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How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long)

 
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How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/19/2008 11:58:59 PM   
JanSorensen

 

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I am curious why the PBEM system for conducting battles is made seemingly without security - letting the defender cheat both on chits and on dice (by reloading). Is it to reduce the number of mails sent?

Below is what I think can be done to make field battles (much more) secure.

It is important to note that there are essentially 4 decisions during a battle. 1) Chit choice. 2) Commitment of the guard (when possible). 3) Reinforcement attempts. 4) Continuing the battle for an additional day. The player also has to pick loses and decide if he wants to pursuit but those are choices that matter less as they are mostly obvious. The core of the security below is that no knowledge about an enemy decision or about a die roll is provided early enough to make cheating by reloading possible.

It should be noted that I have not actually played the game by PBEM so I do not know exactly how things are done currently. If that means I am missing something entirely then please do point it out.


PBEM field battle exchange sequence:

Step 1: (attacker chit pick)

Step 1a: (only applies during the first day of a battle)
The attacker can see which enemy corps and leaders are present - but not the number of enemy factors.
The attacker enters a "key" that is used throughout the battle so that the defender cannot access the files without this key in any manner. (This may not be needed if some other mechanism is already in place that prevents the loading of the file unless you are exactly the one its intended for).

Step 1b: (does not apply for trivial combat)
The attacker picks his chit.
If Outflank is picked the attacker also divides his force into pinning and flanking forces.

The game makes a battle file which is sent to the defender. The content is encrypted to disallow casual inspection outside the game. The attacker sends this file to the defender.


Step 2: (defender chit pick)

Step 2a: (only applies during the first day of a battle)
The defender can see which enemy corps and leaders are present - but not the number of enemy factors.
The defender provides a "key" that is used throughout the battle so that the attacker cannot access the files without this key

Step 2b:
The defender picks his chit.
If Outflank is picked the defender also divides his force into pinning and flanking.

If either side picked Withdraw the game rolls the die for the withdrawal but does not show the outcome of the roll to the defender!

Additionally the game rolls two more dice - one for each side to be used as the combat die roll in the first round. If either side has artillery present the game also rolls dice to be used for those during the first round.

If neither side can commit the guard nor have any units able to reinforce the battle additional dice are rolled for combat rounds 2 and 3 including rolls for artillery and if applicable the Outflanking roll to be used between round 1 and 2 as well as between rounds 2 and 3.

These die rolls are not shown to the defender (obviously)!

The game adds information to the battle file and saves it (encrypted).
The defender sends the battle file to the attacker.

Step 3: (attacker round 1)
The game reveals the chit choices, force compositions and morale levels of both sides to the attacker.
If either side picked Withdraw the game reveals the withdrawal die roll to the attacker.
If either side successfully withdrew: go to step 3d

Otherwise the rolls for round 1 for artillery (if any) and combat are shown and the attacker decides how to take his loses.
If either side broke or was eliminated in round 1 go to step 3a
If either side is able to commit the guard or has any units able to reinforce the battle go to step 3b.

Otherwise the die rolls for round 2 for arty and combat are shown and the attacker takes his loses.
If either side broke or was eliminated in round 2: go to step 3a

Otherwise the die rolls for round 3 for arty and combat are shown and the attacker takes his loses.

If either side broke or was eliminated in round 3: go to step 3a
Otherwise go to step 3c.

Step 3a:
If the defender broke but wasn’t eliminated and the attacker is eligible to pursuit he is asked if he wants to do so. If the attacker decides to pursuit a die for the pursuit is rolled but not shown yet.
A battle file is made and sent to the defender (go to step 4).

Step 3b:
If the attacker is eligible to commit the guard – ask him if he wants to. If he does – roll the die but do not show it yet.
If the attacker is eligible to reinforce with any units – ask him which units he wants to attempt to reinforce with.
Note: I realize that this means that the attacker can neither reinforce before deciding to commit the guard nor commit the guard before deciding to reinforce. I am willing to forego that in order to keep things nice and simple for PBEM.
A battle file is made and sent to the defender (go to step 4).

Step 3c:
Ask the attacker if he wants to continue fighting an additional day. If he does ask him if he wants to pursuit should the defender not also want to continue the battle.
A battle file is made and sent to the defender (go to step 4).

Step 3d:
A battle file is made and sent to the defender (go to step 4).


Step 4: (defender round 1)
The game reveals the chit choices, force compositions and morale levels of both sides to the defender.
If either side picked Withdraw the game reveals the withdrawal die roll to the defender.
If either side successfully withdrew: go to step 11

Otherwise the rolls for round 1 for artillery (if any) and combat are shown and the defender decides how to take his loses.
If either side broke or was eliminated in round 1 go to step 4a
If either side is able to commit the guard or has any units able to reinforce the battle go to step 4b.

Otherwise the die rolls for round 2 for arty and combat are shown and the defender takes his loses.
If either side broke or was eliminated in round 2: go to step 4a

Otherwise the die rolls for round 3 for arty and combat are shown and the defender takes his loses.

If either side broke or was eliminated in round 3: go to step 4a
Otherwise go to step 4c

Step 4a:
If the attacker broke but wasn’t eliminated and the defender is eligible to pursuit he is asked if he wants to do so. If the defender decides to pursuit a die for the pursuit is rolled but not shown yet.
A battle file is made and sent to the attacker.
If either side is to pursuit go to step 9.
If neither side is to pursuit go to step 11

Step 4b: (see notes to 3b)
If the defender is eligible to commit the guard – ask him if he wants to. If he does – roll the die but do not show it yet.
If the defender is eligible to reinforce with any units – ask him which units he wants to attempt to reinforce with.

