I, as I am sure most of you, keep playing Diplomacy with the same people, as with most of my games as well. This has enabled me to come up with a solution to the age old "who get's what country" conundrum. Between the 8 players I currently have of his game, we have set up a ranking ladder. Those who have the lowest rank get first choice of which empire to play as.
How is this ranking system devised.
For each game the player gets one point for each enemy who was defeated before them. So a winner of a 7 player game gets 6 points, a runner up of a 5 player game gets 3 points.
At first I thought I should give a ranking according to Points over games played. But this distorted the rankings too much in favour of a new player, who had come second in our seven player game. This frustrated me and a friend, who had won 2 games (i had won one).
So someone else proposed a system where games played were not taken into consideration, and total points were the only determinant of rank. I thought this was unfair to people who were not available often, as it would not be a fair indication of their actual skill.
Both systems were flawed, so I used the eternal solution. Mix the two together! So know I work out both, and add them up. So far it proves pretty fair, and whenever we play, the players at the bottom get 1st choice.