Move orders via convoy

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Move orders via convoy

Postby ColonelApricot » 28 May 2019, 07:43

There are variations in how move by convoy orders are recorded between the online interface, the orders solver and the orders resolution/ history.

If an army that is adjacent to a unit in a sea province is ordered to move to an adjacent province then the UI prompts for "Land route" or "Via convoy" with the following outcome messages:

Land route: "The army in xxxxxxxx will move to yyyyyyyyy via a land route" and the order history will show "xxxxxxxx MOVE yyyyyyyy -> resolved"
Via convoy: "The army in xxxxxxxx will move to yyyyyyyyy via a convoy" and the order history will show "xxxxxxxx MOVE yyyyyyyy -> resolved" or "xxxxxxx MOVE yyyyyyyy via Convoy -> Convoy cancelled"
No selection "Use convoy or land route?" (remains after prompt box is closed): and the order history will show "xxxxxxxx MOVE yyyyyyyy -> resolved"

The orders solver includes the following options for orders:

Move (army or fleet)
Move + via convoy (army only)
Convoy (army or fleet)

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS

Orders solver: Remove the "Convoy" option for army units as only a fleet can convoy. Change "Move + via convoy" to remove the superfluous + sign.

Web interface: Offer the same options according to unit type as the Orders Solver and remove the secondary prompt for Land route/ Via convoy.

Army:

Hold
Move
Support
Move via convoy (in the spirit of allowing illegal orders there would be no need to suppress this option if there was no fleet available)

Fleet:

Hold
Move
Support
Convoy (in the spirit of allowing illegal orders there would be no need to suppress this option if there was no army available)

Orders History

If Move via convoy is selected then display ""xxxxxxx MOVE yyyyyyyy via Convoy -> resolved" (the "via Convoy" part is not currently displayed) or "xxxxxxx MOVE yyyyyyyy via Convoy -> Convoy cancelled" (which is displayed currently)

ADVANTAGES

The advantages of doing this are:

1. Enabling the removal of the additional annoying prompt that occurs everytime you order an army with a fleet adjacent (annoying because the convoy option is nearly always not used).
2. Ensuring the Orders History is a complete depiction of the orders entered.
3. Improved consistency between the web interface, orders history and orders solver (that's helpful to people that are unfamiliar with the interface).
4. Improved consistency in allowing illegal orders.
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Re: Move orders via convoy

Postby Mr.E » 28 May 2019, 09:05

As far as in-game orders are concerned, after a little research, the option to use via convoy or land route are there to prevent kidnapping.

Kidnapping is when an adjacent fleet of another power in an adjacent province orders a convoy for the army. So:

England: A Bel-Hol.
Germany: A Hol-Bel, F NTH C Bel-Hol.

In this situation, the armies would exchange places because this is allowed: the two armies are taking different routes. However, England might be looking to destroy the German army (perhaps France has an army in Ruhr that is supporting Bel-Hol).

The kidnapping of the English army means this would fail. Of course, Germany could achieve the same result by convoying it's own army, but there you go. This is a simplistic example.

The army has the option of moving via land or convoy to prevent this. If it is ordered to move by land, the convoy order for the German fleet fails. It's important to have this option, consistent with FTF consensus, and therefore shouldn't be removed.
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Re: Move orders via convoy

Postby ColonelApricot » 28 May 2019, 22:16

To be absolutely clear I am not proposing any rule change. What I am proposing is a clarification and simplification of the implementation of the rules on playdip. The kidnapping stuff is not affected.

If an army is to be moved by convoy then the "move via convoy" option must be selected. If it is not selected then the convoy fails regardless of any kidnapping attempt and the outcome is so noted (it is not noted at present which is a defect).

There IS a non-cosmetic aspect to this proposal but it only affects gunboat. It provides for a new order outcome that is not currently provided. It may be that this adds some nuance to the gunboaters secret codes. However resolving the defect is surely preferable for the reasons stated.

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Re: Move orders via convoy

Postby Oh Cheese » 29 May 2019, 01:53

Slightly off topic, but still pertaining...

