1. Firaxis celebrates the "Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month", and offers a give-away of a Civ6 anthology copy (5 in total)! For all the details, please check the thread here. .
    Dismiss Notice
  2. We have selected the winners of the Old World random draw and competition. For the winning entries, please check this thread.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Old World has finally been released on GOG and Steam, besides also being available in the Epic store . Come to our Old World forum and discuss with us!
    Dismiss Notice

Explotive gpt trade with AI

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

  1. Niklas

    Niklas Fully Functional GOTM Staff

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    10,290
    Location:
    57°47'55"N 12°09'16"E
    I can only state again that I would be unhappy if we came up with any kind of rule that involves the 999 in any way. It is very possible to exploit the AI and gain plenty of gpt "for free" without getting close to the 999. It wouldn't be creating any gold "out of the air", but it would still be powerful enough that it would be hard to be competitive without using the strategy. I want the practice itself outlawed, and I don't see why we couldn't. And I definitely don't want the 999 trick to be required.

    I think we should be very clear on the difference between screwing the AI in a deal and screwing the "system". We have trade reps for a reason, and it should be totally allowed to "screw" the AI by for instance signing a gpt deal for tech and then declaring. I also don't see it as a problem to force a boot order to retain your trade rep, that's the AI's fault for declaring on you. In none of these cases does the AI really lose anything (other than cash or possibly workers), you gain a tech but you haven't locked the AI into a gpt payment that it cannot sustain.

    By screwing the system, I mean tricking the AI into giving up more than it normally would, or even more than it has. By giving or trading the AI gpt, you are "by speculation" increasing the gpt available, bloating the market. It's the speculation that should be outlawed, nothing else.

    That said, I think your idea of naming corollaries is a good one. :)

    Like PaperBeetle said, your broken rep isn't really a big problem, you can do it again and again anyway. But what I meant was not that you would kill off civs before your broken rep is known, rather that you can do the trade with each AI, since one AI doesn't know that you screwed another.

    Say you have 20 gpt and a luxury available. Give that to AI A who doesn't know anyone else, and sell them a tech they don't have to get that gpt back. Cut the luxury, then reconnect it. Now you have 40 gpt. Give that to AI B and sell them a tech they don't have. Cut the luxury. Etc etc. Actually, like PaperBeetle says, you can do this even if your rep is known. What you couldn't do is to use your gpt to buy a tech you don't have, but that's really a minor problem.
     
  2. AutomatedTeller

    AutomatedTeller Frequent poster

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Messages:
    7,540
    Location:
    Medford, MA
    Well, I don't see any reason to think that you have to use the 999 trick if you never try to screw the AI.

    I mean, all these deals are ways to exploit the AI - if all you ever do is make trades and not try to screw the AI, you never have to check the 999.

    Conceptually, you could run into a problem like this for a turn or two with the AI - say you buy steam power for 600 gpt then get electricity for free but screw up and don't sell it back to the AI until the next turn, for 580 gpt. Then there will be a turn where the AI might be running a big deficit, but I don't think anyone would see that as an exploit.
     
