Opening Moves (or: Why Diplomacy Rocks)

Anything about the Diplomacy game in general.

Opening Moves (or: Why Diplomacy Rocks)

Postby ChristianAnkerstjerne » 24 Jul 2011, 22:00

I was sitting around, wondering how many opening combinations there are in Diplomacy. Yes, I was bored :) Obviously, some of the openings would never happen, as it would lead to poor positions and self-bounces, but for the sake of argument:

  • England:
    • Edinburgh: 5
    • Liverpool: 5
    • London: 5
  • France:
    • Brest: 5
    • Paris: 5
    • Marseilles: 5
  • Italy:
    • Venice: 7
    • Rome: 5
    • Naples: 5
  • Austria:
    • Vienna: 6
    • Budapest: 6
    • Trieste: 4
  • Germany:
    • Kiel: 6
    • Berlin: 5
    • Munich: 8
  • Russia:
    • St. Petersburg: 4
    • Moscow: 6
    • Sevastopol: 4
    • Warsaw: 7
  • Turkey:
    • Ankara: 4
    • Constantinople: 4
    • Smyrna: 5

Possible number of unique opening orders: 5 080 320 000 000 000.

For comparison:
  • Chance of a mass extinction astroid impact during an average human's lifespan: 1/1 350 000.
  • Chance of being dealt a Royal Flush in five card stud: 1/77 968 800.
  • Chance of winning the jackpot in Powerball: 1/195 249 054.
  • Number of metres from the Sun to Pluto: 5 874 000 000 000.
  • Current US national debt: 14 300 000 000 000.
  • Number of helium atoms to form a one metre long line: 32 000 000 000 000.
User avatar
ChristianAnkerstjerne
 
Posts: 59
Joined: 27 Feb 2011, 11:58
Location: Denmark
Class: Diplomat
All-game rating: (1000)
Timezone: GMT+1

Re: Opening Moves (or: Why Diplomacy Rocks)

Postby calvinhobbesliker » 24 Jul 2011, 22:12

I assume you're either excluding support orders or including them in the "hold" order?
calvinhobbesliker
Premium Member
 
Posts: 87
Joined: 08 Nov 2010, 00:39
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: 1058
All-game rating: 1220
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: Opening Moves (or: Why Diplomacy Rocks)

Postby ChristianAnkerstjerne » 24 Jul 2011, 22:16

calvinhobbesliker wrote:I assume you're either excluding support orders or including them in the "hold" order?


True, that would increase it significantly.
User avatar
ChristianAnkerstjerne
 
Posts: 59
Joined: 27 Feb 2011, 11:58
Location: Denmark
Class: Diplomat
All-game rating: (1000)
Timezone: GMT+1

Re: Opening Moves (or: Why Diplomacy Rocks)

Postby super12345 » 17 Aug 2011, 06:06

I'm a big chess addict, and am really surprised at the number of opening moves in diplomacy. In chess, there are only 400 different combinations for the first moves of each player. Of course, chess only has two players, so they aren't really comparable... tactically chess is certainly more complicated, but strategically they both are totally complex. But diplomacy does have an entirely different aspect that chess doesn't have. I like playing both of them, although I take chess seriously (I'm nationally ranked), while diplomacy is just some fun for the summer
super12345
 
Posts: 2
Joined: 19 Mar 2009, 22:34
Class: Diplomat
All-game rating: (1000)
Timezone: GMT-5

Re: Opening Moves (or: Why Diplomacy Rocks)

Postby ChristianAnkerstjerne » 17 Aug 2011, 13:16

I enjoy both games, too. As strategy games go, they're very different. Diplomacy is (almost, ignoring neutral supply centers) a zero-sum imperfect information game, whereas Chess is a non-zero-sum perfect information game. Plus, ideally, social and psycological aspects play no role in Chess.
User avatar
ChristianAnkerstjerne
 
Posts: 59
Joined: 27 Feb 2011, 11:58
Location: Denmark
Class: Diplomat
All-game rating: (1000)
Timezone: GMT+1

Re: Opening Moves (or: Why Diplomacy Rocks)

Postby gareth66 » 17 Aug 2011, 18:18

Wow. I've only just read this thread for the first time (wasn't expecting to read what I've just read from the title). But this is one impressive bit of mathematical analysis.

