Lecture #6: Reliable Play: Competing to the Finish


In the Diplomacy hobby, it is considered disrespectful to give up and not play a game to its completion, either you are eliminated or someone has won or there is a draw declared. Diplomacy is a 7 person game and when you join a game, you are making a commitment to play the game to the end with your fellow gamers.

Some people are surprised by this requirement, especially if they come from games like Chess where players are expected to resign hopeless positions and not drag the game out.

The reason the Diplomacy hobby etiquette is different is simple; quitting affects the balance of the game for the other players. The powers geographically near the quitter are at a big advantage to pick up easy SCs compared to players that are far away and won’t get the free spoils.

But being polite is not the only reason to stick with it. The game is specifically designed to maximize competition by giving every power an incentive to fight to the end. In Diplomacy, all survivors share equally in a draw, so even if you have only 1 unit left, if you can earn a spot in the draw, you have earned the same result as someone that has 17 centers. So no matter what has happened in the game, so long as you still have a unit on the board, you are still fully in the game.

What is more, Diplomacy is a VERY hard game. With 7 players and about half of all games ending in draws, the “average” player is going to win only about 1 in 14 games. In such a difficult game, players that stick with it figure out how to enjoy playing the game itself. Those that have to win to have fun, just won’t last in this hobby. Ask any expert player, and they will tell you some of the most fun games they have had were in draws and losses. That is the nature of the game.

Of course, sometimes events happen in real life that make continuing to play impossible. If that happens, try to find a substitute for your games, either someone you know, or you can advertise on the forum.

After you find a player willing to take over for you, use the “Name a Substitute” link for each game someone is taking over for you. (Don’t break the “one player, one account” rule.)

If all else fails and you simply must just quit, try to give as much notice to your fellow players as you can and use the “surrender” button under the “Status” link. The worst thing you can do is just walk away from the game and be auto-surrendered after 2 NMRs in Orders steps. This can really damage the game, and it is impossible for a replacement player to take over the position in the meantime.


PlayDip tracks every player’s reliability, as measured by how often they surrender and NMR. Players are classified as “Diplomats” or “Ambassadors” based on the reliability of their recent play, and class in turn affects what games a player is eligible to enter. This is system allows reliable players to have games without players that miss a lot of moves or surrender.

A complete description of the system is in the forum at this link. It is worth reading to understand how it works.


A useful forum resource is the Games Openings forum, the place to advertise for substitutes & replacements:


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