How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

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cdngooner
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How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#1 Post by cdngooner » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:14 pm

A game is just ending that was very frustrating. I took over a CD with 4 units and was quickly eliminated. No problem with that - that was expected.

The problem I had was it was immediately clear that the two board toppers had a deal for a 2-way draw. Also no problem with that, as long as the 2-way draw is actually forced on the players by the way the game goes.

But in this game, either of the two table toppers had multiple opportunities to stab the other and take the solo. Only they didn't. Two players, good enough to win, absolutely choked it and decided they didn't even WANT to win. This isn't inference, they actually admitted this in public and private press.

I come from the poker world, and in that game soft-playing (not doing one's best to win) is not only discourteous, its illegal. I get that Diplomacy is a different game and that Draws exist. I understand playing for Draws. Frankly most of my games in Draws. But Draws are for where (a) you are weak, have no chance to win, and a Draw is the best result you can hope for; or (b) you are strong, but there are multiple other parties who are also strong, and you could possibly lose, so you accept a Draw as risk mitigation.

But this isn't what happened here. Here there was an agreement NOT to do one's best to win the game.

I find that dishonourable and contrary to the spirit of the game.

Now I open myself up to ridicule and rebuttal. Comments below. Thank you.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#2 Post by Octavious » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:40 pm

Annoying, isn't it? Blatant lack of respect for the other players.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#3 Post by Durga » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:48 pm

I think you can be in a great position and take a draw if you think it's unlikely for you to solo, or that if you attempt it there is a chance the other player might solo.

If you can obviously solo then you should stab. Players that carebear are no fun to play with. But games aren't always that clear, and what may have seemed like a good opportunity to you might have actually been really risky for the player.

And sometimes, it's better to form a relationship or a reputation than take a risky stab (less of a problem online than in f2f).
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#4 Post by David E. Cohen » Mon Aug 24, 2020 10:53 pm

We feel very badly about it! :x
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#5 Post by Claesar » Tue Aug 25, 2020 5:30 am

I've never had a 2-way draw, I think. As a result, I can't show a tournament opponent some unimportant games I've played, in an attempt to convince them to 2-way draw with me. Instead, I'm forced to always accept a 3-way, or solo. Maybe it's hurting my results.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#6 Post by CSteinhardt » Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:08 am

I typically try to use agreements like this in the opposite way. I want to maximize my chances of the solo, because that's really all I'm playing for. So when there's a third, small power in what would otherwise be a two-way draw, then if it's a realistic option, I make them an offer they can't refuse:

I ask them to hand over their units and do everything possible to help me solo. I'll also involve them in the tactical planning, because that makes the game more fun for them and if I solo, they feel like they deserve some of the credit.

If I can solo, then I'm going to take the solo, and they understand this up front. But in return, if I can't solo despite their best efforts as a faithful ally, I promise to make it a 3-way draw instead of a 2-way draw.

And it's worth it to me to have a reputation for keeping deals like that, because I'm playing to maximize my win rate, not to get smaller draws. So, unless they stab me, I do keep the small third power in the draw -- to me, a draw is a draw regardless, so I'm not giving up much for the increased chance at a win.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#7 Post by cdngooner » Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:00 pm

Absolutely there is nothing wrong with using a 2-way Draw deal as a TACTIC, to help you in your actual goal of reaching a solo. But for a 2-way Draw to be your actual GOAL. That is what I object to. I can't imagine starting a game hoping that with a little luck I may just get a tie.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#8 Post by Durga » Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:24 pm

Wait - if the game actually ended in a 2wd then both players should just quit.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#9 Post by Wusti » Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:54 pm

People play for different reasons. Don't be throwing stones kids.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#10 Post by NPSIA » Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:05 pm

I am in this game currently, if people are interested in seeing the example it is the "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" game.

I think it's an interesting case. On one hand, I understand where my now dead ally England (cdngooner) is coming from, and it's equally frustrating for me because I want to try and achieve the survive at least here. Italy and Austria are closing in and it's only a matter of time for myself now.

There was a very clear opportunity for Italy in the previous Fall phase to take the stab and win the game. There was absolutely nothing Austria could have done to prevent it, Italy's solo would have been secured, even without my help so my potential to lie wasn't a factor for him. He did not take it, though, and it was intentional on his part.

On the other hand, I see where Italy and Austria are coming from. They have a grudge against myself (Germany) and England for trying to force some form of a 4 way draw with them. They felt like we were bossing them around. I have also been largely unavailable these past couple weeks (busy with work and other things) so I've been "saving" my orders every round to give myself as much time as possible. They've perceived this as delay tactics, which is understandable on their part as well.