Before going into a bit of an extension of Christian's idea, it is worth taking his figures (which are entirely correct) and summarising the variety of possible opening options available to each country:

England 125
France 125
Italy 175
Germany 240
Austria 144
Turkey 80
Russia 672

These figures in themselves are worth thinking about for a minute. Obviously no surprise Russia has so many different possibilities, as it has one more unit than the others. But surprising I think how many opening options there are for Italy, given how constrained most players feel when cast to play that country. Compare that with the options open to Turkey, comparatively far fewer.

Now, having said that, I've taken the liberty to take Christian's analysis a little further. Some of what I've come up with will be a little subjective (in terms of whether a particular option is a realistic one for a particular unit) but what I have tried to do is work out which of the possible options would be realistic choices for a sensible player. And this is my verdict:

England: Edinburgh 2, Liverpool 3, London 3. Total: 18 sets of realistic possible opening moves
France: Brest 4, Paris 4, Marseilles 4. Total: 64 sets of realistic possible opening moves
Italy: Venice 4, Rome 3, Naples 2. Total: 24 sets of realistic possible opening moves
Germany: Kiel 3, Berlin 4, Munich 6. Total: 72 sets of realistic possible opening moves
Austria: Trieste 4, Vienna 6, Budapest 6. Total: 144 sets of realistic possible opening moves
Turkey: Ankara 3, Smyrna 2, Constantinople 1. Total: 6 sets of realistic possible opening moves
Russia: Sevastopol 3, Moscow 5, Warsaw 4, St P 1. Total: 60 sets of realistic possible opening moves

I'm sure there will be plenty of players that disagree with my evaluation of what is realistic, but within this I have concluded that there are two units for which there is only one conceivably sensible opening order (St P and Constantinople), and at the other end of the extreme I have concluded that every single possible opening order is realistically feasible for Austria. Obviously my assumptions will be open to challenge and discussion, but based on these figures we can tentatively conclude the following:

Whilst Russia has the greatest theoretical number of permutations of openings, Austria has the greatest realistic number of permutations openings.
Turkey has just 6 realistic opening permutations.
Italy and Russia have the greatest number of theoretical openings that are unrealistic.

And with these figures, the number of realistic unique openings is still 103000000000. That might be rather less than the theoretical 50800000000000 worked out by Christian (in fact, it means that only one permutation of openings in every 50000 of the theoretical possibilities is realistic), but it is still orders of magnitude more than the number of games that have ever been played on this site. In fact, since there have been approximately 30000 games played on this site, it means that the odds of any two games played having had exactly the same opening are approximately one in three-and-a-half million.

Why Diplomacy Rocks, indeed. Christian, prepare to receive karma!
User avatar
gareth66
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 3523
Joined: 06 Apr 2011, 18:09
Location: Uk (North Midlands)
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1485)
All-game rating: (1638)
Timezone: GMT

Re: Opening Moves (or: Why Diplomacy Rocks)

Postby diplomat42 » 17 Aug 2011, 22:19

Gareth, I haven't analyzed your work completely, but I have found one thing that I think can be changed: St. Pete (SC)-Finland is a perfect way to build trust with Germany while still getting you Sweden.
Glorious Nation of the Himalaya et.al in CYOC.
Classicist, Whippersnapper.

Generation 32 (The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.)

JOIN CITY-STATES AND ZOMBIES!
IT WILL BE OFF THE CHAIN
diplomat42
 
Posts: 10504
Joined: 21 Nov 2010, 19:32
Location: Swagland
Class: Diplomat
Standard rating: (1140)
All-game rating: (1289)
Timezone: GMT-6

Re: Opening Moves (or: Why Diplomacy Rocks)

Postby gareth66 » 17 Aug 2011, 23:21

Yes indeed, thanks d-42, accept that correction. that makes 120 realistic openers for Russia (still less than Austria) and 206000000000 possible realistic opening combinations. One in 25000 of the theoretical possibilities being realistic, and a chance on one in 7 million that the same opening has been used in different games on this site.

Keep the challenges rolling in...!
User avatar
gareth66
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 3523
Joined: 06 Apr 2011, 18:09
Location: Uk (North Midlands)
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1485)
All-game rating: (1638)
Timezone: GMT

Re: Opening Moves (or: Why Diplomacy Rocks)

Postby Rebellion » 24 Aug 2011, 20:35

I have to say that most *possible* opening moves are pretty stupid. Sure if there were 7 monkeys playing diplomacy you'd never get the same opening, but most players use the same openings again and again (just like chess. Sure you can move pawn to a3 first turn but you're just wasting your time)

Unless someone is doing something wacky, this is the selection of moves for each country. (My reasoning is in tags so if you don't care don't read it)

England (2):
North with Norwegian/North Sea/Yorkshire
South with North Sea/English Channel/Yorkshire
I would always occupy NOR and would always move the army to Yorkshire. So the only choice here is where to put the other fleet.


