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Explotive gpt trade with AI

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Game of the Month' started by civ_steve, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. I. Larkin

    I. Larkin Deity

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    So what? It is so many things in civ that not happend in real word...
     
  2. I. Larkin

    I. Larkin Deity

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    1) see post above.
    2) Cashe defecite banned for human, not for AI
     
  3. PaperBeetle

    PaperBeetle Emperor

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    In principle I support Lanze's suggestion, "A player is not allowed to pay an AI more than the AI demands," and oppose Niklas's, for the reasons Lanze gives. To put it another way, the 'corner cases' that Niklas didn't mind would nevertheless be banned by the rule "The player is not allowed to actively cancel a deal that gives gpt to an AI if the player is at the same time receiving gpt from that same AI in another deal that would not be cancelled."
    However I think "A player is not allowed to pay an AI more than the AI demands" also needs to be backed up by an explicit ban on buying hard goods for gpt, followed by a premature termination of that gpt deal. This is because once you have ruined your per-turn rep, buying an alliance + world map / chump change really can cost you hundreds of gpt.
    But then that would extend to banning tech/cash for gpt followed by a dow on the recipient of the gpt. Which strategy has a long and illustrious history as an accepted GOTM practice. Not easy is it? :(
     
  4. Chamnix

    Chamnix Chasing Time

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  5. PaperBeetle

    PaperBeetle Emperor

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    This one sounded good at first:
    But actually I'm not sure it says much more than the original version. The AI will almost always have less spare gpt than the you gave for the alliance, because when you give it gpt it will just crank up its science slider to take advantage. Perhaps the 999 trick is of interest here?
    Ultimately I am hoping for a formulation which allows for the Aztec-Japan-Byzantine deal I described from SG12 in the first page of this thread.

    [musing]
    I guess this practice originally arose out of frustration about the lopsided nature of tech trading with the AI. When we buy a tech from them, they require payment for its full value, and we are expected to raise our tax slider if we need the gpt to make the deal. When they buy a tech from us, they pay only the minimum of (1) its full value and (2) their spare cash / gpt / tech / whatever else they have lying around. In its least exploitative form, this is a method for getting the AI to change its tax slider to meet a fair market price.
    [/musing]
     
  6. Marsden

    Marsden Keeper of the HoF Annex Hall of Fame Staff

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    Yes, the big green number you get on your own domestic advisor screen. I do this all the time just to see how bad my economy is compared to an AI that's beating me to techs.




    The income after taxmen, interest, and from other civs. (Does the ai ever use taxmen?) So taking that whole number away puts them in a serious crunch, but at least they have it. Taking more makes money out of nowhere. Do it enough and it could accelerate the tech rate because 100% research shouldn't be a problem getting tons of cash.

    It's important to check it before you give them any because whatever you are giving will be added in(unless, of course, you aren't planning to cut the previous, then this whole discusion is unnecessary)

    No this isn't easy. It's very skillful and tricky to do. No one said it's easy. But because it's hard to pull off doesn't mean it's not exploitive.
     
  7. I. Larkin

    I. Larkin Deity

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    So do you mean that we are not allowed to cut previous??
     
  8. Paul#42

    Paul#42 flyball chaser

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    Well, you are - and indirectly could be forced if resources are involved and cut - but you should not take more gpt than initially available.

    However I still see a problem with the
    Sometimes I want to give the AI gold for free - to make them happy, to increase their research...

    We will not find a rule that is completely idiot proof.
    We have to find a simple rule and judge all connected cases in the spirit of the game...

    If we fail, we could still make the human player gift the gpt back every turn... :groucho: :hide:
     
  9. I. Larkin

    I. Larkin Deity

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    Nobody reply for this, that I edited something. Acording Lancelot 0%, we may say that plain gifts are allowed (non gpt) or plain gpt that does not bound with anything else.
     
  10. Othniel

    Othniel fighting for Achsah

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    Some of the main "rule propositions" floated out there in the last two pages of this thread.
    Another slight variation on the scenarios thrown out so far is this:

    We pull of an "Emsworth Agreement" with an AI by doing the following.
    - Give an AI some gpt in exchange for an MA against another strong civ
    - Trade back for your original gpt by giving the AI a tech or some other hard good

    Let's say also that we didn't pay the AI an excessive amount of gpt for that deal, but rather simply paid the normal market price in gpt to get the MA.

    In this case, we're not "expecting" the MA deal to end prematurely because the strong civ we're allied against is not in danger of being eliminated within 20 turns. However, we're all familiar with the AI passion for signing peace deals before their MA deals expire. In the very possible event that the AI does this--and trashes their own rep--we've just gotten some free gpt for no rep hit ourselves.

