Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

New players can go here for helpful advice and to sign up for our mentor program, or if you're a veteran help answer questions.
Forum rules
This is an area for new members or members looking for help with the site or Diplomacy. Off topic threads and replies will be moved to the appropriate category.
Message
Author
VillageIdiot
Posts: 183
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:55 am
Karma: 93

Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#1 Post by VillageIdiot » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:33 pm

I don't play every new game with blinders on. I meta-game! There i said it, but I'm certainly not alone.

Meta-gaming is a term that can get tossed around a little loosely these days. There's very black-and-white bad meta-gaming...

"Meta-gaming: Actions taken in a game which are based on information or events outside that game, whether in other games or based upon personal relationships with other players. Actions prohibited under meta-gaming include entering the game with a preset alliance, entering the game without the intention to win, playing as a team in more than one game, cross-game agreements and retaliating in one game as “revenge” for what happened in another game."

But then there's also rules in place that sounds great in theory but tend to bump against human nature a little bit...

"All players in a game should be treated equally", "No referring to past games", "Entering a game with the preset idea of attacking a specific player"

Do we all try our best to turn off past experiences everytime we walk into a game? We want to, we mean to. We know how a person played in one game isn't necessarily the same approach they'll take in this game. Everybody deserve a clean slate while past experience, personal knowledge, past emotions, and all that available information ought have no bearing.

Realistic? Not particularly, at least not once you've been around for a while.

I freely admit on occasion I've let past games bias my judgement on wanting to not ally with players due to past headaches caused by personality conflict. I've specifically sought out games with strong players i want to challenge myself to beat. I've had reluctance to put trust in players with very high solo rates and I've been drawn to ally with players with high draw rates assuming them more loyal. I've research players to study their strategy, loyalty, temperament based on public press, and level of competition. It's not easy to choose to ignore knowledge. Try being a high ranked player and expect to be treated like every other player in a public game, there's a reason we often choose to play anonymous game.

At the end of the day it's a relatively small community of active players with a good deal of accessible history and personally i really love this dynamic of this site. I like that players have to take into consideration their reputation beyond a single match-up, i find it an extremely interesting twist. History matters here and it impacts how you have to approach the game. I enjoy the homework aspect of preparing strategy and i highly respect for those who do homework when playing against me, it elevates the game and forces you to constantly evolve. This helps make online Diplomacy interesting and I wouldn't change a thing (except maybe those damned online indicators).

Am i saying meta-gaming is a concept too abstract to govern? Emphatically not, there's absolutely lines not to be crossed. Do homework, just don't use history as an in-game influence on others ("hey, check out game #... you can see that dude is a proven liar"). Have opinions on players, but try to keep an open mind in new games anyways (more fun that way anyways). Try not to hold onto grudges (good life philosophy as well). And really it's just a good rule of thumb to try to avoid games blending together, I generally pass on "rematch" games or requests from players i just played to participate in a new game just starting. A little distance of time goes a long way in keeping games fairly separate in your head.
5

Octavious
Posts: 598
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:16 pm
Location: The Five Valleys, Gloucestershire
Karma: 355
Contact:

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#2 Post by Octavious » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:26 pm

Lynch the meta-gamer!

It's an interesting perspective, and not one I can easily relate to. Not because of some great moral standpoint on my part, but because of my incredibly poor memory (I find it hard to hold a grudge even if I want to), my natural laziness (I do enough reading around the subject at work), and my inability to work out who I'm playing against in anonymous games regardless of whether I try or not.

I suppose I did get involved in the meta aspect in my noob days. The sort of investigation where you see someone has over 200 points, and is obviously some kind of diplomacy wizard. Or you see completed games in double figures on their profile, so clearly they're a grizzled veteran. Most of it misleading bollocks, of course. You get a far better idea of who you're up against in the opening messages, so that's what I learned to stick to.

Nice to know the homework pays off for some of us, though :).

VillageIdiot
Posts: 183
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:55 am
Karma: 93

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#3 Post by VillageIdiot » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:55 pm

My point is more along the lines of that not all meta-gaming is "bad". I've been in games or forum posts where people immediately pull out the pitchforks because somebody in a non-anon game with them didn't want to ally with them because in some other game they played together the guy just lied, lied, lied and stabbed, stabbed, stabbed. "He's not allowed to do that, he's a dirty cheater-face!!!"

That's not really the spirit of anti-metagaming rules, it's not intended to turn people into robots who can wipe their memory clean after every game. If (for example) a player is well known to have a strong comfort with leaning on deceit in their game rather then forging strong relationships, there's not really an expectation for putting your brain on pause and having to pretend you don't know what you know.

