Scott Hardie | August 26, 2017
When the Fall 2017 season of Celebrity Goo Game begins on September 3, we'll have an entirely new scoring system to replace the pagoda and the lucky cats.

Players will collect badges by accomplishing a variety of feats in the game, many of them easy but some quite difficult. Whoever has the most badges on the final day of the season will win. There are eight different colors of badges:

Red badges are earned by solving goos, but they scale upwards in difficulty. You get your first red badge for solving your first goo, another for solving your third goo, another for solving your sixth goo, and so on.

Orange badges are earned by solving consecutive chains of goos. You get your first for solving 10 goos in a row, another for solving 20 goos in a row, and so on. If a goo that you create is published in the middle of a chain of consecutive solves, it has no effect on the chain.

Yellow badges are earned by solving multiple goos in a single calendar day (between midnight and midnight, Eastern time). You get the first for solving 1 goo in a day, then the second for solving 2 goos on a later day, then the third for solving 3 goos on a later day, and so on. You must earn them in order, on separate days.

Green badges are earned by solving goos in different categories. Each time you solve a goo in a category for the first time, you'll collect that category's badge.

Teal badges are earned by timing your solves: You'll earn a single badge for being the first player to solve a goo, the second player to solve a goo, and so on, up to being the tenth player to solve a goo. (Scott Hardie's guesses don't count.) You'll also earn a badge by being the last player or only player to solve a goo.

Blue badges are earned by solving goos after a lottery drawing. Each day, one player is randomly selected. If that player solves that day's goo within the first 24 hours, that player will earn a badge. The further behind you are in score, the better your odds of being selected, but only expired goos count towards these odds; there's no benefit in waiting until the end of the week to guess each goo.

Purple badges are earned by creating goos. Whenever one of your created goos is published, you'll earn another purple badge instantly.

Brown badges are earned by solving and creating goos of varying difficulty. You can earn a badge by solving a goo in each of the five difficulty levels, or by the publication of one of your goo creations in each of the five difficulty levels.

Yes, that's right: We're going back to five difficulty levels instead of three. They're better defined too, I think:

Very Easy: Most players will solve the goo simply by looking at it.
Easy: Most players will solve the goo with a single search online.
Medium: Most players will solve the goo with a few searches online.
Hard: Most players will require a lot of research and/or lateral thinking to solve the goo.
Very Hard: Most players will still find the goo difficult even after a lot of research.

As much fun as the pagoda and the lucky cats have been -- and truly, I think they've been one of the best scoring systems the game's ever had -- Celebrity Goo Game needs renewal from time to time, in the form of new ways to compete. Hopefully the badges will reward differing playing styles, encourage you to stretch your muscles a little by playing differently, and still be fair enough that players who fall behind have opportunities to catch up and stay competitive.

I'm really looking forward to this change. I hope it keeps the game fun for quite a while to come!

Comments and questions are welcome as always.

Steve West | August 26, 2017
This sounds remarkably intriguing. I'm pretty happy to see my enemy Shiro cat go away. Truly looking forward to this. Thanks!

LaVonne Lemler | August 27, 2017
Definitely sounds interesting! You do realize, Scott, that this is a lot of information for an old broad to remember!! :-) It'll be fun to see how it all comes together!

Erik Bates | August 28, 2017
This sounds like a lot of fun, and a new bit of strategy to maximize badges will be interesting in how it plays out.

Chris Lemler | August 28, 2017
If your going back to 5 difficulty levels does that mean your gonna let created goo's stay has their created or you still gonna makes changes to the created goo's?

Scott Hardie | August 28, 2017
Thanks for the feedback all!

LaVonne: It's a lot for me to remember too, and I made it! :-) But it should make a lot more sense when you see the Badges page start to fill in with data. The color-coding makes it easier to keep track.

Chris: Yes, this Saturday I plan to review all goos already approved for publication to see if any should be reclassified.

Scott Hardie | September 2, 2017
Today, we wrap up the last pagoda season.

Holy cow, Russ! You've now won the game three times in three years and nine times total, tying Matthew's all-time record for most wins ever. Incredible! You've solved the last 206 goos in a row, a streak that exceeds all other players' longest-ever streaks. You're even pulling up close to Steve's lifetime score that once seemed unreachable. Truly, you are a master competitor. Well done, and keep it up! :-)

Though Russ pulled ahead of the pack, there was quite a pile-up at second place. Nine players were within 1500 points of each other: Elaine, Justin, Chris, Steve, Samir, Matthew, LaVonne, and Richard, with Jesse ahead of them all. You all play hard! I am impressed with everyone's dedication to the game!

Let's see how the new season shakes out. I'm sure everyone is thinking of new strategies already. This should be fun! I expect to launch the changes tonight (sometime around 8-11pm ET), so that you have time today to see the Pagoda scores before that page disappears.

