1900 - More Unbalanced than the Classic Map?

Strategy discussions for the 1900 variant.
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1900 - More Unbalanced than the Classic Map?

Postby shavemybaby » 21 Feb 2013, 05:07

I've now played a few games on the 1900 map and two things seem abundantly clear:

1) France is the new Italy, maybe worse off than Classic Italy.

2) Germany is a titan, and to a lesser extent so is Italy.

These don't necessarily mean that I won't play the variant, but they certainly play a heavy role in diplomacy- as Italy I would be much more likely to ally with France just to see him stay afloat rather than fall to my competitors, and as any power I will actively seek Germany's demise. I'm afraid that as more people become accustomed to the map this could lead to a set of stock alliances at least as rigid as those in the classic game.
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Re: 1900 - More Unbalanced than the Classic Map?

Postby JonathanDoe » 21 Feb 2013, 05:16

I find Germany often wins 1900 games, or everyone conspires to destroy him immediately. Italy, not really as much. Germany gets 4 centres right away, and is almost guaranteed 2 or 3 more by the new year.

I do enjoy the variant though, and it is a welcome and refreshing change from classic.
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Re: 1900 - More Unbalanced than the Classic Map?

Postby sock » 21 Feb 2013, 05:20

I'm currently playing the variant, so it would be not be appropriate to comment, but I do want to bookmark this to share observations later.
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Re: 1900 - More Unbalanced than the Classic Map?

Postby joelsdaman1 » 21 Feb 2013, 05:40

GASP! Blasphemy! You, sir, have no idea. 1900 is by far the best variant I have ever played, and the most balanced. I will never play vanilla Diplomacy again without a gaping hole in my heart. You see, the actual numbers break down so:

1. Britain
2. France
3. Italy
4. Turkey
5. Austria
6. Germany
7. Russia

These numbers are based off recorded solos, draws and losses.

Now, Germany always starts strong, but often gets hubris and bogged-down by angry Russians, Brits and Frenchmen (maybe even Italians).
France is win big or lose big. If you survive early on, they actually have a great board position - fierce diplomacy is required to make peace with either Germany or Britain.
Italy is similar to France, but slower and more defensive.
Turkey is still Turkey, but with more interesting diplomatic abilities.
Austria is the worst IMHO. They're a bit dull.
And Russia's the Big Friendly Giant - who's life depends on Germany. Germany and Russia must ally to do well.

I could rant for hours on how great 1900 is...but I won't. All I can say is that if you play a professional-grade game, anyone can win with good diplomacy.
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Re: 1900 - More Unbalanced than the Classic Map?

Postby Bam207 » 21 Feb 2013, 06:35

sock wrote:I'm currently playing the variant, so it would be not be appropriate to comment, but I do want to bookmark this to share observations later.

Same.
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Re: 1900 - More Unbalanced than the Classic Map?

Postby super_dipsy » 21 Feb 2013, 06:50

Not quite sure where the previous data came from :)

But in fact the game (so far) seems pretty balanced, although the sample size is small (14 games). I know there are a lot more than 14 games, but I am only counting 'normal' games (no Fog, Chaos etc and no Gunboat) and no Friends (the 2 Beta games)

In these games, Austria and Italy have been involved in the most wins (participating in a draw or soloing), then Germany followed by the rest. But it is a small sample size.
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Re: 1900 - More Unbalanced than the Classic Map?

Postby Petunia » 22 Feb 2013, 02:58

joelsdaman1 wrote:You see, the actual numbers break down so:

Cite?
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Re: 1900 - More Unbalanced than the Classic Map?

Postby joelsdaman1 » 22 Feb 2013, 03:04

Petunia wrote:
joelsdaman1 wrote:You see, the actual numbers break down so:

Cite?

http://www.diplom.org/Zine/W2002A/Powel ... rmany.html

This one's on Germany. There's ones for each power.

The stats are at the bottom.
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Re: 1900 - More Unbalanced than the Classic Map?

