Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

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Vom Kriege
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Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#1 Post by Vom Kriege » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:46 pm

I've noticed that a lot of games played on this website are set to not permit messaging - and play he game more as a pure war game. Isn't communication, negotiations, relationship-building, and so forth the essence of Diplomacy? Removing the press fundamentally changes the game. It is in fact called 'Diplomacy' and not 'War Game'. Right?

I'd love to hear people's views.
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thisisntme
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#2 Post by thisisntme » Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:00 pm

It is.
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Durga
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#3 Post by Durga » Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:01 pm

I was also skeptical of gunboat when I first started but it's honestly great for getting better at strategy. Which can be very important.. Especially in the end game when it comes to getting that solo.
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Sultan of spin
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#4 Post by Sultan of spin » Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:08 pm

I agree that removing messaging fundamentally changes the game (personally im not a fan) but it still is ultimately a game of diplomacy. Players need to be more communicative with their orders. For example- you can give a support hold to signal a hopeful alliance or input a support move twice in a row hoping the other player will take the hint. Finally, the best way to communicate intent is to limit your options in some way- for example if I'm Germany and build predominately armies early then England knows they can trust me. The crux is to strike a balance between communicating through limiting ones options but ultimately keeping as many options open to you. Game theory calls this the commitment paradox.
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Mercy
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#5 Post by Mercy » Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:38 pm

Sultan of spin wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:08 pm
Game theory calls this the commitment paradox.
I never heard of that and google is unhelpful. Could you tell more about it?

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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#6 Post by Octavious » Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:46 pm

You can play tiddlywinks on a chessboard, but it doesn't make it chess. Gunboat is not diplomacy.
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Sultan of spin
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#7 Post by Sultan of spin » Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:59 pm

Mercy wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:38 pm
Sultan of spin wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:08 pm
Game theory calls this the commitment paradox.
I never heard of that and google is unhelpful. Could you tell more about it?
I found a link that describes the concept. --> http://gametheory211.blogspot.com/2014/ ... tment.html

2ndWhiteLine
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#8 Post by 2ndWhiteLine » Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:08 pm

It looks like the "commitment paradox" implies that players in a game can (and will) often make decisions that don't appear to be the optimal given the situation and circumstances. In game theory, the principle of a Nash equilibrium implies that a player (or firm, or whatever) is making the most optimal decision possible; in other words, any other combination of factors will leave the player less well off than the most optimal choice. This is often the case in Diplomacy: players will make less than optimal moves due to alliances, playing for a draw, long term vs. short term gain, ill-conceived stabs, or just personal vengeance against a perceived slight. I would venture to guess that the commitment paradox would imply that a good Diplomacy player would, in essence, go so far as to purposely lose centers to gain some kind of strategic advantage as a result of having multiple possible moves on the negotiating table.

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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#9 Post by jmo1121109 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:27 pm

To quote one of the best gunboat players the site has ever seen.

"there is negotiation there, your actions speak instead of you. There are tenuous differences between moves which do speak for those who can hear them.

Gunboat is far more strategy, than full press, but it is not pure strategy. The way you abandon places, the decisions you make who to ally with are part of your negotiations.

Surely until you haven't played a gunboat over 3500-7000 pot size it is hard to understand, but those guys do. Recently we have invited a few new players into those games, like anlari, and Draugnar, though Draug's game is still going on. However anlari could share his experiences I guess.

So anyone who underestimates gunboats simply doesn't understand the metacommunication among players. But by time you can learn, moreover enjoy it. I am extremely curious what will Draugnar say after we finish his game.

For me, personally, gunboat is a ballet, a beautiful coreography of silent dancers who tell you a story of how one of them has arisen while others have fallen. A symphony without instruments, though you see the musicians play. And if you listen carefully, suddenly you will be enlightened whats happening there, what they "say" to eachother publicly, as everyone can see it, yet only a few understands." - rokakoma

http://www.webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?t ... hreadPager
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rokakoma
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#10 Post by rokakoma » Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:42 pm

@Vom Kriege
There's an awful lot of Diplomacy in Gunboats (aka: no press games).
If you read some post-game discussions at those games' boards, you will see players wondering what they could have done to influence others' decision.

As @Sultan_of_spin pointed out, you communicate through orders. You can build alliances soley by positioning your armies against a particular country, essentially not threatening another one. You can support certain moves, or just make others fight against each other by alternate helping one an other.

In my last gunboat game I was Italy, and I spent a great deal of effort to influence Russia to attack Germany. Those are two countries which barely have anything to do with Italy, yet I can still influence them. For example, if I attacked Austria, then Russia will know I'm helping him (by taking the pressure off), he will also know, France will benefit me being occupied in Austria, therefore Germany will be weaker by needing to fight the now stronger France. Consequently, Russia has a chance to move on Germany. But Russia needs to understand this as well.

That article about the Commitment Paradox is actually great! The essence of Gunboat is to show (fake) commitment, and cheat/backstab/etc when the time is right. However, as the article states, the receiving and MUST understand your commitment. Sadly, if you are not a seasoned gunboat player, you might not understand the intent of every move at first. Which is okay, practice makes everyone better.

Nevertheless, saying gunboat is not Diplomacy, or comparing gunboats to chess, is just ill-informed. Yes, tactics and strategy is more pronounced compared to with-press games. But tactics and strategy doesn't matter if you don't know how to influence the decisions of your fellow players. Consequently, discussions like 'should we bounce in Black see' have no point at all. The right question is, can I let my opponent take Black sea and still make them not to take advantage of it against me? And yes, you can do that in gunboats just as much as in with press games. That's Diplomacy, it's just different way of communicating.

