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If you could redesign surrender, ... ?

 
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If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/3/2009 7:19:53 PM   
Jimmer

 

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If you could redesign the way surrendering works in EiANW, how would it work? Feel free to write any ideas you have, for the whole process or for just one small piece of it. This thread is for brainstorming about surrendering.

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RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/3/2009 7:54:22 PM   
Jimmer

 

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First, I would add a LOT more steps. Much of the surrender process now is done prior to the event, using guesswork to try to figure out what you might take as conditions. This allows virtually no freedom to negotiate, and frequently presents end results that are different from what a player might have wanted (even the victorious one).

So, right off the bat, once a surrender is declared, understand that this will add a sub-phase at the end or in the middle of the diplomacy phase. All parties which are taking part in the war(s) would be included.

The old rules used these steps:

1) Check for an informal peace.
2) Sue for peace. (Could only be done to all at-war parties unless one party has troops inside home-nation borders.)
3) Offer conditional or unconditional peace.
3a) The party suing for peace can decline unconditional peace offers.
3b) The party suing for peace restricts peace conditions for conditional surrenders.
4) Choose peace conditions.

When there are multiple allies involved:

Step 3) is done simultaneously and secretly.
Steps 3a) and 3b) are done after step 3, with full knowledge of other surrenders which have occurred.
Step 4) is done in order by the length of time at war (the one at war first chooses first, etc.)
Step 5) is added: Still-at-war powers decide whether to force allies who accepted peace to break their alliance. Simultaneously chosen.

In EiANW, these steps could (and should, in my opinion) all be used. In addition, negotiated conditions could be applied. A new step 0 would be added above which would mirror the process used in steps 1-5, except be non-binding until accepted. It would also allow back-and-forth looping of the steps from 1-4 and possibly even step 5. My next post will take a stab at seeing how this will work.

For this post, though, it seems to me that the above adds potentially many emails. But, the actual number will be smaller than the maximum.

Steps 1 and 2 could be left as is in the diplomacy phase as pre-chosen selections.

Step 3 would be triggered only if someone sues for peace.

Step 3a would only be triggered if a power offers only an unconditional peace.

Step 3b would only be triggered if a power accepts a conditional peace, and once for each enemy.

Step 4 would be the longest. There could potentially be as many choices made as there are total victory conditions. I can't remember exactly, but I think this is about 9.

Step 5 could require orders from all warring powers save one, but more likely will not involve more than a couple of people (non-victors with allied victors).

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RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/3/2009 8:19:00 PM   
Jimmer

 

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Now, for negotiated surrenders, a table of choices would have to be built. ALL powers currently at war would have a section, even if they aren't interested in surrendering or being surrendered to.

In addition to having all of the powers listed, every possible choice they could make needs to be outlined. This would be similar to the way it is done now, but with all of the options laid out at once and for all players.

So, for a two-player war, with no players at war anywhere else, the table would have a section for each power, and the sections would be identical to what they are now. For example, GB and France are the only two players at war. Each would have a surrender this turn option, a conditional vs. unconditional acceptable option, and a list of all possible conditions which could be chosen. It would be like looking at both GB's and France's diplo phase screen side-by-side (but, missing anything that doesn't deal with peace).

Let's say France invaded GB, so GB is surrendering. Further, assume the GB/France harder surrender option is not in force (it helps the description of this). GB would initiate surrender negotiations by clicking a button that would bring up this "Negotiations for Surrender" window. Let's say this GB is a master of manipulations, and hopes those skills can get her an informal peace. So, she only offers an informal. (Informal could have a free-form text box that would allow non-binding "conditions".)

France laughs to himself and returns the request with the informal box unchecked, but suggests and unconditional with some lighter terms chosen.

Let's say GB wants to hold out for a light conditional, so she deselects unconditional and selects conditional. She also still wants light, so she says 24 months and money are the two options she will grant. The request is then sent back to France.