Postby ViscountSlim » 22 Feb 2013, 14:49

joelsdaman1 wrote:GASP! Blasphemy! You, sir, have no idea. 1900 is by far the best variant I have ever played, and the most balanced. I will never play vanilla Diplomacy again without a gaping hole in my heart. You see, the actual numbers break down so:

1. Britain
2. France
3. Italy
4. Turkey
5. Austria
6. Germany
7. Russia

And Russia's the Big Friendly Giant - who's life depends on Germany. Germany and Russia must ally to do well.

I could rant for hours on how great 1900 is...but I won't. All I can say is that if you play a professional-grade game, anyone can win with good diplomacy.



I hardly think it blasphemy to say that a game is slightly unbalanced, and "vanilla" or Classic Diplomacy is quite biased in favor of Russia in my opinion, which is precisely why Russia is my favorite country to play in Classic. I have a theory (which someday I shall try to test against real data) that the reasons Russia often does poorly in Classic games on this site, especially in comparison with Turkey, which starts out from a much weaker position, are primarily psychological (specifically, residual Cold War presumption on the part of younger players, especially Americans, and genuinely intractable Cold War prejudice on the part of older players, both American and English).

Germany and Austria do well in Classic when they are helmed by bold and aggressive players, but falter quickly in the hands of milquetoasts or incompetent diplomats. In 1900, Russia isn't half so well-favored as in Classic, notwithstanding the magical snowflake in Siberia, and the game is essentially Germany's to lose. I think this is closer to actual historical conditions, but it hardly makes the game more "balanced" in an objective sense. I think the designers' intentions were twofold: 1) to develop a variant that was closer to actual historical conditions, and 2) to tweak the variant until it was roughly as balanced as Classic Diplomacy. I don't think developing a game that was more balanced than Classic Diplomacy was ever on the agenda, and if it was, it was a total fail.

Warfare betwen states is NEVER balanced in real life, so a war game that provided perfect balance would be just that much less realistic. I intend to always play a mix of 1900 and Classic games, but my reasons are precisely to experience the different types of imbalance inherent in each - and I will always howl in protest and wail in self-pity when I get Italy or England in Classic, and also when I get Russia or Italy in 1900; but if I ever win a game playing those countries my sense of accomplishment will be that much greater.

Now, the actual reason I posted here was not to share my nascent views on this subject, but to respond to Joeldaman1's accusation that I "sucked it" in a 1900 Gunboat game that we recently finished together - a game I actually made for him to celebrate his birthday as a premium player and his new resolution to never surrender - have you ever heard of such ingratitude?! If Russia starts out behind the 8 ball in standard 1900 Diplomacy, that initial disadvantage is only exacerbated in Gunboat. When a player is attacked hard by multiple opponents in non-gunboat Diplomacy, the long-term solution is rarely tactical but diplomatic - secure an alliance or turn the members of a hostile alliance against one another, etc. In Gunboat, there simply is no such option - blood is spilt and all predators descend on you like lions on a wounded gazelle. I don't know why I'm going on - Joel had England and ended up with the same numbers of SCs as me (and I was this close to taking back St. Petersburg when Germany soloed). In the end I'm sure all this defensive rambling is just compensation for my overwhelming desire to smash his little trash-talking face in. You're right, Joel, we are becoming like a married couple :lol: - where did our love go?! :cry: One of these days, Joel, one of these days... POW!!! Right in the kisser!
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Re: 1900 - More Unbalanced than the Classic Map?

Postby joelsdaman1 » 22 Feb 2013, 16:34

Interesting theory, and could be accurate. I have good reason to hate playing Germany - but I actually don't mind. If it was set in WWII, however, I would honestly never play Germany.

It's been done. Many times. Just ask dcaibal - I've made so many enemies at my school that they've all become friends just to see my downfall!

Plus, what's the point of Diplomacy without trash talking...?

However, please read the gamer's guide to 1900. Objective number one was to make a more balanced game than vanilla. Read the guide, and you'll understand my rambling a little more.

Also, we should get married. I'll call up the rabbi.

Is there any way we could actually set up a 1900 game with professionally good players? As in people who would bring a fair test of balance to the game? Is anyone interested?
Last edited by joelsdaman1 on 22 Feb 2013, 16:57, edited 1 time in total.
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