PDET - My Take

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PDET - My Take

Postby NOS482 » 11 Oct 2015, 05:01

Friends,

While not faring as well as I had hoped in the PDET, I made some new acquaintances and learned some interesting things. However, in the end, possible sour grapes aside, I cannot say that I have a positive POV of it. I def think that things from a structural standpoint need to be addressed. So, with that in mind, here are some of my actual thoughts in summary...

1) I think the number of matches and their distribution should have been at minimum, something akin to a round robin where each player plays at least 7 games where in he/she gets a shot at playing EACH power. (An 8th or 9th round would be appropriate to ensure this.)
2) There should be NO subbing. What so ever. The "Pause" request is enough to ensure a reasonable amount of playing around the unforeseen for RL. But, subbing for any significant portion of the game, Anon or otherwise is open to abuse for "Ringers". If you cannot play, you forfeit. There is no legit tournament that doesn't follow this guideline. If you cannot play, you should not be allowed to win in your absence. I repeat, If you cannot play, you forfeit.
3) Another facet of subbing...? NMR/Surrender. If players surrenders through NMR or intentionally, they should NOT be replaced. For a similar reasons I mentioned previously: You can't play, you don't advance. And, again, the Anon facet allows the potential abuse for "Ringers".
4) Anon - I feel very strongly that this facet in fact is an advantage to higher ranked players, members of site cabals, and "friends". Sure, sure folks can say they can figure it out IDs from reading the forums or from previous games, or even from believing what other players tell them of their investigating these sources, but out of 6 rounds I was accurately appraised 4 (maybe 5) times. And yet, I had not posted in months on the forums and only played with at best a handful of the players (3-4) out of 42 potential players in the game. This game maybe about conspiracy and paranoia, but this ability to assess who I am with an +/- 80% accuracy by players I have NOT ever played is bordering on ridiculous. I am not calling any player cheater or abuser. I AM saying that if you remove Anon, it becomes moot. (As for the lesser ranked players, it gives YOU a better/fairer chance because it lets you learn from your better ranked peers by looking at THEIR methodologies.)
5) As an aside to #4... Site admins/mods or any staff should NOT be allowed to play in a site's "official" tournament. Esp one that demands "Premium" membership. There are no legit tourneys where the judges/arbiters/admins are allowed to compete. (This is somewhat similar to why pro players cannot bet on sports. Looking at you Pete Rose! Though maybe hypocritically, I think he should be allowed in the Hall of Fame.)
6) I think the tourney games should be NON Ranked. Why? Because alliances are formed for the magic 1915, and then folks throw it for some one in 1916 for rank. End the game at the designated time. No additional time. No additional benes. No additional motive for unsportsmanlike play. (I would maybe suggest extending the time to 1918 / 1919 for historical and benefit of the doubt reasons.)
7) The points and meta game for the tourney needs to be reevaluated. Alas, I do not have a specific set of values to suggest at the moment, but it is a topic I would like to open to discussion for next time.
8) On a less controversial note - I think the games should be "No Weekends" and "No Holidays". (This would/could synergize with lessening NMR and poss subbing issues.)

I do not make these recommendations lightly. In RPGs I am primarily a GM/DM. I am an avid gamer, and war gamer. I have judged tourneys (that I did NOT participate in). I have played in numerous chess, poker, war gaming, and yes, FtF Dip games (where I did NOT judge/moderate). I have practiced each and every one of those roles for decades. I am not speaking from an amateur perspective. I sincerely want to improve the level of sophistication, transparency, and ultimately, the enjoyment of the PDET.

To end on a positive note about the half dozen PDET games I played... PDET5B and PDET2G were among the best games I have ever played. (I will hate myself for the mis click with BUR/RUH in PDET2G for my entire life! LOL! And I will cherish being the "Bad Cop" in PDET5B. LOLx2!) Respect to ALL the people that sat at those 6 tables with me. Respect x2.

Thanks for taking the time to read my humble missive.
That which does not destroy us, makes us stranger (and leaves scars).
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Re: PDET - My Take

Postby charliep007 » 11 Oct 2015, 11:00

Nos, thanks for your comments, much appreciated.

Very briefly (and we can go into much more detail if we are to try and run something again next year...)

1/ I like your point, one of the challenges with the number of games this year is that a number of folk got/currently are burned out. My take is actually perhaps we need less games to avoid that occurring - or a longer tournament! I see the point on playing every nation though. WHS has done things so that each person plays at least one western, one central and one eastern power. I think that has been a decent compromise.

2/ I hear ya, thankfully the intro of game pauses has had a great benefit in reducing the number of subs needed. However it's tricky to rule out the need of subs/replacements period. But they should be the exception I'd have thought.
4/I think you have the 2nd most distinctive style of diplomacy on the site (mine probably being the 1st) I actually favour a tournament that isn't anon - but I knew to get this going this year, you wouldn't have got the highest ranked players playing unless it was anon. One of my goals was to hook the big boys into playing -ranked anon was the hook. Maybe in the future, the hook is playing in quality games (such as 5b! )

5/I think you've made a good point. In hindsight I shouldn't have played, but at the same time I don't think that I've had any advantage gained from being TD (if I'm wrong, please let me know! )
6/ again, a good point. Perhaps we should try it, my guess is the top players won't play - but hey that's their issue right? !

