supporting a fleet into Spain

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supporting a fleet into Spain

Postby NJLonghorn » 02 Jan 2018, 18:13

I'm having trouble reconciling the official game rules from Avalon Hill with the way things are processed here. I'm hoping someone can explain.

The official rules provide that a fleet moving into Spain has to specify a coast. But when discussing support given into Spain, the rules don't have the same requirement. All that is said on the topic is:

A Fleet that can move to a province with two separate coasts (a Fleet in the Mid-Atlantic, for example) can support another Army or Fleet into that province (in this case Spain) without regard to separate coastlines.


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

Here on PlayDip, though, the interface requires you to specify which coast you are supporting a unit into. If you choose the wrong coast, the support order fails. Here's the explanation I found:

When you enter an order to support a fleet in or to a coastal territory, you are given a submenu with the different possible coasts. Your support order must exactly match the order of the unit being supported. For instance, if F Marseilles is ordered to support Mid-Atlantic to Spain (sc), but Mid-Atlantic is ordered to Spain (nc), the support will be invalid. So make sure to choose the correct option when entering the support order.

http://www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=321&t=21700

This seems wrong to me. Am I missing something?
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Re: supporting a fleet into Spain

Postby neliusvn » 02 Jan 2018, 18:39

NJLonghorn wrote:I'm having trouble reconciling the official game rules from Avalon Hill with the way things are processed here. I'm hoping someone can explain.

The official rules provide that a fleet moving into Spain has to specify a coast. But when discussing support given into Spain, the rules don't have the same requirement. All that is said on the topic is:

A Fleet that can move to a province with two separate coasts (a Fleet in the Mid-Atlantic, for example) can support another Army or Fleet into that province (in this case Spain) without regard to separate coastlines.


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

Here on PlayDip, though, the interface requires you to specify which coast you are supporting a unit into. If you choose the wrong coast, the support order fails. Here's the explanation I found:

When you enter an order to support a fleet in or to a coastal territory, you are given a submenu with the different possible coasts. Your support order must exactly match the order of the unit being supported. For instance, if F Marseilles is ordered to support Mid-Atlantic to Spain (sc), but Mid-Atlantic is ordered to Spain (nc), the support will be invalid. So make sure to choose the correct option when entering the support order.

http://www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=321&t=21700

This seems wrong to me. Am I missing something?
As in your example, I would assume, as Marseille can't move to Spain (NC) it won't be able to support Mid-Atlantic to Spain (NC), however it would be able to support it to Spain (SC). That is probably the reason to specify which coast.

It is most probably to avoid confusion should two or more units move for Spain. If you take it one move/turn/season further. Once Mid-Atlantic has reached Spain (NC) Marseille can't support it further (to hold for example). Thereby giving an unfair advantage to Mid-Atlantic moving specifically to Spain (NC).

(I can kind of understand why you feel it isn't necessary to specify SUPPORT (not MOVE) for a certain coast, as Spain is Spain and two units can't occupy both coastlines.)

That's the best I've got, maybe someone has a better/clearer explanation

EDIT: My apologies. I got that completely wrong.

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Last edited by neliusvn on 02 Jan 2018, 20:24, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: supporting a fleet into Spain

Postby WHSeward » 02 Jan 2018, 19:49

@neliusvn. That is not correct. A F Mar can support action to Spa north coast. Units support a "province" not a "coast", so since F Mar can move to Spa, it can support action on any coast in that province.

@NJLonghorn, the PlayDip implementation is not wrong, however, this is a point of ambiguity in the rules and it is one of the more controversial ones. You will find that different human and automated judges handle this case differently.

The reason for the ambiguity is that the rules also state:
A unit ordered to move can only be supported by a support order that matches the move the unit is trying to make.
The rules go on to give an example, but the example does not involve coasts. So that leaves open the question, does the support order have to match the move order including coast specification, or is it OK for coast specification to be omitted and they only match province? If the later, what do you do if coasts specification is made but it doesn't match; ignore the coast specification of the supporting unit or does the support order fail?

Personally, I think the PlayDip approach is a good one, i.e. support and move orders must match down to the level of coast. It is certainly the simplest interpretation to understand and implement online.
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Re: supporting a fleet into Spain

Postby Malarky » 02 Jan 2018, 19:51

You're mixing two things up here - movement to a coast and support.

When moving to a space with 2 coasts you need to specify which coast the fleet is moving to.

When supporting a move into a space with two coasts, the supporting unit must be able to move to the space regardless of whichever coast the unit receiving support is moving to. This is what the official, published rules are about, the supporting unit.

So, for example, a fleet in Marseilles can move only to Spa(sc) but it can support to either Spa(nc) or Spa(sc) (the previous reply was wrong). The supporting unit only needs to be able to move there.

So, the rule you quote about the supporting unit is about to where the unit can support not about writing the order for that support.

Having said that, the rules do say that a poor written order can be accepted by an adjudicator if it only has one possible meaning. But that refers to a human adjudicator not an automatic judge. And the rules say that support orders must match movement orders; not including the coast the support is being offered to is a little lazy, if widely accepted in f2f game.

