The Carebear Conundrum

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Gabe The Fancy
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The Carebear Conundrum

#1 Post by Gabe The Fancy » Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:32 pm

Hello everyone,

I've had a recent run of experiences with some Carebears in a couple of games. It can be incredibly frustrating to be in an opponent in a game where an alliance who has already decided that they will be partners in a draw as early as 1901. While I understand that it is not against the rules of the game I feel it betrays the spirit of Diplomacy. In my opinion you should always prioritize your outcomes as follows. Solo, Draw, Survive/Elimination.

I find that the strongest Carebear relationships are obvious once a power or two have been eliminated. Often there will be a balance of power discrepancy within the Carebear Alliance with a larger power at 9 to 11 and a lesser power with anywhere from 6 to 10 who have allied to clear one side of the board. If I know that I have no opportunity for a draw I will implement a tactic. One that I have employed is "throwing" the game to the larger power in the the alliance. This would include some tactful diplomacy letting the lesser power know that if they do not intervene soon I -will- provide an opportunity for the greater power to solo unless they intervene. I let it percolate for a season or two. The dream is that they will listen to my threats. I don't have the units to stand up the Carebear alliance so I must use my only remaining weapon - diplomacy. If they still continue to Carebear I start movements to allow the larger power to gobble me up. I freely admit that this is poor sportsmanship but I feel like my opponents have already broken that unspoken rule.

With that said I was just wondering what sort of tactics people have successfully employed in the past to deal with Carebears? I don't like the idea of "throwing" a game but it is the only viable tactic I have been able to come up with.

Thank you for your responses.
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kgray
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#2 Post by kgray » Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:39 pm

Don't play DSS
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Gabe The Fancy
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#3 Post by Gabe The Fancy » Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:46 pm

kgray wrote:
Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:39 pm
Don't play DSS
I agree 100%. SoS is the way to go - as well as playing anonymous. I'm looking more for tactical or diplomatic in game solutions.
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Aristocrat
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#4 Post by Aristocrat » Wed Jan 19, 2022 5:58 pm

Honestly, not sure there is anything you can do against a proper triple carebear aside from recognizing it on your own at the very beginning and holding out until one side breaks or you end in a six way draw.

It would never happen since the point/GR system is the driver of rotten games like this: https://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=312478 the only way to get rid these types of games is to get rid of the reward for them. But that would require probably individualized mod intervention that opens up a whole other set of worms, and also would require undue resources.

Here is another rotten game where another triple carebear F/G/R was met in response with a I/A/T that just hugged the southern stalemate line until it ended in a six way draw: https://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?game ... #gamePanel

Hugging southern stalemate line can break the worst OP alliances (Western Triple and aforementioned FGR) but it only works if everyone is committed to doing it by turn 2 or 3 or so, as a result, it rarely happens.
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#5 Post by Aristocrat » Wed Jan 19, 2022 8:51 pm

Aristocrat wrote:
Wed Jan 19, 2022 5:58 pm

It would never happen since the point/GR system is the driver of rotten games like this: https://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=312478 the only way to get rid these types of games is to get rid of the reward for them. But that would require probably individualized mod intervention that opens up a whole other set of worms, and also would require undue resources.
Should read "Since the point/GR system is" without "it would never happen."

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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#6 Post by PRINCE WILLIAM » Fri Jan 21, 2022 6:47 am

Why are you so much against the draw alliance? We are not all of us top players, we have to settle for less and knowing your limitations is the beginning of wisdom.
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#7 Post by Octavious » Fri Jan 21, 2022 8:32 am

We've told you often enough, old chap. It's because it isn't fun.

Where there's a willingness to stab and a lust for the solo the game is dynamic and exciting. There's always hope for a change in fortunes, always a reason to carry on fighting.

Where you have games full of the sort of cretin who forms a permanent alliance the entire sorry affair boils down to just one decision of any significance. The rest is just the tedious fallout that bullys other players into turning up every day or two for weeks on end to enter an utterly meaningless order for the sake of preserving a rating.

You have often spoken of your distaste for betrayal completely oblivious to the fact that you have utterly betrayed every single player who has ever had the misfortune to play in the same game as you.
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teccles
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#8 Post by teccles » Fri Jan 21, 2022 8:35 am

Here is a previous thread on the topic of why some people (including me) dislike this kind of play: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2924.

To answer the OP, there's not much you can do; trying to unbalance the alliance is the right way to go, but in at least the second game you linked some people are just clearly not playing to win or get a small draw. Maybe try to find a different game somehow? E.g. by organising one on the forum with explicit encouragement for players who are going to play in the way you want.
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Gabe The Fancy
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#9 Post by Gabe The Fancy » Fri Jan 21, 2022 2:07 pm

PRINCE WILLIAM wrote:
Fri Jan 21, 2022 6:47 am
Why are you so much against the draw alliance? We are not all of us top players, we have to settle for less and knowing your limitations is the beginning of wisdom.
As I mentioned in my OP. The point of the game is to try to win - anything other than that is against the spirit of the game. A draw is the second best possible outcome which should be settled on after it becomes too challenging to get that win. I am clearly not a top player - but how can I ever improve if I am not challenging myself?
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Gabe The Fancy
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#10 Post by Gabe The Fancy » Fri Jan 21, 2022 2:09 pm

teccles wrote:
Fri Jan 21, 2022 8:35 am
Here is a previous thread on the topic of why some people (including me) dislike this kind of play: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2924.

