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 Beginners guide to Diplomacy mechanics

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Zedar
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PostSubject: Beginners guide to Diplomacy mechanics   Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:39 pm

Beginners guide to Diplomacy Mechanics.


Parleys are the most important aspect of Diplomacy. Almost every quest or activity that you carry out will at some point involve Parleys with one or more NPCs.

The Diplomacy Tutorial Quests (which every Diplomat has to carry out at the start of their career) should teach you the mechanics of how to play cards, and teach you all about expression and how to use it during a Parley.

This page will present a lot of the same information, plus provide guides on deck selection and card play.

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The Mechanics:


Adding cards to your Deck
Before you start a Parley, you must set up the Deck of cards that you will use from those currently available to you. (see Deck Selection for details on how to select which cards to include in your deck).

To see what cards you have available you should open your Abilities window (be pressing P on your keyboard) and then clicking on the Diplomacy Tab:



You can click the [Back] and [Next] buttons to view more pages of cards that you may have available. Click the [Strategy] button to see the current cards in your strategy tray. It will look like this:



To add cards to your Strategy Tray you should just Drag and Drop them from the Abilities window to your Strategy Tray. You can also Drag and Drop cards within the Strategy Tray to rearrange them.

If you drop a card on top of another card in your Strategy Tray, the other card will be picked up and can in turn be placed elsewhere. If you do not want to place the card, drop it outside the Strategy Track, or just start a new Drag operation from the Abilities window. (You can 'drop' your chosen card anywhere in the Strategy Tray slot. If you try to actually line up the card graphic with the edges of the Strategy Tray slot it doesn't actually work. Put the upper left corner of the graphic inside the slot for the best results when dropping cards.)

You can move the Strategy Tray around on screen using the small deck icon in the top left of the tray, and you can close it using the small cross icon in the top right.

The Strategy Tray will open and close automatically when you start a Parley if it is not already open.

Important: Once you have started a Parley you cannot change your cards.

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The Gameboard and how to play a card:

Once you start a parley the gameboard will open along with the strategy tray if it's not already open.




On the left of the Gameboard you will see the opponents cards when they are played at the top, and your cards when you play them at the bottom.

The middle of the gameboard shows the expression pools for your opponent at the top, and for yourself at the bottom. From left to right the expression pools are "Demand" (red icon ), Reason (green icon ), Inspire (blue icon ), and Flattery (yellow icon ). Each pool can have from 0 to a maximum of 10 points in it. For interview parleys [] all pools are active, but for Entertain [], Gossip [], Incite [], and Convince [] type parleys one of the expression pools will be blocked to both the player and the NPC.

The right side of the Gameboard shows the Parley Indicator on a vertical track at to top of which is displayed the number of Dialogue Points the opponent has, and at the bottom is displayed the number of Dialogue Points that you have. The amount of Dialogue Points you and your opponent have is regulated by the difference in level between you and your opponent. The Parley Indicator can move from a maximum of 10 points in your favour (at the bottom of the track) to a maximum of 10 points in the opponents favour (at the top of the track). Every time the Parley Indicator is closer to one side than the other, the number of Dialogue Points on that side will go down by one, and the first to reach zero wins the Parley. If the Parley Indicator is on zero (middle), then neither sides Dialogue Points will decrease.

When it is your turn to play a card, just click on the card you wish to use in your Strategy Tray. They card will then be displayed in the lower left of the Gameboard. Note: If the card has an Expression Cost that you cannot afford, or it is otherwise not ready to play yet an error message will be displayed and the card will not be displayed on the Gameboard.

Once you have selected that card that you want to play, click the [Speak] button. (Or just double click the card in your strategy deck) The opponent will then play a card. If you cannot play card (or if you choose not to play a card), then you can click the [Listen] button.

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How card play affects the gameboard:

Each card that you play has two main effects on the gameboard.

  • Points can be added or subtracted from both you and your opponents expression pools.
  • The Parley Indicator can be moved upwards (in the opponents favor) or downwards in your favor.


