New to the game. Need to learn.

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New to the game. Need to learn.

Postby tiloketi9 » 12 Sep 2020, 11:21

Hi all. So, as the title says, I've recently discovered this fantastically nuanced and subtle game. I've played a couple of games, but it's apparent I don't really have any idea of what I'm doing! I mean, I understand the basic rules and how units move and interact, but I'm completely lost on the strategy side of things.

I've done some searching online, and read a few articles, but they seem to be a little ahead of where my knowledge is currently - there always seems to be an assumption that the reader understands the basic reasoning behind the listed moves, and my problem is that I don't!

Are there any resources that walks a beginner through the logic behind certain moves? Perhaps from the perspective of an example game? I guess what I want to work towards is being able to come up with a list of candidate moves in a position and be able to reason the pros and cons behind each. Any help would be much appreciated as I think I'm going to really enjoy this game!
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Re: New to the game. Need to learn.

Postby Pope Pius IX » 12 Sep 2020, 12:07

Hello and welcome.

There is a book on Diplomacy, called "The Game of Diplomacy" which takes some time in the earlier chapters to explain a few scenarios. In each chapter dedicated to each of the various powers, it also tries to explain what the rationale is behind some of the more common openings. It's from the 1970s and it's by Richard Sharp. The only problem (I saw a post recently explaining this) is that some people apparently take what it says as gospel, and decide that certain alliances or openings are NEVER worth doing. However, it doesn't hurt to read it.

There's also an online repository of articles at http://uk.diplom.org/pouch/, of which some do do what you seem to be after.

There's no doubt more but that's all I can think of at the moment, as I recover from a fine evening of ale and wenches.
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Re: New to the game. Need to learn.

Postby Custer » 12 Sep 2020, 13:22

:o :o :o

Shame on you pope Pius!

Why I never!

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Re: New to the game. Need to learn.

Postby Perygl » 12 Sep 2020, 15:59

Welcome, tiloketi9!

I face similar issues as a relatively new player -- I'm getting better at tactics, but it feels like everyone else has a deep understanding of strategy that I only occasionally glimpse. To be fair, I have the same problem in chess; my openings suck because I'm not great at strategy, but my tactics can lead to a good endgame....

What I did was plunge into a bunch of simultaneous games -- including a lot of replacement games where I ended up playing as countries that were already quite badly off, so it wouldn't matter so much if I was terrible. The knowledge I picked up incidentally along the way has been invaluable -- just "little" things like how to convoy, why it's good to check the Order History, how to use the Orders Solver function. Losing a lot has helped me learn what mistakes to avoid. I haven't figured out yet how to win :) but the quality of my game has certainly improved. And the more I play, the more reading about openings and moves etc. makes sense to me.

Anyway, this reply probably isn't very useful, but -- you're not alone!

Have fun,
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Re: New to the game. Need to learn.

Postby David E. Cohen » 12 Sep 2020, 22:38

Yup. Strategy and tactics manuals are good and so are guides to communications and negotiation. Reading military classics can be beneficial.

But better for learning and more fun by far is experience. Play as often as you can against the very best opponents you can find.
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Re: New to the game. Need to learn.

Postby 0wl » 12 Sep 2020, 23:57

I will try to give some advice regarding diplomacy and getting an ally. I think that's the most important thing since if all of your neighbors decide to attack you're doomed.

In my games I send a message to each of my neighbors suggesting we attack another neighbor. It's very bad to be a wait and see person. If England tells Germany they want to attack France and France doesn't seem willing to commit to anything who do you think Germany will ally with? Don't wait until after the first moves to decide who you want to ally with. I think the best way to get an ally is to propose a plan in Spring 1901 to the player you prefer.

If you want to solo, learn about stalemate lines. You only win if you reach 18 and to do that you'll need to breakthrough the main North Stalemate line. I'll post a video with more detailed information regarding that.
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Re: New to the game. Need to learn.

Postby sroca » 13 Sep 2020, 03:36

To add another layer on to what Owl said, there's a lot of conflicting advice so you really have to figure out what your own play style is. For instance I am more of the wait and see guy. I get the messages about who wants to attack who instead of suggesting it myself then start influencing people one way or another. In one game the person who suggested attacking a neighbor became my target because of that suggestion.

The main thing every strategy agrees on is communication though. Information is King.
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Re: New to the game. Need to learn.

Postby ColonelApricot » 13 Sep 2020, 05:59

0wl wrote:I will try to give some advice regarding diplomacy and getting an ally. I think that's the most important thing since if all of your neighbors decide to attack you're doomed.


Not necessarily. Figure out which of your attackers is best placed to win the game, then devote all your defensive efforts against the others. When they see their most dangerous ally is doing so much better than they are then they will come knocking on your door.

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Re: New to the game. Need to learn.

Postby jay65536 » 13 Sep 2020, 20:57

tiloketi9 wrote:Hi all. So, as the title says, I've recently discovered this fantastically nuanced and subtle game. I've played a couple of games, but it's apparent I don't really have any idea of what I'm doing! I mean, I understand the basic rules and how units move and interact, but I'm completely lost on the strategy side of things.

I've done some searching online, and read a few articles, but they seem to be a little ahead of where my knowledge is currently - there always seems to be an assumption that the reader understands the basic reasoning behind the listed moves, and my problem is that I don't!

Are there any resources that walks a beginner through the logic behind certain moves? Perhaps from the perspective of an example game? I guess what I want to work towards is being able to come up with a list of candidate moves in a position and be able to reason the pros and cons behind each. Any help would be much appreciated as I think I'm going to really enjoy this game!


So, stop me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing by your use of the phrase "candidate moves" that you are a chess player? I am too; I'm not super good, but I'm at least good enough to try to help you bridge the gap between the way players think about the two different games.

In chess, "strategy" and "tactics" are sort of the same thing. In other words, in chess, if you see a winning tactic, you play it. Playing the tactic IS your strategy. Diplomacy does not work this way. In Diplomacy, "strategy" almost always refers to long-term thinking about what you will do in general to guide you towards a win (or draw), and then "tactics" refers to how you will move your pieces to accomplish your goals in the short term. For example, if you are playing Italy, you might start out with a "strategy" of attacking France, and then your "tactics" might include opening Venice to Piedmont to put pressure on Marseilles.

It seems like you are asking for help with understanding tactics, as opposed to strategy. Is that correct? Because if it is, you are unlikely to find help by looking up articles on strategy. They usually talk about...well, strategy. And unfortunately, while there are many ways to find example games, they will almost never include the reasoning behind the moves, because a lot of that reasoning is dependent on negotiation that outsiders aren't privy to.

The best advice for getting better at tactics is to just play. That's how I did it--I learned as I went along. But also keep in mind that the more you play, the more you will realize that you can do quite well at this game without becoming a master tactician, or even a better-than-average one--negotiation and strategy are more important.
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