Is 'Kingmaking' legitimate?

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Is 'Kingmaking' legitimate?

Postby SimonMH » 03 May 2018, 19:03

Specifically, is it acceptable for a power to commit suicide by allowing another player into his centres in order to spite a third player for some slight (perceived or actual)?

My view is that 'kingmaking' is at least as bad as metagaming and should be treated equally:

1. Kingmaking affects not only the spited player(s) but all others remaining in the game. It unbalances a game as much as a surrender.
2. When playing the game a reasonable expectation is that a player will play in his own interests to achieve the best possible result. Suicide can never achieve the best possible result for that player.

Possible objections:

1. The rules do not prohibit it. Nor do they prohibit metagaming.
2. The threat of committing suicide may be an effective deterrent against a stab. The threat, yes, but if the stab is carried out anyway, it should still be incumbent on the player stabbed to act in accordance with (2) above
3. It is difficult/impossible to determine what may be in the 'best interests' of a player in any given situation. True, but it is very easy to identify suicide.

I am not talking about cases where a power defends against one player and leaves himself open against another, who then sticks the knife in. I agree also that in many cases there can be a reasonable defence for a player's actions, however ridiculous they may appear.

Nonetheless, there are cases so egregious, known to all who have played this game, that cannot be defended on any rational basis. It is these I would like to see … discouraged.
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Re: Is 'Kingmaking' legitimate?

Postby Strategus » 03 May 2018, 19:51

Yes it is valid, as long as it isn't pre-arranged. People do this for all sorts of reasons. Can be annoying, but not really any more annoying than France supporting Yor to Bel.
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Re: Is 'Kingmaking' legitimate?

Postby Strategus » 03 May 2018, 19:53

The rules do prohibit metagaming. And what is the point of threatening something if the rules say you can't go through with it?
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Re: Is 'Kingmaking' legitimate?

Postby Stalwart Higgins » 03 May 2018, 20:07

A player should at all times try to get the best possible result, that's true. How the best possible result is defined, however, is open to interpretation. Obviously, throwing the game from the very beginning would be against the spirit of the game. But at a certain point, it's entirely in accordance with the spirit of Diplomacy for a player to determine that the 'best' result can mean eliminating a player who's wronged you, or maintaining some degree of control over the game by choosing the winner.

In a well played game, I think getting another player to kingmake for you is the only way to win. diplomacy would be much more boring and frustrating if you were required at all times to try to get more centers for yourself. Real nations get to determine their best interest for themselves; so should diplomacy players.
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Re: Is 'Kingmaking' legitimate?

Postby boldblade » 03 May 2018, 20:13

SimonMH wrote:2. When playing the game a reasonable expectation is that a player will play in his own interests to achieve the best possible result. Suicide can never achieve the best possible result for that player.


If you will lose one way or another isn't it better that your enemy loses too and your friend win?

Also, if you admit that the threat of suicide should be valid how can you oppose someone carrying out the threat? The threat would be useless if everyone agreed that carrying it out was in bad taste and would never do it. Doesn't make any sense to validate the threat if you think it should be illegal or illegitimate to carry the threat out.
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Re: Is 'Kingmaking' legitimate?

Postby jay65536 » 03 May 2018, 20:18

SimonMH wrote:When playing the game a reasonable expectation is that a player will play in his own interests to achieve the best possible result. Suicide can never achieve the best possible result for that player.


The point of throwing your centers is that you have been convinced you are already going to lose. If you reach that state, the only question is HOW you lose. (And furthermore, if you erroneously believe your position is 100% lost, then perhaps, in a game called Diplomacy, someone should have been doing a better job convincing you you have something to fight for.)

Here's an example from a game I played once. I was a 12-center Turkey in a coalition with a 4-center Italy and a 2-center France. We had England stalemated at 16. France was holding Spain and Portugal from England. Because of France's vital position, he had every right to demand that he be included in a draw.

What happened instead was that England tricked Italy into stabbing France to try to cut him out.

Now, think about this from the French perspective. Do you think that the French player is obligated to help Italy eliminate him because that way a solo is still prevented?

France's only leverage for staying in the draw is that if Italy tries to cut him out, he can throw the solo to England. So in the event Italy does try to cut him out, why is it illegitimate to trigger those consequences?
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Re: Is 'Kingmaking' legitimate?

Postby DQ » 03 May 2018, 20:59

SimonMH wrote:Specifically, is it acceptable for a power to commit suicide by allowing another player into his centres in order to spite a third player for some slight (perceived or actual)


The only acceptable answer to this question is YES of course it is legitimate. :roll:
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Re: Is 'Kingmaking' legitimate?

Postby GhostEcho » 03 May 2018, 22:11

SimonMH wrote:Specifically, is it acceptable for a power to commit suicide by allowing another player into his centres in order to spite a third player for some slight (perceived or actual)?

...[T]here are cases so egregious, known to all who have played this game, that cannot be defended on any rational basis. It is these I would like to see … discouraged.


I think virtually all Diplomacy players would agree that the threat of kingmaking is a legitimate negotiating tactic - and a threat that can't be followed through is useless. Even if we don't like the extreme scenario, there's no clear point between "let me have Belgium or I'll support Germany in" and "let me keep Belgium or I'll let Germany win" where the threat of cooperation with another power becomes definitely illegitimate. Add in the the very real existence of bad play, and it's impossible to come up with any enforceable standard.

Side note/personal hobby-horse:
SimonMH wrote:Possible objections: 1. The rules do not prohibit it. Nor do they prohibit metagaming.

GPD wrote:The rules do prohibit metagaming.

The site rules and virtually all other competitions do prohibit
collusion based on out-of-game factors, though I'm not sure the published rules of the board game actually ban it. (Incidentally, I'm playing in the current forum variant tournament that positively encourages it.) But I really hate the fact that the term "metagaming" is used for that kind of behavior: all it does is create confusion with the metagame, which is a legitimate and unavoidable part of any game's gameplay.
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Re: Is 'Kingmaking' legitimate?

Postby David E. Cohen » 04 May 2018, 03:50

DQ wrote:
SimonMH wrote:Specifically, is it acceptable for a power to commit suicide by allowing another player into his centres in order to spite a third player for some slight (perceived or actual)


The only acceptable answer to this question is YES of course it is legitimate. :roll:


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Re: Is 'Kingmaking' legitimate?

Postby SimonMH » 04 May 2018, 16:06

Thanks to all for the answers: looks like I am in a minority.
Fine.
Just to be clear though; I am not talking about positions where a player has obviously lost. In that case, of course, he can choose the way to go and should help his 'friends' if possible. In France's position above, there is no question that is legitimate and honourable.
The position I am concerned with is where a player still has a chance, however small, of sharing in a result, but chooses instead to sacrifice himself.
It does not seem 'ding' to me that this is acceptable.
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