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Post 31 Jul 2015, 6:22 am

a solo should not even be possible. The game is set so you have a coalition win and that is how the players need to approach the game, by allowing something different now throws the game balance out the window. I think it was a WW4 game where we have similar 3 person wins, a player decided to instead go for a solo (before that was made impossible) and it screwed up that game badly. Everyone played one way, he played another and it was a mess, plenty of hard feeling all around. The game was designed to give everyone a fair shot at a win and to allow for more than one out of so many possible made it more exciting to actually have a real shot through politics. To allow a solo in this game is a really bad idea!

As far as it being broken, uhhhh
no it's not broken at all. If you base your feelings on the past two games then yes it would be broken no doubt but those games had different rules that upset the balance and were played with fewer players than designed. If you alter the game then the alteration is broken, not the base game. The standard game plays out quite well and most certainly is not broken and history bears this out.
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Post 31 Jul 2015, 7:57 am

I know this was directed more at Stephan, but I'll comment anyways:

GMTom wrote:I think it was a WW4 game where we have similar 3 person wins, a player decided to instead go for a solo (before that was made impossible) and it screwed up that game badly. Everyone played one way, he played another and it was a mess, plenty of hard feeling all around.


So... a game of Diplomacy? What happened in the end? Who won?

GMTom wrote:The game was designed to give everyone a fair shot at a win and to allow for more than one out of so many possible made it more exciting to actually have a real shot through politics.


And yet you resist widening the scope even more too, to coalitions of more than 3. The politicking as a result of this cap is more about revenge voting and sending in "representative winners". I think it makes many people feel out of the running, rather than allow a fairer shot at winning. Consequently, the endgame doesn't mean anything to them. Although if the aim is to reduce hard feelings, I suppose that can help. Reducing engagement and investment in the game seems like the opposite of what one would want to do though.
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Post 31 Jul 2015, 12:06 pm

yep, having too many players take part in the end game lends itself to different results than we do now. Remember well more than half the players will be gone by the time we vote, having more players means a very real possibility of several large players simply imposing their will on other sand the game loses the balance it is precariously balanced on as it is. It sounds all nice-nice to simply all hold hands and sing kumbaya. More people win equals more happy players? Nope, not so, it leads to imbalance and a bad time where many feel they never had a chance.

Oh, and the other game was I think a WW4 game, that was the game that this one was based upon. In that game it always had a 3 person coalition win but was never really spelled out that the game "had" to end that way. Players played their part and suddenly the largest player decided he was going to screw all and go for a solo, it pissed off EVERYONE. They complained the game was ruined because we play a style that lends itself to this political end and the same is true here. The game is DESIGNED for a political end. It's imbalanced in so many ways that favor larger powers with this seemingly minor vote aspect and that's where the game gets interesting, these smaller guys suddenly become very attractive to the larger guys, it's a team work approach that is played out all game long. When you mess with that you end up having the big guys favored too much or possibly the little guys favored too much (as happened in the past two games due to several changes in the base game)

Remember, history shows balance
You are looking at two games played with different rules and different numbers of players, etc. You can not base anything on such changes except for games played with those same rules. If you want to run this past game with the same rules and number of players then I think you certainly will want to make changes to the end game vote. For that you can argue all sorts of possible changes being needed. But simply adding more options is probably not a good answer. Maybe so, but you want to compare apples and Strawberries.
Both are food (these two are both games)
Both are fruit (these two games are both Diplomacy variants)
Both are red (these two games are both NWO variants)
so, according to your comparisons, both should taste the same and that simply is not the case. The changes made to the past two games will make them taste and feel quite different from the base game.

Changes are wonderful, don't get me wrong!
But new ideas lead to new problems, all I am suggesting is that you do not lump problems resulting from changes into problems with the game before those changes were made. Because we had terrorist rules and had fewer players and had this and that altered does not mean changes have to be done to the base game and the end game vote suggestions made here are based on this past game only. Once again, it aint broke, why fix it? Point out how the vote does not work well with those rules in place and you have my ear, the problem is you will have some difficulty pointing out something that does not exist (in my opinion based on the history of outcomes)
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Post 31 Jul 2015, 12:14 pm