  3. civ_steve

    civ_steve Deity Retired Moderator GOTM Staff

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Location:
    formerly Santa Clarita, California
    I see very little difference between these two trades. In some ways the first trade, if limited, is LESS exploitive than the second. In the first, if limited, the AI gets a Tech and since I don't think they'll ever trade more for a Tech then they think its worth, they'll pay what they think is equal value, or less. And the player, in exchange for a possible trade rep hit, has gotten more of what the AI values the Tech for in exchange. In the second the AI gets NOTHING, and the player gets a free tech. This just manufactured an amount of free gold equal to the player's cost to research the Tech. Since we have always allowed the 'buy a Tech from the AI for gpt, then cut the payment' tactic, getting 'free gold' is not a good enough argument to ban the first trade.
    That's the first step of the manipulative gpt trade, and I thought everyone feels that part was OK. It's really the 3rd step, when the gift/trade of gpt is broken, where the exploit can occur. The problem is there are lots of ways to get from 1 to 3 without being exploitive, or that aren't covered in any of the rules discussions; even the spirit of the law may be clear to most but vague :) to others. So I'm proposing a comparison that looks just at Step 3, and if we can come to a general agreement on how much of the total gpt available to the AI can be snagged, we can avoid causing a negative gpt and crippling of the AI.
    I think this is fine as long as the AI doesn't pay more than it thinks the Tech is worth to it (and I don't believe it ever does that), and you don't take more gpt than the AI can afford. Checking the 999 number and applying a generic ratio is not a sure thing, but I believe it can generally prevent the negative gpt, AI crippling situation, and give the player a guideline on how far they can go.
    Yes! You only check 999 if a trade where you provide gpt to the AI is ended prematurely (through whatever means.) If this never occurs, you never have to check 999.
     
  4. Elear

    Elear Aux armes citoyens

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,185
    Precisely. :) The only acceptable way to terminate a GPT deal early (in my opinion) is to declare war, or get them to declare war. War has its own consequences.

    -Elear
     
  5. Lanzelot

    Lanzelot Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,935
    Location:
    Heidelberg
    At the moment it looks like there are two parties here: the ones who want to ban Emsworth Agreements altogether (as described by Niklas) and the ones who just want to ban those Emsworth Agreements that criple the AI "too much" (as described by civ_steve). I would like to add a few more ideas to the current discussion (let me use the abbreviation "EA" for Emsworth Agreement in the following):

    1. Some have said, that if we allowed EAs, then everybody, who wants to be a competitive player, will need to use them. Well, what is so bad about that? These days everybody, who wants to be competitive, needs to know about the "tech broker strategy", about 4-turn settler factories or palace jumps and many more strategems. EAs would enrich our arsenal of strategic weapons and would make the trading and diplomacy aspect of the game more interesting/colorful. If EAs are well documented in the strategy forum, everybody can use them. I don't have a problem with that. This would be a point in favor of civ_steve's idea.
    2. However I don't like the idea of 999-checking, calculating ratios and determining how much I have to pay back to keep a clean consciousness... :) But if that can't be avoided, so be it.
    3. Please consider the following scenario: It is perfectly legal to buy an expensive tech for gtp and then declare war on the AI (or provoke it into declaring on you). Let's assume you are planning to do this, and you need a certain tech very badly, but you are not yet in a position to declare immediately, because your defensive troops are not yet ready. So you buy the tech now, pay 200 gpt for the first two turns, move the last remaining troops into position and then declare at the end of turn 2 (so you can at least save the remaining 18 payments...)
      That would be perfectly legal as well, wouldn't it? But in the meantime your victim might have made a couple of deals with other AIs, for example spending your 200gpt for a few other techs. So when you declare, you might drive him into negative spending!

      What I'm trying to point out here: I don't see a big difference between a) canceling a deal in which you give gpt to the AI while another deal is active in which that AI gives gpt to you and b) canceling a deal in which you give gpt to the AI while no other deal with that AI is active. In both cases you are stealing the same amount of money from the AI! And in my opinion buying an expensive tech and then not giving them the money which is rightfully theirs, is more "morally reprehensible" than giving them money for a MA and then no longer paying it when the MA is no longer active...

      I'm even sure, that a world-class player would be able to plan for such a scheme. For example he checks CivAssistII and sees that civ A is very poor and that civs B, C and D all have an expensive tech, which civ A does not yet have. He buys another expensive tech from civ A for a large gpt amount and then the next turn he checks CivAssistII again and sees that civ A now has both techs from civs C and D. Most certainly civ A has now spent the money it got the previous turn, and now the player declares on civ A... :D
      Something like this may be very powerful: you get a tech almost for free, civ A will be substantially cripled and you may even be able to capture a couple of towns very easily, because they will not be able to put up a decent fight because of their negative income and because of loosing a unit per turn...
    4. The above can even be achieved without risking a war against civ A. For example just include a resource or a trade embargo against civ E in the tech deal and then disconnect the resource or make a trade with civ E... (I believe trade embargos can be broken that way, and it will probably have the same effect of canceling the entire deal?!)