By examining the cards you'll see how they display all of the information that you need to see how they will affect the gameboard.



The number displayed in the top right of each card is the amount of Influence a card has; the number of points that the Parley Indicator will move. If the Influence number is positive then the Parley Indicator will move towards your side of the Gameboard. If the Influence number is negative then the Parley Indicator will move towards the opponents side of the Gameboard.

If there are any figures displayed against the word "Cost", then you must have at least the number of points in the corresponding Expression Pools in order to be permitted to play that card. When you play the card, those points are then subtracted from your Expression Pool.

The next row of numbers shows how many points will be added to or subtracted from the opponents Expression Pools. In the case where the card subtracts expression from an opponent, it is possible to play the card when the opponent has less than the designated number of points. When you do that, their pool will be reduced to zero. An expression pool cannot have a negative number of points.

Below that is the number of points that will be added to your Expression Pools.

Finally, in the bottom right of the card is the Refresh Indicator. This tells you how many turns you must play before the card can be played again. e.g. 3-3 indicates that you must make exactly 3 other plays before the card can be played again, and 1-3 indicates that you might have to make as few as 1 or as many as 3 other plays before you can play this card again.

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Special Clothing and the Start of a Parley:

As a reward for one of the Quests that are part of the Diplomacy Tutorial Quests, you will have been given a pair of gloves that you can wear that will place a single point of expression in one of your Expression Pools at the start of a Parley. Which pool the point is added to depends on your Race. e.g. Races whose Racial Expression is Demand are given gloves that provide one point of Inspire.



These are very powerful since you can use them in conjunction with an Evaluation that you will also have been given in the Diplomacy Tutorial Quests that gives you 2 points in your Racial Expression, and 1 point to the same Expression Pool as the gloves give, e.g. Blunt Evaluation



This provides you with enough expression to play two Assertions.
If you engage in Civic Diplomacy Parleys, you will occasionally be rewarded with Information, which can be exchanged for Diplomacy Gear. Civic Entertain Conversations can sometimes reward a Recipe that can be used by a Crafter to create Diplomacy Gear. Some of the Crafted Diplomacy Gear will move the Parley Indicator to your side at the beginning of the Parley. This can be a significant advantage.

Finally, Writs provide gems that can be made into a customizable mask that can add points to your Expression Pools and/or move the Parley Indicator to your side at the start of the Parley. See Mask Rewards for more information.

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Deck Selection:

Before you start a Parley, you must select which cards you are going to use.

Which cards you pick can make the difference between you wiping the floor with your opponent or them doing the same to you!

Before selecting your deck, you should look for information elsewhere on this wiki to see if someone has Parleyed with the NPC before and knows what cards they have.

If there is no information available you will have to guess what sort of cards they might have available to them and plan accordingly, or try to set up a fairly general deck that you think should hold up well against most opponents. See Predicting an NPC's Deck for more assistance with this case.

When selecting your deck, the main things you need to do are:

When selecting your deck, the main things you need to do are:

  • Don't feed them the expression they need for their Assertions
  • Use as much of the expression they give you as possible
  • If possible: Steal any expression they generate for their big Assertions


Selecting Assertation Cards:

Suppose the opponent is feeding you a lot of Demand and you have the following cards which you might include in your deck:


If the opponent uses Demand or Flattery then you would not want to use Flurry of Arguments, and if they used Reason or Inspire, then you would not want to use Think Fast or Aggressive Statement.

A classic example of this problem can occur if an opponent needs 3 points of expression to play an Assertion that gives them 5 points of Influence. If they only have an Evaluation that gives them 2 points, then they need to play that twice before they can play their Assertion. If you play an Assertion that gives them the 1 point they need, then they get to play their 5 Influence Assertion much earlier in the Parley than they would have done otherwise.

Sometimes an opponent will feed you small amounts of several different types of expression. When that happens you will not be able to play cards that cost large amounts of one type of expres​sion(unless you use your own Evaluations and Repeals to create it). Instead you should look for cards that you have that use several expression types to fuel them:



A lot of the time the opponent won't actually be feeding you all of the expression you need to play these cards, so you will need to use your own Evaluations to fill in the gaps.