Roll the dice for artillery (if any) and combat for round 2 but don’t show the rolls.

If either side has an outflanking force roll the relevant die for that – don’t show the result yet.

If neither side will be able to commit the guard or reinforce with any unit between round 2 and 3 (the program will know even though the players possibly don’t know yet) then roll dice for artillery and combat for round 3 as well as Outflank roll if applicable to use after round 2 – don’t show yet.

A battle file is made and sent to the defender (go to step 5).

Step 4c
Ask the defender if he wants to continue fighting an additional day. If he does ask him if he wants to pursuit should the attacker not also want to continue the battle.
If both sides want to continue fighting: send battle file and go to step 1
If neither side wants to continue: send battle file and go to step 11
If only one side wants to continue fighting: roll a die for the pursuit (don’t show yet) and send the battle file and then go to step 9

Step 5: (attacker round 2)
If eligible the roll for Outflanking is shown.
If eligible the roll(s) for Guard commitment are shown
If eligible the roll(s) for reinforcement and the units that have reinforced are shown.

Then rolls for round 2 for artillery (if any) and combat are shown and the attacker decides how to take his loses.

If either side broke or was eliminated in round 2 go to step 5a
If either side is able to commit the guard or has any units able to reinforce the battle go to step 5b.

Otherwise the die rolls for round 3 for arty and combat are shown and the attacker takes his loses.

If either side broke or was eliminated in round 3: go to step 5a
Otherwise go to step 5c.

Step 5a:
If the defender broke but wasn’t eliminated and the attacker is eligible to pursuit he is asked if he wants to do so. If the attacker decides to pursuit a die for the pursuit is rolled but not shown yet.
A battle file is made and sent to the defender (go to step 6).

Step 5b:
If the attacker is eligible to commit the guard – ask him if he wants to. If he does – roll the die but do not show it yet.
If the attacker is eligible to reinforce with any units – ask him which units he wants to attempt to reinforce with.
A battle file is made and sent to the defender (go to step 6).

Step 5c:
Ask the attacker if he wants to continue fighting an additional day. If he does ask him if he wants to pursuit should the defender not also want to continue the battle.
A battle file is made and sent to the defender (go to step 6).

Step 6: (defender round 2)
If eligible the roll for Outflanking is shown.
If eligible the roll(s) for Guard commitment are shown
If eligible the roll(s) for reinforcement and the units that have reinforced are shown.

Then rolls for round 2 for artillery (if any) and combat are shown and the defender decides how to take his loses.

If either side broke or was eliminated in round 2 go to step 6a
If either side is able to commit the guard or has any units able to reinforce the battle go to step 6b.

Otherwise the die rolls for round 3 for arty and combat are shown and the defender takes his loses.

If either side broke or was eliminated in round 3: go to step 6a
Otherwise go to step 6c.

Step 6a:
If the attacker broke but wasn’t eliminated and the defender is eligible to pursuit he is asked if he wants to do so. If the defender decides to pursuit a die for the pursuit is rolled but not shown yet.
A battle file is made and sent to the attacker.
If either side is to pursuit go to step 9.
If neither side is to pursuit go to step 11

Step 6b:
If the defender is eligible to commit the guard – ask him if he wants to. If he does – roll the die but do not show it yet.
If the defender is eligible to reinforce with any units – ask him which units he wants to attempt to reinforce with.

Roll the dice for artillery (if any) and combat for round 3 but don’t show the rolls.
If either side has an outflanking force roll the relevant die for that – don’t show the result yet.
A battle file is made and sent to the defender (go to step 7).

Step 6c
Ask the defender if he wants to continue fighting an additional day. If he does ask him if he wants to pursuit should the attacker not also want to continue the battle.
If both sides want to continue fighting: send battle file and go to step 1
If neither side wants to continue: send battle file and go to step 11
If only one side wants to continue fighting: roll a die for the pursuit (don’t show yet) and send the battle file and then go to step 9

Step 7: (attacker round 3)
If eligible the roll for Outflanking is shown.
If eligible the roll(s) for Guard commitment are shown
If eligible the roll(s) for reinforcement and the units that have reinforced are shown.

Then the die rolls for round 3 for arty and combat are shown and the attacker takes his loses.

If either side broke or was eliminated in round 3: go to step 7a
Otherwise go to step 7c

Step 7a:
If the defender broke but wasn’t eliminated and the attacker is eligible to pursuit he is asked if he wants to do so. If the attacker decides to pursuit a die for the pursuit is rolled but not shown yet.
A battle file is made and sent to the defender (go to step 8).

Step 7c:
Ask the attacker if he wants to continue fighting an additional day. If he does ask him if he wants to pursuit should the defender not also want to continue the battle.
A battle file is made and sent to the defender (go to step 8).

Step 8: (defender round 3)
If eligible the roll for Outflanking is shown.
If eligible the roll(s) for Guard commitment are shown
If eligible the roll(s) for reinforcement and the units that have reinforced are shown.

Then the die rolls for round 3 for arty and combat are shown and the defender takes his loses.

