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Post 29 Jul 2015, 12:13 pm

zurn wrote: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 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).


The ACDEEEE alliance did not start at the beginning of the game. As I understand it, these changes to the victory conditions are partially to remove the possibility of such alliances forming at the start. In this case (and it's only one case remember), the ACDEEEE was actually two alliances that joined forces late in the game. It was actually an ACDE alliance plus an EEE alliance. My argument here is primarily that under these proposed changes, such large alliances are more likely to form at the beginning of the game, and less likely to break as the game goes on.

As for the AB powers, in my experience both as a player and GM, the large nations tend to view each other as primary enemies. In the last game, we saw China and USA nuking the heck out of each other while the EEE alliance in Africa quietly prospered. The reason the AB nations view each other as enemies is primarily because they know how hard it is to win together, so someone is inevitably going to have be removed or at least reduced. If we change the rules as proposed, it would actually become easier for the large nations to win together, reducing or even removing the concerns that they must stab one another at some point. This, in my opinion, would create an atmosphere where the large nations would have little incentive to fight one another. This variant, because of its military imbalance, needs that incentive in order to keep things fair for the smaller nations.

Ultimately, I do not think that the original proposal was intended to allow such a coalition anyway, but that then brings me back to the question of why should the game allow an EEEEE coalition and not an ABBB coalition? If the point is to make it so that more people can win if they play well, why should 5 small nations be able to win but not 4 large nations?
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 12:16 pm

zurn wrote: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.)


I'm not even sure which way this is supposed to argue for. To me, this seems like another reason to keep it at 3.
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 12:26 pm

Sendric wrote:
zurn wrote: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.)


I'm not even sure which way this is supposed to argue for. To me, this seems like another reason to keep it at 3.


It's a little hard to explain. Basically, if you think it's pretty hard or random to get voted into the top coalition, then you figure there's not much you can do, and you know you're fighting the system and so can accept being in the second place coalition a little more.

But if you know it's actually possible to get yourself into a 4-player coalition, then you don't dismiss the possibility as much, and want to fight to get in. Knowing you were the 4th in a 4-alliance that just didn't end up in the top coalition is different when you know it was actually possible, compared to if it's capped at 3. It's more frustrating, so you fight harder to avoid it, and hate it more when it happens.

That makes not making it into the top coalition more of a "lose" condition than now, and so you scheme and/or stab to avoid it, rather than resigning yourself to random outsider votes falling one way or another.

In the 7 player alliance of this game, say there was room for a 4th in the coalition. Which fourth? Will that tension cause a stab? Or further conquest to solidify it?
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 12:36 pm

It should be noted that the only reason we ended up with a 7 player coalition (in effect) was that we saw some very poor play from large powers who ought to have known better. The Africans were vulnerable for most of the game but for some reason nobody ever chose to target them. If China hadn't stabbed me when he did then between us we'd have been able to put loads of pressure on the Africans, and that would have changed the complexion of the game completely. The North Americans would obviously have been in a very strong position, but they'd still have lacked the ability to gain enough voting centres to win outright (no regional alliance can ever win alone), so we'd then have had a situation where multiple players from different regions had a realistic shot at the win. This is what normally happens. The last game was somewhat unusual in the sense that a group of weak nations was allowed completely untramelled growth for years and years until they got into a position where they could not be challenged. It's a rare thing to occur and I doubt it will be allowed to happen again.
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Post 29 Jul 2015, 2:14 pm

Fair enough.

I wasn't intending to do this, but I've gone ahead and crunched some numbers to illustrate what I'm imagining. Feel free to steal/modify/ignore. :) First, you start with a solo vote requirement (bear with me). The number of votes for a solo win, depending on class, is:

A 54
B 47
C 42
D 38
E 32

So for A, almost 3/4 of the votes, for E, less than half. Up for debate I'm sure, but let's move on.

The formula I've slapped together for the number of votes needed for any given coalition is:

[(Sum of solo counts needed)*N^0.2 ]/N

...where N is the number of powers in the coalition

So, say you have an ABB coalition. That's [(54+47+47)*3^0.2]/3 = 61. That happens to be the current requirement, which is no accident. I tried to calibrate it to match ABB and EEE.

Spitting that out for various coalitions, I've put the results in an image, which hopefully got attached successfully, sorted alphabetically and by vote total (rounded to the nearest integer). Edit: obviously this doesn't cover all possibilities, just a sampling. The 3-power coalition values should be very similar to the GotWD values.

The 7 NA+Africa, ACDEEEE, would have needed 55 votes to all get into a winning coalition. This is very close to the 53 the top coalition received in the end.

At the extremes, all 19 E's together would need 58, vs A alone needing 54.

Some that I didn't include in the image:

ABBBBCCCCDDDDDDDDDDDD - 76 (all but E's)
ABBBBCCCC - 71 (all but D's and E's)
ABBBBCDDE - 68 (all starting nuclear powers)
DDDDDDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE - 68 (D's and E's)
ABBBCDDDDDEEEEEEEE - 68 (all survivors of GotWD)
AEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE - 60 (US + all E's)
nwo.png
Variable coalition vote requirements
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Post 30 Jul 2015, 12:09 am

Now here I have to object. This is very much skewed towards large coalitions, I think we need a system which is slightly skewed towards a solo win but allows for coalitions.

