Setting up a set of accounts and games in a few months time

Information on how to set up games for class-based projects.

Setting up a set of accounts and games in a few months time

Postby APU_IR » 17 Aug 2015, 03:48

Dear All,

I am going to be teaching a course and would like to use this program in the course. I will have anywhere between 60-150 students (I predict) in the class. The class is not for a few months, but I would like to see if I can have my questions answered now, so the games go smoothly later.
I would like to do the following with Diplomacy:
- Get administrative help in setting up all the accounts (I can send names and emails)
- Get administrative help to set up the right number of games so all students can play
- Allow the students to enter into the games themselves

Here are the problems I may face:
Some students may drop the course, so I want students to be able to select games themselves and start them when enough players join. If a student does not play first move, they should be removed to allow students to start again.
I want students to have the opportunity to play the game multiple times against other students when they finish their game.
I want to be able to pop in and monitor the progress of games randomly.

Can it be done?

Thank you for your help
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Re: Setting up a set of accounts and games in a few months t

Postby ComradeVader007 » 17 Aug 2015, 04:38

I'll answer your problems, first:

As far as I know, with School games, it is possible to have them start when full (matter of fact, that's how all games start unless selected otherwise). There is an option for the game to start over if someone doesn't enter moves for the first round (NMR - no moves recorded) This would make all players in that game re-confirm they are playing.
Multiple games is easy, you'd just set up a new game for them to join when they finish.
As the teacher, I believe you'd have access to every game, and you'd only have to click it to join.

Now, for the Admin help:

I don't think they assist with that. If they don't, send me a PM on here and I'd be glad to help you (For free :) )
As for the number of games, when you know how many you have, all you need to do is divide by 7 and the games can be made quickly. If it appears you're going to have more students than originally expected, adding more games isn't a problem.

I'm not an admin, nor a moderator, so some things I said here may not be correct, but to the best of my knowledge it is.

I look forward to seeing such an endeavor take place.

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Re: Setting up a set of accounts and games in a few months t

Postby asudevil » 17 Aug 2015, 06:08

Welcome. Let me answer your questions.

APU_IR wrote:Dear All,

I am going to be teaching a course and would like to use this program in the course. I will have anywhere between 60-150 students (I predict) in the class. The class is not for a few months, but I would like to see if I can have my questions answered now, so the games go smoothly later.
I would like to do the following with Diplomacy:
- Get administrative help in setting up all the accounts (I can send names and emails)


We don't set up accounts for people. Once upon a time we did, but that was before we started schools games. But YOU can set up student accounts tied directly to YOUR account. These can only be used in schools games, but then you can re-use them from class to class. Just name them something appropriately generic. I will PM you the code to do this. We only allow 35 student accounts per teacher, but we can over-ride that. I will CC dipsy since he is the one who will be able to up your accounts to like 100.

- Get administrative help to set up the right number of games so all students can play


I don't really get what you mean by this. As someone said...number of students divided by 7 will get you the games. But as a teacher you can create the games. You will probably have to be premium in order to set up enough games for this as I THINK being a teacher in the game still counts as part of your game limit.

- Allow the students to enter into the games themselves


After you give them the account, they can join the games you made. OR you can force them into games for convenience sake...your call. Either way the games have passwords so only your students will join and the password will stay for the entire game in case someone surrenders. Plus if someone surrenders (or gets auto-surrendered)...they can re-enter the game.

Here are the problems I may face:
Some students may drop the course, so I want students to be able to select games themselves and start them when enough players join. If a student does not play first move, they should be removed to allow students to start again.


This is a feature...its called first turn NMR...make sure all the games you create have it checked and then any game where someone doesn't enter moves will reset and boot whoever didn't enter orders, and the game returns to waiting until a new player joins.

I want students to have the opportunity to play the game multiple times against other students when they finish their game.


They can join up to 3 games at a time...So even if their game HASN'T finished, they can join a new game.

I want to be able to pop in and monitor the progress of games randomly.


As the teacher for these games you will get a copy of EVERY correspondence of EVERY player in EVERY game. You also have access to the shoutbox (I think you can even delete posts in the shoutbox) to message them. You can force turns to process early if you want and players can message you directly through the game. A ton of benefits to creating schools games.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Setting up a set of accounts and games in a few months t

Postby APU_IR » 18 Aug 2015, 05:12

Thank you all for your help. There are some things I have to think about. First off, I think it is strange to require us to pay for an account as teachers in order to be a teacher in more than 3 games. In essence, we are introducing a large number of new players to the game and site. So, there is a greater potential revenue stream for the site given the greater involvement for teachers. I would even prefer a restriction on teacher accounts not allowing them to play public games and give us greater freedom in the number of games we can create for our students.
There is also the logistical issues of assigning each student an account, give them a password, and then keep track of their posts and decisions. It is not impossible, but it could require some additional work. I was thinking of using their userID as account names so I could keep track easily, but this will require an extra step. In a large class, it just becomes a bit more demanding if there are problems (and there are always problems).
I also need to change the email address associated with this account or filter my emails. I think it is best if I do not receive emails to my main account from every correspondence from every game for every player in the game. Maybe that is already possible, but I would need to setup a new email just for this.