If either side broke or was eliminated in round 3: go to step 8a
Otherwise go to step 8c

Step 8a:
If the attacker broke but wasn’t eliminated and the defender is eligible to pursuit he is asked if he wants to do so. If the defender decides to pursuit a die for the pursuit is rolled but not shown yet.
A battle file is made and sent to the attacker.
If the attacker is to pursuit go to step 9.
If the defender is to pursuit go to step 10
If neither side is to pursuit go to step 11

Step 8c:
Ask the defender if he wants to continue fighting an additional day. If he does ask him if he wants to pursuit should the attacker not also want to continue the battle.
If both sides want to continue fighting: send battle file and go to step 1
If neither side wants to continue: send battle file and go to step 11
If only one side wants to continue fighting: roll a die for the pursuit (don’t show yet) and send the battle file and then go to step 9

Step 9: (attacker pursuit)
Reveal the pursuit die roll.
If the attacker lost the battle – have him take his loses.
Send battle file to defender – go to step 10

Step 10: (defender pursuit)
Reveal the pursuit die roll.
If the defender lost the battle – have him take his loses.
Send battle file to attacker – go to step 11

Step 11: (end of battle)
PP gain/loses
Retreat
Leader casualties
Anything else


Phew, I think I lost my wits somewhere along the line writing the above - so by all means please do post corrections and comments.

< Message edited by JanSorensen -- 5/19/2008 11:59:38 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/20/2008 2:57:18 PM   
Marshall Ellis


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JanSorensen:

Don't think you can determine for the attacker if his/her forces are split per Outflank until after the defender chit is picked? i.e. If Defender picks outflank as well then the forces are not split.

Are you saying that he should split in anticipation of being able to?



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Outflank Strategy War Games



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Post #: 2
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/20/2008 3:11:18 PM   
JanSorensen

 

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From: Aalborg, Denmark
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Marshall Ellis,

Yes, no reason not to have the attacker decide how to split his force should they be able to when Outflank is picked. Postponing that decision till the next time the file gets to the attacker gains nothing and loses something as the attacker can reload and change his mind after getting other information.

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 3
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/21/2008 12:11:26 AM   
JanSorensen

 

Posts: 3684
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From: Aalborg, Denmark
Status: offline
Marshall Ellis,

I am curious if you found my suggestion useful or not. I realize that its very long and rather boring so its unlikely that any but the most hardcore would care to read it through this limiting the feedback.

As I havent actually played the game by PBEM yet and the manual does not meantion how the flow of battle is handled in a PBEM game (in terms of when mails are sent, decisions made and dice rolled and shown) its hard for me to know exactly how my suggestion compares to the current state. I just read that its possible to cheat both on chit picking and one dice rolls as the defender and found that very odd as its very possible to work around (barring someone decrypting the battle file).

If you could it would be very usefull if you posted how its currently handled in the game. That would let me as well as others better help get it fixed against (easy) cheating.

(in reply to JanSorensen)
Post #: 4
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/21/2008 3:35:49 PM   
Marshall Ellis


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Joined: 10/2/2001
From: Dallas
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JanSorensen:

Definitely helpful. I am looking at how your flow is as compared to mine and while similar, there are some differences. The tentative splitting of the flank force potentially saves a round trip message BUT I have to put a tentative image of unit locations if outflank works.

Chit / Dice are my primary focus areas here. I need to pregenerate dice rolls so that reloading does nothing from the dice perspective (Your example has this). Chit cheating could be done buy the defender by simply reloading (Even in your example, correct?) then loading the attacker's file again and selecting a different chit. If I'm wrong here then let me know...





_____________________________

Thank you

Marshall Ellis
Outflank Strategy War Games



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Post #: 5
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/21/2008 4:11:02 PM   
JanSorensen

 

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Joined: 5/2/2005
From: Aalborg, Denmark
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Marshall Ellis,

You are incorrect. The defender cannot cheat with chit choice by reloading in the flow I outlined.
Note that chit picks are done in step 1 (attacker) and step 2 (defender) but not revealed till step 3 (attacker) and step 4 (defender). Thus both sides have made their picks before either see what the other picked.

The main idea in the flow I outlined is that no information whatsoever is given after a choice is made during the same round trip. If its possible to cheat by reloading in any way with the flow I suggest then I made a mistake and hopefully you or someone else will point it out. It should be proof against reloading making the only cheating possible to decipher the encrypted file. Still a possibility but a far less likely one.

Concerning dice you have to be aware that not only should the dice be pregenarated so reloading does not change the die rolls - but in addition to that you cannot allow the player to make any decisions during the same round trip as those dice are shown if the decision should be made prior to seeing the dice. I believe I also covered this though I admit I may have missed something.

Btw, do you also allow the battle to "finish up quickly" if neither side can commit the guard or reinforce? It seems like a good choice as the only decisions left are which units to take as losses and that hardly seems worth sending messages back and forth several times to settle. Not to say that the game should just decide loses for either side - but the attacker should be able to pick his loses for several rounds before seeing how exactly the defender decides to take his loses.

Mind, naval interception is still an issue - and a far harder one to tackle. I assume you have the dice for that pregenerated as well - or cheating is far too easy and potent. But even with prerolled dice the phasing player may risk the interception and simply reload and avoid the move if it turns out badly. I am still trying to figure out what if anything can be done about that.

< Message edited by JanSorensen -- 5/21/2008 5:22:04 PM >

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
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RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/21/2008 6:57:45 PM   
Jimmer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis

JanSorensen:

Definitely helpful. I am looking at how your flow is as compared to mine and while similar, there are some differences. The tentative splitting of the flank force potentially saves a round trip message BUT I have to put a tentative image of unit locations if outflank works.

Chit / Dice are my primary focus areas here. I need to pregenerate dice rolls so that reloading does nothing from the dice perspective (Your example has this). Chit cheating could be done buy the defender by simply reloading (Even in your example, correct?) then loading the attacker's file again and selecting a different chit. If I'm wrong here then let me know...


