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-   -   A Discussion on kingmaking and community standards. (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=43968)

zlefin September 17th, 2009 07:02 PM

A Discussion on kingmaking and community standards.
Squirrel and I had a talk while trying to hash out some of the community standards issues more formally.
Below is the transcript of that talk, i dare you to read it all! (this dare applies to each individual reading this post for the first time)
Before responding to something you just read, keep in mind this is a transcript, and some points made may have been amended later in the discussion, so please read the whole thing before responding.

edit: i had to change all > to ) and likewise for the counterpart symbol so names would show in the log. So I used an autoreplace that apparently affected some actual talk as well.

* Now talking in #logicisfun
*** Join: Squirrelloid (~Squirrell@adsl-68-255-110-138.dsl.chcgil.ameritech.net)
*** Join: archae_vanjarr (~no@d75-156-150-160.abhsia.telus.net)
(archae_vanjarr) just watching
(Zlefin) make your opening case!
(archae_vanjarr) have to go out
(Squirrelloid) 'throwing a game' , definition - causing yourself to lose the game by your own action
(Zlefin) sounds reasonable, i can't currently think of anything wrong with that.
(Zlefin) but for simplicity of argument, we'll just accept that as the definition for our purposes here.
(Squirrelloid) beneficial, definition - advantageous, a preferred outcome
(Squirrelloid) note: what is or is not beneficial is inherently subjective to the person for whom it is beneficial
(Squirrelloid) ie, not subject to outside verification
(Zlefin) that is certainly a valid definition of beneficial.
(Squirrelloid) First order of business: To throw a game requires you were capable of winning it
(Squirrelloid) First thing to note: this is a subjective statement, because your capability of winning is assessed by you during each of your turns, and thus through lack of experience or epiphany may fail to see an avenue for victory
(Squirrelloid) so the only person capable of determining whether he is in a position with a chance of winning is the person playing that position
(Zlefin) can we number those statements 1-3 for easier reference?
(Squirrelloid) as in: 1 - To throw a game requires you were capable of winning it. 2: claim of subjectivity. 3: claim that person playing is the only one who can determine capability?
(Zlefin) yes.
(Squirrelloid) k
(Squirrelloid) Proof of: To throw a game requires you were capable of winning it.
(Zlefin) while normal usage of "to throw a game" might allow for other cases, for herein, i accept that statement.
(Squirrelloid) you accept 1 that is?
(Zlefin) yes, i accept 1.
(Squirrelloid) ok, nevermind then
(Zlefin) 2 and 3, i'm still pondering disputes for.
(Zlefin) does your nevermind mean that disputes of 2 and 3 are irrelevant to your ultimate conclusion, or did it refer to something else?
(Squirrelloid) um, nevermind on a proof of 1 if you're accepting it
(Squirrelloid) I mean, it was going to be tedious word-wanking anyway that ends up being a tautology i think
(Zlefin) possibly it may have. so we're working on 2 and 3 now?
(Squirrelloid) yes
(Squirrelloid) i mean, in part this seems obvious to me. Sometimes you get blinded by a particular set of ideas that you fail to see the right strategy. Sometimes you just don't know what the right strategy is
(Squirrelloid) So when assessing your chances for victory, you're inherently working with whatever pre-conceived notions and ideas you can come up with
(Zlefin) certainly such things can happen, we're just trying to be thorough here so we can get this all sorted out properly. could you restate 2?
(Squirrelloid) Basically, the only person who can assess chance of winning is the person playing the game
(Zlefin) why?
(Zlefin) why can't someone else look at the position and assess the chance of winning?
(Squirrelloid) because the functional unit is not the game set up being played. Its the union of that player and the game set up
(Squirrelloid) Because that other person may have access to knowledge or experience different from the player, and see things the player did no
(Squirrelloid) not
(Squirrelloid) Made worse by this particular game being a game of imperfect information
(Zlefin) so, while the position may be winnable, the combination of position and that player, may be unwinnable
(Squirrelloid) so a later review may know things he had to guess at
(Squirrelloid) or the player may assume things to be true that are not true
(Squirrelloid) For example, you're playing against BL, and gem gens are allowed
(Squirrelloid) player assumes BL has been clamming like mad since they could summon or find a caster who can do so
(Squirrelloid) BL doesn't have a single clam
(Squirrelloid) the difference in the actual situation and the assumed situation are vastly different
(Squirrelloid) and while an observer could have perfect information about what BL is doing, the other player cannot during play of the game
(Squirrelloid) (this is what permits bluffing, for example)
(Zlefin) i think i see the perspective you're going for here, can you cover what steps 4+ will be in your proof? at least in a broad sense?
(Squirrelloid) A player who cannot win cannot obviously play to win
(Squirrelloid) call that 4
(Zlefin) ok, 4 : a player who cannot win can't play to win.
(Squirrelloid) 5- at which point which actions are beneficial for him need to be defined in terms of something other than getting closer to victory
(Zlefin) 5, agreed, since victory is unattainable.
