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Tournament Scoring - Part 7: The Mystery Scoring System

Introducing the Mystery Scoring System.  This is a name that reflects that the actual points scored isn't known until the tournament is over.

OK, enough.  Let's get to it.  Here's a breakdown of what the system looks like.

The Mystery scoring system The Mystery scoring system is based on DIAS games, where all survivors share in the draw.  (I have modified it to work with non-DIAS games.) In a draw, all players involved in the draw score 100 points.For games which are non-DIAS, players that survive but who are not part of the draw receive 10 points.Eliminated players receive 0 points.If a game ends in a solo, all other players receive 0 points.Solos are scored using the following process: Find the sum of all points scored in games which end in a draw.Divide this total by the number of games that ended in the draw - the average number of points awarded.Divide the average number of points above by the number of games that ended in a solo. Each player who won a solo victory will…

Tournament Scoring - Part 6: Summarising the Problem with Scoring Systems

Before I move on to look at my suggestion for a scoring system I want to summarise the problems with scoring systems that are out there already.  If we can work out what is wrong with them, we can use this to design a system that might address these problems.

When I first started playing on online I remember raising a question: Why are draws scored equally? Why isn't the number of supply centres you hold at the end of the game taken into account?

The answer that came back from a site mod was along the lines of the argument I use now.  At the end of a game of Diplomacy you have achieved one of three results: you've won, you've drawn, or you've lost.  If you've won, then you get all the points in the game.  If you've drawn, it doesn't matter what number of SCs you've finished the game on, the result is the same.  If you've lost... well.

At the time, that site used a game result system to score games:

12 points for a win6 points for a 2-way draw4 points…

Tournament Scoring - Part 5: Other Scoring Systems

There are, perhaps, three other types of scoring system: Placement or Rank scoring, hybrid systems that seek to combine DSS and SCS, and Tier scoring systems.  I want to have a look at each system.

Placement or Rank systems Essentially, these are Supply Centre Scoring systems with the addition of bonus points.  I'm going to have a look at some more regularly used systems.  Again, here is the map I will use as an example:
England - 12 SCsRussia - 9 SCsTurkey - 8 SCsItaly - 5 SCsFrance, Germanyand Austria-Hungarywere eliminated, with 0 SCs each.
C-Diplo In a drawn game points are awarded for: Participating in the game: 1 (for an online tournament, I'd only award this for participating and not surrendering).Each SC held at the end of the game: 1.The player that 'tops the board' (has the most SCs): 38 pts.The second placed player (second highest number of SCs): 14 pts.The third placed player: 7 pts. If players are tied for positions, find the average number of points: so, if t…

Tournament Scoring - Part 4: Supply Centre Scoring

The thing with tournaments is that a lot of games end in a draw.  This means that DSS systems aren't necessarily going to produce a great result because a lot of players could well finish on the same score.  An alternative to DSS is a Supply Centre Scoring (SCS) system.

I'm going to use the game above as an example to explain SCS systems.  (The game is from Playdiplomacy and so the colours are different from those I use for my maps.)  The game ended with the following outcome:

England - 12 SCsRussia - 9 SCsTurkey - 8 SCsItaly - 5 SCsFrance, Germanyand Austria-Hungarywere eliminated, with 0 SCs each.
Supply Centre Scoring systems are based on the number of SCs the players owned at the end of the game.  The basic pattern is: A solo results in all the points available.  No other player scores points.A draw will be scored using the number of SCs the players hold at the end of the game.  In the above game, on a pure SCS system, England would have 12 pts; Russia 9; Turkey 8; Italy 5; …

Tournament Scoring - Part 3: Draw Size Scoring (DSS)

If we're looking to score Diplomacy games based on the rules of the game, there are just three outcomes: a win, a draw, and a loss.  A scoring system based on these outcomes would therefore be based on whether the game was won, or whether it ended in a draw.  These systems are called Draw Size Scoring systems (DSS).

The basic model for DSS systems is:

The result is based on how the game ends only.If you win the game outright (solo), you take all the points in the game.If you are part of the draw at the end of the game, you receive the points avaialble in the game divided by the number of players in the draw.If you lose the game, you receive 0 (zero) points. The most basic version of this is the Calhamer Point system, designed by the great and good ABC himself.  If you soloed, you earned a point.  If you drew the game, you scored a number of points based on how many people you drew with.  So a 4-way draw would provide 0.25 points, a 5-way draw 0.20 points.
Other versions use the 100…

Tournament Scoring - Part 2: What should a good scoring system do?