If someone can truly cheat, pre-rolling won't help more that a small amount. The user can just make different choices until he finds one where the dice are favorable (say, reinforcing in with different corps, or using guard vs. not using guard). Pre-rolling also has to include a structure. If you just issue, say, 100 die rolls in advance, then changing the order of events could change the outcome. For example, if I discover that I'm about to roll a 1 in the 3rd combat round, I could return and do guard commitment instead, using the 1 for that. Then, I'm likely to get a better result for the other roll.

I don't even know if the cheating that's talked about here is possible. First, you must determine what kind of cheat exists, and then correct the real security implications of that cheat. Pre-rolled dice is a band-aid solution, not a real solution.

You might want to open up a security forum, and limit the list of people who can get to it (since there will be active exploits listed, which could cause less-than-perfectly ethical people some issues).

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RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/21/2008 7:28:22 PM   
Jimmer

 

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Also, full security is impossible without having a third-party (or, Matrix supplied) server that performs transactions. No amount to tweaking the game can deal with a user who simply uses two computers (for example). The only way around that kind of cheat (which includes reloading cheats) is to have a neutral system that "holds" all information, and doesn't give it out unless the correct step has been attained by one of the combatants.

Your sequence, however, does help against less sophisticated versions of the same idea, by limiting information passed to certain checkpoints in the process.

I've been thinking about writing such a server, but it seems too difficult to do for what is most likely a population of users that is very small.

< Message edited by Jimmer -- 5/21/2008 7:30:16 PM >


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At LAST! The greatest campaign board game of all time is finally available for the PC. Can my old heart stand the strain?

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RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/21/2008 7:39:47 PM   
JanSorensen

 

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Jimmer,

When prerolling you dont roll the next 100 dice - you roll the dice for the specific event. So, the "1" you mention for combat wont be used for guard commitment no matter what. The "1" in question is earmarked for combat round 3. Thats why pre-rolled dice are exactly the solution.

Further, you cannot go back and change guard commitment after you have seen the "1" in the third round of combat because you decide to commit the guard in step 5b but dont see the "1" till step 7 (for the attacker) with the file being in the hands of the defender in step 6. Thus there is no way to go back. Thats why even knowing the dice wont do you any good - as all decisions prior to those dice are unchangeable once you see the dice.

I urge you to read in details the suggested flow I posted and once read try to poke holes in it. Please post exactly how you would cheat using two systems and reloading given the sequence I have suggested - with the exception of cracking the encrypted battle file.

< Message edited by JanSorensen -- 5/21/2008 7:41:48 PM >

(in reply to Jimmer)
Post #: 9
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/21/2008 7:52:40 PM   
Jimmer

 

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Joined: 12/5/2007
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quote:

ORIGINAL: JanSorensen

Jimmer,

When prerolling you dont roll the next 100 dice - you roll the dice for the specific event. So, the "1" you mention for combat wont be used for guard commitment no matter what. The "1" in question is earmarked for combat round 3. Thats why pre-rolled dice are exactly the solution.

Further, you cannot go back and change guard commitment after you have seen the "1" in the third round of combat because you decide to commit the guard in step 5b but dont see the "1" till step 7 (for the attacker) with the file being in the hands of the defender in step 6. Thus there is no way to go back. Thats why even knowing the dice wont do you any good - as all decisions prior to those dice are unchangeable once you see the dice.

I urge you to read in details the suggested flow I posted and once read try to poke holes in it. Please post exactly how you would cheat using two systems and reloading given the sequence I have suggested - with the exception of cracking the encrypted battle file.

I read the whole thing, and I stand by what I said. All I have to do to get around this is to run a second instance of the game (whether by reloaded files or on a different system), and I can find out what that guard commitment roll is going to be. Once I know that, I can make a potentially better decision as to whether to commit or not. Guard commitment is a small thing, though, unless one is low on guard factors (having only 1 factor left, should I commit, or not?)

The chit choice is the important one, and your scheme makes that part work. However, there could not be any semi-trivial battles any more. People would have to fight all land battles manually. Same with interception combats (which occur during naval MOVEMENT, and so the whole turn could be backed off if an unfavorable result occurs).

_____________________________

At LAST! The greatest campaign board game of all time is finally available for the PC. Can my old heart stand the strain?

(in reply to JanSorensen)
Post #: 10
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/21/2008 10:42:48 PM   
bresh

 

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Im wondering if this could work, brainstorming. And this might be just silly, since we use alot of dice rolls for siege, forage reinforce etc.

Looked at a online game where they roll dice online.


Create a thread regarding game rolls,
Each time a die roll is required.




Code:

[dice=d6]

Maybe Supply Area-name and what the roll is for, in the code.
Then when he submits, a roll is made.

Site rolls a die, and the player needs to submit the die into his game.(instead of game rolling).
If the player submits a wrong dieroll in his game compared to the roll he got on the thread. You prob wont play with him more.

The threads may not be edited.


Kind Regards
Bresh


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Post #: 11
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/21/2008 11:53:36 PM   
JanSorensen

 

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From: Aalborg, Denmark
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jimmer

I read the whole thing, and I stand by what I said. All I have to do to get around this is to run a second instance of the game (whether by reloaded files or on a different system), and I can find out what that guard commitment roll is going to be. Once I know that, I can make a potentially better decision as to whether to commit or not. Guard commitment is a small thing, though, unless one is low on guard factors (having only 1 factor left, should I commit, or not?)

The chit choice is the important one, and your scheme makes that part work. However, there could not be any semi-trivial battles any more. People would have to fight all land battles manually. Same with interception combats (which occur during naval MOVEMENT, and so the whole turn could be backed off if an unfavorable result occurs).


Jimmer,

Please be kind enough to go into details on how you would use a second instance of the game to reload an cheat.

