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Post 29 Jul 2015, 6:27 am


Too many players and the victory is impossible, actually. Since the target vote increases per player (the amount it increases with depends on the class of course) and there's a set amount of votes available in the world, you can create some huge coalition if you want, but it still wouldn't be enough if the entire world votes for you.

I don't really think 'drawing' with other players would be less of a victory in this case. For example, one B power would need X votes and 2 B powers would need 2X votes to win. Is either one easier? Very much depends on the situation. Maybe being in a coalition together and trying to win together is the only thing preventing them from shooting eachother to pieces, making it a powerful diplomatic tool, but this alliance COULD be betrayed if one ally deems it an easier way to win. The betrayal wouldn't even necessarily involve a nuke strike; if you have enough voting support, you just propose the 'coalition' with just you in it and take the win. You'd need enough voting support though.

In it's current state, the 2 B powers would likely just be wrapping up their certain victory while everyone else eagerly tries to get that third spot.

The methods for winning should improve gameplay, ideally. As I illustrated, this way, there's only one point when you can say with confidence you're going to win: when you've won. Everything can happen from start to end. As the game stands now, a lot of people already know they've lost come voting season.

By far the most important reason though, is that while Georgeatkins is right that all rules are arbitrary, the current coalition rule isn't just arbitrary, it creates arbitrary mindsets, arbitrary gameplay.

In Fire&Blood, we created Fight Club: a group of minors around the globe who simply looked for ways to help eachother out in secrecy, sharing extremely useful intel about to-be stabbers, amongst other things. No one else knew, but a bunch of us just kept growing larger.

Then I realised Fight Club couldn't win because a coalition is three countries, so I effectively went batshit crazy in an effort to get me in the winning coalition, because I knew that right now, I wasn't going to be in one.

I went all or nothing, and got nothing, because there was no other option: no possible 4way draw to get into, no reason for the coalition heading for the win to compete with eachother..

All because of the arbitrary number 3, Fight Club was bound to fail and my country effectively committed suicide.


The arbitrary number 3 does a lot with people's mindsets. People who play to win even when a win is impossible face almost certain doom, while those who choose to go for a survive instead cowardly wait for the game to end.

Not to mention what I said before: fixed alliances. You'd get rid of all of that and create a much more dynamic rather than static game if the arbitrary number 3 is removed.



Steve,

I see your point but it is a different point. I'd like to ensure you know that when we speak of a coalition, we are not speaking an actual game alliance. In most cases, the two are different. Game alliances are what we use to help prosper and get to the end of the game. Coalitions are proposed towards the end of the game and can be proposed by anybody, composed of any group of 3 players. This is completely different from what you were talking about in your game. Your "coalition" is really a game alliance.

A coalition proposal is more like an end-game popularity contest, but can be based on any motivation, such as:

a. Revenge - a coalition is proposed to oppose a player that the proposer would like to see lose.

b. Respect - a coalition can be proposed to acknowledge various players for their efforts, even if they have nothing in common.

c. Politics - A player who proposes a coalition for which they are a member is going to canvas other players to gauge which players are most likely to get voted for. This player may propose several coalitions at the same time, in fact.

So, you sill want to make a coalition of any size? You'd have to figure out the revised votes necessary to win based on the coalition power sizes (A, B, C, etc.), which would be much more complicated and certainly much larger in total votes. If you start with 40 players, by the time we get to the end game, at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the players will usually have been eliminated. I believe at least half were eliminated in this game. That means a coalition of 10 players would constitute up to half of the 19 or 20 survivors. 6 players would be 30%. A coalition of 3 constitutes 15%, which makes more sense and has more significance. Is there any great value being in a coalition composed of at least 30% of the surviving players?

George
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 7:40 am

In Diplomacy it can come down to three players, and then one takes the solo. That's 33% of the surviving players, so the numbers aren't that odd. In the end it was 1 out of 7, not 1 out of 3.

Besides, smaller coalitions will be proposed as well; the greedy will be pulled away from voting for the larger ones and towards voting for the smaller ones.
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 7:54 am

I get that, but if you vote in such a way that it improves your odds at winning or surviving, which seems like the right thing to do, you'd probably vote for your own coalitions and people voting for you, trading votes.
Enemies typically won't vote for eachother for obvious reasons, at least normally, because there's a severe lack of trust that the votes will be returned if nothing else as well as the obvious fear that your enemy takes the victory, and allies would be pretty pissed at you if you don't vote for their coalitions, possibly breaking the alliance.
Voting is often a demand for an alliance, or an alliance a demand for voting.

