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NoPunIn10Did's PbF / Discord House Rules

PostPosted: 30 Dec 2019, 19:49
by NoPunIn10Did
For the past couple games I've GM'd, I've been linking to my Tournament Through Time house rules rather than writing them out again. Now that the tournament has been over for more than a year, I really ought to not do that any more. This thread contains an updated version of those rules. I'm parking it here for documentation's sake. These apply to Play-by-Forum and Play-by-Discord games that I run. Other GMs may choose to use these rules or a completely different set.

NoPunIn10Did's PbF / Discord House Rules
Order Submission Schedule (Non-Standard)
I will run a three-season rotation for orders submission: Spring, Fall, and Winter, with two seasons executed per week and retreats handled ad-hoc. Assuming no delays, this works out to 3 weeks for every 2 game-years.

This schedule does not run on a standard days-per-phase model (e.g. 2/1/1 or 3/1/2). I find that adjudication is quicker, and NMR's fewer, when players are given a regular weekly schedule instead.

Remember, all orders must be submitted via Discord (using the designated private channel).
In a pinch, I will also accept orders sent via this forum's Private Message system. If you send a Discord orders message and I've acknowledged it, do not go back and edit it later. Fixing typos in your message is okay if I haven't acknowledged your orders yet (and it isn't past the deadline).

Seasonal Orders: Movement & Builds
All seasonal orders (movement and builds) will be due on Mondays and Thursdays by 7:00 PM (19:00) New York Time, which is EDT (UTC-4) or EST (UTC-5), depending on the time of the year. I will try to send out reminders on the morning-of, but those are not guaranteed. If you live in a time-zone that makes this timing (particularly the reminders) inconvenient, please let me know ASAP, and we can work something out.

Any deadlines reported will be described in both EST/EDT and UTC (which is equivalent to GMT minus any clock-changing for the summer).

Reminders for seasonal orders are not guaranteed, and they may be less than 24 hours.

If everyone gets their orders in early, I can adjudicate much more promptly. However, I will not adjudicate movement or build turns earlier than the due date/time.

I do often accept late seasonal orders, especially since I generally can't adjudicate immediately at 7 PM. HOWEVER, you should never rely on my leniency in this regard. I sometimes need to adjudicate immediately, and I may just have to give a player an NMR and move forward. This is entirely up to my own discretion; see the "Benevolent Tyrant" section below for more information.

Retreat Order Scheduling
All retreat orders are due within 24 hours of the adjudication report. If you happen to miss a retreat order, I do not always automatically disband those units. See the section below on missed retreats.

Unlike seasonal orders, I will report retreats as soon as I receive all of them for a given turn. You cannot mark retreat orders as "preliminary" and expect me to hold them until the deadline. Please do not delay submitting your retreat orders.

Reminders for retreat orders might be given, but they might not. Do not expect them.

I grant extensions at my own discretion. Please try to ask me about them as soon as possible. I don't grant extensions for Retreat phases. Only for Orders or Build phases.

At my discretion, if I grant an extension, I may amend the schedule for subsequent due dates. My goal will be to ensure any seasonal due date/time occurs at least 48 hours after the last season's adjudication and at least 24 hours after retreats are reported.

Additionally, I will sometimes institute a delay or extension to compensate for changes in my own schedule.

Depending on the length of any given delay, I will either:
  • Push the due time back a few hours (e.g. same day, but 2300 ET instead of 1900 ET).
  • Skip one due date altogether, moving the schedule back to the following date (e.g. Monday's Spring Orders now due Thursday, Thursday's Autumn orders now due the following Monday, et cetera)

Sample Schedule
The following is an example schedule.

Code: Select all
Week 1  Monday      19:00   1992 Spring Movement due
                    20:30   1992 Spring report goes out
        Tuesday     20:30   1992 Spring Retreats due (reported soon after)
        Thursday    19:00   1992 Autumn Movement due
                    20:30   1992 Autumn report goes out
        Friday      20:30   1992 Autumn Retreats due
Week 2  Monday      19:00   1992 Winter Builds due
        Thursday    19:00   1993 Spring Movement due
        Friday      08:00   1993 Spring reported (maybe I granted an extension)
        Saturday    08:00   1993 Spring Retreats due
Week 3  Monday      19:00   1993 Autumn Movement due
        Monday      20:05   1993 Autumn report goes out
        Tuesday     20:05   1993 Autumn Retreats due
        Thursday    19:00   1993 Winter Builds due
Week 4  Monday      19:00   1994 Spring Movement due, et cetera…

Adjudication Mistakes
If I make a mistake in adjudication, please point it out ASAP. The window to do this is until the next season’s orders are due.

This means that you can potentially spot an error from the Spring Movement adjudication after the Spring Retreats have been reported, but not once the Fall Movement has been reached.

Depending on the timing of the correction, I will probably declare an extension for players to revise their orders.

