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Post 15 Jul 2014, 8:38 am

drano019 wrote:More will be coming once my EOG is complete (I probably am writing way too much), but I'm well aware of the political maneuvering Argentina and Orang Laut made on my behalf. However, isn't that the essence of Diplomacy?


Yes, of course. My only point here is that had things gone according to plan, nukes would not have been needed after those first two years. Obviously, things did not go according to plan, as they rarely do.

drano019 wrote:One might argue that because I was able to face such an onslaught and not only survive, but help get 3 of my allies the win, that there is no issue with nukes, and that everything worked out as intended. After all, Diplomacy can make up for military shortcoming, as we saw when Randy and Zac decided to stick with me. As for miscalculations, well, that's just part of the game too. Everyone makes miscalculations, we can't really argue that anything should or should not be changed because of miscalculations.


I agree. I'm not looking to change anything because of those miscalculations. My opinion on nukes is also based on more than one game. I've played in other NWO games as well, and I have always come away with the sense that by the end of the game, the nukes were out of control. Some very intelligent people have considered this issue, and have been unable to come up with a satisfactory solution. I am merely attempting to re-open the discussion and try to offer another perspective. The end result is likely to be that nothing changes, but as they say, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. It doesn't hurt to discuss options.
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Post 15 Jul 2014, 8:46 am

It's worth pointing out that this game was somewhat unusual as well, in that there were very few American or Russian nukes deployed. Think much crazier it could have been if those guys had been lobbing their nukes right across the map.
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Post 15 Jul 2014, 8:48 am

Sassenach wrote:It's worth pointing out that this game was somewhat unusual as well, in that there were very few American or Russian nukes deployed. Think much crazier it could have been if those guys had been lobbing their nukes right across the map.


There were zero Russian nukes deployed, to my knowledge. Sweden certainly didn't eat one.
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Post 15 Jul 2014, 12:08 pm

Something that hasn't been noted yet is that it is not easy to get the nuke cycle going effectively, and you have to put yourself at risk of attack to do it. The majority of nations launch zero to very few nukes all game, and most of the nations that do get a nuke cycle going can launch very few each year, and only launch as many as the most successful nukers when fed a bunch of credits (Turkey is a good example from this game). As an example of how difficult it is to get a strong nuke cycle going, consider that to launch 5 nukes/year consistently, you need an adjustment of +10. That's not including builds needed to increase range or place units on the board. To be +10, you're running a large nation with very few units. That's partly what happened with UK, and why he would have been ruined if his allies turned on him: he was wide open.

Even after nukes are up and running, it's still dangerous to use them to effectively stab someone. Sendric noted that the first attack on UK included 5 nukes from China, 3 from Mexico and 2 from France. The follow up attack was ~5 nukes, and I don't recall how that was split among the three nations. I see absolutely no problem with this - three nations, all with nuke capabilities of varying strength, teamed up to stab a larger nation. Importantly, these three nations, as a group, didn't have nuke cycles of 5, 3, and 2 nukes per year, respectively, but actually ramped up nuke production (and/or were fed credits, I can't recall) for a very strong initial stab. It's evident by the comparative weakness of the follow up. They expended all of their nukes and, at great risk, lowered their defenses and opened themselves up to a stab. It's a calculated risk that anyone attempting that sort of stab has to take.

A hypothetical involving the stab on UK by China, France and Mexico. It worked out amazingly well, but what if China had decided that what he really wanted was to be number one at that point, and he nuked Dario instead? 5 nukes hit UK to stunt him, 5 nukes hit France to largely take him out of contention, China potentially dodges the OL/Argentinian nukes. It's really risky even being involved in attacks like that.

In the two runs of NWO prior to this one, each had a different rule placed to attempt to limit nukes, and each backfired. The first had an "Armageddon rule", where 50 nukes were allowed to be launched - the 51st caused the game to end with no winners. Once we got to the point where nukes launched + nukes on the board was more than 50, a few players panicked and voted for everything to ensure the game would end with at least some winners. The result was entirely forgettable - I have no idea who won (but I do remember who the frontrunners were, and this was a game that Ling, for one, had a great shot at winning as USA). The second was last game that Rob G. noted, where we had a limit placed on nation ranks nuking nations of lower rank. I recall it was that a nation could nuke any power above their own, but only one lower - so UK rank B could only nuke ranks A, B, C powers, and a rank E and F nations could nuke anyone. The result was that F nations that developed strong nuke cycles and eliminated/befriended all E nations could blast the A, B, C, and D nations without any fear of reprisal, and that is what happened.