Selecting Repeal Cards:

If the expression you are being fed is either one that you cannot use or where the cards you do have available will give the opponent expression they need, you might use a Repeal instead to convert that to an expression that either scores you more points when played, or does not give the opponent expression that they can use:



Be careful though as using a Repeal obviously introduces a delay into your play during which the opponent might be scoring points and keeping the Parley Indicator on their side

Selecting Rebut Cards:

Rebuts can be a very powerful tool in your arsenal as they steal the expression that the opponent needs for their Assertions. There are most useful when the opponent makes significant use Evaluations to fuel its Assertions. Since the opponent has to wait a whole turn between generating the expression they need and using it: you can step in an steal it.



Again, depending on the nature of the Assertion the opponent is trying to play, it may sometimes be better to let them play it. This can happen if their Assertion will give you Expression that you can use to fuel an even bigger Assertion on your turn.


Selecting Evaluation Cards:

Selecting which Evaluations to include in your deck can be a difficult decision. The problem is obviously that most Evaluations will also feed the opponent the expression they need, or alternatively move the Parley Indicator towards their side of the gameboard.



You will rarely encounter Parleys where you will not need to use at least one Evaluation. Sometimes you will use them to generate all of the expression you need and at other times you will use them to enhance the expression the opponent may be feeding you. Whichever is the case you need to look carefully and such things as the Recast time and which expression that card may be giving to the opponent.


Last edited by Zedar on Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:18 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Beginners guide to Diplomacy mechanics   Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:28 pm

Selecting Comments:

Comments are quick hitter cards which can move the Parley Indicator in your direction without requiring you to have any expression to fuel them.



Unfortunately they feed the opponent large amounts of expression. If you can restrict this to expression that they cannot use, or where they only have low scoring Assertions, this will help.

In some Parleys it can be useful to play a Comment on the first turn of a Parley and then never play it again for the rest of the Parley

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Playing your cards:

Playing your cards during a Parley has a lot to do with timing. Sometimes you have to wait until one of your cards is ready to play, or you might even choose to wait until just after an opponent has played a particular card.

Then of course you have situations where you could play several cards and choosing the right one can make a big difference.

Suppose an opponent has the following two cards in its deck:



And assume you have these cards:



If the opponent has 2 points of Demand, and you have 1 point of Demand and 2 points of Inspire, then clearly you must play Crafty Allusion. Of course that assumes that the opponent is not also waiting to get some Flattery, in which case some other card might be better, or even just Listening for that turn.

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Opponents Strategies:

Comment Storms:

Comment Storms occur when an opponent uses a deck consisting almost entirely of comments.

With this sort of deck you do not normally need to worry about what sort of expression you feed to the opponent (although some NPCs include the odd Assertion in their deck to catch you out).

The strategy for dealing with these sorts of NPCs usually consists of two parts:

  • Using every last drop of expression they throw at you;
  • Generating extra expression of your own to speed things along.

This is all about bringing out your big Assertions and using Repeals and extra Evaluations to maximize the amount of expression you have available to fuel them.

Misers:

A Miser is an opponent who uses a deck that gives you very little (or even no) expression that you can use to play your cards.

With these sorts of opponents you virtually have to generate all of your own expression so you will be making good use of Evaluations and Repeals. Rebuts will also come in handy to slow down the opponent.

Theives:

A Thief is an opponent that uses cards that can steal your expression preventing you from playing your cards.

These are very tricky opponents as they can completely block your ability to play your Assertions.

Some of the time the only thing you can do is not use that expression and build your strategy around assertions that use an expression that they cannot steal.

If their Rebuttals cost them expression to use, then you may be able to steal that expression from them, but you must be very careful not to feed them the expression at the wrong time.

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That's it! Now you know more than I ever did when I started diplomacy! Good luck!!

*Information quoted from the Diplowiki at VGTact
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