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Seven Tips from "THE ART OF WAR"

PostPosted: 30 Nov 2020, 14:33
by Malarky
Number four in the "Seven Tips" series. Previous posts have been on messaging, planning and understanding the stab.

I'm not sure why I decided to do Seven Tips from "The Art of War" as the fourth in the series, but here it is.

And here are the key parts to tempt you in:
1. Rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on [your] own readiness to receive him.
    - Opportunism is never a great idea when playing Diplomacy because it leads to bad choices. If you provide an opponent with a great chance to attack you, though, don’t be surprised if they take it.
    - Learning to read the game takes a significant amount of experience. You can’t rely on your opponents possessing this skill.
    - If you think an attack is a good possibility, and you can do something on the board to deal with it even if you can’t prevent it, put that into place.
2. The highest form of generalship is to baulk the enemy’s plans.
    - If there is one thing we can take from the whole of Sun Tzu’s work, it is that wars are won by out-thinking opponents. He puts great emphasis on making yourself unbeatable.
    - On a very basic level undermining your opponent’s alliances can be successful. If they are constantly having to put energy into maintaining an effective alliance, then they’re spending less time working at on-the-board strategy.
3. The skillful fighter puts himself into a position that makes defeat impossible.
    - In Diplomacy there are two levels to making yourself unbeatable. The first is to make sure you don’t get eliminated.
    - Alliances are there to further your goal of winning the game. Nothing else. But you need to survive in the game to have that chance and that means maintaining a successful alliance… while it is useful.
    - The second way to make yourself unbeatable is to make sure that when you stab you can’t be stopped.
4. There is no instance of a country having benefited from long warfare,
    - If you’re tied into a long campaign, then opponents from elsewhere are going to take advantage of this to attack you.
5. Indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.
    - Diplomacy was never a game for ‘gentlemen’. It can be played that way… but the game’s called “Diplomacy” and real world diplomacy has never been a gentlemanly art.
    - Sending messages on from one player to another is certainly frowned upon. That doesn’t mean it should be prevented from happening. It is more useful in learning more about the person who forwarded the message than anything else.
    - People tend to get on well with other people when they can identify commonalities. It comes down to the tribal nature of humanity. Therefore, you need to be able to establish friendly correspondence between you and the other players.
    - Not everybody will agree that negative correspondence is a legitimate tactic. It is gamesmanship and, if not managed carefully, can become overly abusive.
6. Victory may be produced … out of the enemy’s own tactics.
    - If an opportunity comes along, examine it and work out what it might mean to you if you take it. Don’t shun good opportunities.
    - On-the-board opportunities are more frequent… and more dangerous than off-the-board ones. It’s tempting to take them without working out just what it will mean.
7. Do not repeat the tactics that have gained you one victory.
    - Very often, when someone says that something is the “right thing to do,” they mean it worked when they tried it.
    - Repetition doesn’t work in Diplomacy when you try the same thing every time you draw a certain power, though. There are simply too many variables.
    - You may find that you’ve tried an unusual tactic and it worked, perhaps making a player fall into a trap. The players have seen this now. If you try the same thing again, will it work again?

Re: Seven Tips from "THE ART OF WAR"

PostPosted: 30 Nov 2020, 21:12
by Audacia
You were inspired, that's why you paid homage to the Sun Tzu. Great article, Malarky. I've enjoyed them all, but this one is really neat.

Here's my favourite Sun Tzu: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Re: Seven Tips from "THE ART OF WAR"

PostPosted: 01 Dec 2020, 20:14
by Malarky
Audacia wrote:Here's my favourite Sun Tzu: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Confession time: I was planning on using that one when I originally thought of using The Art of War as one of the Seven Tips posts. It fits in well with a lot of what Sun Tzu writes about, especially about making defeat impossible. In Dip terms, I guess you'd say it's about making other players your Dip bitch (apologies if that's still an offensive term to some of you). If you can manoeuvre players into a position where they can't do anything but rely on your forbearance, then you have them at your beck and call.