    There may be many more variations on this theme, and how can we decide for each of them, which one is legal and which one an exploit? I would say: "The situation is hopeless, but not serious..."

    Cheers, Lanzelot

    PS: I think the root of the entire dilemma is the fact that deals are "bound together" to a single unit. This looks like a bug to me. For example what I don't see is: if you buy a tech from the AI and pay with a resource and an amount of gpt and then cancel the resource part of the deal, why the gpt part of the deal should be canceled too. If we could fix that and have every element of a deal been treated as a single independent item, the problem would be gone. Do you think we could get the source code from Fireaxis? After all they are no longer fixing and selling it. And from what I've seen on this forum here, it appears that some of you have really close contacts to some Fireaxis developers...?! We could make a patch and require it as prerequisite for the GOTMs.
     
  6. I. Larkin

    I. Larkin Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2003
    Messages:
    4,404
    I like this idea. (Just thought to offer myself.) And, if it have happend human player may (or must(??)), (for his choise)
    a) Restore gpt payment as it was before "bound deal" prematurely ended
    or
    b) gift AI gpt to ensure net gpt from AI less or equal to 999 information.

    * If AI quit from MA (not human quit or kill ) human player not responcible for this actoin.
    (we try the best not to screw "system", but If system...)

    due to this "bug" civ 3 much better then civ 4. Lot of features you may find if one bound things with "peace treaty". I discribed some in my article "War happiness works!"
     
  7. Niklas

    Niklas Fully Functional GOTM Staff

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    10,290
    Location:
    57°47'55"N 12°09'16"E
    That might be fine if the "screwing" wasn't so powerful in the first place. If these kinds of agreements are allowed, there's no we we could keep from doing it if we want to stay competitive. So if it's allowed, no one will keep from screwing the AI.

    Indeed I wouldn't. It's not the AI's deficit alone that makes it an exploit, you the player must gain from it as well to make it exploitish. In this case you are still paying 600 gpt x20, so you're not gaining anything "for free".

    The problem in this case is that the AI is so incredibly stupid that it will buy whatever it can afford (or sometimes not afford). No they won't pay more than what they think its value is, but the AI simply cannot make such valuations. They will happily pay tons of gpt for Music Theory even when Bach's is completed elsewhere. And by taking their research gpt (which is effectively what you do when you "free up" more of his available gpt) he will also have lost the ability to research something else. My previous comment about door salesmen and senile old women still stands.

    Also, turn it and see what the AI loses. In the first case the AI loses nothing (except the ability to trade that tech to you), in the second case the AI loses a lot of gpt, potentially crippling it.

    It is really the combination of the steps that creates the exploit. I don't think cutting a luxury deal is an exploit, but it would be if you received bloated gpt by cutting it. That's what I mean by speculation - the combination of artificially increasing the AI's available gpt and then trading for it. If you don't cut the trade route or alliance, there's no speculation, so the first step would be ok. If you haven't bloated the AI's available gpt, again there's no speculation, so the third step would be ok.

    See again the comment on stupidity in AI tech valuation.


    Actually, that's a very good point, but...
    ... I really don't like this part of it. I simply don't think we can find a limit that would be suitable, since even at low ratios you can potentially create incredible amounts of gold, and cripple the AI.

    I did some digging on the 999 trick (so yeah, now I know it, how quaint) and it seems to me it contains a lot of cans of worms. First of all, just so we're clear what we're discussing, as Marsden pointed out the value listed is the Big Green Number (BGN). That means the total of all beakers, gold, happy faces and corrupted commerce that your towns generate each turn, plus income from taxmen (but not clowns and scientists), gpt from other civs and Wall Street interest.

