Game one

This page comments on the first experimental Double Diplomacy Game. If you have not already done so, I recommend you first read the rules of this Diplomacy-variant, before reading on.

Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 22:51:43

Hello All,

End of first doublediplomacy game

Yes, we have reached the end of the game already and it is a mayor DRAW between 7 players and 6 powers. Only Russia got eliminated.

Click here for last played turn: results Spring 1905

Everybody who replied, agreed with the Draw-proposal from Kevin, some with issuing orders but those are not important anymore.

Only Joost did not reply, I phoned him (He lives in another city here in the Netherlands) and he is still on holiday. Oh Well. I like to receive end of game statements anyway, but first I will write the problems of this first experimental DoubleDip game below. It seems we still need some tinkering.


As this was an experimental game and the game ended because of lack of interest, we could call the whole Double-Diplomacy idea a mistake....

But I rather won't :-)
It won't serve very well.. There were factors that caused the way the game ended like this, factors which can be changed! And, what is wrong with a draw anyway?

A good variant

The first reason I'm optimistic is that the game got off to a very good and interesting start, and all players really enjoyed the concept of the game, it was really something new, there was a whole new sphere of negotiating and that was the whole idea all together.

Actually it worked out as expected. Especially on the start, I got the impression there was alot of negotiating going on between the players. And that, negotiating, is the real art of the game of diplomacy.

Some even told me what their strategies were and what they expected others to do, move and react.

Some said that because they where ruling two powers, they knew EVERY move on the board before a season even ended.

I can tell you that it was very interesting to be a GM in a game with players who tell their ideas. That way see what people think of each other, what their plans are, what they try to achieve etc. Also a bit difficult to keep it all for myself, because I had to stay objective etc. But I think I managed :-))

Apart from that most important reason; enjoyment in play, the game also went very quickly for some powers.

Notice the speed that Turkey and England grew and Russia fell down. Also notice the interesting plots the game beholded, France entering Munich just like that, Russia (Ted) trying for a plot on germany etc etc.

Why ended the game the way it did?

I think the game got into 'lack of interest' mode due to a few factors.

First of all: Time I think the deadlines were too long, and for example we couldn't find a replacement when Steve got on holiday for a month, we had the nasty 'William C Stein' lamer who, I was told later by judge-folks, jumps into any game he sees and than goes abandonded, and than I went on a month holiday myself, when I was back, nothing went right and I even lost the position due to a diskcrash.

2. Not that much of a problem, but Vaughn (RI) quit at some early point because the interest in the game went away because his interesting suggestion of proxy orders got SHOT DOWN instead of that people kindly told him that they thought it was not a good idea. The incident brought some shadow over all the players, I think. I blame myself a bit for Vaughn quitting, maybe I should not have allowed the harsh mails towards him and maybe I was not that kind myself either, and I should have canceled the discussion earlier. Alot of players liked the proxy idea from Vaughn, myself included, but some didn't.

3. NMR's. This was a big problem the whole game from spring 1902 on. If one player didn't issue any orders, than two powers actually holded all their units. If two players NMR'd, chances were there didn't happen anything noticeable anywhere on the board at all.

4. Winning conditions are simply not that good. When a player reached 15 centers (as Cory did), his co-workes simply 'blocked' all armies of the countries of Cory because if he went on to 18, he would have won. This 18-14 centers to win was really a great strain on the game.

Solutions and should we continue?

Yes, we certainly should. There have been suggestions for all the problems, which I described above, and as told by all of you, there still is interest for the gameconcept. Some of you want to join into a second "doubledip" game. I like to GM another game for sure!

But as pointed out above, I think we should really work some on the winning conditions and the rules, otherwise the second double-dip game will end just the same as this one.

So what are we going to change in the second game?

Actually there were three mayor rulechange suggestions from the players during the game.
1. Proxy orders
2. Number of centers for a solo victory (one person) must go way up or be removed.
3. Other rules when orders are not "in sync"
especially when a co-ruler is going NMR.
4. Other minor suggestions.

1 The proxy orders. We have had a discussion about this already, but I want to repeat the arguments a bit because this could also solve some of the NMR-problems. Proxy orders are just orders to give other people control on your orders. For example if Kevin issues:
A VEN proxy to Cory
than Cory could have issued
or something. But Kevin could also have issued:
A VEN proxy to Blaine
Which would have given Blaine full control on the italian unit. The downside-argument was that this would cause Kevin to simply proxy all his italian units to Blaine which would ruin the whole concept and that he could than concentrate on only one power, and not concentrate on Italy at all which would be just the same as NMR'ing for Italy.. well..personally I still think this was a good idea. The game is complex, so why not allow players to make it even more complex? If you don't want to use proxy-orders than simply don't, you don't have to right? And still, Kevin should issue the proxy orders, if he doesn't submit any orders..nothing happens.
You can of course change Cory, Kevin and Blaine for any other names, I use the situation just as an example.

2. Solo victory removal. I think the first game showed that the "18 centers makes you a winner" really was a problem and I think we should remove it. Players are simply not stupid enough to let another player win by ordering to conquer centers for him. In our experimental game JF gave a good example for this, although Cory told us -in a press release- he actually wanted to win the game with Turkey which would have made it a win for JF and Cory. I think we can put the solo-victory on 25 centers but the best is to remove the solo-victory possibility alltogether and polish the name of the game: DoubleDip it is, so you have to rule your countries and win *together*. With what country and with which partner is for you to decide.

3. Other rules for syncing. All agree that the syncing rules are very good, there were only problems when there were alot of NMR's. Players couldn't reach other players because they were simply not answering the mails the players sent to them, so some suggested to change these rules if a player didn't sent in any orders. The suggestion was that If someone didn't issue any orders at all (No Moves Received) than sync-ing should not be necessary and the orders by the other ruler of the power should be used.

We discussed this a little and players were divided. I was against this myself because it would ruin the concept of the game. Look, if someone doesn't issue any orders, than his power goes into Civil Disorder. A simple rule in the original game which I want to uphold. But on the other hand NMR was really killing this game. I don't think there is a very good solution possible for NMR's..but all ideas welcome.

4. Other minor(?) suggestions and ideas and noticed cave- ats by players:
-another distribution of powers among players.
-do not allow more than 12 units per power.
-let a move-order go over a hold or support-order.
-My co-ruler doesn't understand my true intentions.
-I need a more dedicated player to play for power X
-Please throw away co-ruler X for power X when he doesn't submit any orders (NMR) and let me get my friend in his position
-The game is not winnable.
-The game IS winnable, it's just real hard just like the original.
-If this goes on, this will be my first win with Italy!
-What is the use of diploming if my partner doesn't submit orders and stalls our country?
-Oh no! Now it seems I misordered that on purpose!
-I know all the orders of all powers this year. I think I'm getting a headache.
-I want to make sure my partner doesn't support with the unit in Belgium. Is it possible to make an illegal support that will cancel out a support he may enter?
-There is more philosophy than diplomacy here, let's just play!

Ending this article

If the players have something to add things the other players don't know yet, like an End Of Game statement, please do.

Also, all players and observers! let me know if you want to play in a new DD-game, and please comment on the rules if you got any ideas. Please react to all people in the cc-list.



The comments which came in from the players:
Comments from the players:
Kevin - Italy-Germany
Vaughn - Russia-Italy 1
Blaine - Russia-Italy 2
Steve - France-Austria
Cory - England-Turkey
JeanFrancois - Turkey-Germany
Joost - England-Austria

Double diplomacy page