How often do games draw?

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jasnah
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Re: How often do games draw?

#41 Post by jasnah » Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:49 am

Claesar wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:30 am
I've found that Carnage scoring prevents solos in practice. So many early draws because people are content with their current rank..
Ugh, my first and hopefully last 10 hour game was with Carnage. I must be doing it wrong.
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Claesar
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Re: How often do games draw?

#42 Post by Claesar » Wed Dec 30, 2020 10:19 am

At Carnage 2019 (FTF) I was the only one voting against a 1904 draw. I was on a shared board top at the time, but I didn't fly 9 hours to play for only 2 hours..

Another game even drew in 1903. I don't think any game went past 1910, so 5 hours tops.

EDIT: I figured I might as well check.
1st round: 1904, 1907 (the one I vetoed in 1904), 1906
2nd round: 1906, 1907, 1906 (my board, can't remember if I had to veto in an earlier year)
3rd round: 1903, 1905 (Hunter had to veto this game in ~1904. He said he would have accepted, except that he needed a higher score to win the tournament), 1904 (my game, possibly should've vetoed even though my position was going to get worse)


We had anonymous draw votes, but that didn't prevent these draws. To be fair, at FTF there's always the allure of sitting at the bar and chatting with friends.

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Re: How often do games draw?

#43 Post by Claesar » Wed Dec 30, 2020 10:25 am

eCarnage 2020:
1st round: 1908, 1910, 1907
2nd round: 1907, 1907, 1907, 1907, 1907 (time limited??)
3rd round: 1910, 1906, 1907, 1906, 1906
3rd round: 1907, 1906, 1904, 1907
Top board: 1907


As suspected, virtual events seem to go later.

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Re: How often do games draw?

#44 Post by GameKat » Wed Dec 30, 2020 12:27 pm

Fascinating, data-driven discussion. Thanks to everyone sharing their thoughts. I had a general one about growing the hobby.

Dip is quite odd in that the stated object of the game is frequently not achieved. Given that non-solos happen, I think it would help grow the hobby if the default scoring at sites such as this felt more natural to new players. My guess is that most would find it counter-intuitive that, in a 5-way draw, someone on 15 SCs gets the same "score" as a player on 2.

The arguments about what is "fair" in the context of the rule book have been around for decades. I don't think there's a correct answer. But I do believe there's merit in defaulting to a scoring system that doesn't look manifestly unfair to new hobbyists.

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Re: How often do games draw?

#45 Post by swordsman3003 » Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:30 pm

Responding holistically, I think a massive flaw in all the center-count scoring systems is that there's little-to-nothing for crippled powers, and getting crippled—even crippled early—is something players experience very often.

I wrote about scoring almost 2 years ago on my blog: Why Players Prefer Draw-Size Scoring

Two years later, I feel more strongly than ever that Draw-Sized Scoring is my preferred mode of play. Players giving up in the middle of matches is, in my opinion, the #1 problem with online Diplomacy. Even 1 player giving up can spoil the fun of the match, and every player fighting to the bitter end can be fun for everyone (up to and including a player who aspires to solo).

When I read explanations of why some center-count scoring system is a player's preferred system, those explanations almost always overlook the problem of nihilism. So, I am never persuaded. The apologia for this other scoring system depends on ignoring what is (in my opinion) the #1-worst problem on online Diplomacy.

And when I bring this up, I usually hear a dismissive response that ironically confirms my view for me (E.g., that center-counter systems are just so desirable that we must overlook how they reward nihilism.)

I hear DSS criticized because it incentivizes players to drag out matches that are mostly resolved—but for me this just highlights that a 3-center power in SoS is massively incentivized to give up and start a new match. (A player can utterly give up without harming their reliability rating on webDip.)

All of us are speaking from our own perspectives here. I'm not denying the experiences of people who enjoy something different about Diplomacy than I do, or saying that there is one scoring system to rule them all.

I am however noting that I am an outspoken defender of Draw-Sized Scoring. I frequently encourage players to choose that scoring system on my blog and in private conversation—and I do so here as well.
RoganJosh wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 5:22 am
swordsman3003 wrote:
Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:59 pm
Plenty of players cooperate to eliminate a rival just to continue the match and see what happens next—or even as part of a strategy to get a solo win.
You're taking the viewpoint of the solo contender. And for the solo contender it's of course a "feature": they get a second shot at the solo with no attached risk.
First, there may not be one clear solo contender just because the match has reached stalemate positions. There could be two, or there could be alliances that have stalemated each other.