You claim that you can know what the guard commitment roll can be and hence make a better decision on whether to commit or not. Lets say it the commitment between combat rounds 2 and 3 for the sake of the argument and lets assume you are the attacker.

Step 1: Not relevant
Battle file 1 is sent by you
Step 2: Not relevant
Battle file 2 is sent to you

Step 3: Not relevant
Battle file 3 is sent by you
Step 4: Not relevant
Battle file 4 is sent to you

You now have the two battle files you sent (1 and 3) and the two battle files you received (2 and 4).

Step 5: You make the decision if you want to commit the guard or not (5b)
Battle file 5 is sent by you. It includes the choice you have made - but you cannot read this file as you do not have the key the defender picked in step 2. So, even if you try to open this file on a second install of the game you cannot!

Step 6: The defender makes his choice on guard commitment.
Battle file 6 is sent to you.

You now have the three battle files you sent (1, 3 and 5) and the three battle files you received (2, 4 and 6).
You can read battle file 1 (as the defender has not yet keyed it - but it holds no information except your own chit choice - nor does it contain any prerolled dice - so cheating with it is of no value.
You can also read battle files 2 and 4 - but what use would that be? You cannot change what you decided in step 5 as you have already sent battle file 5 to the defender - so there is no going back.
You cannot read battle files 3 and 5 as those are keyed so only the defender can open them and you dont know his key.
You can read battle file 6 - the one you are to read.

Step 7: You read battle file 6 and see the dice rolled for guard commitment.

Now please tell me which battle file you would reload and when you would do so in order to cheat and gain knowledge about the die roll in a manner that would let you change your decision.


As for semi-trivial battles (no chit choice, no reinforment and no guard commitment possible) those would require only steps 1, 2, 3 and 4. Steps 1 and 2 to setup the "handshake" and predetermination of dice that avoids reloading and steps 3 and 4 to show the die rolls and take the loses. So it would be 3 mails. Sure, its slower than just letting the attacker run the battle alone - but not exactly impossibly slow either.

Interception, as I have noted a couple of times earlier in the thread, is a whole different ballgame. I have no solution for that outside a true 3rd party server providing the security (which is what I assume we are trying to avoid if at all possible)

(in reply to Jimmer)
Post #: 12
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/22/2008 12:05:12 AM   
JanSorensen

 

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From: Aalborg, Denmark
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quote:

ORIGINAL: bresh

Im wondering if this could work, brainstorming. And this might be just silly, since we use alot of dice rolls for siege, forage reinforce etc.

Looked at a online game where they roll dice online.

Create a thread regarding game rolls,
Each time a die roll is required.

Code:

[dice=d6]
Maybe Supply Area-name and what the roll is for, in the code.
Then when he submits, a roll is made.

Site rolls a die, and the player needs to submit the die into his game.(instead of game rolling).
If the player submits a wrong dieroll in his game compared to the roll he got on the thread. You prob wont play with him more.

The threads may not be edited.


Kind Regards
Bresh




Aye, a die roll server is a possible solution. No two ways about that. If a dedicated EiA server was made the issue with chits could also be solved with such a server. Optimally it would be a server that communicated automatically with the EiA game (client) so the player didnt even have to manually enter the die rolls but rather it was done automatically.

With a generic server you usually end of with alot of mails from the dice server (annoying) and you have to manually enter the dice (not too bad). You are also somewhat dependent on the server running. With a dedicated server you are very dependent on the server running - in worse case it could stop a game entirely if the server stopped performing.

Only Marshall Ellis knows if the dice server idea is one he wants to pursuit. Since its common knowledge and has not been mentioned by him I assume its not as it makes the game less "stand alone" but he is obviously the only one that knows for certain. Personally I would prefer fixing and possibly modifying the game in order to make it secure without the need for a server.

< Message edited by JanSorensen -- 5/22/2008 12:29:12 AM >

(in reply to bresh)
Post #: 13
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/22/2008 12:26:53 AM   
Marshall Ellis


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JanSorensen:

You're right. My bad. Nobody sees chits until file is returned to attacker.
This might be doable without creating a new operating system :-)




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Post #: 14
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/22/2008 9:56:49 PM   
Jimmer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: JanSorensen
You now have the three battle files you sent (1, 3 and 5) and the three battle files you received (2, 4 and 6).
You can read battle file 1 (as the defender has not yet keyed it - but it holds no information except your own chit choice - nor does it contain any prerolled dice - so cheating with it is of no value.

It seems to me that this contradicts what you said earlier. You wanted one roll (presumably, the next roll) to be pre-rolled. Unless you meant only combat rolls (rolls against the casualty-morale table).

If you keep the roll from happening until after both parties have submitted commitment decisions, then it does indeed block that kind of cheating. Of course, once you do that, you're back to allowing cheating by at least one person simply restarting until he gets a favorable roll. Unless, again, you do the same kind of action (battle file swaps) with the second die roll.

I'm probably being too picky, but this kind of security is impossible to make bullet-proof and user-friendly. But, your post goes a long ways towards making it difficult to hack without becoming unplayable. I think it just needs some refining, as it's pretty thorough.

In this game, we're probably looking for "playable, and difficult to hack" rather than "playable and impossible to hack". There's no such thing as "impossible to hack" in the security business. Difficult, but never impossible. Impossible requires third-party assistance (say, from a server), and that won't work without a construction in the game to manage it.

