Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

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Technostar
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Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#1 Post by Technostar » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:45 pm

I was looking at the criteria for bringing new variants to WebDip, and there are some over on vDip that fit the qualifications well and could make a great addition to this site.

Cold War

From the 1v1 scene, the Cold War variant is a well-balanced and fun map set during a time in history that was pretty much a 1v1 scenario: the Cuban Missile Crisis. I believe this map would make a good addition to WebDiplomacy's roster of 1v1 maps due to its strong balance, good playability, and interesting scenario.

1900

One of the most tried-and-true and critically acclaimed variants out there, 1900 is a good fit for the environment of WebDip. Enriador posted a thread about it a while back, but a few months have gone by since then and several games have been completed without bugs popping up, so I feel more confident that it's ready for WebDip now.

World War IV

World War IV is in the same vein as World Diplomacy, both being set across the whole globe with a larger number of players than normal. But, in my experience, WWIV is a much more enjoyable map to play than World Diplomacy IX due to the wide array of options that exist for virtually every player (compared to WorldDip's near-inevitable Argentina/Brazil and PR/China wars) and the far-reaching and diverse negotiations that a map with 35 players provides. The map is also fairly well-balanced; while some powers have an edge over others, none are near-impossible to pull off (this is mainly why I suggest the original WWIV over WWIV 6.2, as 6.2 has some serious balance issues with North Africa). I think this variant would go particularly well with WebDip's larger player base due to its size and enjoyability, as it would be much easier to fill up a game on here compared to over on vDip. The only change I would make is to increase the solo threshold from 50 SCs to either 100 or 123 SCs, as the default SC threshold is way too low.

Milan Diplomacy

Another tried-and-true variant, Milan is one of the most well-known modifications to the classic board. Milan just makes a few tweaks in Northern Italy, but it significantly changes the dynamics of the board by giving Italy the option to open to the west and by freeing up the tension between Austria and Italy. As a result, the Milan variant is a good alternative to Classic that would do well on WebDip.


What are your thoughts on these variants and whether they should be brought over to WebDip?
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krasmus
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Re: Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#2 Post by krasmus » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:56 pm

For Cold War:
1v1 isn't really my thing, but I think having some more varity couldn't hurt? Looks intresting and I would want to see if I could get a game or two in to see how it feels.

1900:
This could be pretty fun to play around with, I feel like we should have an 'offical' varient that is close to the classic game but different enough to warent it. Is this varient the one? It could be, but I feel we would need more community feedback before coming to conculsions.

World War IV:
It's already hard enough to get games of World Diplomacy IX going, I don't think doubling the player count would do anything to help.

Milan Diplomacy:
In my opinion this just isn't different enough from classic diplomacy to make it become an 'offical' varient on this website. I feel this varient also takes away the most intriguing part of being Italy and Austria. It just makes Italy kind of boring to play, and stops my faviourte stratagy as Italy, the Key Lepanto.

Technostar
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Re: Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#3 Post by Technostar » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:00 pm

Interesting thoughts.

1v1 isn't my primary thing either, though Cold War is one of my go-to's when I want a 1v1 match.

With 1900, it probably is the best modification to the Classic variant out there, given the careful work that went into its design. Milan's on my list primarily due to it being widespread, although its tweaks to Italy are also included as part of 1900.

And as for WWIV and World Diplomacy IX, large games are still easy enough to get going on this site due to its large player base. Once a few players have joined and the game gets to the front page of the "Joinable" list, even a World Dip game fills pretty quickly. There are 25 active World Dip IX games here, which tells me that there is easily enough interest in larger maps on this site to sustain a larger map like WWIV.

krasmus
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Re: Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#4 Post by krasmus » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:37 pm

For WWIV, I'll concede my point. If enough people would want to try it out, I say sure bring it on for testing. I'd say the same for 1900 and Cold War.

My vote would go for 1900, and for WWIV if enough people also want to play it.

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Re: Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#5 Post by bo_sox48 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:58 pm

When we add variants, we're looking for a lot of qualities, including the balance of the board, playability, our ability to safely integrate it into our code network, the creativity of the variant and the actual desire our members have to see it implemented, and aspects of the variant that make it something new and fun that will both draw in new players and give old and current players a reason to come back and play more or to keep playing. If we can't check these boxes, we really can't consider adding a variant because it takes a lot of development time, which is all volunteer work, and runs a lot of risk for the site.

1900 in particular is similar to both Modern and Classic. Generally speaking, I don't think that adding a variant that is so close to two other maps that we already have is a good use of our resources when we could instead add something more different from what we already have. It's a good variant, and while it is sometimes tough to get a game going on vDip, it is one of the more regularly played variants over there for a reason. I just don't think it adds a whole lot to the platform that we already have. That makes it tough to justify.

You have already discussed the primary issue with WWIV, and while we are still looking for a good replacement to our current world map (due to constant, unfixable problems) since KW901 didn't pan out, it would be basically impossible to get a quality game started without a rash of CDs and without people losing interest over time. The time commitment that it takes to play a game of Diplomacy is already more substantial than it is for most internet-based games nowadays that younger kids and teenagers play. WWIV games, with long enough phases, could drag on for years regularly. There is no telling how many players would drop out in that time.

