Moderate scoring systems

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JECE
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#21 Post by JECE » Thu Aug 25, 2022 5:33 pm

Theodoric wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 4:02 pm
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.
Sheesh, I'm glad that I've never tried SoS scoring . . .
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#22 Post by Theodoric » Thu Aug 25, 2022 6:11 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.
[/quote]

This seems unrealistic in practice. If I get 33% of the pot in a 3-way draw, 47% of the pot if someone else solos and I end with 16 centers, 50% of the pot if I get a 2-way draw and 53% of the pot if I solo, it's clear that my top priority should be to make sure I end the game with two players. Of course I'd rather win than lose, but I should be able to come to some agreement with the other strong player to kill the third player, regardless of whether that produces a solo.

And if I'm the third, weak player, this means that I have no reason to cooperate to maintain a stalemate line, because I know that one way or the other I'll end up being crushed by one of the two strong players.

So, suppose that I'm France and have been reduced to Portugal, Marseilles, Spain, and Tunis. Germany has Moscow, Warsaw, and the rest of the North (16 centers), and Italy has the South except for Moscow, Warsaw, and Tunis (14 centers).

In a DSS game, I'd hold onto Iberia at all costs, and would expect Italian support in doing so. I wouldn't care about what happens to Tunis. In a points-per-center game, I'd still prioritize holding off Germany, but would try to convince Italy not to take Tunis from me.

It sounds like in a PPSC game, meanwhile, my best bet would be to throw everything I have against Italy to try to take Rome and Naples, while inviting Germany to get Spain and Portugal and win. After all, I'd know that if I try to hold the stalemate line, Italy would rather support Germany into Marseilles, Spain and Portugal and eliminate me than keep me in the draw, and Germany would rather support Italy into Marseilles, Spain and Portugal and eliminate me than keep me in the draw. Regardless of whether the game ended in a German solo, an Italian solo, or a 2-way draw, I'm dead.

So instead of this situation resulting in a battle for the draw, it would result in a scramble for centers between the two losers while the strongest power gets an uncontested win. I understand that this is consistent with the rulebook, but it feels perverse and counter to the spirit of diplomacy to me.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#23 Post by Peregrine Falcon » Thu Aug 25, 2022 7:05 pm

JECE wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 5:30 pm
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
That's a very unique reading of the rules.

Returning to the text of the Rulebook:
2015 Avalon Hill Rulebook. 'Object of the Game' wrote: 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.
The question revolves around what it means to have "gained control of Europe". Although it's been a while since I've done expansive reading of early Diplomacy sources, I recall reading an article about the creation of Diplomacy that said Calhamer chose 18 centres as the arbitrary limit by which one power is assumed to be able to invade the rest of the board, and truly 'gain control of Europe' by occupying the entire map. Hence the term 'solo' victory—everyone else is dead. (This is obviously not technically true due to the existence of stalemate positions on the classic map, but that's neither here nor there for the intention.)

From what I gather, almost everyone understands the rulebook in this manner. You may chose to believe whatever reading you prefer, but doing so is actively contravening the spirit of the language. DSS is rulebook scoring.

Of course, that isn't to say that other scoring systems don't have value—they must merely make an argument on their own merits: what they incentivise, and whether those incentives are valuable themselves. Hence, this discussion on supply-centre-scoring.

Theodoric wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 4:02 pm
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.
I definetely agree! The incentives in SoS at once overvalues high-centre draws and are too complicated for easy heuristics.

To expand that last point, I think scoring systems that are easy to understand are important for many-player and many-game scoring. Players need to understand their incentives in order to play according to them, and it cannot be assumed that the average player will necessarily put in the effort to calculate them out for more complex systems. In contrast, both Draw-Size and Supply-Centre scoring are straightforward.

That isn't to say that other scoring systems don't have their place. Sum-of-Squares, Carnage, tribute systems, etc. all have utility in limited formats, whether tournaments (time-limited), or other competitive forums (the Virtual Diplomacy League comes to mind), where players are expected to put in the effort to understand their incentives on a different level (and in my experience, whether or not your competitors actually do understand their complex incentives forms an interesting layer to tournament play).
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#24 Post by pyxxy » Thu Aug 25, 2022 9:03 pm

JECE wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 4:03 am
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
Is there a search function for the old forum? I joined webdip after its prime.

