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Three Moves Ahead Episode 12 – Diplomacy and Catching Up

May 12th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 5 Comments · Podcast, Three Moves Ahead


So what happens when an emergency derails a scheduled topic for a podcast? People scramble, that’s what. Listen as Troy, Tom and Julian spend half the podcast debating and discussing how diplomacy is best represented in strategy games, and the other half catching up with topics previously covered, with shoutouts to a Flash of Steel commenter, a Qt3 poster and Julian’s daughter. Also, bonus references to 17th century English philosophers, JRPGs and the time Tom sulked because he was a poor loser.

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Troy’s Crispy Gamer article on games and foreign policy
Dokapon Kingdom at Qt3
Free Realms
Dawn of War II patch notes


5 Comments so far ↓

  • Rythe

    Quite welcome for Immortal Defense. It’s a little gem a stumbled upon through Rock, Paper, Shotgun if I remember right. Or was it Man!festo Games…? Hmmm… Yep, can’t remember.

    I’ve enjoyed this podcast through all twelve installments – actually it’s the only podcast I listen to. Keeps me interested or amused or both. It has made me realize that I stand firmly on the tactical side of things these days while many of you enjoy the broader, strategic strokes more – at least is my perception. Original X-COM: UFO Defense and Total Annihilation: Core Contingency if you want an idea of strategy games I go for. Still have fond memories of Magic: The Gathering at that.

    Speaking of the possible, upcoming Multiplayer discussion, I thought of a question that the group may enjoy mulling over. What would it take to make a successful (as apposed to ‘fun’), *persistent* Strategy MMO? I’ve played a couple, but the mainstream RTS MMO I recall and never played died fairly quickly if memory serves. Otherwise, there has been no mainstream successes that I’m aware of. Caveats are no hard instancing and no cop-outs where a player is nothing more than a nebulous spreadsheet of numbers. Must have real territory.

    A small sampling of my thoughts on the matter:

    -Easiest in space.
    -An active, external force beyond the players would likely be necessary.
    -The game must avoid the contingency where the playing field becomes one huge alliance that swallows everything up like a certain MMORPG I forget the name of.
    -A player must be able to lose many battles and still be able to participate in a meaningful way.

  • M.S. Smith

    If any of you have Supreme Commander, then you should check out the Phantom-N mod.

    This is how it works: a few minutes into the game, the players are split up into groups. A third of the players become Phantoms, who get resource bonuses. The other players are Innocents, who play as normal. The players are told if they’re a Phantom or an Innocent, but they don’t know if the other players are Phantoms or Innocents.

    A Phantom can only win if they’re the last player alive. The Innocents win if all Phantoms are eliminated, even if the remaining Innocents are at war.

    What results is a great game of diplomacy as players negotiate and attempt to figure out who is what. The big bases and infinite resource model really lend themselves to this kind of gameplay. There always tons of back-stabbing as Innocents go after whoever they think is a Phantom and the Phantoms try to trick the Innocents into killing each other or rival Phantoms.

    It isn’t terribly easy to find a public game of it anymore, but if you’ve got some friends ready to play its the bee’s knees.

  • Alan Au

    I liked the bit where you note that sometimes success is linked to the ability of players to organize and communicate. That is, alliances are borne out of convenience as much as ideology.

    During our Civ 4 game (that we never finished), I would try and regularly fire off “diplomatic” messages to various players every so often. I had to consider the possibility that the other players were doing the same, although I never really knew. For me, diplomacy is all about establishing rapport, in the hopes of preventing (or at least delaying) the backstab.

  • Thomas Kiley

    For the NAT errors it is more to do with Xbox Liver and, more generally, your router. Me and my friends had a similar persistent problem for some time. The short term fix depended on the order in which we joined the game. The long term fix involves one person fixing a setting on their router.

    To find out who, got to the Windows Live menu, go settings then go>Network information. Towards the bottom, there is your NAT setting Someone will have moderate or severe, the person with severe is the real problem, but everyone as open is best. The person who is sever must go to their router settings (normally at and change the NAT security to open. Hope that helps – now you have no excuse, looking forward to report in the next podcast :P

  • Solomani

    I am curious, Julien seems like a CCG expert and Tom Chick somewhat of a CCG critic (in the good sense of the word). What are your opinions on Spectromancer?