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Diplomacy» Forums » General

Subject: Neophyte II: Statistics, should I care? rss

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Robert Bracey
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Apparently if I'm playing Germany I am twice as likely to get a solo win as I am if I play Italy, but just as likely to get a draw.
Apparently if I'm Russia 30% of players play Mos-Ukr; War-Gal; StP-GoB; Sev-BLA on their first turn - which means 30% are likely to irritate both Turkey and Austria.
Do I care about any of this?
Somebody does, Steve Doubleday and Richard Sharp spent a lot of time collating these sorts of statistics, which seems to be the main source of information that floats around unreferenced on the internet. Interestingly very few of the online diplomacy sites collate much in the way of stats even though it could be automated relatively easily. So most players seem not to care.

In a sense I wonder what I am supposed to do with this sort of information if I do have it. I read an interesting article which (based on a small sample) showed the Germany was eliminated in every single game where it managed to grab Belgium-Holland and Denmark. I had a think about it, if I had a chance of grabbing all three centres in Fall '01 would I turn it down?
 
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Jasper
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Each game creates it's own dynamic, so in that respect, I have not found the statistics to be very instructive. However they can help to predict certain patterns or to interpret the strategic picture. If you know that a bounce in the black sea and a northern opening by Russia in spring 1901 usually means victory by Turkish / Russian alliance, that is usefull info. The risks is internalising these statistics which can close your mind to other possibilities.

The site www.dipbounced.com has a nice statistics page, according to which Germany has about 15% change to win (meaning solo or part of the draw) from a sample of over 3800 games with various press settings (including gunboat).
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Randall Bart
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RobertBr wrote:
Apparently ....
Do I care about any of this?

No
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Calavera Despierta
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As a player you really only ought to care about those stats only insofar as they communicate the groupthink or metagame you may be playing with (and potentially exploiting to your advantage). Even then it's relevant only you are in a game with players who are veterans and study this stuff. So, for example, if you know another player knows all of these stats, than why not bring them up in negotiations to give yourself leverage? "Hey, but as Italy I am less likely to win here, so what have I got to lose?" Or alternatively, why not exploit ingrained and patterned thinking to your advantage? "Hey if I am Turkey and Russia is likely to piss off both myself and Austria, why don't I explain that to Austria to encourage him to form a temporary alliance with me?" etc etc.

So in the end, it's STILL about how well you read the other players, and play THEM, rather than read the stats and strategy articles and play the game.
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Robert Bracey
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I suppose the responses are what I expected. They reflect the general impression of searching around the internet. When I could find statistics they seemed, if it was possible to trace them at all, to go back to old records of play by mail games.
Apparently in the 1970s and 1980s Diplomacy gamers cared a huge amount about statistics. Today, when those statistics would be far easier to gather (and could encompass much more of the game) no-one seems to be interested. So I tried to think what sort of statistics I might be interested in, what might actually help you when you were playing.
Clearly the opening strategy statistics are meaningless. 41% of German players play X opening moves. Duh! Where else are they going to play.
But if I'm Turkey don't I care how often Russian players stab you in the back if they play to the Black Sea?
As France I clearly care that only a minority of Italian players go to Piedmont. While its less than 10% I'll play to Spain, if it got to 50%+ I'd have to start poking to stop the move. In fact Austrian players who use the hedgehog are already expressing a crude statistical understanding... Austria is stabbed so frequently from Galicia and Venice that its worth poking both of them at the start of each game just to make sure.
But we're back to the problem that you play against people, and what I really want statistics on are people. And really I want something more precise than statistics - I want to know in individual circumstances when that particular player will stab me, which of those two alliances will give me the most centres. Perhaps you can't really express that through statistics, perhaps it can only be done on an individual one-on-one level. But I find it interesting that no-one seems to be trying.
 
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Brad Restivo
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Too many confounding variables for such numbers to be of use, even if they existed.
 
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Edward Rustin
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What would you like to know?

I've got around 5,000 games that I can prod and poke.
 
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