FYI
this comment about players not having any real shot at taking part in the win is more than a bit not true. We have had players with one center take part in a win, how can you say players have no chance when you can win with only one center to your name? That proves they ALL have a very real shot now doesn't it?
Unless your issue is with the larger powers having no chance at a win, then I would once again point to what was stated. The base game had no such problem and only the two run with many changes did, The base game most certainly is balanced and would it not make sense to try and emulate that instead of trying to come up with something drastically different? Minor tweaks almost always work better than massive changes. Stick with what works and instead change what caused things to go wrong. I am not saying you must play the base game but rather how can your proposed changes play more similarly to that base that works?Did having terrorism allowed give too much power to smaller powers? if so, reign in that power and/or give the big guys a better chance to defend themselves from it. But to simply decide the end game vote is the answer to the problems seems really off base and wrong to me.
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Post 31 Jul 2015, 12:27 pm

GMTom wrote:yep, having too many players take part in the end game lends itself to different results than we do now. Remember well more than half the players will be gone by the time we vote, having more players means a very real possibility of several large players simply imposing their will on other sand the game loses the balance it is precariously balanced on as it is.


You are once again conflating the starting setup with a point near the end of the game. The point 1 or 2 years before the game ends is not supposed to be balanced, there may indeed be a steamrolling win-contender at that point, there's nothing wrong with that.

GMTom wrote:It sounds all nice-nice to simply all hold hands and sing kumbaya. More people win equals more happy players? Nope, not so, it leads to imbalance and a bad time where many feel they never had a chance.


As opposed to not having a chance because they aren't the (roughly) top 3 nations, and so have nothing to offer other than vote for others to win? At least with a larger coalition they can argue to help for a share of the pie. Classic Diplomacy leverage. Speaking of singing kumbaya, note that you insist 3 players sing kumbaya together. And many players vote for coalitions that don't include them, so kumbaya seems like a strong part of the groupthink. Why? Because there's no point fighting anymore once the voting starts. I'm arguing for large (or smaller) coalition to *increase* conflict; people will continue to care if they can influence the situation more.

GMTom wrote:Oh, and the other game was I think a WW4 game, that was the game that this one was based upon. In that game it always had a 3 person coalition win but was never really spelled out that the game "had" to end that way. Players played their part and suddenly the largest player decided he was going to screw all and go for a solo, it pissed off EVERYONE. They complained the game was ruined because we play a style that lends itself to this political end and the same is true here.


Again, what is wrong with this? You're kumbayaing here again, somehow annoyed that someone wanted greater glory. The other players sound like sore losers. You get stabbed in Diplomacy sometimes. Are you trying to design stabs out of the game?

GMTom wrote:The game is DESIGNED for a political end. It's imbalanced in so many ways that favor larger powers with this seemingly minor vote aspect and that's where the game gets interesting, these smaller guys suddenly become very attractive to the larger guys, it's a team work approach that is played out all game long. When you mess with that you end up having the big guys favored too much or possibly the little guys favored too much (as happened in the past two games due to several changes in the base game)


I'm fine with the asymmetrical design goal, I like it. I happen to think my suggestions would enhance that goal, but of course that's just my opinion. But I am aware of the point of the variant.

I think you're overstating the delicate balance of the game a little, too. It's nowhere near perfectly balanced. And as you say, changes are made to it all the time. The fixed-3-player thing seems a bit of a sacred cow though.
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Post 31 Jul 2015, 12:29 pm

GMTom wrote:FYI
this comment about players not having any real shot at taking part in the win is more than a bit not true. We have had players with one center take part in a win, how can you say players have no chance when you can win with only one center to your name?


I'm not talking about the beginning of the game, I'm talking about the end. And I don't mean the small starting powers, I mean anyone that isn't roughly in the top 3 *at the end*. Knowing that the game will end soon with the roughly top 3 getting voted into a winning coalitions means everyone else surviving at the time has no influence over the game's results (other than voting to end it quickly), and so lose interest.
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Post 31 Jul 2015, 12:46 pm

Also, unrelated to voting/coalitions:

What if who received terrorists was somehow related to the powers' performance when those units first appear? Something like the 6 least powerful powers 2 years in get a terrorist unit. Maybe restricted to E's, or maybe not.

