somebody convince me that tempo measures something useful?

Anything about the Diplomacy game in general.

Re: somebody convince me that tempo measures something usefu

Postby GPD » 28 Oct 2017, 18:36

WHSeward wrote:I'll try.

Start by reading the post in my mentor game series on tempi. Then read at least the link to the first article, Caissa at the Dip table by Windsor, at the bottom of the post. Finally, here is another article that makes good use of tempi "Geography is Destiny" also by Windsor. (Actually, every article ever written by Windsor is worth reading, but these are the ones on tempi.)

The Caissa article is my favourite article on the game, and I recommend it. And it is all relevant, and it all works.
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Re: somebody convince me that tempo measures something usefu

Postby DQ » 29 Oct 2017, 08:25

rd45 wrote:
DQ wrote:Oh, and OP - don't you worry about tempo. Let other players worry about that nonsense, you just focus on getting your units to the stalemate lines eventually. Why rush? Haste makes waste. Lots of time.

Hm, patronising AND sarcastic. Classy.


Ah, tone on the internet, apologies. I was going for sassy and got patronizing and sarcastic. :oops:

In all seriousness, understanding when tempo matters in diplomacy is at least as important as it is in chess to progress from being a beginning to and intermediate player. But saying that it is so isn't "persuasion," so lets take a short example.

In order to solo, most powers need to control two of StPete, Munich, and Tunis. Most of the major stalemate lines run through those centers. If you, as England, can get enough force to capture Tunis before Italy/Turkey/Austria/Russia can stop you/ prevent you from locking it down, you can start looking for the rest of your 18, because StPete can't be held from the south against sufficient force (which an England that has Tunis ought to be able to apply, ideally). If you spend your early tempo pushing for StPete, you are far less likely to get Tunis before someone who is a lot closer locks it down.

This is one of the reasons Turkey shouldn't get as many solo victories as it does, because Turkey should have a very hard time getting two of those three centers.

That's a simple example, but the delta between getting stopped at 17 and getting to 18 is often one season of positive tempo. Its hard to quantify outside of complicated opportunity-cost arguments, but it does go a little deeper than "doing things quickly is better than doing them slowly." Maybe better to think that the decision of which thing is right to do depends more on how much time you have to do it than might be obvious?

Hope that helps.
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Re: somebody convince me that tempo measures something usefu

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 30 Oct 2017, 16:57

rd45 wrote:
DQ wrote:Oh, and OP - don't you worry about tempo. Let other players worry about that nonsense, you just focus on getting your units to the stalemate lines eventually. Why rush? Haste makes waste. Lots of time.

Hm, patronising AND sarcastic. Classy.


From meeting DQ in person, I can tell you that he is sometimes sarcastic, but in a jovial way. He's a very pleasant person. He'll give folks a poke-in-the-ribs every once and again, but that's about the limit. I didn't find him to be patronizing in the least.

It's sometimes surprising that he can be that nice and also so good at this game.

He and I do have somewhat different ideas about what makes Diplomacy fun, since he's not a variant player, but he is extremely well-versed (and practiced) with classic map strategy.
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Re: somebody convince me that tempo measures something usefu

Postby rd45 » 30 Oct 2017, 20:09

DQ wrote:In order to solo, most powers need to control two of StPete, Munich, and Tunis. Most of the major stalemate lines run through those centers. If you, as England, can get enough force to capture Tunis before Italy/Turkey/Austria/Russia can stop you/ prevent you from locking it down, you can start looking for the rest of your 18, because StPete can't be held from the south against sufficient force (which an England that has Tunis ought to be able to apply, ideally). If you spend your early tempo pushing for StPete, you are far less likely to get Tunis before someone who is a lot closer locks it down.

This is one of the reasons Turkey shouldn't get as many solo victories as it does, because Turkey should have a very hard time getting two of those three centers.


OK thanks for rephrasing. This is much better, because it gets at some reasons _beyond_ tempo, and also because it's hedged with some conditionals ("most powers... less likely..." etc). So we're heading in the direction of nuance - there are circumstances in which tempo is critical, and we have some clues about what some of those circumstances might be.

In a couple of recent games I've had people doing (or urging me to do) stuff that really didn't seem to the point, and using tempo (or the prospect of losing tempo) as the rationale. In one case I can see how it might feasibly link with an overall longer-term push to get beyond a stalemate line, given where we all were, but in the other it was more of a case where the player had ants in his pants and gained comfort from seeing his units Do Something on every turn, even though all he did was to get out of position & unnecessarily antagonise his neighbours.
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Re: somebody convince me that tempo measures something usefu

Postby Alman » 31 Oct 2017, 04:05

rd45 wrote:it was more of a case where the player had ants in his pants and gained comfort from seeing his units Do Something on every turn, even though all he did was to get out of position & unnecessarily antagonise his neighbours


I'm still newer to the study of tempi, but my understanding is that needless, pointless, or unhelpful movement would not be considered positive tempi. The point is to use your pieces effectively. If you are moving a piece every turn, it could be because you are vacillating between strategies and layouts or reversing course too often. This would not be increasing your tempi but wasting it. Again, perhaps a more learned game luminary could speak to this, but I've understood it in terms of moves that advance the goal/control of the contest.
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Re: somebody convince me that tempo measures something usefu

Postby ColonelApricot » 31 Oct 2017, 06:41

Play Fog of War to learn the meaning of tempi.

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Re: somebody convince me that tempo measures something usefu

Postby Machiara » 08 Nov 2017, 23:48

I think tempo is probably much more important in FoW games than it is in standard Diplomacy games. In standard Diplomacy, tempo efficiency needs to take a back seat to diplomatic concerns. It doesn't matter how efficient you're being if the rest of the board gangs up on you because of how efficient you've been.
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Re: somebody convince me that tempo measures something usefu

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 09 Nov 2017, 02:24

Machiara wrote:I think tempo is probably much more important in FoW games than it is in standard Diplomacy games. In standard Diplomacy, tempo efficiency needs to take a back seat to diplomatic concerns. It doesn't matter how efficient you're being if the rest of the board gangs up on you because of how efficient you've been.


I'd say tempo is still plenty important in vanilla games, but its relationship with diplomacy & communication is like drafting in a car race. You might not want to break ahead of the pack too early, and it's probably of some benefit to be just behind the person in the lead for most of the race.

But at some point, if you really want to win, you have to break ahead of the group. You can't do that without preparation, and you can't fall too far behind your competitors. Even though you might not be going at top speed 100% of the time, you still have to keep your foot on the accelerator.
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