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#25 Post by JECE » Fri Aug 26, 2022 2:59 am

pyxxy wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 9:03 pm
JECE wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 4:03 am
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
Is there a search function for the old forum? I joined webdip after its prime.
Unfortunately, no. This is also broken, but every user has two subpages to their user profile that once listed the threads that they started and their replies to threads on the forum. For example, you can find my subpages here:
https://webdiplomacy.net/profile.php?de ... erID=17421
https://webdiplomacy.net/profile.php?de ... erID=17421

The subpages are pretty useless now, but they used to work pretty well, so you may be able to find archived versions that can help you find content.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#26 Post by JECE » Fri Aug 26, 2022 3:46 am

Theodoric wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 6:11 pm
This seems unrealistic in practice. If I get 33% of the pot in a 3-way draw, 47% of the pot if someone else solos and I end with 16 centers, 50% of the pot if I get a 2-way draw and 53% of the pot if I solo, it's clear that my top priority should be to make sure I end the game with two players. Of course I'd rather win than lose, but I should be able to come to some agreement with the other strong player to kill the third player, regardless of whether that produces a solo.

And if I'm the third, weak player, this means that I have no reason to cooperate to maintain a stalemate line, because I know that one way or the other I'll end up being crushed by one of the two strong players.

So, suppose that I'm France and have been reduced to Portugal, Marseilles, Spain, and Tunis. Germany has Moscow, Warsaw, and the rest of the North (16 centers), and Italy has the South except for Moscow, Warsaw, and Tunis (14 centers).

In a DSS game, I'd hold onto Iberia at all costs, and would expect Italian support in doing so. I wouldn't care about what happens to Tunis. In a points-per-center game, I'd still prioritize holding off Germany, but would try to convince Italy not to take Tunis from me.

It sounds like in a PPSC game, meanwhile, my best bet would be to throw everything I have against Italy to try to take Rome and Naples, while inviting Germany to get Spain and Portugal and win. After all, I'd know that if I try to hold the stalemate line, Italy would rather support Germany into Marseilles, Spain and Portugal and eliminate me than keep me in the draw, and Germany would rather support Italy into Marseilles, Spain and Portugal and eliminate me than keep me in the draw. Regardless of whether the game ended in a German solo, an Italian solo, or a 2-way draw, I'm dead.

So instead of this situation resulting in a battle for the draw, it would result in a scramble for centers between the two losers while the strongest power gets an uncontested win. I understand that this is consistent with the rulebook, but it feels perverse and counter to the spirit of diplomacy to me.
You're removing agency from the minor "great powers" in your analysis. In fact, I always had a blast joining PPSC games in progress with a marginal position. Check the "User Comment" on my webDip profile. Back then, when you joined a game in progress, you had to bet :points: by function of how much of the board the "great power" that you wanted to take over controlled. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to better my position by growing and, if possible, forcing a draw and earning a big windfall. Survival in such a marginal position takes skillful Diplomacy playing one player of another, which France may be able to do in your example, until you slowly gain supply centers and regain your footing.

In WTA scoring, however, players in marginal positions often have no incentive to keep playing since they think that they're going to lose their entire bet anyway. In your example, Germany and Italy still have the same incentive to eliminate France with WTA scoring. What can France do then? If they try to tip the balance of power in favor of Germany or Italy's favor, they very likely end up with zero points. If they try to defend Iberia, they get eliminated and also end up with zero points.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#27 Post by JECE » Fri Aug 26, 2022 4:22 am

Peregrine Falcon wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 7:05 pm
JECE wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2022 5:30 pm
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
That's a very unique reading of the rules.

Returning to the text of the Rulebook:
2015 Avalon Hill Rulebook. 'Object of the Game' wrote: 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.
The question revolves around what it means to have "gained control of Europe". Although it's been a while since I've done expansive reading of early Diplomacy sources, I recall reading an article about the creation of Diplomacy that said Calhamer chose 18 centres as the arbitrary limit by which one power is assumed to be able to invade the rest of the board, and truly 'gain control of Europe' by occupying the entire map. Hence the term 'solo' victory—everyone else is dead. (This is obviously not technically true due to the existence of stalemate positions on the classic map, but that's neither here nor there for the intention.)