(Squirrelloid) 6- the relevant agent here is not the game state, but the player playing the game. Ie, beneficial is defined from his perspective
(Squirrelloid) so you can't say that its beneficial for the nation to do X, as the player might not find that beneficial because his nation state is not necessarily relevant
(Zlefin) 6, i miay still dispute, along with 2 and 3, but i see the line of reasoning you're going down. as which line depends on which conclusions you're trying to reach.
(Zlefin) please continue onto the concluding statements.
(Squirrelloid) 7 - A player should take actions he finds to be beneficial
(Zlefin) query on 7, within what rules?
(Squirrelloid) permitted by the rules of the game would be my general standard. Ie, in the case of a computer game, can accomplish it without altering or hacking the game engine
(Zlefin) i would assume you also add an yexplicit rules set by the game.
(Squirrelloid) Yes, choosing to play a game means voluntarily agreeing to abide by house rules
(Squirrelloid) (not all house rules are necessarily good, but you chose to play)
(Squirrelloid) House rules should be explicitly stated so there is no confusion later
(Zlefin) it is certainly far better that way.
(Squirrelloid) Anecdote, but i was in Wales for a week this summer, and i got to play cricket
(Squirrelloid) they did not explain all the rules to me
(Squirrelloid) when i did something wrong (as was wont to happen), it would have been unacceptable to accuse me of not following the rules
(Squirrelloid) fortunately, they just told me what the rule was, and we moved on
(Zlefin) that is certainly reasonable, as you were not informed of the rules.
(Squirrelloid) anyway, onward
(Zlefin) though on occasion some people might get angry when rules are violated unknowingly, aye onward.
(Squirrelloid) 8 - Given a person who believes he cannot win, and who has chosen ensuring the defeat of a particular enemy is beneficial to him, then (A) giving the win to another player is not throwing the game (1), (B) Doing so is beneficial for him by his own standards and is therefore the proper action
(Squirrelloid) (7 most directly)
(Squirrelloid) 9- further, one might argue that the most efficient and direct method of giving this other player the win is in fact the most beneficial action, and therefore the preferred one
(Zlefin) 8a follows from the prior statements. b seems to be as well.
(Squirrelloid) (9 requires some dithering on values, if you really want it)
(Zlefin) i don't think the values dithering will affect our results here.
(Squirrelloid) its not a perfectly solid proof - i'd need to spend time crafting better language, and probably short cut some steps, but that should be serviceable
(Zlefin) proceed, i gotta go set up some bread, brb.
(Zlefin) it's a fine proof, but on its own it just says what it says, this issue comes out of the issues in asiatwist, so what happens when you apply this to the asiatwist game?
(Squirrelloid) Do i need anything more? I mean, from here its just a matter of fitting example behavior to the statements
(Squirrelloid) Well, I'm not aristander
(Squirrelloid) I believe his actual actions demonstrate he didn't believe he could win
(Squirrelloid) I don't *know* that
(Squirrelloid) but no one else except aristander knows that
(Squirrelloid) I mean, I could further state that, if offered VPs by Aristander, WL would be a fool to refuse
(Squirrelloid) I'm also assuming that all players began the game by playing to win
(Squirrelloid) If some players began the game for RP purposes, or to watch glorious battles, or some other reason, that matters
(Squirrelloid) For example, if WL was playing for glorious battles he'd probably announce 'Rlyeh has declared their capitol free to any who can take it. I'll meet you there"
(Squirrelloid) That he didn't suggests he was playing to win
(Zlefin) certainly people playing for other reasons woudl affect things.
(Zlefin) my understanding, is that archae's original charge is one of collusion.
(Squirrelloid) Right, but collusion is just an accusation of trade
(Squirrelloid) i mean, if aristander offers WL a VP, and WL says yes, that's collusion
(Zlefin) if archae believes, that aristander thought he had a chance of winning, but instead choose to give his vps away, then what would you say?
(Squirrelloid) Archae wasn't the person who had to make decisions that were self-beneficial for Aristander
(Squirrelloid) Archae also wasn't the person who had to decide whether Rlyeh had a chance of winning the game during play and act on that decision
(Zlefin) i agree on that. but in order to reach step 9, the prior steps have to hold.
(Squirrelloid) its true
(Zlefin) and reaching step 9 is about ensuring that your actions are acceptable.
(Squirrelloid) my entire argument is couched in terms of the person playing the nation/side/whatever in question
(Zlefin) i know, but even weithin that the issue remains, let me try to be more clear.
(Squirrelloid) which # do you have a specific problem with?
(Squirrelloid) (or #s)
(Zlefin) Let us imagine a scenario, regardless of whether or not it is true, though it will use the rela names for ease.
(Zlefin) do you consent to lettimg me explain the scenario?
(Squirrelloid) sure
(Squirrelloid) i've made my case - the floor is yours
(Zlefin) suppose aristander believes he is capable of winning the game. and that he nonetheless decides go give away his vps to wraithlord.
(Zlefin) what would your proof say about such a situation and it's acceptability?
(Squirrelloid) it would demonstrate one of at least two things
(Squirrelloid) (1) Aristander threw the game. Generally considered bad form
(Squirrelloid) (2) Aristander wasn't playing to win
(Zlefin) i agree that it would demonstrate one of those.
