Diplomacy Programming Project:
Call for Volunteers
Key Words: Jeux, programmation paralle`le, intelligence
artificielle, architecture, diplomacy, alpha-beta, ne'gociation,
Software: LCS, C
- Test recent work on strategy finder using diplomatic
constraints from observation module. Tests may be done against
humans, and/or in self-play mode using the Diplomat Interface.
- Improve front end of strategy finder and observation module in
order to make such testing easier. Incorporate the strategy
finder in the Judge (Diplomacy Adjudicator)?
- Make observation module an LCS agent (instead of a mere
function) so that it can access the Strategy Finder to detect
violation of general agreements.
- Write negotiation module including ambassador agents for each
country, and a process that manages the relations between
Key Words: Jeux, arbres, graphes, acyclique, interface, recursion,
Certain situations in real-life
are much better modeled by multi-player interactions than by simple
two-player interactions. Thus, the
theoretical and practical study of multi-player games is of
The theory of multiplayer games is much more complicated
(and unexplored) in that the diverse players may have incentives to
communicate and even collaborate.
A matricial theory of multiplayer games is fairly well developed.
supposes that the players enter into negotiations in order to conclude
On the other hand, combinatorial multiplayer games (as described by
abstract trees) have been relatively unexplored. (See however the
work of Propp, Straffin and Li.) In this model, a player wins and all
of the others lose. We can longer suppose that the players have the
possibility of negotiating.
The sets of players who can force a victory forms a maximal
intersecting family. We can thus classify multiplayer games
by M. I. F.'s. This classifications is somewhat unsatisfactory (the vast
majority of games with a fixed odd number of players form a single
class). We thus introduce the notion of stable
coalitions can force a victory, and despite the fact that this
victory can not be ``shared'' (as in matricial games), each member of
the coalition has an incentive to follow the common strategy.
As compared to the case of two-player combinatorial games, we are
confronted here with an
embarrassing wealth of conflicting classification schemes. Before
spending considerable effort
classifying particular multi-player games, we must choose the most
appropriate system of classification among the many alternatives.
We propose to continue our research on multiplayer games along two
These simulation will be based on the following previous experience:
- First, to continue our theoretical research on the properties
of these classifications. For example, all of the models of
multiplayer combinatorial games studied so far give a value to
a subgametree of a given node independent of the sequence of
moves required to attain that node. Can more realistic play be
achieved using the history of play? (See
- Second, practical human-machine simulations can be made in
order to determine which systems of classification given rise
to human play? Also, we may study the interactions of simulated
players based on different systems of axioms? Finally, we will
study the role of communication and negotiation in multi-player
We propose to write a Small Games Interface which will open
communication between computer small game players and/or human
players as does the Diplomat Interface. The rules of the game to be
played will be generated and transmitted in the form of a labeled
abstract tree containing at most several thousand nodes.
- Diplomacy Programming Project.
The Diplomacy Programming Project
hopes to design programs using the
results of combinatorial game theory, matricial game theory, and
artificial intelligence that play
diplomacy and actually negotiate with each other.
A Diplomat interface has been written in LCS. It launches
programs written in any language and open windows for human players.
The Diplomat Interface then accepts orders, transmits messages
from one player to another, and distributes results. Diplomats
are being developed in C and LCS for use with the Diplomat
Interface. (See below.)
- Metagame B. Pell
has completed a thesis
on Metagame. Computer game research has not resulted
in a measure of progress in artificial intelligences. Chess programs
perform strongly using methods different from those used by humans,
and not easily applied to even similar games. Pell proposed a new
measure by which programs would be written to play arbitrary games
given a specification of their rules in Prolog.
- Symbolic Algebra Package. Wolfe wrote a symbolic
algebra programming package in C which
manipulates game trees, and performs most of the
useful mappings in the theory of combinatorial games. The package is
invaluable in analyzing combinatorial games,
generating and testing hypotheses, and motivating the theory.