From what I gather, almost everyone understands the rulebook in this manner. You may chose to believe whatever reading you prefer, but doing so is actively contravening the spirit of the language. DSS is rulebook scoring.

Of course, that isn't to say that other scoring systems don't have value—they must merely make an argument on their own merits: what they incentivise, and whether those incentives are valuable themselves. Hence, this discussion on supply-centre-scoring.
You may remember that I was hardly the only user to defend PPSC scoring back in the day. I am not alone in my interpretation of the rules. Hell, Kestas implemented PPSC scoring first if I'm not mistaken. PPSC for a very long period of time was the default scoring system on webDip. And it's still popular on vDiplomacy, where there are currently 41 PPSC games running, 69 DSS/WTA games running and zero SoS games running. So it isn't "almost everyone".

Your argument about gaining control of Europe is like saying that you're not the world's Formula One champion if anybody besides you won a point. There are countless games and tournaments where it is never questioned that the person who won the most points also won the game or tournament.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#28 Post by JECE » Fri Aug 26, 2022 4:40 am

pyxxy wrote:
Wed Aug 24, 2022 7:23 am
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.
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.
Here you go. The old version of the webpage explains it pretty well:
https://web.archive.org/web/20151015072 ... points.php

It's not explained in the old webpage either, but PPSC scoring was modified such that solo winners would always be capped at nine seventeenths of the pot, even if they ended the game with more than 18 supply centers (unless they were the only player left, of course).
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#29 Post by Theodoric » Fri Aug 26, 2022 5:52 am

JECE wrote:
Fri Aug 26, 2022 3:46 am
You're removing agency from the minor "great powers" in your analysis. In fact, I always had a blast joining PPSC games in progress with a marginal position. Check the "User Comment" on my webDip profile. Back then, when you joined a game in progress, you had to bet :points: by function of how much of the board the "great power" that you wanted to take over controlled. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to better my position by growing and, if possible, forcing a draw and earning a big windfall. Survival in such a marginal position takes skillful Diplomacy playing one player of another, which France may be able to do in your example, until you slowly gain supply centers and regain your footing.

In WTA scoring, however, players in marginal positions often have no incentive to keep playing since they think that they're going to lose their entire bet anyway. In your example, Germany and Italy still have the same incentive to eliminate France with WTA scoring. What can France do then? If they try to tip the balance of power in favor of Germany or Italy's favor, they very likely end up with zero points. If they try to defend Iberia, they get eliminated and also end up with zero points.
I've never played a PPSC game, so I certainly can't argue that they weren't fun and interesting, and I certainly don't disagree that the skill and savvy of a player matters more to a situation than the scoring system.

But, as described here, I don't see how PPSC scoring would make the scenario I described more interesting, or would open up more avenues for negotiation on the part of France. In the scenario described, Italy would gain more points by having Germany take all of France's centers than by leaving the situation as is, and Germany would also gain more points by having Italy gain all of France's centers than by leaving the situation as is. The scoring system aligns the interests of the two big powers against the interests of the small power, and thus encourages a win even when a draw is easily salvageable.

It might not be this bad in practice, because I'm sure most diplomacy players care whether they win or lose a game above and beyond the points they get from doing so.

I also don't see why, in this scenario, WTA would encourage the French player to stop playing, or would likely lead to the French player's elimination. Of course Italy and Germany would both prefer France's elimination, but either going for the elimination could give the other a chance to solo. Because the scoring system makes the penalty for giving up a solo much larger than the benefit for eliminating a third player, the scoring system aligns the large power's interests more with France than with each other. This also just seems to happen a lot empirically--looking at recently completed games, there are tons of draws that include small players sitting between two big powers.

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#30 Post by pyxxy » Fri Aug 26, 2022 6:05 am

JECE wrote:
Fri Aug 26, 2022 4:40 am
pyxxy wrote:
Wed Aug 24, 2022 7:23 am
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.
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.
Here you go. The old version of the webpage explains it pretty well:
https://web.archive.org/web/20151015072 ... points.php

It's not explained in the old webpage either, but PPSC scoring was modified such that solo winners would always be capped at nine seventeenths of the pot, even if they ended the game with more than 18 supply centers (unless they were the only player left, of course).
Ah thank you. This is on me, I was introduced to PPSC with WTA bundled in and never realized that they could be separate concepts / that they were different in the past.