France says to himself, "Hey, I'm besieging London, with pretty good odds of taking it before I lose all of my troops to foraging or combat losses. I want more. But, asking for an unconditional is too much." So, France leaves conditional selected, unchecks 24 months, and checks "remove corps" instead. Then, sends it back to GB.

This would continue until one or the other either accepts the terms, or checks a "reject all negotiation attempts" box, ending that sub-phase.

If negotiations are successful, then all powers who are at war get peace according to the selected choices.

If negotiations are unsuccessful, then the game gets back to normal.

IMPORTANT NOTE: None of the above (this post) has to happen in the diplo phase. It can be done completely asynchronously from the game, with the exception of the final step (accept or reject).

Note also that ALL warring powers must be present on the sheet, not just those who are interested. The reason is because one power may want to allow a light peace, provided other powers are granted an informal peace (for example). In order for the negotiations to be successful, all interested parties would have to agree.

This brings up a point: It's possible one power doesn't want to negotiate, but the others do. That would mean that the uncooperating player would check a box to "opt out" of negotiations. Then, that players section of choices would be greyed out, and they would no longer be involved in the negotiations. All this means is that the other players can only negotiate amongst themselves. I would call this "being inactive in negotiations".

Finally, the breaking alliances step presents a problem when more than one power is involved. But, if the previous post is also accepted, the issue evaporates (the player makes his/her choices during diplomacy, where they are binding, rather than during negotiations, which are only binding when accepted by all active parties.)

--------
Complicated? Yes. But, much closer to how most humans always played EiA. I think the complication and extra time spent on surrender would add a great deal of depth to the game.

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Post #: 3
RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/3/2009 8:21:12 PM   
Marshall Ellis


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Holy COW! I'm not sure I will live long enough for this Jimmer LOL!





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Post #: 4
RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/3/2009 8:28:24 PM   
NeverMan

 

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I would make it more like EiA. :)

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RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/4/2009 12:06:24 AM   
pzgndr

 

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A couple of thoughts come to mind:

1. For simplicity it would be good to preselect all conditional and unconditional surrender settings with perhaps another checkbox or two added to the current system to provide more choices. This may not be ideal but should be sufficient in many (most?) cases. Marshall could probably make an enhancement along this line easier than adding additional steps and file exchanges.

2. For the more complex cases with multiple allies involved, perhaps a third party "surrender negotiation tool" could be developed much like the third party combat interface. A declaration of surrender could trigger an option to export a diplomatic file, players could negotiate and settle on conditions off-line, and then the diplomatic results imported back into the game. Again, Marshall could probaby add a feature like this easier than trying to code it all within the game.

3. It may be helpful to allow an MP wanting to sue for peace to see what the pre-selected conditions are before confirming the action and committing to surrender? That provides an upfront negotiation opportunity of sorts.

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RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/4/2009 5:04:16 AM   
ndrose

 

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quote:

1. For simplicity it would be good to preselect all conditional and unconditional surrender settings with perhaps another checkbox or two added to the current system to provide more choices. This may not be ideal but should be sufficient in many (most?) cases. Marshall could probably make an enhancement along this line easier than adding additional steps and file exchanges.


I agree with this. A lot of if-then specificity can be taken care of with well-designed checkbox lists. The ones Marshall's already designed for call to allies and support minor nation are good models, I think. If you use them carefully, they allow you to make decisions with approximately the same precision you'd get by introducing extra steps. Right now, the peace settings are too blunt an instrument, as if you just had a "call allies" checkbox, and had to call all your allies or no allies in case of any DOW, instead of (as Marshall's system allows) the ability to say "call ally X if power Y declares on me".

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RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/4/2009 5:30:23 PM   
Jimmer

 

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Good thoughts. See embedded responses.
quote:

ORIGINAL: pzgndr

A couple of thoughts come to mind:

1. For simplicity it would be good to preselect all conditional and unconditional surrender settings with perhaps another checkbox or two added to the current system to provide more choices. This may not be ideal but should be sufficient in many (most?) cases. Marshall could probably make an enhancement along this line easier than adding additional steps and file exchanges.