Finally, to concur with @2ndWhiteLine, yes, we make a lot of semi-optimal moves. On time I did build only 1 unit instead of 3 to show my (fake) commitment towards a draw (which game I won later). Recently, I let Russia into Black sea in 1901 Spring (then I finished as the biggest power, and Russia gone). That's what this game is all about, communicating with the other players, make them feel safe, and trying to outsmart them, so they still feel safe until it's too late. What's that, if not Diplomacy?
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#11 Post by rokakoma » Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:44 pm

that felt good ... thx ;)
jmo1121109 wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:27 pm
To quote one of the best gunboat players the site has ever seen.
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Octavious
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#12 Post by Octavious » Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:46 pm

At the heart of diplomacy is the ability to create game narratives, and to sell different narratives to different players. Gunboat has only one narrative which is on display to all. It is at most a public press game in which meaningful communications are limited to those players who happen to be your neighbours.

That's not to say there's no skill involved. Clearly there is. But it's not diplomacy, and other than basic strategy the skills learned in Gunboat don't translate well.
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Octavious
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#13 Post by Octavious » Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:49 pm

The most stark difference is observed in the first phase, which in both Gunboat and diplomacy has perhaps the greatest impact, but in Gunboat is 90% luck.
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#14 Post by jmo1121109 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:01 pm

rokakoma wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:44 pm
that felt good ... thx ;)
jmo1121109 wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:27 pm
To quote one of the best gunboat players the site has ever seen.
Credit where credit is due. Welcome back to the site!
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rokakoma
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#15 Post by rokakoma » Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:19 pm

Octavious wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:49 pm
The most stark difference is observed in the first phase, which in both Gunboat and diplomacy has perhaps the greatest impact, but in Gunboat is 90% luck.
Yes, you can have a very (un)lucky opening in Gunboats, because there's no prior communication to the first step. But, your survival seldom depends on the first phase. Your survival (even winning) depends on 6 other players' combined interaction, and how well you can read and interact with them.

Moreover, the higher stakes Gunboats you play, the more similar openings will look like. For eg: Italy/Austria NEVER attack each other at opening in high level Gunboats. So you can mitigate that 90% luck simply by playing higher stakes game, which are inherently filled with better players. Then your "pre-opening communication" is called experience. By playing higher stakes games, your initial communication is "you must be a great gunboat player if you are willing to risk 500-1000 points, therefore I can trust you won't attack Austria in 1901 if you were to be Italy".

My point is, the more gunboats you play, the better players you play against, the less "luck factor" you have in your games' first phase.

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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#16 Post by rokakoma » Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:24 pm

jmo1121109 wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:01 pm
rokakoma wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:44 pm
that felt good ... thx ;)
jmo1121109 wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:27 pm
To quote one of the best gunboat players the site has ever seen.
Credit where credit is due. Welcome back to the site!
Sadly, I won't stay for long. :( I'm in-between jobs, so I had some free time to play. Also, I was missing playing a lot. God, it felt good! :) But I need to get back to real-life soon ...

rokakoma
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#17 Post by rokakoma » Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:12 pm

Octavious wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:46 pm
At the heart of diplomacy is the ability to create game narratives, and to sell different narratives to different players. Gunboat has only one narrative which is on display to all. It is at most a public press game in which meaningful communications are limited to those players who happen to be your neighbours.

That's not to say there's no skill involved. Clearly there is. But it's not diplomacy, and other than basic strategy the skills learned in Gunboat don't translate well.
May I challenge this? More precisely, can I offer another perspective?
Yes, I agree, there's only one "set of moves" on display to all. But that doesn't mean every player is reading the same narrative! Just think about Trump tweets. Everyone sees them, yet we interpret them quite differently.

So, if you are a good gunboat player, you will "sense", which countries read what narratives. Some of them think you are the threat, others think, others are. If you are really good, you will know who thinks what. If you are a great player, you can make them think differently.

In one way, this is a lot harder then using words and telling different stories to different people. Because you are telling the same story to everyone (through your moves), but you want each of them to interpret it differently. And believe me, they do interpret it differently. And that's enough for you to create game narratives.
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Vom Kriege
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#18 Post by Vom Kriege » Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:24 pm

Octavious wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:46 pm
You can play tiddlywinks on a chessboard, but it doesn't make it chess. Gunboat is not diplomacy.
Thank you Octavius! I agree 100% with ALL of your comments. I'm not in anyway saying that gunboat isn't fun (for some), or challenging, or requiring skill... but it's not Diplomacy. And yes, I do acknowledge that you can still communicate (globally) through your actions... but the essence of what makes of the game of Diplomacy Diplomacy is lost in a gunboat.

I'm very surprised at the lack of people that both like gunboats, but also acknowledge that it is fundamentally a different game without the ability to message. My apologies, I hope I didn't offend anyone by saying that - I'm trying to be diplomatic about this. ;)
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rokakoma
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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#19 Post by rokakoma » Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:50 pm

Speaking of offending, that's not my intention here either. My intention is, to give a perspective on gunboats as someone who played hundreds of them (and is considered one of the best ever by some ;) )

So my point is, if you are really curious about what kind of "Diplomacy" is involved in gunboats, try to be open-minded to those who love playing them, instead of looking for justification why you (probably) don't like them from people who also don't play/like them. Otherwise, it's just sends the message you are not really interested in understanding why it's fun, why it's still Diplomacy.

Seeing with-press players discussing what gunboats are like (when they haven't played at all, or just tried a few times) is like that famous article about "women's conference" in Saudi Arabia, which was attended by men only :D

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/0 ... 15062.html

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Re: Is it still Diplomacy if there is no press?

#20 Post by Nikola Maric Eto » Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:05 pm

Fundamentally, GB is harder mentally.
Come and play some, than form an opinion.
Words can not hurt gunboaters. B-)
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