To answer the OP, there's not much you can do; trying to unbalance the alliance is the right way to go, but in at least the second game you linked some people are just clearly not playing to win or get a small draw. Maybe try to find a different game somehow? E.g. by organising one on the forum with explicit encouragement for players who are going to play in the way you want.
What is your opinion on my defense of threatening to throw a game?

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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#11 Post by teccles » Fri Jan 21, 2022 5:23 pm

Gabe The Fancy wrote:
Fri Jan 21, 2022 2:09 pm
teccles wrote:
Fri Jan 21, 2022 8:35 am
Here is a previous thread on the topic of why some people (including me) dislike this kind of play: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2924.

To answer the OP, there's not much you can do; trying to unbalance the alliance is the right way to go, but in at least the second game you linked some people are just clearly not playing to win or get a small draw. Maybe try to find a different game somehow? E.g. by organising one on the forum with explicit encouragement for players who are going to play in the way you want.
What is your opinion on my defense of threatening to throw a game?
I think it's sensible - probably usually at the same time as actively working to make on of them stronger (e.g. if they are both fighting you, focus on holding off the strong one). That both directly unbalances the alliance, and makes your threat of throwing more plausible.

I disagree that it's poor sportsmanship, as you mentioned in your post. If you are going to lose the game either way, throwing to people you have threatened, or people who wronged you, is entirely fair and even expected.
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#12 Post by Johnny Big Horse » Wed Jan 26, 2022 3:49 pm

I think throwing the game for any reason poisens the game. It is poor sportsmanship.

Let's get back to your characterization of carebears. I want to use an analogy. Let's talk about life. Some of us live to amass wealth. They think holding a lot of wealth will bring them happiness. Some think surrounding yourself with loving giving people will bring happiness. Others think being a superstar in your career will do it. In life, we are all playing different games. We are in the same game, life or society, but we are playing towards different objectives.

Your critique of carebears is like entrepreneurs critiques of workers. Workers will never get rich. Workers are idiots. That is what they say or think at least. But on the other hand entrepreneurs work too many hours, and risk everything they have, and sometimes lose it all, including their marriages for the sake of their dreams. Many of the workers, perhaps, don't think the risk is worth the reward, and prefer to make a life for themselves where they get to spend their time enjoying life and other people, and not have to worry about losing it all.

The same is true about diplomacy. Many of us have different objectives. Some want to solo. Although I have done it a few times, it doesn't really give me anything. I much prefer an alliance with someone who is trustworthy and has my back. I like to win with someone. Winning alone seems empty to me. It is like when you visit the coolest place, or experience the most amazing thing, but if you are alone, it is only so good. But if you can share it with someone, it becomes so much more enjoyable.

For many of you, you will never understand this, and that is fine. You are playing a different game than I do. Diplomacy, like life, is treacherous, and there many nasty people out there who will lie to you and hurt you for gain. (I do it too by the way.) It is refreshing to me that there are humans who are true to their word in the world, and on the Diplomacy board. In a world (or game) where a rogue is rewarded for anti-social behavior, I am always heartened when someone is true to their word.

It is a different perspective. But yes, I am a carebear.
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#13 Post by Octavious » Wed Jan 26, 2022 6:01 pm

Johnny Big Horse wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 3:49 pm
You are playing a different game than I do.
Indeed so. That game being Diplomacy. What you're playing I have no idea, but it more closely resembles a chat.
Johnny Big Horse wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 3:49 pm
Diplomacy, like life, is treacherous, and there many nasty people out there who will lie to you and hurt you for gain
Very few, in fact, but they do exist. The sort of unpleasant individuals who cheat, or who give two fingers to the other players and waste their time and effort by not bothering to play the game.
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#14 Post by FlaviusAetius » Wed Jan 26, 2022 7:41 pm

Perhaps think of it like this then;
An alliance forms by people for any given reason, once it forms they go through thick and thin together to try to survive and after all that time sometimes they end up in a success. They defeated their opponents and conquered the world side by side through all the struggles it had caused.

At what point would they throw this away to betray each other? In some games you are just right, it amounts to a chat a well developed and thorough one that amounts to a grand old victory.

Perhaps one lad stops talking to the other, perhaps rumors are spread, suspicions arise, and other allies form on the horizon. If you want to defeat a carebear alliance, you need to carebear someone else! Ideally one of the partners, talking with them, developing thorough strategies and eventually convincing them to side with you. A long with well timed rumors etc.

A carebear alliance is a sign of a successful diplomacy between powers, but not unbreakable. It becomes unbreakable when an alliance is well formed and precautions are kept to make sure betrayal becomes a near impossibility and entirely unadvantageous.