If some of those 6 are eliminated already, maybe have some rules that allow terrorists to recapture a home SC. That gives them a goal other than just trolling.
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Post 31 Jul 2015, 1:30 pm

GMTom wrote:We have had players with one center take part in a win

Thanks for telling me this, because this is actually an argument for my proposal I think:

Why did the other winners pick that third player for their coalition? Because he's so strong and vital to their dominance? Evidently not, he was one nuke away from non-existence. I could go on but I'll get to the point: they probably picked him because they needed to pick someone and he was probably most deserving or something, or simply didn't require much votes because he was a low-level power.

So in the end, the one reason was because they NEEDED to pick someone. He was the third wheel, but luckily for him, they needed a third wheel. Why? Because that's the rules. That's it.

Why should they be forced to drag a third wheel with them? I honestly can't think of a reason.

Don't force two people with an awesome alliance and/or coalition to pick a third coalition member undeserving of the spot to weigh them down.

Maybe some penalty for coalitions with less than 3 players in place is okay, so one E power needs, say, 18 votes, two need 30 and 3 need 40, so people still have an incentive to form coalitions, but are not forced to drag others along, simply because it's a rule.

Also don't make this about other changes. I'm not complaining about pirates or terrorist units, I'm complaining about a game that starts with a bunch of alliances and ends with a majority of the same or similar alliances. Meaning the game is hardly dynamic and rather dull after the initial alliances have been formed.

The way the endgame works causes people to think what they have is good enough, satisfaction leads to unimaginative plans, usually "steady as she goes" even if you're not ecactly headed for a win. The most worrisome is that this unimaginative play is often the best option, that's what needs to be fixed.

There needs to be ambition leading to innovation, leading to dynamic change and an awesome game.

Don't give a shit about pirates or terrorists. I say leave them out, but as long as something is done about the dynamic of the game, I will tolerate everything else.
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Post 31 Jul 2015, 10:58 pm

Heres an idea. Run a game the way you think will work. From the ideas discussed i can tell you it will not play as you expect. I tell you about history yet you fail to grasp that.vtry it and see. Your arguments are falling flat and do not reflect reality. I get it. You think it will work and are not seeing everything clearly so go ahead and try it. I hosted the game acdozen times or so and i developed the map and rules. I think i have a good idea of what will happen. Maybe you do as well but my "feelings" are based on a lot of history and experimentation while yours is not so much. Go ahead and try it though. Nobody is holding you back.
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Post 01 Aug 2015, 2:49 am

I'm not gonna host a game anytime soon.

What I'm proposing is rather different to the point that it's almost a different game, so we both have no experience in the game I'm proposing.

I understand it would ruin *your* game and it would not at all play out the way *you* designed, but that's the point to me. I love the size, I love the nukes, I love the chaos, but I don't like the way it's designed to play out. It's designed to play out in such a way that you notice it everywhere: those guys are doing things that way because the game is *designed* for those guys to do things that way. Everyone who doesn't play the way the game designs them to play is going to be defeated.

Balance is nice, but I'd happily sacrifice balance (which will be sacrificed to some extent, but not that much I'd say. Besides, it's about the fun you have playing the game, not about who wins. Balance isn't holy and the game isn't perfectly balanced anyway. NK doesn't have as much chance to win as many of the other powers I'm certain, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't love to try NK.) to get some freedom back in this game.

Yes, it will be a different game, yes, the balance will be different, but the chaos in this game has been limited by the patterns every experienced player knows to follow, because every other pattern is proven to fail.

Freedom+Chaos=Worth slightly more imbalanced.


You talk about how everyone has a chance to win, but tell me: how many playstyles have a chance to win?

More specifically: how many playstyles have won this game?
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Post 01 Aug 2015, 1:10 pm

I'd be quite willing to playtest this new idea if somebody wants to run it. I suspect you're going to have to host it yourself though, because most players seem content with the current setup (crucially including the few who are willing to GM the game). Nobody 'owns' this variant though, so if you fancy putting your ideas into practice then I'm sure we could rustle up the players for it.
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Post 02 Aug 2015, 12:35 am

I suppose the question is whether everyone willing to GM prefers the current set-up..

In between driving lessons, designing a boardgame and updating my website as well as somehow getting some needed rest, I have a really busy holiday already and having to spend significant time on adjudication at specific times would kill me a little. Imagine what happens when the holiday ends.

