Idea: Political Opposition

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Idea: Political Opposition

Postby MichaelG » 14 Mar 2018, 14:53

This could be played as an addition to any normal game.

Every country has two people behind it: 1) the leader, and 2) the opposition. Only the leader can submit orders.

Every year, at the end of the build phase, every country has an election. If the country has lost supply centers, or has failed to gain supply centers for two years, the opposition wins the election and gains power. Otherwise, the current leader retains power.

The opposition are free to negotiate with other powers. The leader and the opposition may negotiate with each other.

The primary goal is to win a solo while you're in control of your nation. The secondary goal is to be part of a draw while in power. Being the political opposition of nation that wins a solo or achieves a draw is superior to being eliminated, but inferior to the other objectives; it's better to be in power and part of a draw than to be the opposition of a nation that wins a solo.

This could result in some interesting strategies. It will incentivise minor backstabs to retain control of your nation (because you have to gain at least one SC every two years) - and the political opposition of the stabbed nation might not view such a minor backstab too harshly, as it will bring them to power. One can imagine England telling France's opposition "I'll take Brest to stay in power, but that will bring you to power and I'll support you into Kiel."

Also, the leader and opposition of a nation might well share information with each other to benefit their country, but the opposition could have an incentive to leak some of that information so as to try to gain power. On the other hand, the leader of a nation could use that deliberately to have his opposition (ignorantly or otherwise) leak disinformation to other powers.

One can also imagine countries with "safe" supply centers (for example, France and the Iberian Peninsula) waiting to take them for a year or two so as to stay in power longer. That's not without its risks, of course.

Nations locked in a stalemate position will simply have a smooth transition of power every two years until events elsewhere break the stalemate or the draw is agreed. This kind of situation will tend to result in mostly good cooperation between a leader and his opposition, with the only difference of interest between them being the timing of a draw or end of the stalemate situation, which may be an issue they have little influence over. Nations in a more fluid position may have a more complex relationship between leader and opposition.
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Re: Idea: Political Opposition

Postby valent » 14 Mar 2018, 16:46

Interesting. There are lots of possibilities. It strikes me as a very different game. I would expect the play to be better if all of the players were quite familiar with the basic mechanics of the standard Diplomacy game.

A variation to consider: How about three players per country, with elections every year? In case of a three-way tie, the country is in disorder for one season.
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Re: Idea: Political Opposition

Postby MichaelG » 14 Mar 2018, 18:53

valent wrote:Interesting. There are lots of possibilities. It strikes me as a very different game. I would expect the play to be better if all of the players were quite familiar with the basic mechanics of the standard Diplomacy game.

A variation to consider: How about three players per country, with elections every year? In case of a three-way tie, the country is in disorder for one season.


You're right, I think, that new players would struggle to cope with this variant, although if they started as the opposition they could perhaps learn as they go without being thrown straight in to the deep end.

Your idea is interesting too, but I think needs some work or it won't meaningfully affect the gameplay.

My idea creates a very strong incentive to acquire supply centers on a regular basis, and if you fail to do so you lose control of the country - very rapidly if you lose an SC. It thus will significantly alter the way a typical game plays out, and could easily result in destabilising a previously-solid alliance that starts to see its progress slow down. The two people in charge of each country have similar but not identical interests, which has potential to create some interesting strategic situations.

Your idea is likely to end up being more about three people consulting together on how they're going to run the country, and agreeing to rotate power every year between the three of them (or two of them if they decide to shut out the third person). That might be a great way for novices to learn from experienced players, but unless a team simply fails to organise itself, it probably won't dramatically change the way the game is played, with the exception that as draws approach those who are currently out of power may try to leak information to delay a draw for a year.

I think if you want your idea to affect the way the game plays out in a meaningful manner, you need to find a way to give the different people at each country somewhat different goals or incentives. Either that or make the election results be influenced by events on the board (as I do) rather than a simple vote.
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Re: Idea: Political Opposition

Postby willie23 » 14 Mar 2018, 22:19

I myself have often considered a similar idea for a while now, and so I am all for your idea. I would be happy to help you with further developments.

What about this: 3 players control one country, The President, The General, and the Secretary. The president would make all final desicions, while the General would input orders and the secratary would handle all negotiations. In this case, all the players would rely heavily on each other at all times. A lot of trust would be involved. Also, elections could be held and positions could change.

Anyway, I think that it is an excellent idea and would make a great PbF game as well. Keep me posted.

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Re: Idea: Political Opposition

Postby MichaelG » 14 Mar 2018, 22:46

willie23 wrote:I myself have often considered a similar idea for a while now, and so I am all for your idea. I would be happy to help you with further developments.

What about this: 3 players control one country, The President, The General, and the Secretary. The president would make all final desicions, while the General would input orders and the secratary would handle all negotiations. In this case, all the players would rely heavily on each other at all times. A lot of trust would be involved. Also, elections could be held and positions could change.

Anyway, I think that it is an excellent idea and would make a great PbF game as well. Keep me posted.

Willie


Again, that would result in three people collaborating to run the country together, with all of them having more or less identical interests. That could be valuable as a training game where experienced players mentor newbies, but if you want it to meaningfully change the gameplay, you need the people involved in running the country to have somewhat different interests and objectives.

That's what my system does: when you're in power, you need to keep taking SCs, and when you're out of power, you want to temporarily stop taking SCs. When you're out of power, you don't want the other person to do too well (at least, not for the entire game), but neither do you want to come back to a destroyed country.

I think the idea of several people working together to run a country can be done, but if you want it to be more than a training game for newbies you need to find a way to make the different people at each country have different objectives or interests that are similar but not identical.
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Re: Idea: Political Opposition

Postby willie23 » 14 Mar 2018, 22:52

Excellent points. What if a certain country was able to organize and the Opposition only helped the leader and everyone else was fighting amongst themselves?... I see so many possibilties with this. All sorts of ways this could go.

Great Idea.
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Re: Idea: Political Opposition

Postby valent » 15 Mar 2018, 01:22

Maybe try it as a forum game with a GM.

Maybe we could play it as a Friends game with either shared faux usernames (a la Dolph Schtoss) or one player for each country using their username and agreeing to put in the leader’s orders faithfully. The site administrators would need to preapprove the use of shared faux usernames and the comminication taking place in a forum and by PM. Or play it as a public press only.

Work out the details and give it a shot. I’ll play.
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Re: Idea: Political Opposition

Postby MichaelG » 15 Mar 2018, 10:40

I think it would have to be a forum game.
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