    I don't consider the scenario I described to be exploitative. It's up to the AI to cancel or not--we're passive--and the AI very possibly will not cancel the deal. The power is in their hands. Plus, we've given them a tech so we didn't get something for nothing. Of course, a similar argument could be made for MA deals against a dying civ when the AI does the killing stroke. Again, we'd be "passive", although I think we'd know that deal is more likely to be canceled than in my scenario. Really, it's a slippery slope of "passive cancel" or "more passive cancel" and there is no distinct line.

    Anyhow, I don't think my scenario is prohibited by the first statement I quoted above, but it might be prohibited by the second quote. This scenario is also another time-honored strat, although that doesn't preempt it from charges of being an exploit. Would / should this be banned too?

    Summary:
    This whole game loophole is like the English language; for every rule there are 10 notable exceptions :crazyeye:. I hope I don't confuse the matter by bringing in another corner scenario.

    Basically, I agree with the rules I quoted above as long as we spell out some common exceptions that are allowed, such as the one I described above (assuming it is allowed ;)).
     
  11. Niklas

    Niklas Fully Functional GOTM Staff

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    I don't see the scenario presented by Othniel as a problem, since it is not the player cancelling the deal, or even expecting the deal to end. And it would not be ruled out by either of the statements above.

    But really, I think focusing on words is a waste of time. For comparison, here's the rule for the rank palace exploit:
    What is the majority of your empire? What is a significant advantage? Or even, what is "in order to", which denotes intention? These are impossible to define in a way that puts every single case either completely in the red or completely in the green. There have been situations where it is questionable whether the rule has been violated as formulated, but without the intention part we would rather accept than exclude. I recall there was some discussion regarding a GOTM as Carthage some time back where we started at a peninsula separated from everyone by a massive (!) mountain area. You would naturally capture Mecca on the other side and jump your palace there. Most everyone did, but some did the jump earlier than others, clearly reducing corruption in their original cores. But since the main reason for the palace jump was indeed to set up a new core, and not "in order to reduce corruption", no complaints were made against anyone and all games were accepted.

    My point is we don't need, or indeed want, a rule that exactly ties down the cases into the green and red areas. As long as a trade is done within the spirit of the rules, there is no need for draconic rulings. And if we leave the rule similarly vague like the rank corruption exploit, the admins can make informed rulings from case to case. And you should of course always PM the admins to ask whether a particular trade is ok or not, just like the rules currently state.

    So, the more I think about it the more I favor a formulation like:
    Chamnix has already +1'ed it, what do the rest think? In particular those who would be inclined to allow certain scenarios, what's your take on this?

    There is of course a very good reason why the AI is programmed this way, namely it cannot possibly make an informed judgement on whether reducing your tax slider in order to afford something is a good idea or not, which of course the player can. It will happily pay for whatever it can afford, and if we "force" it to afford more it will pay more. That's to me the whole nature of the exploit, to circumvent this "safety check" in the programming, and thus I see your musing as even further "proof" that this is indeed an exploit. We cannot expect the AI to play by the same rules as the player does, it's an AI!

    I replied to it in the broad sense, stating that I don't like any ruling that includes a reference to 999 gpt. This is not an issue about amounts, it is an issue about a particular practice. It's the practice we should rule out, and then it won't matter if it's 1 gpt or 100k gpt.
     
  12. I. Larkin

    I. Larkin Deity

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    essential part of Ernswort is excessive gold. I never thought that it is exploit to pay gpt for MA and then trade them tech. I insist on "excessive" that may be in Lantzelot interpritation >0. Also "about to be happend". Yo may finish in 1, 2, 3 turns... In last GOTM all war with Babylon took 4 turns, as Deals lasts 20 I could gain something anyway.
    Why tech is forbiden and any thinlike oter Lux, MPP, MAs, not??
     
  13. Othniel

    Othniel fighting for Achsah

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    Niklas, I like this...for the most part. ;)

    The part I don't really like is the "break the luxury route". IMHO, if you can get gpt for FREE e.g. use the MA tricks, that practice is an exploit and should be banned. But, if you have to suffer an irreparable rep hit e.g. break a lux route, then the game has penalized you for being a deal-breaker and this practice should be allowed.

    Grayer areas for me include using boot orders or spies to try and force a war declaration from the civ your trading with. IMO, they're grayer than the MA trick because the AI has some measure of control on deciding to declare or not. I'm probably fine either way on those, banned or not.

    The major problem, of course, with allowing the breaking of luxury deals, etc, is that we introduce the possibility of forcing the AI into a double negative situation if we break a "really big" deal. If we don't want to allow a possible double-negative, then we have to use the 999 trick...and I know you, Niklas, and others are not if favor of having to use that trick.

