Ratings for non judge players

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In the past I've occasionally mentioned my Dip interests lie with The
Grey labyrinth (www.greylabyrinth.com), and also with Interpretation of
Law (from my Tournament Director bridge background). We've now played a
good dozen very indolent games (1 year/ 2 weeks) with a player group of
about 25 players. With possibly one exception none of us uses the
judges, but we do have RP files for all the games.

The question is: What validity do these games have in the real(!) world
and if we decide to rate the games how should we set about it? I hope
you don't mind me asking here, but as a lurker I follow the group
closely.

Best regards, ChienFou
--
John (MadDog) Probst| . ! -^- |AIM GLChienFou
451 Mile End Road | /|__. \:/ |BCLive ChienFou
London E3 4PA | / @ __) -|- |john:at:asimere:dot:com
+44-(0)20 8983 5818 | /\ --^ | |www.asimere.com/~john
 
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Rather than a rating system, which will only encourage draws and cause
people to play for points, rather than enjoying each game and striving to
win, I would suggest a *ranking* system.

Everyone starts out at first rank (feel free to assign amusing names for
each rank). When a person wins a game, they advance to the second rank. To
advance to the third rank, a player must win against a board composed
entirely of second rank players (or better). To advance to the fourth rank,
a player must win against a board composed entirely of third rank players
(or better).

Simple, straightforward, and only winning counts, which is the object of the
game, after all. It encourages people to play against tough, experienced
opponents rather than attempt to clean up against newbies and players who
are not dedicated, because tough, experienced players will be the ones with
higher ranks.

"John (MadDog) Probst" <john@asimere.com> wrote in message
news:hdbZrOCTSQDCFwvK@asimere.com...
> In the past I've occasionally mentioned my Dip interests lie with The
> Grey labyrinth (www.greylabyrinth.com), and also with Interpretation of
> Law (from my Tournament Director bridge background). We've now played a
> good dozen very indolent games (1 year/ 2 weeks) with a player group of
> about 25 players. With possibly one exception none of us uses the
> judges, but we do have RP files for all the games.
>
> The question is: What validity do these games have in the real(!) world
> and if we decide to rate the games how should we set about it? I hope
> you don't mind me asking here, but as a lurker I follow the group
> closely.
>
> Best regards, ChienFou
> --
> John (MadDog) Probst| . ! -^- |AIM GLChienFou
> 451 Mile End Road | /|__. \:/ |BCLive ChienFou
> London E3 4PA | / @ __) -|- |john:at:asimere:dot:com
> +44-(0)20 8983 5818 | /\ --^ | |www.asimere.com/~john
 
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David E. Cohen wrote:
> Rather than a rating system, which will only encourage draws and
cause
> people to play for points, rather than enjoying each game and
striving to
> win, I would suggest a *ranking* system.
>
> Everyone starts out at first rank (feel free to assign amusing names
for
> each rank). When a person wins a game, they advance to the second
rank. To
> advance to the third rank, a player must win against a board composed
> entirely of second rank players (or better). To advance to the
fourth rank,
> a player must win against a board composed entirely of third rank
players
> (or better).

That's an interesting idea. I suspect there would be lots of
second-rank players, but not very many higher than that (simply because
it's hard to put a game together comprised completely of previous
soloists). But you'd get a few games like that at regional
competitions and in the finals of national and worldwide conventions,
so there would be a handful of third-rank players. I doubt there are
many fourth-rank players -- there are lots of people who *could* be,
but there have probably been very few games with all third-rank
players.

But I really like the idea!

> Simple, straightforward, and only winning counts, which is the object
of the
> game, after all.

Hey, look everyone! It's an opinion, presented as fact through means
of assertion! :p

As long as the rules specifically mention draws, then they're part of
the game -- whether you like it or not, David.

> It encourages people to play against tough, experienced
> opponents rather than attempt to clean up against newbies and players
who
> are not dedicated, because tough, experienced players will be the
ones with
> higher ranks.

