prase is starting up a Prisoner's Dilemma Game Theory Lab which you ought to check out, and that revived (my) interest in playing Diplomacy with LWers. We've had two games run on this site, and one run on WebDiplomacy.

Diplomacy is easy to learn and, at its heart, a very simple game. Strategy and (surprisingly) diplomacy take center stage; tactics cannot get you very far, and there is no randomness. Players control a great power chosen at random on the eve of WWI, with all powers having roughly the same army size and strength, and so the ability to prevail in conflicts comes almost entirely from creating the right alliances and knowing when to trust (and betray) others. (Also, did you catch the lie in this explanation? Diplomacy involves a lot of lies.)

WebDiplomacy is a free site you can use to play Diplomacy with people online; make an account here. It also seems convenient for having multiple games going on or doing games repeated- Yvain did a heroic job in organizing, administrating, and updating the first game, but it's the sort of job that can be done with less personality by a computer. So, this post exists to help people interested in playing Diplomacy with LWers find other people to play with.

The games spawned by this post will start around the beginning of September, and a typical game lasts somewhere around 20 turns (though many players are eliminated before then). If there's continuing interest, we'll probably have a thread like this once a month, so if you don't know if you can commit to being active during September, but want to make sure a November thread gets posted even if there's not much interest now, reply to the November comment below.

A downside of Diplomacy is it really only works with 7 people, but we should be able to get at least one game going. It seems natural to break people up by game pace, as that represents significantly different time commitments. I'll be posting a number of comments with different game paces (i.e. times between turns); please only reply to the time you would most prefer. That'll make it easy to see how many players we have that are interested, and if we need to shuffle people between paces that'll be easy enough to do later. Signups will close August 31st, and games may start before then if we have sufficient interest. An exception is single-day games; those games will only have 15 or 20 minute turns, and thus only last one day (try to have an 8 hour block open) and so shouldn't conflict with longer-running games.

 

[Edit]The comments below mention that orders must be submitted "at" a particular time; what I mean is they need to be submitted by that time. Apologies for any resulting confusion, and hat tip to RobertLumley for pointing that out.

 

[Edit 9/1: I'm sending out private messages to everyone who signed up pointing them to this new post.

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I spotted the lie!

there is no randomness. Players control a great power chosen at random

This is also not technically true. Powers are chosen by an algorithm wherein you are less likely to get a country you have played more often than other countries.

Also, randomness is found in other ways, depending on how you look at it. One frequently must guess whether another power will defend supply center A or supply center B, and you have a 50% chance at bouncing or a 50% chance at taking the center.

Powers are chosen by an algorithm wherein you are less likely to get a country you have played more often than other countries.

I was unaware of this, and strongly approve! (When you play with the unmodified board game, there is no such algorithm, as I'm sure you know). It would suck to draw Austria or Italy time after time, especially since you wager score to play.

Yeah, that's why the algorithm was implemented. It used to not be that way. But that algorithm helped the balance a lot, and makes the expected value level out very quickly as opposed to taking hundreds of games to do so.

Ah, but there are algorithms for assigning players when using the physical board game. Take a look at this 1998 article from The Diplomatic Pouch. Scroll down for methods of assigning powers using maximin, minimax, or other optimization based on players making ranked preference lists.

Edited for clarity to replace the word "actual" with "physical".

Replace "actual" with "unmodified."

This is also not technically true.

:) So either I found a lie by contradiction, or I found a lie by apparent contradiction one of whose conjuncts is the lie, is that what you're saying?

Well yes. My point wasn't really about the truth value of what you said though, but just trying to be informative about the algorithm by which WebDiplomacy sorts countries/the game itself.

A downside of Diplomacy is it really only works with 7 people

If you are interested, there are variants on that site that have 5 people and (I believe) 17 people, although I strongly dislike them. Although WebDiplomacy has a vastly larger number of users, http://www.vdiplomacy.com/, a sister site built with the same open-source code has a great number of variants, and many people play variants there.

As a general rule though, I avoid variants, as they are not as balanced as the original game.

Also, and I'm going to stop making comments everywhere, there is also the gunboat variant, of which I am a large fan, where you're not allowed to verbally communicate, and all communication must be done through orders, ie. a support hold of another power to indicate an alliance.

Please reply to this comment with your time zone in UTC if you are interested in a game that has 24 hour turns. That means that, at the same time every day, you need to submit your orders for the turn. This is a 'normal' pace, but means that everyone should be in roughly the same time zone so there's a chance emails can go back and forth during one turn.

UTC -8, but out of town until Tuesday, 6 September 2011

To save duplication, I'm also interested in any other time frame, and the all-day Saturday games (so, basically, everything except the Sunday games and anything that starts before I return)

I won't be offended if the "out of town" keeps me from playing this month; I seem to have horrid luck getting a group for this game, and I've learned to be at peace with it :)

[-][anonymous]11y 0

UTC-5

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I'm interested in a 24 hour game, and my UTC time zone is -5.

Please reply to this comment if you don't think you can play in a game this month, but want me to put on my calendar to make another one of these posts for November.

Please reply to this comment with your time availability in UTC if you are interested in a game that lasts one day on future Saturdays, not the Saturday occurring in 2 days. Please mention whether or not you would be willing to use Skype to communicate with other players. (WebDiplomacy has its own in-game communication system, but people might want the higher bandwidth of video communication.)