(Squirrelloid) ie, a different argument could be construed around RP reasons
(Squirrelloid) i don't care to make such an argument
(Squirrelloid) but its possible
(Zlefin) let us call that scenario A
(Zlefin) if i understand correctly, you do not believe that scenario A is the case in fact in asiatwist?
(Squirrelloid) I don't, but i'm concluding that, um... crap, i forget the latin. after the fact because its the most reasonable conclusion in my mind based on the results
(archae_vanjarr) a posteriori
(Squirrelloid) indeed
(archae_vanjarr) sorry not following yet - will read later
(Zlefin) that's fine, it's long and can be posted later.
(Squirrelloid) part of this is I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt
(Squirrelloid) especially regarding things that are subjective judgement calls
(Zlefin) certainly people have different opinions, and read situations differently. Now, if Archae believes that scenario A is in fact the case, then what?
(Squirrelloid) ideally, aristander would have made a statement explaining his views
(Squirrelloid) lacking that, archae is perhaps unjustly thrusting sinister motives on aristander
(Squirrelloid) I mean, yes, i agree, archae is disappointed with the results. He didn't expect it, and its annoying to him
(Zlefin) archae might be wrong certainly, but people often believe things on less than fully complete evidence.
(Squirrelloid) I can empathize with archae
(Zlefin) if archae truly believes that A is the case, then his actions in response make a great deal of sense.
(Zlefin) though i would prefer if they were toned down more.
(Squirrelloid) oh, i agree
(Squirrelloid) on both counts
(Squirrelloid) in archae's shoes i would probably have tried to talk about the matter discreetly with aristander
(Squirrelloid) discretely even?
(Squirrelloid) sigh, one of those is math, and i'll have to look it up
(Zlefin) either way. This is why i suggested that a panel of vets be mutually chosen to decide the matter.
(Zlefin) etely is math i think
(Zlefin) eetly is the one you seek.
(Squirrelloid) indeed
(Zlefin) i'm not sure what to say next.
(Squirrelloid) If you assumed this was a court of law, I'd say that not only has a burden of proof not been met to say A was the case
(Zlefin) well, we haven't been thru the evidence archae looked at and found
(Zlefin) we've jsut been talking more generally.
(Squirrelloid) But that one is unlikely to ever be reached because of the subjective nature of aristander's position
(Zlefin) there's also a few other issues.
(Zlefin) aye, that relates to the issues i had with #2,3,6 iirc.
(Squirrelloid) the only hope of resolution is for Aristander to come out and state his case honestly
(Zlefin) Well, that's certainly one thing that could resolve, though with people oyu can always doubt that they stated tings honestly.
(Squirrelloid) because ultimately this is about Aristander's motives.
(Squirrelloid) well, yes
(Zlefin) thouhg it woudl still be hlpeful to hear him speak on the topic.
(Squirrelloid) but the crux of the matter is the only person who knows is aristander
(Zlefin) I need to look back and get some numbers to make an important point.
(Zlefin) I am now constructing a scenario Z, an extreme case meant to showcase point.
(Zlefin) in Z, the player in question is a noob.
(Zlefin) Note: it may take some time to craft this scenario so that it properly fits all the number rules
(Squirrelloid) that's fine
(Zlefin) On turn 2, the noob player realizes that all the other players in the game are vets with several wins to their name.
(Zlefin) The noob player determines that he is strictly unable to win the game.
(Zlefin) Since the noob player is unable to win, he must decide what to do on a broader definition of beneficial.
(Zlefin) he decides that the most beneficial thing for him, is to get himself out of the game as soon as possible.
(Zlefin) does this so far conform with the rules set forth in 1-9?
(Squirrelloid) granting everything on face value, yes
(Squirrelloid) One wonders how he realizes every other player is a vet on turn 2, but didn't realize it before the game started
(Zlefin) the player decides the best way to do this is to contact another player with an awake sc god, and ask that player to attack his capital, giving that player his location. further, he will tear down his own fort and suicide all his units on indies, to make the battle as easy as possible for the attacker.
(Zlefin) indeed it is odd, as i said, it's an extreme example to showcase a point.
(Squirrelloid) ok, i have two things to say on the matter
(Squirrelloid) 1) the n00b is making some poor choices. It would probably have been more beneficial to play the game and get clobbered by the vets while making an honest effort. However, people make bad decisions all the time
(Squirrelloid) I won't quibble he did decide that quitting was beneficial to him
(Zlefin) i concur with 1)
(Squirrelloid) 2) There are numerous ways to achieve his most beneficial result (leave the game). The particular example you have chosen is no better than, say, setting AI, from the player's perspective
(Squirrelloid) we of course haven't covered how to choose between multiple equally beneficial options
(Zlefin) aye, we have not.. and we don't know whether he might find settin ghimself ai to be distasteful, yet not mind giving someone a free extra cap.
(Zlefin) which would be a rather odd belief to have.
(Zlefin) or maybe he jsut wants to see an sc god attack his pd.
(Squirrelloid) indeed. I'm sure as a thought experiment it would be possible to justify any particular action as being beneficial. People, however, tend to have feelings about what's beneficial for concrete reasons