'Course, I could also see the same seven guys playing games until
they're all second-rank -- then continuing to play until they're all
third-rank, then fourth, then fifth . . . :)

Doug
 
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<masseydNOSPAM@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1108396791.993578.130640@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> David E. Cohen wrote:
> > Rather than a rating system, which will only encourage draws
> > and cause people to play for points, rather than enjoying each
> > game and striving win, I would suggest a *ranking* system.
> >
> > Everyone starts out at first rank
> > When a person wins a game, they advance to the second rank.
> > To advance to the third rank, a player must win against a board
> > composed entirely of second rank players (or better). To
> > advance to the fourth rank, a player must win against a board
> > composed entirely of third rank players (or better).

> > It encourages people to play against tough, experienced
> > opponents rather than attempt to clean up against newbies and
> > players who are not dedicated, because tough, experienced
> > players will be the ones with higher ranks.
>
> 'Course, I could also see the same seven guys playing games until
> they're all second-rank -- then continuing to play until they're all
> third-rank, then fourth, then fifth . . . :)

Yup. The first three games would be fights for a Solo, then they'd
start gaming the system by throwing the game to players who
haven't won, yet, so that they can start working toward third rank,
sooner. There would be no point in forming Stop-the-Leader
Alliances, and more early concessions, since the higher ranked
players would want the lower ranked players to advance, so that
the higher-ranked players could then advance to the next level, and
the lower-ranked players would have no motive to fight together to
prevent the Solo when they could instead concede and start a second
game where they might have a chance to Solo. In short it would
truly be a rank system. (Rank - adj. : offensively gross, putrid,
malodorous) ;-)

Eric.
--
 
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I haven't tried such systems, but I'd worry that any scoring system
in which only solos count will lead to the abandonment of many
games by those who see no chance for a solo.

One of the aspects of Dip that I enjoy is struggling back from
a crummy position to get into the draw. (Sometimes I feel I
spend too much time doing this, but hey, it beats losing.) If
there is nothing to aspire to from such a position, why not quit?

Mary Kuhner mkkuhner@eskimo.com
 
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Hi,

I'm adding my two cents to this thread, though my remarks
are not specifically related to Mary's just above.

I'm reading through the book, Calhamer on Diplomacy,
and although it is hard to look through it to find a quote,
and even if quoted I might miss some context, my general
impression is that a Power should certainly prefer drawing
to losing since this means that the Power survived. But,
if a Power thinks it might win, then ideally the Power should
try to win, that is, think about the risks involved in trying
to win and then make a decision.

In short, Diplomacy is designed with the assumption that
every Power will always try to win, and that failing this,
a Power will try to draw, and that a Power never, ever
will accept a defeat if it can help it. Anyway, that's my
impression from his book. So, if at some point in a game
a Power simply sees no way to win, then the game
designer would expect that Power to be rational and attempt
to survive.

Thanks
 
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<masseydNOSPAM@gmail.com> wrote [edited]

> > Simple, straightforward, and only winning counts, which is the object
> of the
> > game, after all.
>
> Hey, look everyone! It's an opinion, presented as fact through means
> of assertion! :p

Winning *is* the object of the game.



> As long as the rules specifically mention draws, then they're part of
> the game -- whether you like it or not, David.

Sure they're part of the game. Players don't have to be rewarded for
drawing, though.



> > It encourages people to play against tough, experienced
> > opponents rather than attempt to clean up against newbies and players
> who
> > are not dedicated, because tough, experienced players will be the
> ones with
> > higher ranks.
>
> 'Course, I could also see the same seven guys playing games until
> they're all second-rank -- then continuing to play until they're all
> third-rank, then fourth, then fifth . . . :)

Hey, if they're all trying their hardest, why not? It would get a little
monotonous, though.
 
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People like that abandon whether there is a scoring system or not.

Why not quit? Because you may win, or you may learn something, or you may
get revenge, or...


"Mary K. Kuhner" <mkkuhner@kingman.gs.washington.edu> wrote in message
news:cuqjk1$lcp$1@gnus01.u.washington.edu...
> I haven't tried such systems, but I'd worry that any scoring system
> in which only solos count will lead to the abandonment of many
> games by those who see no chance for a solo.
>
> One of the aspects of Dip that I enjoy is struggling back from
> a crummy position to get into the draw. (Sometimes I feel I
> spend too much time doing this, but hey, it beats losing.) If
> there is nothing to aspire to from such a position, why not quit?
>
> Mary Kuhner mkkuhner@eskimo.com
 
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Which only proves that ALL systems can be subverted (or perhaps
*per*-verted), if people want to do it, so what is the best rating/ranking
system?