Second, whittling out weaker powers can lead to a reversal of fortune. For example, many players can be tricked into throwing everything they have at the strongest power, setting up a not-the-strongest power for a backstab and solo win.

Third, playing for solo wins can sometimes mean dragging out the game indefinitely, even when you're not the strongest. If the match continues, all sorts of unexpected things can happen. It is not unheard of to recover from 1-3 supply centers and reach a solo win.
RoganJosh wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 5:22 am
But out of curiosity, let me ask: in these games where you're the solo contender, you've reached a stalemate line, and now you back off to give yourself a second shot at the solo. How often do you solo? And how often do you have to settle with a draw (whatever size)?
I cannot give a reliable estimate, but I can tell you that I have gotten solos where other players would have voted draw. Even a small chance at a solo is worth continuing the match, because I value a solo as a qualitatively better outcome than a draw. Getting a solo win where other players would have drawn is even more satisfying; it makes me feel like I'm achieving something beyond the grasp of the average player.

I'm not worse off if I end up with a draw. The match went on another week or two...so what? I play Diplomacy for fun.
RoganJosh wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:32 am
My point, as you already know, is that it's rational for the minor powers to decline the whittle. There are some obvious reasons:

1. Too small reward, too big risk. We've been through this one already.

2. (Meta) Also small powers are needed to stop solos, but if you always whittle them, then they won't help out. You basically mentioned this one yourself.

As for players who think that they should optimize each and every game, that's not an effect of DSS. And if someone is so stupid as not to put on a fight when they're being whittled, well, then they're not even playing to optimize that one game.

Assuming that you're from a FTF background, let me point out two other reasons for why declining the whittle is more rational online than FTF.

3. There's an abundance of games. Sure, you can put a lot of effort into bumping .20 up to .25. Or you can just take the .20 and start a new game. What'll give you the best return per effort? Compared to risk?

4. You can't sustain an inflated ranking. FTF, the ranking list is always finalized in a not-too-distant future. In an ELO-based and constantly ongoing ranking system, an inflated score will be lost as you play more games. That is, optimizing the return from one game is less important than improving your overall skill. (Unless you do it like that vDip guy, who simply quit after getting an inflated score that put him top of the rankings.)
Do you think that reducing the size of the draw is an inherently non-rational strategy for smaller powers? Or do you mean that refusing to reduce the draw can be a rational strategy? (Your use of the word 'rational' is a red flag to me, but I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this here.)

I agree with jasnah on this point:
jasnah wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 7:45 am
You've given your take on why whittling is actually not a rational thing to do. I don't think this view is correct, nor do I think it's shared by the majority of players.
It's bold to assert that a strategy employed by some of the best Diplomacy players is not rational.

I'm not feeling it on your enumerated points:

1. The degree of risk to you in whittling out players is subjective. Diplomacy isn't Craps. I'm not betting on a random outcome, I'm betting on my own ability to get the result I'm looking for. A player with weak abilities and scant end experience might blow it, but I won't. (Or, I believe I won't.)

2. Diplomacy is, in part, a game of manipulation and deception. Endgame is no exception.

3. Again, the effort-reward calculation is subjective. Whether I consider the bump from .20 to point .25 to be worth it depends on how I rate my chances at getting more points in the next match I join.

4. I'm not seeing the distinction between "optimizing the return from one game" and "improving your overall skill." Isn't learning how to optimize your returns (in a given scoring system) part of improving your skill at Diplomacy?

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Re: How often do games draw?

#46 Post by RoganJosh » Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:39 pm

swordsman3003 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:30 pm
First, there may not be one clear solo contender just because the match has reached stalemate positions. There could be two, or there could be alliances that have stalemated each other.
This is a completely different scenario and nothing I've said refers to this scenario. If you still have a shot at the solo, then you should of course continue the game. It's a no-brainer. I am talking about the powers which have no shot at the solo, and who can only whittle at the risk of losing to a solo. My only claim is that for such powers, it is rational to refuse the whittle.
swordsman3003 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:30 pm
I cannot give a reliable estimate, but I can tell you that I have gotten solos where other players would have voted draw. Even a small chance at a solo is worth continuing the match, because I value a solo as a qualitatively better outcome than a draw. Getting a solo win where other players would have drawn is even more satisfying; it makes me feel like I'm achieving something beyond the grasp of the average player.
Again, if you have a shot at the solo then you should continue the game. It's a no-brainer.
swordsman3003 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:30 pm
Do you think that reducing the size of the draw is an inherently non-rational strategy for smaller powers?
No.

