Guys, follow the link below to read an interesting article about the board game Diplomacy. It’s long, but if you are interested in games design and the origins of NP you should give this a read. I’ve always wanted NP to be “Diplomacy in Space”
Below are some of the best bits for those of you with short attention spans.
Players would get so angry because other players wouldn’t cooperate with them that they would take to shouting, browbeating, cursing, making insults. Often the anger was directed at players known as “alliance players,” or, more pejoratively, “care bears”: players who refuse to break alliances and will play only for draws. “People laugh at me, they call me a care bear,” said Thomas Haver, a scientist from Columbus, Ohio. “If you’re a strong alliance player and it’s hard to break your alliances up, they say you’re a care bear.” The game is designed for cooperation, he argues. Every power starts out completely equal; every piece moves exactly the same. “By its very nature you need to cooperate, coordinate with someone else.” Players like Brian Ecton disagree. “If you don’t play for the solo every time you sit down to play, you ain’t playing the game right.” The vast majority of the players I met at Dixiecon, American and European alike, agreed with Ecton. Alliances are meant to be broken. Draws are shameful. The only glory is in a solo victory, no matter how difficult it is or seldom it happens
“The nature of the game is not for everyone,” said Maletsky. “It’s emotionally brutal at times. In order to succeed you have to work with someone all game, then trick them and lie to them and send their score spiraling down from where they thought it was going to be. And all of those negative consequences come from working with you, and that’s not pleasant.” On this point, there is little disagreement. “Diplomacy is an incredibly uncomfortable game. Diplomacy is intense and uncomfortable and unsettling. There’s no two ways about it,” said Siobhan Nolen. “The game allows for absurdities in social interaction. You can do whatever you want and there are no consequences.” Thomas Haver agreed. “If it’s just, ‘Hey, it’s just a game, no hard feelings,’ then it allows them to get away with things that are considered taboo. When people play the game, you get to see their real personality. That’s when they take off the mask.”
And the best bit at the end.
He had never had a solo victory in a game before. He’d had opportunities, sure, but he turned them down in favor of keeping his word to his allies. I don’t want to hurt the other players just to get that win, he had always thought. Additionally, by always being a trustworthy ally who plays honorably, Haver had built up a reputation as someone who was good to work with in tournaments. “That’s why it was easy for people on my board to say, ‘He’s not going to stab his ally.’ “And that’s what allowed me to do it when I did.” When the moves were read, Brand was crestfallen. Haver stabbed his partner and took enough supply centers from him and the other players to secure 18 units and the elusive solo victory. It was worth 270 points, enough to win him the tournament and the world championship.