If someone else wants to do adjudication, I *can* host everything on my personal website though, and since I'm not doing adjudication then I could play as well.

I just can't cope with a regular schedule atm.

Could I create a new thread looking for someone to GM my version (and possibly allow for early sign-ups/discussion on how much votes each country/combination should get exactly)? If so, where would I post that thread?

Edit: 2 things:
I'd be okay with not being in the game if people still worry about a conflict of interest, even if I'm not making any calls and simply hosting results.
I would also be willing to be 'co-GM', so the workload can be shared and/or I can be consulted when there's a tricky case. I would abstain from playing in that case of course.
Ideally though, someone GMs the whole thing and I only host the updates, but there are more options.
Sendric mentioned that a bunch of other people expressed interest in being GM. Could Sendric or anyone else let me know who else expressed interest? I guess we only need to convince one of them, anyway.

Second edit:
It might also be useful for everyone to know what the players prefer. Perhaps we could try and map their preferences to have a better idea of how to proceed?

I mean, if they all think my idea falls flat I'll concur, if it's just Tom I'd like to see it tried.
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Post 02 Aug 2015, 9:16 am

steephie22 wrote:Looking at how much each coalition needs, I would say that an E power should needs 14 votes, a D power should need 15, a C power should need 17 votes, a B power should need 20 votes and an A power should need 23 votes.


Were these your solo requirements? I would say these are too low. It takes hardly any extra votes from other people to put you over the edge if you convinced them to vote for your solo (which is basically what has been happening with the winning coalition, people voting "against themselves").
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Post 02 Aug 2015, 1:10 pm

Yeah it should probably be higher, but I was purely looking at what each country constitutes to the current voting requirements.

I also proposed that people should not be able to vote for as much countries or coalitions as they like though, to make it less of a popularity contest and more of a challenge to get votes.

But yeah, I was thinking maybe 6-8 more votes might make sense. Better a few years more voting than risking a stupid ending.

That means moving the other coalitions up to though. If an E solo is at 20, you're looking at a EE coalition at say 36 and an EEE coalition at 50 or so.
Maybe that's a bit too much. If you can only vote for one country or coalition, do you still think the votes needed that I mentioned are too many? How much more would you think makes sense?

I agree with you that the actual numbers are far from solid.
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Post 02 Aug 2015, 9:45 pm

If I could just run whatever I wanted, I would also disallow voting for coalitions that don't include you. But I think the victory thresholds should encourage coalitions, to encourage cooperation on such a large map with 40 players and give the feel of multiple coalitions fighting for world control and balance of power, rather than a lot of small contests for local solo domination. Small victory conditions are also problematic because it means someone might be able to win without a large part of the map even being able to interfere much.

Simplifying my previous setup, I'd go with a winning coalition needing, say, 20 votes plus:

12 per A power in the coalition (might be a bit high)
7 per B power
5 per C
3 per D
2 per E

Again, this is with no voting for coalitions not including you. So if three E's could conquer all of Africa and South America they would win. The US would win a solo victory if it conquered both Americas and Europe. India, China, Pakistan, and Vietnam together would need all of Asia+Australia plus half of Europe. All the E's together would need something like everything but Europe.

The last game's Afr+NA team would have needed 48 votes to get all 7 into a winning coalition, they had 42. If only the E's banded together (Cuba+Afr) they would have had 27, one shy of the 28 needed for a 4-E victory. Adding Mexico would change the target to 31, and they'd have 32 votes. Adding Canada would change the target to 36, and they'd have 37 votes...

I'd also tone down nukes, so that the map doesn't become so depopulated in the end that things kind of freeze up. Make it such that a nuke hitting an SC only suppresses it for a year. If the same SC gets hit a second time, it's out for 2 years, third is 3, etc.

I was also mulling around some ideas for being able to move units further somehow. Perhaps Wings being able to chain convoy to another Wing (or Fleet) within 2 or three spaces, or something like that, instead of needing to be adjacent, to improve mobility in the end game. But perhaps if there are less SCs destroyed from the nuke changes it's not an issue.

I also might add one or two votes on the NA west coast.

But I wouldn't try to run this without the support of NWO players as a whole, since it's incredibly hard to get 40 players to play a massive Diplomacy variant even once a year, and frankly amazing that it has happened repeatedly. Don't wanna mess with that!