Germany (2):
North with Denmark/Kiel/Ruhr
West with Holland/Kiel/Ruhr
This is just me trying to find another opening than Denmark/Kiel/Ruhr which is so great I don't know why you'd do anything else, unless you really wanted Belgium


France (5):
West with Spain/MAO/Gascony
East with Spain/MAO/Burgundy or MAO/Burgundy (s)
North with Spain/ENG/Picardy or Spain/ENG/Burgundy
France has a huge variety but I think this does it. Take your Neutrals neutrally, defend Burgundy or go for the Channel.



Italy (3):
Lepanto with ION/Apulia
North with ION/Tyrolia/Venice
East with ION/Trieste/Venice
Not going for ION is crazy, and a French attack is pretty pointless. So it's just choose which way to attack Austria or leave him alone


Austria (2):
Defend with Venice/Galicia/Serbia
Attack with Albania/Galicia/Serbia
Ask yourself...do you feel lucky? If so go for Greece, if not then Hedgehog. Almost every other opening is incredibly weak and liable to get you killed in record time


Turkey (2):
North with Bulgaria/BLA/Armenia
West with Bulgaria/BLA/Constantinople
Seize the initiative against Russia or just plod along. Same old Turkey. Leaving the BLA open says I AM PLAYING A JUGGERNAUT in flashing neon lights


Russia (2)
South with BOT/BLA/Galicia/Ukraine
North with BOT/StP/Galicia/BLA
My real weakness, I can't see any reason not to go for BLA (see above) and not to go for BOT. Leave Galicia open and you look stupid when Austria goes there which I believe he always should do. That just leaves you with a choice of North or South for Moscow


Which leads to a much more reasonable 480 combinations that I believe will have all been played (maybe someone can check if there's a search function for it?)
I'm not saying you can't use other openings and win. Sure you can. You just have to be better at the game than everyone else and so you probably would have won anyway.

France and Russia almost certainly have more good openings but I very rarely play those contries and others would have better judgement than me.
Rebellion
 
Posts: 31
Joined: 08 Feb 2011, 20:41
Class: Diplomat
All-game rating: (1000)
Timezone: GMT

Re: Opening Moves (or: Why Diplomacy Rocks)

Postby diplomat42 » 24 Aug 2011, 22:28

Here's what I think:

England: Sound reasoning, however an army in Edinburgh is much better for convoying purposes with a northern opening.

Germany: I also think going Ber-Pru, Mun-Sil and Kie-Den in a WT is a decent idea. I like the Ruhr Kiel Holland opening better, too.

France: I don't see why people do Gascony openings. I like Bre-MAO, Par-Pic, Mar-Spa. Gives you Iberia and a say in Belgium, while giving you similar defense.

Support into Burgundy also works. I HATE Eng. Channel openings...

Italy: Sounds about right. No reason not to take Ion, unless you're really going crazy for France, which is weird.

Austria: Why take Galicia? It just incites war with Russia, and Italy may follow suit and attack. Russia isn't going to mess with you unless it's a Juggernaut, and then you're screwed either way. I think it's hard to attack Italy quick, so I like Tri-Alb, Vie-Bud, Bud-Ser

Turkey: I agree that not opening to Bla is screaming "JUGGERNAUT." However, depending on the skill of the players and others' openings, leaving Bla alone may not get everyone against you. Not going to Armenia but going to Black seems pointless, and experienced players may see that as a Juggernaut opening. I don't like attacks on Russia because you can't get far. I consider Ank-Con (maybe Bla), Smy H (or Con if Ank isn't going there), Con-Bul is smart.

Russia: Your strategy is to attack Austria AND Turkey. With the north strategy, you're attacking England, Austria and Turkey. A 2 front war is hard, a 3 front war is harder. The south strategy is better, but not by much. I like St. P-Bot, War H, Mos-Ukr, Sev-Rum (or Bla, with Mos-Sev).
Glorious Nation of the Himalaya et.al in CYOC.
Classicist, Whippersnapper.

Generation 32 (The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.)

JOIN CITY-STATES AND ZOMBIES!
IT WILL BE OFF THE CHAIN
diplomat42
 
Posts: 10504
Joined: 21 Nov 2010, 19:32
Location: Swagland
Class: Diplomat
Standard rating: (1140)
All-game rating: (1289)
Timezone: GMT-6

Next

Return to Diplomacy Lore

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron