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Post 04 Feb 2013, 12:21 pm

Just back from lunch that was spent almost in a dream world (feet up on my desk, Buffalo Sabres cap covering my eyes from the fluorescent lights) and I thought up some ideas to add to those I had been jotting down the past several days or so...

I am about ready to start a game, I figured a WW4 game would be a good variant, popular here and now elsewhere. I could post it here of course but also on another few sites. I would tell those others that there is no need to join Redscape or hardly even look at the site. But each turn result would have the map posted to the Rescape forum and link would be sent with results. So the players would indeed be on Redscape, while they might never navigate beyond the result page, they would see the site and what it offers and how pretty the forums here really are.
I could also add the original game twist I designed into the game using a end game vote... the game takes on a new twist and new tactics, while some really hate that aspect, it fits well for a new twist and the game would end much sooner while having a better dropout rate than a LOOOONG game would have (reflects well on Redscape in multiple ways)

So a few questions
When would the timing be best for this?
I would want to wait until the forums are redesigned if that is in the works?
How would it time with a possible tourney?

speaking of redesign, that was what most of my notes had to deal with
let's see if I don't get too carried away here...

We cleaned things up some, that is important to stay on top of, old games still lurking about makes the site look dead and unattended...not good.

We did a slight layout change but I think it should go a bit further
My humble suggestions:
Condense into fewer categories
Right at the top we could have a "Welcome to Redscape" or "About Redscape" or something similar
In this category we would have a history of the site and our accomplishments, what we strive for. we welcome ALL people for any reason they desire to continue to visit.
Further topics in this section about navigating the site, how to join a game, how to host a game (and all are encouraged to help out repaying the community this way), maybe a meet others section where we can post pics of live meetings, who have you met section? A monthly bio on people? I see a general pleasant welcoming section making people feel right at home and letting them know they are welcome to play Dip or any other games or simply to discuss things in our forums.

Next Category is Diplomacy
I think we all realize this site is not just Dip but certainly Dip driven, keep that important by keeping it high on the forum structure. In this category we would have sub-categories if possible. Game openings at the top, Strategy discussion, variant lab, games in progress no doubt!
and regarding some of these topics, we get together and discuss a way of how to FORCE the topics into being current. If we take turns posting comments and replying to others, it stays vibrant and current even if it starts somewhat forced.
(this entire forum thread should also be eliminated when we start this up!!!! )

Next category is the Tourney section
even if nothing is going on, put the place holder there, highlight our intents and goals ...almost like an advertisement in a way?

The next Category is Non-Dip Games
Subcategories for each game ...Game of Thrones, Civilization, Fantasy Sports, etc

Last (but not least) is the Discussion forum
Politics of course but what about other topics that people are generally interested in?
(we have art and science???? ...really?)
What about Movies? Sports? TV? (or Movies and TV lumped together), maybe a section for video game reviews, possibly other board games? Trivia?
again, we for a while attempt to "force" the topics to come to life, once started, they may very well grow legs and walk for themselves?

Things are not that well laid out currently and only need some redesign to tidy things up
speaking of redesign, are their plans for a new color scheme/ artwork /new avatars / new ranks/ etc???
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Post 04 Feb 2013, 12:39 pm

All great ideas, Tom.

Two additional comments:

1) Remove all traces of OTTO asap. That's probably where Brad needs help with programming the most. I imagine forum layout is fairly easy.

2) Get 'resurecction' out of the banner. It's Redscape, plain & simple.

So, Tom, when can we see your web design for the graphics? :grin:
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Post 04 Feb 2013, 12:49 pm

How about a game queue for standard diplomacy and perhaps other common variants? That way, someone doesn't have to wait for a game to start before indicating an interest in playing.
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Post 04 Feb 2013, 1:32 pm

New game queues should be at the top of each category or possibly even a category all it's own right at the top and have that one category cover all types of games?

...My artwork leaves much to be desired, I am strictly an "idea guy"!
But I have plenty of ideas...
WW1 map backdrop, maybe a background of WW1 posters along the side panels? (all in a red hue of course?), possibly some sort of rotating background (similar to how we have some of the "silly" avatars rotate each time you view them)?
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Post 04 Feb 2013, 3:18 pm

GMTom wrote:To cover some issues brought up...

GM prefix = bad idea, confusing to say the least. You have a game and "Bob" is your GM, but who is this GMTom guy, is he my GM? I would have each player keep his standard name and assign maybe a special "cool" rank like Field Marshall (actually seems to fit well) or if you like the prefix (and it does have some allure to it?) then something other than GM since each game has a "game master" who is referred to as the games GM. Maybe something like a prefix "RED"? (REDTom, REDBob, REDBilly, etc?) this has zero confusion to a newbie.
'Mod'? 'Admin'? Even less confusing if it's related to what they do.

