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3 Ways to Deceive People without Lying

PostPosted: 19 Aug 2020, 16:52
by BrotherBored
A new article today:
3 Ways to Deceive People without Lying

Please tell all your friends about it!

A couple of things I want to note:
1. This topic was submitted by a Patreon Patron!
2. This is my first time illustrating my writing with my own photos (rather that internet memes or screenshots). I had a lot of fun with that part, and I plan to use photos more in the future.

Re: 3 Ways to Deceive People without Lying

PostPosted: 19 Aug 2020, 19:44
by Groo
I don't care about lying. I care about getting deceived. I won't be any more apologetic if you technically didn't lie to me if you still shoved your knife deep down my back...

I'd delete equivocate from the list, at least in high-level games, as it might be counter-productive. Serious players recognize it immediately.
Basically, my point is don't bullshit the bullshitter or the bullshitter might get suspicious and stab you first. :mrgreen:

Re: 3 Ways to Deceive People without Lying

PostPosted: 19 Aug 2020, 22:46
by condude1
Groo wrote:I don't care about lying. I care about getting deceived. I won't be any more apologetic if you technically didn't lie to me if you still shoved your knife deep down my back...


I agree with this. When the goal is to have someone on your side, saying "Well, teeeeeechnically I didn't lie" is a good way to annoy them. I normally just keep talking to the person and say "Yup, I lied, that's the game". Practically everyone understands that lying is part of diplomacy, and most people are willing to keep talking after a stab.

One of the keys, in my opinion, is that the goal isn't to be objectively correct in what you technically did or didn't do. Like so many things in life, there's no jury trying to find you guilty, there's just a person who's debating whether to try to murder you or not (Wait, that's not a normal thing in people's lives...?) Their perception of how you affected them is infinitely more important than how you actually affected them in this.

I really don't like lines like the following:

"Pretty much anything other than attacking a player could be defended as “helping” them. Act annoyed when they criticize the “help” you give them!"

This is just a good way of alienating someone. Acting annoyed at someone after you did the bare minimum to technically fulfill your word means they'll probably just go looking for a new friend. Self-righteousness is terrible for making friends.

Just my 2 cents. I'm sure other people have different approaches!

Re: 3 Ways to Deceive People without Lying

PostPosted: 20 Aug 2020, 04:32
by Charleroi
People tend to notice when they are deceived. And responding to their indignation with "well technically I didn't lie to you" is not a particularly effective means of staying on good terms.

I've found that the most effective opponents are the ones who don't aim to deceive. Sure they may pull off a big surprise to get the stab, but they also tell you when they're not going to do what want them to do you in a run-of-the-mill turn. They're straight with you about their disagreements. And they'll even say "yea, you haven't convinced me, my best move is to attack you and I'm going to carry on with it" or "look, this isn't an attack but I'm going to move in a way you don't like and here's why". Those players get in a position where everyone trusts them. And even the opponents they beat respect how they went about it. That respect and trust is crucial in the mid and late game. By contrast the "but I didn't LIE to you" guy is not someone many players want to patch things up with in 1908 or 1911.

Re: 3 Ways to Deceive People without Lying

PostPosted: 20 Aug 2020, 09:37
by Jack007
I agree with Charleroi.

Lying and deceiving is the same. If you're only a bit experienced you smell dishonesty right away.

I say, you can only lie once to a specific player and maybe three times in a whole game (to different players), then your credit is used up. As you can only stab somebody who is trusting you, you deprive yourself of stabbing at all. That's the problem of the deviate player in Windsor's classification: Nobody trusts him anymore as soon as 1903, and he may ask himself: why the heck can't I stab anybody.

I guess the error is here that people think Diplomacy is a game of lying and decieving. That's not true, Diplomacy is a game of trust, and the best players arte those who never lie.

Colin Powell said: Diplomacy is listening to what the other guy needs. Preserving your own position, but listening to the other guy. You have to develop relationships with other people so when the tough times come, you can work together.

Best regards..
Jack007
IG @jack060856

Re: 3 Ways to Deceive People without Lying

PostPosted: 22 Aug 2020, 04:13
by BrotherBored
Woo! It’s unusual for me to hear so much disagreement on my advice.

I agree with the points here about how frankness can get you far.

Please consider that I was trying to answer the prompt as best I could; I wasn’t specifically recommending deception over other styles.

Re: 3 Ways to Deceive People without Lying

PostPosted: 22 Aug 2020, 21:42
by ColonelApricot
Maybe you just underestimated the intelligence of your presumed audience.

