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Foreign Affairs/Military/Treaty discussion


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@vcczar @Cal @ConservativeElector2 @jvikings1 @Arkansas Progressive @themiddlepolitical @Rezi @Hestia @10centjimmy (and anyone else who wants to weigh in)

As you guys no doubt saw on the playtest, President Butler recently lost multiple wars, but @Cal saw that the punishment for passing the losing treaties was much worse than the penalty for just ignoring them (as ignoring them negatively impacted meters that were already at their lowest level) -- so he just ignored the treaties.

Smart play!  But not very historic.

I'm working on the foreign affairs rules today anyway, so it's a good time to rethink how the military and/or treaties work.  As I see it, a couple options:

1)  Wars last forever, until you pass a treaty.  The wars become more and more painful (-incumbent party preference, -revenue/budget, maybe -domestic stability if the war lasts long enough) to increase the pressure of bringing the war to a close.  Maybe Skirmishes only require that you win one more battle than you've lost, minor wars require 3 more wins than losses, and major wars require 5 more wins than losses, to get the "win" treaty.  Otherwise, you're getting the White Peace treaty.  And if it's the opposite (major war, 5 more losses than wins, etc) you're getting the losing treaty.

2)  Keep it as is, but make the penalty for ignoring treaties worse?  Like -5 party preference...though even that would have done nothing here as they'd already maxed out their negative party preference.

3)  Make the treaties automatic.  Can't be delayed/ignored by the Secretary, and can't be rejected by the Senate.

Separately, I'm also considering making the length of each military phase less predictable.  Right now, you can look at the chart and know whether there's any chance of you losing the war within this two-year period or not.  Maybe change that so that there's say a 50% chance of fighting another battle after each previous battle in a war.  Or roll a 6-sided die and fight that many battles.  Something like that.

I open the floor to your thoughts.

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3 minutes ago, MrPotatoTed said:

@vcczar @Cal @ConservativeElector2 @jvikings1 @Arkansas Progressive @themiddlepolitical @Rezi @Hestia @10centjimmy (and anyone else who wants to weigh in)

As you guys no doubt saw on the playtest, President Butler recently lost multiple wars, but @Cal saw that the punishment for passing the losing treaties was much worse than the penalty for just ignoring them (as ignoring them negatively impacted meters that were already at their lowest level) -- so he just ignored the treaties.

Smart play!  But not very historic.

I'm working on the foreign affairs rules today anyway, so it's a good time to rethink how the military and/or treaties work.  As I see it, a couple options:

1)  Wars last forever, until you pass a treaty.  The wars become more and more painful (-incumbent party preference, -revenue/budget, maybe -domestic stability if the war lasts long enough) to increase the pressure of bringing the war to a close.  Maybe Skirmishes only require that you win one more battle than you've lost, minor wars require 3 more wins than losses, and major wars require 5 more wins than losses, to get the "win" treaty.  Otherwise, you're getting the White Peace treaty.  And if it's the opposite (major war, 5 more losses than wins, etc) you're getting the losing treaty.

2)  Keep it as is, but make the penalty for ignoring treaties worse?  Like -5 party preference...though even that would have done nothing here as they'd already maxed out their negative party preference.

3)  Make the treaties automatic.  Can't be delayed/ignored by the Secretary, and can't be rejected by the Senate.

Separately, I'm also considering making the length of each military phase less predictable.  Right now, you can look at the chart and know whether there's any chance of you losing the war within this two-year period or not.  Maybe change that so that there's say a 50% chance of fighting another battle after each previous battle in a war.  Or roll a 6-sided die and fight that many battles.  Something like that.

I open the floor to your thoughts.

I'm thinking treaties automatic. It's a good opportunity to speed up the game, even if in a miniscule way. Maybe in AMPU 2 I can create a way to cobble together a treaty, but that would probably involve changing AMPU from phases to month-to-month base or something, since you need back and forth on a treaty.

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1 minute ago, vcczar said:

I'm thinking treaties automatic. It's a good opportunity to speed up the game, even if in a miniscule way. Maybe in AMPU 2 I can create a way to cobble together a treaty, but that would probably involve changing AMPU from phases to month-to-month base or something, since you need back and forth on a treaty.

I prefer option 1 as it's more realistic, I think...but option 3 would certainly be the easiest to implement.

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I saw an idea where treaties are constantly being negotiated behind the scenes, and eventually after so many phases it is automatically presented to the Senate. Every loss makes the treaty worse, every victory makes it better. Depending on the length of the war and the treaty, you still get all of the domestic and points impacts of the war. If the Senate/President decides not to ratify, they take a hit in party preference and the war continues another phase. The risk here is that the treaty might not be better next legislative phase. You could have lost more battles. Or you could win some and flip the treaty. If you add in unpredictability to the wars, then this might be a good option. 

I don't know how difficult to program it would be for Anthony though.