None at all. Of course.


"Eric Hunter" <hunter90@comcast.not> wrote [edited]

> Yup. The first three games would be fights for a Solo, then they'd
> start gaming the system by throwing the game to players who
> haven't won, yet, so that they can start working toward third rank,
> sooner. There would be no point in forming Stop-the-Leader
> Alliances, and more early concessions, since the higher ranked
> players would want the lower ranked players to advance, so that
> the higher-ranked players could then advance to the next level, and
> the lower-ranked players would have no motive to fight together to
> prevent the Solo when they could instead concede and start a second
> game where they might have a chance to Solo. In short it would
> truly be a rank system. (Rank - adj. : offensively gross, putrid,
> malodorous) ;-)
>
> Eric.
> --
>
 
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> > Hey, look everyone! It's an opinion, presented as fact through means
> > of assertion! :p
>
> Winning *is* the object of the game.
>

Ah, but there's the rub: one person's definition of winning (or conversely,
losing) may not necessarily be the same as another's. If I have 14 SCs but
fail to take a solo, I might consider that a "loss", whereas my opponents
who managed to prevent my solo would no doubt consider my failure to solo an
unqualified success on their part!
 
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> So, if at some point in a game
> a Power simply sees no way to win, then the game
> designer would expect that Power to be rational and attempt
> to survive.
>

I wonder... I've seen "hopeless" powers deliberately support another
power's solo attempt, if nothing else for revenge upon former allies who
stabbed them, or failed to come to their aid when they still had a chance.
The problem is that irrational behavior is not necessarily punished in
Diplomacy; elimination merely means you need to look for the next game...
 
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In article <cqcQd.15$nn.10@fe12.lga>,
David E. Cohen <zendip18AToptonlineDOTnet> wrote:
>People like that abandon whether there is a scoring system or not.

>Why not quit? Because you may win, or you may learn something, or you may
>get revenge, or...

I have never abandoned a game, but speaking only for myself as
a player, I would find a scoring system that gave no credit to
any outcome but a solo a strong incentive to abandon. Or
ignore the scoring system and just play the way I do anyway
(trying to get into the smallest possible draw) but presumably
that's not what you want either.

I also think it would make gaining new players for the hobby
really hard, because (a) a solo is so unlikely as a beginner,
and more importantly (b) if you hope to gain rank from a game
you can't have any beginners in it (if you have rank yourself).
So beginners would become unwelcome because their presence
makes the game not count for ranking. Is this what you want?

But why take our word for it? Propose it to a Dip community
somewhere (on or off line) and let us know how it works out!

Mary Kuhner mkkuhner@eskimo.com
 
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In article <O9eQd.345$1P.83@fe61.usenetserver.com>,
Frank Bell <frank999@fastmail.co.uk> wrote:
>> So, if at some point in a game
>> a Power simply sees no way to win, then the game
>> designer would expect that Power to be rational and attempt
>> to survive.

>I wonder... I've seen "hopeless" powers deliberately support another
>power's solo attempt, if nothing else for revenge upon former allies who
>stabbed them, or failed to come to their aid when they still had a chance.
>The problem is that irrational behavior is not necessarily punished in
>Diplomacy; elimination merely means you need to look for the next game...

The behavior may even be considered rational if you expect
to be playing with the same people repeatedly; having a rep for
being a vindictive minor power may deter attacks on you. (Or
it may mean that the attacks are always to the death! I know
one player who refuses to participate in stop-the-leader
alliances if he has ever once been stabbed, and I make sure that if
I stab him, I *kill* him.)

It's not really possible to pin down the "winning conditions" of
Diplomacy, though a lot of effort has been expended in trying.
In my view, one of the nuances of being a good player is being
able to discern your opponents' victory conditions and play to
them.