These people are playing much the same game as you, the solo not necessarily by choice went out the window.
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Gabe The Fancy
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#15 Post by Gabe The Fancy » Wed Jan 26, 2022 8:34 pm

Johnny Big Horse wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 3:49 pm
I like to win with someone.
That sentence does not compute. You can not win a game of diplomacy with someone. There can only be one winner in this game. What you like to do is draw which is sort of a second best option.
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Johnny Big Horse
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#16 Post by Johnny Big Horse » Thu Jan 27, 2022 3:53 am

Gabe The Fancy wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 8:34 pm
Johnny Big Horse wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 3:49 pm
I like to win with someone.
That sentence does not compute. You can not win a game of diplomacy with someone. There can only be one winner in this game. What you like to do is draw which is sort of a second best option.
No, Gabe. According to the way you think, yes, my sentences do not compute. Yes. I cannot argue with that. You may never understand me. And that is fine. The thing is, we are wired differently, we think differently and we find fulfillment in different ways. That is all.

Here is another way of looking at it. You know, the saying that men are from Mars and women from Venus? Stereotypical men do not communicate much, while stereotypical women need to talk. Stereotypical men find fulfillment in achievement, and stereotypical women find it in communion with others. So, we being of the male persuasion (an assumption here), do we think women cannot be fulfilled because they would rather talk than solve problems? No. We men may not understand them, sure, but we can understand that they are just different and find happiness in different ways than we do.

So, is there a right way to live? No. We all have our own game to play in life. Diplomacy is just a subset of all of this. We all play Diplomacy for different reasons. That is all.

I don't understand your intolerance for carebears. We don't seem to mind you guys too much.
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#17 Post by teccles » Thu Jan 27, 2022 8:04 am

The reason for the intolerance (or at least, not wanting to play in games with carebears) is that your way of playing the game makes our way of playing substantially less fun.
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#18 Post by Octavious » Thu Jan 27, 2022 10:56 am

Johnny Big Horse wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 3:53 am
So, is there a right way to live? No. We all have our own game to play in life. Diplomacy is just a subset of all of this.
There are many right ways to live, and there are many wrong ways to live. Same as with Diplomacy. And your way of playing Diplomacy is one of the wrong ways.
Johnny Big Horse wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 3:53 am
We all play Diplomacy for different reasons.
Pretty sure everyone here plays it to have fun. If you're playing it without having fun as the primary objective (to keep fit, say), then I suspect you could have more success with something else.
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#19 Post by Johnny Big Horse » Thu Jan 27, 2022 3:09 pm

teccles wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 8:04 am
The reason for the intolerance (or at least, not wanting to play in games with carebears) is that your way of playing the game makes our way of playing substantially less fun.
Perhaps that is because it is harder for you win with carebears on the map. I know you are a kick ass player, Teccles, one of the best.

The presence of people like me just means you, and your like-minded compatriots, have a new puzzle to figure out. Some of you probably already have. Spread misinformation, destroy the trust the carebears have. That is all you have to do.

I thought Diplomacy is supposed to be a simulation of real world diplomacy. If that is true, then the American/English alliance held well during both world wars. Perhaps they played their real world diplomacy wrong and shouldn't have played as carebears. According to your worldview, the Americans should have turned on the French, then the British, after Germany and Japan were vanquished in WWII. I don't think this is always the best plan in real diplomacy, or in this game, which is supposed to be a simulation of the real thing.

There are all kinds in this world. Accept it. I guess you don't have to like it, or like us. But accept it, and develop your strategies on how to beat us down.
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Re: The Carebear Conundrum

#20 Post by Aristocrat » Thu Jan 27, 2022 3:44 pm

Johnny Big Horse wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 3:09 pm
teccles wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 8:04 am
The reason for the intolerance (or at least, not wanting to play in games with carebears) is that your way of playing the game makes our way of playing substantially less fun.
Perhaps that is because it is harder for you win with carebears on the map. I know you are a kick ass player, Teccles, one of the best.

The presence of people like me just means you, and your like-minded compatriots, have a new puzzle to figure out. Some of you probably already have. Spread misinformation, destroy the trust the carebears have. That is all you have to do.

I thought Diplomacy is supposed to be a simulation of real world diplomacy. If that is true, then the American/English alliance held well during both world wars. Perhaps they played their real world diplomacy wrong and shouldn't have played as carebears. According to your worldview, the Americans should have turned on the French, then the British, after Germany and Japan were vanquished in WWII. I don't think this is always the best plan in real diplomacy, or in this game, which is supposed to be a simulation of the real thing.

There are all kinds in this world. Accept it. I guess you don't have to like it, or like us. But accept it, and develop your strategies on how to beat us down.
Not to be a pedant, but the objective of the game both in the printed rules that come with the box and (more importantly for this discussion) in the summary on this website is to get 18 centers, not to simulate real world diplomacy or to draw.

That said, if you just want to survive, I suggest forming any one of the following alliances which should guarantee a draw in 99.99% of cases provided no stabs:

England France Germany
England Germany Russia
France Germany Russia
Italy Austria Turkey
Austria Turkey Russia

All of these sit on or near enough to a stalemate line from the start that they are more or less unbeatable except for internal conflict (i.e., stabs).
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