Linking whatever I can find about PPSC that had old comments from you, warning I'm not reading any of it yet just saving it for my future self
https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?thre ... hreadPager
https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?threadID=1476181
(yup, old forum alright https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?thre ... hreadPager)
(dang you've really been at this for 5+ years)

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#31 Post by Peregrine Falcon » Fri Aug 26, 2022 6:49 am

pyxxy wrote:
Fri Aug 26, 2022 6:05 am

Linking whatever I can find about PPSC that had old comments from you, warning I'm not reading any of it yet just saving it for my future self
https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?thre ... hreadPager
https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?threadID=1476181
(yup, old forum alright https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?thre ... hreadPager)
(dang you've really been at this for 5+ years)
It's gratifying to know that JECE and I had this exact same discussion five years ago.

Rather than continuing it, I will instead direct you to the inventor of Diplomacy's article on the subject: Objectives Other Than Winning, By Allan B. Calhamer.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#32 Post by pyxxy » Fri Aug 26, 2022 7:12 am

Peregrine Falcon wrote:
Fri Aug 26, 2022 6:49 am
pyxxy wrote:
Fri Aug 26, 2022 6:05 am

Linking whatever I can find about PPSC that had old comments from you, warning I'm not reading any of it yet just saving it for my future self
https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?thre ... hreadPager
https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?threadID=1476181
(yup, old forum alright https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?thre ... hreadPager)
(dang you've really been at this for 5+ years)
It's gratifying to know that JECE and I had this exact same discussion five years ago.

Rather than continuing it, I will instead direct you to the inventor of Diplomacy's article on the subject: Objectives Other Than Winning, By Allan B. Calhamer.
That's a wonderful article, thank you for linking, if only because now Theodoric gets a taste of what zines were like :smirk:
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#33 Post by pyxxy » Fri Aug 26, 2022 7:26 am

@JECE, having read a bunch of the old forum threads, I feel like I need clarification on the exact rules for your desired version of PPSC.

Or which version you think is the best, if that differs from the version that you want brought (back) to WebDip?

It seems like there are a bunch of different implementations that deliberately or not share the name:
--------
- Point Per Supply Center owned at game end for all outcomes

- Point Per Supply Center owned at game end, except solos where it's 18 points to a soloist

- Point Per Supply Center owned at game end, except solos where it's 18 points to a soloist and the other (surviving) players receive their # of sc / 16 points

- Point Per Supply Center owned, Winner Take All for a solo which 34 points or the entire pot

- Draw Sized Scoring aka evenly splitting the pot or points evenly between all players with greater than 0 sc at game end, except solos where it's 18 points to a soloist and the surviving players receive (their # of sc / 16 points)
--------
Let me know if I missed a variation or two.

One other random thought, using 9/17 is very respectful to our high school math teachers but I fear it might be considerably less legible than saying 18/34, two numbers that a majority of diplomacy players will recognize the important of.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#34 Post by Theodoric » Fri Aug 26, 2022 8:35 pm

Thanks for sharing the Calhamer article! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that fans of postal diplomacy are often excellent writers :)

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#35 Post by Theodoric » Fri Aug 26, 2022 8:55 pm

Theodoric wrote:
Fri Aug 26, 2022 8:35 pm
Thanks for sharing the Calhamer article! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that fans of postal diplomacy are often excellent writers :)
And by "fans" of course I mean "inventor of the game Diplomacy" :)
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#36 Post by JECE » Sat Aug 27, 2022 3:18 am

pyxxy wrote:
Fri Aug 26, 2022 7:26 am
@JECE, having read a bunch of the old forum threads, I feel like I need clarification on the exact rules for your desired version of PPSC.

Or which version you think is the best, if that differs from the version that you want brought (back) to WebDip?