I have privately been asked some questions about the new scoring system, specifically about how some of the badges work. I originally wrote out one response but wound up deleting it (you may have gotten a subscription notice for this discussion and found no new comment, a few days ago). I'm torn between providing info that you need in order to play the game, and revealing too much and taking away the fun of developing your own strategies through trial and error. I will give the matter more thought today and respond again, providing at least the essential basics.

Chris Lemler | September 2, 2017
WTG Russ you have done a remarkable job at getting your ninth victory. This has to be a great feeling for you being tied for the most victories in the goo game. This couldn't happen to nicer guy.. Good Luck next round everyone

Scott Hardie | September 2, 2017
In response to a private question, here's providing some more info about teal badges.

There are twelve of them in total:
- Be the first person to solve a goo.
- Be the second person to solve a goo.
- Be the third person to solve a goo.
- Be the fourth person to solve a goo.
- Be the fifth person to solve a goo.
- Be the sixth person to solve a goo.
- Be the seventh person to solve a goo.
- Be the eighth person to solve a goo.
- Be the ninth person to solve a goo.
- Be the tenth person to solve a goo.
- Be the last person to solve a goo.
- Be the only person to solve a goo.

So let's say that a new goo appears on Sunday morning at 12am. Chris guesses right at 1am Sunday, Steve guesses right at 6pm Tuesday, Russ guesses wrong (ha, fat chance) at 8pm Thursday, and LaVonne guesses right at 1pm Saturday, with no more guesses before the goo expires that night. Chris would earn the "first person" badge, Steve would earn the "second person" badge, and LaVonne would earn both the "third person" and "last person" badges.

You can only collect each badge once -- so in that example, if Chris already had the "first person" badge, he wouldn't get another one. Sometimes I solve goos myself while reviewing a player's creation, but my guesses do not count when calculating order; ignore them.

Most of the teal badges are granted right away, not at the end of the week. There are a few exceptions:

- The "first" through "tenth" badges are not awarded for a goo after there's a pending guess, until I can get onto the site and mark that guess right or wrong. So in the above example, if I were out of town all week on vacation and couldn't get online, then Chris and Steve would get their teal badges right away upon guessing right, but Russ's incorrect guess would sit there pending for a few days, and LaVonne would not get her badges until I got online and reviewed Russ's guess. (The site wouldn't know whether LaVonne was the third or fourth person to solve the goo until Russ's guess was reviewed.)

- The "last person" and "only person" badges are not awarded until the goo expires and there are no more pending guesses, at which point we know for sure who was the last person to solve the goo, and if someone was definitely alone in solving the goo.

Being the only person to solve a goo is pretty rare, so that badge is definitely one of the hardest to collect.

Scott Hardie | September 2, 2017
It's probably obvious already, but blue badges are there for "rubber-banding" purposes, like the lucky cats. The further behind you fall, the greater chance they give you to catch up.* I would love to have a completely achievement-based system; the purest possible way to score the game would be for whoever has the most solves at end of season to be the winner. But so many players are so good at this game and can solve virtually any goo thrown at them, that in a pure system like that, if you missed even a single goo along the way, then you'd be out of the running for the rest of the season (not to mention other problems, like the high likelihood of the season ending with a tie that took weeks of new goos to break). So some randomization is required to keep everybody competitive.

I know that this kind of randomization is unpopular with some players, but these aren't free handouts. You don't automatically get caught up if you fall behind. You still have to check the site daily, and when you win the lottery, you have to solve that day's new goo before midnight. But if you can capitalize on the opportunities afforded to you by the blue badges, you can miss some goos here and there (or join the game mid-season) and still catch up to the rest of the pack.

*I think this is worth pointing out again: Your chances of getting a blue badge are not affected by current goos, only expired goos. In the pagoda system, some players liked to wait until the final day that each goo was current before guessing, to keep their score lower and boost their chances of getting a lucky cat. Not only was the effect negiigible, but waiting so long could have deleterious effects: More than once, a player entered a very late guess that I had to disallow (strike from the record) according to the advanced rules, but it was too late for that player to guess again because the goo expired. I don't want to see that happen to anyone again, so I just want to be clear that waiting to guess does not improve your chances in the lottery for blue badges. (Waiting can help with the yellow and teal badges; that's a different story.)

Also: No matter how good your chances are, you cannot be chosen to win the lottery two days in a row.

Chris Lemler | September 3, 2017
Scott lets say the lottery badge comes up and it says Russ but, then Russ has a created goo that happens the same day. How does that work cause you can't solve your own goo. What happens then?

Scott Hardie | September 3, 2017
You can't be picked for the lottery on the day when your goo is published.