With my proposed set of rules and numbers in which the value of each country is rounded up based on its value in the coalitions currently present and the numbers are simply accumulated for the votes needed for a draw, winning is still tricky no matter how you look at it and winning with a coalition roughly doubles the amount of votes needed. So you can double your coalition size but only if you double the votes needed as well. Getting twice as much votes with twice as much countries is probably harder as opposed to easier, but it does have diplomatic merits to propose a coalition: you can win together so in theory, you're not competing.

In practice, there will be some 'cutting people out of the draw', simply because a solo win is the easiest when you're purely looking at the numbers. After all, say you have 15 votes supporting you as a D power and your ally has 12 votes supporting him as an E power, you can try to get two more votes together OR you can betray him, propose a vote for yourself and take the win. This does of course assume that those people who would vote for you still want to vote for you; maybe they only voted for your coalition because they felt threatened by the coalition but aren't threatened by you.

That's why I'm saying: purely numerical, a solo would always be the best option, but this is Diplomacy, you can't win without Diplomacy, and maybe you need a coalition to convince other countries to vote for you, or simply prevent a coalition member from nuking you out of existence.

As for why not ABBB? Isn't that obvious? That'd be unbalanced and no fun. But for instance, an AB alliance that would otherwise need to bring an E power along so they don't need too much votes can now simply stick to their AB coalition. This profits A and B powers as well, while still making sure they need to compete with eachother because they can't all be in the draw.

Edit: It is important to note that players are supposed to play and thus vote in their own interests, not simply voting for other players without any personal gain or security from such vote. In general, you'd vote for yourself and any coalition you're in and you may make an exception for other players or coalitions for diplomatic or strategic reasons.

It might be worth changing the rule that you can vote for as much coalitions as you want, because you risk a bunch of people going YOLO, voting for everyone and ending the game prematurely.
I think only allowing one vote or a spread of votes makes for a lot of interesting decisions as well: do I vote for myself or the coalition I'm in?
Stuff like that. It will also make the endgame seem less random: if you're convincing someone to vote for you, you're convincing them to not vote for anyone else including themselves, so there must be a coalition with you they're voting for or you must really be holding the knife to their throat, forcing them to vote for you.
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Post 30 Jul 2015, 8:48 am

I don't like it and Sendric does seem to fully grasp the situation. My biggest complaint is if it aint broke why fix it?
The past two games were won at the exclusion of larger powers but that is not due to the vote structure but rather the rules changes and map redraws in those games. History proves this works as it is designed to work, changing rules, altering the number of players, etc is the "problem" not changing something that has proven itself to work quite well.

While I am saying it isn't broken and "complaining" about rule changes, changes are fine and I am not saying they should never be attempted. Simply that when you make a change, it's like freaking dominoes where one change here leads to another outcome there and there while it tumbles on down the line. The system as-is was not perfected in one play, it took a lot of attempts to get it fine tuned and no doubt isn't near "perfect" but it does work quite well.

One thing missed is the way players are eliminated in large numbers in this game, soon your base is reduced drastically and allowing more than three to take part in the win really cheapens that value. While the big-boys have extra military power, the end game already favors little guys and we have no reason to give them even more political power.

Past games (run with standard rules and a full compliment of players) as stated almost always turned to winning coalitions with a large a medium and a small power in their ranks. Sometimes it was two smalls and no mediums (if anything, it's the mid-sized player that is screwed the most in this game to be honest!) and that is a very very good result that has happened over and over.
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Post 30 Jul 2015, 10:05 am

GMTom wrote:I don't like it


er, what, my suggestion or Stephan's take? They're diverging at this point. He really favours solo wins.

GMTom wrote:My biggest complaint is if it aint broke why fix it?


Obviously I (respectfully) disagree, that's why I'm making suggestions. :smile: The way the endgame and final result played out seemed unsatisfactory to me.

GMTom wrote:One thing missed is the way players are eliminated in large numbers in this game, soon your base is reduced drastically and allowing more than three to take part in the win really cheapens that value.


As I said to George above, just because in a Dip game it can come down to 3 out of which one wins the solo, doesn't cheapen the solo. It was won over 6 other players, whether they survived to the end or not. Let's not forget how the game started after all. 40*1/7=~6, so I don't see why there should be such resistance to a a coalition size larger than 3.

And, furthermore, in-fighting amongst that coalition could be interesting (trying to whittle it down). I feel like people should really want to be in that winning coalition, and not so easily vote for coalitions that don't include them. That's not possible with a size capped at 3.

If it was forbidden to vote for coalitions not including you, I'd probably cut all my victory targets by 35%.
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Post 30 Jul 2015, 10:28 am

@GMTom: Did you read my proposal? Because you seem to be arguing against the exact opposite (which turns out be what zurn had in mind, amusingly. No hard feelings zurn! :-)).

My proposal technically allows slightly larger coalitions than now, but it makes them next to impossible as well. It is meant to *promote* solo behaviour because that's the best shot anyone has.