Perhaps you'd be willing to gm another one next year? :)

Thanks Nos (one hell of a bad cop! )
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Re: PDET - My Take

Postby NOS482 » 12 Oct 2015, 03:54

007,

Thanks for reading and RSVPing. I am hoping the thread will generate some more comments because I actually enjoyed the experience PDET offered - I was just disappointed with some of the facets. But, some of the moments were truly awesome (even the ones that lead to my demise). If you ever wanna bring your excellent play to one of my mini tourneys, lovingly called the "Dippers X Series", I would welcome it. Indeed, you may find some of the competition fierce and yet courteous. (Maintaining courtesy is a cornerstone to being on the "invite" list!) I not only invite you, but any of the PDET that I played with. I will be restarting the series very shortly. I hope to see you at a table, any table, soon.


-NOS482
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Re: PDET - My Take

Postby Buachaille » 21 Oct 2015, 00:21

I took my time before answering this because when I first read it, I found I disagreed with all the points made and I had to ask myself:

A). Was I just disagreeing with Bad Cop?
B). I'm doing ok in the tournament, does that make me more likely to support the tournament than someone having less success?

So I thought for a few days and I'm fairly sure I can discount A but guess B could still be a factor.......but I still disagree. :D

1). I guess this is a matter of taste but I'm not sure I could have handled much more. Plus, the more games there are, the greater the advantage there is to those who can play in each and every round.

2 & 3). Totally disagree. Surrenders totally distort the results of games. Why should France win because England resigned? It'd be silly. I understand your principle and in an idea world...but we're not and subs are a pragmatic solution to an unfortunate reality. And your alternative is much worse. Much.

4). I prefer non-Anon in open play but for a tournament Anon makes sense to me. How else do you avoid the situation that arose in the PDVT final? And for me the 'Anon+' rules in this tournie is an improvement from the simple anon in PDVT. I think you might be influenced by your own personal lack of anonymity but I'd humbly suggest you didn't help yourself there.

5). It sounds to me like you're talking about Charlie. Unless you're actually saying that me and JonS shouldn't have played because we're Classicist mods (that would just be weird)? I'm going to presume the former. My take on this is that, unless you can actually say what specific advantage Charlie had, you're back to your high principles. We're not a huge community, we need as many of the top players to play as possible. Besides, this isn't really Charlie's tournament. It's WHSeward's. Charlie's the face, the name, the smile, maybe a little brains ;) behind it. WHSeward has taken the fall for Charlie by not playing and taking care of all the mechanics of the tournie.

6.) Charlie's reply hits the nail on this one.

7). I can't imagine it wouldn't be as a matter of course.

8). Again; a matter of taste and not mine I'm afraid.

Hope it helps to hear another point of view. :D

PS. I'll make a post in 5B's AAR if you do ;)
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Re: PDET - My Take

Postby JonS » 21 Oct 2015, 22:45

I was considering a long reply to this, but really, my views mirror nearly exactly those expressed so eloquently by Buachaille. But I'll still add some comments because I appreciate you raising the thread, and I'm stuck at work so why not write a long forum post... [edit - ended up writing a long post anyway! Oops]

On length - frankly I think six rounds was already a grueling, significant commitment. We have been playing in this tournament for most of the year. It's possible I felt particularly exhausted because since this tournament started I've moved across the country and had my first child, but I have to admit I'm pretty happy to see round six coming to a close. A longer tournament reduces participation and increases the rates of subs needed.

This actually hits on one thing I think Charlie and WHSeward were very smart to introduce - the "only your four best games count" rule for the tournament. This gave people the flexibility to balance the burden of tournament participation over the course of the year. I certainly appreciated being able to sit out round four, which coincided with my daughter's birth.

On replacements/surrenders - I flatly and completely disagree. Obviously if possible we would have no subs required, because no one that joined the game would leave the game. But that is an ideal, not a reality. (Unless you play classicist games! The glorious Classicist Utopia is always accepting new members!) I believe the tournament practice of using well vetted, well qualified subs when necessary was absolutely the right course. More than one of my games had a sub. Had those positions been surrendered, the games would have been completely ruined.

On anonymity - I'm mixed here. In general I'm not a huge fan of anonymous play. I like knowing who I'm facing, and I like having people knowing they're facing me. I find the identity guessing game exhausting - probably because I'm terrible at it. But - in the tournament setting - it just feels necessary to minimize the influence of tournament ranking on gameplay. I was in the PDVT final board, and it's barely an exaggeration to say that final game was ruined by the interplay of how the tournament was scored with the ease with which identities were discovered. I think WHS and Charlie put a lot of effort into figuring out what could have been improved upon in the PDVT, and I think the scoring and strict anonymity were two results of that study.

