DIP 101: Introduction to Diplomacy

Articles aimed at new players.

Moderator: WHSeward

DIP 101: Introduction to Diplomacy

Postby WHSeward » 22 May 2014, 21:34

What follows is a basic “course” in Diplomacy prepared for PlayDip mentor games. It is designed to be used concurrent with a game with at least 2-day order deadlines, no more than one “lecture” per day. Topics are organized to roughly correspond to the stage of the game (with a few items of general interest sprinkled in). This approach allows small, bite-sized messages without overwhelming new players with information that is not relevant nor accessible to them.

The messages themselves briefly introduce game concepts at a basic level. The links are where the real value lies, providing more detailed discussion of the topics for the interested.

I am posting this for former mentor game players to refer back to and for anyone at PlayDip that wants to do some introductory-level self-study.

One important disclaimer: I am not the final authority on Diplomacy by any means. There are many players far better and many different perspectives about how best to play. I share a lot of my views and opinions below, just understand that is exactly what they are, my views and opinions.
"As a general truth, communities prosper and flourish, or droop and decline, in just the degree that they practice or neglect to practice the primary duties of justice and humanity." WHS

A member of the Classicists.

Ask me about mentor games. Send me a PM or post in the Mentoring forum.
User avatar
WHSeward
 
Posts: 2932
Joined: 29 Dec 2012, 22:16
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1633)
All-game rating: (1647)
Timezone: GMT-8

Syllabus

Postby WHSeward » 22 May 2014, 21:41

Diplomacy is a deceptively simple game. On its face, it may seem a highly abstracted war game with complexity somewhere between checkers and chess. The relatively simple appearance hides a great depth and variation of game-play arising from human interaction & simultaneous movement. As a result, good play of Diplomacy demands understanding and competence in a great number of concepts. These messages provide a broad survey of such concepts.

Suitable for a beginner with no background in the game at all, the linked material should still be of use for players up to intermediate level.

Schedule


Key: Season-day of turn, e.g. S01-1 means, Spring 1901, 1st day of turn

S01-1 Introductions

S01-1 Lecture #1: Basic Strategy: It’s a Numbers Game!
RECOMMENDED Reading:
Diplomacy rule book (4th ed.)
Birsan, E. "New Player's Guide."

Martin, R., ed. The Gamers' Guide to Diplomacy (2nd ed.).

S01-2 Lecture #2: Basic Ordering Rules & Mechanics
"How to use point and click for orders"

S01-2 Order Review PP

S01-3 Lecture #3: Diplomacy > Strategy > Tactics
The Diplomatic Pouch.
Dreier, J. “The Lack of Opening Theory in Diplomacy.”
The Diplomacy Archive
Diplomacy World

F01-1 Lecture #4: Read the Board
22 Rules to Help You Resolve Orders
Rules Questions forum
The Library of Diplomacy Openings

F01-2 Lecture #5: Retreats & Builds

F01B-1 Lecture #6: Reliable Play: Competing to the Finish
RECOMMENDED Reading:
Introducing Diplomats, Ambassadors and Star Ambassadors
Games Openings forum

S02-1 Lecture #7: Strategy: Geography is Destiny? 1 of 2
Calhamer, A. “Across the Whole Board.”
Sharp, R. The Game of Diplomacy.

S02-2 Lecture #8: The Odd Power Out

F02-1 Lecture #9: Tell Me About It
Cannon, B. “"Trust Me" (And Other Tall Tales).”
Windsor, P. “Lawyer/Diplomat.”
Birsan, E. “Lies/Truth/Trust/Betrayal.”

F02-2 Lecture #10: Stabbing Season
Birsan, E. "Read the Pieces, Read the Position, Read the Players"

S03-1 Lecture #11: Tactics Time 1 of 2
Self, M. “Library of Diplomacy Tactics.”
Birsan, E. “Mentor Notes.”

S03-2 Lecture #12 Tactics Time: Tempi 2 of 2
Windsor, P. “Caissa at the Dip Table.”
---. “Caissa Annotates a No-Press Game.”

F03-1 Lecture #13: Strategy: Geography is Destiny? 2 of 2
Stalemates A to Y
Self, M., ed. Visual Index to Stalemate Positions.