    A first thing to note about this number is that it is not fixed but depends on the slider settings. A civ with lots of libraries but no markets has a higher BGN running a high research than a low research. The lowest value is of course when running 100% luxuries since there are no multipliers for that. Sampling a few of my own games, the difference between 100% research and 100% taxes varies 5-15% of the (highest) BGN (20% of the lowest). Technically it could go higher, but that's unlikely. But considering a Sid AI who has Literature but not Currency (and builds libs ridiculously fast), the value could potentially vary close to 20% (of the highest BGN).

    Now, what would be a fair number for the AI to have left? Again sampling some of my own games, the value I would have available for trading, that wouldn't make me start losing units or make all my towns riot, varies greatly. In some games it is as high as 70% (0% lux rate, high income from other civs), in others it's as low as below 30% (high lux rate, lots of units OR a large gpt deal to an AI). And these are clearly not extreme values since I just sampled a few saves I had at random. And furthermore, I rarely (never) play as extremely as the AI does, building all improvements it can in all towns and building lots of units as long as it can afford them. And paying gpt deals to the player or other AIs, since those expenses are counted after the BGN. A redeemeing factor though is that the AI rarely uses a high lux rate, preferring clowns for some reason (at least that's my experience).

    So what would be a fair number? I think 25% of the BGN is too much, given that even I in my fairly moderate unit-focused moments can go below 30% (and that's of the lowest BGN, meaning it could be more if we compare to the visible BGN - it just takes one library for the values to differ - though in my sample those values were equal). And it just takes one gpt deal paying off most of the available gpt to some other AI for the actual ratio to drop dramatically, closing in on 0%.

    So to sum up my thoughts on this - if we are to set a limit, it has to be 0%. And what would be the point of it then? Then we would outlaw plenty of "fair" cases, like PaperBeetle's Byz-Aztec-Japs scenario, or when an AI stupidly puts himself in the situation by signing peace and breaking an MA that you have would preferred to retain. So I don't see how the BGN/999 trick could help us out here.

    I stand by my previous opinion, that we need to outlaw the practice and not try to impose limits on it.



    Yes, this certainly becomes a problem. But at least a redeeming factor is that the "free" gold won't go to the player but to other AIs. But of course you could then set up gpt deals with them and get it via proxy... So yes, I agree this is a problematic case. Maybe we should outlaw it as well? Meaning that if you want to declare and cancel a gpt deal, you had better do it immediately.

    I do see a big difference, in that you don't actually take something from the AI in case (b) except virtual (promised) money, not actual money as in case (a). But as you pointed out above, that can indeed be bad enough, if he uses that virtual money to sign deals with others.

    I doubt we'll get the source code or any some such. But even so, it's not really a bug. For instance if you were paying gpt+luxury for a luxury from the AI, and cut your own luxury, do you still think the whole trade shouldn't be cut?
     
  8. AutomatedTeller

    AutomatedTeller Frequent poster

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Messages:
    7,540
    Location:
    Medford, MA
    oh - I had thought that the 999 number was the base commerce and wouldn't change, but it clearly isn't - given that, I would agree that there is little chance of knowing what the actual amount is.

    I've never seen the AI move the lux slider above 0. I think the reason it uses clowns is because score is figured on happiness, so clowns will maximize score.
     
  9. Beorn-eL-Feared

    Beorn-eL-Feared Idiot riding pedals

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Messages:
    5,781
    Location:
    R³ x T's nbhd of North singularity
    Whatever the wording, I strongly think this needs a ban. Not only for the gold spurring from the trees part, for the intent as well.
     
  10. civ_steve

    civ_steve Deity Retired Moderator GOTM Staff

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Location:
    formerly Santa Clarita, California
    I've had a lot of family engagements this weekend, so I'm a little delayed in getting back to this topic.