At WacCon I played England in round 4 and found France in the
Channel in S01. I took him aside and said, "You know that I'm
a good defensive player and very stubborn; I've crawled back
from two lost positions already this tournament. You can
kill me, but it will be long and gruelling. Support me into
Belgium and we'll romp on Germany, who won't be expecting it--
we can play fast, exciting, dynamic Dip instead of attrition
war." I knew the player would go for this, and he did.

A couple of years later the puppet Germany stabbed us, spoiling
the immediate 2-way or solo chances. I went to France again
and he seemed very morose, so I talked him into 'ending his
misery' by throwing me dots, and came moderately close to a
solo. (I just don't play the late midgame well enough yet.)

This player has different "victory criteria" than I do, and I
had a lot of bad experiences with him--expecting him to
support stop-the-leader alliances, for example--before I
figured this out.

Edward Hawthorne is the master of this. It's like he reads your
mind. It's a pleasure to play with him even though one always
ends up on the short end of the stick....

Mary Kuhner mkkuhner@eskimo.com
 
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Frank Bell wrote:
> > So, if at some point in a game
> > a Power simply sees no way to win, then the game
> > designer would expect that Power to be rational and attempt
> > to survive.
> >
>
> I wonder... I've seen "hopeless" powers deliberately support another
> power's solo attempt, if nothing else for revenge upon former allies
who
> stabbed them, or failed to come to their aid when they still had a
chance.
> The problem is that irrational behavior is not necessarily punished
in
> Diplomacy; elimination merely means you need to look for the next
game...

Hi,

I don't have enough experience to speak from experience. But, there
are probably other games out there where one wants the players to
behave in a way in which the game is modeled. Sticking to Diplomacy,
here is such a model, though it may not be very realistic, the point is
to attach a real human cost so that the dynamic of the game is played
"as desired" (depending on how one desires to play):

1. All players are isolated in a Diplomacy game playing camp.
2. If you win the game, you can eat as much food as you want.
3. If you draw the game, you can eat reasonable quantities of boring
food.
4. If you lose the game, you cannot eat for N days, or you can
only eat dog food, or what have you.

So, the above rewards in real human terms those Powers which survive.
I've tried not to reward with money, because that depends a lot on the
income of the individual.

Whether or not the above, fantasy-like rewards and costs result in a
game modeled "as desired" is always open for discussion, but my idea
was only to bring up this idea as a concept. For I think I have come
across this situation before, or at least thought about it with respect
to other games, where you want someone to play "rationally" or
"realistically" and you try to find incentives which bring about the
play desired.

Thanks
 
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Hi,

I might add, perhaps somewhat humorously to the above fantasy scenario,
that while the game is being played some delicious feast is slowly
being
cooked that only the winner, if any, will eat, and the vapors are
always
present, thus always motivating each player to win (perhaps each player
should not eat for four hours before the game begins).

Now that every player is highly motivated to win, each player must
temper their lust for "power" with reason and logic to determine
when and if they should make a "move" or "stab" to bring about
their desired goals.

Assuming the food product, Spam, was considered horrible and
was considered the punishment for losing, you would put cans of
(unopened!) Spam around the playing area as a reminder of the
"punishment" for losing.

Thanks
 
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Hi,

In short, I suspect that one would want to find human incentives
such that, in a nutshell:

every player is highly motivated to win, but will dread losing.

Thanks
 
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"Eric Hunter" <hunter90@comcast.not> writes:


><masseydNOSPAM@gmail.com> wrote in message
>news:1108396791.993578.130640@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>> David E. Cohen wrote:
>> > Rather than a rating system, which will only encourage draws
>> > and cause people to play for points, rather than enjoying each
>> > game and striving win, I would suggest a *ranking* system.
>> >
>> > Everyone starts out at first rank
>> > When a person wins a game, they advance to the second rank.
>> > To advance to the third rank, a player must win against a board
>> > composed entirely of second rank players (or better). To
>> > advance to the fourth rank, a player must win against a board
>> > composed entirely of third rank players (or better).

