Play to win in the bigger picture.
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Matty wrote:
Lately, a lot of players try to make a kill while they only have a small* chance of success.
As a result the next player (not always the 'winning' player) has an easy kill, and the game is ruined.
When the 'winning' player complains about it, the move is defended with: "I have to play to win, and this was my only chance."
Sometimes, they don't just defend it, but even promote it as the way everyone should play!
I am going to argue here why you shouldn't make these moves, how you are not playing to win, even if this is your only chance to win.
But first, lets talk about the prisoners dilemma.

In short the prisoners dilemma is this:
Two prisoners play a game in which a million dollar can be won.
They both get the choice: share or steal.
If both players choose share, they both get half a million dollar.
If both players choose steal, they both get nothing.
If one player steals, and the other shares, the one that steals gets everything.

The theory:
There are two cases, your opponent steals, or your opponent shares:
  • If your opponent steals, you get nothing anyway, so you can just as well steal, at least he won't get anything either.
  • If your opponent shares, you can get half a million if you share, but everything if you steal.
So clearly, play to win means choosing steal.

Now in practise:
  • Two thugs that are very smart play this game, and they play to win: they both steal and as a result they both got nothing.
  • Two other thugs that have been very good friends for years now both choose to share, and hey, they both got half a million dollar all of a sudden.
You tell me who play best here: the ones that get nothing, or the ones that have half a million.

There is more to Risk than just this, but you see kind of the same thing happening.
If we all decide to go for a low chance kill if we think it's our only chance because someone else can win easily (say, 80% chance), than it means that when we finally are in that nice 80% win situation, someone else will go for the low chance kill, and very likely ruin our win.
So if someone else has an 80% chance to win, and your best shot really is that one 30% run to just try, than please, choose to be sportive about it and let him win the game. He played well to get into that 80% position, so grant him his win, instead of desperately trying to save yourself a win in the short term - because now you know that will also give you a loss in the long term.
This however is risk, not the prisoners dilemma, and one thing about risk is that it's hard to predict. I've seen the best players screw up a good win chance by making some wrong choices, shut their main army in, forget that one territory in the top corner, having bad dice in a critical sitation somewhere, etc...
This means that even if you think that this will be your only chance, you might just as well get another.

* Note: A small chance here means something like less than 30% chance to win - however, if you have less than 60% (or even 70%) chance to kill someone, you usually should wait a bit longer too.
Also, if you're not into math like I am, it means attacking with less troops than your target.

"Strength doesn't lie in numbers, strength doesn't lie in wealth. Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers." ~Maria
Vexer wrote:
Very nicely done Matty. I'm so glad that you wrote this post. Now I don't have to and you did a better job than I would have done.

You've made it very clear that the full meaning of playing to win has to include the bigger picture. Let's convince these players who are making these silly low probability moves that they are only hurting themselves in the long run because they are teaching new players to ruin future games where they might be the one who has the 80% chance of winning.

In addition, when you make these low probability moves and upset players you make enemies that will target you in future games. They will try to take you out of the game before you have a chance to ruin it.

The_Bishop wrote:
Thanks Matty, you have brilliantly solved the play-to-win paradox!
I mean those cases when the theoretically best move to win is a move with very high chances to ruin the game. Practically is better never do that.

Looking at your examples about 30% of chance I feel like you are minimizing the problem. I saw many here trying shots with 1% of chance and when you ask them "why?" they answer "that was the only move I could do because someone could kill me". Those are very wrong moves! That is not play to win, that is play to ruin! I mean, you wouldn't have been killed Surely, you probably had 5% chance to survive. Why try a desperate shot like that and ruin the game when it is more worth for you to just reinforce and wait for the next round? Also hoping for someone other doing a mistake, this happening often.

How people have begun to play so bad?? I guess the answer is that if one knows his opponents are "desperate players" and they will try shots with 30% of chance so ruining the game, then that player will be pushed to act before them tring a shot with even 5% of chance... Result: every game is ruined.

NEVER EVER RUIN A GAME!! If your opponents are desperate don't be more desperate than them. Simply avoid to play them again. We have an amazing useful tool for that: password protected games. Use it! At some point desperate players won't be able to join any games anymore.
«God doesn't play dice with the World» ~ Albert Einstein
The_Bishop is online.
bluebird005vis wrote:
I think you are missing the larger problem.
Why have gametypes where 1 chance, 1 lucky diceroll can decide the whole game?
In all the variations of risk there is not 1 instance where 1 chance to attack determines the whole outcome.
The problem is not that players react in this "I have only 1 shot and I'm gonna take it even if I have a really small chance of actually winning" manner but the fact that you made a game that allmost allways turns on 1 lucky diceroll.
The problem is you made gametypes where luck plays too big a roll in the eventual outcome.
Case in point:
Of course I refuted thaithai's comments because of the off-chance a player decided to sacrifice himself and got the diceroll of the century and I somehow lost.
If 1 bad diceroll or 1 newbie that doesn't know what he's doing is enough to effectively end the game in the 2nd round then I don't think it a surprise that players go for the longshot, in fact it's the only logical response.
As for the whole 80% chance to win then you deserve because you did the right thing to get to that 80% etc etc that matty was saying.
Well I completely disagree.
How is this playing to win? Is the objective of the game to defeat all the other players or is the objective to have the higgest % chance of winning?

The increassing games have a high percentage of games that turn on a badly timed gamble or a lucky diceroll.
The capitals games are even worse and are just a plain and simple lottery, the player who comes after the 1st idiot to attack or the 1st player to have a really bad diceroll attacking a capital usually wins.
The average number of turns in a capitals games is what? 6 turns would be my guess.
How much tactics do you think come into play with a 6 turn game?
In fact in capitals games your starting position and the order of play(do I have a newbie who takes his or her turn before me, oh good I've practically won allready)are a lot important than any "tactical" play by any of the players.

You bishop complained a few days ago when I took a gamble in an increasing game but lets say for arguments sake that every player decides to follow matty's suggestion.
Well than you really defeat the purposse of the game, it's called RISK for a reason, it's not called the law of averages or a calculus.
It's a game based on the rolling of dice, in other words pure luck.
If a player makes a RISKy gamble and it pays off I never read 1 comment about what a small % he or she had of winning and everybody reacts like that player's a genius if the gamble fails some players call for public executions and stakeburnings.
If all players started to make their decisions with a probability callculator ( as some players clearly do ) then it will become utterly boring and predictable.
If I had a euro or dollar for everytime I read a player who's unlucky diceroll decided the game argue that he "had a 78% chance of getting a 2 times 3card turn in" so he HAD to take the chance, I would be rich.
IF you follow matty "logic" no one will ever have a surprise win, you won't get any big comeback wins and we will all be playing angry birds because the domianting 12 will have become the snorring 12.

The problem is in the design of these games and the overall reaction shows the flaws of the design, not the flaws of the players.
The_Bishop wrote:
I don't agree with you Bird. It is not pure luck as you say. A good strategy is very necessary if you want to win increasing games. But when everybody do dumb moves or try desperate gambles then the games are only based on luck of course. I don't want that, I want the 12 dominating to be the best strategists of this site, not the most lucky. Probably you are not so expert on increasing games because you know more the European Risk.

For your information "increasing turn-in values" is just the most common and most traditional variation. Since the first French edition in 1957 and then the first American one in 1959 with some rule arrangements. Secret mission Risk with uneven fixed turn-in values was born in 1970, once again in France. That's nice but I don't like it so much really, it's for me too much based on diplomacy and allies.

I like the old traditional American Risk. Just the best game ever in human history. The only weak point is how it's easy to be ruined with improper moves. And this is the reason why I want to sensitize people on this subject. So please, let me state once again:

«God doesn't play dice with the World» ~ Albert Einstein
The_Bishop is online.
Thorpe wrote:
The problem is in the design of these games and the overall reaction shows the flaws of the design, not the flaws of the players.

The funning thing is to hear the reason why we need to change the design of the game, in why players do not want the design to change.

So we will change the the players will change to it...simple. What I have been saying since we changed the card rule design back in Sept. of 2012.
The new trade-in might affect how members will play. The games might be based on luck more than strategy.

thaithai told me it was better to stay and not attack than to attack and ruin the game for the other players.

