Smoking the Gripe Pipe.

Anything about the Diplomacy game in general.

Re: Smoking the Gripe Pipe.

Postby Carebear » 05 Mar 2017, 10:22

As for carebears, it is more of a spectrum really. Probably should stop there or the thread will tailspin on the issue.
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Re: Smoking the Gripe Pipe.

Postby Nibbler » 05 Mar 2017, 14:53

As I said, I understand the reason to have scoring systems for tournaments that are a scramble for SCs. All the reasons you have given, Carebear, are true. What I don't accept, however, is that tournament scoring systems have to be a scramble for SCs.

SoS - Sum of Squares - is a more sophisticated scramble for SCs. For anyone who doesn't know, the final number of SCs a player holds when the game ends is squared. One player's score is the square of his SCs divided by the sum of the squares of everyone else's SCs. So, if you end a game with:
Code: Select all
Power     SCs  Square
England   10   100
France     3     9
Germany    0     0
Italy      7    49
Austria    0     0
Russia    14   196
Turkey     0     0
Sum of Squares 354

your final scores will be:
Code: Select all
England   (100/354) x 100 = 28
France    (9/354) x 100   =  3
Germany                      0
Italy     (49/100) x 100  = 14
Austria                      0
Russia    (196/354) x 100 = 55
Turkey                       0
Total points               100

So, OK, more sophisticated but still based on SC count.

As for scoring systems which award points behind a solo, see here where the system awards bonus points based on how many SCs you hold at the end of the game as well as moderating the score earned depending what power you're playing and based on draws in tournaments not being DIAS. Whether this system has been used in tournaments, I'm not sure ;)

(And I am working on a different kind of scoring system based purely on game result - win, draw, lose or elimination. This may not produce as clear cut a result as one based on SC count, but could be combined with tie-breaking systems. Needless to say, it isn't easy but it could be worthwhile.)

The main point ( :roll: ) is that scoring systems which are based mainly on SC count change the game. It's fine saying that a player will adapt the way he plays to meet the needs of the scoring system - of course he will. But that doesn't mean the way the games are played should be changed because of the scoring system.

In Dip, the only way SC count matters is owning 18+ SCs. If you finish behind someone who achieves this, you lost. If the game ends with no solo, you either draw (in some fashion) or lost; if you draw, it doesn't matter how many SCs you have, you didn't win. What difference between a player having 17 SCs and one having 1 SC at the end of the game? They both survived but both failed to win. They drew the game, regardless of anything else (assuming a DIAS draw). The player on 17 SCs can argue that he obviously did better in the game than the player on 1 SC - but is this really "obvious"? How long had that player with 1 SC fought for survival? Is that any worse play than just failing to win? Only if you take SC accumulation as being important. If nothing else, the player with a single SC did his job in preventing the game leader winning.

Practicalities mean that tournaments are necessarily variations on Diplomacy. That doesn't mean that the scoring system has to exaggerate the variation. SC count has - as far as I can see - always been the way to score points. Then again, for many years, positions in games were also important. "I didn't win, but I came a good second behind the winner." Great - you lost. But you were also, arguably, the main reason you lost - you had the most units to use to prevent the win! "I had more SCs than anyone else when the game ended - I did better than anyone else." No, you drew the game with other players - you didn't win. Table Topping is meaningless.

Just because something has been that way "forever" doesn't make it the best way to do something. Just because it is accepted for what it is doesn't make it good.
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Re: Smoking the Gripe Pipe.

Postby Carebear » 07 Mar 2017, 05:54

Nibbler wrote:So, OK, more sophisticated but still based on SC count.

Sort of, it's more than that. As we both noted, scoring systems impacts how players play. Naturally, we want a system that heavily favors solos and really rewards players that make the attempt to solo. SoS is generally regarded as a system that does that. The formula encourages separation, not merely leadership.


Nibbler wrote:As for scoring systems which award points behind a solo, see here where the system awards bonus points based on how many SCs you hold at the end of the game as well as moderating the score earned depending what power you're playing and based on draws in tournaments not being DIAS. Whether this system has been used in tournaments, I'm not sure ;)

Okay, I am going to call BS. ;) You are griping about a theoretical scoring system (or systems) that awards points to people other than the winner in a soloed game; systems that might never have been used?!