(Zlefin) what I intended scenario Z to show is this:
(Squirrelloid) (Ok, i know someone who might do something crazy and random like that just because - i believe Neil Stephenson gave this a description of 'Poor Impulse Control'
(Zlefin) most people in the community would consider scenario Z to be unacceptable behavior. the rules set forth in 1-9 would technically allow it, some form of reconciliation is required.
(Zlefin) In my own personal opinion, when dealing with issues 2&3, people in the community (again in my opinion) think that while it's partly subjective, there's also partly a reasonableness to the belief that you cannot win.
(Squirrelloid) well, that will certainly color the impression your actions foster
(Squirrelloid) I mean, an important resource in a game like Dominions3, where you'll likely play with some of the same people multiple times, is reputation
(Zlefin) i agree, reputation is relevant, which brings a whole other set of things that constitute "beneficial" in the broad sense.
(Squirrelloid) which, no matter how justified your actions may be, you may still develop a negative reputation because of them
(Squirrelloid) If i were going to fault anyone, however, it would be aristander and not WL
(Zlefin) I'd be fine with that.
(Squirrelloid) and I'd do that mentally, in my head, when making decisions about how much to trust or rely on them in a game
(Zlefin) i didn't expressly think of that before, but as you say it, that's a resolution i'd be fine with.
(Squirrelloid) i mean, similarly, if you set AI because you lose a battle, people remember that
(Squirrelloid) there's definitely a meta-game aspect to this
(Zlefin) aye, and that gets things complicated.
(Squirrelloid) So, does aristander get a bad rap for this in the meta-game? Or does he become a preferred ally?
(Zlefin) there are basically a few issues that come out of asiatwist, but only a few, as the game has clearly ended.
(Squirrelloid) that's going to depend on player preferences
(Zlefin) from the dom3 game's view, wraith clearly won. Whether a win is a more complex question, obviously some wins have been discounted if they happened throug hdirect cheating or hacking. whether such would apply to this case, is another question.
(Zlefin) The other real question at this point, is whether the game should be included in the standings in the hall of fame, which serve a purpose of recognizing playeres and nations which are successful.
(Squirrelloid) (some people, eg archae, dislike what he did and are going to give him a black mark in their head. Others may be inclined to see that as an ability to count on his support to end a game. Yet others, like myself, would probably be ambivalent on the matter, but would keep in mind what to expect
(Zlefin) aye, i'm going to dislike him simply fo rmaking me explicitly put rules i follow implicitly
(Zlefin) but that's a side matter.
(Squirrelloid) That's a matter for whomever maintains the HoF i imagine, since ultimately they control what qualifies
(Squirrelloid) Personally, if WL was likely to win the game regardless, I'd give it to him without question
(Squirrelloid) If he was unlikely to win the game without that help, I'd probably flag it with a special mention about it being a diplomatic victory, and explain that
(Zlefin) if he was likely to, as opposed to near certain to?
(Zlefin) i know there is a dispute as to whether he was factually likely to wi nthe game anyways.
(Squirrelloid) like an 80% likelihood or better, perhaps
(Zlefin) that seems reasoable, one of the purposes of the HoF is balance, that is, recognizing the balance of nations by noting how often they win.
(Squirrelloid) right
(Squirrelloid) of course, diplomacy seems more important than actual nation played
(Zlefin) Which is a subject of community interest, rather than simply a minor thing for the person keeping the list to decide.
(Zlefin) aye, i've heard that remarked many a time.
(Squirrelloid) I'm winning WTW by a rather large margin, despite playing one of the weakest nations in it
(Squirrelloid) (I can't actually *end* the damn game, but i'm at least as powerful as the rest of the nations combined)
(Zlefin) i know i've heard people break down how various components account for wins, and placed diplomacy at like 35-50
(Zlefin) %
(Squirrelloid) i'd believe 50%
(Squirrelloid) the key to winning strategic games with diplomacy is arrange to never fight a fair war
(Squirrelloid) which entirely depends on the success of your diplomacy
(Squirrelloid) anyway, I think the initial reason for discussion has been as resolved as its going to get
(Squirrelloid) unless anyone can convince aristander to speak for himself
(Zlefin) i dont' recall what you said in response to my note that using some degree of reasonableness is way of reconciling scenario Z with 2&3.
(Squirrelloid) oh, i hadn't. I sort of agree.
(Zlefin) iin general, i agree, i think we've basically agreed on alot of theories and scenarios, and in this instance, there's simpmly facts we don't know well enough to say to a certainty.
(Squirrelloid) I think more important than hemming and hawing over whether an action was reasonable or not, it would be better to *encourage* community standards that avoid the most flagrantly offensive actions
(Zlefin) oh yeah, the other reason for the discussion is understnading the distinction between the giving of the gems to archae, and the giving of vps to wraith
(Squirrelloid) not require, just encourage
(Squirrelloid) For example, encourage a 'losing is fun' mentality, so n00bs stick out those games where they're surrounded by vets
(Squirrelloid) i mean, that's basically what's being done to combat people setting AI
(Squirrelloid) and it works, to a point

