Why can we negotiate during retreat/build phases?

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Why can we negotiate during retreat/build phases?

Postby Phlegmatic » 04 Sep 2019, 17:17

Hi all,

To satisfy my curiosity, why is negotiation allowed in online games during the retreat and build phases, but not in face to face Diplomacy?

Is this just a product of how the game was programmed in early iterations and the practice stuck, or some other reason?

Does this only apply on PlayDip, or also on other platforms?

Thanks!

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Re: Why can we negotiate during retreat/build phases?

Postby Strategus » 04 Sep 2019, 17:25

On webdip you can select either normal or rulebook press. I think this is s good option for the game.
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Re: Why can we negotiate during retreat/build phases?

Postby asudevil » 04 Sep 2019, 18:35

Cause of time zones it’s hard to eliminate press during those times
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Re: Why can we negotiate during retreat/build phases?

Postby Strategus » 04 Sep 2019, 18:47

You can just switch it off during build. Can't be that hard.
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Re: Why can we negotiate during retreat/build phases?

Postby jay65536 » 04 Sep 2019, 19:40

The original rules state that negotiation is not allowed for retreats or builds.

The original way to play Diplomacy online was via e-mail, i.e. you'd e-mail your opponents directly to negotiate. And before that, people played by post. In those contexts, any prohibition on negotiation was unenforceable, so I guess the rule was just ignored. (I'm not old enough to have ever played postal.)

Over time, online play moved to platforms where you could remain anonymous and have messages forwarded through a central server. So because of this, maintaining the presence of negotiation during retreats and builds is a bit of a "legacy" thing. But I think the reason we don't have "rulebook press" here, even though we could, is just because other players don't seem to want it. (I personally am a huge fan of it.)
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Re: Why can we negotiate during retreat/build phases?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 04 Sep 2019, 20:12

In my opinion:

It's something I'd personally like to see available as an option, though I worry that players will just choose to communicate through other means during those turns. In anonymous games, such communication is already forbidden, but there's more of a grey area for non-anonymous games.

The bigger question is the interface. A significant difference between our site and others is that we don't submit orders with a single "submit" button.* Both on webDiplomacy and Backstabbr, for instance, a player plans their orders and submits them to save them. Those orders might not be final, and they can be edited, but they are submitted all at once.

In the existing standard point-and-click PlayDiplomacy interface, there is no "Submit". Orders are recorded in piecemeal as they are given. New orders for a unit replace the old ones. There is a "Finalize" link, but that selection has no impact on the orders you have recorded. It simply flags you as ready to adjudicate.

So why does this matter?

Other sites sometimes also have a "finalize" option or an equivalent, and it likewise operates separately from "Submit." In rulebook press games on other sites, however, the option to finalize is automatically baked into the submit button for retreat and build phases.

This means that players aren't likely to stall the adjudication of those phases. In rulebook press, your retreats are in or they're not. Your adjustments are in, or they're not. There's no middle ground of "they're in but not finalized."

Depending on the player, this can be either a good thing or a frustrating thing. A lack of an option to submit but not finalize means that you never really get a break from the game. Effectively, there will almost always be an orders phase in progress.

However, under our interface, because we allow for orders to be submitted one-by-one, we cannot always reliably know when a player has finished submitting retreats or builds.** We currently have to let players submit-but-not-finalize; they may accordingly opt to run the clock for those phases to its fullest extent. Therefore, in order to keep those periods from feeling like wasted time, and to keep players engaged, it makes sense to allow press to continue during them. Such time for talk might even be expected; even though it occurs during Spring Retreats, for instance, it may be utilized for the upcoming Fall Orders phase. Players might set up a 2/1/1 game, for instance, with the expectation that the orders negotiation phase overlaps with retreats and is frequently closer to three days in length.***

This is not the final word on this matter, to be clear. I'd love to have rulebook press as an option (at least for retreats, if not for adjustments). But the revisions required to make that option actually practical entail more significant changes to the interface as a whole. Simply blocking press during those periods would be a trivial change, admittedly, but it might be to the detriment of the game as a whole without a mechanism to keep those phases moving forward.

*This is the case for the "Menu-based order entry" popup window, but not elsewhere.
** I do have an idea for a timer mechanism in this regard, but I'd need to experiment with it a bit first.
*** Game time settings would likely trend to different values for hypothetical rulebook-press games.
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Re: Why can we negotiate during retreat/build phases?

Postby super_dipsy » 05 Sep 2019, 06:53

The reason we have comms in Build/Retreat phases is because this is what the online community wanted.

When you are playing online, it is not the same as playing F2F ;) If you are in a F2F game, you probably have a very short time to write down your retreats and builds/destroys. The game takes a slight pause, then you are off again. One reason I suspect is that if there are some players who do NOT have retreats or builds/destroys, they could chat while others have to get their orders in which isn't fair. So the simple thing is to say for this very short time, no negotiations.

In the online world, people maybe be looking at a day or more for Retreats followed by a day or more for Builds/Destroys. Playing by the rulebook, this means the game is essentially dead for you (since most games are mostly about comms) for a few days, and most of our community do not want the game to just die. But since the period is long, the problem that surfaces in F2F (the chance for some people to negotiate while ithers have to get their orders in) does not mean much in online. Even if I have a retreat to do, for instance, I have plenty of time left to negotiate.

Personally, I worry about the idea of a 'play by the rulebook' option on negotiations. Experienced Diplomacy players will understand when they find themselves in such a game, but less experienced players will wonder why the game has died for long periods and it may result in them giving up. The idea of a game going dead is alien to most online gamers that I know. But if the community wants such an option, it is easy to do.
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Re: Why can we negotiate during retreat/build phases?

Postby Phlegmatic » 05 Sep 2019, 15:23

Thanks all - interesting answers!

I do see the argument about the "dead time" being an important one. Loss of momentum can affect online games quite badly, and personally I've always found myself more engaged when games have shorter deadlines rather than longer.
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Re: Why can we negotiate during retreat/build phases?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 05 Sep 2019, 15:57

Phlegmatic wrote:Thanks all - interesting answers!

I do see the argument about the "dead time" being an important one. Loss of momentum can affect online games quite badly, and personally I've always found myself more engaged when games have shorter deadlines rather than longer.


If we can solve the "submitted but not finalized" problem in a satisfactory manner, we can potentially eliminate most of the dead time problem.
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Re: Why can we negotiate during retreat/build phases?

Postby super_dipsy » 05 Sep 2019, 16:34

NoPunIn10Did wrote:
Phlegmatic wrote:Thanks all - interesting answers!

I do see the argument about the "dead time" being an important one. Loss of momentum can affect online games quite badly, and personally I've always found myself more engaged when games have shorter deadlines rather than longer.


If we can solve the "submitted but not finalized" problem in a satisfactory manner, we can potentially eliminate most of the dead time problem.

I'm sorry, but I do not understand that point.

If we have a retreat phase, and one player who has a retreat is very busy, he/she may not get their retreat in much before the deadline. It makes no difference at all whether we solve the 'submitted but not finalized' problem, because the order was never submitted anyway. Also (and I think this is more common), many players I know do not like to finalize, because then they may get shocked by a new turn running away from them. For example, if I am playing 24 hour turns, I know that if I am rather busy I have no risk of missing a deadline provided I check each day. I can therefore time my involvement (with a few checks) so I can maximize the time I have available to negotiate. I can't control this if I have no retreats or builds/destroys to make, but if I DO then I can ensure some level of predictabaility instead of potentially coming in to find there is only an hour left fo me to negotiate because the turn progressed rapidly.
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