That being said, I was thinking about it and I think I recall one that has been used and does do something like that. But, IIRC, those points are so small as to be nearly 1/1000 the value and really only worthwhile as some sort of standings tie-breaker at the end of the day.


Nibbler wrote:(And I am working on a different kind of scoring system based purely on game result - win, draw, lose or elimination. This may not produce as clear cut a result as one based on SC count, but could be combined with tie-breaking systems. Needless to say, it isn't easy but it could be worthwhile.)

Certainly, any improvement over current systems would be welcomed in the hobby. The key is devising such a beast and then proving its benefits. I was limited to a certain extent for the ODC @ PDET scoring model, but I am curious to see how my tinkering works out.


Nibbler wrote:The main point ( :roll: ) is that scoring systems which are based mainly on SC count change the game.

I agree. But, all scoring systems do that. I feel you are singling out these unnecessarily.


Nibbler wrote:It's fine saying that a player will adapt the way he plays to meet the needs of the scoring system - of course he will. But that doesn't mean the way the games are played should be changed because of the scoring system.

To paraphrase Machiavelli, you are doomed to failure if you build a scoring system based on how players ought to behave rather than how they do behave. Accept that players WILL change their behaviour based on the scoring system. Therefore, you must design a scoring system that will encourage player behaviour towards your desired goals (solos).


Nibbler wrote:In Dip, the only way SC count matters is owning 18+ SCs. If you finish behind someone who achieves this, you lost. If the game ends with no solo, you either draw (in some fashion) or lost; if you draw, it doesn't matter how many SCs you have, you didn't win. What difference between a player having 17 SCs and one having 1 SC at the end of the game? They both survived but both failed to win. They drew the game, regardless of anything else (assuming a DIAS draw). The player on 17 SCs can argue that he obviously did better in the game than the player on 1 SC - but is this really "obvious"? How long had that player with 1 SC fought for survival? Is that any worse play than just failing to win? Only if you take SC accumulation as being important. If nothing else, the player with a single SC did his job in preventing the game leader winning.

This is part of the old solo-only debate. There are several very debatable points you made, but let's not get into that death spiral. The fact remains that with a board full of solid players a solo is unlikely to occur and will take a long time to complete. In FTF tournament play, you have to define some method for rating the more frequent draw results. People have been devising scoring systems for this for decades. So far, SoS is one of the best regarded yet. I tend to see Carnage scoring more, but I think that is due more to its simplicity.


Nibbler wrote:Just because something has been that way "forever" doesn't make it the best way to do something. Just because it is accepted for what it is doesn't make it good.

I never made that argument. In fact, older tournament systems tended to be draw-based. It was found that they tended more towards three-way results and had other less desired aspects. That is why you see more SC based scoring. I am making the argument that people haven't really found something better. If there was a better regarded system, it would be more universally used.
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Re: Smoking the Gripe Pipe.

Postby Nibbler » 08 Mar 2017, 20:18

Just wanted to come back to your last point, Carebear.

I don't think that many people have looked for a different kind of scoring system. Almost all the systems use SC count in some way, for whatever reason. I tend to think this is either through the prior established thinking that, in some way, placing players based on SC count matters.

When scored games were mainly played postally, through zines usually, there were some very strange systems. People would be placed behind not only the supposed top place, ie the player in a draw who finished on most SCs but also behind the soloist. This was common enough for Allan Calhamer to write an article on this abomination. (When I get the chance I'll find the article and reference it.)

SCs were the determinator of who had done well and who hadn't. Not how Calhamer designed the game to be played (and, while it might be said that I am making the sweeping statements I'm really repeating Calhamer's arguments).

Tournament scoring systems adopted the same principle: SCs are of exaggerated importance. While most do rate solos as the most significant result, this isn't always the way it works out.

Look at C-Diplo. Solo, you score 100 points - you take all the points in that game. Draw and you might end up with more than 50 points. Two drawn games can score higher than one solo.

Again, SoS can give a two drawn games scoing more highly than a solo.

