Proposed - Timing Out Stalemates

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Re: Proposed - Timing Out Stalemates

Postby jay65536 » 27 Sep 2018, 19:06

NoPunIn10Did wrote:
jay65536 wrote:The point of the first 3 conditions is not that anyone who holds for 3 years should be able to declare a draw. The point of all 4 conditions combined, though, is that the game should be so deadlocked (as per 4a or b) that one player is ALLOWED by the other players to play identical moves for all that time while simultaneously there are few or no centers changing hands. And the proposal needs to have some kind of automated trigger condition for someone to declare a draw, so I think that's as good as any.


What I'm saying is that the no-moves condition isn't a good measure of whether the stalemate has happened or not. It'd be too easy to get into a scenario where the stalemate is never called. I'm less worried about someone exploiting it.


Ahh, OK, I see your point. I guess I'm stuck on 3 things:

1. I can't imagine a scenario like the one you were talking about upthread. It's not the same as what in my head I call an "active stalemate"; it's something weaker but still a stalemate-type scenario, I guess? Can you give me an example?

2. I think if people wanted to force a draw, the position was truly so deadlocked that it should sensibly be a draw, and this rule was in place, people would be able to position their units in such a way that they could fulfill this rule. I wonder if there is any way to get actual evidence of this--if dipsy is still following the thread, maybe there is some sample of games where DGP was called that we could analyze to see how big a deal NoPun's point is?

3. In order to have this kind of rule, there needs to be some trigger where a player may unilaterally declare DIAS. What would be a better trigger to base the rule around, than a position that is so deadlocked that someone can go several years without having to change their moves?
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Re: Proposed - Timing Out Stalemates

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 27 Sep 2018, 21:33

jay65536 wrote:Ahh, OK, I see your point. I guess I'm stuck on 3 things:

1. I can't imagine a scenario like the one you were talking about upthread. It's not the same as what in my head I call an "active stalemate"; it's something weaker but still a stalemate-type scenario, I guess? Can you give me an example?

2. I think if people wanted to force a draw, the position was truly so deadlocked that it should sensibly be a draw, and this rule was in place, people would be able to position their units in such a way that they could fulfill this rule. I wonder if there is any way to get actual evidence of this--if dipsy is still following the thread, maybe there is some sample of games where DGP was called that we could analyze to see how big a deal NoPun's point is?

3. In order to have this kind of rule, there needs to be some trigger where a player may unilaterally declare DIAS. What would be a better trigger to base the rule around, than a position that is so deadlocked that someone can go several years without having to change their moves?


  1. Active Stalemates
    1. It might be less likely on the classic map, but whatever rule we come up with here would need to work on any map implemented.
    2. Potential classic example: In the Portugal+MAO+(Iri/NAO/Eng) stalemate line (Britain v. an alliance of two southern powers), whereby some players can't get ships out of the Med, the blockading British player only needs 3 units to maintain the line but will likely have 4 units total, meaning they can send a ship roaming about and testing other parts of the stalemate line.
    3. In that example, it might be possible for at least one player to not change their moves over time, but they'd have to be the one actually wanting the stalemate.
  2. I'm not sure the goal should be to make a condition that people will deliberately attempt to meet.
  3. I still think that the current standard, which is based on SC control and Moderator review, is probably the best.
    1. The problem, in my opinion, is a lack of education and understanding on the part of the players as to what is and isn't a forceable stalemate.
    2. I think the point about having a button that spams mods when such a condition is reached is indeed a bad idea
    3. However, it would be a much better user experience than the current status quo if something showed up on the game page that informs players that a stalemate may have been reached, with a link to information about how to contact the moderators (and what other "soft" requirements may also need to be met).
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Re: Proposed - Timing Out Stalemates

Postby jay65536 » 27 Sep 2018, 23:39

NoPunIn10Did wrote:
  1. Active Stalemates
    1. It might be less likely on the classic map, but whatever rule we come up with here would need to work on any map implemented.
    2. Potential classic example: In the Portugal+MAO+(Iri/NAO/Eng) stalemate line (Britain v. an alliance of two southern powers), whereby some players can't get ships out of the Med, the blockading British player only needs 3 units to maintain the line but will likely have 4 units total, meaning they can send a ship roaming about and testing other parts of the stalemate line.
    3. In that example, it might be possible for at least one player to not change their moves over time, but they'd have to be the one actually wanting the stalemate.


1a. That's a fair point, but I'm still confused as to how something like that could happen. What kind of scenarios like that could arise on variant maps that the standard map doesn't allow?