>> > It encourages people to play against tough, experienced
>> > opponents rather than attempt to clean up against newbies and
>> > players who are not dedicated, because tough, experienced
>> > players will be the ones with higher ranks.
>>
>> 'Course, I could also see the same seven guys playing games until
>> they're all second-rank -- then continuing to play until they're all
>> third-rank, then fourth, then fifth . . . :)

>Yup. The first three games would be fights for a Solo, then they'd
>start gaming the system by throwing the game to players who
>haven't won, yet, so that they can start working toward third rank,
>sooner. There would be no point in forming Stop-the-Leader
>Alliances, and more early concessions, since the higher ranked
>players would want the lower ranked players to advance, so that
>the higher-ranked players could then advance to the next level, and
>the lower-ranked players would have no motive to fight together to
>prevent the Solo when they could instead concede and start a second
>game where they might have a chance to Solo. In short it would
>truly be a rank system. (Rank - adj. : offensively gross, putrid,
>malodorous) ;-)

>Eric.
>--

Devious Diplomacy Denizens have no end of machinations that they
can design to exploit the incentives in a system..... do they?

;-)

Thanks, Eric, I think you have to be a bit more complicated to
make a rank system work. Another idea in this same genre is the
concept of tennis (or racquetball etc.) ladders where you have
bands of people and challenge people above you to move up.
Everything is SOOO much harder in the seven player environment
though.

Jim-Bob
 
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Jim Burgess wrote:
> "Eric Hunter" <hunter90@comcast.not> writes:
>> <masseydNOSPAM@gmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:1108396791.993578.130640@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>>> David E. Cohen wrote:

>>>> Everyone starts out at first rank. When a person [Solos], they
>>>> advance to the second rank. To advance to the third rank,
>>>> a player must [Solo] against a board composed entirely
>>>> of second rank players (or better).

>>> 'Course, I could also see the same seven guys playing games
>>> until they're all second-rank -- then continuing to play until
>>> they're all third-rank, then fourth, then fifth . . . :)

>> Yup. The first three games would be fights for a Solo, then
>> they'd start gaming the system by throwing the game to players
>> who haven't won, yet, so that they can start working toward
>> third rank, sooner. There would be no point in forming
>> Stop-the-Leader Alliances, and more early concessions, since
>> the higher ranked players would want the lower ranked
>> players to advance, so that the higher-ranked players could
>> then advance to the next level, and the lower-ranked players
>> would have no motive to fight together to prevent the Solo
>> when they could instead concede and start a second game
>>where they might have a chance to Solo.

> Devious Diplomacy Denizens have no end of machinations that they
> can design to exploit the incentives in a system..... do they? ;-)

Well, as the person who almost single-handedly eliminated the
semi-final round of the Vermont Group Full-Press Tournament,
I'd have to say, no. ;-)

> Thanks, Eric, I think you have to be a bit more complicated to
> make a rank system work.

I'd say the problem is more fundamental than that, though. The
rules say, "As soon as one Great Power controls 18 supply
centers ... The player representing that Great Power is the
winner. However, players can end the game by agreement
before a winner is determined. In this case, all players who
still have pieces on the board share equally in the draw."
David, in his zealotry, ignores this last sentence, and ignoring
it changes the game much more than any ratings system that
rewards Draws could ever do.

Eric.
--
 
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"NewsGroupUser" <Google2007@mailinator.com> writes:

VEry concise and the tone is just right. You would want to
add the concept of balance of power to the discussion,
another favorite theme of Allan's.

Jim-Bob

>Hi,

>I'm adding my two cents to this thread, though my remarks
>are not specifically related to Mary's just above.

>I'm reading through the book, Calhamer on Diplomacy,
>and although it is hard to look through it to find a quote,
>and even if quoted I might miss some context, my general
>impression is that a Power should certainly prefer drawing
>to losing since this means that the Power survived. But,
>if a Power thinks it might win, then ideally the Power should
>try to win, that is, think about the risks involved in trying
>to win and then make a decision.

>In short, Diplomacy is designed with the assumption that
>every Power will always try to win, and that failing this,
>a Power will try to draw, and that a Power never, ever
>will accept a defeat if it can help it. Anyway, that's my
>impression from his book. So, if at some point in a game
>a Power simply sees no way to win, then the game
>designer would expect that Power to be rational and attempt
>to survive.