Re: 3 Ways to Deceive People without Lying

PostPosted: 23 Aug 2020, 03:26
by DirtyHarry
Well, as the person who asked the question of BrotherBored in the first place, let me explain the genesis of the question. In the recent virtual LibertyCup tournament, a friend of mine played against one of the best F2F players in the world, a world champion. And she made this statement about him:
"he is incredible when he turns on the charm. He doesn't need to lie to deceive either - a hallmark of a great player imo"


So that was the genesis of the question. And looking back, maybe a better question would have been, "How can you hide your real intentions without lying"?

I think as we advance in this hobby, we all begin to learn that lying should be kept to a minimum, but at the same time, you certainly you don't always want to tell the whole truth. So I think that's what BrotherBored was driving at with his advice. And for anyone who hasn't read this: https://brotherbored.com/online-diploma ... roduction/

... it's a phenomenal read and in many ways shows some of these techniques in action in a very sophisticated way.

Re: 3 Ways to Deceive People without Lying

PostPosted: 23 Aug 2020, 20:30
by jay65536
I think the people who are disagreeing with the article might be slightly missing the point.

Groo wrote:I don't care about lying. I care about getting deceived. I won't be any more apologetic if you technically didn't lie to me if you still shoved your knife deep down my back...

I'd delete equivocate from the list, at least in high-level games, as it might be counter-productive. Serious players recognize it immediately.
Basically, my point is don't bullshit the bullshitter or the bullshitter might get suspicious and stab you first. :mrgreen:


I don’t read this article as being about how you talk to someone before you stab them. I think it’s more about “keeping someone on ice”.

Here is an example. Let’s say you are England and you know your first target isn’t going to be Russia. You’d like to keep the peace with Russia, but you might also be concerned that Russia would come to the aid of your first target. That is the sort of situation where you’d want to try to equivocate. Telling Russia outright that you don’t want them to know who you’re targeting might be off-putting; you might want a more diplomatic way of getting out of revealing too much. That is my interpretation of what the article is about.

Re: 3 Ways to Deceive People without Lying

PostPosted: 24 Aug 2020, 10:12
by Groo
Don't get me wrong, the article is really good and it uncovers some subtle (and not so subtle) techniques that can be used to twist the truth.
I personally only had a problem with equivocate part, and only on the highest level of play. I've seen good players using this technique to massacre bad, new or naive, players, but when faced with great players they lose terribly. Thus I commented on the "well I technically didn't lie part" as something that won't help you get really good results. It's something basic at the begining of the learning curve, imo, and often it can be so obvious and quite disrespetful to inteligence of other players so it could backfire into people not liking you.

DirtyHarry wrote:Well, as the person who asked the question of BrotherBored in the first place, let me explain the genesis of the question. In the recent virtual LibertyCup tournament, a friend of mine played against one of the best F2F players in the world, a world champion. And she made this statement about him:
"he is incredible when he turns on the charm. He doesn't need to lie to deceive either - a hallmark of a great player imo"

So that was the genesis of the question. And looking back, maybe a better question would have been, "How can you hide your real intentions without lying"?


It's really hard to hide your intentions if your opponent knows what they're doing.
Now, I personally use a little "trick" people seem to be forgetting to find out if someone is lying or not which is pretty impervious to silver-tounges and any of described techniques. Just look at the bloody map! Look at the moves that have been played. It's a LOT harder to hide your intentions by moves (now this IS a skill you should be learning, it is possible to decieve with your movement, but it's harder). Imagine you're in gunboat. What are your positional strenghts and weakneses? What are those of your opponent. Does he have a clear path for a potentially brutal stab? If so, no matter how much they sweet-talk you cover that space - end of story.

If you really want to hide your intentions - I recommend that you first get a good assesment of your opponents - their skill level, their playstyle. The sooner you find out the better. It requires a decent knowledge of human psyhology and thus it's not easy to just learn by reading articles. You can't make a tutorial for that. Maybe Germany will fall for trick one, Russia won't. etc etc. Yes, you need to be aware of all tricks in the book, but you also need to assess which "trick", which technique will work on which player and that requires practice and talent imo.

Here is an example. Let’s say you are England and you know your first target isn’t going to be Russia. You’d like to keep the peace with Russia, but you might also be concerned that Russia would come to the aid of your first target. That is the sort of situation where you’d want to try to equivocate. Telling Russia outright that you don’t want them to know who you’re targeting might be off-putting; you might want a more diplomatic way of getting out of revealing too much. That is my interpretation of what the article is about.

This is so basic and intuitive, Jay...I mean if you need an article to explain that to you, maybe Diplomacy isn't for you in the first place? (I don't mean you personally, of course :D)