How to arrange a 2-way draw

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Re: How to arrange a 2-way draw

Postby Kra » 08 Oct 2015, 03:45

Lol, Z. Yes odd number of centers does it. And I already like playing Italy so your mod makes it better.
The stats:
Total number of games on site: 68533

All other details are for RANKED games only

Total number of completed games: 34136
Total number of solo victories: 18593
Total number of 2-way draws: 6554
Total number of 3-way draws: 6707
Total number of 4-way draws: 2013

Surprised - thats a lot of 2 ways of course don't know how many variants, players in game etc. Almost as many as 3 ways.

I partly agree with Elric , usually from mid game. Of my 6 here only one was long term early alliance and I was Russia where I had to stab very painfully my northern loyal ( other) ally. To Z , that was a gamble! But I did stick with your "scenario " in my head. One other developed early but only after that country and I fought and then made peace. But the others weren't all late mid game. And yes, the diplomacy negotiations invariably continue throughout with Elric's described scenario one of the permutations. Two of them were with countries that I had significant conflict with for much of the game; one of those came from a long series of successful serial stop the leader evolving and revolving alliances.
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Re: How to arrange a 2-way draw

Postby PlatypusUncle » 08 Oct 2015, 05:40

On the primary thread topic:

Unless the stronger power is absolutely trustworthy, I think that the Gibraltar stalemate line and the supply center of Portugal would probably be the best tactic to arrange a successful 2-way draw. If one major power holds 16 centers and the other 17 a bit player holds Portugal, and if Mid-Atlantic is solidly in the hands of one major power while Spain and the Mediterranean are solidly in the hands of the other, then it is impossible for either major power to take Portugal without the cooperation of the other, leaving the 17-center power with a simple choice: take a 3-way draw, or support the 16-center power into Portugal for a 2-way draw.

On Zosimus' "Carebear" thread:

Friend Z, I am afraid you are letting your nomenclature deceive you, and you're missing an important point as a result. "Carebear" implies a very trusting individual, which you are unlikely to find among veteran players of this game; what you are really dealing with is not players who are trusting but rather players who choose to be trustworthy. The name of this game is Diplomacy, and trustworthiness is in fact a diplomatic strategy - a fairly powerful one, although it also has some drawbacks. Being trustworthy reduces your odds of a successful solo (although it increases your odds of a successful draw), and unless you take pains to demonstrate that you are not the sort of fool who fails to take precautions against a stab, refusing to stab your ally puts you at a higher risk of eventually finding a dagger in your own back - hence, my point about veteran players who choose this strategy being trustworthy but not trusting. :)

You generally won't be able to get a player who chooses trustworthiness as a strategy to stab a partner in order to ally with you, of course, but that's precisely the point: stabbing an ally is not consistent with the strategy of being trustworthy. A big part of your frustration with this strategy, however, is probably not that obvious fact, however, but rather how it influences the trustworthy player's allies. The fact that player X demonstrates trustworthiness is also going to make it harder for you to persuade player Y to stab player X even if player Y doesn't give two hoots about being trustworthy, himself; that, along with how much easier it is for player X to persuade other players to trust him, is why trustworthiness can seriously compete with Realpolitik as a diplomatic strategy.

Forget for a moment about player X, the trustworthy one, and think about it from the perspective of player Y - a Realpolitik player who has an alliance with player X. He has a deal with X which is going to give Y either a 2-way or a 3-way draw or (if X is careless, which IMO agreeing to a 2-way draw strongly suggests) a solo. You offer Y a similar deal, but you haven't been demonstrating your trustworthiness for most of the game so he probably expects your strategy to be based on Realpolitik. Why, then, would player Y choose to put his faith in an unknown and probably untrustworthy partner when he is already fairly sure that player X is trustworthy? If you can convince Y that his and X's alliance will fail to achieve its stated goal but that allying with you would give Y a good shot at that draw, maybe he will take the chance; however, if he thinks that the plan they already have will work then Y is not going to want to face a higher risk of getting stabbed just to achieve the same goal. This, in a nutshell, is the power of trustworthiness as a diplomatic strategy: if other players are pretty confident that X will keep his word, they'll feel safer allying with X than they will allying with you.
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Re: How to arrange a 2-way draw

Postby Peanut » 08 Oct 2015, 09:44

Elric Hazard wrote:The link in Cardlingers post is definitive. Unfortunately it doesn't come with maps to easily visualize the lines described.