I strongly suggest reading through my proposal again and if you're still concerned about the highly unlikely larger coalitions, for the sake of argument, assume there's a cap at 3 countries in a coalition (which is a reasonable compromise since it shouldn't change anything in practice).

Also, as you seem particularly interested in how much reach the endgame and how much win, I'd like to point out that last game there were probably less, but maybe 7 countries that *stood a chance* at winning in the endgame. If we assume an extremely optimistic 7 countries tend to have a chance at winning in the endgame situation, a 3 country coalition means that roughly 43% of the contenders won, as opposed to roughly 14% with a solo in Standard. No wonder some of us feel the endgame was unsatisfying, right?

I propose allowing that solo, so the chance goes back down to 14%.

Incidentally, did anyone consider my idea to give NK an army in SEO, without giving him the center immediately?
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Post 30 Jul 2015, 10:39 am

steephie22 wrote:No hard feelings zurn! :-)


Of course not. We're just brainstorming. :)

steephie22 wrote:Also, as you seem particularly interested in how much reach the endgame and how much win, I'd like to point out that last game there were probably less, but maybe 7 countries that *stood a chance* at winning in the endgame. If we assume an extremely optimistic 7 countries tend to have a chance at winning in the endgame situation, a 3 country coalition means that roughly 43% of the contenders won, as opposed to roughly 14% with a solo in Standard. No wonder some of us feel the endgame was unsatisfying, right?


Wait, what? Not you too. There were 40 starting countries. That's what you compare to, not the survivors, and not the subset of contenders vs coalition size either...
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Post 30 Jul 2015, 10:50 am

steephie22 wrote:I propose allowing that solo...


I'm not actually opposed to the idea that a solo could occur in NWO. I do think it should be harder to obtain than the three-way coalition, but I do like that it could bring in new opportunities.

Incidentally, did anyone consider my idea to give NK an army in SEO, without giving him the center immediately?


I did, but at this point, I would rather try the map alterations I have already proposed (and made on my master version) to help Korea out first. That is, a switch of home centers for Japan to moves one of his units to the other side of the island and a swap of starting units for China that moves the wing away from Korea and closer to India. I'm also not quite sure that the second army would actually be of benefit. A wing would be a better option in my opinion.
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Post 30 Jul 2015, 11:21 am

Yes, something needs to be done for NK but we should try out the less drastic option first. Re-jigging the position of the Chinese and Japanese units should help.If it buys an extra year for NK to negotiate then that potentially changes a lot, with the right player at the helm.

I also think my suggested changes for Brazil need to be looked at. Again, these are subtle, but I personally think they'd add some extra strategic options which would be beneficial without fundamentally altering the balance of power.
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Post 30 Jul 2015, 11:38 am

Sendric wrote:The ACDEEEE alliance did not start at the beginning of the game. As I understand it, these changes to the victory conditions are partially to remove the possibility of such alliances forming at the start. In this case (and it's only one case remember), the ACDEEEE was actually two alliances that joined forces late in the game. It was actually an ACDE alliance plus an EEE alliance. My argument here is primarily that under these proposed changes, such large alliances are more likely to form at the beginning of the game, and less likely to break as the game goes on.


Just wanted to comment on this since I skimmed it the first time and didn't respond to it. (And GMTom's comment made me revisit your posts.)

First, of course that alliance didn't start at the beginning of the game. Those are two disconnected continents, so there's little reason for cooperation early on when the focus is on eliminated local competitors. Only once the survivors of that local cull are obvious and start to look outward does discussion of such an alliance even become possible.

Second, my goal was not to stop early or large alliances, so much as encourage them to shift over time. I think allowing large *coalition* wins is the key. I don't care if there are large alliances, but I want squabbling *within* alliances over who can be in the winning coalition. (Or, for them to rightfully share the victory.) This means making the winning coalition potentially larger so demands to be included make sense, and also more flexible so that dominant players can try to cut (soon to be former) alliance members out. If the coalition is capped at 3, then it becomes a moot point for most players; they probably don't have a chance once the votes start rolling in, and the vote becomes a sort of confirmation of the top dog status at the time voting starts.
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Post 30 Jul 2015, 12:50 pm

zurn wrote:Wait, what? Not you too. There were 40 starting countries. That's what you compare to, not the survivors, and not the subset of contenders vs coalition size either...


I tend to adapt my arguments to what the person I'm discussing something with cares about. If he sees the endgame as a game in a game, I suppose that from his point of view, how much countries go into the 'second game' with some chance matters.

For me, what matters is that there's still competition in the endgame, which I think we both agree was missing this last game.

Your solution is to give the ones who fall behind a chance to win, but for me the real problem is that there's no competition amongst the winners, so my solution is to increase the chance that they lose.
I think that competition amongst the leading countries allows smaller countries to rise in the chaos as well.

As for NK, fair enough. I wouldn't know what's best there.

Edit: For the record, my goal is also to have more alliance shifting. Zurn and I agree there. Just the best approach..
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Post 30 Jul 2015, 12:58 pm

Indeed! There's more than one way to skin a cat.