zlefin September 17th, 2009 07:09 PM

Re: A Discussion on kingmaking and community standards.
(Zlefin) i concur it is beneficial to encourage such things. but i did remember that this all started when you were not noting a difference between the giving of gems to archae, and the giving of the vps to wraith.
(Zlefin) so i want to get that matter settled.
(Squirrelloid) i don't see a difference in *kind*
(Squirrelloid) i do see a difference in degree
(Squirrelloid) but slippery slopes are dangerous beasts
(Zlefin) well, the end of this slope is actions that cause you to lose the game directly.
(Squirrelloid) So, lets assume that there are two nations battling it out for the win. There exists some amount of material advantage which will let A defeat B and win the game
(Squirrelloid) lets call that amount of material advantage X
(Zlefin) ok.
(Squirrelloid) how much of X can you give a nation and have that be acceptable
(Squirrelloid) Knowing other nations could also be contributing to X, how does that effect that judgement?
(Squirrelloid) i haven't seen an endgame with gemgens, but 1300 gems strikes me as a *lot* of material
(Zlefin) what if it isn't?
(Zlefin) from what they said, their income was about 500 gems/turn
(Squirrelloid) that's what, a couple hundred tartarians they didn't otherwise have?
(Zlefin) so is 3 turns of gem income a LOT of material?
(Zlefin) maybe 100 tarts, though it'd depend on gem type, but what if you already have a thousand tarts?
(Zlefin) it may be a lot of material in an absolute sense, but in relative sense, not so much.
(Zlefin) But there's another important distinction to make.
(Zlefin) given the nation A and B
(Squirrelloid) ok, on is 3 turns of income a lot: you're making 1k gold net. You get the 3k gold lucky event. Is that a lot? My experience says it is
(Zlefin) suppose A has an advantage over B.
(Zlefin) and that the difference in that advantage is an amount of material Y
(Zlefin) what about giving B material equal to Y so that the two nations are evenly matched?
(Squirrelloid) it does change the eventual outcome of the game. It is also unlikely to make bystander nation C the win, imo
(Squirrelloid) I mean, i don't have a problem with giving gems at all
(Squirrelloid) but it is an attempt to change or ensure the winner of the game
(Zlefin) Is C more or less likely to win the game, than if A just rolls over everyone?
(Squirrelloid) If we assume there's some ordering of nations: A,B,C... such that A)B)C)...
(Squirrelloid) And A,B )) C+
(Squirrelloid) I would likely judge that any improvement in C's chances to win are negligible. And that D+ don't see any real improvement in chance to win
(Zlefin) they may be negligible in an absolute sense, but in a %wise sense it may be large, like, it might double your chance of winning from .1% to .2%
(Squirrelloid) Lets think about this a different way - we're ok with Kingmaking play as an acceptable practice, yes?
(Zlefin) certainly in competitive games, optimizing unlikely chances is part of success.
(Zlefin) i'm not sure what the community stnadards are on kingmaking, that's kind of what we're discussing right now :)
(Zlefin) and there's sorta two issues: what is properly acceptable behavior, and what behavoir makes for a more enjoyable game for everyone.
(Squirrelloid) i see kingmaking as integral to diplomatic strategy games, i suppose, so this is a hard discussion because I'm looking at those lesser nation's motives as 'we'd rather have B win than A', not 'I could win if they exhaust themselves'
(Squirrelloid) which i would guess the latter motive is applicable to maybe one or two of them
(Zlefin) my understanding is that the community is very accepting of the latter reason, and fairly acepting, but certainly less so, for the former.
(Squirrelloid) its just the latter reason is vastly implausible for most players, and likely highly implausible for someone not already in contention themselves
(Squirrelloid) I mean, if there are any AARs of a nation winning because he gave gold/gems to B, and A and B exhausted themselves, allowing C to win, i'd love to read them
(Zlefin) that reminds me, there's a project for this i've considered doing, which would be to specify some number of (preferably plausible) examples, and have the community vote/discuss, as to whether they think each are acceptable. to get a better sense of community standards.
(Squirrelloid) the game just doesn't favor underdogs coming from that far behind
(Zlefin) it depends on the power difference between AB and C, i'm sure if they're closer in power levels, so that C is somewhat still in contention, then there are cases
(Squirrelloid) well, the thing is, if C is close enough he probably doesn't want to send gems himself
(Zlefin) indeed, the game does not. though if the two who are fighting both leave you alone, and you can say, devote 100% of yoru gems to making even more clams
(Squirrelloid) (although he may encourage other nations to do so)
(Squirrelloid) (assuming he can't gain their gem gifts for himself)
(Squirrelloid) it might vastly improve the game if losing your capitol, and failing to regain it in some timeframe, meant you were removed from the game
(Zlefin) it also sometimes has to do with national matchups, especially earler in the game, where some nations are good/bad vs other nations.
(Squirrelloid) i've mostly been thinking about late game scenarios - sure, i can accept a time component on it
(Squirrelloid) but once you get to lategame that's all there is. Things aren't getting better
(Zlefin) things cna change, the research level doesn't change
(Zlefin) so you'd have to get an advantage some other way. the most obviuos way with gem gens, is to be try to make more gem gens than the other players
(Squirrelloid) indeed
(Squirrelloid) I think the removal of gemgens is going to further entrench early dominance as the key to winning, as an aside
(Zlefin) there may be other ways depending on the victory conditions.
(Zlefin) to a degree, but dominance too early in the game gets you piled on.
(Zlefin) the removal of gemgens is really more about mitigating the late game micro, that gets relaly stupid when people have 500+ gems/turn and are making 30 new clams a turn
(Squirrelloid) yes, i'd believe it
(Zlefin) it also leads to the annoying strategic situation where (without vps especially) territory doesn't matter much, since the bulk of one's income comes from gem gens, not from sites in teritories or gold from territories.
(Zlefin) and usually all those gem gens are on units sitting in the capital, behind 6 different domes.
(Squirrelloid) I don't know, i find it hard to stomach blanket acceptance of gem gifting by assuming 'they're just trying to wait for the powers to exhaust themselves before making a grab at victory', which feels like praying for the tooth fairy to be real