>Thanks
 
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"Frank Bell" <frank999@fastmail.co.uk> writes:

>> So, if at some point in a game
>> a Power simply sees no way to win, then the game
>> designer would expect that Power to be rational and attempt
>> to survive.
>>

>I wonder... I've seen "hopeless" powers deliberately support another
>power's solo attempt, if nothing else for revenge upon former allies who
>stabbed them, or failed to come to their aid when they still had a chance.
>The problem is that irrational behavior is not necessarily punished in
>Diplomacy; elimination merely means you need to look for the next game...

It is very, very, very, VERY dangerous to think of such reactions
as irrational, for a whole host of reasons.

Jim-Bob
 
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mkkuhner@kingman.gs.washington.edu (Mary K. Kuhner) writes:

> In article <cqcQd.15$nn.10@fe12.lga>,
> David E. Cohen <zendip18AToptonlineDOTnet> wrote:
>>People like that abandon whether there is a scoring system or not.
>
>>Why not quit? Because you may win, or you may learn something, or you may
>>get revenge, or...
>
> I have never abandoned a game, but speaking only for myself as
> a player, I would find a scoring system that gave no credit to
> any outcome but a solo a strong incentive to abandon. Or
> ignore the scoring system and just play the way I do anyway
> (trying to get into the smallest possible draw) but presumably
> that's not what you want either.
[...]

Hm, what if you can not only get a higher rank, but also loose your
rank? Playing for a draw would than mean (w.r.t. the rank system) that
you strive to stay where you are without loosing.

Oliver
--
27 Pluviôse an 213 de la Révolution
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!
 
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"Frank Bell" <frank999@fastmail.co.uk> writes:

>> So, if at some point in a game
>> a Power simply sees no way to win, then the game
>> designer would expect that Power to be rational and attempt
>> to survive.
>>
>
> I wonder... I've seen "hopeless" powers deliberately support another
> power's solo attempt, if nothing else for revenge upon former allies who
> stabbed them, or failed to come to their aid when they still had a chance.
> The problem is that irrational behavior is not necessarily punished in
> Diplomacy; elimination merely means you need to look for the next game...
[...]

If extinction is ahead, you don't have a goal left to evaluate possible
goal-means relationships (that's what rationality is about), so
whatever you do: it is neither rational nor irrational, so you could
at least get the fun of sweet revenge out of it.

(Of course, that's different, if you still have a chance of survival.
In a sense the possibility of a perfectly valid revenge is important
for small powers to survive: "I have nothing to loose. Cooperate with
me or I throw the game to the leader.")

Oliver
--
27 Pluviôse an 213 de la Révolution
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!
 
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>
> It is very, very, very, VERY dangerous to think of such reactions
> as irrational, for a whole host of reasons.
>

Yep, that was kind of my point; since there is no real disincentive to
acting irrationally (within the context described in this thread, anyway),
you can't depend on anyone to act "rationally."
 
G

Guest

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Archived from groups: rec.games.diplomacy (More info?)

> In short, I suspect that one would want to find human incentives
> such that, in a nutshell:
>
> every player is highly motivated to win, but will dread losing.
>

I wonder if this isn't at the heart of the "problem"- I for one do not dread
losing, since I can always find another game. It's not as if I'm the REAL
leader of a REAL nation; if I'm eliminated as Germany in '08, I don't have
to worry about what will happen to me or my countrymen in '09 :)
 
G

Guest

Guest
Archived from groups: rec.games.diplomacy (More info?)

In article <1108485953.821397.155840@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
NewsGroupUser <Google2007@mailinator.com> wrote:

>1. All players are isolated in a Diplomacy game playing camp.

Any analysis that starts with this *has* to deal with metagaming
(issues that continue from game to game or spill over from the
game into other activities). If you told me that my opponents
wouldn't eat if they lost, for example, I wouldn't play to win--
partly out of empathy, partly because they might be vindictive!

Abstract theoretical analysis works better with anonymous games
(common on the Judges) where what you do in one game doesn't
affect other games. I'd suggest trying to reframe your analysis
in that context. Non-anonymous games can hardly avoid metagaming.
Many groups have social contracts that try to limit it (i.e.
it's not fair to come into the game with pre-arranged alliances)
but I don't know any group that, for example, rules out use of
prior knowledge about play style.

Mary Kuhner mkkuhner@eskimo.com