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Post #: 15
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/22/2008 10:10:48 PM   
Jimmer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: JanSorensen
As for semi-trivial battles (no chit choice, no reinforment and no guard commitment possible) those would require only steps 1, 2, 3 and 4. Steps 1 and 2 to setup the "handshake" and predetermination of dice that avoids reloading and steps 3 and 4 to show the die rolls and take the loses. So it would be 3 mails. Sure, its slower than just letting the attacker run the battle alone - but not exactly impossibly slow either.

I was talking about the battles that weren't officially trivial, but the computer decides they are close enough, and picks one's chits for one. If it picks chits for both sides, that would be fine (except, not secure), but it frequently allows one side to pick a chit while choosing one for the other side. But, those battles could then be replayed.

Personally, I think the game should completely ditch these kinds of battles. Battles where the computer picks both chits (or, uses standing orders) would be OK. But, battles where only one side picks are notoriously insecure.

Still, even battles where the computer picks both sides have a problem: On a separate instace of the game, the person can play it out. Then, reload everything to before the land phase.

I think your scenario requires one other thing to cover all "computer-to-computer" or "computer-to-player" battles: There has to be the same kind of exchange occurring (battle file, for example) between the land movement phase and the land combat phase. This file wouldn't contain any battle information, but WOULD tell the other guy which battles are about to occur (thus preventing a reload from working).

If I'm not mistaken, the model you use throughout your post can be applied to this "extra" file exactly the same way (except, no dice and no encryption needed).

The current (game) model has the person shipping both the movement phase and the combat phase at the same time, after everything is done. It really needs to be required earlier. It doesn't require a response, because the non-phasing player would be seeing all of the upcoming battles before any were fought.

However, even without code change, we can do something like what you suggest: Make a house rule that you must turn in your land phase file before any battles are initiated. It wouldn't help when all battles are done on the same system, but it would help if any one of those battles required battle files be sent. If the phasing player did not send out his land movement file, and then all of a sudden is sending out a battle file, well, there's a problem.

Now, a dedicated cheater can get around part of this by simply playing until it asks to send a battle file. Then, he knows he has to use "safer" choices. But, if nearly all battles (except true "trivial" combats) required battle file intervention (by your model or Marshall's), then in almost all cases, it would not be profitable to try this tactic.

What do you think?

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Post #: 16
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/23/2008 12:52:43 AM   
JanSorensen

 

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Jimmer,

I concur that a seperate file needs to be submitted at the end of the land movement phase - before moving to the land combat phase. I actually assumed that was the case (I havent played PBEM really as mentioned earlier so I didnt know for sure).

I also concur that no system is 100% proof against cheating without a 3rd party (a server) handling things. In this case, however, I believe the only cheating left possible would require the cheater to crack the (encrypted) battle files.

You write:
quote:

It seems to me that this contradicts what you said earlier. You wanted one roll (presumably, the next roll) to be pre-rolled. Unless you meant only combat rolls (rolls against the casualty-morale table).

If you keep the roll from happening until after both parties have submitted commitment decisions, then it does indeed block that kind of cheating. Of course, once you do that, you're back to allowing cheating by at least one person simply restarting until he gets a favorable roll. Unless, again, you do the same kind of action (battle file swaps) with the second die roll.

If I could get you to actually be specific by stating exactly which die roll you want to cheat with and how I could answer - but sofar we seem to fail to communicate as I feel you make a generic claim rather than relate to the specific suggestion by posting exactly which die roll and exactly which decision you feel you can cheat with and exactly which battle file you would reload to perform that cheating. Sofar none of what you have written have been specific enough for me to understand where you think there is a hole.

Note. I do not keep the roll from happening till after both have decided. I keep the roll from being shown till after than decisions. Case in point. In step 2 several dice are rolled but _not_ shown. They are shown in step 3. So, redoing step 2 would gain nothing. If step 3 has already occured (attacker) you cannot redo step 2 (defender). If step 3 has not occurred you can redo step 2 - but you dont know the result anyway so you have no way of knowing if you got a good or a bad result. Thus reloading is of no value (unless you back the battle file obviously but I have to discount that possibility). 

(in reply to Jimmer)
Post #: 17
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/23/2008 5:56:41 PM   
Jimmer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: JanSorensen
If I could get you to actually be specific by stating exactly which die roll you want to cheat with and how I could answer - but sofar we seem to fail to communicate as I feel you make a generic claim rather than relate to the specific suggestion by posting exactly which die roll and exactly which decision you feel you can cheat with and exactly which battle file you would reload to perform that cheating. Sofar none of what you have written have been specific enough for me to understand where you think there is a hole.

Note. I do not keep the roll from happening till after both have decided. I keep the roll from being shown till after than decisions. Case in point. In step 2 several dice are rolled but _not_ shown. They are shown in step 3. So, redoing step 2 would gain nothing. If step 3 has already occured (attacker) you cannot redo step 2 (defender). If step 3 has not occurred you can redo step 2 - but you dont know the result anyway so you have no way of knowing if you got a good or a bad result. Thus reloading is of no value (unless you back the battle file obviously but I have to discount that possibility). 

With the proviso that the land phase cannot be undone, your solution flow works very well. The encryption would help, but only if the only entity that ever looked at the unencrypted contents was the game itself, and it NEVER turns it into a format readable by humans. If the encrypted contents are ever decrypted, even if only in memory, they can be read.

BUT, your solution makes it such that the game doesn't have to decrypt until after both parties have made the choice(s) relevant for that step.

About the issue of land phase and combat happening at the same time:

The way the game works now is that the phasing player's computer does all the work for every battle except those which require decisions by the defender. So, this is inherently vulnerable to a reload-style cheat. Plus, there's no way to fix it for battles that don't require communication, except to FORCE a communication between the phases (movement and combat).