As of now, developing a very strong nuke cycle is not necessary for a win (see Sweden), and it does not prevent you from being knocked out (see UK, China). Having one helps tremendously in many ways, but it's very difficult to obtain and maintain, and even after you do have it, a lot of people that you interact with thinks you're bullying them because they're afraid that they're next in line if they disagree (or disobey), as I'm writing a bit about in my own EOG (it'll be up here some time).

I don't think that there should be any changes to nukes. There's this idea now that they're horribly overpowered because a handful of players each game utilize them very efficiently, and of those players, some are fortunate enough for things to work out in their favor (while the others aren't). I think it gives this false impression of how easy it is to get them and to use them once you have them.
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Post 15 Jul 2014, 2:11 pm

Has there ever been a game where the early nuke powers have tried to enforce non-proliferation ? I always thought it would be interesting to see how long that could be made to work, if say Russia, USA, China, Uk and France all agreed at the start that they'd look to punish anybody who trades or acquires nuke tech. It would inevitably crack, but how long would it take ?

The majority of nations launch zero to very few nukes all game, and most of the nations that do get a nuke cycle going can launch very few each year, and only launch as many as the most successful nukers when fed a bunch of credits (Turkey is a good example from this game).


I should point out that the credits I got from Israel (which was most of the transfers I got) were only what I would have got if I'd have cannibalised his centres after he was nuked. I chose not to do that, which ultimately cost me nothing because Steve was able to pay me an equivalent value anyway and also voted for me. I could have maintained a nuke cycle had I chosen to stab him though, although it would have been a small one. This doesn't really diminish your point though.
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Post 15 Jul 2014, 2:36 pm

There is often talk about it, I tried to get folks on board for it and no one really took it seriously. It is the same as the "hey little powers lets all ally" talk you hear every game. That also never really happens.
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Post 15 Jul 2014, 10:49 pm

Sassenach wrote:Of course, it's all very well to say that big powers can eat a modest amount of nukes and still come back swinging, but the same doesn't really apply to smaller powers. Israel and Nigeria got totally demolished by a comparatively small number of nukes launched in one attack. Israel did ultimately survive till the end, but only because I was propping him up.

I believe there was one incarnation of NWO where big powers were forbidden from nuking very small ones. I didn't last very long in that game so I can't remember how it eventually turned out, but since it was abandoned I assume the consensus must have been that it didn't really work very well.


In the NWO game prior to this, I was Mexico, and because of that experience I am actually for the liberalization of the nuke rules. In the previous game I abused my protected class as an E power and nuked a hell of a lot of other powers, being somewhat immune to being taken out by larger powers. My sterilization in this game, while brutal, seemed more fair to me than in in the previous game where I was protected.

EDIT in case people don't know my username: I was Israel this game.
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Post 16 Jul 2014, 6:14 am

Yes, there was a discussion of non-proliferation. I actually planned to stick to it, and even declined to give someone nuke tech because of it early on (although I can't remember now if that was my reason or my excuse). Unfortunately, not everyone took it seriously, and if memory serves, I believe the UK handed nuke tech over to someone pretty early (checking history....yes, to Mexico in year 3).

All the points being made are solid, and I don't really disagree with anyone. Maybe I just have a biased view point because I seem to get nuked pretty often. Since no one ever uses the full year to build a nuke, choosing instead to use a banked credit, maybe offering other options for banked credits that are appealing in some way could alter the use of nukes without actually restricting them in any way. This is something I will have to think about.
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Post 16 Jul 2014, 8:07 am

It may be an idea to adapt the pirate city building function. 2 banked credits builds you a new SC would be interesting. Those who already have a big nuke cycle going on wouldn';t be very likely to use it, but it could come in handy for all kinds of different situations (Steve had 4 credits at the point he got nuked, so he could have instantly built 2 new SCs and gotten back in the game).
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Post 16 Jul 2014, 8:17 am

I was speaking with Sendric (I think) about the "nuke problem" during the game. The ability to change the game through their use is great, as is the ability to overcome static conditions and break up stalemate lines. My biggest beef with them is that there is precisely no defense. Historically the concept of MAD kept nukes from being launched, but we can't implement "emergency launch orders" without overburdening the GM.

I had one idea which might have some merit, though I haven't given it a ton of thought and please do shoot it full of holes.

Split nukes into two units: ICBM's and Tactical Nukes. Tactical nukes have a set range of some kind and are built just like the nukes from this game - two build points required, either through banked or over time. Their set range makes them usual mostly within a "theatre" of operations. Perhaps even have them able to travel through ocean spaces (nuke subs, anyone?). The point is, they are much more local weapons. Having them in an area gives you a ton of leverage in that area, but you can't threaten the whole board with them. Furthermore, perhaps they can only destroy units, not Supply Centers. This makes the buildup of tactical nukes in an area much more pointed at a single enemy, thus they aren't as useful for a single grand stab.