(Zlefin) i'm not sure i'd stomach blanket acceptance, there may be other more specific cases where it makes more sense.
(Zlefin) especially things that have more to do with national matchups, like nation C is good vs B, but bad vs A, but nation B is good vs A.
(Squirrelloid) no one's really questioned those 1300 gems though, which i doubt all came from might-be's looking to wait for their opportunity
(Zlefin) well, with those gems there's a lot more grey area.
(Squirrelloid) i mean, i'd bet you'd find most gem gifting is a player who wants a rival to lose than is actually planning for the win himself
(Zlefin) the fact that it's possible for those to encourage mutual annihilation fo the top 2 powers.
(Zlefin) yers, that may be the case; thoug halot of gem gifting is also done at the point where a player decides they can't win themselves. though in that case, it sounded like the gems were more payment for service than anything else
(Zlefin) (i.e. help me defend vs them and i'll pay you some gems)
(Squirrelloid) i mean, again, bad judgement is possible, but that sounds a lot like "i'm going to lose, but if you keep me in the game i'm willing to dig a deeper hole for myself"
(Zlefin) with the gems, there IS a grey area where it could help you in the long run, with giving awy the actual win, there is NO grey area.
(Zlefin) also, the actual community stnadards for this game have a partial role-playing element in my experience, the role-playing of a pretender god.
(Zlefin) well, being in the game means you technically have a chance, when your'e out of the game you have no chance at all.
(Squirrelloid) there's no roleplaying niche for the leader of a defeated nation to invite his friends in as occupiers rather than suffer under a conqueror?
(Zlefin) i think there's some leeway there.
(Zlefin) but from what i heard, r'lyeh wasn't being conquered by arch.
(Zlefin) if r'lyeh got trashed and was being invaded by van, and had no way to sotp it, that'd be another story
(Squirrelloid) Some things do become inevitable
(Zlefin) well, when we get into communtuiy standards things get a bit vaguer, i'm reporting my impressions here.
(Squirrelloid) its turn 6 and (crazy dual/triple blessed unit of choice) is massed on your border. Do you (a) assuming they'll wander on to someone else or (b) realize they're going to eat you, and you can't stop them
(Zlefin) my impression, is that allowing an ally to take some of your stuff, when you're being invaded by an enemy you can't stop is rather different from when you still have defenses, and they're not invading you, and they might not be able to invade you without leaving themselves vulnerable to someone else.
(Squirrelloid) i mean, clearly aristander's situation wasn't that hopeless, but everyone can make projections about where they think the game is going
(Zlefin) from a role-playing perspective, it seems rather like, hmm, A&B are well matched, while either could crush me if they fully committed to it, doing so would cuase them to lose to the other.
(Zlefin) therefore, any attack they do will only represent a part of those forces, and i may eb strong enough to repulse that part.
(Squirrelloid) don't get me wrong, i'm an eternal optimist
(Squirrelloid) but i have some friends who can be pretty defeatist when things look down for them
(Zlefin) i'm a cuatious person in terms of making judgements, far more cautious than average.
(Zlefin) i know, i'm more of a fight to the end person
(Zlefin) i can call it a win if i'm alive at the end of the game :)
(Zlefin) even if i didn't win.
(Squirrelloid) i fully support 'screw my enemy', but i like being the one directly doing the screwing. Passing stuff to other people isn't my style
(Zlefin) i prefer to screw the enemy as mcuh as possible and bleed them as much as possible, and I only giveaway stuff when it's at the final moment, or if giving away stuff is to my benefit
(Squirrelloid) i can understand that sometimes you're in no condition to do that, however. Re: Marveni in VC3
(Zlefin) (like giving fire res rings to an ally so they can beat back abysia)
(Squirrelloid) (who ultimately gave his cash and gems to me right before he died because none of his actual neighbors would intervene)
(Squirrelloid) which gives me a longterm goal =)
(Zlefin) i certainly prefer to limit transfers to right before death.
(Squirrelloid) at some point i think alliances where one nation is really propping up a bunch of client states gets into a grey area
(Zlefin) i agree.
(Squirrelloid) I mean, ultimately those nations are just extensions of the larger nation, and the idea of them 'giving' VPs to the real nation involved is more like a recognition of that reality
(Zlefin) of course if there's enough client stats, then they could conceivably try to ally with an outside power at some point and overthrow the conqueror.
(Zlefin) from a role-playing point, staying alive for an opportunity.
(Zlefin) and there's certainly degrees to how clienty they are.
(Squirrelloid) at the point it becomes 'i would have been conquered if you didn't militarily intervene', they stop existing as a separate entity in my mind
(Zlefin) hmm, as i think about it, it rather seems like an anti-suicide rule.
(Squirrelloid) (assuming that's an ongoing state and not a one time thing)
(Zlefin) they become a vassal entity; i'm pretty sure in real history, they sometimes had enough local power to break free at times, at least if the conquering power waned or had to go focus elsewhere.
(Squirrelloid) indeed
(Squirrelloid) but real life doesn't have victory conditions
(Squirrelloid) Hmm... i should set up a game with explicit rules for vassals
(Zlefin) i guess the point isn't so much that they are a separate entity, but that they are a reasonably separable entity.
(Zlefin) explicit vassal rules would certainly make things clear.
(Squirrelloid) i mean, i have this feeling that vassal VPs should count towards your total
(Zlefin) that's reasonable, though the game itself doesn't support that of course.
(Squirrelloid) of course, but most games end in concession anyway, right?
(Zlefin) yes.
(Squirrelloid) if graphs are on, its independently verifiable
(Zlefin) though one of the points of vp games is to make it so the game can actually end by the game code rather than by concession
(Squirrelloid) heh
(Zlefin) concession is more often used in nonvp games
(Zlefin) i don't know what percentage of games iwht reasonable vp conditions actually end in concession, that may be much smaller.
(Squirrelloid) i've seen a lot of games which are 'hold N capitols for K turns', which also is basically a pre-agreed concession