S04-1 Lecture #14: Mid-game Management: the Leaders 1 of 3
Birsan, E., ed. “A Discussion on Achievement of Solo's.”
Brennan, J. “How To Solo.”

S04-2 Lecture #15: Mid-game Management: the Laggards 2 of 3
Woo, A. “A General Theory of Late Middlegame and Endgame Strategy.”

F04-1 Lecture #16: Mid-game Management: Mistakes to Avoid 3 of 3
Ledder G., & Povisils K. “Stable Two-Way Draws in Standard Diplomacy.”

S05-1 Lecture #17: Life Online: In Case you Missed It 1 of 4

S05-2 Lecture #18: Life Online: Technical Difficulties 2 of 4
Bugs forum
Moderator contact list

F05-1 Lecture #19: Life Online: Cheaters 3 of 4
"Information to support your request for an investigation."
"So you think someone is cheating?"

F05-2 Lecture #20: Life Online: Your Next Game 4 of 4
Classicists forum

S06-1 Lecture #21: The End-game: Solo or Stalemate
Birsan, E. “Imperial Diplomacy, A Two Player Solution.”
Dreier, J. “Master Class, The Endgame.”

F06-1 Lecture #22: After the Action
After Action Reports ("AARs") forum

F06-2 Parting Thoughts: Why we Love the Game
Hand, M. “The Greatness of Diplomacy.”
"As a general truth, communities prosper and flourish, or droop and decline, in just the degree that they practice or neglect to practice the primary duties of justice and humanity." WHS

A member of the Classicists.

Ask me about mentor games. Send me a PM or post in the Mentoring forum.
User avatar
WHSeward
 
Posts: 2932
Joined: 29 Dec 2012, 22:16
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1633)
All-game rating: (1647)
Timezone: GMT-8

Introductions

Postby WHSeward » 22 May 2014, 21:45

Welcome PP

Welcome to the game everyone! I hope you all have some fun getting to know one of the truly greatest games ever invented. Yes, I really mean that. This game is on a par with Chess and Go. Like Poker, it is an easy game to learn, but you will find the human aspects, number of competitors, and simultaneous play all make it impossible to master.

I am watching this game from San Francisco, California, and I have been in this hobby off and on for 30 years.

It is traditional to start a game by welcoming and wishing good luck to your fellow competitors. I'd like to ask all of you to post in public press a note saying hello and if you don't mind telling everyone your time zone and level of experience with the game (number of times played, any face-to-face or online experience, etc.)

Once again, welcome to the game and have some fun!

WHSeward

*****

Contacting WHSeward

Hello again!

So first things first. This is a teaching game which means I intend for it to be a fun, competitive game for all of you, but I am also available to answer any question you may have as you play.

The way to get the most out of a mentor game experience is to ask questions. That is what I am here for. I will do my best to reply in at least 48hrs and usually much, much faster.

The fastest way to reach me is to use the Forum and send me a private message there ("PM"). Those go straight to my phone so you don't have to wait until I check in on the game.

Of course, I am happy to answer non-private questions in public press too, which can be helpful because often others have the answers or may have the same questions.

From time to time I will send out messages with advice along with some links to additional resources. I will keep the notes short and at a fairly basic level, but provide relevant links for you to do more reading on your own if you want to.

There will be A LOT of reading on the links I send out. While the links (and asking questions) are what provide most of the value in a mentor game, don't feel under pressure to read it all; it is too much! I will label a few of items as "RECOMMENDED" readings which are higher priority, and the rest of the links are labeled "OPTIONAL" to review as you have time and interest. Finally, I keep a copy of the links and lectures on the Forum so you can go back and read them later too.

That is it for now. Have a great game!
"As a general truth, communities prosper and flourish, or droop and decline, in just the degree that they practice or neglect to practice the primary duties of justice and humanity." WHS

A member of the Classicists.

Ask me about mentor games. Send me a PM or post in the Mentoring forum.
User avatar
WHSeward
 
Posts: 2932
Joined: 29 Dec 2012, 22:16
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1633)
All-game rating: (1647)
Timezone: GMT-8

Lecture#1: Basic Strategy: It’s a Numbers Game!

