This is how I’ve heard people talk about Diplomacy. “I played Diplomacy with six friends once, and they are no longer my friends.”
Anyone who’s ever played (or seen played) the board game Diplomacy, which was released in 1959, will be completely unsurprised by this. Collaborative-competitive games like this seem to almost inherently stress interpersonal relationships; people just take backstabbing personally, apparently. (I’ve literally had friends strain friendships over Diplomacy. Fortunately nobody permanently estranged over it, possibly because everyone had the sense not to play more than once.)
The analysis here is interesting and insightful, though. A nice find!
Collaborative-competitive games like this seem to almost inherently stress interpersonal relationships; people just take backstabbing personally, apparently.
Some people just don’t have the emotional maturity to not take things personally. I find that the very same people also take criticism and disagreements personally too, they get very emotional when you disagree with them.
Games like these are great for teaching people to not sweat the small stuff and don’t take things personally.
I know really mature people who have had friendships come under immense strain thanks to games of Diplomacy. It’s a game that incentives lying to peoples faces & then stabbing them in the back. When someone lies to your face & then when you do what they ask they completely take advantage of you & leave you in the dust in a game, it’s inevitable that you’re going to ask whether they would do the same thing to you in the rest of the world.
In many ways, the so-called real world is a game. We treat games as real because they are abstractions of the real: if someone stabs you in the back in a game, they’ve still stabbed you in the back! Hard not to take that personally.
(This is one of the reasons for the rise of “euro-style” board games, which try very hard to minimise these kind of negative interactions between players in order to make the games a positive experience for all the players.)
When someone lies to your face & then when you do what they ask they completely take advantage of you & leave you in the dust in a game, it’s inevitable that you’re going to ask whether they would do the same thing to you in the rest of the world.
The answer is, they would.
If they had to choose between lying so you come to their house with a deranged madman waiting to kill them or not doing that and having their children hostages killed, they would choose you dying.
People need to realise that a friendship is no different from an alliance in a board game, it is a relationship of opportunity. When circumstances change, they are up for renegotiation. The simplest example is high school. A lot of people think they will stay BFF with their HS buddies but they won’t.
People want to delusion that friendship is forever, but all evidence point to the contrary.
You can justify whatever you like with a carefully constructed Trolley problem. Which makes them kind of uninteresting as a basis for discussion frankly.
Yeah, totally agree re: trolleys.
However, what’s interesting about this one is it so closely mirrors the work environment. Combining efforts to achieve a plan, a plan which you commit to and then is out of your hands. Sharing information behind the official lines, helping each other out with gossip and rumour, making sure credit for an idea actually gets spread around. That’s a game, of sorts.
So you don’t need to invoke deranged madmen … just the regular opportunistic company internal crap.
I don’t agree with the tone of your post, but I also don’t think you should be downvoted for it.
Folks, especially new users, remember that downvotes should be used only if people are being uncivil or factually incorrect.
This is not HN, we don’t downvote just because we disagree with someone.
This is interesting since I’ve played loads of Diplomacy and even written a Diplomacy implementation in Python (http://www.metapaw.co.uk/projects/metapaw-dip/) but I’ve never witnessed people falling out over backstabbing. Perhaps my playing partners (and they’re pretty much always the same people) are so super-logical they don’t interpret backstabbing personally at all.
This is genuinely awesome: guy creates game, but the game isn’t really the game. The real game is the meta-game that goes on around the game, or even the meta-meta-game.
Especially because he dropped his game into a population who were already “game-savvy” - some of the players would have pretty much instantly realised the need for counter-spies & propaganda for instance, and started working on those goals right from the start. So the meta-game metastasised and took over the office in no time flat.
I’d love to see some suggestions for ways to change the game that would make it a more positive experience.
This is like the Stanford Prison Experiment of game design.
I have to disagree.
In the Stanford experiment, the people were split into two groups with one group having power over the other.
In this game, all players are equal before the game rules.
It’s not literally the SPE as a game … both cases, though, are minimalist experiments which trigger specific problems with human group behaviour. A bit like when you put in a bug report about a library, and you delete all the surrounding code and leave just the part which triggers the bug. Anyway, an interesting article.
I love this talk. It’s a very good story of how powerful time investment can be. I have played with idea of introducing this game to my software engineering class, to see if it would be so crazy with them, but haven’t done it yet.
I have played a game of diplomacy without a lot of strained relationships from it, but the game ended in a 4-way draw, so one could argue that I hadn’t played the real thing.
Any lobsters want to play some Neptunes Pride? The similar game that was mentioned in the talk?