I guess there is an argument that two high position scores are better than a solo and a zero, but what that means is that the solo is diminished.

It is true that players will always play to the scoring system. It is also true that in a game of Dip, according to the rules of the game, a draw means everyone shares the draw equally, if they survived. In a draw, it doesn't matter therefore if one player has 17 SCs and another 1.

The only question is, therefore, is this practical when:
1. All players in the game are solid players and draws are therefore more likely than solos.
2. Early, unnatural finishes are more likely because of the time bound nature of tournament games.

Matching the practicalities of tournament play and scoring - the need to differentiate between similar results effectively - and the design of the game and the way it was designed to be played is the goal and should be the outcome of any scoring system.

Possible? Not under current tournament scoring systems, I don't believe. Could it be achieved? I don't know.
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Re: Smoking the Gripe Pipe.

Postby Carebear » 09 Mar 2017, 06:30

Nibbler wrote:Just wanted to come back to your last point, Carebear.

I assume you mean this one:
Carebear wrote:In fact, older tournament systems tended to be draw-based. It was found that they tended more towards three-way results and had other less desired aspects. That is why you see more SC based scoring. I am making the argument that people haven't really found something better. If there was a better regarded system, it would be more universally used.

Before we start I want to point out something, when you joined the site you made an introduction with the following statement:
Nibbler wrote:I've played Dip for years now, on and off. Never entered any tournaments but just played happily away.

Then on this thread you made the following gripe which started part of this discussion:
Nibbler wrote:My personal gripes are related: Tournament scoring (for FTF tournaments) [...].

You have never played in a FTF tournament and you want to gripe about their scoring methods?! I can see that from a purely academic discussion. But, unless you attended tournaments just to watch and then discussed them with top players, your research lacks primary source information. Further, based on some of your statements before and below, it sounds like you are unfamiliar with the history of tournament play. I won't claim to be an expert in the area, but I have significant experience with tournaments and have talked with some of the best players in the world about tournament histories and scoring systems.


Nibbler wrote:I don't think that many people have looked for a different kind of scoring system.

I am a bit incredulous that you made this statement. The game is about 60 years old. In that time, there have been major religious-esque discussions about various aspects of the game, including tournament scoring. You need only look at the World Diplomacy Database's documented Scoring Systems to see over 50 different systems broken down into roughly five categories (kind). The Used Scoring systems for North America alone contains about the same number with a lot of undocumented systems listed. You go to the various Diplomacy websites there are additional articles about scoring systems. Needless(?) to say people have "looked" to build a better mousetrap.


Nibbler wrote:Almost all the systems use SC count in some way, for whatever reason. I tend to think this is either through the prior established thinking that, in some way, placing players based on SC count matters.

No. As stated in my "last point", older tournament scoring systems were primarily draw based not SC count. That was the established thinking. Somewhere about 2000 the thinking shifted and people moved away from this towards SC based systems. Today, in the US, I believe DixieCon is the only major FTF event that still uses a draw based system.


Nibbler wrote:Tournament scoring systems adopted the same principle: SCs are of exaggerated importance. While most do rate solos as the most significant result, this isn't always the way it works out.

Again, this is a relatively recent event ~15 years in the US. Prior to that, they were primarily draw based. This changed for a number of reasons. One of which was the degenerating play towards three-way draws.

To finish off, I am not advocating SC based scoring. Over the years, other mechanisms have been tried and others favoured. Right now though, based on actual experience, the hobby has drifted towards SC based systems. I have been pushing back because you have made incorrect points about current scoring systems in use, about where the hobby has been, and discounted efforts to design better systems on top of singling out SC based scoring in ways that apply to all scoring methods.

You mentioned you were working on your own system. I applaud the effort. Maybe you will create a better system. Until then...
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Re: Smoking the Gripe Pipe.

Postby Guns of Brixton » 09 Mar 2017, 15:06

Carebear, your 2000th post! Congratulations!
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Re: Smoking the Gripe Pipe.

Postby Nibbler » 18 Mar 2017, 12:35

Carebear wrote:
Nibbler wrote:I don't think that many people have looked for a different kind of scoring system.