Postby WHSeward » 22 May 2014, 21:49

Lecture#1: Basic Strategy: It's a Numbers Game!

"A country that has "lost the diplomacy" and finds itself fighting superior numbers can rely on tactics only to delay the issue while it tries to save itself diplomatically." Allan Calhamer, inventor of Diplomacy

The tactics of Diplomacy are pretty simple, and all things being equal, superior numbers will always win. (Granted all things rarely are equal, but I'll get to that in later lectures.)

That has a very obvious implication for your strategy; to win, you must be on the side with greater numbers!

Seeing as each power starts out with about 1/7th of the units on the board, it is clear why Diplomacy is a game of COOPERATION as well as CONFLICT. No power on its own has the superior numbers it needs to achieve victory.

Given this basic reality of the game, first priorities for everyone in the opening are usually the same: 1) figuring out relationships with the other Great Powers, and 2) planning to capture the near-by neutral SCs to increase your own numbers.

The key relationships at the start are dictated by geography; the powers nearest to you will be most critical in the opening. But don't be short-sighted. It doesn't take long for every power in the game to come into play. The best players communicate with every power from the start.

As the most basic form of cooperation, it is common to see 2 powers coordinating to attack a third, the superior numbers of the allied powers providing the decisive advantage in a regional conflict. Often you will see two or three such 2-power alliances, sometimes coalitions of 3 powers (aka triple alliances), and even 4 or more powers working together (more likely later in the game).

It is in this dynamic of numbers, with coalitions of different size & power forming and dissolving over the course of a game, where the interplay of diplomacy and strategy occurs. A good strategist always tries to keep his nation part of a winning (larger) alliance. He both learns what the alliances structures are and influences them through his diplomacy.

***** RECOMMENDED READING *****

Hopefully by now, you have all had a chance to read the complete rules. If you still need them, you can download them here:

www.wizards.com/avalonhill/rules/diplomacy.pdf

If you only read one more thing prior to starting play, I'd suggest it be the New Player's Guide, by Birsan. It is a very good overview and I can't recommend it more. Here is a link:

www.playdiplomacy.com/help.php?sub_page=New_Player_Guide

If you are having any trouble at all figuring out how to get started, this article is loaded with inspiration and advice.

Finally, I'd like to introduce you all to The Gamers' Guide to Diplomacy (2nd ed.) by Avalon Hill. It is a seminal work for new players. Packed with articles, it presents a great deal of information on every aspect of the game. Don't feel like you have to read all of it in one go – it is long. I just want this to be in your arsenal as you learn the hobby. Here is a link:

math.stanford.edu/~petermc/diplomacy/Gamers%20Guide%202ed.pdf

The Gamers' Guide discusses many topics that I will in later lectures. Be forewarned, I don't necessarily agree with everything the authors of the Guide say. And that is fine. It is a reminder that there is no one right way to play, but many successful approaches.
"As a general truth, communities prosper and flourish, or droop and decline, in just the degree that they practice or neglect to practice the primary duties of justice and humanity." WHS

A member of the Classicists.

Ask me about mentor games. Send me a PM or post in the Mentoring forum.
User avatar
WHSeward
 
Posts: 2932
Joined: 29 Dec 2012, 22:16
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1633)
All-game rating: (1647)
Timezone: GMT-8

Lecture #2: Basic Ordering Rules & Mechanics

Postby WHSeward » 22 May 2014, 21:54

Lecture #2: Basic Ordering Rules & Mechanics

This lecture is in two parts: first, a review of the rules for orders, and second, a review of the procedure for using the PlayDip interface to enter orders into the system.

One point I want to emphasize: THE SYSTEM WILL LET YOU MAKE AN ILLEGAL ORDER, IT IS UP TO YOU TO KNOW THE RULES. Do not be deceived that just because you were able to enter an order, it is OK. Misorders are easy to make and get treated as "Hold" orders.

***** BASIC RULES FOR ORDERS *****

The map is divided into named spaces called "provinces". There are 3 types of provinces: "inland", "coastal" and "water".