And also on the anon point - it is true that strict anon helped attract some of the absolute best players to the tournament, which has been great. I personally have always been kind of annoyed and bemused by top ranked players complaining about people knowing who they were - sort of reminds me of war on the rich rhetoric here in the states - but I've never been a top ranked player, so I can't truly judge them for feeling that way. (And maybe once I'm a billionaire I'll be terrified of Obama too - who knows). Regardless - strict anon helped bring them in, and that was a win for the tournament.

In general, how do I feel about the tournament? I feel it has been incredibly well planned, and incredibly well executed. Some rounds have been more fun than others, but overall I've found it an interesting and challenging experience. I would put a PDET game as less fun than the average Classicist game, but infinity more fun than general playdip play. It's fun to watch players that know the game well work together. True quality stands out - the tricks that work on random playdip noobs do not work in a PDET game. And I've gotten to play with some people I really enjoyed that I otherwise may not have gotten to know. I'm glad I participated, and will likely participate in similar tournaments in the future.

I'll do a 5B AAR after Buachaille does. :-) 5B is another reason I'm glad I can toss out my two worst results...
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Re: PDET - My Take

Postby JonS » 21 Oct 2015, 22:49

Really - everyone that's posted on this thread was in 5B! Maybe this thread is a way for all of us to keep unpacking the emotions we have held deep inside from that game...Meta-AAR as therapy
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Re: PDET - My Take

Postby WHSeward » 21 Oct 2015, 23:26

I have my own opinions as an observer, but I think I'll keep them to myself. One comment though; I deserve no credit for the format. rick.leeds and charlie created these rules. I see that sinnybee gave valuable input as they approached final form. I just got here and ran a portion of the event based on the rules that I found. My only contribution to the procedures used was around board assignments.
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Re: PDET - My Take

Postby JU10 » 24 Oct 2015, 15:58

Just a brief comment regarding anonymity: I am STRONGLY in favor of keeping the tournament games anonymous. Maybe if you spend a lot of time on the site and/or you have a unique writing style people will start recognizing you, but if that's a bad thing, isn't that just another reason for keeping the games anonymous?

I think it's a simple fact that the higher your ranking, the more you are targeted right from the get-go. Some might say "hey, if you're so good shouldn't you be able to deal with that?" but I just don't see Diplomacy that way. That's like a built-in handicap and I don't like it. Diplomacy should be all about how good you are in that specific game with that specific country against those specific players and I don't like there's any "baggage" from outside of the game. And in tournaments the metagamimg could be just rampant with players constantly analyzing the leaderboards and determining who they want to take down depending on who their rival in the points are / who has the most points etc. It just creates another dimension to the tournament that I don't really like.

I'm sure my perspective is influenced by the fact that I don't "know" a lot of the people here and I don't really have "friends" here (I don't hang out at the forums that much) so I don't have the community perspective to things that some might have and people might not know my messaging style. But still, I understand why the top ranked players want anonymity - we don't need "progressive taxation" in Diplomacy when it comes to rankings or tournaments ;)
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Re: PDET - My Take

Postby V » 30 Oct 2015, 00:31

All,

Very interesting reading from all contributors. As I did not participate (was kindly invited) I will limit my comment to the issue of Anonymous player games. After much consideration I decided not to play these & as a result, did not join PDET.

I strongly agree with the original post that Anonymous player games favour high ranked players (that solely play this variety), thereby becoming very skilled at turning the supposed anonymity to their advantage. It becomes the opposite of the disadvantage they have when not anonymous.

The deciding point that settled me never to play Anonymous player games was the aspect that it is a new development achievable only due to online gaming. I've played Diplomacy for 45 years (but 1 online). It would also have been a challenge for negotiators in 1914 to be anonymous (infamous more like). It has brought an artificial component into what is now a very old game, to accommodate a few on the site.

I understand the issue of low ranked players targeting high ranked ones to boost their rating but there are other ways of avoiding that hazard. This tournament was also for the top 150 (not "1000 noobies").

Just a point of view to add to the others. No Anon games for me. I'd love to play next year's PDET if it is not Anon.

Cheers Senlac
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Re: PDET - My Take

Postby HonestAbe » 04 Nov 2015, 16:02

I think that the anonymous nature of this tournament is integral to it being elite. You shouldn't be able to look up a player's history to see how they choose to play a particular country. Your previous games with another player also shouldn't cloud how you choose to play against them in a tournament like this. Rather, this format forces you to gauge the competition through their messaging and actions, and to utilize that in your decision-making. It forces you to not only read between the lines much more but also improve that skill to improve as a player.

Not sure if this is on a tangential note or not, but when playing in an anonymous tournament, I further think that it's actually a good idea to approach messaging in each game in a completely different way. Thoughts, concerns, NOS? RSVP. … Ha-ha! ;)
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