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You read my mind! I was planning a similar brainstorm. 

I like #1 and #3. #3 might be easier for the sake of moving a game along. 

A separate idea I was mulling over gives the secstate "something to do". As follows, with a fake war:

1.  During the Presidential actions, President Lizard declares war on England (War of 1812, no Canadian invasion). The existing requirements are standard, and we'll say it requires 8 ground victories,  5 naval victories while a loss means 10 losses on ground and 7 at sea. 

2. The foreign affairs phase begins and the relevant battles take place. 

3. Foreign phase continues with a "negotiation component" where the secstate and relevant ambassador (in this case UK, but in unrelated non-native conflicts it is the highest admin) begin treaty discussions with the opponent. Based on their cumulative admin levels and other relevant skills, the requisite number of victories increases (cumulative admin total < 5), or decreases (total > 7). This only happens once at the beginning of the conflict or if the ambassador dies/retires/is replaced,  then the number of battles is adjusted accordingly.  Changing secstate does not alter the negotiations. 

During the foreign phase,  there is also a 5% chance to determine if increasing potential number of losses to avoid defeat or shrinking number of losses (the percentage (this can be weighted positively with the geostrategic and egghead traits, or negatively with low brow and disharmonious for either ambassador or secstate).

4. Conflict continues and as the war moves forward, as mentioned the number of requisite victories only changes with new ambassador. The 5% chance on necessary losses does fire each foreign affairs phase.

5. Once finally battle is won (or lost) in FA phase, the relevant treaty is developed and submitted to the Senate for approval.

6. Senate votes up or down to confirm treaty. If the senate chooses not to accept the treaty, all senators who voted nay receive electoral penalty for 4 years and factions lose 100 points. The senatorial majority offices each lose 200 points,  electoral penalty for 8 years,  and party preference moves in the opposite direction +1 (if at max, party leader receives electoral penalty for 8 years). Domestic stability drops by 1. Every term that the treaty is not approved, these penalties are added on cumulatively. 

7. If Senate approves treaty, it goes to President for signature and the standard penalties and bonuses apply. President is required to sign treaties. 

Happy to build this out or make penalties more reasonable/stringent!

Edit: For white peace, there is a 33% chance every foreign affairs phase that the sec state will be prompted with a white peace treaty. The sec state has the opportunity to accept and submit to senate.  If the Senate chooses to not accept the white peace, there is no electoral penalty but budget and or domestic stability can decrease by 1. There is no penalty for secstate to refuse the white peace treaty, unless they have "integrity". Then there can be a 50 point loss to faction and secstate loses that trait. 

 

Edited by 10centjimmy
Added white peace
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If we did go option 1, maybe something like...

(In two year increments)

First phase: -1 Revenue/Budget (First two years of war)

Second phase: -1 Revenue/Budget, 25% another -1 Revenue/Budget, 25% -1 Party Preference (2-4 years of war)

Third phase: -1 Revenue/Budget, 50% another -1 Revenue/Budget, 50% -1 Party Preference, 25% -1 any country we're not allied with (4-6 years of war)

Fourth phase: -1 Revenue/Budget, 75% another -1 Revenue/Budget, 75% - 1 Party Preference, 50% -1 any country we're not allied with, 25% -1 domestic stability (6-8 years of war)

Fifth phase: -2 Revenue/Budget, -1 Party Preference, 75% -1 any country we're not allied with, 50% -1 domestic stability, 25% another -1 Revenue/Budget, 25% another -1 Party Preference (8-10 years war)

Sixth Phase: -2 Revenue/Budget, -1 party preference, -1 any country we're not allied with, 75% -1 domestic stability, 50% another -1 Revenue/Budget, 50% another -1 party preference,, 25% chance of another -1 to any country we're not allied with  (10-12 years war)

Seventh Phase: -2 Revenue Budget, -1 party preference, -1 any country we're not allied with, -1 domestic stability, 75% another -1 Revenue/Budget, 75% another -1 party preference, 50% another -1 to any country we're not allied with, 25% another -1 domestic stability. (12-14 year war)

Eighth Phase; -3 Revenue/Budget, -2 Party Preference, -1 any country we're not allied with, -1 domestic stability, 75% another -1 to any country we're not allied with, 50% another -1 domestic stability, 25% a fourth -Revenue/Budget, 25% a third -party preference (14-16 year war)

Ninth Phase: -3 Revenue/Budget, -2 party preference, -2 any country we're not allied with, -1 domestic stability, 75% another -1 domestic stability, 50% a fourth -Revenue/Budget, 50% a third -party preference, 25% a third -any country we're not allied with (16-18 year war.)

Tenth Phase; -3 Revenue/Budget, -2 party preference, -2 any country we're not allied with, -2 domestic stability, 75% a fourth -Revenue/Budget, 75% a third -party preference, 50% a third -any country we're not allied with, 25% chance of a third -domestic stability (18-20 year war)

Etc.  So the lingering effects of the war get worse and worse until you either get the big win, give up and accept neutrality/defeat, or wreck your country over your stubborn refusal to quit.