Milan is again very similar to something that we already have, and personally I think that Milan is a bit unbalanced as it takes away a key corridor for France to attack Germany. I don't think that the placement of that unit in Milan instead of Venice necessarily strengthens Italy to begin with, but that is just my opinion of the map.

Cold War is a fun 1v1 variant but I honestly think that adding more 1v1s right now would take away from what the game of Diplomacy was all about to begin with. Having 1v1s is a good thing - sometimes games can't get going with 7, and sometimes friends just want to play a good game - but there is really nothing about 1v1 that actually follows the spirit of the game of Diplomacy other than the board it is played on. I personally hope that our future variants focus more on the art of diplomacy as opposed to a 1v1 game instead of simply a tactical game where one mistake will likely dictate the outcome. There are no trials and tribulations, or recovery, or decisions to make. You simply play your game, your opponent plays theirs, and the outcome is clear. I'm not a huge fan of that. Again, though, this is all just my opinion.

If we had the resources to do so (as of today, we don't, because adequate development help is pretty much impossible to find and volunteers are scarce), I would love to see some rotating variants, perhaps with a site-sponsored tournament to help get people playing them and with the most popular ones sticking around for the long haul. That just isn't feasible right now. Every variant would have to be reviewed and tested vigorously before integration can happen and we just don't have the people to get that done.
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Enriador
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Re: Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#6 Post by Enriador » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:26 pm

Another variant worth adding is Canton - especially for those who miss the feel of Colonial Diplomacy, but don't miss its paradoxes, bugs and weird unbalance.

https://vdiplomacy.com/variants.php?variantID=108

Balance of the board is quite good - the variant is out on vDiplomacy and Conspiracy, both apps have public stats showing excellent play balance, even superior to Classic! There are no Italy's in Canton... From Conspiracy's considerable database of 758 victories:

Russia - 136 - 17.94%
Turkey - 117 - 15.43%
Holland - 110 - 14.51%
--- Average is 108 victories, or 14,28% ---
Japan - 101 - 13.32%
France - 100 - 13.19%
China - 98 - 12.92%
Britain - 96 - 12.66%

Playability is quite reasonable - the variant has no flamboyant special rules, it's just good old Diplomacy rules with builds in home SCs, neutrals to take, some provinces are canals, etc. As seen above, all powers have good chances at winning.

The ability to safely integrate it into webDip's code network is already here - the variant can be fully adjudicated using webDip's existing code structure, no modifications from vDip's port should be necessary.

The creativity of the variant is quite evident - it's Asia during the colonial era, what is not to like? webDiplomacy doesn't have a single variant set in Asia so far, which is a bonus for creativity - it's rare for a variant to take place outside of Europe anyway.

The actual desire our members have to see it implemented is hard to assert without a poll or something, but I believe most players will appreciate a new variant that is 1) different from anything else in the website, taking place in an all-new area 2) has excellent balance and gives all powers a good shot at a solo 3) is insanely easy to port to webDiplomacy.

I have the pleasure to be a developer on vDiplomacy and the guy who ported Canton there (with Oliver Auth helping a lot); if you need my hand with it I am at your disposal. :-D
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jmo1121109
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Re: Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#7 Post by jmo1121109 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:29 am

Hey Enriador,

If you're willing to put together a pull request on our git that will let us install it then I'll pull it down I'm happy to assist with that effort. https://github.com/kestasjk/webDiplomacy

On the PR if you can put the instructions on how to run the install, since it's been a while that'd be a plus and once it's set I'll do the final adjustments to the config file to make it available on the server.

If you have questions shoot me and A_Tin_Can a PM.

-WebDip Dev

Durga
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Re: Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#8 Post by Durga » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:17 pm

This is cute but can we please for the love of god fix registration issues.
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Jamiet99uk
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Re: Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#9 Post by Jamiet99uk » Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:20 pm

Durga wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:17 pm
This is cute but can we please for the love of god fix registration issues.
Are you waiting to create some new accounts?
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jmo1121109
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Re: Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#10 Post by jmo1121109 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:32 pm

Kestasjk is our site's phpmailer expert and has limited time over the holidays. So when he gets some time that will be corrected. A_Tin_Can and I have done what we can. But in the meantime I don't see that as a reason to stop other development initiatives especially if we have someone willing to contribute their time.

I am hoping to see the registration issue fixed within the next week but can't make any promises on it.
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2ndWhiteLine
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Re: Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#11 Post by 2ndWhiteLine » Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:34 pm

We want Colonial! Bugs and all!

Enriador
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Re: Bringing new variants to WebDiplomacy?

#12 Post by Enriador » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:37 pm

2ndWhiteLine wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:34 pm
We want Colonial! Bugs and all!
The vDiplomacy install of Colonial has most if not all known bugs fixed, should be simple to add it here too. But I would prefer the One True version of Colonial: Avalon Hill's. Playing Japan and landing an unit in Sakhalin for all eternity is a joy I remember fondly from my FtF days.

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