--- end of transcript, ate dinner ---

Trumanator September 17th, 2009 07:45 PM

Re: A Discussion on kingmaking and community standards.
I'm not sure how this comment will relate to the discussion, but it has a lot to do with some of the specifics of the endgame in AT.

First, it was noted in the IRC channel that Jot and TC both cast multiple crumbles at R'lyeh's cap. R'lyeh itself also cast one crumble. It was briefly remarked that it would have actually only taken one to bring down the walls.
Further, two of Archaelopt's main assertions as to the game being thrown were
1- Jot's assault force was equipped w/Gatecleavers, and thus unprepared for an attack by R'lyeh's army
2- that R'lyeh had a highly mobile gateway army.

What strikes me about these circumstances are a couple things.
1- I would assume a veteran like WL would realize that it would only take one crumble to reduce the walls of R'lyeh's cap.
2- Assuming this, the only logical reason for him and TC to multicast it at R'yleh's capitol would be his/their assumption that it was protected by a dome. Arming his assaulters with gatecleavers also plays into this, as it implies that he was unsure if he would manage to breach the walls. Also, I am assuming from his stated pretender design (E9N9 Great Mother) that his assault force flew in, as opposed to teleporting.
3- the existence of a dome would ALSO (if I am understanding the underlying mechanics correctly) prevent R'lyeh's previously mentioned highly mobile teleporting army from arriving to reinforce, which would allow his assault force cover while their gatecleavers did the business. In the event that the dome DID go down and R'lyeh's army arrived, it would have arrived in the fort, and would not have been able to attack right away, giving Jot time to teleport in a suitable force to defeat it.

In the event, R'lyeh crumbled his own fort, leaving it open for Jot to take it with the existing, rather minimal assault force.

One more point that I think could be made is that I would think it fairly obvious that obtaining a win in the way being discussed would be highly controversial. Assuming that Jot would know this, why would he send in such an obviously understrength force for assault of the castle? Would it not have been much less controversial to send in an army, as opposed to siege engineers?

Obviously the entire above is a hypothesis, but I felt that there were some odd inconsistancies with the current known events.

The real lesson I am taking from the discussion that has been spread around, is that while WL has taken most of the hits, Aristander is really the one whose story needs to be heard.

Squirrelloid September 17th, 2009 07:50 PM

Re: A Discussion on kingmaking and community standards.
Typo: somehow my > became ). Just in case anyone was confused.

archaeolept September 17th, 2009 08:11 PM

Re: A Discussion on kingmaking and community standards.

1- I would assume a veteran like WL would realize that it would only take one crumble to reduce the walls of R'lyeh's cap.
that's a pretty strong assumption, as there are many small dominions facts that are not generally known, even by us vets. Myself, I "knew" that, but was not at all "sure" of it, as I had not tested it myself, and, anyways, things are sometimes cleaned up in patches w/out being mentioned. Ask any veteran whether they are aware of all such little bugs... The action of casting multiple crumbles is perfectly in line with how the spell is supposed to work.

as there were no units to cast a dome in the turn prior to WL sieging, aristander would have had to teleport in a caster that same turn.

Anyways, the non-existence of the dome, which could have been easily checked, would rather argue for WL being afraid that Rlyeh's forces would be there defending. They weren't, and wraithlord's assault force was too minimal to deal w/ any significant opposition.

often, the obvious solution is the correct one.


1- Jot's assault force was equipped w/Gatecleavers, and thus unprepared for an attack by R'lyeh's army
no, the assertion would be that a couple scs such as that is not the sort of force you would send in to capture a fortress when you knew the potential capabilities of the defender, unless you were assured of success by some other means.

As to sending in such a small force; most likely it was convenient, and he did not expect me to either know the vp had been thrown, or complain about it. Why in the first place would you send in such a small force when you were perfectly aware of rlyeh's defensive capabilities, having, in fact, partially designed the teleporting defense force yourself (as per rdonj)?


I would think it fairly obvious that obtaining a win in the way being discussed would be highly controversial.
A win is a win. And it is only "controversial" and being discussed because I made enough noise about it, bringing upon myself all sorts of complaints, both from mods and those who know little of the situation.