There are 2 types of units, "armies" and "fleets". Armies can only move (or retreat) to inland or coastal provinces, fleets only to coastal or water provinces.

Only one unit can be in a province at a time. (Think Chess, not Risk)

All units have the same strength, a force of 1. Units combine forces with "support" orders. In conflicts, the units with the most combined force win.

During Spring and Fall Orders steps, you may give orders to all of your units. Each unit may be ordered to do one of the following:

* HOLD in place.

* MOVE to an adjacent province. Armies in a coastal province may move to non-adjacent coastal provinces (in one step) if convoyed. Fleets in a coastal province may only move to provinces adjacent to the coast the fleet is on.

* SUPPORT. A unit holds, adding its force to another unit. A unit can only support action in an adjacent province to which it could have moved.

* CONVOY. A fleet in a water province holds, convoying an army. (A fleet in a coastal province cannot convoy.) Convoys can be by one or a chain of fleets. The first fleet must be adjacent the moving army, each fleet in the chain must be adjacent the prior, and the last fleet must be adjacent the destination.

You may support and convoy another power's units.

A unit ordered to move CANNOT be supported to hold. A unit order to hold, support, or convoy may be supported to hold.

Units that do not receive orders hold. If ALL a power's units do not receive orders, an NMR (No Moves Received) has occurred. If a power has 2 consecutive NMRs in Orders steps, the player is removed from the game ("auto-surrendered"). (Auto-surrenders are a PlayDip house rule.)

If a power surrenders during a phase in which they have orders to give, the last entered orders, if any, will stand unless changed by a replacement player.

***** USING THE ONLINE INTERFACE *****

To enter orders, click on the unit's PROVINCE to access a drop-box. Further instructions will appear below the lower left corner of the map. (Follow those instructions.)

You may review entered orders in the "Orders" drop-box above the map.

I strongly recommend ENTERING PROVISIONAL ORDERS at the BEGINNING of a step and REVISING as you go. Orders can be changed any time before the deadline expires.

When ready to proceed to the next step, you may click "finalize". If all players with orders for the step finalize, the deadline expires early and is resolved immediately.

You do not have to finalize. If you do not, the last orders entered before time expired are used.

If you finalize and change your mind (so long as the turn has not processed) you can "unfinalize" just by entering a different order for any unit, or by clicking the blue "X" next to an order in the order box.

***** OPTIONAL READING *****

While it is pretty intuitive if you follow the short guide above, complete point-and-click interface instructions are in the forum here:

www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=291&t=19671
"As a general truth, communities prosper and flourish, or droop and decline, in just the degree that they practice or neglect to practice the primary duties of justice and humanity." WHS

A member of the Classicists.

Ask me about mentor games. Send me a PM or post in the Mentoring forum.
User avatar
WHSeward
 
Posts: 2932
Joined: 29 Dec 2012, 22:16
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1633)
All-game rating: (1647)
Timezone: GMT-8

Orders Review PP

Postby WHSeward » 22 May 2014, 21:57

Lecture #2 is on entering orders. I would like to follow it up by offering to check over your orders for you, to make sure you have the mechanics correct. If you would like me to review them, please follow these steps:

1) Enter what you think are correct orders.
2) Go to the "Orders" link and click it to reveal what the system has for you. DO NOT FINALIZE.
3) Copy the orders into a PM to me. Include the game number in the PM subject line as I mentor a few games at once)

I am willing to check orders anytime during the game, though I imagine after a few moves, you won't need it. In addition, you can use the Orders Solver on the home page. Just enter the orders you made in the game and see how they resolve. If everything moves as you expect, you will know you are set.

I urge you to contact me or use the Solver the first few times you are:
making a CONVOY,
have fleet action in a province with coasts or inland waterway

Those tend to be tricky for new players.
"As a general truth, communities prosper and flourish, or droop and decline, in just the degree that they practice or neglect to practice the primary duties of justice and humanity." WHS

A member of the Classicists.