I've noticed when you are given the prompt to select whether the army is moving by convoy or by land that if you hastily click elsewhere on the screen this prompt disappears. However, a unit moving by land still moves correctly, if this prompt is ignored. I haven't had the will really to test it, but I wonder whether, if the prompt were ignored, could a unit still move by convoy as well, and therefore is it really necessary to respond to the prompt in any case?
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Re: Move orders via convoy

Postby Strategus » 29 May 2019, 09:23

Is that really the case, or was it only when both options would have worked? Like if the spaces were adjacent.
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Re: Move orders via convoy

Postby ColonelApricot » 30 May 2019, 05:18

An order for an army to move via land route can be created in two ways if it is adjacent to a fleet at sea:

Click the unit to be moved, then its destination as usual. When the "Land route or via Convoy" prompt appears then
1) Select Land route or
2) Close the prompt by clicking the close button or click outside the box.
In either case a non-convoy land based move order is created. Any associated Convoy order will have an outcome of Cancelled.

To convoy an army it is necessary that the "via convoy" option must be selected from the prompt box and a matching convoy order must be created for at least one adjacent fleet at sea.

My suggestion is to remove the prompt box completely and add another order option for an army "Move via Convoy" (which would always be available regardless of the location of the army and any adjacency to fleets at sea).

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Re: Move orders via convoy

Postby jay65536 » 30 May 2019, 22:19

ColonelApricot wrote:To convoy an army it is necessary that the "via convoy" option must be selected from the prompt box and a matching convoy order must be created for at least one adjacent fleet at sea.

My suggestion is to remove the prompt box completely and add another order option for an army "Move via Convoy" (which would always be available regardless of the location of the army and any adjacency to fleets at sea).


I'm not sure if that first sentence is your understanding of how the current interface works or if it's part of your suggestion. It is not, in fact, how the current interface works (if I recall correctly).

In case this post gets long and nerdy, mods, feel free to split off into the Rules subforum.

I'm going to start off by summarizing how I feel about the suggestion--I don't like it, and the reason I don't like it is not because I don't care about consistency, but instead it's because the "via convoy" rule in the 2000 Rulebook is, in my opinion, terrible and I think its impact on game play should be minimized to the fullest extent possible.

Before posting here, I decided to refresh my memory about the "via convoy" rule. For anyone reading this who doesn't know, the entire concept of specifying that an army is moving "via convoy" was only added to the latest (2000) edition of the rulebook. Before that, armies could only do 3 things: hold, move, or support. Convoys worked by having the army ordered from its origin to its destination and then checking if the order is valid by, if necessary, looking for a valid convoy chain in fleets' orders. So a simple example that everyone knows is convoying from Yorkshire to Norway:

A Yor-Nwy
F Nth C Yor-Nwy

Both orders are valid. In particular, the army order is still valid under the 2000 rules, just as it always was. It is not necessary to specify "via convoy".

This already touches on one reason I don't like the OP's suggestion. One of the reasons the OP gives for including "move via convoy" in every prompt is to "allow illegal orders"--but in fact, no illegal orders would be allowed this way. In a game where you wrote out your orders, A Yor-Nwy and A Yor-Nwy "via convoy" are the same order. Similarly, A Par-Bur and A Par-Bur "via convoy" are also the same--perfectly valid--order. This is because the "via convoy" part of the order falls under the "badly written order" rule and is just ignored because the intent of the move order is clear. So I don't think Reason #4 in the OP works.

Anyway, I went back and looked up the rule in the 2000 rulebook, and based on what I read, it goes even further than that. Let's say I'm Turkey and I have A Bul and F Bla; Russia has A Rum and has played Rum-Bul, and Austria has played Ser S Rum-Bul. If I play Bul-Rum, Bla S Bul-Rum, then as we all know, this is a bounce. But now let's say I play Bul-Rum, Bla *C* Bul-Rum. The armies switch places! This is in accordance with the rule that two units can switch places if one of them is convoyed. It is an important point here that the "via convoy" rule STILL DOES NOT APPLY in this case.

In fact, reading the rule, the "via convoy" part of an army order is only necessary to write in the following extremely specific case: 1) The army is moving to a province that it "could arrive at" via land or convoy route (those are the Rulebook's words, not mine); 2) there exists a fleet or chain of fleets that have been ordered to convoy the army; 3) none of the fleets in any ordered convoy route belong to the same country as the army, and 4) the player controlling the army wants to take the convoy. Unless the first three of these four conditions are met, whether the army takes the convoy or overland route is pre-determined, and unless condition 4 is also true, it is NOT necessary to specify "via convoy" in an army order.