    Lanzelot has pointed out a possible strategy where the player could be providing gpt to Civ A, and manipulated it so that he's receiving the gpt back through another civ. Result is the player could cut the gpt going to Civ A, still gain the gpt but not have direct gpt payment from the civ getting crippled. I've also been getting PM's about other similar manipulative strategies, and there's been some GOTM Staff discussion going on as well. A general rule to apply here is very difficult to formulate; there are very many similar tactics, and some have been acceptable for a long time.

    Key to the rule must be that the AI not be forced into a negative gpt status through intentional actions of the player, or through actions or lack of actions that the player knows are highly likely to establish the negative gpt status. This is likely caused due to gpt being provided to a Civ by the player, and that gpt then being cut by whatever reason. I'm coming around to the view that when the player makes deals providing gpt to a civ, they must be made with the intention of seeing them through. One exception - when an AI is moving units into attack position and the player buys a Tech from the AI for gpt; however, the player may not make a Remove Demand in this case; the AI has to Declare War freely.

    I'm thinking that a player providing any significant amount of gpt to an AI Civ should have an idea of that Civ's 999 number. If the gpt is cut, the earlier 999 number should be compared to the current value; if it's ratio is higher than a certain value, the player must restore gpt to balance it, or gold to equalize the difference. Note - in this case the player might not be receiving any gpt from that civ!

    Also, the player is not responsible for an AI going into negative gpt through interactions with other AI, assuming the player isn't attempting to manipulate this status. Under no circumstances may a player attempt this to occur.

    I'm thinking the ratio might be about 2:1; if the post-gpt-cut 999 value is less than half of the pre-gpt-cut value, the player must restore to that ratio. This is just a generic estimated value, to give the player some responsibility for cases where the gpt is cut through non-intentional and non anticipated actions. The player still must intend to carry the gpt trade for 20 turns when made.

    Just some more thoughts - are we getting any closer?
     
  11. Lanzelot

    Lanzelot Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,935
    Location:
    Heidelberg
    No, I think we are going in circles...

    Ok, seriously, here's some more input: during my preparation for COTM43 I've been studying SirPleb's excellent article about his Sid level HOF game. Here I stumbled over a very interesting piece of information, which has been reported by SirPleb and confirmed by Arathorn. Here is a summary of the findings in my own words. The original information is a bit scattered across the entire thread.

    SirPleb noted that at some point in his game the AIs were no longer able to offer him gpt for techs. Later he attributed this to the fact that the AIs were running a negative income because of their excessive amount of units, for example an AI with 18 cities had a military force of 1300 units, which would require something like 1000gpt just for unit upkeep:

    Arathorn added some more information he gained by spying out AI cities:

    So it looks like even without "evil manipulation" by a human player the AI on Sid level sometimes goes into negative income all by itself!! And even on a large scale: they run at minus 1000gpt, pay for it with one unit (which is no problem for an AI that easily produces 10 or more new units each turn...) and happily research away at 60%... These observations have a couple of implications:

    • At Sid the AI is doing heavily, what the GOTM rules have forbidden: running a large negative income. So shouldn't it be allowed to the human player, at least on Sid?!
    • They may even be doing it on their own account, whithout being "Emsworth manipulated" by the human player, so can EAs really be called an exploit?! And can we allow something for Sid and ban it for the other levels?
    • If an AI is running such a large deficit, and we are gifting it let's say 500gpt, they will still be broke, so we still won't be able to sell them anything for gpt... That means on Sid EAs may be worthless...!
    • I see a problem with the following proposition by civ_steve:
      Let's assume the 999-method shows something like 50gpt for an AI. We make a deal with them which includes 100gpt from our side. Shortly after that the AI decides, it does no longer care for having a positive income, and pushes the tech slider up to 60% and starts producing like 50 units per turn. A couple of turns later they are at minus 1000gpt and then our deal gets canceled (non-intentionally). We check their 999-value again and get a big shock... :eek: This rule would then make us pay for their entire unit upkeep and research expenses! This can't be your intention, civ_steve... :lol:

    I think it's becoming more and more hopeless, the longer we think about it... Why not simply reward the human player's "creativity and inventivness" and give us as much freedom in our trading with the AI as possible?
    If we just put a rule into effect that prevents exponential growth via "iterative EAs", most of the sting would be taken out of the exploit. I think, we should setup a clear-cut definition of what EAs are, like the one given by Niklas, perhaps modified to include trade embargos as follows:
    Cheers, Lanzelot
     
  12. civ_steve

    civ_steve Deity Retired Moderator GOTM Staff

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Location:
    formerly Santa Clarita, California
    Me too! :crazyeye:

    I've seen it at other levels and very early on in the game.
    • No. The AI follow their programming, which leads them to this state. The player will abuse the privelege if given.
      Yes, EA's can be called an exploit. The player uses a series of trades to lower the AI's BGN (999 value) artificially. The AI increases it's costs vs the BGN to go negative, a consequence of the decreased costs at higher levels.
      That would resolve the argument for this game at least!
    Very extreme thinking, Lanzelot, which is what this discussion requires! :) However, the BGN only shows the gpt coming in, the positive side of the equation; the increased unit costs will force the overall economy of the AI to be negative, but not show up in the BGN value. If the 999 value is the AI's BGN, it shouldn't be directly affected by any increase in the 'expense' side of the ledger. But it can be indirectly affected if the AI decides to adjust it's slider (if it has more libraries than marketplaces, changing the Science rate will change the BGN.)

    The difference in the BGN should be mostly due to the loss of gpt the player was providing. The player would only be responsible if the amount of gpt being given to the AI was excessive - in this case, it would have to account for more than half of all incoming gpt before this limit is reached.

    I'm trying to make this as simple as I can. There are far too many examples of how to get gpt from the AI that are marginally to incredibly exploitive, and I'd rather have the GOTM focus on improving player's abilities to do smart strategic play, not see who can take best advantage of the exploit of the month!

    I think the easiest way to do this is to make a rule that 20 turn deals should be entered into with the full intention of them lasting 20 turns. They should never be terminated directly by the player, and if they do terminate early the effect on the AI should be determined, and if needed, remedied for the remainder of the term of the deal. One of the few allowable exceptions is the case where the AI is about to attack and player pays gpt for Tech; in this case the AI has to declare freely to absolve the player of the gpt deal. In the general case of giving gpt to the AI, this should usually be no problem since the deal was entered into with the expectation of paying the gold; at worse case you'd pay the remaining term. (This is a change to what I said before; clearly the player can not be expected to pay more than they would under the original trade deal.)
     
  13. I. Larkin

    I. Larkin Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2003
    Messages:
    4,404
    OK, I decided to see how EA works in COTM43. Now I know, why Steve smiled...
    At Sid level "system" protect itself from EA...
    I think 50% fair enough. HoF's are using 100%...
    I also reconed, that if AI have more than 999 gpt, 999 trick shows 999, or 999999...
    So may be fair to assume that human income from AI must not be larger, then 999 gpt.
     
  14. Elear

    Elear Aux armes citoyens

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,185
    This is ridiculously simple. Why can't we all just do this?

    Now, if you pay huge GPT for a tech, force war in some way, and get relieved of your payments, then there SHOULD be a rep hit, and no AIs will want to trade for your GPT anymore. This is a big penalty, and why many SGs have rulesets around honorable play to preserve reputations.

    If you force war to get out of a deal, then you will get a rep hit and you can continue on. But you should never do it purely to exploit the AIs.

    It all gets a little confusing at this point, because I don't see WHY anyone needs to use this techinque at all. There are countless other tactics that are purely just that: tactics. Take the beachhead for example. Get a big stack of defenders. Maybe a few armies. Rush barracks and walls. Deal with the AI stacks by bombarding and moving your units deliberately and cautiously. Slowly advance when you start to be able to take the advantage.