I've seen this work to players advantages as well, having played many a player who have become very successful because they've elevated their reputation as being a player who is consistently fair and honest with everybody on the board 99% of the time. People want to work with them based on experience from past games and they know exactly what they're getting 99% of the time. These people know how to use that other 1% very well to get them the rest of the way. I've never played a FTF game before, but i've got to imagine this sort of 'reputation management' is very important in this sort of closed/transparent world.
1

President Eden
Posts: 320
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:11 pm
Location: United States of America
Karma: 83

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#4 Post by President Eden » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:56 pm

I subscribe to the Donald J. Trump School of Bigly Winning and when you’re a star, you don’t need to metagame, you just win.

~

When I was starting out I used to deep-dive on profiles in non-anon games to figure out certain tendencies of other players for use in that game.

I’m not sure if, like Oct, I simply got lazy, or what changed, but I don’t bother now. Although to be fair, I play mostly gunboats, where this is impossible anyway.
1

Durga
Posts: 1481
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:01 pm
Location: Canada
Karma: 208

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#5 Post by Durga » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:02 pm

ban him

SuperSteve
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:37 pm
Karma: 4

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#6 Post by SuperSteve » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:12 pm

I'd do it if I wasn't so lazy.

I also prefer anonymous for just exactly these reasons. I find it more enjoyable to find out who I was playing with after the game.

dargorygel
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 588
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:55 pm
Location: Over the rainbow
Karma: 186
Contact:

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#7 Post by dargorygel » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:22 pm

Good essay, Village Idiot
You lay out some 'bad' forms of the semi-meta that you are describing. How do you feel about someone noticing that EVERY time PlayerX plays Italy, France is attacked? And therefore, beginning the game as France a little cautiously? Or how about Austria WARNING said France that Italy is likely to head West? i.e. How much is TOO much information and information-spreading?
1

VillageIdiot
Posts: 183
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:55 am
Karma: 93

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#8 Post by VillageIdiot » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:56 pm

I'd say knowing yourself that PlayerX goes west every time is perfectly reasonable however going that extra step of telling another player he goes west every time falls more on the 'bad' side.

Opinion, not rule lawyer.

Would be interested in hearing mods chime in on this. Truth be told i'm taking a lot of the meta-gaming wording from PlayDip where they've defined their vision of "meta-gaming" in a much more formalized fashion. Here we have an implied frowing of meta-gaming, but in terms of formal no-no's all we really have is:

"No Meta-gaming: You cannot play a public game with players that you know outside of the site."

Anything meta game related finger-wagging beyond that at WebDip is completely ambiguous and i guess vulnerable to individual interpretation.

VillageIdiot
Posts: 183
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:55 am
Karma: 93

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#9 Post by VillageIdiot » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:56 pm

Durga wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:02 pm
ban him
Agreed.

PRINCE WILLIAM
Posts: 125
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:17 am
Karma: 17

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#10 Post by PRINCE WILLIAM » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:59 pm

Village Idiot, what do you mean in the opening post by entering a game with no intention to win?

VillageIdiot
Posts: 183
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:55 am
Karma: 93

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#11 Post by VillageIdiot » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:21 pm

PRINCE WILLIAM wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:59 pm
Village Idiot, what do you mean in the opening post by entering a game with no intention to win?
An example of that would joining or perhaps taking over a country that had gone into civil disorder just to help impact the game in a way that helps/hurts somebody you know in that game.

Or if you just go into a game for sake of messing it up for personal shits-and-giggles. Some people just want to see the world burn.

jmo1121109
Developer
Developer
Posts: 282
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:20 pm
Karma: 311

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#12 Post by jmo1121109 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:06 pm

"No Meta-gaming" what does it actually mean?

The purpose of the rule is to keep games fair for everyone, and how do you generally define fair in terms of this game? For this conversation fair is everyone having an equal opportunity to win 1 specific game.

So metagaming inherently stops friends from outside the site from playing together because if you can text your buddy with "buy you a shot if you support me into Sev" then you have an unfair advantage. Just the opposite, I've also heard people say "I don't metagame if anything I'm more inclined to stab my friend just to piss him off!". That is ALSO unfair and not allowed, hence why friends outside the site are asked to stay with password protected games.

Cross game alliances or alliances formed before a game starts. Not fair, since there isn't equal opportunity for everyone.

Stabbing someone because they pissed you off on the forum, not fair because the rest of the people making/breaking alliances to try and win are getting their game wrecked because of a thread that nobody else has probably even read/cares about.

Going to another player not in the game and asking for advice, everyone has equal opportunity to do this, so fair. In fact we have a mentor program around this concept and encourage more experienced members to help mentor others.

Once the non-anon game starts, going to each person's profile and studying the openings they tend to use most as a specific country. Well, everyone in the game has the equal opportunity to do this AND you have the option of using Anon games to prevent this. So this is usually considered fair. Is this meta-gaming, technically yes, is it punishable meta-gaming, most of the time no. Now there have been exceptions where the mods have to get involved because this gets to a level that begins ruining games. For example I've seen someone as England try to talk France into letting him blitz Italy just because he hated that person's play-style. That is the type of situation where you start ruining the game for everyone in it and the mods will get involved.