Scott Hardie | September 3, 2017
One more thing about blue badges, for anyone curious about how this all came together:

My original plan was for one player per day to be randomly selected to play a "preview goo," which would have been an upcoming goo out of the queue that could only be seen and guessed by that player on that day. If you solved it that day, you'd get a badge, and your guess would count later once the goo was eventually published. (If you guessed wrong or missed it, you wouldn't get the badge, but you would get to play the goo normally later.)

I had everything else to do with badges all programmed and done, but this last part with preview goos turned out to be exceedingly complicated to program. I didn't realize until I dug into it just how much code in the game is written with the expectation that goos are unplayable until they have been published. I kept finding more and more code that needed rewriting because it couldn't handle goos guessed ahead of schedule. I had allotted one hour to build the "preview goos" system, and on hour twelve I had to throw in the towel.

With only a few weeks left before the start of the fall season, I didn't know if we were going to get to play this new scoring system or not, even though it was 95% done. Then last weekend, the idea of lottery goos struck me, which would be a very similar concept that wouldn't require any changes to game infrastructure, and that took about an hour to program. I announced the badges system later that day.

And do you know what? I think I like the lottery better than preview goos anyway. It's simpler and easier to understand and doesn't feel like this whole extra thing you have to do. We got lucky.

Chris Lemler | September 3, 2017
I like it the idea

Scott Hardie | September 3, 2017
A follow-up to my emphasizing (in italics even) that waiting does not improve your odds: I've been accused in the past of trying to control how people play games around here, trying to force them to play "my way" and not letting them develop their own play patterns. I think that's a fair criticism, so I've taken it to heart and tried to stand back and let people do things their own way. I really did feel bad having to watch people miss out on guess-again opportunities because they waited for what is statistically very little benefit (Matthew Preston was visiting earlier this year during one such incident and we discussed it at the time, so he can vouch for me), but that said, it's not my place to judge whether the tiny benefit is worth the risk; it's yours, especially when the competition is this tough and every advantage might help. Anyway, I just wanted to be clear that while both the pagoda system and the badges system have a daily drawing where falling behind can improve your odds, this time there really is zero influence on the odds by waiting until late in the week to guess, so that nobody is operating based on a misunderstanding.

Aaron Shurtleff | September 7, 2017
Well, waiting to solve goos does seem to help your chances for the yellow badges, though... ;)

Scott Hardie | September 8, 2017
Follow-up to congratulating Russ: Now that the summer season is officially over and the goos have all expired, here's congratulating Chris and Russ on each playing a perfect season! It's one of the hardest feats to pull off. Russ now ties Justin for the most perfect seasons, with Chris not far behind. Well done, guys!

Chris Lemler | September 9, 2017
Thanks Scott! Just like you said its one of the hardest feats to pull off. But right now it looks like Russ is doing everything. :) He has tied Matt for the most victories and now has tied Justin for perfect rounds. All I can say to Russ is UNBELIEVABLE. Keep it ☝

Russ Wilhelm | September 9, 2017
Thanks, It was a tough round. Even when the last goo was published, I was wondering if I would be able to pull it off.

Here's to a new season, new scoring, new expectations, and new challenges. Time to rumble.

Erik Bates | September 18, 2017
Just a thought - is it possible to design the 'Badges' page to have your own progress at the top, but then also include it in the ranking list? That way a player can quickly see what their own status is and what they are looking to accomplish but also know how they stand in relation to their fellow players?

Or, maybe even a link at the top that says "Jump to your position" or something.

Mostly, I'm just being lazy and don't want to scroll and read to find my own name. Everyone feel free to mock me. I'm sorta making fun of myself now for even suggesting it, but I've spent all this time typing and feel obligated to submit so the last few minutes of typing doesn't go to waste.

Chris Lemler | September 18, 2017
I agree with you Erik that is a really good idea you have

Scott Hardie | September 24, 2017
Great idea, Erik. i'll do you one better: You can now hide other players' badges from view. You'll see their totals and where you're positioned on the list, but only your badges will be visible, reducing clutter on the page and making it easier to check your own progress. There are also a number of other options for hiding content that you might not want to see.

I'm working on restoring similar Options pages for other sections of Funeratic. If there are options that you'd like to have on the site -- not just hiding content, but any kind of option -- please let me know.

Erik Bates | September 24, 2017
I like it!

Scott Hardie | October 30, 2017
Congrats, Chris, on another solo solution, your fourth overall and your second this season on one of Erik's goos. Apparently you alone are on Erik's wavelength. :-)

When I saw the clue, I remembered immediately that Erik was a longtime fan of the Burden Brothers, but I mistook the "needing help from a man of God" hint and thought that Vaden Todd Lewis was the answer, since he was joined in the band by Taz Bentley from Reverend Horton Heat. Neither man looked like the image when I searched, but obviously I didn't look hard enough. So close!

Erik Bates | October 31, 2017
Dang Chris. Last minute solo solve once again. Good job!