    So, where does that leave us? Well, again, I generally like Niklas' proposal. :thumbsup:

    I think it still needs a little modification, or at least a general acceptance of the weaknesses it will contain.
    Two Options I see:
    - We ban certain kinds of trade breaking (that the game already penalizes with a rep hit) to avoid any possible double-negative scenarios
    - We allow these rep-hit deals but have to introduce a more tedious rule and process through using the 999 trick

    Option 2 is a little more tedious, but I favor it because it gives the player more control over their trade reputation.

    There, that is my opinion. (I heartily reserve the right to change said opinion once it has been picked apart by people much smarter than me. :p)
     
  14. AutomatedTeller

    AutomatedTeller Frequent poster

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    I'm unclear as to what is being banned here:

    Are we banning putting the AI into a double-negative situation? Or are we banning making deals which screw the AI?

    For example:

    I am Persia in the late MA. I trade dyes and 100 GPT to Germany for a military alliance vs. Russia, who has 1 city left.

    I then trade astronomy to germany for 100 GPT.

    I then destroy Russia.

    Which, if any, of these situations are legal?

    A) Germany shows 22 gpt using 999 (chieftain)
    B) Germany shows 300 gpt using 999 (SID)
    C) Germany shows 175 gpt using 999 (SID)
    D) Germany shows 125 gpt using 999 (SID)

    I think we are outlawing A) and allowing B) Various proposals would outlaw C and D, too.
     
  15. Niklas

    Niklas Fully Functional GOTM Staff

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    AT, in my opinion we are definitely outlawing A through D. I see the exploit not necessarily tied to forcing the AI into negative spending, but to exploiting the way the AI is programmed to make deals that screw it over. Of course, either of B through D would be allowed if Germany had 100 gpt to trade you before you signed the MA against Russia.

    For what it's worth I don't know what the 999 trick is. I've seen various references to it and even links but I haven't bothered looking. It's not something I want to use, and definitely not something I want to be forced to use if I am to be competitive.

    Othniel, I don't think breaking your reputation is in any way proportional to the potential gain. In some games, notably archipelago games like COTM43, it will take a very long time for the AIs to meet each other and spill the word on your broken rep, so you could do the dirty deal over and over again. Yes, in the majority of all games that is not the case. That doesn't make it any less an exploit in the cases where it is. COTM43 is a perfect example of this.

    For the grey areas you are talking about, I don't think they have anything to do with the case we are discussing. If you force a war declaration from the AI you would cancel all gpt deals, so you would no longer be taking his gold. Taking all you can get upfront from an AI using gpt as payment, and then declaring, that's a different thing IMO. You might be able to gain almost as much in that case, but you would not be crippling the AI.
     
  16. Chamnix

    Chamnix Chasing Time

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    I like Niklas' method of generally describing the exploit as opposed to trying to give details for every situation, but I think Lanzelot's rule is a good thing to use as a "baseline".

    This is not to say that every time you give more than the AI demands it is an exploit (for example, you may want to increase their research or discourage an aggressive neighbor from attacking). It also doesn't mean that giving no more than what the AI demands is never an exploit (for example, if your rep is "partially blown" and demands huge gpt that you know you will be able to get back, or in Niklas' example of swapping monopoly techs for gpt but severing your gpt deal), but I think it is a very good guideline to start with if you are trying to determine what is exploitive.

    Any time you are giving the AI more than it demands, you should look at your motives. Why are you giving away cash? If the intent is to get your gpt back and then sever the first deal, it should be banned.

    In AutomatedTeller's example, A through D would be banned if you could get Germany to sign an alliance for less than 100 gpt. Why are you giving them more than you have to? If it is not to try to get more money back than Germany can afford, why are you doing it?

    In PaperBeetle's example from SGOTM 12, I don't see a problem as long as you didn't pay the Aztecs more than necessary to get the alliance.
     
  17. Othniel

    Othniel fighting for Achsah

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    What you said in response to AT is exactly why I included those grey areas.

    If our goal is to prevent deals that screw over the AI, I think we have to look at tactics like boot orders and spy declarations. For instance, I can make a gpt deal for a tech, perhaps a valuable monoploy tech, and then try and force the AI to declare through boot orders. If I succeed, I just got a tech for free and ripped off the AI.

    Again, I personally have no problem with using these boot orders and such. But IMHO we can't deny that we're not hosing the AI when we succeed with them.
    I know that I'm a decent Deity player, not a world-elite player. As such, especially on SID, I have a hard time imagining me being able to substantially rip off the AI and then killing that civ before my dirty rep becomes known to the world at large. Perhaps better players can truly do that...