Also, I object to the word 'inherently'. If there is one point that should be made more often, then it's that the scoring system is secondary to the context. Time limits vs. no time limits. Tournament vs. Ranking. These things have much bigger impact on the game than the scoring system.
swordsman3003 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:30 pm
Or do you mean that refusing to reduce the draw can be a rational strategy?
Yes. Thank you.

RoganJosh wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:32 am
1. Too small reward, too big risk. We've been through this one already.
swordsman3003 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:30 pm
1. The degree of risk to you in whittling out players is subjective. Diplomacy isn't Craps. I'm not betting on a random outcome, I'm betting on my own ability to get the result I'm looking for. A player with weak abilities and scant end experience might blow it, but I won't. (Or, I believe I won't.)
The question is whether you're making a net gain or a net loss from draw whittling. I'm only saying that if you're making a net loss, over time, then it's rational not to whittle. I think most players don't realize that you need a 3:1 or 4:1 split to actually make a net gain. And, again, we are only counting the games where you have no shot at the solo. If you have a shot at the solo, then you should always continue the game.
RoganJosh wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:32 am
2. (Meta) Also small powers are needed to stop solos, but if you always whittle them, then they won't help out. You basically mentioned this one yourself.
swordsman3003 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:30 pm
2. Diplomacy is, in part, a game of manipulation and deception. Endgame is no exception.
Sure. I'm only saying that it's rational for a player that expects to be whittled to throw the game, and that expectation depends on meta and player reputations.
swordsman3003 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:30 pm
3. Again, the effort-reward calculation is subjective.
Subjective, but not solely subjective.
swordsman3003 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:30 pm
4. I'm not seeing the distinction between "optimizing the return from one game" and "improving your overall skill." Isn't learning how to optimize your returns (in a given scoring system) part of improving your skill at Diplomacy?
It's the difference between optimizing the return in one game, and optimizing the return over a sequence of games.

If by whittling, you affect the meta, so that more solos will be thrown by small powers, then you might decrease your aggregated returns.

If by whittling, you get a reputation of being a whittler, and others throw games where you're part of the solo-stopping-alliance, then you might reduce your aggregated returns.

If by whittling, you f* up your own mind to the degree that you're unable to form a stalemate line, because you're so afraid of being whittled (yes - I've seen this with my own eyes), then you might reduce your aggregated returns.

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Re: How often do games draw?

#47 Post by jay65536 » Wed Dec 30, 2020 7:12 pm

AnimalsCS wrote:
Tue Dec 29, 2020 9:38 pm
I'd be interested in hearing your suggestions for alternate scoring systems that eliminate draw-whittling without changing the other incentives that DSS does a good job creating—encouraging solos and discouraging focus on how many centers you have in a draw.
I don't have time for a long reply right now, and also, the OP's question probably got totally hijacked, but "someone" has already tried to do this:
https://brotherbored.com/guest-post-the ... ng-system/
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Re: How often do games draw?

#48 Post by jasnah » Wed Dec 30, 2020 7:21 pm

jay65536 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 7:12 pm
AnimalsCS wrote:
Tue Dec 29, 2020 9:38 pm
I'd be interested in hearing your suggestions for alternate scoring systems that eliminate draw-whittling without changing the other incentives that DSS does a good job creating—encouraging solos and discouraging focus on how many centers you have in a draw.
I don't have time for a long reply right now, and also, the OP's question probably got totally hijacked, but "someone" has already tried to do this:
https://brotherbored.com/guest-post-the ... ng-system/
E: Don't mind me

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Re: How often do games draw?

#49 Post by Yonni » Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:09 pm

A common thread that I've seen in both this post and the previous one discussing draws and scoring systems is that ideally we want more solos to happen to Diplomacy and that the scoring system should encourage that.

An issue with that is that for every bit that you make achieving a solo better you make letting someone else get a solo worse. If I'm in a position where it's very, very unlikely that I will ever solo but the chances are fair that someone else will then my outcome is maximized by the game to come to grinding halt as soon as possible. That equation changes, however, if I'm reasonably incentivized to play onwards to get a certain centre count or draw size.

