEN games and other TDs follow. I hope many more will.

In the mean time, I decided to enter the scenarios, sides (axis, allies) and roles (defender, attacker) which means quite a lot of extra typing but enables goofy things. It also enables to properly store and retrieve events' summaries for posterity and it becomes possible to compare proficiency as an attacker and as a defender for the same player. I always thought I was a better defender : I'll see how I fare.