New World Map

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Mercy
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New World Map

#1 Post by Mercy » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:15 pm

Hello webdippers,

I have enjoyed playing the variant World Diplomacy IX on this site, but while playing I couldn't help but think about possibilities how the variant could be improved. This lead me to take a crash course on variant creation over on vDiplomacy, after which I decided to start working on a new variant: World Diplomaxy X. After some potential final tweaks will be made, it will become available at vDiplomacy.

Here is a link to the new variant.

In my opinion, World Diplomacy IX would be improved by encouraging more interactions between players in the early game. In World Diplomacy IX, players typically only really have to worry about one or two other players in the early game. In some instances, some powers are always stimulated to turn on another power, which leads to imbalances. In World Diplomacy X, I tried to create more opportunities for player interactions in the early game. Among other things, this meant that I had to make it more attractive to cross the Pacific Ocean, or to move between India and Pacific-Russia. For that, I needed more supply centers in those regions. This is why I decided to add Japan as a power. Because I wanted to keep the number of players at 17, I decided to eliminate one country too, and the choice fell on Kenya. Africa was already very crowded in World Diplomacy IX, with a very high supply center density, and I needed to rebalance the African powers anyway, so that choice felt very logical. There are a few things that I am still not completely satisfied with, for instance the 'ring of supply centers' wrapping around the arctic regions, but I am not sure what I should best do about it.

Because this is the site where World Diplomacy IX is played the most by far, and there is a community of quite some good players here, I thought that I could get useful feedback by posting the variant here. I would be very happy with anyone that takes the time to take a good look at the variant and offers his or her thoughts.

For your interest, I have changed the following names:
- Kenya => Japan;
- Oz => Australia;
- Libya => Egypt;
- Europe => EU;
- Western-Canada => Canada;
- Frozen-Antarctica => Frozen;
- South-Africa => South Africa;
- Near-East => Near East.

Some questions I have that are unrelated to balance are:
- I have decided to throw away the small map of this variant, since I thought it was too small. When playing the variant, instead of a small map, you will see part of the large map and you can scroll through it, similar to Known World 901 (if anyone remembers playing that map). Do you think this is a good change?
- I changed a lot of country names, but I couldn't think of a good one for 'Pacific-Russia'. Personally I would prefer a name that doesn't have 'Russia' in its name. Do you agree, and if so, do you know a fitting name?
- How clear is it that Kamchatka and Alaska are connected while Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea are not? I fear that the connections in this region can lead to confusion the way they are drawn now. Is that fear justified? If so, how do you think the connections could be made more clear?

Here is a link to the discussion I opened on vDiplomacy.

Thank you all for your time! :)
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Mercy
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Re: New World Map

#2 Post by Mercy » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:43 am

The map has bugged out at the moment, but it should be visible again soon.

EDIT: Well, the bug solved itself, apparently.

Mercy
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Re: New World Map

#3 Post by Mercy » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:48 am

I have changed the country name of 'Pacific-Russia' into 'Siberia'.
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ND
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Re: New World Map

#4 Post by ND » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:12 am

Like the changes @Mercy
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brainbomb
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Re: New World Map

#5 Post by brainbomb » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:17 am

Beautiful map

Tasnica
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Re: New World Map

#6 Post by Tasnica » Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:30 pm

I loved World Diplomacy IX, and this looks great too! More polished than before, and well done.

Mercy
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Re: New World Map

#7 Post by Mercy » Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:22 am

I am very glad that you like it! For your interest, the new variant is practically finished since a few months already, but can only be implemented on vDip once the site owner makes some finishing contributions, and he is unfortunately quite loaded with work. The variant can be released at any moment though.

bo_sox48
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Re: New World Map

#8 Post by bo_sox48 » Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:45 pm

I feel that Japan is thrust into a similar situation where China is consistently in on our current World map in the sense that their best play is to attack north, which leaves an obvious opportunity for China to come in from the west. While it isn’t necessarily a big change, I think you could at the very least switch the supply center dot from Hawaii to the other side of the board as a psychological counter to this - in our world, Hawaii is part of the West, but in reality it is evenly spaced between the US and Asia. Doing that may help show it a bit specifically to Japan and perhaps give them the feeling that they aren’t so likely to be sandwiched. Realistically, though, I don’t think I would be excited to play Japan on this board.

It would appear to help at least somewhat balance out Africa, though, so perhaps this is a good tradeoff.

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Re: New World Map

#9 Post by Mercy » Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:37 am

I agree with you on the position of China in the old World map. As I see it, China is underpowered because no country except China is incentivized to attack Pacific-Russia in the early game, and China is the only country that Pacific-Russia is incentivized to attack. The reason is that there is quite a lot of travel distance between India and Pacific-Russia and between Western-Canada and Pacific-Russia, and Pacific-Russia and Russia both have quite an easily defensible border vs each other. The result is that China is most often locked in a war with Pacific-Russia and will receive no help. To the contrary, when China and Pacific-Russia fight, it can be most beneficial for India to attack China, too. This is why China is the worst country in World IX. The best China can often do is make sure that India goes another direction, focus on Pacific-Russia solely, and hopefully win with superior tactics.