It seems like there are a bunch of different implementations that deliberately or not share the name:
--------
- Point Per Supply Center owned at game end for all outcomes

- Point Per Supply Center owned at game end, except solos where it's 18 points to a soloist

- Point Per Supply Center owned at game end, except solos where it's 18 points to a soloist and the other (surviving) players receive their # of sc / 16 points

- Point Per Supply Center owned, Winner Take All for a solo which 34 points or the entire pot

- Draw Sized Scoring aka evenly splitting the pot or points evenly between all players with greater than 0 sc at game end, except solos where it's 18 points to a soloist and the surviving players receive (their # of sc / 16 points)
--------
Let me know if I missed a variation or two.
By PPSC, I refer to the scoring system that was implemented by phpDiplomacy/webDiplomacy and that is still used on other websites that use the same open source code (such as vDiplomacy).

My post above should explain it:
viewtopic.php?p=311886&sid=7c0e3bb6e8eb ... 7c#p311886

If not, let me know.

Note that I tend to refer to 'PPSC scoring' and 'WTA scoring' (rather than 'DSS scoring').
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#37 Post by JECE » Sat Aug 27, 2022 3:25 am

pyxxy wrote:
Fri Aug 26, 2022 6:05 am
(dang you've really been at this for 5+ years)
It may be even longer, ha ha. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the debate is much older. It would have flared up twice. First when the default scoring system switched from PPSC scoring to WTA scoring, and second when the ability to use PPSC scoring was suppressed altogether.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#38 Post by JECE » Sat Aug 27, 2022 4:17 am

Theodoric wrote:
Fri Aug 26, 2022 5:52 am
JECE wrote:
Fri Aug 26, 2022 3:46 am
You're removing agency from the minor "great powers" in your analysis. In fact, I always had a blast joining PPSC games in progress with a marginal position. Check the "User Comment" on my webDip profile. Back then, when you joined a game in progress, you had to bet :points: by function of how much of the board the "great power" that you wanted to take over controlled. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to better my position by growing and, if possible, forcing a draw and earning a big windfall. Survival in such a marginal position takes skillful Diplomacy playing one player of another, which France may be able to do in your example, until you slowly gain supply centers and regain your footing.

In WTA scoring, however, players in marginal positions often have no incentive to keep playing since they think that they're going to lose their entire bet anyway. In your example, Germany and Italy still have the same incentive to eliminate France with WTA scoring. What can France do then? If they try to tip the balance of power in favor of Germany or Italy's favor, they very likely end up with zero points. If they try to defend Iberia, they get eliminated and also end up with zero points.
I've never played a PPSC game, so I certainly can't argue that they weren't fun and interesting, and I certainly don't disagree that the skill and savvy of a player matters more to a situation than the scoring system.

But, as described here, I don't see how PPSC scoring would make the scenario I described more interesting, or would open up more avenues for negotiation on the part of France. In the scenario described, Italy would gain more points by having Germany take all of France's centers than by leaving the situation as is, and Germany would also gain more points by having Italy gain all of France's centers than by leaving the situation as is. The scoring system aligns the interests of the two big powers against the interests of the small power, and thus encourages a win even when a draw is easily salvageable.

It might not be this bad in practice, because I'm sure most diplomacy players care whether they win or lose a game above and beyond the points they get from doing so.

I also don't see why, in this scenario, WTA would encourage the French player to stop playing, or would likely lead to the French player's elimination. Of course Italy and Germany would both prefer France's elimination, but either going for the elimination could give the other a chance to solo. Because the scoring system makes the penalty for giving up a solo much larger than the benefit for eliminating a third player, the scoring system aligns the large power's interests more with France than with each other. This also just seems to happen a lot empirically--looking at recently completed games, there are tons of draws that include small players sitting between two big powers.
You said it yourself. Most Diplomacy players want to win first and foremost. That gives a player squashed between two superpowers leverage no matter what scoring system is used. The difference for me is that in PPSC scoring, there are very clearly outlined objectives for players reduced to a handful of supply centers, while in WTA scoring players in the exact same position may have no clear objectives. To my mind, your scenario is pretty similar with both scoring systems given that France maneuvered itself into a stalemate line position, and therefore has some leverage. In general, PPSC scoring is more interesting and opens more lines of negotiation because there is a clear incentive to survive at all costs, while the ultimate objective is still placed on a solo victory or if that's not possible a narrow draw.

