Moderate scoring systems

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Theodoric
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Moderate scoring systems

#1 Post by Theodoric » Fri Aug 19, 2022 10:42 pm

Hi All,

I'm playing my first sum-of-squares game, and am feeling a lot of the problems that people have pointed out: players with one or two centers have basically no incentive (in terms of points) to fight for survival, and players in stronger positions have a huge incentive to fight over supply centers that aren't strategically valuable in terms of securing a draw or going for a solo win.

At the same time, draw-size-scoring really does impose high costs on players trying to solo: if my solo attempt gets in the way of players on the other side of the board finishing off a weak player, I end up with fewer points from being aggressive and getting to (say) 17 centers than I would by being cautious.

This makes me wonder why we don't have an option in the middle, like simple center-count scoring. On the classic map, your score would be the whole pot if you win, and Pot*(your centers)/34 if you draw. This way, even a one-center power gets back 1/5 of their investment, but playing for a win and getting close gets rewarded. Your point total also wouldn't be affected by how the centers you don't control are divided, so encouraging consolidation or fragmentation of your opponents would depend on your strategy for growing your country, not the scoring system.
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CYFI
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#2 Post by CYFI » Sat Aug 20, 2022 12:45 am

They have an explanation of why Points Per Supply Center is not used on webdip. It, however, is currently still in use on vdiplomacy, this cite's sister cite.

Here is the explanation:
https://webdiplomacy.net/points.php
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Ferdack
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#3 Post by Ferdack » Sat Aug 20, 2022 3:31 am

[PPSC] was discontinued because of the prevalence of "strong seconds," which is when one player wins because another player is promised more supply centers, and thus more points, if they help the other player win.
Theodoric wrote:
Fri Aug 19, 2022 10:42 pm
On the classic map, your score would be the whole pot if you win, and Pot*(your centers)/34 if you draw.
It seems like Theodoric's suggestion here may be a fix for the PPSC problem.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#4 Post by captainmeme » Sat Aug 20, 2022 10:32 am

WebDip's PPSC system was even worse than described there, actually. It would divide points according to SC count only if a solo occurred - it would divide them equally between all survivors in the case of a draw.

This meant that anyone with above the average number of centers would want the game to end in a solo (didn't matter who solo'd, just that there was one), since they would get more points from that than from a draw. And as you can imagine, if all the large powers just want someone to solo, the game will end in a solo.

I think Theodoric's PPSC system with the winner-take-all aspect is an excellent one if you just want something with a straightforward center-based incentive, which the site probably needs right now.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#5 Post by Jamiet99uk » Sat Aug 20, 2022 12:06 pm

I'd be happy to see a return of PPSC whereby PPSC distribution also applied in the event of a draw.
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Peregrine Falcon
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#6 Post by Peregrine Falcon » Sat Aug 20, 2022 1:43 pm

Absolutely agree with you, Theodoric!

I would also go so far to suggest that the source of the issues with DSS & SoS is that the score that a power recieves is not based on what that power does, but on what the distribution in the rest of the board looks like. DSS & SoS require players to also plan for the draw, rather than plan exclusively for their solo.

Merely by virtue of calculating draw scores from a power's own centres rather than the state of the other powers, Supply-Centre Scoring (thus tentatively named--and acronymed SCS) goes a long way to remedying that issue. It also has the virtue of capping draw scores at or under half the pot--one of the gripes I and many others have about SoS. If you want a better score than half, better go for the solo.
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JECE
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#7 Post by JECE » Tue Aug 23, 2022 1:13 am

Ugh, so much misrepresentation of PPSC . . .

I still think it's much better than the other systems. And I find it annoying that it's merits aren't acknowledged by its detractors. But I don't have the energy to argue about the merits of PPSC scoring now.

I will, however, reiterate my opposition to scoring systems where draws are not shared equally:
JECE wrote:
Fri Jan 28, 2022 7:32 pm
The very first page of the rules demand that draws be shared "equally". Any evaluation of player performance (such as SoS scoring) that does not honor the requirement that draws be shared equally does not honor the object of the game known as Diplomacy.

"OBJECT OF THE GAME: As soon as one Great Power controls 18 supply centers, it’s considered to have gained control of Europe. The player representing that Great Power is the winner. However, 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."
So please, let's not bring back a version of PPSC scoring that violates the rules like SoS scoring does.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#8 Post by pyxxy » Wed Aug 24, 2022 7:23 am

JECE wrote:
Tue Aug 23, 2022 1:13 am
I will, however, reiterate my opposition to scoring systems where draws are not shared equally:
JECE wrote:
Fri Jan 28, 2022 7:32 pm
The very first page of the rules demand that draws be shared "equally". Any evaluation of player performance (such as SoS scoring) that does not honor the requirement that draws be shared equally does not honor the object of the game known as Diplomacy.