Perhaps the only way to truly create more solos is to do away with rankings and points and records in general. If I'm just in it for a wild time and truly don't care about how well I do compared to everyone else, then you will certainly see more solos.

Personally, I enjoy the way people play Diplomacy here. It's very difficult to solo but feels great when you do.
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Re: How often do games draw?

#50 Post by swordsman3003 » Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:48 pm

I think there are paradoxical ideas at play, which is probably what I was trying to get at in my old article when I talked about 'fetishizing' solo wins.

If I just wanted to solo win per se—like I don't care about anything other than a match resulting in a win for me—I would play pickup games on Backstabbr.

But I actually never do that, and I often find myself discouraging other players from joining those matches (among other things, they pick up all kinds of bad habits and ideas).

I myself want to solo win under the most difficult of circumstances. I want to play against very strong players who understand how to stop solos and have every motivation to stop me...and then beat those players. I prefer Draw-Sized Scoring in part because it rewards stopping solos. Indeed, players with just 1 or 2 centers sometimes increase the effort they put into the match as they become desperate. To me, that's awesome. It's so much fun to play as a desperate player or against one.

I just want to barf when I join matches where players try risky openings, it doesn't go well, so they give up. Even though "rationally" this increases my changes of getting a solo by a big margin.

-----
@RoganJosh it sounds to me like you think your analysis applies to very common situations in matches, but to me you have qualified your analysis such that I don't understand when it would ever apply. Can you link me to a concrete example of a specific match in which you believe a player non-rationally whittled (or attempted to whittle) the draw?

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Re: How often do games draw?

#51 Post by jasnah » Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:31 pm

swordsman3003 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:30 pm
Players giving up in the middle of matches is, in my opinion, the #1 problem with online Diplomacy. Even 1 player giving up can spoil the fun of the match, and every player fighting to the bitter end can be fun for everyone (up to and including a player who aspires to solo).

...The apologia for this other scoring system depends on ignoring what is (in my opinion) the #1-worst problem on online Diplomacy.
Oh, wow, we're coming from totally different places. I play 99% private games and can't remember the last time I had a match ruined by a player giving up as in losing any motivation to play the game, if you'd asked me to name my top 20 problems with online Diplomacy it wouldn't have come close to featuring. I am curious why you wouldn't take this option more often if you have so many games ruined by quitters as I've found game quality to be consistently tolerable doing so.

What I do regularly encounter is players who no longer have any meaningful chance of making the draw deciding to take their fate into their own hands and play to realise their desired outcome of the match, namely by suiciding into the person who aggrieved them most, which I find to be a great feature of the game and not at all a problem. After all it's a game of Diplomacy, and no talking doesn't mean no diplomacy; players who tank someone else's game have to be prepared to face consequences.

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Re: How often do games draw?

#52 Post by RoganJosh » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:04 am

swordsman3003 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:48 pm
Can you link me to a concrete example of a specific match in which you believe a player non-rationally whittled (or attempted to whittle) the draw?
"Non-rational" are your words, not mine. I'm not accusing anyone of being non-rational.

Examples are always judged in hindsight. But any game where at some point a stalemate line was completed, a whittle was attempted, and the game went on to end in a solo. That would be a game where the whittle attempt was a mistake. Not by the solo contender - mind you - but by the other powers. It takes two to tango. They should just have secured the stalemate line and forced the larger draw.

The game jasnah mentioned before is one example
http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=275384
I don't keep lists of these games, but I'm sure there are plenty more.

Now, when the choice is made, you don't know whether the whittle or the solo will be successful. I'm only saying that it is rational to not risk losing to the solo. If you cannot solo yourself, then you should just secure the draw.

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Re: How often do games draw?

#53 Post by Hellenic Riot » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:22 am

This is why the true strategy when you fail on a solo attempt is not to just pull back slightly so that whittling can be attempted; but to pull back so far that you give up some of your own home SC's, thereby essentially restarting the game all over again, and allowing you to put into place a multi-decade strategy to solo sometime around 1930
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Re: How often do games draw?

#54 Post by President Eden » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:24 am

Hellenic Riot wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:22 am
This is why the true strategy when you fail on a solo attempt is not to just pull back slightly so that whittling can be attempted; but to pull back so far that you give up some of your own home SC's, thereby essentially restarting the game all over again, and allowing you to put into place a multi-decade strategy to solo sometime around 1930
Finally a patrician answer.