I have been in games that I knew I had lost and did not ruin the game by doing a hail-mary and hope to get that trade-in for the win...if I knew I had a 30% chance to get them then I did not attack, period.
95.5% of the time you kill a players cap before your 2nd turn in... you fail or die next
bluebird005vis wrote:
I did not claim the whole game was pure luck I said the dice part is pure luck.
There is no skill in throwing dice ( certainly not virtual ones ) and that means since the whole games is based on dicerolls that you can not elliminate the luckpart from this game but if you make a game design where 1 lucky action determines the whole outcome you have to be realistic and don't be surprissed if people " go " for their 1 shot at winning.
The initial placement on the map and the order of play are also purely based on luck so again gametypes where this has a big effect rely less on a players choice and more on how lucky they are to determine who wins.
Matty and bishop's mentallity does not go well with the game itself.
It's a game of war and conquest and thereby played by competitively minded people.
Those are not the people who are going to sit back and let someone else win because risking ruining the game would be bad.
If you really want to attract people with that kind of mindset I would recommend you change the name of the site from DOMINATING to BUDDHA's little helpers.
I think it's unrealistic to expect all players to be aware of how the game "should" be played and to refrain from going for the low % attack in a capitals or increasing game.
Simply the fact that quite a few childeren play in this site makes that virtually impossible.
Your whole " don't ruin the game " mentality is really a hail mary but I'm afraid your prayers won't be answered.
I also find it funny that certain players that are know for exploiting newbie's lack of experience via the chat function ( in other words, players who manipulate other players into attacking not the dominant player but the weaker ones )have no problem with using others "ignorance" in normal games but complain about those same players when their ignorance ruins an increasing or capitals game.
What else did you expect?
And frankly when you get "bad advise or selfserving advise" from the top players as a newbie in normal games, is it really a surprise those same players then ignore even the most blantantly obvious common sense advise in other types of games?
In the end you reap what you sow and when I see what some players try to get away with in the chat I'm not surprissed that good advise fall's on deaf ears.
I only play capital games where there is quite a high minimum points entry because it is unrealistic to expect every player to know what they are doing.
The whole "password protected" option leads to an elitist mentallity that I don't think benefits the site in the long run.
There are claims that there are no "clans" on this site but if you look at the players who invite each other in password protected games you start to see the same names repeated over and over again.
Quite often you see seasoned players put up a disclaimer in the chat to warn everyone that if your capital is defeated they lose the game.
If everyone knew this people would not feel the need to do this.
But clearly there are enough players that don't realise this to ruin a high number of games this way.
I think it would be interresting to see some statistics on capital games, I think you find a strong correlation between the 1st lucky diceroll attack and the eventual winner ( in other words, the 1st player to get an above average dice-roll attack on a capital has about 90% of winning the whole game ).
In an increassing game the order of play and startposition has an enormous influence.
Again I would like to see the statistics but I guess the players that go 1st and last have the least chance of winning in an increasing game.
There is an inherent inballance in certain types of games that you wish you could counter by implementing a sort of "gentlemans agreement" or the honor code but this is the internet.
Most people on here have slightly better manners than a monkey and since they are annonymous it's half a miracle when they don't behave as trolls let alone that the majority would ever aspire to the kind of altruistic standard you are dreaming of.
Matty wrote:
Here some remarks at bluebirds post:

1st, this topic is not about whether or not the game involves luck, nor whether or not it is possible to ruin the game with one move (both are simple facts).
The only thing this topic tries to do is argue why making a suicide move is not 'playing to win', even though it seems so if you think only shortly.

2nd, I named a couple of percentages, because I personally play 'with a calculator' (I'm a mathematician, sorry). However, you can replace all low percentages with "attacking with way less troops than the one you try to kill" and high percentages with "way more troops than the one you try to kill", and the whole argument still holds.

3rd, yes, it is unrealistic to expect that all players are aware of how to play, that's exactly why these topics in strategy tips are made - to help them to become better.

4th, you are not helping at all. You blame a lot of things (noobs, dice, calculators, the game, capitals, children, etc), but don't say anything on how to improve things.
"Strength doesn't lie in numbers, strength doesn't lie in wealth. Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers." ~Maria
aeronautic wrote:
Perhaps a training map would help solve the problems for the high rankers that want a higher level of play from all at D12. A Map where experienced players can join games with players that want to better themselves and no points are gained or lost!
I found myself giving points away to train people 1 v 1 where I could have taken their points so easily! I was happy to do it just to show them where they were going wrong with strategy and moves.

One thing to point out to everyone at D12 is that there is a possibility of becoming the DOMINATOR if you find yourself in the top 12 (ranks or points?).... something I only found out just before I announced my retirement here! I always wondered why the choice of name for this particular Risk game LOL.
Perhaps this might encourage players to become good players and strive toward something. Just before my tumble downward, I was (in rank & skill) 6th and about to move into the top 3 or 4 (about 40 points short of Lieutenant Colonel), now the top is dominated by very high ranks and even Major is nothing to write home about!
This explains an awful lot to me, such as why climbing the ranks meant so much for certain players, who would use any means available and win at any cost!! So even this isn't a good thing to offer as encouragement to get good, as it seems to have encouraged the "Get Rich Quick" mentallity, without the foundation or self acquired experience needed to actually become a Dominator!
However, I still think this should be stated somewhere on the playing screens as encouragement! It should be made known though that you have to be good at Conventional Deathmatch Risk, not Same Time play or Capitals as building your rank on these games won't set you in good stead for the D12 contest!!

