Possible/likely outcomes of games

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Possible/likely outcomes of games

#1 Post by gnuvag » Mon Apr 06, 2020 1:27 am

Hello all,

I've just started playing again after a long break, so my memory is rusty to say the least! I'd be grateful if someone help me understand how games can end.

Using the Classic map as an example, 18 supply centres is obviously a solo win.

If I understand it correctly, players can all agree on a draw at any stage in the game, with any number of players sharing in the draw?

Is a two-way draw possible/likely? If so, how would it happen (aside from two players getting exactly 17 supply centres)? Could it, for example, happen by two players getting 15 supply centres and a third player holding 4 - and even though the two strong players could go for a solo win, they agree to draw between two of them and exclude the minority player? Or would the minority player never agree to that draw and instead insist on a three-way draw?

Is a three-way draw the most likely outcome? And does that sometimes get agreed upon whilst there are still other players in the game who would obviously go on to lose? What do they gain from agreeing to the draw? Is it just so the game doesn't have to be played to its conclusion?

Any other common scenarios I've missed?

Thanks for any help!

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Re: Possible/likely outcomes of games

#2 Post by Squigs44 » Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:20 am


If you look at the Diplomacy rulebook you will see that "players can end the game by agreement before a winner is determined. In this case, all players who still have pieces on the game board share equally in a draw".

As you can see, players can not negotiate the terms of the draw. All players must agree to draw for it to happen, and all players still left share equally in the draw. Thus, a two way draw is only possible if two players remain in play. As you have guessed, this is much more rare than other draw sizes, although not as rare as you might think. Both players would have to hold 17 supply centers (or in some bizarre scenario, a supply center could have no owner). This usually occurs when a stalemate line has been reached. The traditional stalemate line is touched on in this article. However, don't fall under the illusion that a stalemate has been reached when you might be able to win! This forum thread talks about some puzzles that might help you understand how to turn a seeming stalemate into a solo.

The best games of diplomacy are those where lots of talking happens. Bonds are formed, broken, reformed. Friendships are tested. In some cases, a true ally is born. Someone who you trust completely. Someone who you would never have been alive if not for them, and they never would have been alive if not for you. And in those instances, many people decide to opt for a two way draw instead of a victory. Just read the global messages for this game from the high level Masters tournament to see a great example of this.

How likely an outcome is depends on a couple things. Face to face games have time-limits, leading to forced draws. Tournaments have unique scoring systems, causing people to adopt their endgame goals. But lets look at one distribution of solos/draws from the Online Diplomacy Championship, which is almost over:

Solos: 13
2 way: 2
3 way: 11
4 way: 11
5 way: 6
6 way: 0
7 way: 2

As you can see, 3 and 4 way draws were the most likely types of draws. Moving beyond 3 or 4 players can scare smaller powers, causing them to band together and rebuff the leader, meaning that smaller powers are much less likely to be eliminated, and eventually a draw is decided upon.

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Re: Possible/likely outcomes of games

#3 Post by gnuvag » Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:44 am

This is a brilliant answer, thank you so much for taking the time to write that, exactly what I needed!


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Re: Possible/likely outcomes of games

#4 Post by Octavious » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:57 am

It's worth noting that not all diplomacy sites are equal, and in certain corners of the web you can indeed have 2-way draws with more than 2 active players remaining, with weaker players having to vote for their own elimination from the draw.

The reason certain sites allow this kind of play is because they are bastards.

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Re: Possible/likely outcomes of games

#5 Post by RoganJosh » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:02 am

Very nice answer by Squigs.

Back in school when we used to play FtF games between friends, it was quite common the the game ended with some players still on the board conceding the game to the dominant alliance. I would think that allowing this is a quite common "house rule" but, as Squigs pointed out, this is actually against the rules. And it is not "allowed" here.

The reason I put "allowed" in quotation marks is that you can still concede a game even if there is no concede-button. If you don't submit orders for some number of phases, then that'll count as you abandoning the game, and that will have the same effect as conceding the game (with the addendum that, unless the remaining players immediately agree to a draw, then someone else can take over your position).

Bear in mind that people abandoning games are amongst the most despised players on the site. And leaving a game will hurt your reliability rating (i.e., you might not be allowed to join other games).

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