Ask me about mentor games. Send me a PM or post in the Mentoring forum.
User avatar
WHSeward
 
Posts: 2932
Joined: 29 Dec 2012, 22:16
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1633)
All-game rating: (1647)
Timezone: GMT-8

Lecture #3: Diplomacy > Strategy > Tactics

Postby WHSeward » 22 May 2014, 22:00

Lecture #3: Diplomacy > Strategy > Tactics

Diplomacy drives strategy: strategy drives tactics.

Openings in Diplomacy are not based on tactics alone, but rather they support a strategic plan, the contours of which are shaped by the diplomatic framework of Europe. While it often takes a few turns of communicating with powers and analyzing their orders to fully understand the diplomatic relationships that have formed in a game, top players react to the diplomatic framework they have perceived, as well as helped to influence, in the first diplomatic phase in their opening.

What is a "diplomatic framework"? It is all the "human" influences in a game. At its most basic, it is the answer to: who are allies and enemies in this game? But more than that, it includes: what motivates and influences each player? What are their objectives and biases, and their styles of play and communication? Most important, whom do YOU think you can work with and how would you go about it? All of this is the diplomatic framework.

A player that tries to win on the strength of superior tactics alone will usually fail when up against even an average diplomat who can wield influence far beyond the orders he writes for his own units.

What is more, your diplomacy is critical in creating more options and opportunities for your power. No matter what you think at the outset, there are 6 other powers in Europe whose actions may render your plans obsolete. If you are not talking to other powers, even your enemies, you are going to be handicapped over the course of the game when you find you need to change plans and need to coordinate with other powers to do it.

***** OPTIONAL READING *****

Another hobby resource I want you to know about is, The Diplomatic Pouch, www.diplomatic-pouch.org. Gaming activity at the Pouch has declined substantially over the years, but it is still the home of one of the two best zines in the hobby and it has tons of great resources.

I'll get you started with suggesting this Pouch article. It is a bit abstract & analytical. It explains why, unlike Chess or Backgammon, there is so little general opening theory in Diplomacy. The reasons Mr. Dreier gives – the dual influence of diplomacy & imperfect information on tactics – are dead on.

www.diplomatic-pouch.org/Zine/S1995M/Dreier/NoTheory.html

Two more worthwhile hobby sites are, The Diplomacy Archive,

www.diplomacy-archive.com

and the granddaddy Diplomacy hobby zine of them all, Diplomacy World.

www.diplomacyworld.net

These sites are just loaded with articles and resources. Peruse them in your spare time. In later lectures, I will link to some specific articles at these sites, but for now, just explore as you desire (or not.)
"As a general truth, communities prosper and flourish, or droop and decline, in just the degree that they practice or neglect to practice the primary duties of justice and humanity." WHS

A member of the Classicists.

Ask me about mentor games. Send me a PM or post in the Mentoring forum.
User avatar
WHSeward
 
Posts: 2932
Joined: 29 Dec 2012, 22:16
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1633)
All-game rating: (1647)
Timezone: GMT-8

Lecture #4: Reading the Board

Postby WHSeward » 22 May 2014, 22:05

Lecture #4: Reading the Board

If you received a message, you would read it wouldn't you? No sense in not seeing what it said, even if it contained no new information, right? Well, you might be surprised how many players don’t read one special type of message they get each and every season. It is the first message they receive, but it is not in the message box.

Slide your cursor to the right of the main game screen and find the link labeled "Order History." Click it, and then in the new pop up window, select the phase that just past, in this case, Spring 1901. A map and arrows showing all the movement from the prior season will appear, and more important, every power's orders are listed below. READ THAT LIKE A BOOK. EACH AND EVERY PHASE. Even if you think you know what people ordered and why their pieces ended up where they are, read it anyway, every line of it. You'll be surprised what you can learn and what others might miss.

Understanding the diplomatic framework is crucial to success in Diplomacy. You get a lot of insight by just communicating with people, but ultimately, the orders are "where the rubber hits the road."

Evaluate the orders that powers entered:
* Did anyone lie about what they were doing?
* Did they make any mistakes?
* Did they try to attack someone and fail?
* Did they help someone?
All this is information above and beyond just where the pieces are placed on the board.

* Did they make a support order for another power but the "order does not correspond?"
That is information about both the orderer and the power for whom the order didn’t help.