Marshall, I think this is a good idea: Forcing a communication with at least one other party at the end of land movement, if and only if a land combat phase is about to occur. In other words, the phasing player has to post his land movment choices before he can see any part of the combat process unfold. In order for this to work from within the game, the code would have to essentially pass a token to some other player (most likely the host, since one could be at war with multiple players), and then be required to receive a token back before proceeding into land combat. The flow:

1) Finish land movement phase by clicking the button
2) Land movement results (PBM file) are posted
3) Host loads movement file from phasing player
4) Inside this land movement file is a token, useful only to the host of the game. The token merely indicates whether any battles are about to occur.
5) Host's computer produces a token. This token is written into his master save file(s), and is also produced as a token file (could be a simple PBM file), which must be posted. The phasing player's game requires this token in order to continue on to the land combat phase
6) Land combat phase (normal, except for the delay while waiting for the token).

This will necessarily slow down games, because it splits the land phase from the land combat phase. Thus, there is potentially a new stopping point whenever the phasing player is at war. (Applies to naval, too, but not to interceptions -- won't work; we must come up with another solution for that). But, it would make any form of reload that requires the land phase be reloaded impossible. And, that's a significant majority of the more aggregious cases.

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Post #: 18
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/23/2008 7:05:39 PM   
Marshall Ellis


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Jimmer:

What about a notification ACK/NAK needed for each battle?
Is that too time consuming?
Too rediculous?



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Post #: 19
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/23/2008 7:25:31 PM   
Jimmer

 

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Not sure. Flesh it out a bit. It appears OK, but let's have more detail. What's inside the ACK or NAK?

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Post #: 20
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/24/2008 11:19:33 AM   
JanSorensen

 

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I believe you should do the following:

Definitely use ACK/NAK between land movement and land combat phases if ANY combats are possible. I actually assumed that as a given so thanks Jimmer for pointing out that its not.

All siege rolls can be made without ACK/NAK - but has to be coded in such a way that reloading will produce the same roll (there are plenty of ways to make that happen). Knowing the roll in advance (by reloading) wont (often) make the attacker change his decision - as long as he cannot go back to the movement phase and change decisions there.

Any siege combat where the attacker outnumbers the defender 5 to 1 or more can be done without ACK/NAK - the rolls are not important enough to discourage the attacker from making the attack. Obvious code the rolls so that reloading will produce the same results.

Any siege combat where the attacker does not outnumber the defender 5 to 1 needs ACK/NAK - essentially just follow the procedure I outlined in the first post. (steps 1, 2, 3 and 4). Knowing the dice in this case might make the attacker _not_ want to attempt the siege so an ACK is needed between the decision to roll for the siege (including the siege roll) and the actual combat rolls.

Any trivial combat where no guard commitment nor reinforcement on either side is possible can be done without the need for ACK/NAK but has to be coded in such a way that reloading will produce the same roll No decisions can be made so there is no point in delaying such a battle.

All other trivial combats as well as all non-trivial land combats should folloing the flow outlined in the first post.

Thus all decisions are seperated from their effect making reloading void. This also means that the game will play fast for most siege combats - no need to stop the game for several days to check if those 20 factors kill that 1 factor in a city assault.


Btw, during movement you should also code the dice for foraging in such a manner that reloading wont change the outcome. Thus the player cannot reload to get better dice - though he can still reload to move differently. This does not prevent cheating but atleast takes it down a notch. I would not think it wise to need to ACK each foraging die roll. It would slow the game down far too much.

Jimmer:
quote:

Applies to naval, too, but not to interceptions -- won't work; we must come up with another solution for that).

See my other post where I suggest how to handle naval interceptions - in a manner similar to the one suggested in this thread.


I believe this covers all possible reloading cheats.
- naval interception (see other post)
- naval combat (use steps 1-4 in the first post of this thread)
- forage rolls (still cheatable but less so) (this post)
- siege rolls
- siege combats
- trivial combats
- non-trivial land combats
I cannot off the top of my head come up with more steps that can be reloaded to cheat - but maybe I am overlooking something.

< Message edited by JanSorensen -- 5/24/2008 11:37:19 AM >

(in reply to Jimmer)
Post #: 21
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/24/2008 11:34:28 PM   
Jimmer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: JanSorensen
All siege rolls can be made without ACK/NAK - but has to be coded in such a way that reloading will produce the same roll (there are plenty of ways to make that happen). Knowing the roll in advance (by reloading) wont (often) make the attacker change his decision - as long as he cannot go back to the movement phase and change decisions there.

This brings up a good, related point: When the dice are pre-rolled (at any time and for any purpose), they need to be assigned to a particular battle, not just a large pile of random numbers randomly chosen for "the next roll".

Otherwise, someone with more than one battle going could restart the phase just to change the order. This would most likely assign different rolls to each battle, if this check is not in place. For instance, assume France is attacking with Nappy and also attacking some city somewhere. If he picks the Nappy battle first, and finds out his first roll is a 1, and then plays the city combat and sees a 6, it would be in his power to reverse those rolls (or, at least, change them).

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Post #: 22
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/24/2008 11:40:09 PM   
Jimmer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: JanSorensen
All other trivial combats as well as all non-trivial land combats should folloing the flow outlined in the first post.


This section had some good points. I only quoted the last line for brevity and because it shows the point I want to make:

ALL land phases that institute a combat of any kind should have an ACK for the basic "end of land phase" (which includes the list of combats). It would probably be best to have the DEFENDER'S computer perform the actual computations for any combat that is done entirely inside the bowels of the game itself. This would prevent any exploit that we haven't yet thought of that exploits the computataions and the phasing moves happening on the same computer.