I am a bit incredulous that you made this statement. The game is about 60 years old. In that time, there have been major religious-esque discussions about various aspects of the game, including tournament scoring. You need only look at the World Diplomacy Database's documented Scoring Systems to see over 50 different systems broken down into roughly five categories (kind). The Used Scoring systems for North America alone contains about the same number with a lot of undocumented systems listed. You go to the various Diplomacy websites there are additional articles about scoring systems. Needless(?) to say people have "looked" to build a better mousetrap.

So, it's taken some time, but I've analysed these scoring systems... again. For thoroughness.

Scoring Systems
Armada/Regetta Declining Centres
A "DRAW" system. Partially based on "winning" on SC count (table topping) and partially SC count system.
AvalonCon 1992
DRAW + SC COUNT. "Each player gets their supply centre count ..."
Bear Con 1/Russian DipCon 2009
SC count and placement based on SCs.
Bertie\'s Scoring System (Don 2009)
Based on SC count and year played to.
Board Game Championship
SC count when drawn.
Boston Massacre 2003-07
SC count and bonus points gained throughout the game.
C-Diplo 100
SC count.
C-Diplo 73
SC count.
C-Diplo 73 DAANZ
SC count, positions.
C-Diplo 80
SC count, positions.
C-Diplo Argir
SC count, positions.
C-Diplo de Namur
SC count.
C-Diplo de Namur (18centres)
SC count.
Calgary Consensus
A DRAW system - but no details!
Cascade 2005
SC count; survival to..., etc. Silly.
Cricket
SC count.
Cruise Con System
DRAW with SC count for bonus.
Detour 98e
SC count, bonus points for survival, placements.
Detour 98f
SC count, bonus points for survival, placements.
DipCon 1993 PacifiCon
SC count.
DipCon 26
SC count.
DipCon 3 1970 Oklahoma City
Not a scoring system.
DipCon 5
Not a scoring system.
DipCon 8 Chicago Top Board
No details.
DixieCon
SC count/positions.
Dollar Diplomacy
Um....
Dragonflight Draw System
DRAW with weighted powers aspect.
DundraCon 2005
Draw, SC count, bonus points.
GenCon Country Rank system
Another scoring system slightly modified.
KIS ((Keep It Simple))
SC count.
Kinzett Rating System
Win and draw - with SC counts splitting ties.
KublaCon 2 Lead System
SC count, bonus points.
KublaCon KILL System
SC count, bonus points.
KublaCon Ranking System
Sheesh.
ManorCon
SC count.
OWLS
SC count, bonus points.
Origins 1976 Rocamora/Birsan
SC count, SC-scored comparison.
Origins 1977 Modified Rocamora/Birsan
As above.
Origins 1979
SC-based draws... :roll:
Origins 1992=>
"Scoring recognizes results, centers, longevity, and a comparison of size relative to the other players."
Squares-DAANZ
SC count.
Super Pastis
SC count. Survival bonus points.
Tempest 2005
Draw, SC count.
Voting System
Not a scoring system.
WBC Yerkey System
SC count.
WDC Victoria 2007
SC count.
WackyCon Version 1
SC count.
Walker System
:?
Weasel Moot 2007
SC count, draw, survival.
Whipping 2006
SC count, draw.
Win Tier System
Solo, SC count.

51 listed systems.
43 that are scoring systems that provide details.
How many of these SC count-based systems?
Nibbler wrote:I don't think that many people have looked for a different kind of scoring system.
... is what I said, rather than the view Carebear seems to take about it being different systems.

Accept it or not, SC count - places, positions, etc - are the main way that people have looked at scoring tournaments based on the WDD list.

Where are the different kind of systems?

- Cruise Con is based on 100 points and sharing a percentage of 100 points for a draw... and then throws in "Bonus Points" based on SC count, presumably to split ties.
- Dollar Diplomacy is very different but the system used on webDip was similar to this (don't know whether it still is).

Well, you can go down the list yourself (I got bored with it). Not one system that doesn't involve SC count or modified draw scores... other than Dollar Diplomacy. So, you know, perhaps not as
Carebear wrote:incredulous
as it might be.
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