Critique on Five Player Custom Map

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Critique on Five Player Custom Map

Postby Yhanthlei » 31 Mar 2011, 08:55

I request assistance in critiquing a five player diplomacy map I have put together. Rules would be entirely standard, the map would be naval heavy, and the blue line through the two continental provinces indicate that fleets could pass through them, Constantinople style. Gold dots indicate supply centers, names as of yet have not been assigned, and I really should find a better shade of yellow. Also, please forgive the horrific mess of image design. My photoshop skills have atrophied to a surprising degree. Rest assured that far more time was spent on territory layout than on image creation. My thanks.
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Re: Critique on Five Player Custom Map

Postby Kurciski » 31 Mar 2011, 10:51

Ok, so, I already replied to this but the forum ate it. You need to stick some names on them territories, because telling you to move the thing over there next to that other thing that's next to that isn't so helpful. Anyhow.

Blue seems a bit overpowered - he starts out with four centers, and is guaranteed to get two more uncontested in the first year - northern canal territory in the north, and he can send two fleets to the south the support himself into that little island. On the other hand, Yellow starts with three builds and can only be sure he's going to get one, and Purple may not get anything at all - everywhere center Purple can reach, someone can bounce him out of.

But I don't know if there's more or less imbalance here than there is in Real Diplomacy. I think you have to play it out in order to see how it plays out.
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Re: Critique on Five Player Custom Map

Postby Incompetent » 31 Mar 2011, 11:18

Which centres start with armies and which with fleets? That may affect the balance somewhat.
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Re: Critique on Five Player Custom Map

Postby DOI » 31 Mar 2011, 11:23

That large sea area between yellow and purple is going to be a constant source of conflict. They each have two home centres bordering it. If there's a concern that yellow is too powerful, consider moving the boundary between yellow island and the centre to its east so that the northeasterly yellow centre no longer borders the big sea space.
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Re: Critique on Five Player Custom Map

Postby Yhanthlei » 31 Mar 2011, 22:59

Thanks for the advice, everybody. Names are a must, yes. I'm not sure which naming scheme I would use, though.

@Kurciski: I don't think that blue is really overpowered, with the exception of the mentioned ability to guarantee the southern island. That was an oversight of sea lanes that I'll correct. As for starting with the northern island, the fleet there can't be easily used against Red or Green, and instead puts Blue into a triangle with Yellow and Purple. It's like Russia's fleet in St. Petersburg- useful, yes, but not in it's primary conflict with the Austrians and Turks, and often it takes as many to defend as you get from the northern territory. Yellow's potentially slower growth I think is balanced by a better defensive position, although I'll welcome any arguments to the contrary. In theory purple has no guaranteed builds, true, but it is not in Red's best interest to bounce Purple out of Purple's starting continent supply center when Red could instead guarantee a take of the northeast main continent neutral supply center. (Yeah, this map needs names)

@ Incompetent: I was hesitant to identify the starting units without the territory names needed to identify them, but I'll add units to an updated map with this post. I'm still really divided, however, on whether Yellow should have three fleets or two fleets and an army. Advice on this would be appreciated.

@ My concern was actually that Yellow would be too weak. Still, two supply centers each bordering the territory is a bit ridiculous, yes. I'm trying a solution in the attached map.

If there is interest in trying the map I would be okay with GMing, so if anyone is interested let me know. For now I'll focus on making adjustments.
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Re: Critique on Five Player Custom Map

Postby Pedros » 17 Apr 2011, 16:09

If you really can't decide on names for the moment, why not just call them A B C D... so at least we can talk about them! Names can come whenever.

Or youcan leave it like Easter Island which only has A, B, C and D - but that's boring!!

On the map itself, I think both red and blue are way too strong with all those centres on an island they can more or less control from the start. And with blue starting with 4 - that's just ridiculous in that position! You need less SCs in the centre, more around the fringes - not necessarily as gifts for the outer nations, but at least to be talked and fought over.

PS - do you want this moving to New Games? It will probably get more attention there
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Re: Critique on Five Player Custom Map

Postby vaderi » 21 Apr 2011, 20:28

The map feels too layered, or rather if you want Red and Blue to need to divide their attentions (which it seems like based on where their SCs are) then they need to be motivated to move, there is no reason for either to leave the home island for at least a couple of years with SC distrabution as it is.

Green is neglected, it has no neutral SCs that it will likely keep for a year (and I for one am tired of Swedens :P ). The SC it is garunteed (the one that looks like it was carved out of the SC to the right) is right in the path of both Red and Blue, while this would appear to give them something to talk about but the placement gives Blue no reason to got for "his" adjacent SC rather than garunteeing the neutral SC to the south.

I think making Blue's mini island a neutral SC would improve the balance, give Purple another SC to compete for and making Yellow's growth a possibility. As Pedros said move those SCs to the fringes, it makes for more conflict if the SCs you are going for are at the edge of your control rather then availible to only you (and 1 other person but then there is no negotiation).

And 4 corners! tsktsktsk :lol:

I hope this helps.
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Re: Critique on Five Player Custom Map

Postby Yhanthlei » 25 Apr 2011, 07:42

Thanks for the advice, vaderi.