EDIT: WHS got in there just before me, if with a slightly different slant on the answer :)
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Re: supporting a fleet into Spain

Postby WHSeward » 02 Jan 2018, 19:56

Yes, as a human adjudicator, if someone forgot to specify a coast in a support order, I would always rule that support order legal. If they specified and they didn't match, I would rule the support order does not correspond. But implementing that kind of flexibility in a point and click interface would be more confusing than it is worth. (In fact, PlayDip once upon a time had a coast specification system that included "no coast" as an option and it was removed later as an improvement.)
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Re: supporting a fleet into Spain

Postby NJLonghorn » 02 Jan 2018, 20:09

Your point is well taken and I agree that the rule you quote gives rise to ambiguity. I prefer the other reading, but I can't point to anything and say "here's why you are wrong". I'm surprised Avalon Hill hasn't resolved this issue, one way or the other.

Luckily, when this issue came up in a game yesterday, I guessed correctly and my unwanted support worked. :-)
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Re: supporting a fleet into Spain

Postby neliusvn » 02 Jan 2018, 20:10

@WHSeward I apologise and I've learnt something new (could have saved me a lot trouble with regards to fighting France)...

I've read/understand the rules as: "The province to which a unit is providing support must be one to which the supporting unit could have legally moved during that turn."

With that I assumed the different coastlines, hower after reviewing them rules after your post I also noticed: "A fleet that can move to a province with two separate coasts ... can support another Army or Fleet into that province ... without regard to separate coastlines."
WHSeward wrote:@neliusvn. That is not correct. A F Mar can support action to Spa north coast. Units support a "province" not a "coast", so since F Mar can move to Spa, it can support action on any coast in that province.

@NJLonghorn, the PlayDip implementation is not wrong, however, this is a point of ambiguity in the rules and it is one of the more controversial ones. You will find that different human and automated judges handle this case differently.

The reason for the ambiguity is that the rules also state:
A unit ordered to move can only be supported by a support order that matches the move the unit is trying to make.
The rules go on to give an example, but the example does not involve coasts. So that leaves open the question, does the support order have to match the move order including coast specification, or is it OK for coast specification to be omitted and they only match province? If the later, what do you do if coasts specification is made but it doesn't match; ignore the coast specification of the supporting unit or does the support order fail?

Personally, I think the PlayDip approach is a good one, i.e. support and move orders must match down to the level of coast. It is certainly the simplest interpretation to understand and implement online.
@WHSeward I apologise and I've learnt something new (could have saved me a lot trouble with regards to fighting France)...

I've read/understood the rules as: "The province to which a unit is providing support must be one to which the supporting unit could have legally moved during that turn."

With that I assumed the different coastlines, hower after reviewing the rules after your post I also noticed: "A fleet that can move to a province with two separate coasts ... can support another Army or Fleet into that province ... without regard to separate coastlines."

Thanks for the correction and after all this time you still learn something new.

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Re: supporting a fleet into Spain

Postby jay65536 » 02 Jan 2018, 20:13

NJLonghorn wrote:I'm having trouble reconciling the official game rules from Avalon Hill with the way things are processed here. I'm hoping someone can explain.

The official rules provide that a fleet moving into Spain has to specify a coast. But when discussing support given into Spain, the rules don't have the same requirement

...

Here on PlayDip, though, the interface requires you to specify which coast you are supporting a unit into. If you choose the wrong coast, the support order fails. Here's the explanation I found:

When you enter an order to support a fleet in or to a coastal territory, you are given a submenu with the different possible coasts. Your support order must exactly match the order of the unit being supported. For instance, if F Marseilles is ordered to support Mid-Atlantic to Spain (sc), but Mid-Atlantic is ordered to Spain (nc), the support will be invalid. So make sure to choose the correct option when entering the support order.

http://www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=321&t=21700

This seems wrong to me. Am I missing something?


I started a thread on this very topic a couple months ago.

You are not missing anything. According to the official rules, you only need to specify a coast when moving, not when supporting. F Mar S MAO-Spa is a valid order by the official rules, and it remains valid regardless of whether the move MAO-Spa contains a coast in the order or which coast it is.

On this site, the engine has been programmed not to allow this, and to invalidate support orders that don't match the coast, technically going against the original rules of the game (albeit in a small way). I assume this is just for expediency of programming, and the in-game applications where it matters are probably pretty rare.

EDIT: Unwanted supports are definitely an example of the times it matters! I'm glad your game wasn't adversely impacted.
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Re: supporting a fleet into Spain

Postby NJLonghorn » 02 Jan 2018, 20:20

jay65536 wrote:EDIT: Unwanted supports are definitely an example of the times it matters! I'm glad your game wasn't adversely impacted.


Yeah, other than mistakes (including miscommunication between allies), unwanted support is the only context I can think of where this issue would matter.
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Re: supporting a fleet into Spain

Postby jay65536 » 02 Jan 2018, 20:35

Another example:

Under the PlayDip rules, if I'm Russia and I'm trying to work with Turkey, and he has a fleet in Con, I can say "I'm ordering support for Con-Bul/sc. If you try to go to the east coast, the move will fail."

Under the real rules, this is not possible; I'd have to order support for Con-Bul and hope Turkey doesn't go to the "wrong" coast.
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