However, I fail to see how Japan is in a similar solution as China is in World IX, though I am very interested in your reasoning. As I see it, I have given enough tensions between Siberia and other countries:
1) Siberia and Canada can directly fight over Alaska and can attack each other through the Chukchi Sea;
2) The Siberian Sea makes fights between Russia and Siberia more likely to occur; whoever occupies it in the second year has a big advantage over the other;
3) Siberia can now fight with powers more to the south over Mongolia. This was one of the reasons to make Mongolia a supply center. I would not rule out China fighting Siberia and either of the two allying Japan against the other.
Because of the many different things that can happen in and around Asia, especially when Diplomacy is involved, I would argue that no Asian power is underpowered.

It is an interesting idea to create the supply center symbol of Hawaii on the other side of the board. Maybe I can even draw the supply center symbol of Hawaii, and, for that matter, of Oceanian Islands, on both sides of the board, for maximum visibility?

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Re: New World Map

#10 Post by bo_sox48 » Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:06 am

The landbridge to Alaska is valuable but even so for a new player or a player that isn't terribly advanced, recognizing the board as spherical and attacking another continent is not a guarantee. That's not a knock on your version of the variant though but perhaps the mechanics of the variant itself to begin with. Your improvements may even help with that.

My intention regarding Japan isn't to say that it is specifically like China but that its weakness may be somewhat similar. Specifically, Japan and China seem like natural adversaries, which is certainly intentional. Multiple contested spaces right off the bat in Beijing and the Yellow Sea lend to a fight and there simply isn't much real estate for them to fight for and China perhaps built better to contest in the north than they are in southeast Asia. Korea could be vulnerable to a 1901 attack, which would shut Japan out of the continent entirely early. On top of that, Siberia could very easily go against them with fleet builds on Yakutsk SC and the ability to shut Japan out of any neutrals, but you make a few good points about their ability to look at other options. Generally speaking, it looks like a very tight fit with Japan not only in the middle but with a very weak strangehold on the territory they do have access to on the continent, but perhaps a second naval power in the east Pacific would be a good balancing mechanism.

I think you should make an effort to draw SC dots on either side if it doesn't simply create more confusion, especially the Oceanic Islands. The only nation that would be wise to attempt to claim it appears to be Oz, so that should definitely be on his side of the board at least. Hawaii is trickier, but with four powers that could potentially make an early play for it it makes sense on both sides, wouldn't it?

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Re: New World Map

#11 Post by Mercy » Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:06 am

I have added supply center symbols on the other side of the Hawaii and Oceanian Islands territories (though it may take a while for it to become visible on the preview). Oceanian Islands is not meant for only Australia to claim though, but is instead meant as a territory that Australia and Frozen can fight over. My initial reasoning for drawing the supply center symbols on the left side of the board only was because that was where the units will appear (I can't make the units appear on both sides of the board), and the reason for the units appearing on that side was because there was simply more room on that side.

Yep, Korea could be vulnerable to an early combined Chinese and Siberian attack. If Japan opens to Vladivostok, he will not lose it in the first year, but he may in the second. I agree that it is a very realistic option for Siberia to build fleets and go after Japan. I have another view on China than you, though. I don't see India as any less of an adversary to China than Japan, in particular because India and China share a large border. It is interesting to note that we would probably play China differently.

Even if Siberia full on attacks Japan, I see it as realistic for China to be occupied with India, not helping Siberia. And it is not required for Siberia to realize its connection to other powers for it to be helpful to Japan, if the two fight. For example, if in the first year, Siberia is aggressive against Japan and Russia grabs Perm but has not yet a target, Russia could decide to build a fleet in the north coast of St. Petersburg, move it to Siberian Sea, move Perm to Omsk and backfill it with Moscow. He would have three units on Norilsk and be able to attack Yakutsk and Mongolia. Alternatively, if for example Canada allies Quebec against USA and grabs Alaska, and the war goes well, Canada can wonder what he should do with his northern fleet and the army that grabbed Alaska, and decide to attack Kamchatka and invade the Chukchi Sea. In this way, Japan can not only survive when Siberia all in attacks him, but can even do quite well, because he will receive help.

You also seemed to imply that new players, or players who are not terribly advanced, are less prone to attack other continents. From my experience on vDiplomacy I can say that I think that if anything, skill is negatively correlated with the desire to form big, continental alliances, and attack other continents. Plus, I would name the Classic variant itself as a variant that is imbalanced when played by not-very-advanced players, for Austria gets eliminated quickly most of the time with such a pool of players.

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Re: New World Map

#12 Post by Mercy » Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:22 am

I'd like to add that of course none of the things I mentioned need to happen in a game and it is still possible for Japan to be wiped out early by a combined Siberian and Chinese attack. However, my hope is that I have created the map in such a way that a lot of different things can happen. In the old World map, some countries have a lot less options strategically and some are set up to fight each other and no one else. This does not only make the strategy not very interesting, but can also make countries underpowered because their diplomatic options are severely limited as they can not do much to convince other countries not to attack them. My intention with the new World map is to counter this by creating more strategic options.

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Re: New World Map

#13 Post by Tasnica » Sat Nov 24, 2018 9:19 am

It'll certainly be interesting to see the new map in action. I already liked the old map, despite its flaws, and the new design seems aimed to address a lot of those. Along with Libya and USA, China was definitely one of the nations that had a lot of trouble before.

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