This is a good thread, Jan. We're getting into some good "nuts and bolts" kind of stuff here. Thanks for bringing it up (and the naval one).

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Post #: 23
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/25/2008 2:17:52 AM   
JanSorensen

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jimmer


quote:

ORIGINAL: JanSorensen
All siege rolls can be made without ACK/NAK - but has to be coded in such a way that reloading will produce the same roll (there are plenty of ways to make that happen). Knowing the roll in advance (by reloading) wont (often) make the attacker change his decision - as long as he cannot go back to the movement phase and change decisions there.

This brings up a good, related point: When the dice are pre-rolled (at any time and for any purpose), they need to be assigned to a particular battle, not just a large pile of random numbers randomly chosen for "the next roll".

Otherwise, someone with more than one battle going could restart the phase just to change the order. This would most likely assign different rolls to each battle, if this check is not in place. For instance, assume France is attacking with Nappy and also attacking some city somewhere. If he picks the Nappy battle first, and finds out his first roll is a 1, and then plays the city combat and sees a 6, it would be in his power to reverse those rolls (or, at least, change them).


Aye, its a given that pre-rolled dice are rolled for a very specific event rather than as a generic pool of dice. Thanks for pointing that out - I had not even considered that pre-rolled dice could be rather otherwise.

(in reply to Jimmer)
Post #: 24
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/27/2008 4:27:44 PM   
Marshall Ellis


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From: Dallas
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jimmer

Not sure. Flesh it out a bit. It appears OK, but let's have more detail. What's inside the ACK or NAK?



This may sound a little cludgy ...
EVERY time a breach is attemtped or battle is fought, a premission request goes to the opponent??? Some type of unique key that requires a response?


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Post #: 25
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/27/2008 9:44:31 PM   
JanSorensen

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jimmer

Not sure. Flesh it out a bit. It appears OK, but let's have more detail. What's inside the ACK or NAK?



This may sound a little cludgy ...
EVERY time a breach is attemtped or battle is fought, a premission request goes to the opponent??? Some type of unique key that requires a response?



Marshall Ellis

I am not sure exactly what you are asking here - are you asking how to code it - or are you asking if its needed?
Anyway, I believe I outlined in details when I think you need to use a "handshake" in post #21.

As far as I am concerned all the details have been posted and all that remains is for you to decide how you want to balance speed vs integrity. You can obviously play faster if you dont use any checks on cheating - and you can obviously play very slowly if you want to put checks in everywhere. In post #21 I have given my view on where to draw the line and code a compromise - but in the end its obviously you that need to make the decision.

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 26
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 5/27/2008 11:15:34 PM   
Jimmer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jimmer

Not sure. Flesh it out a bit. It appears OK, but let's have more detail. What's inside the ACK or NAK?



This may sound a little cludgy ...
EVERY time a breach is attemtped or battle is fought, a premission request goes to the opponent??? Some type of unique key that requires a response?


No, I would think at the end of the move phase, ONE statement be made (from one game to the other, probably the host) that includes a list of all the battles. Once this statement is made to the host (and reply received), the person can move to land combat.

Right now, when a person finishes all land moves, then if there are any battles, he moves immediately to the land combat phase. Instead, there should be a notification (again, I think only to the host) of what battles that player initiated. Then, the host replies. Each of these entries changes the master save file to indicate that it has occurred.

Thus, the player cannot replay the movement phase so as to avoid bad possibilities, or to avoid a sequencing issue that is unfavorably to him.

The idea this is intended to fix is where a person installs the software on two systems. On the second system (dummy, I'll call it), he has no email or connection to the Internet. He simply runs the game here to check out possibilities. He keeps repeating possibilities until he finds a favorable one.

This scenario has several methods of attaining it, but the above is the most obvious. Others would included deleting the saved game file and replacing it with a copy (and then retrying), etc.

Anyhow, the idea is that an acknowledgement being required at the termination of the land phase (a two-way communication with at least one other player/host) would prevent any kind of reloading scenarios that change movement.

We still have to concern ourselves with the rest of Jan's initial list of course, but a really big one would be removed.

As I stated earlier, there's even a "house rule" that would work (and, in an iron-clad way): The person has to post his land movement file and notify other players, before he is allowed to do any combat steps. What this code change would do is turn this into a hard requirement. It would also make the list of upcoming combats known. This isn't strictly necessary, but it provides one more fail-safe step against hacks we have previously not considered (hacks that change the LIST of battles, not just that the movement).

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Post #: 27
RE: How to make battles secure in terms of cheating (long) - 6/3/2008 10:37:24 PM   
bresh

 

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Im not sure if this is covered, its a rather long texts.

How about first like described.
Attacker selects chit, and sends battlefile to defender, [if he wants to reinforce he selects this, if he wants to use guards he selects that].(those are actually rolled now, but not shown).
Selection of possible outflanking force included.
Defender selects chit, and sends his battlefile to attacker [if he wants to reinforce he selects this, if he wants to use guards he selects that].(those are actually rolled now, but not shown).
Selection of possible outflanking force included.
Now this "the combat round dice are also rolled now, but not shown", so defender wont know his roll yet.

Now attacker recieves 1.battleround with all rolls done, combat rolls reinf guards etc shown.
He takes his casulties, and [if he wants to reinforce he selects this, if he wants to use guards he selects that].(those are actually rolled now, but not shown).

Now, any reloading of savegames/battles should not change the die rolls.

I guess you get the idea by now, Rolls are rolled in one end, but not shown till the other end has recieved the file.

Regards
Bresh


< Message edited by bresh -- 6/3/2008 10:41:55 PM >

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