As I mentioned in the first post in this series, if you're playing in a tournament, you're playing a variant of Diplomacy.  This must be kept in mind when we're evaluating scoring systems.  The games are already variants so having them scored just means the variant aspect is increased.

However, the scoring system should change the nature of the game as minimally as possible.  Ideally, even in the context of the variant you are playing - whether that variant is that the game is part of a tournament only, or whether it's being played online - the scoring system should try to meet the objectives of Diplomacy, not alter them.

Objectives of Diplomacy The objective of the game is to win.  This means owning 18 SCs.
If the game is unlikely to end in a solo victory, then the surviving players can end the game in a draw.  This means that players should be looking to survive in most cases, and certainly to be in a position to be part of the draw. Draws Include Nominated Survivors (…

Tournament Scoring - Part 1: Tournament Games are Variants

Tournaments have come to be a big part of Diplomacy, whether face-to-face or online.  If you're running a tournament you need to be able to find a winner, and so a scoring system has to be introduced.  In this series of posts I'm going to look at different types of scoring systems and discuss the pros and cons of each one.  And I'll end the series by discussing my own, as yet, prototype system.

The first thing to be aware of is that a scoring system will change the way people play the game.  It has to do.  If you're playing and you need to do well then you need to play to the system.  This means that the way the system affects the way Diplomacy is played.

Tournament games are already a variant of Dip.  Ideally, they wouldn't be.  Players would be able to play number of games and play them as they would any other game.  In FTF play, you'd expect the game to run until they're finished or time runs out.  Online, there should be plenty of time to finish the g…

The Ethics of Diplomacy - Part 9: Mind Games

I've separated this from gamesmanship because it is something different.  However, mind games have the same impact on the Dip community as gamesmanship, for very similar reasons.

Mind games are anything that you can do to get under the skin of another player.  They can be irritants, impoliteness or meant to simply build paranoia.

Silence Sending messages and getting no response is frustrating.  I know - I send a lot of messages and find it annoying if I'm getting nothing back from someone with whom I'm supposed to be working.
Now, what happens when that silence is deliberate?  When someone decides that they're not going to answer messages, or keep their answers to a minimum?  Why would they do that?
Well, it is usually to cause some disruption in your thinking.  If you're concerned that she isn't messaging back, you're going to be concerned about what your plans were going to be.
I know at least one player who hates this, not because of how it makes him appr…

The Ethics of Diplomacy - Part 8: Gamesmanship

This is a sticky one, frankly.  If you want to win a game of Diplomacy what isn't allowed?  Some of the stuff that isn't allowed should be obvious and I've discussed much of it in previous posts in this series.  That leaves things that you can do to win that are questionable and, in the final analysis, come down to personal choice.

How far are you prepared to go to win at Diplomacy?  That is probably what defines whether you think something is "gamesmanship" or not, and whether you think it is acceptable.

Slow Play Some players in the online game are what I call Pussycats.  They want to play as quickly as possible and they want to move the game on.  Some will hassle through Public Press.  "Has everyone finalised yet?" "Who hasn't finalised?" "Come on - FINALISE!!!"
Now this, itself, is something that becomes annoying.  If you join a game with certain deadlines, you need to expect to play to those deadlines.  If you don't like …

The Ethics of Diplomacy - Part 7: Tournaments and Teamplay

Teamplay during an online game is likely to be banned under metagaming rules.  It's clearly unfair if a couple of players enter a game to play together, supporting each other and attacking others, when everyone else in the game is playing as an individual.  Well, I say clearly but that isn't always the case; some people just don't think there's anything wrong with it.
However, it is also something that can arise in FTF tournaments and it has often been banned, for obvious reason... again, I'd say obvious reasons.
It is (or was) common for a tournament or convention to combine individual competitions with team competitions.  A local club or organisation might have a number of players attend, therefore, and this is often true when there wasn't a team competition, simply because it's nice to go with your mates.
It didn't take long for teamplay to be outlawed.  What was happening was that players from the same club would help each other out in games.  It wa…