Please reply to this comment with your time availability in UTC if you are interested in a game that lasts one day on future Sundays, not the Sunday occurring in 3 days. Please mention whether or not you would be willing to use Skype to communicate with other players. (WebDiplomacy has its own in-game communication system, but people might want the higher bandwidth of video communication.)

Please reply to this comment with your time availability in UTC if you are interested in a game that lasts one day on Sunday, August 28th. Please mention whether or not you would be willing to use Skype to communicate with other players. (WebDiplomacy has its own in-game communication system, but people might want the higher bandwidth of video communication.)

Please reply to this comment with your time availability in UTC if you are interested in a game that lasts one day on Saturday, August 27th. Please mention whether or not you would be willing to use Skype to communicate with other players. (WebDiplomacy has its own in-game communication system, but people might want the higher bandwidth of video communication.)

Please reply to this comment with your time zone in UTC if you are interested in a game that has 72 hour turns. That means that, at the same time every day, you need to submit your orders for the turn. This is a 'slower' pace, which will allow for more complicated diplomacy and plotting, but at three days per turn could easily take months to finish.

That means that, at the same time every day, you need to submit your orders for the turn

This is not really true. You can submit your orders at any point during the 72 hour period. Most players submit conditional orders before the deadline, just in case - if all players submit and finalize their orders, the game will progress immediately.

I'm happy to play any non-live game that has phase lengths longer than 36 hours. (I'll copy/paste this message I suppose) But I do not play games that aren't Winner Takes All, as points per supply center encourages gameplay that is fundamentally different to the founding principles of Diplomacy. I would also prefer anonymous games to non-anonymous games.

I am on EDT, which I believe is -5 UTC, although I don't see why that matters for long phase length games.

UTC-5

Want the slow game not because I am super-chatty but because job/kids mean that I will only be sending/responding to press between 9pm and midnight most days.

Please reply to this comment with your time zone in UTC if you are interested in a game that has 48 hour turns. That means that, at the same time every day, you need to submit your orders for the turn. This is a 'slow' pace, and time zone won't be as important.

That means that, at the same time every day, you need to submit your orders for the turn

This is not really true. You can submit your orders at any point during the 72 hour period. Most players submit conditional orders before the deadline, just in case - if all players submit and finalize their orders, the game will progress immediately.

I'm happy to play any non-live game that has phase lengths longer than 36 hours. (I'll copy/paste this message I suppose) But I do not play games that aren't Winner Takes All, as points per supply center encourages gameplay that is fundamentally different to the founding principles of Diplomacy. I would also prefer anonymous games to non-anonymous games.

I am on EDT, which I believe is -5 UTC, although I don't see why that matters for long phase length games.

Duplicate; please delete the extra ones.

ETA: My bad, I was reading Recent Comments and saw many comments by the same person with identical text replying to the same individual. I didn't check to see if they were in other threads because this pattern normally means someone has mistakenly multi-posted. I was mistaken.

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I deleted two of them, but my intention was (and is) to express interest in games of various time frames. One is after all allowed to play multiple games at once.

(This post was written while seeing only one post by me per comment tree. If that was not the case when you posted your comment then I do not know what changed.)

UTC +10 here, signing up for this or slower paces. Being as much as 18 hours out will make any game with phases shorter than 18 hours a little difficult, I think. (Also a vote for normal Diplomacy),

Well it's impossible to be more than 12 hours out of phase... It doesn't matter what you call it, only what hours the two people are awake/asleep. You're really only six hours away.

I'm in for this. UTC -8. Only winner take all, and I'd strongly prefer playing Diplomacy to playing the thing where you talk a lot and do the social nonsense about trying to commit to things that aren't binding and coordinate. Or, without the snark, I'd strongly prefer gunboat/anonymous games as RobertLumley described.

Should we perhaps have a separate thread for a gunboat? Gunboat is a very different game than traditional. I guess I'm willing to try it, but to be perfectly honest, I'm hesitant to play gunboat with people with varying levels of familiarity with the game - it takes a high level of experience in order to play gunboat well, and if you don't have good players, then it's really just a crapshoot, and entirely luck based.

Please reply to this comment with your time zone in UTC if you are interested in a game that has 36 hour turns. That means that orders must be submitted twice every three days, at alternating times (i.e. morning then afternoon then morning). This is a bit slower than normal, but not all that much.

That means that, at the same time every day, you need to submit your orders for the turn

This is not really true. You can submit your orders at any point during the 72 hour period. Most players submit conditional orders before the deadline, just in case - if all players submit and finalize their orders, the game will progress immediately.

I'm happy to play any non-live game that has phase lengths longer than 36 hours. (I'll copy/paste this message I suppose) But I do not play games that aren't Winner Takes All, as points per supply center encourages gameplay that is fundamentally different to the founding principles of Diplomacy. I would also prefer anonymous games to non-anonymous games.

I am on EDT, which I believe is -5 UTC, although I don't see why that matters for long phase length games.

My zone: UTC+3. 36 hours is fine, but I would more prefer 2 days.

[-][anonymous]11y 0

UTC-5

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