    Let's go back to the basics, the core elements that sets games apart. REX...micromanaging, tech trading, city building, war strategy. Not the obscure deal manipulations to utterly destroy the essence of each AI.

    Of course, there will be those who make the argument that to have truly great games, record-breaking games, you have to think 'outside the box' and advance with complex exploits (that such people will call clever strategies).

    I guess I fall in the 'Niklas' camp, so to speak.
     
  15. Lanzelot

    Lanzelot Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,935
    Location:
    Heidelberg
    The more I think about this, the better I like my original proposition, perhaps modified like this:

    "In a deal which includes a resource, a millitary alliance or a trade embargo, the human player is not allowed to pay the AI more than the AI demands."

    This would clearly put an end to all those kind of tricks, which involve getting the money back via "proxy AIs" or by provoking the AI into canceling the deal itself, or which try to damage the AI without actually getting the money back (e.g by just waiting until they have spent it and then canceling the deal). It tackles the problem at its root, namely the point where "artificially bloated" money is injected into the system.
    In addition it would have a couple of advantages:
    • It still allows us a wide variety of strategies which do involve breaking a deal, but in a non-exploitive manner
    • The rule is easy to formulate and (hopefully) hard to bypass
    • We don't need to use inconvenient extra measures like checking stuff via the 999 method and comparing against earlier values
    • It would still allow us to gift money to an AI, if we want to set him up as a "research partner" or help him to put up a better fight against a common enemy. We just would have to give him that money in a "non-breakable" deal (one which does not include resources/alliances/embargos).
    • We don't need to worry about having to pay something without getting anything in return. Just consider the following not so unlikely scenario:

      A super-power declares war on me, and as don't I want to receive the full blow of their attack, I buy a millitary alliance with one of their stronger neighbors. I really try to get the cheapest deal, but they won't help me for less than 50gpt. Sometime later I get a tech which they don't yet have, and as I urgently need some cash, I sell it to them. Again shortly after that the super-power surprisingly is willing to negotiate and would accept peace for a small tribute. As this seems the best option for getting out of this war unscathed and staying alive, I gladly accept, even though this pisses off my former alliance partner.

      This scenario is no exploit in my opinion. My trading partner got the tech and is paying the fair price for it, I paid my fair amount of money while the MA was active and while he was helping me in that war, and now that he is no longer obliged to help me, I'm no longer paying. And I got the reputation hit for breaking the MA, that I rightfully deserve.

      Under my rule this would be perfectly legal, because I refrained from that point which makes it an Emsworth Agreement: injecting extra money into the system. Under your rule, however, I'm afraid I would possibly have to pay some kind of remedy to my former alliance partner. Even though no EA was intended at any point, and even though I only chose those actions, which seemed most appropriate for my overall strategy at each point.

    Ok, but now I'm finally off to start COTM43...!!! :eek:
     
  16. I. Larkin

    I. Larkin Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2003
    Messages:
    4,404
    In this scenario you will get sever MA reputation lose, after that nobody will make MA with you for gpt. As you will be penalised by "system" badly it is not exploit at all.
     
  17. Chamnix

    Chamnix Chasing Time

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    8,941
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    That is quite a dramatic change in the rules, but I think I like it :thumbsup: (although it’s a little late for the current Sid game :shifty:). Many previously allowed exploits perfectly valid strategies will obviously be caught up by that rule: techs for gpt then declare, fake peace treaties to gain a couple cities before redeclaring, RoP abuse(?), etc.

    It certainly has the advantage of being simple and probably easy to check for – the player’s reputation should be clean at the end of the game, and it seems likely that one of the gurus here would know how to find that in the save file. If the reputation is not clean, it doesn’t necessarily disqualify the game, but the player should be able to explain what happened (maybe make it required to keep a save from right after you notice your rep has been shot).