I got good at risk about 25 years ago in my early 20's and never played again until I came here (after trying 1 or 2 other sites) and found I not only had to learn again, but now had to play real people with whom I have no way of negotiating or reasoning with, due to the 'hiding behind their computer screen' mentality, where little "urks" can treat you how they like! A big downside of modern online society! The real world demands a certain amount of respect due to consequences of your actions! If I walk down the street and a guy spits in my face, he knows that I will punch him in the nose, so he would have to think seriously about the consequence of his actions!
Spoiler (click to show)

In real life risk games, my family and friends dare not deliberately ruin a game or team up on me when I wasn't dominating the game, due to cosequences. My favourite was to pick up the board and give them a 200 piece pick up game from the floor! Consequences! Everybody soon learned to play fair and with an element of social behaviour. Unfortunately, 'online anything' brings out the sub-human instincts in people and holds no consequences for your actions, apart from a ban, but you just sign up again from a different email etc etc. Pointless against nasty little urks!

There must be a way that someone has control of the holding of the virtual board and can fling it in the air rendering the game void whilst issuing a stark warning, when sub-human behaviour starts occurring??

So, ruining games, I hate it! I have been in a guaranteed losing position so many times and have opted not to attack and guess what? The games sometimes comes to you when they mess it up or get really bad dice. However, there are situations when down to a couple of players where if you sit, you die without fail and if you attack, even against the odds, you have a chance, albeit a small one, but a chance nonetheless!

It's when someone ruins a game in Capitals that really bugs me and this only means someone that attacks when the opportunity and reward from the attack will leave them weaker than when they started and definitely not win the game, as they not only break anothers Cap to virtually nothing in their crazy, against all odds & unnecessary attack, but leave theirs empty in the meantime, rendering 2 easy Caps for the next player! This sort of play occurs a lot more often than I think the staff are aware. This is where a training Map would be a marvelous tool!
If a player refused to carry out and complete any training upon request, they will not carry the badge of trust (a special mark) and won't get invited to games, plus they would be disallowed from joining games that use the option of trained players only (another idea for the options).
I, when still playing, personally didn't mind who or what rank played in my games and welcomed new players offering advice when ever required. I had earlier, tried password games and they hardly ever start. I have tried putting minimum points on games and even high rank players amaze me with crazy moves that hold no reward.

In a Deathmatch, I recently tried to explain to Dracarys (2nd Lieutenant) why having 1 card in his pocket and going for my 2 cards to MAKE A SET, was a bad move and I got told to "Stop Crying" and a whole bunch of slander to follow, but the move should have been, stop and fortify not carry on and pray. His reasoning was that he checked if anyone had turned in a wild card and logic told him I had one. LMFAO. Game was lost for me and it took all his troops to kill me and left him a small cluster of 1's for his 3 CARDS to be taken!!
That pretty much made my mind up for me to leave! (only here to finish tourney and long term games as I am not a spoiler)
So to conclude, I meet more sub-humans than humans these days... no consequences! Give us a Training Map and a Trained Status with a Trained Players Only option (partial human element) and I would start playing again in an instant!
Hyd yn oed er fy mod Cymraeg , dim ond yn siarad Saesneg, felly yr wyf yn gobeithio y bydd y cyfieithu yn gywir.
Vexer wrote:
Your last paragraph perfectly illustrates why we are going back to the old card rule where you have to have 5 cards to turn in after a kill.
bluebird005vis wrote:
I think the old card rule will help because it will lead to less " runaway wins" where 1 attack settles the game.
This will make it less attractive to take huge gambles because the rewards are less and the potenial losses are bigger when it goes wrong.

Matty, my comments where not intented as an attack merely honest scepticisme concerning the actual implementation of your ideas.
I agree they would work in theory but the whole point of the "luck-factor" in these kind of games makes it very attractive for a lot of people to just go for it.
There are a lot of casual gamers on here that just come for a quick game or 2 every now and then and believe me they could not care less about rules, ruining games or attaining and maintaining a certain rank.