Agreed. It would certainly be easier, and would move slightly in the "back to EIA" direction.

quote:

2. For the more complex cases with multiple allies involved, perhaps a third party "surrender negotiation tool" could be developed much like the third party combat interface. A declaration of surrender could trigger an option to export a diplomatic file, players could negotiate and settle on conditions off-line, and then the diplomatic results imported back into the game. Again, Marshall could probaby add a feature like this easier than trying to code it all within the game.

Yes, this is a good idea. I tried to describe this in my notes above, but you did a better job. A separate utility would be needed, plus the ability of the game to import the output of this utility, and change diplo's surrender settings appropriately.

For now, let's call this extra tool "peace proposal tool".

If this were done right, there may not be a need for more emails INSIDE the game context. There obviously would be outside of it, but that would be between the players' instances of the peace proposal tool you describe.

To work correctly, the tool would have to create an output file of some kind that was "signed" (digitally accepted) by all of the players. Then, each player involved in the peace would import that file. The game would take the file's data that applies to this user and map those choices back into the fields in diplomacy. The game should also "lock" all of the settings included in the output of the tool, so the user can't sneak in changes other players didn't approve. Finally, diplo would complete and the choices would be managed as selected.

quote:

3. It may be helpful to allow an MP wanting to sue for peace to see what the pre-selected conditions are before confirming the action and committing to surrender? That provides an upfront negotiation opportunity of sorts.

In the case of having a tool, this one isn't needed. But, if the tool isn't implemented, this makes sense to a degree. However, one has to be careful. If not implemented perfectly, this could be used to find out whether opponents are intending to demand an unconditional, or to allow a conditional. That knowledge can be critical to know, and should not be given to the player unless there is a negotiation in place (which cannot be the case, by definition). So, this gets dicey.

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Post #: 8
RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/4/2009 5:33:23 PM   
Jimmer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ndrose

quote:

1. For simplicity it would be good to preselect all conditional and unconditional surrender settings with perhaps another checkbox or two added to the current system to provide more choices. This may not be ideal but should be sufficient in many (most?) cases. Marshall could probably make an enhancement along this line easier than adding additional steps and file exchanges.


I agree with this. A lot of if-then specificity can be taken care of with well-designed checkbox lists. The ones Marshall's already designed for call to allies and support minor nation are good models, I think. If you use them carefully, they allow you to make decisions with approximately the same precision you'd get by introducing extra steps. Right now, the peace settings are too blunt an instrument, as if you just had a "call allies" checkbox, and had to call all your allies or no allies in case of any DOW, instead of (as Marshall's system allows) the ability to say "call ally X if power Y declares on me".

Agreed. If Marshal can code it using if/then clauses, that would make it closer to EIA and at the same time detailed enough to give good choices. This would apply to the first of my proposals above.

The second (the tool) can be implemented completely independently of this. However, it would be good to know whether or not the second is "in the cards", because one might leave certain options open when redesigning the basic peace options as they exist now.

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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: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/4/2009 5:36:25 PM   
Jimmer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis

Holy COW! I'm not sure I will live long enough for this Jimmer LOL!





Actually, my bet is that we, through discussion in this thread, can come up with a model that's a lot easier to implement, or can be implemented in phases.

I'm somewhat hesitant to keep the two ideas in one thread. However, I put them together because it would be easy to implement one that later precludes the other. So, they are somewhat tied together.

See my lengthy reply to pzgndr for examples of how this "design brainstorm" thread might move things towards the "easier to code" end of the spectrum.

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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: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/4/2009 5:48:28 PM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

That knowledge can be critical to know, and should not be given to the player unless there is a negotiation in place (which cannot be the case, by definition). So, this gets dicey.


Agreed! Think of it as an initial emmissary, trying to find out what the terms are?