    I think it seems like a preferred way to play. I abuse the heck out of the AI in my XOTM games because I assume at least some of the competition will as well, but I think requiring a clean rep (or an explanation of how it wasn’t your fault) is worth implementing at least on a trial basis. It sounds like more fun to me!

    In my opinion, it is no big deal not to have record-breaking games in the GOTM – we’re not really competing against past games as we are in the HoF.

    I have to admit, I like this rule as well if we want to ban Emsworth Agreements but keep the ability to abuse the AI by breaking deals. There may be a couple minor loopholes in it (I think Niklas and PaperBeetle found some potential ways around it), but I think they are rare enough that it won’t be that big a deal. The main problem is that really the penalty for a blown rep in civ is not nearly big enough to compensate for the amount you can gain through dishonest dealing so I like civ_steve’s proposal a bit more :D.

    Under civ_steve’s proposal, you really have to think twice before signing in your alliance partner – is it better to fight alone but be able to get out sooner, or to have an ally and have to fight for 20 turns? It is a tougher decision compared to either fighting alone or possibly blowing your rep – it’s almost always going to be better to blow your rep since playing with a trashed rep is not usually that significant (especially since it only blows your MA rep as I. Larkin posted).

    It certainly makes the game harder for all, but as long as the playing field is level, I think that’s OK.
     
  18. PaperBeetle

    PaperBeetle Emperor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,660
    Location:
    London
    Also disallowed would be making alliances and embargos with the purpose of discouraging your friends (i.e neighbours and resource-trading partners) from allying against you during the course of a war which you think you can finish in less than 20 turns. I would consider such deals to be totally within the spirit of honourable play, though I didn't read the RBC ruleset recently.
    And no more klarius-style peace+alliance deals, made in the expectation of war happiness. Not really honourable, but very much recommended practice in the current GOTM style.

    I'm not saying we should rule out changing to honourable play, but it really would be a huge difference to the 'house' style around here.
     
  19. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    4,263
    Location:
    Check Six!
    In perusing this thread it became clear to me that I missed out on some things here in the forums... I was not aware of "Emsworth Agreements" and the like until I came across this thread after submitting GOTM 73. To be frank... some of the discussion makes my head hurt. :)
    I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. I dunno if it can be made into a workable rule or not...and I don't particularly care if it's made into a rule or not. I'll keep playing the way I play. Middle of the pack, stiff uppper lip, and all that. :D

    Though I'm pretty certain that I did something along the way to bust my rep in GOTM 73, it wasn't intentional. I try to keep my reputation intact every time I play the game.
     
  20. Niklas

    Niklas Fully Functional GOTM Staff

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    10,290
    Location:
    57°47'55"N 12°09'16"E
    I may be tired right now, but I can't see any problems at all with the rule Lanzelot proposed. And the reason I think I may be tired is that it seems so obvious that I wonder why none of us came up with it until now if it really is so good. :crazyeye: ;)

    Seriously though, while I agree with Chamnix that playing with a pure reputation could be a healthy injection into our corrupt community (;)), I'm not sure I'm ready to take that step. So many things, even very simple and seemingly innocent things, would have to be unlearnt. So I must say I like Lanzelot's suggestion more. :D

    Oh yeah, there is of course the loophole that when your MA rep is thrashed, the AI will still accept gpt payment but in rather ridiculous numbers. That could be an avenue into bloating the system, but it should be simple enough to ban as a corollary though.

    Ok, I guess I'm beginning to regain my conciousness. Consider the scenario where you and the AI both have a monopoly tech, and you could get a straigh one-for-one deal. Instead you choose to buy his tech for the ridiculous luxury+gpt price he asks, then sell him your tech for the gpt back, and cut the luxury route. You didn't pay more than the AI was asking, but you've still bloated the system quite badly.

    Yeah, I'm tired, I don't know what to think anymore... :lol:

    EDIT: Changing my mind again, I do know what to think - I agree completely with Elear. We all know what it's about, so why don't we just outlaw Emsworth Agreements and be done with it??
     

Share This Page