WL has taken most of the hits
I'm not sure what you mean by "hits", but assuming you mean some sort of public complaint, then surely counting them up would have me having taken "most" of the hits, taking everyone as equal... which, of course, I don't :)

Trumanator September 17th, 2009 08:24 PM

Re: A Discussion on kingmaking and community standards.
I would say that Aristander's casting of crumble on himself is not so much proof that he was in collaboration, as proof that he was ready to end the game.

Also, if Aristander and WL were in collusion, wouldn't Aristander TELL WL how much defense his fort had, and therefore how many crumbles it would take?

I am a bit confused as to why it matters that there wasn't a mage to cast a dome, since several domes, perhaps all, domes stay up for several turns at least, if not indefinitely in the case of some. Also, I consistently see posts that encourage people to "dome their caps." I see no reason why WL could not have assumed R'lyeh would have followed this advice, and thus cast many more crumbles than were necessary in order to break the dome.
I still think my other point is valid though. If WL and Aristander were in collusion to throw the game, why would they do it so obviously. I don't think anyone could seriously think that something like that would go unchallenged. Of course,it is always possible that they didn't think it through.

Often, the obvious solution is the convenient one.

Edit: I should have said this in my first post, but thanks very much to zlefin and Squirrelloid for this post/topic, as I think it will be very helpful in keeping the discussion civilized and on topic. As for the actual logs, I am still digesting them, thus my perhaps slightly OT comments.

archaeolept September 17th, 2009 08:40 PM

Re: A Discussion on kingmaking and community standards.
Trumanator, the game itself says that crumble causes 150 pts of damage to walls. There is no need to tell anyone a publicly known fact, easily checked by right-clicking on a fort. The dark citadel has 600 defense. Thus, 4 crumbles are needed, unless you know the spell is bugged. Also, only 4 if there is no defense, and rlyeh had moved out his remaining troops the turn before. For crumble to work you still need more pts sieging than defending, so 4 is exactly sufficient if you are aware that the defense has run away.

there are many ways to test whether a province has a dome. But, the simplest answer is that domes are shown in the battle screen, so it would have been evident the turn before when WL laid siege, even if he hadn't bothered to previously check. There was no need for anyone telling anyone anything as far as that goes. It is a red herring, afaict.

Trumanator September 17th, 2009 08:42 PM

Re: A Discussion on kingmaking and community standards.
Oh, then you can disregard my thesis entirely.
my apologies.

Illuminated One September 17th, 2009 09:20 PM

Re: A Discussion on kingmaking and community standards.
Interesting thread, I was thinking about some sort of "kingmaking" in all future games I play. I.e. eliminating nations until the game get's to tedious/boring and then giving up. I would play competitively (i.e. any nation I have harmed or helped I'd have harmed or helped if I was intending to stay till the bitter end). I didn't feel entirely good about it so I guess I'll have to check back with the players.
This is also a point that convinced me to buy dom3, the good game theory/rules discussion, so thanks for it.

I guess if you wanted to have a general definition of kingmaking mine would be simple. Any action I take in order to help someone win is kingmaking.
It is irrelevant how this looks or how helpful this is.
Sending gems away, scorched earth tactics before going out, diplomacy.
However it is fine to do these actions if they serve a strategic purpose.
Scorched earth while waiting for your ally to fall into the back of your conqueror or that certain spell or even him making peace? No kingmaking. Sending stuff to a weaker player to give a competitor a tougher fight? No km. Helping a stronger player with some strategic consideration? No km.

Now there is another thing of importance, the reason of kingmaking.

1) Fun/Time. I.e. you can't/don't want to play anymore and see the game finished. Better find a sub or go AI.

2) Metagaming. I think the thing about "doing what is beneficial" is not clear enough. Beneficial to your nation? Or beneficial to you in later games?
I don't agree that kingmaking can be only done by players able to win (quite the contrary is the case - I guess there's not many players giving up a game that they could win).
Sure you can't "play to win" without being able to win, but I've often argued that you shouldn't play to win, but instead play competitive and strategically sound securing and expanding your power (as little as it may be) to the best of your abilities.
In fact the "play to win" attitude might account for those situations through metagaming. Scorched earth for no other purpose than to up your rep as a nasty ***** (I said female dog, you darned censorbot) you don't attack? Helping someone else win to have a diplo advantage in another game?
In any case I don't care if the out of game advantage of a player comes from hacking or from metagaming, so this is clearly unacceptable imo.

3) Thematically/RP. This is fine imo. For example you play a good pretender and once you realize you cannot become the one true God you are sacrificing yourself to help the pretender that will be the most beneficial to your people (which doesn't necessary mean your ally, as you might be allied to R'lyeh or Ermor for example). Imo this might be actually a great house rule as it would be an incentive to play kind and virtous pretenders instead of opportunistic and heartless ones.

Squirrelloid September 17th, 2009 09:33 PM

Re: A Discussion on kingmaking and community standards.
Clarification: I was not intending to equate kingmaking with throwing a game. Quite the opposite, kingmaking happens after you can no longer throw the game because you're not capable of winning, so instead you dedicate your resources to helping someone else win.

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