With 3 player-coalitions and, for instance, a 4-player alliance, you either vote for coalitions in which you play no part because your allies are in it or you don't vote for those but only the ones you're in as well, possibly ruining the alliance. If you know that you have the least voting support amongst your allies, you know that if you vote for them as well, they will win over you. Often this will happen, but a better strategy if you still aim to win is to turn on your allies and change the status quo in which you know you won't win. Why do you know you won't win? 3 player-coalitions.

As for the rest of your post, the point is that 10 players wouldn't be able to win because there aren't enough votes on the map for them to win, while 6 players would need roughly 100% of the votes which is quite an achievement as well.

Real number example:
Last game, there were 76 votes if I counted them right.

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.
This is the amount needed per power last game, rounded up because winning should be slightly easier in theory if you decide the size of your coalition.

So say 6 players want a coalition and want to take it to the win. Even if they're all E powers, they would need 14*6=84 votes, which is slightly impossible with only 76 votes on the map.

Okay then, 5 E powers. They would need 14*5=70 votes, meaning there's only 6 votes they can't have. It's technically possible, but they'd need support from, threaten or control pretty much the entire world so they vote for them.

Are you honestly saying that's not an achievement worthy of a win for 5 mere E powers, starting with one center and one vote, gathering 70 votes?


That's what I'm talking about. 14 votes for a single E power is equally tricky to achieve.

This would also cause very interesting endgames: if a coalition almost has enough votes through bullying, they still need to watch out because a much smaller coalition or single country could theoretically win. That's simply unlikely to happen because a small, weak country can't exert lots of influence.

Note: defaulting to yes-votes might not be a good idea if this is implemented.

Tell me this isn't more fun and challenging as an endgame, while removing the incentive for set alliances of a certain size from the start of the game!
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 8:08 am

zurn wrote:In Diplomacy it can come down to three players, and then one takes the solo. That's 33% of the surviving players, so the numbers aren't that odd. In the end it was 1 out of 7, not 1 out of 3.

Besides, smaller coalitions will be proposed as well; the greedy will be pulled away from voting for the larger ones and towards voting for the smaller ones.



I suppose that's a fair point in Standard. But I'm not sure it scales the same way in a large game, which is more a matter of perception than pure math (to me). Is a 10-player coalition win (for example) in a 40-player game really the same thing? It does not "feel" the same to me. The element of "Smallness" is important to maintain to give some degree of satisfaction in a coalition win.

But I don't understand the insistence on variable or larger coalitions or the issue with larger powers. As Tom noted, the game is meant to be imbalanced, which motivates the rationale for having coalition wins. And there is no reason that a coalition HAS to have a major power. That is why the winning vote counts change based on the mix of coalition power sizes. And keep in mind that coalitions are proposed and voted on. There is no reason that anybody HAS to propose a coalition consisting the US or Russia, for example (except maybe their respective players). If you want to punish the "greed" of a larger power, propose coalitions of smaller countries and convince everybody to vote your way.
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 8:23 am

I think you're misunderstanding something because I certainly don't think large powers have to be in the winning coalition. "Greedy" can apply to anyone, not just large powers. I don't have an issue with the larger powers at all, I don't think we're talking about that; I like the imbalanced dynamic that is offset by vote and class considerations, it's a key feature of the variant.

georgeatkins wrote:But I don't understand the insistence on variable or larger coalitions


And I don't understand the insistence on a fixed coalition size! :smile:
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 8:55 am

georgeatkins wrote: Is a 10-player coalition win (for example) in a 40-player game really the same thing?


Read my post. What I'm proposing allows for a 5-player coalition win max if they're all E with one or two D, and only if they get pretty much every single vote in the game.

Getting all votes minus 6 with 5 E players is probably as impressive an achievement as it gets.

The point isn't so much to allow larger coalitions as it is to not force someone to form coalitions as this game has been doing so far, though. Why should I be forced to play the end game with a coalition? Seriously, why?
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 10:05 am

steephie22 wrote:
georgeatkins wrote: Is a 10-player coalition win (for example) in a 40-player game really the same thing?


Read my post. What I'm proposing allows for a 5-player coalition win max if they're all E with one or two D, and only if they get pretty much every single vote in the game.

Getting all votes minus 6 with 5 E players is probably as impressive an achievement as it gets.

The point isn't so much to allow larger coalitions as it is to not force someone to form coalitions as this game has been doing so far, though. Why should I be forced to play the end game with a coalition? Seriously, why?


Steve,

I think my main issue is that you seem to be equating "coalition" with "alliance", as in your statement "...So say 6 players want a coalition and want to take it to the win (my italincs)."