All stalemate positions can be found here
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Re: How to arrange a 2-way draw

Postby gsmx » 08 Oct 2015, 19:40

Some of this is a repeat of what's already been said.

True two-ways between competitive players are really really hard, but not at all impossible. When you look at Kra's stats my first guess would be that well over half of the 6554 games were the result of the mating of the mighty carebear that other's have already touched on. This is that magical moment in nature when two players who both were never that interested in scores wish to publically celebrate the bonding experience they had with each other during this super-fun experience. It's still a little uncommon since usually one is slightly more amibitious then another and steals it, but it happens.

Then there's the next type, the super saavy allies with good diplomatic and strategic skills. Highly experienced players are pretty well versed in the steps needed to get to a proper two-way stalemate and usually have references like Peanut linked to in order to help guide their way there. They set their borders by the book, insist on checks-and-balances along the way to help ensure no openings come available for steps with things like even growth and very strong DMZ's, set up bounced units where needed, and often are completely transparent in their intentions round-by-round to help flush out any strange movements before they happen. Done correctly and you're able to slowly inch your way into a proper two-way. This works better with some country pairings then it does with others.

And finally there's the rarest of all kinds, the competitior two-way. This is when two players truly are both racing for a solo but they're just so evenly matched that eventually they just hit a natural stalemate. Often it comes as a result of stalemating in a threeway but one player getting his opportunity to downsize his small pawn ally at the last minute to get a few extra points. Game needs to pretty much flow just right for these conditions to occur.

Regarding the notion of "banning two-ways", that's just crazy pants.

Diplomacy simply doesn't work in absolutes. You've got seven players all looking after their own interests all of which you need to have incentives to dangle in order to be able to inch towards an end goal. All-or-nothing doesn't really work, people would otherwise lose incentive the moment a solo is improbable and everything would just stop and suddenly you'd start seeing a bunch of 6 or 5-way stalemate draws. Consolation prizes are an essential part of this game and they need to be laid out in a reasonable distribution of risk-reward levels. Here's my threeway .. ok if gamble a little more i can get a two-way while having options to fall back to the threeway or go for solo depending how things go ...there's my solo shot, let's go .. oh no, he saw it coming and stabbed as well, i need to quickly make up with the third player to save my chance to cross the finish line at all!
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Re: How to arrange a 2-way draw

Postby Mr_Blobby » 09 Oct 2015, 21:23

Thanks for all of this input. It has really given me food for thought and I will look into "official" stalemate lines more.

My strategy for now will be to agree and keep clear DMZs because you then get advanced warning of a stab.

I loved the Carebear scenario from Z. It seems to me that for whatever reason Carebears are not liked. However, given the scenario that I am talking about never started with an up-front agreement to share a 2-way draw then maybe that means that I am not a Carebear after all.

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Re: How to arrange a 2-way draw

Postby Zosimus » 09 Oct 2015, 22:34

fidelis wrote:Friend Z, I am afraid you are letting your nomenclature deceive you, and you're missing an important point as a result. "Carebear" implies a very trusting individual, which you are unlikely to find among veteran players of this game; what you are really dealing with is not players who are trusting but rather players who choose to be trustworthy. The name of this game is Diplomacy, and trustworthiness is in fact a diplomatic strategy - a fairly powerful one, although it also has some drawbacks. Being trustworthy reduces your odds of a successful solo (although it increases your odds of a successful draw), and unless you take pains to demonstrate that you are not the sort of fool who fails to take precautions against a stab, refusing to stab your ally puts you at a higher risk of eventually finding a dagger in your own back - hence, my point about veteran players who choose this strategy being trustworthy but not trusting. :)

You generally won't be able to get a player who chooses trustworthiness as a strategy to stab a partner in order to ally with you, of course, but that's precisely the point: stabbing an ally is not consistent with the strategy of being trustworthy. A big part of your frustration with this strategy, however, is probably not that obvious fact, however, but rather how it influences the trustworthy player's allies. The fact that player X demonstrates trustworthiness is also going to make it harder for you to persuade player Y to stab player X even if player Y doesn't give two hoots about being trustworthy, himself; that, along with how much easier it is for player X to persuade other players to trust him, is why trustworthiness can seriously compete with Realpolitik as a diplomatic strategy.