Chris Lemler | October 31, 2017
Thank you. And kudos to your goo's they are really good. Job well done.

Erik Bates | October 31, 2017
I can see where the clue tripped you up, Scott. Perhaps not the best wording. Vaden Todd Lewis is a goo I previously requested, though. Not that that makes a difference. I'm trying to avoid repeats in my requests, especially if they are a repeat of my own goo.

Thanks, Chris! I'm really enjoying making them.

Scott Hardie | November 4, 2017
There are four weeks left in the Fall 2017 season. If you'd like to see any changes introduced in the Winter 2018 season, please speak up and let me know.

There are two adjustments that I already plan to make on December 2 when the next season is about to begin:

1) The delay between two goos by the same creator will go back to 15 days instead of 7 days. It's partly to give them some room to breathe, since the game feels a bit crowded with player goos at the moment (or is that just me?), and partly to reduce the influence of the purple badges, which I think are a little too powerful in the balance of all badges. I thought about simply raising the difficulty of earning purple badges, like you'd earn one for every two goos created or something, but I think extending the delay between goos is the better way to go.

2) Lottery badges are currently available to all active players. The definition of an "active" player has long (since 2006) been someone who has participated within the last month. Unfortunately, when someone does miss weeks at a time or does not come back at all, that's a lot of missed opportunities for lottery badges that other players could use. So while the "active" definition will stay the same in other regards, lottery badges will only be available to players who participated within the last week.

Scott Hardie | November 8, 2017
Samir, congrats on your own solo solution. Welcome to the club!

LaVonne Lemler | November 9, 2017
Great job, Samir, on another accomplishment in goo world --- a tough one to pull off! Congrats!

LaVonne Lemler | November 9, 2017
Chris, a tough and tricky goo --- thanks for sending me down the wrong path! :-) Nice job on Stillman!!

Scott Hardie | November 18, 2017
Just a reminder: The teal badges for "be the last player to solve a goo" and "be the only player to solve a goo" cannot be collected during the final week of the season, because those aren't awarded until after the goo has expired. Thus, the next seven days starting today (Nov 18-24) are your last chance to collect those badges if you're going for them.

Scott Hardie | November 19, 2017
Another change that I plan to make next season:

3) Lottery opportunities will last for a full week instead of just one day. For a goo published on the final week of the season, you must solve it before the season ends in order to collect the lottery badge.

Scott Hardie | December 1, 2017
Russ, congrats on getting another solo solution. You are now tied with Amy Austin and Matthew Preston for the most ever!

Scott Hardie | December 2, 2017
Today's winner is not really a surprise: Chris Lemler had a comfortable lead for some time now, with only Russ Wilhelm approaching his final score.

Well done, Chris! This is your fifth victory, making you one of the game's most frequent winners. I'll send your prize tomorrow by email.

This was a really hard season, with a significant increase in both the difficulty of individual goos and the difficulty of getting ahead in the scoring system. I have plans to address both problems in the winter season that starts on Sunday. We lost several players this season, and I'd hate to think that anyone else is unhappy with the game too, so please let me know if there are changes that would increase your enjoyment. And really, kudos to all of you for sticking with a really tough three months of the game! You deserve credit for playing through the difficulty.

LaVonne Lemler | December 3, 2017
Chris, congrats on your fifth win in Celebrity Goo! Keep up the great work, although you can take it easy a little on those tough created goos! Good luck in the new round! :-)

LaVonne Lemler | December 3, 2017
Russ, way to go on your 9th solo solution! That's quite an accomplishment!! I see more in your future! :-) Good luck to you and everyone in the new round!

Chris Lemler | December 29, 2017
Scott one question and I keep thinking about this and, if there is a tie, do the two or three players get credit for a win? For an example if Steve West, Erik, and Samir all tie, would they all get credit for a victory on their profile page since they all are receiving a $25 gift card from Amazon.

Scott Hardie | December 30, 2017
The goo game has gone through a lot of scoring systems over the years, but the one constant across all of them has been that there is only one official winner at the end of the season. That's still true with badges. The official rules state that if multiple players finish the season with the same number of badges, then the lowest average solve time will decide the winner from among those players, though they'll all receive prizes. That winner will be treated like any other: He or she alone will get credit on their profile page and on the winners list, not the other players who tied for the same score.

That said, in the early days of the game, there used to be a "runners up" acknowledgement for players who came very close to winning a season without being the one official winner. I retired that achievement because it wasn't possible in most scoring systems. With badges, it's possible again, though unlikely since ties are still improbable. Should I bring back the "runners up" player achievement?

Chris Lemler | December 30, 2017
I think Scott if we had more players then I would bring it back. As of now I would say no

Scott Hardie | December 30, 2017
Yeah, agreed, I think. Having fewer players makes ties even less likely.

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