That sounds like you're talking about an alliance and alliance strategy. Am I misreading you?
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 10:49 am

steephie22 wrote:With 3 player-coalitions and, for instance, a 4-player alliance, you either vote for coalitions in which you play no part because your allies are in it or you don't vote for those but only the ones you're in as well, possibly ruining the alliance. If you know that you have the least voting support amongst your allies, you know that if you vote for them as well, they will win over you. Often this will happen, but a better strategy if you still aim to win is to turn on your allies and change the status quo in which you know you won't win. Why do you know you won't win? 3 player-coalitions.


I'm sorry, but this last statement is patently false. The 3-player coalition requirement is not the reason why you (that's colloquial you not you personally) can't win. Your place of blame here is as arbitrary as the rule itself. The victory conditions are consistent, which means that a single player is not prevented from winning simply due to the fact that the requirement is for a 3-nation coalition. If you want to argue against that admittedly arbitrary-ish number, then fine, but please stop using it as a reason why someone can't win. That's like saying Germany can't win in a standard game because the requirement for a solo doesn't allow more than one nation to win. The standards are the same for all. It's the players who play the game the best who usually end up winning.

As for the rest of your post, the point is that 10 players wouldn't be able to win because there aren't enough votes on the map for them to win, while 6 players would need roughly 100% of the votes which is quite an achievement as well.

Real number example:
Last game, there were 76 votes if I counted them right.

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.
This is the amount needed per power last game, rounded up because winning should be slightly easier in theory if you decide the size of your coalition.


Before we go much further, you should understand how this part was done because while your assumptions here are based on the numbers provided, the actual methodology for coming up with the vote requirements is different.

To determine the number of votes required to win, we start with a EEE coalition and work our way up. The number of votes required for such a coalition is equal to 1/2 the total votes available + 1. In the last game, there were 78 votes available (as indicated in the table in the upper left corner of the map). So, an EEE coalition requires 78/2 + 1 votes, which equals 40. From there you add votes based on the various designations as such:

D: +1
C: +3
B: +6
A: +9

So say 6 players want a coalition and want to take it to the win. Even if they're all E powers, they would need 14*6=84 votes, which is slightly impossible with only 76 votes on the map.

Okay then, 5 E powers. They would need 14*5=70 votes, meaning there's only 6 votes they can't have. It's technically possible, but they'd need support from, threaten or control pretty much the entire world so they vote for them.

Are you honestly saying that's not an achievement worthy of a win for 5 mere E powers, starting with one center and one vote, gathering 70 votes?


No one is saying that, but the problem here is that you are looking at this entirely from the perspective of an all E-nation coalition.

If we modify the above formula to simply apply a certain number of votes based on the nation designation, we could roughly estimate the following:

E: 13
D: 14
C: 16
B: 19
A: 22

This would actually result in lower vote requirement totals than we used in the last game, but that's a separate discussion.

So, here are some example coalitions of more than 3 nations applying the above numbers:

EEEE: 52
EEEEE: 65
DDEE: 54
CCDD: 60
ABBB: 79

Ok, so the first thing that stands out to me is that the ABBB coalition can't possibly win because it would require more votes than there are available in the game. Why should the game allow a EEEEE coalition to win, but not an ABBB coalition? That seems unfair to me. The point of the coalition is to make it more fair for the smaller nations, not to tip the balance completely in their favor. Ok, it's only one more vote than there are available. That's an easy fix right? Just reduce the total required votes for an A nation down to 21. Problem solved, right? No, not really. Because now we're making it easier for an AEE coalition to win. Under this method, an AEE coalition would require 47 votes where previously it required 49. This gives even more of an incentive for the A nation to find two small nations to team up with right away, which partially negates the whole reason for your proposal in the first place.

Look, it's not that I don't like your idea. I actually think it's very interesting and merits full consideration. I do think, however, that with any new idea we need to look carefully at exactly how it's implemented and what the impact would be. Your concern seems to be that people are forming alliances very early on. I'm sorry, but there's just no way to regulate that out of the game. This is diplomacy. If you don't have an alliance with someone at the beginning, you are almost certainly going to lose. The same is true for standard dip and all variants. This game's victory requirements are for 3 nations. If it were for 4 nations or even 5 nations, wouldn't the same "problem" still exist?