This package is for the combinatorial game theorist what a
spreadsheet is for an accountant, saving the mathematician from routine,
but important, and often complex calculations. Combinatorial game
theorists around the world have found many applications for this
package and are constantly developing new functionalities. For
example, Mu"ller and Garcia have added new graphical interface
Wolfe's symbolic tree manipulating tools could then be used to apply the
recursive rewrite rules found in the various combinatorial theories of
multi-player games under development. These theories along with the
diplomacy programming project negotiating protocols would form the
strategic basis of a computer Small Games Player.
Thus, the work proposed is divided into two parts:
- Small Games Interface. A program is needed to test
theories regarding small multiplayer
games. A multiplayer game is defined by its ``game tree,'' actually a
labelled acyclic graphs. The game trees in question here will have at
most a few thousand nodes.
The Small Games Interface program (SGI) must generate random (reduced) game
trees or accept as input known games and generate their reduced game
trees. The SGI must accept input from computer game players (which are
programs written in an arbitrary language), or human players (via a
The SGI must keep each player apprised of the rules of the game and
the progress of the game. The SGI accepts moves from players and acts
are ``referee''. Optionally, the SGI should allow certain types of
communication between players.
The program should be easily maintainable so as to add additional
``known'' game and better graphical interfaces. The interface used by
the computer players should be as simple and as unrestrictive as
possible in order to fascilate the comparison of large numbers of
- Small Games Players.
The small game player (SGP) is designed to work in conjunction with
the small game interface described above. The SGP takes as input the
game tree of a small multiplayer game and the history of the game.
Given a position in which the SGP must move, it classifies the
``types'' of the various options according to one of the many formulae
given in ``Stable Winning Coaltions'' by Daniel Loeb. (e.g. the set of
(stable) winning coalitions of a position can be computed recursively
from the sets of (stable) winning coalitions of the various options.)
Given a system of classification, an order of preference among the
types, and a method of breaking ties (possibly involving the history
of the game), the SGP submits an appropriate move.
Different methods should be compared systematically using the small
game interface. Experiments involving communication between players
may be invisaged.
The'orie des Jeux a` Plusieurs Joueurs
Key Words: Mathe'matiques, Jeux Combinatoires
Recent work on combinatorial multi-player games has led to the
discovery of various method of classification. Either by what sets of
players form a "winning coallition" or "stable winning coallitions"
There are many open questions.
- Given two games of known types, what types are possible for
the sum of these games. This problem has been solved for 2 and
3 players. (eg: a 2nd player win plus another 2nd player win
is never a 2nd player win). What happens with 4 players? Or
with 3 players using stable winning coallitions.
- 3 player impartial games have further been classified
by Jim Propp into equivalence classes under the addition of
games. Can this be done using the notion of stability or with
- Probabilistic models have calculated the probability of a
"random" game being of a given type for 3 or 4 players. With
formal calculation programs such as Maple, 5 player solutions
should be possible.
- Jurg Nievergelt suggested generalizing Stable Winning
Coalitions to non-winner take all situations.
- J. Conway, ``On Numbers and Games'', Academic Press, 1976.
- E. Berlekamp, J. Conway, et R. Guy, ``Winning Ways for your
mathematical plays, Volume I: Games in General,'' Academic
- D. Loeb, Challenges in Playing
- S.-Y. R. Li, N-person Nim and N-person Moore's games,}
Internat. J. Game Theory 7 (1978) 31--36.
- J. G. Propp, Three-Person Impartial Games.
- P. D. Straffin, Jr., Three-person winner-take-all games with
McCarthy's revenge rule, College J. Math.
16 (1985) 386--394.
- D. Loeb, Stable Winning Coalitions.
University of Bordeaux
If you wish to e-mail feedback on this article to the author, and clicking
on the mail address above does not work for you, feel free to use the "Dear
DP..." mail interface, which is located