"OBJECT OF THE GAME: As soon as one Great Power controls 18 supply centers, it’s considered to have gained control of Europe. The player representing that Great Power is the winner. However, 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."
So please, let's not bring back a version of PPSC scoring that violates the rules like SoS scoring does.
I might be picking a fight here, but that's not my intention. This is the first time I've seen the game rules being used to argue for PPSC. Fresh perspective for my eyes.

1) How can PPSC share points equally? Like what am I missing about your suggestion? It's called Point(s) Per Supply Center after all. Difference is built in.

2) Are you following (your interpretation of) the rules because you like following rules, or is there something about "all players who still have pieces on the game board share equally in a draw" that you find to be a good incentive for players?

I have an assumption baked in here and it's that the purpose of a scoring system is to encourage and discourage certain strategies and behaviors. That's my opinion. Ex: DSS encourages whittling smaller powers out of the draw. House games are often about having fun and thus unscored (aka no scoring system is still a scoring system 8-) ).

3) What kind of behaviors does PPSC encourage that you like, and discourage that you dislike?

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#9 Post by pyxxy » Wed Aug 24, 2022 7:26 am

Theodoric wrote:
Fri Aug 19, 2022 10:42 pm
This makes me wonder why we don't have an option in the middle
Hi Theodoric! Forgive me if you're an experienced player and are just commenting about WebDip's lack of scoring systems rather than a lack of scoring systems altogether.

You might find this an interesting read:
http://www.petermc.net/blog/2020/12/10/ ... g-systems/

These calculators might be fun to poke around as well, although they lack explanations for each system :( if you get curious dm me and I can probably help find some
https://diplomacy-things.gitlab.io/dipl ... lculators/
http://diplobn.com/scoring-system-calculator/

(I have no idea if I can even put this many links in one post...)
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Doug7878
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#10 Post by Doug7878 » Wed Aug 24, 2022 3:34 pm

pyxxy wrote:
Wed Aug 24, 2022 7:26 am
Theodoric wrote:
Fri Aug 19, 2022 10:42 pm
This makes me wonder why we don't have an option in the middle

You might find this an interesting read:
http://www.petermc.net/blog/2020/12/10/ ... g-systems/
This system is quite good in my opinion. Since the total of the scores is variable, the allocation of points/GR would simply be by percent of the total of all player scores.

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#11 Post by captainmeme » Wed Aug 24, 2022 3:47 pm

Doug7878 wrote:
Wed Aug 24, 2022 3:34 pm
pyxxy wrote:
Wed Aug 24, 2022 7:26 am
Theodoric wrote:
Fri Aug 19, 2022 10:42 pm
This makes me wonder why we don't have an option in the middle

You might find this an interesting read:
http://www.petermc.net/blog/2020/12/10/ ... g-systems/
This system is quite good in my opinion. Since the total of the scores is variable, the allocation of points/GR would simply be by percent of the total of all player scores.
That breaks the system, unfortunately. Scaling it like that makes it advantageous to eliminate players without gaining their centers (because each player who survives gets at least a small percentage of the total pool).

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#12 Post by Theodoric » Wed Aug 24, 2022 5:08 pm

Hi Pyxxy!

Thanks for sharing all of this--I'm quite new to online/tournament diplomacy so haven't seen all of the discussion of scoring systems.

One note I'd make for the purposes of webdiplomacy is that I think there's a lot of value to simplicity and intelligibility. In draw-size scoring, it's clear if an action will improve your score, but in SOS it's harder to tell. For instance, I might actually lower my score by eliminating a player and splitting their centers with a large power. This feels like an advantage to just counting centers: it's very clear whether a strategy, if successful, will help a player's bottom line, and it's therefore easier to understand each player's strategic incentives (and to know that _they_ understand their strategic incentives)!

Hi JECE!

I certainly understand your point that the rulebook clearly specifies that players split a draw evenly. That's a great reason to use draw size scoring. However, I'd note that the only way to play diplomacy on this site that's fully consistent with the rulebook is to play on the classic map with rulebook press. There are lots of variants and options available because people have found it fun and interesting to play with variations on the rules, and this seems fine to me.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#13 Post by Doug7878 » Wed Aug 24, 2022 5:52 pm

@captainmeme:

I see what you are saying. Under this system:

If the SC totals in a 4-way draw are 17, 9, 6, 2, then the percentages of the pot are 43.324%, 26.052%, 19.592%, 11.032%

However, if the 6SC eliminates the 2SC power so that the totals in a (now) 3-way draw are 17, 9, 8, then the percentages of the pot are 46.449%, 27.931%, 25.620%. The third player, who in this example eliminated the power with the 2 SCs received a 6.028% increase in the share of the pot, but the other two players also benefited by 3.125% and 1.879% respectively.