Not only would there still be incentive to form alliances early on, I would argue this would create more incentive for forming those alliances and less incentive for those nations to stab one another. Part of what you have to do in order to get into position to win is to convince others to stab their allies. If they know they can win with a 5-player coalition, it's going to be even harder to convince them to make that stab than it is now. Additionally, players would be less fearful of joining larger coalitions knowing the entire group can win if they stick together.
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 11:07 am

Sendric wrote:Ok, so the first thing that stands out to me is that the ABBB coalition can't possibly win because it would require more votes than there are available in the game. Why should the game allow a EEEEE coalition to win, but not an ABBB coalition? That seems unfair to me.


Why? The A and B powers start with big advantages; shouldn't it be harder for them to win in a top-class-heavy coalition? Seems like exactly the effect you'd want. A few powerful nations can take the win together if they truly devastate the opposition. In counter-balance, a myriad of smaller powers can band together, hopeful of a large coalition win, to oppose them.

Of course I think if the rules regarding coalitions were changes significantly, the equations would probably need to be tweaked. But the above effect seems like exactly the kind of tradeoff you want between the different classes of powers.
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 11:15 am

zurn wrote:
Sendric wrote:Ok, so the first thing that stands out to me is that the ABBB coalition can't possibly win because it would require more votes than there are available in the game. Why should the game allow a EEEEE coalition to win, but not an ABBB coalition? That seems unfair to me.


Why? The A and B powers start with big advantages; shouldn't it be harder for them to win in a top-class-heavy coalition? Seems like exactly the effect you'd want. A few powerful nations can take the win together if they truly devastate the opposition. In counter-balance, a myriad of smaller powers can band together, hopeful of a large coalition win, to oppose them.

Of course I think if the rules regarding coalitions were changes significantly, the equations would probably need to be tweaked. But the above effect seems like exactly the kind of tradeoff you want between the different classes of powers.


Except we already have that. It's already harder for the large nations to win because of the voting requirements. The big nations do not have the huge advantage everyone seems to think. The last two games have combined for exactly 0 A or B nations in the winning coalitions. Yes, its a relatively small sample size, but since we can't play 1000 games we have to use what we have. Based on the recent results, I do not think it's hard to argue that the small nations have as much a chance to win as the large nations.
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 11:21 am

Alright, so you could be flexible about it: if a coalition gets all the votes in the game, it wins, regardless. I mean, why not? They took everything. And if people want to declare a 40-way coalition, let them. 7-way draws in Dip aren't illegal.

Other tweaks are possible. The voting system allows for a lot of fine tuning.
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 11:25 am

zurn wrote:Alright, so you could be flexible about it: if a coalition gets all the votes in the game, it wins, regardless. I mean, why not? They took everything.

Other tweaks are possible. The voting system allows for a lot of fine tuning.


An interesting idea. However, wouldn't that provide incentive for USA, Russia, China, UK and France to simply team up and wipe everyone out militarily knowing they can all win the game if they take all of the voting centers?
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 11:38 am

The thing stopping them is the same thing stopping them from trying it with the current rules, no? Not a 5 player ABBBB win exactly, of course, but a general A-B roflstomp.
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 11:54 am

zurn wrote:The thing stopping them is the same thing stopping them from trying it with the current rules, no? Not a 5 player ABBBB win exactly, of course, but a general A-B roflstomp.


No, because the biggest thing stopping them is the rampant in-fighting that occurs between the AB nations because they all know at some point, the alliance will break. An ABBBB alliance cannot win under the current rules, which means at some point, there will be a break in the alliance if such an alliance ever formed (it hasn't to date that I can think of). It is also the case that because of the higher victory conditions, it is less appealing to form an ABB coalition than an ABE (for example) or a BCE or whatever. If you allow any combination of nations to win by simply gathering all of the votes, then there's no reason for the AB nations to worry about stabbing one another.

I suppose you could argue that the other nations could band together to stop them in a massive alliance of 30-35 nations. Sure, that could happen. What could also happen is the AB powers convince a couple of the C powers to join them, further tipping the scales in their favor. This probably wouldn't be all that difficult either. I think most people would prefer to win in a 7-player coalition than a 30-player one.
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 11:58 am

What ended up happening though, is an ACDEEEE alliance voted in three of the E's. They didn't fight each other because they knew only 3 of them would (and could) win. (Heck, outsiders voted for them too.) Why is this different for the AB powers as a whole? I mean, it might legitimately be different, I'm just wondering.

Also, yes, most people would prefer a smaller coalition, I'm rather counting on that (the greed that splits alliances).

And, by allowing for the real possibility of a larger coalition win, players would no longer settle for "voting for a representative in the winning 3" because the top 3 is (currently) hard to get into. It puts the two conditions into more of a contrast. Losing should hurt more. :) "I coulda been the 4th winning coalition member."

(So many edits, sorry.)