PG tourney
I thought that was dead? I know some others carried on a new tourney, did they keep the PG name?
If so, maybe it's a good idea to get a new name (as we discussed) since the PG theme is well known to be a team format and that seems to be something we agree should be scrapped at this stage? But a tourney, timed right is a great idea!
RUFFHAUS8 was organising the 'Redscape Games', an individual tourney that was intended to rank players year after year. The first and second rounds were played, and he did mention getting round three up a few months back but I've heard nothing since saying I'd be happy to GM again.

Variants are popular elsewhere and VDip seems to be a big player all of a sudden. But I joined there to discuss some of my games they are hosting, it's a fine site sure but their forums really suck compared to ours. That's our draw and we really need to make ourselves known once again. Our forums and human adjudicated games are what set us apart, variants designed here were once big as well, not so much of late?
Well, who are the people willing to GM?

I will happily GM a game of Standard or a common variant, and I'm not in a rush to start so will gladly accept whoever comes along and doesn't go for the games others are setting up for a specific purpose.

What would be good is to have several sets of games waiting for players with some choice, and to have a drive to get old players back.
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Post 05 Feb 2013, 1:32 pm

Mod and Admin work just fine and easily describe that persons function while not being confused in any way for a game "GM". I would prefer something "snazzy" and less "sterile" than MOD or ADMIN but they do work fine. If we kept the rankings and used more military ones (I am a fan of that idea) then maybe "General" would speak volumes? Simply keep that administrator (old GM) name unattainable to others so maybe (open to any particular names, only using suggestions here) a former GM is now say "General Tom" while a player levels up to say "Field Marshall Bob", the two would never be confused this way and we maintain "cool" ranks.
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Post 05 Feb 2013, 2:40 pm

As another voice from the past, I have a couple of general comments. First as to the replacement naming for the GM moniker a possibility might be use the whole Adjutant General staff system. Those in change overall would be the Adjutant Generals. The next layer, the current GM's could be something in that staff system such as Provost or something else.

A change related to the otto thing is the ability to log on should be accessible from just about anywhere and easy to find.

Something I've always wondered about was would it make sense to send out an email to all the registered user who registered some time ago, the break point would have to be determined, asking if they would be willing to respond to the question of why they decided to leave the site. To me this would seem to accomplish two goals. First it could provide some additional data on why people chose to leave the site. Second if timed and worded correctly it would in effect announce that the site it attempting a serious restart without it being sent out as such

One thing I would definitely suggest is, for lack of a better term, the core group being talked about come up with a mission statement for what it is that will make Redscape unique. The one being mentioned the most is that the games are human moderated. While as mentioned above at this time a team tournament is probably not realistic that did seem to be one of the major points of differentiation for Redscape back in the past. A third in the past, to open up the can of worms, was that the rank was strictly by reliability.

The question on the ranking is would using that drive away more than it would attract? While I was not your "normal" type player that was one of the points that attracted me to stay with the site in the past incarnation of the site.
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Post 05 Feb 2013, 4:38 pm

My understanding of the ranks was that they are diplomatic ranks, not military, and never were intended to be military. Personally, I prefer that, as Diplomacy is far less a military game than it is a diplomatic one - ok, so the pieces we order are 'armies' and 'navies' but the rules are pretty abstract and there's certainly no military tactics involved other than amassing greater strength.

I'm not generally a fan of military ranks (but hey, I'm not a big fan of war or the military)

On the system, I think that it was good that reliability was used for ranks, although in reality it meant that people who played a lot got high ranks, and those who played a few but never NMR'd could still be lower. I also seem to recall it was a major hassle to record and update the ranks - GMChristine can probably comment on that. While most forums do it by number of posts, I do agree with PS that it was a selling point.

One thing about 'Redscape Games' as outlined was that it would, in theory, have given us a rundown of the relative ranking of lots of active players - ok, based on a handful of games over a couple of years, but still - and that is a dimension that would also help so visitors and players could see where they rated compared to others, while not being related to ranks.
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Post 07 Feb 2013, 4:05 pm

SLOTerp wrote:
Doctor Fate wrote:
SLOTerp wrote:I was inspired to look around the internets for the old reliable diplomacy sites. Much to my surprise, Diplomacy World is still in publication. In fact, there is even an article in the linked issue on the problems with the web-based judges (p.13).

Haha. I've even written an article (or two) there and have a few more in the works.

Yes, it's THAT easy to get published.

I also looked through the previous issue: That issue was a bit depressing, to say the least. I note that you were in a demo game with a bunch of old-timer pbm guys. Even the demo game commentary felt like an unsatisfactory swan song for a dying breed. Gawd, is that our future?

