Bilateral Games (Germany vs Italy & France vs Austria)

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Norman Conquest
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Bilateral Games (Germany vs Italy & France vs Austria)

#1 Post by Norman Conquest » Sun May 19, 2019 2:30 pm

I want to bring up my view of two main deficiencies that I have found in the bilateral games (France vs. Austria and Germany vs. Italy). I usually like such games.

1. I find these two to be unbalanced. In my view, the Germanophone countries have an inherent advantage in access to neutral centers; and the Romantic countries have a corresponding disadvantage. That was my view when I first saw the matches; and that is my view after playing each a few times.

2. The victory conditions (18 centers) are wrong, and end the game prematurely, while there is still a lot of potential in the losing side. The Diplomacy rules state that, where two players are playing, the victory condition is 24 centers, not 18. This would be much better.

Better matches would be Germany and Austria, and England and Turkey; possibly also England and Italy. Try setting up matches where the antagonists each have two countries, or three. Pairs of countries also make good, balanced antagonists: England and Austria vs. Germany and Turkey vs. France and Russia. Consider also leaving all of the other units in place but static (unplayed). Also, give Youngstown 12 a try. I have played it many times, and found it to be great. I even won once as Natal (starts with only two centers, fewer than any other power (three start with six). Thank you.

CptMike
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Re: Bilateral Games (Germany vs Italy & France vs Austria)

#2 Post by CptMike » Sun May 19, 2019 2:50 pm

Austria (Germany) are advantaged vs France (Italy).

Austria and Germany have some "rushes" strategies that afford them to win in making a "touchdown" at 18 centers whereas they would clearly lose this advantage a few turns later.

An easy solution could be to set the victory conditions at 20.

More is useless but also dangerous because each player could stalemate their positions around an 16 centers positions. And it may make games much longer.
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Re: Bilateral Games (Germany vs Italy & France vs Austria)

#3 Post by Squigs44 » Sun May 19, 2019 6:02 pm

Norman Conquest wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:30 pm
I want to bring up my view of two main deficiencies that I have found in the bilateral games (France vs. Austria and Germany vs. Italy). I usually like such games.

1. I find these two to be unbalanced. In my view, the Germanophone countries have an inherent advantage in access to neutral centers; and the Romantic countries have a corresponding disadvantage. That was my view when I first saw the matches; and that is my view after playing each a few times.

2. The victory conditions (18 centers) are wrong, and end the game prematurely, while there is still a lot of potential in the losing side. The Diplomacy rules state that, where two players are playing, the victory condition is 24 centers, not 18. This would be much better.

Better matches would be Germany and Austria, and England and Turkey; possibly also England and Italy. Try setting up matches where the antagonists each have two countries, or three. Pairs of countries also make good, balanced antagonists: England and Austria vs. Germany and Turkey vs. France and Russia. Consider also leaving all of the other units in place but static (unplayed). Also, give Youngstown 12 a try. I have played it many times, and found it to be great. I even won once as Natal (starts with only two centers, fewer than any other power (three start with six). Thank you.
All of the options you have suggested are available on vdiplomacy. You can set alternate SC win conditions, play England vs Turkey, etc. Porting over variants from vdiplomacy happens from time to time, but at this time your best bet is to create games on vdiplomacy if you want these options.
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mhsmith0
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Re: Bilateral Games (Germany vs Italy & France vs Austria)

#4 Post by mhsmith0 » Sun May 19, 2019 6:13 pm

CptMike wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:50 pm
Austria (Germany) are advantaged vs France (Italy).

Austria and Germany have some "rushes" strategies that afford them to win in making a "touchdown" at 18 centers whereas they would clearly lose this advantage a few turns later.

An easy solution could be to set the victory conditions at 20.

More is useless but also dangerous because each player could stalemate their positions around an 16 centers positions. And it may make games much longer.
OTOH, part of the balancing is that in tourney settings, a draw goes to the disadvantaged power (France/Italy). It's trivially easy for France to prevent Austria from ever reaching 20 if that's the condition at work (all you have to do is hold off contesting Scandinavia until like 1904 and you can very easily hold onto Germany, and if Austria DOES try a northern rush, you can probably seriously threaten Warsaw, Tunis, etc).

I think something like "you have to take and HOLD [or at least a year or 2] 18 centers" is a bit easier to adjudicate; even if, for instance, STP would EVENTUALLY fall, if Austria can hold it for a while (and he should be able to do THAT), then that ought to be enough for the win. imo anyway
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Squigs44
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Re: Bilateral Games (Germany vs Italy & France vs Austria)

#5 Post by Squigs44 » Sun May 19, 2019 11:32 pm

Interesting Note: vdip keeps statistics for each of its variants and calculates scores for each country to represent balance. Here are the stats for the various 1v1 setups they have:
FvA: F(6.45) v A(8.91)
GvI: G(9.49) v I(5.94)
EvT: E(8.40) v T(6.73) - Most Balanced of 1v1s
GvR: G(4.25) v R(11.03)

And for multiple countries:
FGA: F(4.73) G(3.34) A(7.94)
FG v RT: FG(9.03) v RT(6.4)
IER: I(5.82) E(5.45) R(4.59) - Very well balanced
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Hmm.
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Re: Bilateral Games (Germany vs Italy & France vs Austria)

#6 Post by Hmm. » Mon May 20, 2019 3:06 am

Squigs44 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 11:32 pm
Interesting Note: vdip keeps statistics for each of its variants and calculates scores for each country to represent balance. Here are the stats for the various 1v1 setups they have:
FvA: F(6.45) v A(8.91)
GvI: G(9.49) v I(5.94)
EvT: E(8.40) v T(6.73) - Most Balanced of 1v1s
GvR: G(4.25) v R(11.03)

And for multiple countries:
FGA: F(4.73) G(3.34) A(7.94)
FG v RT: FG(9.03) v RT(6.4)
IER: I(5.82) E(5.45) R(4.59) - Very well balanced
Dang, that makes most 1 v 1’s seem pretty unbalanced...

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Re: Bilateral Games (Germany vs Italy & France vs Austria)

#7 Post by jmo1121109 » Mon May 20, 2019 3:36 am

I swear if those bone kids keep making more accounts here I'm just going to go ban them all on vDip too.

90kicvesb
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Re: Bilateral Games (Germany vs Italy & France vs Austria)

#8 Post by 90kicvesb » Mon May 20, 2019 11:24 pm

Disclaimer - I'm only an intermediate 1v1 player.

In my opinion, it's easier for a new player to go very wrong in the opening when playing as Italy in GvI. Germany's best openings are more intuitive (no need to consider convoys) and suboptimal openings are less detrimental (rarely a 1901 build disadvantage). Therefore, I suspect the German statistical advantage is skewed by low level games and balance is less out of whack at higher level play.

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