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#14 Post by pyxxy » Wed Aug 24, 2022 5:58 pm

Theodoric wrote:
Wed Aug 24, 2022 5:08 pm
I think there's a lot of value to simplicity and intelligibility. In draw-size scoring, it's clear if an action will improve your score, but in SOS it's harder to tell.
I agree, especially for newer players. Once people have a handle on the game, then it's time to get weird :razz:

So I wouldn't necessarily advocate for a tribute-based system to get added to WebDip, even though I really like the behaviors they tend to incentivize. If people want Weird System X or whatever, they can always play unranked and then score it themselves.

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#15 Post by JECE » Thu Aug 25, 2022 3:45 am

Theodoric wrote:
Wed Aug 24, 2022 5:08 pm
Hi JECE!

I certainly understand your point that the rulebook clearly specifies that players split a draw evenly. That's a great reason to use draw size scoring. However, I'd note that the only way to play diplomacy on this site that's fully consistent with the rulebook is to play on the classic map with rulebook press. There are lots of variants and options available because people have found it fun and interesting to play with variations on the rules, and this seems fine to me.
Fair enough, there are other ways to break the rules of the game on webDip. And to be fair to your proposal, I was more reacting to the criticism of PPSC than to your proposal. Your proposal actually doesn't have much in common with PPSC scoring, so there is little to compare.

However, I will note that the 'object of the game' is a very fundamental concept. Most variants don't touch that part of the rules, beyond perhaps modifying the number of SC's that counts as winning.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#16 Post by JECE » Thu Aug 25, 2022 4:03 am

pyxxy wrote:
Wed Aug 24, 2022 7:23 am
JECE wrote:
Tue Aug 23, 2022 1:13 am
I will, however, reiterate my opposition to scoring systems where draws are not shared equally:
JECE wrote:
Fri Jan 28, 2022 7:32 pm
The very first page of the rules demand that draws be shared "equally". Any evaluation of player performance (such as SoS scoring) that does not honor the requirement that draws be shared equally does not honor the object of the game known as Diplomacy.

"OBJECT OF THE GAME: As soon as one Great Power controls 18 supply centers, it’s considered to have gained control of Europe. The player representing that Great Power is the winner. However, 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."
So please, let's not bring back a version of PPSC scoring that violates the rules like SoS scoring does.
I might be picking a fight here, but that's not my intention. This is the first time I've seen the game rules being used to argue for PPSC. Fresh perspective for my eyes.

1) How can PPSC share points equally? Like what am I missing about your suggestion? It's called Point(s) Per Supply Center after all. Difference is built in.

2) Are you following (your interpretation of) the rules because you like following rules, or is there something about "all players who still have pieces on the game board share equally in a draw" that you find to be a good incentive for players?

I have an assumption baked in here and it's that the purpose of a scoring system is to encourage and discourage certain strategies and behaviors. That's my opinion. Ex: DSS encourages whittling smaller powers out of the draw. House games are often about having fun and thus unscored (aka no scoring system is still a scoring system 8-) ).

3) What kind of behaviors does PPSC encourage that you like, and discourage that you dislike?
1) You are perhaps relying on the explanation of PPSC that is currently on the website:
https://webdiplomacy.net/points.php

Unfortunately, that description of PPSC does not accurately describe how the scoring system used to work. I would refer you to an old version of that webpage on the Internet Archive, but it looks like the Internet Archive is down right now.

2) You are correct in assuming that I appreciate the behaviors encouraged and discouraged by PPSC scoring, while I dislike the behaviors encouraged and discouraged by other scoring systems.

3) You seem like a pretty good internet sleuth. I'd actually appreciate it if you managed to dig up some of my pro-PPSC arguments on the old webDiplomacy Forum:
https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#17 Post by Aristocrat » Thu Aug 25, 2022 5:07 am

I am not sure how much the proposed scoring system will really help create incentives for 1- or 2- center countries to care; in the lowest pot game (35) the score of a 1-center country would be 1 in SOS and 1 in per-center scoring. As the pot gets bigger, the lower center countries would start to see some gap in a per-center scoring system as compared to SOS, but not a ton until you get to really big pots (and people who play those games tend to care less about coins, anyway). And to the extent it does increase incentive for small countries to care, it will also directly exacerbate one of the other problems you identified in your OP (people haggling over centers that don't matter in terms of drawing/soloing/etc.).