You say I have not ideas to improve the situation, well I do.
If you want to make sure every player know how to play all the different gametypes I would make it so that new players can not join a regular game unitl they have completed a walktrough.
Many PC games work this way and I think this would be the only way to insure every player knows how to play.
This would also mean that you would have a certain % of new players that would not want to bother to learn before they play but you have to ask: do we really want players here who can't be bothered to learn via a walktrough?
It would however take quite a bit of programming to make such a walktrough or a demo with computer AI opponents.

As for ruined games, I think there is a lot of room for improvement in the "suiciders" department of the game.
To many players that suicide get away without any penalty at all.
This only incourages other players to take big risks because the longer a game lasts the bigger the chance a player will go kaboom for some reason, better gamble and finnish it fast.
If it where up to me anyone caught suiciding would lose half their ranking points.
A stalemate countdownclock would also help in this instance because you would avoid games that go for weeks without any action where players get so fed up the suddenly go for broke.

Cireon wrote:
Seriously, can we stop discussing this here. This is not what this thread is meant for. The card rule will be reverted soon enough and we will see where we go from there.
“This is how humans are: We question all our beliefs, except for the ones that we really believe in, and those we never think to question.”
- Speaker for the Dead, O.S. Card
Vexer wrote:
This thread is about convincing players to not make very low probability moves because they think it's their only chance to win. Any rule that can be modified or implemented to reduce this behavior, in my mind, has a place in this thread.
aeronautic wrote:
Don't be desperate!

The sentence says it all! It is desperation that perhaps causes so many problems with 'ruined games'! There can only be 1 winner and nobody wants to sit motionless for 3 or 4 hours, planning their strategy, watching your opponents & working out what you think they might do next only to have a desperate attack on a player ruin it for all bar one!
This is a topic that has popped up in so many different threads and obviously needs more thought and ideas to combat it.
Desperation can be caused by so many factors, leaving alone the frantic players who are desperate to get this one lost so they can move on to the next one.
As already mentioned by others, the start position and turn order can place a player in a desperate situation right from 'the off', making them irritable and restless throughout the game, like a cocked weapon with a hair trigger... poised to go off any second!
"Why has fate dealt me this hand and highly favoured others?"
Lack of knowledge and foresight also causes an ill-placed feeling of desperation which covers the above statement and many other scenarios.
What ever todays cause (excuse), Desperation is a bad feeling to have in Risk as it makes people do things they wouldn't normally do when not feeling backed into a corner.

Training on this would help... LOL for a second, show them how to do an 'aeronautic' and win a game from 1 single remaining troop against 5 remaining strong trooped players! There is always hope when you think there is none!

Desperation is usually caused by something out of your control... Did you do anything to be placed in this situation?
Is there a right or wrong way to play, who is to say what this is? Who is playing the right way?
Hardly ever the winner, but they won so they must have been!?

Here are some of the right ways which can also be the wrong ways!:

a) Mathematically.... maybe, but when you attack a Cap (directly) with 34 against 16 (as I have done) and they still have 5 left when you have 1 (a 3 to 1 loss rate), the maths said you couldn't fail by that much unless you hit lottery odds? The dice generator threw your mathematics out the window! Was this a suicide move? Not in a million years and who wouldn't keep going all the way after everything you had and should still have is gone?
b) Strategically (conservatively).... maybe, just attack easy targets, don't keep attacking more, fortify and stay strong every turn, collecting cards until your timing is right and blam! Take the world! Only problem is, you got caught with 4 useless cards and have to take 5 just at the point when player 1 turns in and there are 4 more before you turning in, giving the player before you enough troops to take you out, get your cards and win or blow the game, whatever, but card luck and turn position threw your strategic play out of the window!
c) Aggressive.... maybe, but this will normally just lose you the game as aggression requires attacks on risky targets and many more than the conservative play and so is only really a good option for 1v1 games. Also 9 games out of 10 you will encounter a dice massacre on your troops in this method.

I could go on for days about types of play and possible outcomes / unforeseen occurrences putting pay to your choice of play, but that is Risk, some you win, some you lose. Dice are #1, Position is #2, Strategy is #3, Diplomacy is #4 and Luck is #349 (a long way 5th)!

However, deliberate, despicable & cheating attackers are the scourge of all Risk games and these should not only be dealt with severely, but there needs to be a way to eliminate the need or desire for such acts in a GAME! There needs to be some 'outside the box' thought on this! There is usually a simple solution that everybody misses!

I have already covered bad play previously, so staying away from that part of the subject... (Training Requirement).
Hyd yn oed er fy mod Cymraeg , dim ond yn siarad Saesneg, felly yr wyf yn gobeithio y bydd y cyfieithu yn gywir.