Soft draw

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Soft draw

Postby NorthAgain » 17 Jan 2019, 03:04

My first experience but I am sure there will be lots of history. Is giving a 2 way draw when a solo is completely within the control of a player ethical? Feels wrong to me if you treat each game as an individual challenge to optimise. In short, what is the argument for giving away a better result?
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Re: Soft draw

Postby Fatmo » 17 Jan 2019, 03:29

You'll get a lot of different opinions here if a conversation gets going, and some people will be pretty dug into their point of view.

I'd say for the most part that it's the more ethical play for the person who has a guaranteed solo to take the solo. It's one of the more demoralizing parts of Dip when you loose a game you were trying to win, and you find out at the end that you lost to two people who had no interest in winning themselves. At least one of which almost certainly had a mathematical lock on a solo victory if they wanted it. I took a couple two ways like that in my early days here, but as I played more I realized how lame that actually makes the game in retrospect for many of the other players.

Then again, you'll see sometimes that a defeated player will actually compliment two powers for managing to get to a two way and not loose trust in the end. Some people see that as more of a difficult accomplishment than betraying a two-way partner at the end. It's actually more satisfying for some people who take the social aspect of it as one of their favorite parts of the game.

But people have different ways of playing and different aspects of the game are more important to different people. There's no logical reason to not take the solo. And if you're playing each game in a vacuum and trying for your best result in each game, you should take the solo for no other reason then there's no way you should trust that the other person won't take it if they have a chance. I find that when a critical mass of players in a game are thinking like this, games tend to be more fluid and fun for everyone involved. Someone wins, and deserves the win because they were able to set up and execute better than the others, and everyone can say "well played."
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Re: Soft draw

Postby UFOash » 17 Jan 2019, 07:05

See, a lot of people think you should always go for the solo when you can, but the problem is: That Diplomacy more than any other game I've played is a game where people can get really upset and/or vengeful. Sometimes it's better to take the two-way instead of pushing for the solo and then coming out with nothing.
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Re: Soft draw

Postby NJLonghorn » 17 Jan 2019, 23:54

UFOash wrote:Sometimes it's better to take the two-way instead of pushing for the solo and then coming out with nothing.


This, to me, is a supportable position. It is arguably better to take a 2-way draw when a loss is within the realm of possibilities. The more likely the possibility of a loss, the easier it is to justify taking the draw.

But that isn't what the OP asked. He was addressing a situation "when a solo is completely within the control of a player". While I wouldn't go so far as to say it is "unethical" to take a draw in that case, I do think it is less than entirely congruous with the spirit of the game.

That said, the answer is less clear when you play games against the same people repeatedly. It would be improper to have a "tit for tat" understanding with another player that you'll each cede a draw to the other when the opportunity arises. But that's not quite the same thing as developing a reputation as someone who will offer up a draw to a loyal ally (whoever that may be).
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Re: Soft draw

Postby christopherdny » 11 Jun 2020, 00:16

Having been a participant in all 3 cases here (leading and could solo but waited for the draw, trailing to another's assured solo but being waited on to get to a draw, and 3rd party power on the outside looking in at the draw), here is my perspective...

Soft draws are perfectly ethical. No more or less so than straight solo.

There is a difference between setting the objective of the game as "winning" and setting the objective as "soloing." Both are in fact valid in their own way and their quality in any one game is entirely depended on the style and intention of the individual players. There are so many examples of why a delayed or soft draw is worth while. Here's one to ponder... 2 powers (with maybe 16 and 14 centers) that have a strong alliance and each affirm that their success is based in no small part to the success achieved by the other. And then throw in a 3rd power (with 4 centers) who is just hell bent on never surrendering or waiving the white flag for a draw proposal they are not a part of and throws their forces at at one but not the other remaining power. Why should the desired state of the clear leaders be underminded by a knucklehead like that? The game is over, the draw is perfectly reasonable, but game dynamics dictate it be played out to 17-17.

Now, in that SAME situation, you could argue the 3rd player is perfectly valid in requiring a 17-17 draw. And you would be right. It is valid. The 3rd player is making a game oriented tactical decision to prolong the game and force the other players to test their alliance to the limit. Maybe one of the big powers stabs out of impatience or NMRs and takes a -3 to the 3rd player. It happens!

There are a gajillion of cases. And all are valid. At the end of the day, the ethical thing to do is what achieves the goals you set out and are able to accomplish within the context of the specific game, players, and board dynamics.
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Re: Soft draw

Postby patjanss » 30 Jun 2020, 22:35

It's funny to me that it is even questioned if a soft draw is ethical, for me the game is all about communication. At times i've solo-ed and sometimes i offered a draw from a sure win solo. Just as a way to express my gratitute or acknowledge the other players importance in the draw. For me it never is/was about the ethics but just what i felt the game required. I'll consider ethics a little more from now on in this game :lol:
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Re: Soft draw

Postby ColonelApricot » 01 Jul 2020, 04:36

In diplomacy, ethics are a personal choice.
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