These are not insurmountable, but do require some additional money and time to think about it. I appreciate your help, and I will think about these issues.
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Re: Setting up a set of accounts and games in a few months t

Postby super_dipsy » 18 Aug 2015, 06:00

Hmm. Not sure about the payment thing - are you suggesting that a few dollars are too much? You can even become Premium for a single dollar, I can't believe that is a problem surely?

As for the rest of the questions, I am a bit confused what you are asking but I think the mechanisms you need are all there.

1. Student accounts and passwords
You define these from he Teachers page. All you do is fill in a menu for as many as you want. As I said before, you need me to lift the limit if you want more than 35. Last time I looked I could not find your school record - what is the name of the School?

2. Keeping track of posts / decisions
Not sure what you are getting at here. When a game is in progress, you will receive copies of all the messages the countries in the game to each other; this is so you can look at the way they are conducting negotiations and discuss as part of the education process. But copies of messages to you are not highlighted as unread for you, so you will only see highlighted messages as those that are sent directly to you. The only other thing you may want to review the messages for is if there are issues around behaviour. For example if one student complains of being abused or bullied beyond what you consider acceptable then you would want to see the evidence before taking action.

3. Account names
You can make the account names anything you want. So you make it their email addresses if you wish. Personally I would not recommend this because in this modern age handing out someone's email address to the world is not generally seen as a good thing. However, I think most teachers relate the user_ids to the course or stream rather than particular students. This is because I can almost guarantee that you will have some students who wont make their moves in time and will end up getting surrendered and you will have to replace them. Preferable is often to have a username that relates to the course (eg class7_game4_france) and then if you want to switch to a different student, simply change the password for the account and hand it to the new student. The actual account playing the game then does not even change.

4.Change email address / filter emails
All Playdiplomacy accounts have the mechanism to do this. On the top right of the home page, you will see a My Account button. This takes you to a page where you can change email address, change password and change how your account behaves eg whether you want to receive an email every time you get a game message etc..

My only other suggestion is that perhaps you might be wise to run a pilot game or two first before diving in with as many student accounts as you are proposing. Then when you come to the main event you will have a better handle on what is going on. Only a thought though. Anyway, I hope this helps, feel free to ask any more questions.
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Re: Setting up a set of accounts and games in a few months t

Postby asudevil » 18 Aug 2015, 06:00

APU_IR wrote:Thank you all for your help. There are some things I have to think about. First off, I think it is strange to require us to pay for an account as teachers in order to be a teacher in more than 3 games. In essence, we are introducing a large number of new players to the game and site.


Fair enough, but many of these students will never play again, much less pay to play. And you are using more than 3 games...for YOUR convenience and for YOUR class. So its YOU who is supporting the site that's helping YOU...that's why you would be the one to pay. And honestly, the cost is "pay what you think its worth"...so a couple bucks does it

I would even prefer a restriction on teacher accounts not allowing them to play public games and give us greater freedom in the number of games we can create for our students.


Fair enough, but plenty of teachers wouldn't like this restriction and want to be able to run 1-2 games and still play one themselves.

There is also the logistical issues of assigning each student an account, give them a password, and then keep track of their posts and decisions.


Personally depending on the class, I would make every account the same password and then just tell them the password and tell them to change it when they log in. That saves 1/2 the headache. As for user-names...make them generic like (for me everything is top cause that's the start of my last name) "topUS01"...and then just go around and tell kids their number. I get you may have 100 kids, but that's still not THAT bad.

It is not impossible, but it could require some additional work.


It could, but its dependable on what works for you. But I don't know why WE would set up all these accounts and have to go through all the extra work for you. That seems strange to me.

I was thinking of using their userID as account names so I could keep track easily, but this will require an extra step. In a large class, it just becomes a bit more demanding if there are problems (and there are always problems).


Tell me about it...ALWAYS problems. And you can absolutely use their userID...coupled with using a common password (or their userID again...and still tell them to change it)...would work for every kid to know their own. But it doesn't allow you to re-use the accounts next year/class/session if you do this again. So instead of a 1 time hassle to make accounts, it would be every class.

I also need to change the email address associated with this account or filter my emails. I think it is best if I do not receive emails to my main account from every correspondence from every game for every player in the game. Maybe that is already possible, but I would need to setup a new email just for this.


You can turn off email notifications already. I don't get emails every time someone messages me. Its a check box under user preferences. Or you could change your email...both easily done.

These are not insurmountable, but do require some additional money and time to think about it. I appreciate your help, and I will think about these issues.


No problem. Let us know what else we can do for you.
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