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Re: How often do games draw?

#55 Post by leon1122 » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:30 am

If you wanted a scoring system that truly abides by the idea that only solo wins count as wins, you could give all the points to a solo winner as is usually the case but return the starting bet to all players, even players who have been eliminated, in the case of a draw. That way, you only gain points when you solo win, but you still want to prevent others from soloing to avoid losing your starting bet.

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Re: How often do games draw?

#56 Post by dargorygel » Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:17 am

Actually... the short answer is that games can only draw once.
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Re: How often do games draw?

#57 Post by 90kicvesb » Thu Dec 31, 2020 7:54 am

I wanted to add an example of a draw whittle gone right. After a year and a half, I still had enough of a vague notion of the German player to recognize his username when we found ourselves on the same World Cup team.

http://webdiplomacy.net/board.php?gameID=242074

Playing as Russia in DSS gunboat, Germany and I had been cooperating for several phases and faced an Italian solo threat. France had two armies sitting in Great Britain. Germany sent enough forces North to eliminate France, taking a calculated risk that what remained would be sufficient to hold a stalemate including Sevastopol against Italy.

Did it have the mathematically required 75% success rate? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I have lots of respect for the German player who rolled the dice. It put our alliance to the greatest test possible and was executed well. I consider being a part of that game as one highlight of my time spent here on WebDip.
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Re: How often do games draw?

#58 Post by ubercacher16 » Thu Dec 31, 2020 3:16 pm

I was Germany in the game 90kicvesb just mentioned, I would not have made the move if I didn't think it was a certainty. Italy could have bounced some of my army movements at times, but I still would have been able to support myself to Burgundy or Munich or wherever he bounced me without jeopardizing the line. I would never attempt to draw whittle if the line was not secure, or if France had fleets instead of just armies. I'm not a reckless whittler, but it is much prettier.
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Re: How often do games draw?

#59 Post by RoganJosh » Thu Dec 31, 2020 3:24 pm

Yeah, I think that whittle was 100% safe. Not sure I'd even categorize it as a whittle. Italy never backed off, and you didn't need F to complete the stalemate line.

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Re: How often do games draw?

#60 Post by AnimalsCS » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:58 am

jasnah wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:31 pm
swordsman3003 wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:30 pm
Players giving up in the middle of matches is, in my opinion, the #1 problem with online Diplomacy. Even 1 player giving up can spoil the fun of the match, and every player fighting to the bitter end can be fun for everyone (up to and including a player who aspires to solo).

...The apologia for this other scoring system depends on ignoring what is (in my opinion) the #1-worst problem on online Diplomacy.
Oh, wow, we're coming from totally different places. I play 99% private games and can't remember the last time I had a match ruined by a player giving up as in losing any motivation to play the game, if you'd asked me to name my top 20 problems with online Diplomacy it wouldn't have come close to featuring. I am curious why you wouldn't take this option more often if you have so many games ruined by quitters as I've found game quality to be consistently tolerable doing so.

What I do regularly encounter is players who no longer have any meaningful chance of making the draw deciding to take their fate into their own hands and play to realise their desired outcome of the match, namely by suiciding into the person who aggrieved them most, which I find to be a great feature of the game and not at all a problem. After all it's a game of Diplomacy, and no talking doesn't mean no diplomacy; players who tank someone else's game have to be prepared to face consequences.
There are many ways to give up on a game including throwing solos and other forms of "suicide" moves, as you recognized. When a scoring system provides very little incentive to keep fighting in a game, it is quite easy to decide to give up. With DSS scoring, there is a much greater reward for fighting to the end of the game and staying in a draw. This makes it more difficult (and more rewarding, in my opinion!) to convince players to throw you a solo, and easier for players to work together to stop a solo.

From a game design perspective, I think that most games of diplomacy should end in draws. For a game that takes so much effort and commitment, it is quite disheartening to imagine winning only 1 in 7 games. With DSS, assuming 50% of games end in 3-way draws and 50% end in solos (I know this is not entirely accurate but it makes the math easy) this means that I should expect to lose approximately every 2/3 games and solo/draw in the remaining 1/3. This is quite a big difference!

I agree with you that the occasional choice to throw a solo or punish the player that you are frustrated with is a feature in Diplomacy, but I would prefer that this happens infrequently when it really matters, as has been my experience with DSS.

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