Forget for a moment about player X, the trustworthy one, and think about it from the perspective of player Y - a Realpolitik player who has an alliance with player X. He has a deal with X which is going to give Y either a 2-way or a 3-way draw or (if X is careless, which IMO agreeing to a 2-way draw strongly suggests) a solo. You offer Y a similar deal, but you haven't been demonstrating your trustworthiness for most of the game so he probably expects your strategy to be based on Realpolitik. Why, then, would player Y choose to put his faith in an unknown and probably untrustworthy partner when he is already fairly sure that player X is trustworthy? If you can convince Y that his and X's alliance will fail to achieve its stated goal but that allying with you would give Y a good shot at that draw, maybe he will take the chance; however, if he thinks that the plan they already have will work then Y is not going to want to face a higher risk of getting stabbed just to achieve the same goal. This, in a nutshell, is the power of trustworthiness as a diplomatic strategy: if other players are pretty confident that X will keep his word, they'll feel safer allying with X than they will allying with you.

I'm going to start by calling a big BS on the main point of this argument, a main point that claims that what carebears really are is "trustworthy." A few moments of thought will reveal that this is probably the biggest lie told in the history of the diplomacy game.

First of all, I never asked either side to stab the other. I suggested a three-way draw, which would include the allied pair. This is rebuffed by the statement that I have been labeled an enemy since the beginning and must be exterminated as a matter of "trustworthiness?" Are you taking a piss?

Second, let's suppose that the two really did agree to draw or die at the beginning of the game. Nevertheless, I am over the stalemate line and in the spring turn I gain my 18th supply center. So I write to the two of them saying, "You guys really played well. I feel bad. Let's just propose a three-way draw. What do you say?" Do you seriously mean to tell me that this pair would write back to me and say, "While we appreciate the offer, we have entered into a solemn pact to a two-way draw. Two way!! Therefore, we must reject your offer." Obviously, principle would go right out the window, and they would gladly accept the three-way draw – trustworthiness be damned.

Finally, this carebear alliance, which was entered into in spring 1901, invariably involves lying and deception. We imagine that it is England and France who enter into this unholy alliance. What of Germany? Do you mean to tell me that England and France say, "As a matter of trustworthiness, it falls to us to inform Germany that we have pacted to destroy him utterly. Suggesting that we might work with him would be beneath our honor. We must inform him of his impending death. To do otherwise would brand us as untrustworthy players." Of course not. Each member of the alliance will obviously do all in his power to convince Germany to trust him, to unguard key supply centers, and neither of them will view that as a sign of the other's untrustworthiness, although both should.

Fully 40 percent of my games end in draws, and it's not because I am inches from soloing and a desperate alliance forms to fend me off. I propose and agree to draws all the time, yet I am branded some kind of solo-only player by carebears as a sop to their guilty consciences.

Forming unbreakable alliances in spring 1901 is cheating, plain and simple. It is no different from two poker players showing their hands to each other while excluding all others from the view. It is metagaming. I think the mods should do something about it, but even if they do not, people who engage in these kinds of agreements should be pariahs. Everyone deserves the same shot at the prize as does anyone else regardless whether they have the wrong skin color, don't wear fashion clothes, or just didn't happen to sit next to a carebear. Because to me, carebear agreements are in the same category as racism, sexism, and homophobia.
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Re: How to arrange a 2-way draw

Postby PlatypusUncle » 10 Oct 2015, 00:53

First of all, I never asked either side to stab the other. I suggested a three-way draw, which would include the allied pair.


If they agreed to pursue a 2-way draw, then changing goals to pursue a 3-way draw instead would be exactly that unless you could persuade both of them to agree to the change of plans; realistically, though, I don't see how you could expect to accomplish that unless you were able to hold a stalemate line which the alliance could not cross. Every player included in a draw dilutes its value for the winners, so unless you can demonstrate (or convincingly bluff) that you have the position and the tactics needed to stop them, why should they agree to cut in an extra player?

Second, let's suppose that the two really did agree to draw or die at the beginning of the game. Nevertheless, I am over the stalemate line and in the spring turn I gain my 18th supply center. So I write to the two of them saying, "You guys really played well. I feel bad. Let's just propose a three-way draw. What do you say?" Do you seriously mean to tell me that this pair would write back to me and say, "While we appreciate the offer, we have entered into a solemn pact to a two-way draw. Two way!! Therefore, we must reject your offer." Obviously, principle would go right out the window, and they would gladly accept the three-way draw – trustworthiness be damned.


I can't speak for others, but if I had agreed to pursue a 2-way draw (which I'm very unlikely to do) then the only way in which I could be persuaded to accept a 3-way draw instead would be to obtain the consent of my alliance partner to such a change: no consent, no change. And if you had clearly won the game (i.e. we lacked the ability to take back the lost center in Fall and then hold it), I would not wish to accept unearned laurels; I would decline such an offer unless a promise bound me to accept it (which has actually happened).