I have long thought the easiest way to solve the main problem of DSS (incentive to draw is too high compared to solo, including for the reason you mention in your OP) is to just apply a bonus in the event of a solo (for coins) and to tweak the GR formula to reward solos more heavily.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#18 Post by Peregrine Falcon » Thu Aug 25, 2022 5:16 am

JECE wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 4:03 am

1) You are perhaps relying on the explanation of PPSC that is currently on the website:
https://webdiplomacy.net/points.php

Unfortunately, that description of PPSC does not accurately describe how the scoring system used to work. I would refer you to an old version of that webpage on the Internet Archive, but it looks like the Internet Archive is down right now.
Points-Per-Supply-Centre wrote:
webDiplomacy used to support a scoring system called Points-Per-Supply-Center, which was a supply-center-based scoring system that distributed the pot based on a ratio of the number of supply centers each player owned. This scoring system was discontinued because of the prevalence of "strong seconds," which is when one player wins because another player is promised more supply centers, and thus more points, if they help the other player win. Since this goes against the intent of the game rules this scoring system was removed.


JECE is correct that this above explanation doesn't explain PPSC very well, in that PPSC splits the pot according to the ratio of supply centres controlled in the event of a solo. In a draw, it splits the pot equally with all still alive, disregarding centre count.

JECE, I wondering if you're misremembering that part of PPSC. PPSC rewards powers for letting someone else solo.

You quoted a previous post of yours, with an excerpt from the rulebook:
JECE wrote:
Fri Jan 28, 2022 7:32 pm
The very first page of the rules demand that draws be shared "equally". Any evaluation of player performance (such as SoS scoring) that does not honor the requirement that draws be shared equally does not honor the object of the game known as Diplomacy.

"OBJECT OF THE GAME: As soon as one Great Power controls 18 supply centers, it’s considered to have gained control of Europe. The player representing that Great Power is the winner. However, 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."
What this section outlines is the Draw-Sized Scoring system we currently have on webDip. If you think the Rulebook is the prime arbiter, should you not be arguing that DSS should be the only scoring allowed, not favouring the return of PPSC?

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#19 Post by Theodoric » Thu Aug 25, 2022 4:02 pm

Aristocrat wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 5:07 am
I am not sure how much the proposed scoring system will really help create incentives for 1- or 2- center countries to care; in the lowest pot game (35) the score of a 1-center country would be 1 in SOS and 1 in per-center scoring. As the pot gets bigger, the lower center countries would start to see some gap in a per-center scoring system as compared to SOS, but not a ton until you get to really big pots (and people who play those games tend to care less about coins, anyway). And to the extent it does increase incentive for small countries to care, it will also directly exacerbate one of the other problems you identified in your OP (people haggling over centers that don't matter in terms of drawing/soloing/etc.).
Good point. The difference in incentives for small participants in a draw would be small unless the pot is large or the small participant has more than 1 center. (Someone with 3 centers in a 35 pot game that ended with, say, one 17 point power, one 9 point power, one 5 point power and one 3 point power would earn 1 in SOS and 3 in per-center). You're also right that there's more of an incentive in per-center for small powers to try to grab supply centers, though there's less incentive for large powers.

I think the main advantages that I care about for per-center instead of SOS are that it doesn't create incentives to care about the distribution of centers among other players, that it doesn't allow someone to get a majority of points without winning, and that it's more transparent.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#20 Post by JECE » Thu Aug 25, 2022 5:30 pm

Peregrine Falcon wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 5:16 am
JECE, I wondering if you're misremembering that part of PPSC. PPSC rewards powers for letting someone else solo.
There is always a points-incentive in PPSC scoring to go for a solo or a 2-way draw. Any player in a position to gain points by throwing the game and chooses to do so is governed by laziness or other motivations, not the incentive built into PPSC scoring of maximizing points. WTA scoring is so draconian that it discourages players (read: chickens) from playing for the win in the first place.
Peregrine Falcon wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 5:16 am
What this section outlines is the Draw-Sized Scoring system we currently have on webDip. If you think the Rulebook is the prime arbiter, should you not be arguing that DSS should be the only scoring allowed, not favouring the return of PPSC?
Neither WTA scoring nor PPSC scoring violate the rules. PPSC scoring always awards nine seventeenths (an absolute majority) of the pot to players who solo, a clear win and therefore consistent with the rules. There is, however, no way to defend SoS scoring with the rulebook
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