Here are the results of the "Playing the Averages" homework assignment which appeared in the Spring 1996 Movement issue. I was rather pleased with the results. As you recall, the assigmnent was for each student to propose the best (uncoordinated) moves for each of the three powers France, Russia, and Turkey, in a specific game position.
First, a couple of FAQs:
I have tabulated the results of submissions in a table, presented below. In the table, to save precious space, I abbreviate moves. When a single region is named, the unit has been ordered to move to that region. When a move is written (for example, in Vie's space the move Sil-Gal), the unit is ordered to support that move, or, occasionally, to convoy that move -- it should generally be obvious which. (The only commonly ordered convoys were through Eng and Aeg; a couple of people tried convoying through Nth.) When a unit is ordered to support another unit, I write "s" with the name of the region of the supported unit. I was very generous indeed with strangely written orders. Even when an order was given for a non-existent unit, I tried hard to figure out which unit was meant. Only when a genuinely ambiguous order (such as F Bar-Nor) was written, or when the unit was not ordered at all and no obvious substitute was given, or when the unit was ordered to move to a space it could not reach and no obvious typo was identifiable (for example, Nor-Gas!), did I count that unit NMR.
- Is this from a real game?
- Why didn't Russia build F Sev??
- He was hoodwinked; he didn't believe that Turkey was attacking.
There was a certain amount of difficulty compiling the moves. I really hadn't thought through carefully how I'd do it. There were two main problems. First, a few times there were ties. For instance, out of 14 submissions, four ordered F Ion to Tun, and four ordered it to support Rom-Tys, and there was no other order repeated so many times. Second, although I had intended that the moves of France and Russia were to be uncoordinated with each other, it hadn't occurred to me in advance that there could be a problem coordinating the moves of a power with itself. In fact, the plurality move for F Rom was to Tuscany; if the plurality move for F Ion had been S Rom-Tys, that would have been bad. Moves of a single power should be coordinated, even for the "Average Player" (smile). (Something I just thought of -- the average player will, of course, forget to order a unit from time to time, but in this experiment you could pretty well expect every unit to be ordered by a majority of submissions!) Where a majority agreed (which was most common), I just used that move, no problem. I always forced coordination within a power. For instance, I broke the tie for F Ion by sending Ion-Tun, since F Rom was being ordered to Tus, not to Tys, and I didn't want F Ion S Tys (*void*). I still regard this particular situation as a problem, because it's possible that some entries actually anticipated the difficulties of plurality choice and avoided subtle supports. Too bad.
(Personally, I would have ordered F Tun-Ion. But nobody did that!)
F&160;Lon got four votes for HOLD, and four for S F Nth-Eng. I had it do the latter, on the grounds that holding is a dumb move. Conrad and Jens had that fleet go to York. A nice move, which I certainly would not have played under the circumstances. (Now that you've seen it, do you agree that it's best for that unit?)
The table of entries appears below. The players, who, in the table, each got a column headed by their initials, are (in order of date of submission):
Conrad Minshall, Robert Rehbold, Colin Jacobs, Randy Hudson, Jeff Behan, Graeme Ackland, Derek McLachlin, Vincent Mous, Darren Johnston, Vaughn Ohlman, Thierry Joffrain, P Soren (does not play, unsure of rules), Tom Wright, Jens Schulze, and Marc Friedman.
|tyo||pie||pie||s vie||pie||bur-mun||pie||pie||pie||h||-||s vie||nmr||s vie||h||s vie|
|vie||bud-gal||tyo||bud-gal||bud-gal||s tyo||bud-gal||bud-gal||bud-gal||bud-gal||-||s tyo||h||bud-gal||bud-gal||s tyo|
|lon||yor||nth-eng||wal||nth-eng||s ech||nth-eng||nth-eng||h||h||h||s nth||eng||h||yor||wal|
|nth||wal-lon||eng||nwy-yor||eng||s lon||eng||eng||h||s lon||s bel||s lon||hol-bel||nwy-bel||s eng||h|
|hol||hel||s bel||h||nth||s bel||nth||s bel||h||s bel||h||s kie||bel||nwy-bel||s bel||bel|
|kie||bel-hol||h||hel||nth(nmr)||s hol||bel-hol||s hol||h||s hol||s hol||s hol||h||s hol||h||hel|
|mun||tyo||boh-tyo||s boh||s boh||s boh||tyo||tyo||tyo||h||tyo||s boh||h||tyo||tyo||s boh|
|ber||sil||sil||sil||sil||s mun||mun||mun||mun||s mun||sil||sil||s kie||sil||sil||s mun|
Here are the results:
A Bel S A Ruh-Bur
Turkey's moves were very strong, in fact, they would have been very difficult to beat. But here is a set of Franco-Russian orders that give the defense a fighting chance:
Not all of the moves above are necessary. The ones that matter include Tun H (or certainly a better bet, and just as good in this case, Tun-Ion), Bur-Mar (this was a guess, and it was reasonable to guess Bur-Gas -- Jens, Vince, and Randy all had the correct guess), and War&Boh S Sil-Gal (or War S Sil-Gal, Boh-Vie).
I really liked the move Mos-Ukr. You have to give up on Sev, of course -- going for counterplay against Rum looks futile. Why not just leave Sev open and construct the perfectly secure line (which I leave for you to discover -- in the results of the moves given, it's in the making)?
And of course, Mun-Tyo was crucial, but that was chosen by the majority.
Let me take some of the proposed Franco-Russian move sets and comment on them individually. First, here are Jens Schulze's moves:
A couple of others had some success against the Average Turkey. For example, here are Randy Hudson's moves:
Here is Vince Mous as France and Russia:
F Bar nmr
(It's interesting to note that Vince's Turkey does not do well against the average F/R! But Jens' and Randy's do.)
Darren Johnston offered some interesting commentary. Darren has been playing e-mail Dip for five months (well, by now it's a lot more, but five months at the time of submission). He didn't say whether he'd played before he discovered us. Darren says,
I must also point out that there is now way, even if press was included, that Russia and France could avoid defeat. It may take a couple of years to achieve, but it will happen. As soon as those Turkish fleets get into the thick of the action, it's curtains.But Darren is wrong. He has neglected possible stalemate lines for F/R. The line east of Switzerland is fairly obvious. In the west, F/R must try to hold Mar, Spa, or Por, and Spa cannot really be held without the others in the long run.
Darren was unique(!) in ordering the Turkish A Spa to somewhere other than Portugal. He sent it to Gascony! But now, as Turkey, he will never take Portugal, and his chances of gaining anything beyond the 17 he has secured, are just about nil.
Thanks to all for playing.
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