ICBM's are the nukes that use the "range" value. For the US and Russia at the start they can hit the entire map. Others have to increase range. ICBM's cost three, or even four build points. Maybe they also take a minimum two build turns to construct, so building up a critical mass of them takes time.

In summary:

Tactical Nukes:
-Limited Range (building up a supply telegraphs intent in that area)
-Only destroys units (can't annihilate a player's supply base)

ICBM's
-Range as per the Range stat
-Take longer to build
-Can destroy supply centers and units

The idea is partially to make nukes less of a "surprise" move. It does not really address the issue of inertia of a large power as discussed in this thread.
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Post 16 Jul 2014, 8:33 am

Sassenach wrote:It may be an idea to adapt the pirate city building function. 2 banked credits builds you a new SC would be interesting. Those who already have a big nuke cycle going on wouldn';t be very likely to use it, but it could come in handy for all kinds of different situations (Steve had 4 credits at the point he got nuked, so he could have instantly built 2 new SCs and gotten back in the game).


That's a great idea. UK Rob had 7 or 8 banked builds that were useless to him directly after he was nuked. He ended up giving them to Argentina and Orang (I was hoping to get one of them too, but at times like that you really learn who someone's BFF is.) You might say Rob ended up as kingmaker a little because that was a pretty huge advantage to both of them. It would have been great if he turned around and just made 3 or 4 new supply centers.
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Post 16 Jul 2014, 10:11 am

It could also work to slightly dampen down the number of nukes that are used if people keep back a few BBs to act as an insurance policy, although I doubt we'd see much change.
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Post 16 Jul 2014, 11:49 am

I can almost guarantee that I wouldn't hold them back as an insurance policy. Nukes are way too valuable of a resource in the mid-game but they are a very costly resource. It happens fairly frequently that someone goes out of their way to get nukes even though it costs them important military units that may have helped them more in the long run. Holding back BBs in case I get nuked strikes me as the worst of both worlds. Not only am I costing myself nukes that are valuable in their own right, but I am costing myself military units which would get me more SCs. At the end of the day, only 3 countries out of ~50 are going to win. It is inexplicably hard to win this game without taking a few risks.

Zac was very much correct that churning out a nuke cycle is incredibly difficult to do. You rarely see anyone with more than 2-4 nukes per turn. Having the 5-7 nukes that Orang Laut and Argentina had requires 10-14 free SCs. That's not easy. He explained it quite well and it's worth a second read.

What also matters here is that a country who is attempting a nuke cycle becomes very vulnerable to attack. A few counter-nukes and the head of the snake is gone. It would take a minimum of 2-3 years to recover. For example, let's take a look at Argentina when he just landed on the coast of Africa. Lob 2 nukes onto his African SCs. Lob another 2 onto his Atlantic wings/fleets. He is thrown back into South America and has lost his entire growth potential because he doesn't have any military units anywhere else. It also disrupts his nuke cycle because he would need to build 4 units to replace those destroyed. That's all it would have taken, 4 nukes, and it's very much possible that it would have cost Randy the game.

That vulnerability should not be overlooked here.
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Post 23 Jul 2014, 5:39 am

Thinking about this over my recent long weekend, I kind of like the idea. I understand that Dave won't use the option to hold on to BB's in case he needs them to rebuild, and that's fine. Most people are in Dave's camp on this, I imagine. That's perfectly reasonable. Of more interest to me is what people who get hit might do with their BB's. The way the game is now, once you get hit hard (as both I and the UK did), your BB's are useless in terms of building nukes for yourself. They can, of course, be used diplomatically, as the UK did in sending them to Argentina and OL. The only other option he really had was to hold them, which serves no real purpose. But what if he had the option to use 2 credits to build a new city? I'm not going to say its an automatic decision, but its one that would have to be made. I think its a nice option to have, and it *could* artificially reduce nuke capabilities late in game without putting any restrictions on the nukes themselves.

I imagine the rule working as such. During a winter phase, you can use 2 previously banked credits to build a city. This city would not increase unit count until the following winter, which means it would have to survive 2 years to break even on the credit count. I think the heavy price to be paid will prevent people from running amok with building cities, but it could be something that some people utilize later in the game. Unless there are serious objections to this rule, I think I'd like to include it in the next round.
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Post 23 Jul 2014, 7:17 am

Sendric wrote:I imagine the rule working as such. During a winter phase, you can use 2 previously banked credits to build a city. This city would not increase unit count until the following winter, which means it would have to survive 2 years to break even on the credit count. I think the heavy price to be paid will prevent people from running amok with building cities, but it could be something that some people utilize later in the game. Unless there are serious objections to this rule, I think I'd like to include it in the next round.


I agree, especially if Pirates can do it. It's a good improvment