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Game clock

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On Board Game Arena you are playing "live" (real time) or "turn-based" (asynchronously). In both cases, you have an allotted delay to play your moves.

Most of the time, your initial delay at the beginning of a game is some minutes (in realtime mode) or some days (in turn-based mode). During each turn, or on specific occasions, you get an additional delay. If you have no more time to play, you will get a "clock" penalty and your opponents can decide to skip your turns (and consequently make you lose the game).

Game clock system philosophy

The game clock has been designed with the following principles:

  • Even if you are in a losing position, it is always more interesting (for your ELO and your reputation) to play the game until the end.
  • Make sure that if your opponent left the game (or has been disconnected), it won't take long before you can expel them and win the game by forfeit.
  • Expelling an opponent is always a volunteer action, so you can agree with your opponent to forget the time limit if you want to.
  • If your opponent does not play and run out of time, this is always more interesting for you to try to make them rejoin the game than to punish them with penalties or skipping turn.

In anyway, don't forget that respecting your allotted time is VERY important.

Time to think

Your allotted time to think is displayed on the right of your player's name. When it's your turn to play, this time is also displayed at the top of the web page.

Game speed

Table administrator can make a choice between some game speed profile (example: fast, normal, slow). There are many speeds for each mode (realtime and turn-based).

The additional amount of time credited each turn depends on the chosen game speed profile. Be careful to check the game speed setting before the game starts to adjust your timing. The interface displays an estimation of the game duration based on recently played games with the same speed settings.

Note: your allotted time to think cannot get higher that your initial time to think. For example, if you start the game with 5 minutes of thinking time, you time will be limited to 5 minutes maximum.

Note: playing without a time limit is strongly discouraged, except if you are playing with friends, or to discover a new game. Remember that without time limit, you can't skip the turn of a player that is not playing.

Running out of time

As soon as you run out of time (negative clock), you get a clock penalty.

When a player has a negative clock, any one of their opponents can make them skip their turn. Once this has been done, all following turns are skipped automatically.

After player A's turn has been "skipped" at y% of game progression, the game results are "neutralized". It means that:

  • Player A is going to lose the game anyway (last position), with the corresponding ELO loss.
  • In addition, Player A will get a "leave" penalty on their profile and an additional -10 ELO points penalty.
  • Player A's opponents are going to win the game anyway (all tied at the first position), with y% of the ELO points they would have normally won. This is impossible to lose points when your opponent left the game.

Example: player "Aspen" left a 2 players game at 50% of the game progression. Their opponent "Briar" skips their turn. At the end of the game, "Aspen" will get -30 ELO points (normal loss for a game loss) plus an additional -10 ELO points (penalty for leaving), plus a red "leave" penalty on their reputation profile. "Briar" is going to win 15 ELO points (50% of the normal 30 ELO points win).

Note: you can't skip the turn of an opponent if your own clock is even more negative than them. For example, if "Briar"'s clock is -3:45 and "Aspen"'s clock is "-0:05", "Aspen" can expel "Briar" but "Briar" cannot expel "Aspen".

Continue the game after a "skip turn"

If you are playing in a game where a player skips all their turns, you may continue the game if you like, or not.

This has no effect on anything (game results, penalties, and so on...). This is "just for fun".

"My opponent is too slow"

Each of us has different expectations on game speed. Please remember that as soon as a table has been set up at a given game speed, each player is allowed to use all their allotted time to think. If you want to play fast, set up or join only tables with "fast" mode on, but don't bully an opponent to play when they have the right to use their allotted time to think.

"I would like to think a little"

If you are in a critical step of the game and want to take some time to think, you can click on the "I would like to think a little" link at the top right of the page.

Thus, your opponents will get a message and won't be thinking that you are away from keyboard or disconnected.

Clicking on this link is not mandatory, but we encourage its use as a courtesy.