You may not see it, but the points-incentive for throwing the game in your scenario is identical in PPSC scoring and WTA scoring. The average of 53% and 47% is 50%. The average of 100% and 0% is also 50%. As you said, a 3-way draw nets just 33% of the pot. So across games, according to your logic, WTA players should prefer eliminating France in your scenario for a solo even if it's a coin toss who ends up winning, since on average they would gain more points than simply accepting the draw. I disagree, in any case, that it would be too difficult for Germany and Italy in your scenario to eliminate France in a safe way. Italy takes Tun, then withdraws fleets eastwards. Germany then withdraws from Mos and War while an Italian unit in Pie supports Germany into Mar. Germany takes Iberia. That's 17/17 along the traditional southwest-northeast stalemate line. Mind you, a player with 4 supply centers that is not on a traditional stalemate line would face an even more hopeless scenario with WTA scoring.
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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#39 Post by pyxxy » Sat Aug 27, 2022 5:47 pm

JECE wrote:
Sat Aug 27, 2022 3:18 am
pyxxy wrote:
Fri Aug 26, 2022 7:26 am
@JECE, having read a bunch of the old forum threads, I feel like I need clarification on the exact rules for your desired version of PPSC.

Or which version you think is the best, if that differs from the version that you want brought (back) to WebDip?

It seems like there are a bunch of different implementations that deliberately or not share the name:
--------
- Point Per Supply Center owned at game end for all outcomes

- Point Per Supply Center owned at game end, except solos where it's 18 points to a soloist

- Point Per Supply Center owned at game end, except solos where it's 18 points to a soloist and the other (surviving) players receive their # of sc / 16 points

- Point Per Supply Center owned, Winner Take All for a solo which 34 points or the entire pot

- Draw Sized Scoring aka evenly splitting the pot or points evenly between all players with greater than 0 sc at game end, except solos where it's 18 points to a soloist and the surviving players receive (their # of sc / 16 points)
--------
Let me know if I missed a variation or two.
By PPSC, I refer to the scoring system that was implemented by phpDiplomacy/webDiplomacy and that is still used on other websites that use the same open source code (such as vDiplomacy).

My post above should explain it:
viewtopic.php?p=311886&sid=7c0e3bb6e8eb ... 7c#p311886

If not, let me know.

Note that I tend to refer to 'PPSC scoring' and 'WTA scoring' (rather than 'DSS scoring').
I understood the webdip explanation I was just trying to confirm what system you are advocating for being (re)added to webdip. In case you had a change of opinion over the last decade :lol:

So it's this one then?
- Point Per Supply Center owned at game end, except solos where it's 18 points to a soloist and the other (surviving) players receive their # of sc / 16 points

I'm still unsure about a corner case. What happens if the surviving players control less than 16 supply centers as a whole?

Do the survivors still only get a point per supply center they control? Or does it do a proportionality thing e.g. # of sc / total sc held by survivors * 16?

---

I found time to go through the old forum, will quote some old arguments that you may or may not still agree with?
"My main argument for PPSC scoring is based on encouraging CD takeovers and thus quality of play for new users."
We should have 5 years for data for this now, if we can rope an admin into looking :P
"Hell, my first four games on webDip (phpDiplomacy at the time) were games I joined in progress to learn the ropes as small Great Powers in difficult positions where simply surviving was a challenge and the goal was to expand modestly and draw if possible. Without PPSC all this is now impossible."
I guess I'm capable of the impossible XD

PPSC is definitely an interesting gray area in the rules:
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."
since they do not explicitly say "In the event of a Great Power winning, you may not reward losers for their efforts.

I think it's funny that it says "pieces" and not "controls centers". That basically invalidates every existing scoring system, webdip or otherwise, right? I can't think of any that count pieces.

So by the letter of the law, any system that doesn't count pieces for draw participation is against the rules.

Suffice to say, I think that trying to use the original game rules as a way to argue for or against the usage of any scoring system is a bit ridiculous. It's Diplomacy Textualism. The rules should be a foundation, not a cage.

---

If I'm ignoring any rules-based arguments for or against PPSC, which I'm glad I went back and read and so I thank you for linking me them, I'm back to just behavioral arguments, yeah?