I find it odd in this game that you can find yourself at war with another MP and not know why. Simultaneously DOWing a minor neutral can get two MPs into an unexpected war with each other, but what really are the terms for getting out of it? There isn't a good mechanism for pre-negotiating an informal peace so perhaps conditions for that that could also be considered. For example, Prussia and France go after Hesse at the same time, and Prussia finds itself with Hesse and at war with France. If France's condition for informal peace is Hesse and Prussia could simply cede Hesse, that may be preferable to fighting an all-out war at that time. This may not be a great example but makes my point that conditions for informal peace could be added to the idea list.

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RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/4/2009 6:03:04 PM   
ndrose

 

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Here's a question for you old-time boardgamers, not directly related to the question at hand, but that would come up if Marshall put in place a negotiation code of some kind.

If a peace was negotiated with certain conditions agreed upon, and then after the surrender the victor demanded different, harsher conditions, would you have considered that a legal (but very nasty!) backstab? Or illegal? Did you have house rules about it?

I don't think I ever saw it come up--negotiated terms were always abided by in the cases I can remember. But I always assumed it would be legal to do otherwise. It would presumably provoke an adverse reaction from the other players, but I thought it might be something one would see done at the end of a game (if the end of a game were ever reached ), or possibly at other times by France. But since I never saw it attempted, I don't know what prevailing opinion would be.

If there is a negotiation code, should terms be enforced by the game, or backstabs allowed?

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RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/4/2009 10:05:27 PM   
Jimmer

 

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Pzgndr: I agree.

Ndrose: In our games it was binding. But, that was a house-rule.

Yes, I think the code should enforce agreed-upon negotiated peace agreements. In one of the posts above, I mention "greying out" the items that are part of the settlement data that came in the tool's output file. It is for exactly this purpose.

Our thinking was along the lines of "If it's not binding, why bother negotiating at all?"

Another, partly related note: Having negotiated peace sped games up considerably, because a lot higher percentage of game time was spent at peace. I think this was because even a conditional can be pretty hard on a country. So, without negotiated peace, players would "fight on" until their enemy (in their mind) DESERVED to get peace.

It's very similar to the concept that "hard civil disorder" rules caused players to surrender earlier. With the soft civil disorder rule, players could "stick it out to the bitter end", forcing a much longer conflict (which ended with the same conclusion).

In fact, it was the above correlation that caused us to first examine the idea of negotiated settlements. In the first game, our Turkey and Prussia both "stuck it out" until the final capital was taken (which just happened to be the same month). The next game, we decided we didn't want that happening again, and re-implemented the hard civil disorder rules. Wars ended MUCH sooner. And, with harsher conditions than otherwise would have been expected. We thought it far closer to historical (thinking especially of King Frederick the not-so-great watching in the rain while Nappy and the Tsar figured out what to do with him).

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RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/5/2009 1:36:56 AM   
gazfun


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis

Holy COW! I'm not sure I will live long enough for this Jimmer LOL!





Marshall do you mean live long enough to finish the code for this?
I just think I saw grey hair grow on my head just reading this

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RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/5/2009 3:05:18 PM   
Skanvak

 

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Actually, the peace negociation system formulti-player game does not bother me a lot, though pzrgndr suggestion of a tool is appealing. If you negociate everything in real diplomacy it is easy to implement it in the game diplomacy phase. Except in TCP/IP where a sub-phase is mandatory in my opinion (as I hope TCP/IP will not have check box) in PBEM I would not change it.

The real problem for me is the negociation with allied AI...

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RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/15/2009 11:16:26 PM   
StCyr

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis
Holy COW! I'm not sure I will live long enough for this Jimmer LOL!



Don´t worry- you might become 200 years old without any risk to get it right.

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RE: If you could redesign surrender, ... ? - 12/16/2009 12:56:42 PM   
Marshall Ellis


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quote:

ORIGINAL: StCyr


quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis
Holy COW! I'm not sure I will live long enough for this Jimmer LOL!



Don´t worry- you might become 200 years old without any risk to get it right.


Huh? It's a risk to get it right?
MERRY CHRISTMAS StCyr!

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Marshall Ellis
Outflank Strategy War Games



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Post #: 17
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