It's interesting though, and I think my final thoughts rest in the realm of: I can't really fault anyone for playing how they want to play. At the end of the day, I'm just happy more people are playing this game. I might potentially avoid games with the two players again in the future if I can, as I like to play it a different way (the rational actor way), but I can't be mad if they just want to have their 2 way draw and spite us for it.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#11 Post by Peregrine Falcon » Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:22 pm

The thing about diplomacy is that it's a game about humans, and humans are not purely rational beings. There are goals that are rewarded by the rules and scoring systems, absolutely. But there are also the goals that people make for themselves. Although you might find those goals annoying, they are just as valid for the people pursuing them.
I think that's what makes this such an interesting game.
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cdngooner
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#12 Post by cdngooner » Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:37 pm

Peregrine: I'm afraid I can't understand that logic. By that logic, it would be acceptable for two players to make an agreement going into a game that one will throw all of his centres to the other in the first few turns, thereby giving the other a huge advantage against those not involved in the deal.

I think the rules are the rules, and the rules say there is only one "winning" outcome - a Solo. A Draw is clearly an inferior result. An agreement to play for an inferior result is, IMO, unethical.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#13 Post by Claesar » Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:48 pm

cdngooner wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:37 pm
Peregrine: I'm afraid I can't understand that logic. By that logic, it would be acceptable for two players to make an agreement going into a game that one will throw all of his centres to the other in the first few turns, thereby giving the other a huge advantage against those not involved in the deal.
No, that's against the site rules.
I think the rules are the rules, and the rules say there is only one "winning" outcome - a Solo. A Draw is clearly an inferior result. An agreement to play for an inferior result is, IMO, unethical.
But not against the site rules, unfortunately.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#14 Post by NPSIA » Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:50 pm

Peregrine: Ultimately, I agree. It's why we play Diplomacy, otherwise it's a game of pure calculations, which to me isn't as fun. Even in high level international negotiations, emotions and biases play such a disproportionately large role in influencing results.
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cdngooner
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#15 Post by cdngooner » Tue Aug 25, 2020 5:23 pm

No, that's against the site rules.
Claesar, can you point me where in the rules this is forbidden. I'm aware of the rule against making such an agreement before the game and outside the game, with someone you know, but where in the rules is it forbidden to make such a deal inside the game in Spring 1901?

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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#16 Post by Peregrine Falcon » Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:13 pm

cdngooner wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:37 pm
make an agreement going into a game that one will throw all of his centres to the other in the first few turns.
(Note: Emphasis added)
^^ This sounds like you were hypothesising two players deciding to do throw before joining a game. That would be considered meta-gaming, and is disallowed by Rule #2.

If two players decide purely from in-game factors to throw centres, that would be allowed. Although I don't think anyone would do it in '01, people do throw centres and/or games all the time, and that's very much not against the rules. In fact, it's a requisite for many solos. If everyone played "optimally", solos would be near impossible.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#17 Post by Chaqa » Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:27 pm

cdngooner - we run a series of Gunboat games called The Lusthog Squad that plays with a modified ruleset you might like.

Basically, it's a normal game, except that you are not allowed to vote draw unless there is a stalemate line, and you also are playing to win. These games generally attract a high quality of player and more often than not end in draws, but there have been a number of solos. Here's a filter for all the ones we've played:

https://webdiplomacy.net/detailedSearch ... leLocation

I don't think a Press version would be out of the question with similar rules.

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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#18 Post by cdngooner » Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:29 pm

Wow, that sounds cool, Chaqa, particularly if there were a press version. I'll look into it. Thank you.

Chaqa
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#19 Post by Chaqa » Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:29 pm

I've been all over the place when it comes to the goal of a game.

Yes, a solo is ideal, but I will often prioritize preventing other players' solos over my own, so a lot of my games end in draws. To me, I want to solo, but also prevent any other solo, and failing to solo, I want a draw with the minimum number of players possible.

I don't play F2F, so I can't speak to that scene, but I don't really care for it due to the artificial time limits and the fact I have legitimately no poker face.
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Re: How Do We Feel About Not Even Trying to Win?

#20 Post by Chaqa » Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:30 pm

cdngooner wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 6:29 pm
Wow, that sounds cool, Chaqa, particularly if there were a press version. I'll look into it. Thank you.
Generally I organize the games. I don't think I'd play a press version, but I could help advertise it and line you up with some decent players. There's a Lusthog thread in the New Games section you could bump, or I could make a new thread.

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