The wording of the rule seems to imply that "via convoy" is almost never necessary and would honestly seem to cause more issues than it resolves (what exactly does "could arrive at" mean?). It didn't exist for the majority of the game's history and is poorly worded and terrible. I don't think its role in the PD interface should be expanded.
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Re: Move orders via convoy

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 30 May 2019, 23:11

If you've ever played around with the Orders Solver, you'll see that the "via convoy" tag yields some unexpected behavior in scenarios where it's not strictly necessary. The adjudicator always uses it correctly in scenarios where the clarification is required to be ambiguous, but you'll sometimes see unexpected results if you tag a move as "via convoy" in situations where the move could only be accomplished by a convoy.

I think we need to improve the interaction methodology required to set "via convoy" for moves where it is required to clarify, but I wouldn't want to show it all the time.

Either that or we do what Backstabbr does: we revert to the circa-1970s edition of the rules and Gamer's Guide, allowing kidnap convoys and using an older definition of "legal move" (which in practice allows a unit to stay in position while refusing unwanted support-to-hold).

I suspect that reverting to the 70s rules would be unpopular.
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Re: Move orders via convoy

Postby ColonelApricot » 31 May 2019, 08:41

jay65536 wrote:
ColonelApricot wrote:To convoy an army it is necessary that the "via convoy" option must be selected from the prompt box and a matching convoy order must be created for at least one adjacent fleet at sea.

My suggestion is to remove the prompt box completely and add another order option for an army "Move via Convoy" (which would always be available regardless of the location of the army and any adjacency to fleets at sea).


I'm not sure if that first sentence is your understanding of how the current interface works or if it's part of your suggestion. It is not, in fact, how the current interface works (if I recall correctly).


Thanks for pointing out my error in the above statement. It was intended to describe the behaviour of the interface. I omitted that the situation is applicable only when the army is moving to an adjacent coastal province which is when both a land route and convoy can be used.

It should read "To convoy an army to an adjacent province it is necessary that the "via convoy" option must be selected from the prompt box and a matching convoy order must be created for at least one adjacent fleet at sea."

I am not suggesting that an inappropriate specification of a convoy should be made to be an illegal order.

What I am suggesting is an improvement to the usability of the website by removing an annoying and unnecessary interaction and improving the consistency and accuracy of the order history.

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Re: Move orders via convoy

Postby super_dipsy » 01 Jun 2019, 09:35

Via convoy is a tricky thing, largely because it was thrown into the rules with no thought. It was obviously a last minute addition when someone thought about kidnapping - there had been a number of abortive attempts in previous rulesets to address the kidnapping issue. This was just another.

When I put it in back int he mists of time, I thought long and hard about what was best. It may be it is not right, and if so we can change it, but I think it is important to understand the reasoning first.

The first factor I took into account was that the rules do not include the option of an order for an army being Move via Convoy. Here is what is in the rules:
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and
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It is only right near the end when it is talking about rare situations that it brings up kidnapping and via convoy
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On this basis, it seemed a bit odd to make all armies have a move via convoy choice even if they were landlocked or there were no fleets anywhere near, because the written rules specify a move order has to be A loc1 - loc2. The specifying of 'via convoy' is not even described in any syntax, showing it has just been thrown in at the last minute.

So the second issue is then how to allow a via convoy specification as per the last section of the rules above. Since the outlined syntax for a move does not have any concept of a via convoy option, there were basically two choices: add some sort of 'via convoy' qualifier in the orders dialogue for armies that are on a coast with at least one fleet next to them and ordered to move to an adjacent location, or put up a separate dialogue asking if you want to use the land or convoy route.

So now the third aspect comes in. Players are used to the fact (the rules specify this clearly with lots of examples) that to use a convoy route you just give the fleets the right order and issue a Move order to the army. There is no need to specify anything. If we put a Move via convoy in the dialog box for the army, I felt it was likely to confuse people. Why would there be a move via convy option when you don't need to do that. You can just say Move. It really does seem to go against the basic Diplomacy rules through the ages where for a move whether using a convoy or not you just say A loc1 - loc2.

So in the end I opted for the extra dialogue. The point was to actually draw the player's attention to the fact that there is possible ambiguity here. There is a potential convoy route as well as a land route, so choose what you want.

Personally I am against putting a move via convoy option in the army order dialog for the reasons I have given above. However, if people prefer that route we can do that. The down side of course is that people may not realize they have an option, which could be something they want to use if they want to switch places for example. Unlikely I know, but still a factor.
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