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10 minutes ago, Willthescout7 said:

How long have wars been lasting on average during the playtest? I think there should be 1 or two phase cushion to allow for actual fighting. Maybe 2 phases (4 years) and after that we start talking massive penalties

That’s a good question. I’ve made the min/max # of phases based on the historical length of battles, estimating also how easy or difficult it is to pass through those phases.  
 

One option I have is to just have battles and a range of time a battle might last and the result is based on the % of wins or a decisive victory. Let me see if @MrPotatoTedthinks this would be an improvement to how it is working on the playtest. 

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I have a question for options 1 and 2, say President Butler refuses to sign a treaty and end the war with a loss, would the new Blue President be able to choose between signing the treaty immediately and trying to actually win the war, or at least snatch a stalemate from the jaws of defeat? If the war's already lost, and it's just a question of who we lose it under, I think these options offer limited utility. But if a new administration could hold the option of trying to turn the tide, I think there's a strong argument to keep that on the table.

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1 hour ago, Willthescout7 said:

How long have wars been lasting on average during the playtest? I think there should be 1 or two phase cushion to allow for actual fighting. Maybe 2 phases (4 years) and after that we start talking massive penalties

We've had six wars so far.

Revolutionary War: Roughly 1776 - 1784 (8 years).  I could see maybe making an exception to the "war gets more and more painful" for this war or maybe even any invasion where surrender means game over.

Northwest Indian War: 1786 - 1798 (12 years), won.

Barbary War: 1798 - 1804 (6 years), lost.

War of 1800:  1800 - 1804 (4 years), won.

Invasion of Canada: 1800 - 1804 (4 years), lost

Invasion of Brazil: 1800 - ?

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If option 3 is chosen, there should be options for treaties that historically were not accepted by the Senate (Versailles vs the generic treaties without the League of Nations for instance; that's extremely rare but would allow players to have some choice so they aren't shoehorned into accepting the League of Nations without choice in this example)

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Thanks everyone for your feedback! 

Merging it all together, I'm thinking...

1) Treaties are automatically proposed in the next legislative session when they're won or lost.  (White Peace can be proposed by Sec of State prior to winning or losing, but not after)

2)  Senate votes to confirm treaty.  Failing to confirm can cause backlash against Senate Majority Leader AND can renew the war.

3)  Keep military phase largely as is, but with a 50% chance of whether to do more battles after the first two.

I'm open to further discussion on this, just where I am right now.

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Automatic treaty proposals seems like the simplest option, though there were a couple things I wanted to chime in on-

-To use the scenario currently playing out in the playtest, if Butler is replaced by a blue president and the blue president signs the "defeat" treaty, is blue going to suffer all of the penalties despite basically the entire war taking place during Butler's term?  I could understand that happening if the blue president chose not to sign and prolonged the war, but it seems weird if the red team can deflect the penalty by just waiting out the term and leaving blue with the brunt of the consequences.

-Like you mention in the OP, part of the issue seems to be that once things like domestic stability and party preference reach their worst level possible, the incumbent has nothing to lose by doing things that would have driven it down even further, which doesn't make a lot of in-universe sense- if the nation were in "open rebellion" at 1 domestic stability, the last thing any politician would be thinking is "Well, at least it can't possibly get any worse!".  Just to spitball some ideas, maybe there could be some sort of penalties added for when a score would drop but is already at the minimum, like it starts causing other scores to drop?  Or maybe things that could cause a game over have a chance of shortening the timer- for instance, if domestic stability is at 1 and would drop, there's a 50% (or some other percentage) chance that the amount of time before a game over drops from 8 years to 6?  Not sure how feasible this is or what the best specific solution is, but it feels like the treaty controversy is partly just a symptom of this issue and that it's likely to cause similar problems with other aspects of the game, so I figured I'd give my thoughts and see what everyone else thinks.

 

Edited by Largo833
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On 4/15/2022 at 11:58 AM, MrPotatoTed said:

Thanks everyone for your feedback! 

Merging it all together, I'm thinking...

1) Treaties are automatically proposed in the next legislative session when they're won or lost.  (White Peace can be proposed by Sec of State prior to winning or losing, but not after)

2)  Senate votes to confirm treaty.  Failing to confirm can cause backlash against Senate Majority Leader AND can renew the war.

3)  Keep military phase largely as is, but with a 50% chance of whether to do more battles after the first two.

I'm open to further discussion on this, just where I am right now.

I would also penalize the senators that vote against the treaty, placing blame on the folks unnecessarily prolonging a won or lost war. 

I'd also throw in the previous suggestion on more engaged ambassadors/secstate, but understand if that opens up too many issues.  

Edited by 10centjimmy
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