Finally, this carebear alliance, which was entered into in spring 1901, invariably involves lying and deception. We imagine that it is England and France who enter into this unholy alliance. What of Germany? Do you mean to tell me that England and France say, "As a matter of trustworthiness, it falls to us to inform Germany that we have pacted to destroy him utterly. Suggesting that we might work with him would be beneath our honor. We must inform him of his impending death. To do otherwise would brand us as untrustworthy players." Of course not. Each member of the alliance will obviously do all in his power to convince Germany to trust him, to unguard key supply centers, and neither of them will view that as a sign of the other's untrustworthiness, although both should.


Wrong. If either or both of those 2 players is seriously pursuing trustworthiness as a strategy, they will do all that they can to mislead Germany and help Germany to draw incorrect conclusions, but the one thing they will not do is make an explicit promise to Germany with the intention of breaking it. I would have to look back a year or so to find it, but I can vividly recall a game in which I played Russia and enticed Turkey to pursue a Juggernaut strategy using nothing but hypothetical tactics and references to online material describing successful Juggernaut strategies; in nearly 3 seasons' worth of detailed tactical analyses and discussions about the intentions of our neighbors, I never once made an actual promise to Turkey, and he completely failed to notice this. At the appropriate time - which was when I had chosen a committed ally (Italy) and he in turn had made up his mind whether we were going after Austria or Turkey - I was able to walk right in the Caliph's back door because he had not paid careful attention to what I actually said and did not say. Trustworthy is not the same thing as transparent. ;)

Forming unbreakable alliances in spring 1901 is cheating, plain and simple.


I believe it would be more appropriate to say that it is anti-social towards the other players in the game. However passionately you dislike them or how annoying you find them, you don't get to arbitrarily label other people's within-game diplomatic strategies as cheating.

For myself, I don't much approve of unbreakable alliances in Spring 1901, either, but it's because I think they are simply foolish. Nobody can get a real feel for the strategic situation and the relative trustworthiness of the other players before the end of 1901, and often the necessary degree of confidence won't come until Spring or Fall of 1902. A smart player would make and probably keep some short-term deals during that time and negotiate for and consider longer-term alliances such as "until we eliminate ____"; nobody in his right mind would commit to a game-long alliance with a complete unknown before he can start to see who is gunning for whom in this game. If someone offered me an unbreakable game-long alliance in Spring of 1901, I would gauge that he's either a fool or else thinks I am a fool and is planning for me to be his first or second conquest; in response, I would maneuver cautiously, talk a lot to try to figure out which of those two is the case, and carefully avoid actually agreeing to the alliance while stringing him along for as long as possible. :)
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Re: How to arrange a 2-way draw

Postby Elric Hazard » 10 Oct 2015, 10:11

You could easily have a short term alliance in S01 that blossoms into fruitful actions for both sides. Neither had ever seen it a better move to stab then keep going at any point in the game so far. When it comes down to 3 players left, how could there be a rule that says they must not remained allied? They either accept the 3 way , stab for solo, arrange to march safely to a 2 way, or stab for a 2 way with the until-now-odd man out. Presumably the game long (as it happened) ally is the favored one if you want to go for a 2 way, but the position may demand or suggest the other one as more feasible. Taking away option 3 seriously changes the game.

"Hey lets have a game long unbreakable pact" is nothing but words. Anyone who makes it his go-to strategy and plans to actually keep it is going to get burned more often then rewarded and will eventually change or quit. If you ask it of me, I am going to say yes. Maybe that's a short term misdirection, or maybe I'll keep him around knowing I can stab when the time is right. I'll also have to keep in mind that maybe he is just trying to fool me and just possibly he is really good at fooling me. Chances are though, he is not a real threat because an experienced player knows this is a silly proposal.

In the wild case mentioned earlier with the intransigent obvious comical and admitted partnership, you can always just pick one to fight with and ignore the other until either the bait is taken or you win or you can force your own draw condition. If they are still capable of making it a 2way under those conditions - then they are indeed playing for the best result. 2 is better than 3.
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Re: How to arrange a 2-way draw

Postby Groo » 17 Jul 2020, 21:56

This forum thread is a great read but it needs a bump. The links are broken - is there any chance of retreiving them

Peanut wrote:
Elric Hazard wrote:The link in Cardlingers post is definitive. Unfortunately it doesn't come with maps to easily visualize the lines described.

All stalemate positions can be found here
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