The entire point of the rules, and the entire point of the touch of deliberate vagueness in the discretion it gives the mods is to allow them to intervene in situations where it is clear someone is wrecking games for other people and to discourage those situations from happening. But at the same time, those situations are pretty rare because people tend to exhibit common sense in staying on the correct line of how much they allow someone's record or past game interactions to influence them.

That said, some of the old time players or some of the players at the top of GR rankings like yourself VI, or I believe MadMarx, prefer anonymous games to remove the temptation other players may feel to try and organize stabs due to inappropriate reasons. But as long as you and the others in the game keep mind to the concept of fair play, you shouldn't ever run into mod involvement.
3

SuperSteve
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:37 pm
Karma: 4

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#13 Post by SuperSteve » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:26 pm

I, obviously, would follow any rules that the Mods create. I would personally prefer the rules to be as specific as possible so that everyone knows what to expect and there would be easier enforcement by the Mods.

That said... when you play non-anon, you can't be shocked that some of this is going on.

It is like leaving a wallet on a car. The rule is that the purse can't be taken... but I'm not sure that there will be much surprise for anyone that loses their wallet.
1

The Hanged Man
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:25 pm
Karma: 17

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#14 Post by The Hanged Man » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:36 pm

SuperSteve wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:26 pm
It is like leaving a wallet on a car. The rule is that the purse can't be taken... but I'm not sure that there will be much surprise for anyone that loses their wallet.
Maybe there should be a rule that the wallet can't be taken.

VI is a dirty cheater-face.

VillageIdiot
Posts: 183
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:55 am
Karma: 93

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#15 Post by VillageIdiot » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:12 am

The Hanged Man wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:36 pm
VI is a dirty cheater-face.
And yet I smile.

bo_sox48
Admin
Admin
Posts: 777
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:01 am
Karma: 205

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#16 Post by bo_sox48 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:15 am

SuperSteve wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:26 pm
I, obviously, would follow any rules that the Mods create. I would personally prefer the rules to be as specific as possible so that everyone knows what to expect and there would be easier enforcement by the Mods.

That said... when you play non-anon, you can't be shocked that some of this is going on.

It is like leaving a wallet on a car. The rule is that the purse can't be taken... but I'm not sure that there will be much surprise for anyone that loses their wallet.
That wouldn't make it okay to take the wallet, but it would make the cops investigating the crime shake their head at you and wonder, perhaps aloud, "why?" more than they will actually investigate.

In the long run, everyone on this site will end up metagaming. It goes without saying that any player that has played a few hundred or more games and still joins public games will just so happen to be in a public game every once in awhile with someone they know, especially if someone they know is also active on the site. Technically, that's metagaming too, but is it really a problem? This is why the rule is intentionally left a little bit vague. Every case is a bit different. Often times, the determining factor in the outcome is the intent, and we want to enforce this rule with that in mind so that people can actually play the game on our site without every game being paused three times for an investigation.

All that said, just don't take the wallet.

dancing queen
Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:22 pm
Karma: 46

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#17 Post by dancing queen » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:41 am

Octavious wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:26 pm
Lynch the meta-gamer!

It's an interesting perspective, and not one I can easily relate to. Not because of some great moral standpoint on my part, but because of my incredibly poor memory
I'm with you there. I've played so many games of Dip I can't remember who stabbed whom. I'm definitely a _target_ of that kind of metagaming though!

As it happens I don't think of "having a working memory about whom you are playing against" as the proper definition of the term. For my $.02 american its when you join a game with a pre-set goal in collusion with another player.

Its the "I'll throw you a solo this game if you'll throw me a solo next game" and "lets sign up and ally together" that break the game.

SuperSteve
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:37 pm
Karma: 4

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#18 Post by SuperSteve » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:33 pm

We really could use a specific definition of what "meta-gaming" is. It seems like there is a huge spectrum here. Everything from definitive cheating on one hand to using common sense on the other.

It seems like there is a school of thought that says 1) looking at a person's game history, 2) figuring out that they stab early and often and then 3) stabbing them first is meta-gaming.

Hard to have a discussion about a topic when we don't really agree what we are discussing.
1

Ezio
Posts: 534
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:54 am
Karma: 48

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#19 Post by Ezio » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:54 pm

I define "metagaming" to be anyone who doesn't work with me in a game.
2

Durga
Posts: 1481
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:01 pm
Location: Canada
Karma: 208

Re: Confessions of a Meta-Gamer

#20 Post by Durga » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:19 pm

Ezio wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:54 pm
I define "metagaming" to be anyone who doesn't work with me in a game.
This is true he does this <3
1

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Napoleon of Oz and 0 guests