Also understand this: your orders are how the other players are evaluating you! Do not focus solely on tactics with your orders. Think about the "message" you are sending when you put in your moves too.

*****

I am going to read the board so you have an example. I do not intend to analyze orders except for this one time; from here on in, it is up to you. However, if you would ever like to evaluate moves after a season, feel free to schedule a time to meet in the chat room and we can talk about what is going on in the game.

Before I begin, I must start with a significant disclaimer: MY ANALYSIS COULD EASILY BE WRONG. I have not read any of the press between the powers, so all I have to go on is what I see in the orders. What I interpret as "anti-X" or "pro-Y" may not have been what was intended. In addition, not everyone will agree on how to interpret certain orders, so take this with a grain of salt.

Part of my analysis that won’t be wrong is the identification of where it possible for the pieces to move. (I will only comment on possible SCs to capture and will leave other moves to you.) What is possible is not the same as what is probable, but you start by identifying the former as you analyze the board. As we say in the hobby, "the pieces don’t lie."

To begin, going around the board clockwise, starting with Russia:

[INSERT ANALYSIS HERE]

***** OPTIONAL READING *****

The Diplomatic Pouch has a fun resource, The Library of Diplomacy Openings.

www.diplomatic-pouch.org/Online/Openings/

It is not the most useful tool, but if you need inspiration in an opening, or someone drops the "name" of an opening and you don’t know what they are talking about, it has its place.
"As a general truth, communities prosper and flourish, or droop and decline, in just the degree that they practice or neglect to practice the primary duties of justice and humanity." WHS

A member of the Classicists.

Ask me about mentor games. Send me a PM or post in the Mentoring forum.
User avatar
WHSeward
 
Posts: 2932
Joined: 29 Dec 2012, 22:16
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1633)
All-game rating: (1647)
Timezone: GMT-8

Lectures #5: Retreats & Builds

Postby WHSeward » 22 May 2014, 22:09

Lecture #5: Retreats & Builds

It is impossible to have a retreat in S01, but that may not be the case in future seasons. Here is a quick review of Retreat and Build Rules so that you have them ahead of time.

Let me emphasize one rule on builds that catches new players: OCCUPYING SUPPLY CENTERS IN THE SPRING HAS NO EFFECT ON OWNERSHIP. You haven’t captured any SCs yet!

***** BASIC RULES FOR RETREATS *****

You cannot dislodge or cut support of your own units.

If there is a unit in a province where a standoff occurred, it is not dislodged.

Dislodged units may either retreat to an adjacent province (where it could move), or be destroyed (called “retreating off the board”).

You may not retreat to a province where there was a bounce or from where the attack came. If you submit an order to retreat to such a province, the retreating unit will be destroyed instead.

You may not retreat via a convoy.

If there is no legal retreat for a dislodged unit, it is automatically destroyed.

If two units try to retreat to the same province, they are both destroyed.

If a surrendered power has a dislodged unit, the unit will be destroyed.

If you don’t have any units to retreat, then the finalize button has no effect whatsoever. The step will process when the players that DO have orders for the step finalize or time expires. EXCEPTION: If the ONLY power with a retreat is a surrendered power, the turn will process when ANY power finalizes.

***** BASIC RULES FOR BUILDS *****

You gain control of supply centers by occupying them after Fall Retreats. They are yours until another power gains control of them. OCCUPYING SUPPLY CENTERS IN THE SPRING HAS NO EFFECT ON OWNERSHIP.

For every supply center you control, you may have one unit on the board. Adjustments to units are done once per year after Fall Retreats.

If you are short units, you may build new ones in unoccupied home centers. You may choose not to use all of the builds you are allowed – simply don’t enter the build order.

If you do not have as many unoccupied home centers as you have allowed builds, you must forego the excess builds.

If you have too many units, you MUST disband the excess.

If a required disband order is not entered, the unit farthest from a home supply center is disbanded. If units are equally far away, fleets are disbanded before armies, alphabetical order to break ties.

Just as with Retreats, if you have no adjustments, then the finalize button has no effect whatsoever. The step will process when the players that DO have orders for the step finalize or time expires. EXCEPTION: If the ONLY power with an adjustment is a surrendered power, the turn will process when ANY power finalizes.