    I know we have an advantage in COTM 43 with our super-curraghs able to travel on ocean, but it's still going to be hard to kill civs very quickly (unless it's a minor AI).

    I just think that 95%+ of the time you never have a chance to substantially rip off an isolated AI before you rep is broadcast to the world at large. I have a hard time stomaching a rule for just those few instances where the stars line up and you can go a on a dirty deal spree.

    If I'm wrong on how often that can be accomplished, then I would gladly second your opinion, Niklas. :)
     
  18. Othniel

    Othniel fighting for Achsah

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    I do too. I agree with keeping the rule as a general statement because that way it's so much easier to handle.

    The two things I'm trying to accomplish without muddying the waters too much:
    - refine the general proposal to say what we want it to say
    - outline some various scenarios that may or may not be banned by our general proposal

    The scenarios and grey areas I have described in previous posts are some of the strategies that might be banned by this rule, but it's not clear-cut. My belief is that these strategies are quite common, and if that's the case, other people will also have questions about their legality if we adopt the general rule. If that's the case, using PM to decide each case looks like an administrative nightmare for our volunteer admins.

    I wonder if we might save time and headaches by making some corollaries to our general rule, outlining the legality of some common strategies as they relate to our general rule.

    For instance:
    P.S. sorry for the double-post
     
  19. PaperBeetle

    PaperBeetle Emperor

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    With respect to breaking your rep, I have to agree with Niklas that the potential gain is much greater than that particular penalty. I believe it is possible to e.g. gift your neighbour saltpeter + 1000gpt, sell him a load of medieval techs for 1000gpt, cut the 'peter, rinse and repeat 20 turns later. After all, your broken per-turn rep doesn't worry the AI when it is recieving only hard goods in a deal, and nor does is bother them when you are giving them a per-turn gift. So that's certainly the same exploit, just a much easier version to execute.

    In response to Ivan's question about selling stuff other than techs, yes certainly the ban should apply to anything which can be sold without the human losing its use, such as ROPs and resources, but not hard cash or workers. We just tend to discuss it in relation to techs because they are by far the most valuable tradeable items in the game.
    I understand that a very similar exploit exists in Civ4, but is restricted to resource sales because of that game's ban on hire purchase.
     
  20. civ_steve

    civ_steve Deity Retired Moderator GOTM Staff

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    Lots of good discussion. I think my key concern (when abusing the AI) is that the player not force a negative gpt situation on the AI. We've talked a lot about the gifting of gpt then taking the gift away. There's also a concern about MA's, and even if the player accepts the AI's demand, the demand could be so large that a potential negative gpt situation could occur. As I was thinking about this, and how we've been looking at the player's actions, perhaps we can look at the end result for a more general rule.

    I'm thinking, perhaps we allow the player to make any trade desired. Freely. :) However, if any deal where the player is providing gpt to the AI ends prematurely, the player must immediately compare the amount of gpt he/she is receiving to the current 999 value of the AI. If that ratio is above a given amount, the trade is considered exploitive and the player must immediately restore the ratio, either through gpt gift or through gifting enough gold to make up the difference over the remaining term that they are getting the gold.

    If that ratio were 1:1, this would allow the player to effectively make trades that snagged up to half of the total gpt available to that AI. If it were 1:2, the player could snag up to one third of the total gpt available to that AI. The advantage of this approach is that even MA's that break down (or any other agreement made for whatever reason) would cause an adjustment by the player to avoid totally crippling the AI.

    Looking at Marsden's F1 screen, and treating it as if it were the AI, an allowed ratio of 1:1 would allow the player to set up whatever trade they wanted. If they gifted/traded gpt to the Marsden AI, then traded them Nationalism for gpt, then broke the original trade, they'd have to check to make sure they were getting no more than 389 gpt, leaving 389 gpt to the Marsden AI to cover their normal costs. The AI's expenses are 339 gpt (Corr + Maint + Unit ), so they are not forced into a negative gpt situation. Having gotten Nationalism 11 turns earlier, this may or may not be a good trade for the AI. And the AI would probably not offer 389 gpt at any rate.

    If the ratio were 1:2, the player, assuming they broke an earlier trade/gift of gpt, could only be taking in 259 gpt; anything more would require an adjustment. This would leave 519 gpt, enough to cover expenses and still have nearly 200 gpt available to the AI. In this case, the AI gets Nationalism 11 turns early, and again 259 gpt is likely still more than the AI would offer.

    One other feature of this approach is it would take the cumulative effect of whatever earlier gpt deals the player may have in place with the AI.

    If this sounds reasonable, I think the 1:2 ratio is about what the AI might trade anyway. 1:1 might allow the player to gain some advantage, and probably not force negative gpt.
     

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