Poll: Require Passwords for FCFS Games?

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Should First-Come-First-Serve Games Require a Password?

Poll ended at 24 Jan 2019, 21:46

Yes
4
29%
No
10
71%
 
Total votes : 14

Poll: Require Passwords for FCFS Games?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 10 Jan 2019, 21:46

TL;DR Version
I think the site should require that all games using First-Come-First-Served power selection should also require a password.

Background
Diplomacy's powers aren't balanced, and that's OK. Over the course of a lot of games, with a lot of different players, there are identifiable statistical correlations between the powers and their results. It's the truth for almost any variant of Diplomacy too.

This in itself is not a problem. The asymmetric setup is part of the character of the game, and experienced players can use a power's relative strength or weakness to inform their negotiating tactics.

The Issue
What I do see as a potential issue is making it too easy for someone to play only the powers they want to, particularly if those powers are always the strong ones. This would be particularly true for variants with much larger power disparities than classic Dip. Currently, this is easy to do: you can post a game, take your favorite power, and hope others will take the remaining slots.

This just strikes me as somewhat outside the spirit of the game, like a pool shark waiting for unwitting prey.

Impact
It's more of a theoretical problem at the moment. At the time of this posting, no open new games listed up with FCFS are Rated games. There are 15 that are Unrated, which is still a teensy bit concerning (since even though unrated games have impact on personal ratings, they're still ostensibly supposed to be fair games).

Caveat
Occasionally, people will organize tournaments, league games, and other events where power selection is done externally, and those players are instructed to select their assigned power when joining the game via the site interface (with mods called to boot non-compliant players). These games may be rated or unrated, but they tend to be password-protected. This is a legitimate use case for FCFS.

Proposed Solution
We should require that any game set up as First-Come-First-Serve should also require a password. This way, they're less likely to show up in a typical search result, and it becomes harder to lure random players to the "I already picked the best power now come play with me!" scenario. But it also doesn't get rid of the functionality completely, and players that want to recruit for a game via the forums with specific power assignments can do so.
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Re: Poll: Require Passwords for FCFS Games?

Postby GhostEcho » 11 Jan 2019, 00:45

Don't like the idea of requiring passwords. If you're joining the game, you can see what's left.

I'd prefer the idea of making them not able to be anonymous, but then I hate all anonymous games on principle.
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Re: Poll: Require Passwords for FCFS Games?

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 11 Jan 2019, 01:21

This seems a bit silly to me, to be honest. We allow AoE gunboat games without a password, and those are notoriously unbalanced. You can see what you're getting into with FCFS, so I don't really see a problem.

Probably the other decent counter argument is that maybe someone wants to get better at playing Austria, or Italy, or England, or whatever country they're weak at--easy to do with FCFS as it is now, with a password on it, it can be a lot harder to fill the game if they're not a regular forum user.
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Re: Poll: Require Passwords for FCFS Games?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 11 Jan 2019, 02:45

nanooktheeskimo wrote:This seems a bit silly to me, to be honest. We allow AoE gunboat games without a password, and those are notoriously unbalanced.


I guess my point is that I see a difference between "the variant is unbalanced, but I had the same chance as everyone else to get the weaker powers" versus "the variant is unbalanced, and I'm going to make sure I never play the weaker powers."
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Re: Poll: Require Passwords for FCFS Games?

Postby sinnybee » 11 Jan 2019, 02:51

No.
If there was going to be a change, it should be a possible rating change adjustment depending on what power you play and/or a possible country selection process that selects you a country that you likely have played relatively less (both of which I have explained logistically before).
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Re: Poll: Require Passwords for FCFS Games?

Postby super_dipsy » 11 Jan 2019, 09:58

I think there may be some confusion here.

Perhaps it helps to view the suggestion the other way up. In other words, what Nopun is suggesting is that

- All games are random country allocation, unless...
- ...they have a password

In other words, we do away with FCFS for all games except those with passwords. I suspect the proposal is coming from the angle that the first bit is what is important - that we do away with FCFS games. The exception of password games means that Friends games or other pw games may wanto to have selected countries for various reasons, eg some friends want to try out different country combinations or a tournament wants to force players into particular countries.

If you start from this end (get rid of FCFS) then this is something that comes up fairly regularly. The main arguments are that
- it makes it harder to cheat
- it is the way the rules are written
- it avoids players deliberately always choosing the 'best' countries

nanooktheeskimo wrote:This seems a bit silly to me, to be honest. We allow AoE gunboat games without a password, and those are notoriously unbalanced.

I think the way it was phrased may have confused you. This proposal would not allow AoE games w/o pw to be FCFS, so your concern does not apply.

sinnybee wrote:No.
If there was going to be a change, it should be a possible rating change adjustment depending on what power you play and/or a possible country selection process that selects you a country that you likely have played relatively less (both of which I have explained logistically before).

That is a fair suggestion, and one that has come up before. I have no problem considering it. But it is somewhat separate from what is being proposed. This is only a consideration in ranked games where there is a score associated with the result. It has no effect on unranked games. It may be you get your buzz out of simply trashing other players and winning withouth the additional aspect of a rating, in which case adjusting the ratings based on country strength does nothing to help. It also does not address the cheating aspect.

nanooktheeskimo wrote:Probably the other decent counter argument is that maybe someone wants to get better at playing Austria, or Italy, or England, or whatever country they're weak at--easy to do with FCFS as it is now

That is certainly a fair counter. I had been thinking of other tweaks to nopun's suggestion, for example restricting FCFS to Friends/Schools/Tournament games, but even then you are still right that if you want to improve your play at a particular country, it is good to be able to choose it specifically and doing so in one of those game classes removes that option.

I guess in the end we have to balance the cheating aspect (which i think is the worst aspect of allowing FCFS) and the loss of the ability to deliberately choose a country for non-biased reasons (eg to improve).
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Re: Poll: Require Passwords for FCFS Games?

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 11 Jan 2019, 10:29

I think the way it was phrased may have confused you. This proposal would not allow AoE games w/o pw to be FCFS, so your concern does not apply

No, I understand it fine, my point was that we allow unbalanced variants, so balance shouldn’t be a factor in country selection.
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Re: Poll: Require Passwords for FCFS Games?

Postby super_dipsy » 11 Jan 2019, 17:34

nanooktheeskimo wrote:No, I understand it fine, my point was that we allow unbalanced variants, so balance shouldn’t be a factor in country selection.

Oh I see. OK, got it.
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Re: Poll: Require Passwords for FCFS Games?

Postby sinnybee » 11 Jan 2019, 22:10

Yeah, (at least) one time I made a FCFS game and picked Germany, since I hadn't had much chance to play Germany.
I wanted it to be ranked and I didn't want the starting of the game delayed by a password.

Another possibility is not letting someone pick the same country more than two times more than other countries.

I affirm that FCFS, rank, no password should be allowed in my opinion.
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