What exactly do you mean by divide their attention? I do want blue to spend at least some attention on dealing with yellow and blue, hence the northern blue island, but other than that I would expect them to mostly deal with the Red-Blue-Green triangle.

I'm not sure what you mean by neglected, in this context. Certainly the mass of supply centers is away from Green, but with an alliance holding territory shouldn't be difficult and without an ally it should be. As for Blue moving south, Green can bounce him out. This map would have a greater number of first year bounces than standard diplomacy, which could be a problem.

I had that island be neutral initially, but my worry was that it would leave no northern triangle, just yellow and purple. This would make a yellow-purple alliance overwhelmingly powerful to anything but a southern triple alliance, and would abandon the triangle theory that makes the game good. The intent was to have blue be something like Russia, with feet in both theaters with an extra SC to compensate for the division. Giving purple an extra SC wouldn't be as good as solution as giving extra growth opportunities, though. Yeah, Blue may be too powerful and purple too weak. I don't think that yellow's growth is as much of a problem, there are supply center rich paths into the southern islands against blue and into purple's territory.

Damn, I still have one of those. I should fix that.

Pedros, thanks as well.

I could well go with the advance wars names I copied the units from- Orange Star, Blue Moon, Green Earth, Yellow Comet, and Black Hole, but the map shows more red than orange and purple than black. Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Purple would work fine too, mostly I'm not looking forward to naming every piece of land and sea without reverting to silliness.

With Blue in two theaters, is it really that bad? Everyone is saying so, so probably yes. I hadn't thought that five centers between three (four counting purple) states was too much, but the point is taken that there should be more in decentralized locations. Ideas: remove the western continental blue province, add an island to the southwest for blue and green to fight over later in the game, remove the lower left supply center in the central cluster, merge the space with the empty one to the left, and make a new island to the east between Red and Purple. I'm still not sure what to do about Yellow.

I was just looking for advice so far. I would be entirely willing to DM the game and would be interested in how it would play, but the feedback here has been persuasive that it needs more balance fixes (as well, my attempt to add America to Youngstown was a failure, even if I was pleased with the things I learned about photoshop). I would request your advice on the matter, as you have more experience with forum games than I do.
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Re: Critique on Five Player Custom Map

Postby Pedros » 25 Apr 2011, 17:25

I don't actually think I'm very good at assessing maps cold like this - somehow my brain doesn;t work like that. But one thing occurs to me that I haven't seen mentioned before is that I'd sugggest that one of the five neutrals in the big island might be landlocked - make them fight and put resources into armies as well as just fleets. It would involve a slight redrawing of the boundaries of the others to make it fair as well.
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Re: Critique on Five Player Custom Map

Postby vaderi » 27 Apr 2011, 19:34

Yhanthlei wrote:Thanks for the advice, vaderi.

What exactly do you mean by divide their attention? I do want blue to spend at least some attention on dealing with yellow and blue, hence the northern blue island, but other than that I would expect them to mostly deal with the Red-Blue-Green triangle.

I'm not sure what you mean by neglected, in this context. Certainly the mass of supply centers is away from Green, but with an alliance holding territory shouldn't be difficult and without an ally it should be. As for Blue moving south, Green can bounce him out. This map would have a greater number of first year bounces than standard diplomacy, which could be a problem.

I had that island be neutral initially, but my worry was that it would leave no northern triangle, just yellow and purple. This would make a yellow-purple alliance overwhelmingly powerful to anything but a southern triple alliance, and would abandon the triangle theory that makes the game good. The intent was to have blue be something like Russia, with feet in both theaters with an extra SC to compensate for the division. Giving purple an extra SC wouldn't be as good as solution as giving extra growth opportunities, though. Yeah, Blue may be too powerful and purple too weak. I don't think that yellow's growth is as much of a problem, there are supply center rich paths into the southern islands against blue and into purple's territory.

Damn, I still have one of those. I should fix that.


first, d'oh! didn't mean to post just the quote :oops:

I meant that I felt Green doesn't have anybody to compete against, I've gone back over the map and I see that Green now can compete for the island SC to the left of Green's island which makes it much better. Green now has a chance to negotiate for one of those islands depending on first turn moves. I think that Red is the most powerful power on the map, since if Blue makes a single wrong move in the game Red will gain 3 of the 5 SCs on the main island.

Blue and Purple have the fewest options for first turn movement, I know that they can both move into territories they already control but for first turn moves those don't work (I think they would work if this were not an island map). Purple has only one move for it's northern most fleet and Blue has only one viable move for it's infantry and it's southern fleet also only has one viable move, I think that something has to change in each of those situations. For Purple I don't know what might be done, I think it might be fine if left alone. For both of Blue's limited option units perhaps changing the army to a fleet and the fleet to an army while deleting the triangle territory just north of the SC (and incorporating it into the SC).

here are my thoughts on the map:
Image

The 2 is that I don't know, it feels superfluous but I can see why it's there. I put arrows where I felt the units could go(though blue is missing two arrows (one for each of the two western fleets).


With Blue in two theaters, is it really that bad? Everyone is saying so, so probably yes. I hadn't thought that five centers between three (four counting purple) states was too much, but the point is taken that there should be more in decentralized locations.

no that's what I thought you were trying to do and I think that's a good idea. The five SCs aren't too much on their own it's just that they are too closely grouped and can easily form a stalemate line.
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