For/ against draws

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For/ against draws

Postby andrewpmilne » 17 Jul 2020, 13:27

This isn’t exactly a rules question, but here seems to be the best place to discuss it.
I’m looking for some thoughts from expert / experienced players. Please don’t be mislead by the start date I joined this site- I played a handful of games a decade ago and a handful of games recently.

I play with a group of real-life friends. None of us are experienced gamers. The first two games we played, the draw option was disabled. In the most recent game the draw option was left on. Along with one other person I ended up drawing (winning???) the game. We have been criticised by the other members of the group for using the tactic and accused of bad sportsmanship (all in a good-hearted way, but still!!) I’m pretty sure that I’m the only person in the group who has played online games with strangers as well, so I’m aware that a high percentage of games on here do end in draws.

We’re now debating about whether to make draws available in future games. My argument is that we should. I feel this because in my opinion there are quite a few flaws in Diplomacy that are actually reduced by allowing draws...
I think draws reduce the amount of luck involved. I know I’m being brave mentioning luck on a diplomacy forum and don’t want this to turn into a big debate about that! My argument is that In a solo wins only game, any alliance that forms that doesn’t involve me can only be successful for one person. Therefore anyone else in that alliance is making a big mistake being part of it because in the end they are not going to win. I am going to massively suffer by the ‘bad’ moves of that player if I can’t break the alliance. However good I am at sending persuasive emails and predicting their moves, I am eventually going to lose if I can’t break the alliance and I may well not be able to. I’m suffering from the poor play of something else.
Also, (I accept this is a slight contradiction), if I manage to make an alliance myself, I know for certain that at some point my partner is going to try and backstab me. If my partner wants to win he has no choice. In general terms There is no way I can attack someone else and also cover a potential backstab. Therefore I have to submit a set of moves and then hope that my ally and my opponents moves work well to help me. I know I may well get backstabbed, but I’ve taken the risk of not defending against it and then just hoped that I won’t be. If I have the carrot to dangle of keeping the alliance right until the end of the game and sharing a win, I can focus on one thing and not the other, therefore increasing the tactical element of the game. Of course, the alliance doesn’t have to last for ever, it just has to have the potential to.

Also draws Lessen the possibility of desperation tactics (ie moving out of supply centres to favour one person in an attempt to break and alliance). This has happened in two games I’ve played. I’m theory this tactic should always work in solo win games as the person not benefitting is not going to want his ‘ally’ to win. But may well not work if they can draw. Ideally it’s a tactic that shouldn’t happen so I’d rather there was a deterrent to using it.

Finally I think draws make the game shorter! Which is a good thing in my opinion.

Just interested in what more experienced players think. Feel free to agree or disagree.
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Re: For/ against draws

Postby V » 17 Jul 2020, 13:49

Draws are a reality of Diplomacy, recognised in the original rules by the guy who created it.
They’re not the objective, but for strategic or diplomatic reasons they will happen.
I understand that in “solo only” games, the site admins are often needed to implement a draw!
Bit silly really not allow a game function, then end up having to belatedly request it after all.

One of the beautiful aspects of Diplomacy is that denying reality usually ends up with defeat.
Bit like being against allowing draws...
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Re: For/ against draws

Postby Verse9 » 17 Jul 2020, 14:58

I think a well played game with decent players will always end in a 3-way or possibly 4-way draw. A solo means several people made some really bad choices. And that one player made really good ones.

2-way draws go against the spirit of the game. It's a competition, not a let's hold hands and beat up the other players. Two way draws are unsporting.
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Re: For/ against draws

Postby Strategus » 17 Jul 2020, 15:32

Verse9 wrote:I think a well played game with decent players will always end in a 3-way or possibly 4-way draw. A solo means several people made some really bad choices. And that one player made really good ones.

2-way draws go against the spirit of the game. It's a competition, not a let's hold hands and beat up the other players. Two way draws are unsporting.

Two ways are less unsporting than 3 ways
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Re: For/ against draws

Postby Jack007 » 17 Jul 2020, 16:01

Verse9 wrote:...

2-way draws go against the spirit of the game. It's a competition, not a let's hold hands and beat up the other players. Two way draws are unsporting.


..says who?

Who defines "the spirit of the game"?

In fact, a two-way draw is very difficult to attain. Needs a lot of trust and timing.

"Unsporting" is a term used by losers. If the losers had answered right and by time against that 2-powers alliance, they wouldn't have lost. It's simple like that.

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Re: For/ against draws

Postby Verse9 » 17 Jul 2020, 16:20

The object of the game is to use your armies and fleets to conquer as much of Europe as you can. Specifically, you must capture and be in possession of at least 18 of the 34 nations or provinces on the map that contain supply centres - i.e. a simple majority - at the end of a year.
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Re: For/ against draws

Postby Strategus » 17 Jul 2020, 17:14

Verse9 wrote:The object of the game is to use your armies and fleets to conquer as much of Europe as you can. Specifically, you must capture and be in possession of at least 18 of the 34 nations or provinces on the map that contain supply centres - i.e. a simple majority - at the end of a year.

And if the other players spot that it is likely, they will club together to stop it. Sometimes it is possible for one of those players to get the board leader to back off just far enough to secure 17 each. These instances are perfectly honourable imo. Personally, I just dislike it when players club together at the start of tbe game, to agree the draw size and play it out accordingly. Imo, these are dishonourable draws. Or carebear draws.
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Re: For/ against draws

Postby Verse9 » 17 Jul 2020, 17:42

I would agree that a well played game that ends in a "true" draw is honorable.
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Re: For/ against draws

Postby UM85 » 17 Jul 2020, 18:02

This is one of the more hotly debated topics, the solo vs the draw. Personally, I believe everyone should set out with the goal of a solo in mind and do everything possible to attain it. But sometimes, draws will happen along the way. And that is not a bad thing. A draw, however, should not be the starting goal of any player.

Having said that, for the purposes of the original question, I would advise against disabling the Draw option. As was noted, having the draw option available can assist in getting to a Solo. I'm sure pretty much all of us have used some variation of the "we're allies to the end" discussion with someone that we later mercilessly stabbed. Not having that tool in the toolkit would make the game more two-dimensional.
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Re: For/ against draws

Postby Pops2112 » 17 Jul 2020, 21:43

I would add to the debate these thoughts, as a fan of playing with Draws available and playing a mix of DIAS and non-DIAS games (there's another whole debate, my own view being that both Draw options are equally interesting):

1. Depending on the history within a game, the particular dynamics of how the map has ended up as the later stages approach, and any number of other variables, any given game can get to a point where, even assuming all started out with an aim of doing the best they can for their individual country, it just 'feels' right, or at least OK, to say 'GG everyone', let's call it quits there.

2. There are some clear-cut cases, in my book, for 2-way draws as the 'right' outcome in a non-DIAS game, where two nations have become dominant but one or more tiny nation remains. For example, it looks quite 50:50 which of the major powers can achieve a solo and the tiny nation proposes the draw rather than a fight to the bitter end. Or especially, which happens tediously often, the tiny power goes AWOL or surrenders. The map geometry may favour one of the major powers over the other in a chase to grab the (say) 2 or 3 SCs now in civil disorder; but that's not really Diplomacy any more, that's just moving pieces around and making sure you don't mess up your Orders. I think the two major powers then saying OK, let's call that a 2-way draw/win then is good sportsmanship from both. (That surrendered power-broker example is the only case I can think of where a 2-way draw might feel the right outcome if DIAS, as the surrendered country is not included in the draw although not yet eliminated.)
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