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Skill progression thoughts?

PostPosted: 03 Sep 2020, 00:36
by Perygl
Not sure exactly where this question fits, but: How long did it take you to become a good player?

I've been playing for just about two months, and have just begun to feel sort of competent. I still make awful blunders, but I recognize them now and am fairly certain I can avoid those particular blunders in the future. (Other spectacular blunders await me!) Why, in one active game I am kind of sort of holding my own -- for now, anyway.

Does this sound like a normal progression, or I am destined to be the Diplomatic equivalent of a woodpusher for the rest of my days? And, if you went from being a newbie to a so-so player to a dangerous person, what helped you break out of the Advanced Beginner stage?

Thanks in advance for your insight! 8-)

Re: Skill progression thoughts?

PostPosted: 03 Sep 2020, 01:31
by V
Here’s my 5 cents.

There’s fundamentally 3 skills to develop. Diplomacy, Strategy & Tactics. They have that order of importance.

I’m not a psychology major, but I’ve found the old saying of “standing in the other man’s shoes” is the most important tool in any negotiation. Whatever you say, before you hit send “read it with his eyes”. Whatever he says, before you respond try to get inside his head of why he said that, not what he said.

This is the component where the more time you have to apply yourself to a game the greater advantage you have. Being retired I have unlimited time for analysis. A common error is to only analyse your own options & try to find the best option. You should do this for all 7 nations every turn. That way the guys that are getting it right stand out, as do the ones making errors. Seeing these aspects will provide alarm bells ahead of danger & highlight opportunities well in advance.

An example of how strategic thought of other people’s options helps is when an attack is blatantly apparent before it happens.
A player swears blind he won’t attack. Think OK, what else will he do? If the answer is, there’s nothing else even vaguely likely, you just answered your own question. You can now act appropriately. If he really doesn’t attack that’s an error & you just got an opportunity.
Equally there are situations in which it would be strategic madness for an opponent to attack you, so if you’ve identified that opponent as one of the competent ones, don’t defend against an attack that’s not going to happen, even if you don’t really trust that player.

The boring easy bit you have probably got closest to mastering & if not it doesn’t take much more than practise.
Not much to say, except when in a battle always start by making your best estimation of the opponents tactics. Again get in his shoes. Once you have that established as well as is possible, select your tactics to beat his. When you’ve made your choices, go away & come back with fresh eyes later. Often a missed opportunity jumps out at you.

Most importantly have fun. Every victory/defeat carries lessons for subsequent games. Those lessons are better than any amount of reading Diplomacy writings.
Lots of emphasis is often placed on the “character” of an opponent & I believe this is overstated. The real question is how “good” are they? That’s what should guide your decisions to ally or otherwise.
There’s no absolutes regarding who you can/cannot ally with regarding nations, although some alliances are easier than others. The game is played in the heads of the 7 participants. The board is just a scorecard.

Enjoy V

Re: Skill progression thoughts?

PostPosted: 03 Sep 2020, 16:27
by Perygl
V, your five cents is worth a million bucks. Thank you for taking the time to write that!