There are some great issues and great articles. I can remember the days where the issues used to occupy me for days.

The publisher and editor are terrific guys and would love to get DW back to what it was.

That demo game . . . . grr.

Germany should NEVER attack Austria in 1901. That was someone being too clever for his own good. I told him what would happen and . . . it did!
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Post 09 Feb 2013, 11:33 pm

I just want to say that I'm sorry for the careles typos in my messag last week, posted just as I was leavening on vacation! - george
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Post 10 Feb 2013, 2:31 pm

I like the diplomatic ranks too. The name of the game is Diplomacy, after all, not something like The Great War. And I like the way that they reflect commitment to the game. It's no real fun to play out a game after things have gone badly and you have no realistic chance to win, but it's very poor sportsmanship to drop out under those circumstances. Non-dedicated players ruin a game faster than anything else, except of course a non-dedicated GM.
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Post 10 Feb 2013, 9:36 pm

True, but what's to do? In order to win, some players are going to probably get eliminated. As was said before, Diplomacy can be a cruel game. It affects almost all of us over time, which is one reason why players sometimes fade out and fade back in. Did you ever ask "Why is this so?" After all, losing in Risk, Catan, or even Squad Leader does not usually elicit the kind of attrition and personal reactions we see (or experience) playing Dip.

Is it possible to "educate" newbies (especially) on how to deal with defeat or elimination in a way that keeps them interested and engaged?

Many Dip articles focus on ways to win. Perhaps we need to start posting articles on how to lose; or, how to lose without losing your cool or losing your enthusiasm for the game. After all, we've all heard the advise (or seen an example) that even a one-center power can come not only survive, but win. I know this seems like I'm going off topic, but I'm using this as support for an earlier suggestion to promote a Strategy/Tactics forum.
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Post 11 Feb 2013, 7:22 am

...a perfect thing to discuss in my proposed "welcome to Redscape" section? or certainly in the section devoted to tactics and such (a good start for the "forced" discussions even?)

I would really like to things start to take shape ...soon?
So far we have some people talking and nothing happening. A dedicated group of invitees with a forum blocked to others would be a perfect start, the block helps keep this talk of doom and gloom from other eyes.
We have a billion topics and a dedicated forum to cover each one really is in order and makes this process so much easier, even if it can not be blocked to only a special group, then open it to ALL and delete the entire section when complete, but do start such discussions
For example we could have a thread about the layout, a thread about strategy discussion topics, a thread about rank, a thread about a new tourney, a thread about gaining new members, a thread about ...
Right now it's this topic, no that, how about this? no that...we forget what is being discussed and nothing is really going on (at least that can be seen) 5 pages now and growing.
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Post 11 Feb 2013, 8:08 am

Taking the bull by the horns here (sometimes that's what we need)

assuming a private thread is not in the offing, assuming nobody is willing to start recruiting die hards to join in this discussion, then open a separate forum, do not bury it it either! All are welcome to participate and hey, maybe we find a few guys we never knew had so much interest, a new forum thread would possibly help find those people as well?

Individual topics for the new section that have been discussed (and certainly not the only topics we are limited to):

Site Layout,
what topic headers and in what order are these to be displayed (also subtopics within each group)
maybe include as a subtopic a a new site theme and possible artwork idea
a subtopic for each topic to be discussed (fantasy sports), "welcome to Redscape", etc..

This is what we are about after all!? Discuss starting new games, the type of games, maybe even a general guideline to have us offer a stream of new games!?
Discuss variants to be offered?

How to grow our membership / bring back old members

Redscape Tourney ?

New Game GM's
who is willing to help out,
how can we grow the ranks of people willing to GM games
maybe a how to discussion of what you need to know, who/where to go for assistance (maybe a how-to page developed?)

New site administrators
discuss who should be retained / eliminated / brought back / added
encourage all that participation is to be rewarded in this manner?
a how-to discussion page for administrators (I once could start new threads, and alter things a lot, I have no clue how to do ANYTHING since the change yet I have the rights (or at least did, I have no looked since I am afraid of what I COULD really screw up simply by looking?)

new ranks? new system for ranks that combine dedication with wins, a big reward to those who host games?

Mission statement
what makes Redscape unique? What sets us apart (what WILL set us apart?)

anything else????
and who is gonna get this rolling further???????
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Post 11 Feb 2013, 10:40 am

I won't be doing much in this, other than an occasional kibitz, but I will check with Chris this evening to see if she might know how to set up a private forum or thread for this. As I remember there was a private forum way back when and if that can be done you could have as many threads in there as you wanted.