I reserve the right to use my own judgment in applying such corrections.

Missed Orders (NMR)
A player that does not submit seasonal orders to me by adjudication will receive an NMR (no moves received) for that phase. If you NMR during a movement phase, all of your units will hold. If you NMR during a retreat or build phase, I will provide orders for you in the manners described below.

Missed Retreats (NRR)
Unlike the standard Diplomacy policy of disbanding all missed retreats, if you miss providing retreat orders, I will retreat your dislodged units using the following priorities (from highest to lowest):

  1. Retreat to a province with another player’s SC.
  2. Retreat to a province with player’s own SC.
  3. Retreat to a water/hybrid space (fleets only).
  4. Retreat to a land/canal/hybrid space with no SC.

If more than one possible retreat location has the same priority, I will use whichever region’s three-letter code comes first in alphabetical order. I will give no consideration for whether some other retreating unit (even your own) can retreat to the same space.

You will never be penalized for a missed retreat, but you must accept the default retreat I make on your behalf.

Missed Winter Orders/Adjustments
Similar to normal Diplomacy, if you miss submitting Build orders for a Winter turn, you will forfeit the relevant build(s) that turn. If you don’t submit the required number of Destroy orders, I will destroy units using the following priorities.

  1. Destroy units that are not occupying an SC.
  2. Destroy units that are the furthest from your Home Supply Centers.
  3. Destroy Fleets before Wings, then Wings before Armies.
  4. If units are still equal in priorities 1, 2, & 3, destroy units in alphabetical order, using their regions' three-letter abbreviations.

Repeated Missed Orders & Player Replacement
If you miss turning in two seasons, especially if they are two in-a-row, I may replace you. Because retreats are intentionally handled over a shorter period of time, an NMR for a retreat phase is not considered as part of this count (though it may influence my decision as evidence of your disappearing).

If you miss turning in seasonal orders during the first Spring turn of the game, you will be ejected immediately, and the game will restart. If you miss the first Autumn orders, you will be ejected immediately, but the NMR will still be adjudicated.

I wish to avoid NMR's in the first year of each game if at all possible, so I may use my discretion in that scenario to grant a grace period to the tardy. DO NOT MISS THE FIRST SPRING OR FALL ORDERS PHASES.

Mistakes and Missing Coastlines
If you make what appears to be a mistake in your orders, I may contact you to clarify. However, I do this as a courtesy. Any mistakes not caught (or not corrected) by adjudication will stand.

For maps with regions that have split coastlines, I encourage you to always list the applicable coastline in your orders. If only one coast would ever be valid, I will fill that in when transcribing your orders. However, if the coastline actually matters, I expect you to provide it by adjudication time. I will likely attempt to contact the submitting player to clarify, but I am under no obligation to do so.

Because I run variant games, and the maps are not familiar to everyone, I am going to try to be especially lenient when it comes to mistakes. Ultimately, if I can't figure out what your orders are, or they're just plain illegal, I can't do much about that. While early orders submission is not a guarantee that I will catch your mistakes, an error is far more likely to be caught 1-2 days before adjudication rather than 5 minutes before.

In general, the best policy is to submit orders early and then check back in periodically before the deadline to see whether I have any questions or have noticed any mistakes.

Re: NoPunIn10Did's PbF / Discord House Rules

PostPosted: 30 Dec 2019, 19:49
by NoPunIn10Did
Unless I state otherwise for a given game, all draws must include all surviving players. For some games, I will treat draws traditionally, with draw size mattering (2-way, 3-way, etc.). More recently, I run games using Ranked Draws. Draw size does not matter for a ranked draw, and I will list every surviving and defeated player's rank according to final SC counts or years of elimination.

A draw may not be declared prior to the end of the Autumn Retreats phase of the fourth game-year.

If the game has a predetermined endpoint, a draw will automatically be declared after the Autumn Retreats phase of that year if the game has not already ended prior to that point.

Draws do not need to be vocally proposed. Instead, they will be handled via standing votes. These votes are submitted in secret using the Discord channel designated for your player orders. Starting after the Autumn Retreats phase of the fourth game-year, each player may specify whether they are For or Against a Draw. Draw votes must be unanimously approved. Missing votes will be counted as "Against" the draw. Verbally abstaining from the vote in some manner (e.g. saying "I don't care") will be counted as "For" the draw.

A player may change their vote at any time (assuming that a successful draw vote has not already passed).

For purposes of determining whether a Draw has unanimous approval, I will not perform vote tallies in the period between adjudication and retreats; retreats must be processed first (in case they make any difference to the final supply center counts for that variant).

Some Diplomacy venues allow players to concede victory to a single player. A concession in such contexts is effectively a draw that only includes one player, and it is voted on in an identical manner. I do not allow concessions since draws must include all survivors.