1c. Yes, the whole point is to allow someone who actively wants the stalemate to have a list of conditions--that are meant to be hard to meet, of course--under which they can trigger DIAS.
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Re: Proposed - Timing Out Stalemates

Postby condude1 » 28 Sep 2018, 19:48

jay65536 wrote:The point of the first 3 conditions is not that anyone who holds for 3 years should be able to declare a draw. The point of all 4 conditions combined, though, is that the game should be so deadlocked (as per 4a or b) that one player is ALLOWED by the other players to play identical moves for all that time while simultaneously there are few or no centers changing hands. And the proposal needs to have some kind of automated trigger condition for someone to declare a draw, so I think that's as good as any.


But why do we have the first three rules? What purpose do they serve apart from confusion? Back to the chess example, it's like the 50-move rule having a clause about the king moving at least 20 times in that time. Sure, it might be present in some draws, but it's not indicative of a draw, nor is it only true in draws (neither specific nor sensitive).

That's the point I'm making - your method is needlessly conplex.
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Re: Proposed - Timing Out Stalemates

Postby jay65536 » 28 Sep 2018, 23:39

OK, so I think I get your point better now.

Here is the thing with my idea. A simpler condition like "nothing changes hands for X years" is a simple, good* rule for when one power is pushing for a solo, has been stalemated* by a coalition of powers, and everyone wants a draw except for the one big power. I think we agree on that, right?

But the DGP as currently written applies to more situations than just that. For example, let's say that England has stalemated an I/A alliance with a line from Portugal--Den--StP, so 8 centers. I/A have split the other 26, so it stands at 13/13/8. England wants a draw, but I/A want to cut him out and go for a 2way. If I/A refuse to stab each other, the "nothing changes hands for X years" rule will not apply to this situation, even though the current mod-based DGP could potentially be applied. The reason is because they can dodge the simpler rule by swapping centers, forcing England to continue the game even though they have no intention of doing anything to change the situation.

I'm trying to think of a rule that could encompass both of these scenarios, not just the first one. That is why condition 4b is there. The problem is that in order to have 4b, there needs to be a specific time period to check how many unique centers have changed hands. In the version I wrote, the time period to use is one that begins just before the power trying to trigger a draw started playing the same set of orders. If you want to alter my idea so that "same orders" isn't included, then 4b needs to be altered to use a different trigger and a different time period. What would you propose to replace it with that still includes the above situation and others like it? I'm not saying I'm sure my idea is the best one possible, but I do think it's at least pretty good and I can't personally come up with a better one.

Having the trigger be "same moves for 3+ years" doesn't really seem confusing to me; in my mind I feel like the ability of one player to make the same orders for 3+ years and not be disturbed (i.e. have a unit dislodged or feel the need to change anything) is fairly well correlated with a deadlocked position, and combined with condition 4 I think it describes a very good deal of the kinds of positions that a mod would stop the game for. Do there exist deadlocked positions where someone didn't make the same orders for 3+ years? Yes, of course--but the point I've been making to NoPun is that if this became the rule, I think a lot (perhaps all or almost all) of the positions that a mod would call deadlocked are also positions where someone COULD trigger this rule.

(* That rule would perhaps unfairly encompass situations where one power has almost soloed, has a guessing game to get the last center needed to solo, and has been outguessed for X straight years resulting in an identical position and repeated guessing game every time; but honestly I don't think that's a big enough deal to worry about.)
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Re: Proposed - Timing Out Stalemates

Postby super_dipsy » 29 Sep 2018, 09:14

jay65536 wrote:OK, so I think I get your point better now.

Here is the thing with my idea. A simpler condition like "nothing changes hands for X years" is a simple, good* rule for when one power is pushing for a solo, has been stalemated* by a coalition of powers, and everyone wants a draw except for the one big power. I think we agree on that, right?

But the DGP as currently written applies to more situations than just that. For example, let's say that England has stalemated an I/A alliance with a line from Portugal--Den--StP, so 8 centers. I/A have split the other 26, so it stands at 13/13/8. England wants a draw, but I/A want to cut him out and go for a 2way. If I/A refuse to stab each other, the "nothing changes hands for X years" rule will not apply to this situation, even though the current mod-based DGP could potentially be applied. The reason is because they can dodge the simpler rule by swapping centers, forcing England to continue the game even though they have no intention of doing anything to change the situation.

Ahah! :D NOW I see your point. Like others, I could not understand why you were making things needlessly complicated (apparently) but I see what you are struggling with now. I always think of these situations as Big power trying to wait out the little ones, but I had not thought of the opposite.

Sadly I don't really have any ideas though. To me, the nub of the problem is that the software cannot understand a player's motivation. It can't tell the difference between player(s) desperately trying to find a way to break an alliance through extended negotiations, and player(s) simply waiting for someone to give up or NMR through boredom when a draw is the only realistic conclusion. I do not like ANY sort of automatic process interfering with the former, but it is the latter that is detrimental to the site. Hence at the moment we bring in a human who can consider the situation.
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