But then I think I'm currently stuck on basically what CaptainMeme wrote ~5 years ago:
"In reality, stalemates are an extremely important part of Diplomacy. The entire endgame revolves around making or breaking them, and that's the way it was designed. PPSC destroys this by making it better for a larger power to allow another power to reach 18 supply centers than to draw, so stalemate lines should never be formed in PPSC - someone behind them will always benefit from throwing the game."
https://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?thre ... hreadPager

I'm so indoctrinated by WTA as the norm that I've never given any serious thought to giving points to survivors of a solo win. Personally I would find it distasteful to be rewarded for being Vichy France :razz:

Similarly I agree with Calhamar:
However, in the final battle to prevent the leader from winning, one would normally expect the second place player to be the leader of the opposition. Consequently, something must be detracted from his achievement because he must bear some of the responsibility for the failure in the final battle.
If I'm understanding everything correctly, your version of PPSC does not have WTA scoring in the event of a Great Power controlling 18+ centers.

To me, as Calhamar said, that would seem to encourage allowing or aiding a player to reach 18+ centers, which to me is not a behavior that I want in my games.

For the record I also hate draw whittling in DSS.

This leaves me wanting a different option entirely added to webdip :razz: and makes me feel much better about the tribute-based scoring system that we use for Nexus Leagues.

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Re: Moderate scoring systems

#40 Post by Theodoric » Sun Aug 28, 2022 2:42 am

JECE wrote:
Sat Aug 27, 2022 4:17 am
You said it yourself. Most Diplomacy players want to win first and foremost. That gives a player squashed between two superpowers leverage no matter what scoring system is used. The difference for me is that in PPSC scoring, there are very clearly outlined objectives for players reduced to a handful of supply centers, while in WTA scoring players in the exact same position may have no clear objectives. To my mind, your scenario is pretty similar with both scoring systems given that France maneuvered itself into a stalemate line position, and therefore has some leverage. In general, PPSC scoring is more interesting and opens more lines of negotiation because there is a clear incentive to survive at all costs, while the ultimate objective is still placed on a solo victory or if that's not possible a narrow draw.
Ok--this helps me understand your perspective and I appreciate you explaining it so patiently to me. If I understand correctly, you feel like the points system is really secondary to the intrinsic motivations that most players bring with them to a game of diplomacy. So, even if I'm playing a system that rewards me, in terms of points, for throwing a game, I'm likely to prefer to play to a draw (since in the one case I've lost and in the other I've tied).

As a result, you want a scoring system that gives players small rewards for staying engaged once their ability to accomplish the major objectives of diplomacy has been compromised. Since PPSC (as originally envisioned) gives everyone some reward for lasting until the end, it puts a more achievable objective in front of everyone still in the game. Even if I'm stuck in a position that is not defensible in the long-run, I can get something out of the game as long as I last long enough for somebody to solo.

This makes some sense to me as a way to keep the game fun for new players, especially. I feel like the value of this scoring system is highest though when people care less about the scoring, so I'd be more excited about this if the little number next to people's usernames was their number of wins or their ghost rating, rather than their accumulated points.
JECE wrote:
Sat Aug 27, 2022 4:17 am
You may not see it, but the points-incentive for throwing the game in your scenario is identical in PPSC scoring and WTA scoring. The average of 53% and 47% is 50%. The average of 100% and 0% is also 50%. As you said, a 3-way draw nets just 33% of the pot. So across games, according to your logic, WTA players should prefer eliminating France in your scenario for a solo even if it's a coin toss who ends up winning, since on average they would gain more points than simply accepting the draw. I disagree, in any case, that it would be too difficult for Germany and Italy in your scenario to eliminate France in a safe way. Italy takes Tun, then withdraws fleets eastwards. Germany then withdraws from Mos and War while an Italian unit in Pie supports Germany into Mar. Germany takes Iberia. That's 17/17 along the traditional southwest-northeast stalemate line. Mind you, a player with 4 supply centers that is not on a traditional stalemate line would face an even more hopeless scenario with WTA scoring.
This is only true if eliminating France is a coin toss in which both players have equal odds of getting a solo. A smart French player would position themselves diplomatically to make those odds as asymmetrical as possible, in order to give one player an incentive to keep them.

So, to prevent what you're describing, France might publicly announce that if Germany withdraws from Moscow or Warsaw, France will do everything they can to ensure that Italy gets Spain or Marseilles and thus wins the game.

This only works though if France staying in in a drawn game isn't the worst possible outcome for Italy and Germany. As long as that's true, there's no threat, no matter how believable, that would stop the big powers from killing the little power.

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