Grace Periods (not applicable until announced per game)
If I announce a standing 12-hour grace period policy for all seasonal orders (never retreats), here's how it works. The due date/time does not change: it's still 1900 New York Time (EST/EDT) on Mondays & Thursdays.

However, assuming a grace period is in effect, I will accept missing orders up to 12 hours late. Orders that contain errors are not considered missing for this purpose.

In practical terms, this means that I will never adjudicate any earlier than 1900 EST/EDT, but after that point I will adjudicate as soon as I receive some orders from everyone (within that 12 hour window). I would advise you not to attempt corrections or changes to prior orders within that 12-hour window; while it's not forbidden, it's totally within my discretion to accept them or not (usually depending on whether I've started the adjudication).

Players should not use the 12-hour window to negotiate. Please don't try to game the system by waiting until the absolute last minute of the grace period to send orders. It's meant to provide breathing room to the busy and the tardy, and I don't take kindly to those who seem to be abusing the privilege.

Re: NoPunIn10Did's PbF / Discord House Rules

PostPosted: 30 Dec 2019, 19:50
by NoPunIn10Did
The GM is a Benevolent Tyrant

It is not fun to play with an inconsistent GM. Players need to be able to trust that the GM will act as an honest judge, enforcing the rules of the game correctly and fairly. The purpose of having House Rules in the first place is to describe a GM’s policies in reasonable detail: the players should know what to expect, and I can refer back to the document to remind myself how I said I would behave in certain circumstances.

Interpreting Ambiguous Game Rules
In the rare instance that an ambiguity arises in a variant’s game rules, I may consult the original variant’s designer(s) for clarification. However, my eventual decision is final and binding for the duration of the game, even if it is counter to the designer’s intended interpretation.

Overall, if you think you don’t understand something, ask. I tend to be very responsive to questions, particularly if they are posed well in advance of a deadline.

Applying House Rules to Ambiguous Scenarios
While a variant’s game rules are usually complete enough to provide a consistent code for adjudication, the House Rules that govern meta-game behavior often come up short. It is not uncommon for scenarios to arise that are not covered by the House Rules, or that could be encompassed by multiple conflicting House Rules.

In such ambiguous scenarios, I will try to make decisions consistent with the principles of fairness, consistency, and grace. You are invited to respectfully challenge those decisions, but keep this in mind: the GM makes the final ruling.


The GM is not a clockwork automaton, only acting according to a list of programmed instructions.
The GM is a benevolent tyrant.

I am in charge of the game. I will endeavor to enforce and follow all rules I have set forward, but I must be ultimately free to interpret and execute those rules as best as I see fit.

Re: NoPunIn10Did's PbF / Discord House Rules

PostPosted: 30 Dec 2019, 19:50
by NoPunIn10Did
Addendum 1: Screenshots and Whatnot

PlayDiplomacy as a platform bans the use of screenshots in diplomatic communications for all games except Friends games, where it is up to the players' discretion. Forum games are a type of Friends game, so the use of screenshots in games where I GM is up to my discretion.

Surveillance and espionage have long been a feature of warfare, diplomacy, and Diplomacy. Screenshots are therefore permitted in my games, to an extent.

Where things go awry is with communications between yourself and the GM. In past I have allowed players to screenshot their orders and send them to each other. Normally this isn't an issue; a player can always come back and submit new orders immediately after.

While this alone isn't always an issue, occasionally a group of players will want to create a sort of regime where they require such an extensive history of screenshots that they're essentially trying to remove a game feature: the confidentiality of orders submission and (in my case) draw votes.

To avoid this issue entirely, I no longer allow any screenshots of communications sent via the private GM-to-player Discord channels. This most importantly includes orders and draw votes. You are free to copy and paste the text, but do not screenshot. A single infraction won't get you booted from the game, but if I find out that you're regularly doing so, I will boot you. However, screenshots of inter-player communications are perfectly fine.

Addendum 2: Throwing Tantrums

On at least two different occasions, I've had players that are effectively quitting the game but take steps to try and prevent another player from replacing them. This is normally accompanied by a temper tantrum and the cutting-off of most/all communications between that player and other players. Then, said player proceeds to submit orders such that their power is effectively in civil disorder (or deliberately performing some other suicidal move).

This is a murky situation to say the least. I do allow players to engage in chainsaw Diplomacy and kingmaking tactics. A player may even wish to drive their own power into oblivion to make a point. However, if you do this while also cutting off communications with the other players, you're not really playing the game any more. Frankly, you're just being a dick.

If you don't want to play the game, let me know, and I will work to find a replacement; that's totally fine. I much prefer it to someone just disappearing. But if you clearly aren't playing the game any more, but you are taking steps to prevent me from replacing you? I won't put up with it. There are no hard-and-fast rules on this, but I may exercise my authority as a Benevolent Tyrant to make a decision for the health of the game at my discretion.