***** OPTIONAL READING *****

“22 Rules To Help You Resolve Orders” is not the entire rulebook, but it is close and it is in a single page (Diplomacy really is a simple game and in many respects the rulebook is longer than it needs to be.) The list has been replicated in the Rules forum and when you have a rules question look here first:

www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=36374

The “common questions” link on that page also is just what it says. After you have checked out the rules and those summaries, if you still have a question, go ahead and post it in the Rules Questions forum and someone will usually answer your question within minutes.

www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=13

Of course while the mentor game is going on, feel free to just ask me by PM. Remember to add your game number to the PM.
"As a general truth, communities prosper and flourish, or droop and decline, in just the degree that they practice or neglect to practice the primary duties of justice and humanity." WHS

A member of the Classicists.

Ask me about mentor games. Send me a PM or post in the Mentoring forum.
User avatar
WHSeward
 
Posts: 2932
Joined: 29 Dec 2012, 22:16
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1633)
All-game rating: (1647)
Timezone: GMT-8

Lecture #6: Reliable Play: Competing to the Finish

Postby WHSeward » 22 May 2014, 22:12

Lecture #6: Reliable Play: Competing to the Finish

In the Diplomacy hobby, it is considered disrespectful to give up and not play a game to its completion, either you are eliminated or someone has won or there is a draw declared. Diplomacy is a 7 person game and when you join a game, you are making a commitment to play the game to the end with your fellow gamers.

Some people are surprised by this requirement, especially if they come from games like Chess where players are expected to resign hopeless positions and not drag the game out.

The reason the Diplomacy hobby etiquette is different is simple; quitting affects the balance of the game for the other players. The powers geographically near the quitter are at a big advantage to pick up easy SCs compared to players that are far away and won't get the free spoils.

But being polite is not the only reason to stick with it. The game is specifically designed to maximize competition by giving every power an incentive to fight to the end. In Diplomacy, all survivors share equally in a draw, so even if you have only 1 unit left, if you can earn a spot in the draw, you have earned the same result as someone that has 17 centers. So no matter what has happened in the game, so long as you still have a unit on the board, you are still fully in the game.

What is more, Diplomacy is a VERY hard game. With 7 players and about half of all games ending in draws, the "average" player is going to win only about 1 in 14 games. In such a difficult game, players that stick with it figure out how to enjoy playing the game itself. Those that have to win to have fun, just won't last in this hobby. Ask any expert player, and they will tell you some of the most fun games they have had were in draws and losses. That is the nature of the game.

Of course, sometimes events happen in real life that make continuing to play impossible. If that happens, try to find a substitute for your games, either someone you know, or you can advertise on the forum.

After you find a player willing to take over for you, use the "Name a Substitute" link for each game someone is taking over for you. (Don't break the "one player, one account" rule.)

If all else fails and you simply must just quit, try to give as much notice to your fellow players as you can and use the "surrender" button under the "Status" link. The worst thing you can do is just walk away from the game and be auto-surrendered after 2 NMRs in Orders steps. This can really damage the game, and it is impossible for a replacement player to take over the position in the meantime.

***** RECOMMENDED READING *****

PlayDip tracks every player's reliability, as measured by how often they surrender and NMR. Players are classified as "Diplomats" or "Ambassadors" based on the reliability of their recent play, and class in turn affects what games a player is eligible to enter. This is system allows reliable players to have games without players that miss a lot of moves or surrender.

A complete description of the system is in the forum at this link. It is worth reading to understand how it works.

www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=657&t=43283

A useful forum resource is the Games Openings forum, the place to advertise for substitutes & replacements:

www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=5
"As a general truth, communities prosper and flourish, or droop and decline, in just the degree that they practice or neglect to practice the primary duties of justice and humanity." WHS

A member of the Classicists.

Ask me about mentor games. Send me a PM or post in the Mentoring forum.
User avatar
WHSeward
 
Posts: 2932
Joined: 29 Dec 2012, 22:16
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1633)
All-game rating: (1647)
Timezone: GMT-8

Next

Return to Articles

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest