The Dictator

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Re: The Dictator

Postby natty dread on Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:57 pm

My experiences with regards to playing with dictators are quite slim, but I have to say, even though I mostly enjoy playing my own game and making my own decisions in games, there's a certain attraction to being in a team of a very competent leader. When I was last in a 2.1 quads game with Fruitcake, it was like watching an unstoppable avalanche... it was like watching a skilled magician, you know there's a trick to what he does, but it still looks amazing.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Crazyirishman on Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:28 pm

I think I have more or less along the same line of thought as Denise. Sometimes it is just fun to take a free ride every once in a while and watch a game unfold (or in a clan game where I use myself as a filler with other people that know the map well), while most of the time I like being on near the same level as anybody else. I usually try to offer up thoughts every turn and if somebody has an idea different, then I have them "convince" me why I should go about things there way. Most of the time I am willing to budge if they explain their position. Then of course every once in awhile, I'll play trips on Battle for Iraq, then everyone should bow down and listen to my benevolent wisdom.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby BigBallinStalin on Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:48 am

Mr Changsha wrote:....
I would like to bring to fruitcake's attention what I felt was one of the key issues of my OP, the link between the dictator's pursuit of win percentages and the team's desire for points. I suppose one would hope that the dictator could find partners who had an equal regard for percentages. However, I reject this proposition as while the team are sharing in those, the actual responsibility for the win is due to the dictator. Therefore, the team can surely not take great pride in those results. Hence my determination that the dictator MUST provide points for his team to keep the team together. My point here of course is that if the dictator has a whopping great points total he will struggle to make points for anyone, unless he play with terribly low ranks. Yet of course there are dangers in playing with such players, no matter how well-meaning they may be. It seems to me that the logical conclusion is that the extremely high-ranked dictator must limit his gaming to, in the main, clan-wars. For here the team has another goal higher than mere points. They desire to WIN THEIR CLAN GAMES, to not let the side down etc etc. Here the high-ranked dictator can keep his team together (for example I play as a second for Fruitcake in BpB games). But I think in public games the dictator with a very high rank would struggle to keep his team together no matter his win percentages, as the team wouldn't be making any points.


First, I've been immensely learning from the heavy-hitting posts of this thread, so thanks everyone for contributing.


Second, in the above paragraph and generally throughout this thread, it sounds like you're describing not a dictator, but a captain of a pirate ship. The Pirate Captain is analogous to the OP; whereas, the Dictator is not.

From what I've read about Caribbean pirates, the captains were generally "benign dictators," some of whom were also harsh enforcers; however, the key to maintaining control was a tempered inclination to the advice of his seconds and also the ability to maintain profits for the crew (or points, in this case). Without maintaining the balance, the pirate captain was bound to fail, and this description of the pirate captain fits precisely your "dictator." Nevertheless, the real dictator enjoyed much greater chances of survival by dispersing the costs of his follies onto the governed through very different means, and this is hardly analogous to your "dictator," as shall be explained.

If a captain proved too demanding or unjust, and if his harsh rule was not offset by the marginal benefits (e.g. plenty of booty), then the captain would be threatened by mutiny, or if at port, desertion. In your case, mutiny is representative of people opting for another 1ic, and desertion is represented by your followers voluntarily leaving your command (or team/ship). The capability for the crew to overthrow the captain or to "vote with their feet" provided the captain the proper incentive to align his interests with his crews' interests.

The dictator faces different constraints and incentives than the pirate captain and the "dictator" of your OP. The real dictator enforces his rule by control over the military, which stomps out the incentive which would have aligned the interests of the dictator with the interests of the subjects. The dictator can simply beat down dissent with his army of goons--and usually gets away with it, more so than the pirate captain, because the costs of overthrowing a dictator are vastly greater than overthrowing one captain and his fraction of loyal mates. The dictator hides behind his armies and fortifications; the pirate captain has a gun and sword, and so did his loyal mates, and so did the dissenters.

So, the incentives of the pirate captain are analogous to your "dictator," while the incentive of the real dictator in no way matches your title. Furthermore, the difference in the means may seem irrelevant to CC, but since the costs of resisting/deserting the pirate captain are closer to your "dictator" model, then this paragraph supports the pirate captain analogy more so than the significantly costlier dictator analogy.

In regarding to teaching, the dictator, and even the benign one, can simply ignore the advice of his seconds and make his fantasies reality (only in his mind) while continuing business-as-usual with little risk of mutiny or desertion, for the people and his 2ic are bound to obey the dictator and his other goons. Saddam Hussein comes to mind. The real dictator fails to teach for his word is truth, always. If anyone says otherwise, they're executed or given an amused smile and then blatantly ignored. This in no way represents the CC "dictator," or rather the CC pirate captain.

Another difference is related to the means of generating revenue. The revenues of the dictator are extracted from his subjects while hardly any revenues (or points) are distributed to the subjects. The dictator sometimes wars with other nations and collects profit, but most of his profit is derived from his people. Does Mr. Changsha extract the points of his teammates? I dare say he doesn't. Granted, "the people" don't apply to the Changsha "dictator" model, but without the people, the dictator analogy falls apart. With the pirate captain, profit is arguably derived from the crew (in the form of a relatively lower salary, or lesser benefits, e.g. food and rum), but in all actuality the profit or points are derived from the conquering of other ships--or CC teams, if you will. In this analogy, there are no governed/people, so the analogy holds more aptly in favor of the pirate captain.

Finally, the pirate captain operates in a competitive market for labor and capital; whereas, the dictator quashes the market and monopolizes the production and distribution of practically everything within his domain. Nevertheless, you may object that your "dictator" does the very same with your team because he controls their production and plots their every move. However, this would be based on a misconception because the pirate captain acts in this very capacity--but only for his ship, i.e. his firm, or "little pocket of socialism" in the market of piracy. The pirate's firm is representative of Mr. Changsha's crew. But still you may press ahead and argue that the dictator has a "firm" which operates in a market of governments, but this would be more analogous to ConquerClub in a market of Risk-based games. With this improper analogy, it follows that the dictator would control whole swathes of CC teams, kick out AndyD and lackattack, and simply force everyone to play rigged games with him and his cronies while effectively preventing the users from easily leaving conquerclub.com.


Therefore, Mr. Changsha, you're not describing the despicable dictator for you are truly describing the commendable Pirate Captain. I imagine that you are a man like me in certain respects. One of our mutual respects may be a quest for knowledge and truth in order to improve ourselves and to willingly lend ourselves as more useful to others. If not, then at the very least, I know you spend a respectable time creating an appropriate title. If I am correct in this judgment, then I humbly recommend you switch to a more appropriate thread title.


As always, I enjoy our discussions.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:35 am

BigBallinStalin wrote:
Mr Changsha wrote:....
I would like to bring to fruitcake's attention what I felt was one of the key issues of my OP, the link between the dictator's pursuit of win percentages and the team's desire for points. I suppose one would hope that the dictator could find partners who had an equal regard for percentages. However, I reject this proposition as while the team are sharing in those, the actual responsibility for the win is due to the dictator. Therefore, the team can surely not take great pride in those results. Hence my determination that the dictator MUST provide points for his team to keep the team together. My point here of course is that if the dictator has a whopping great points total he will struggle to make points for anyone, unless he play with terribly low ranks. Yet of course there are dangers in playing with such players, no matter how well-meaning they may be. It seems to me that the logical conclusion is that the extremely high-ranked dictator must limit his gaming to, in the main, clan-wars. For here the team has another goal higher than mere points. They desire to WIN THEIR CLAN GAMES, to not let the side down etc etc. Here the high-ranked dictator can keep his team together (for example I play as a second for Fruitcake in BpB games). But I think in public games the dictator with a very high rank would struggle to keep his team together no matter his win percentages, as the team wouldn't be making any points.


First, I've been immensely learning from the heavy-hitting posts of this thread, so thanks everyone for contributing.


Second, in the above paragraph and generally throughout this thread, it sounds like you're describing not a dictator, but a captain of a pirate ship. The Pirate Captain is analogous to the OP; whereas, the Dictator is not.

From what I've read about Caribbean pirates, the captains were generally "benign dictators," some of whom were also harsh enforcers; however, the key to maintaining control was a tempered inclination to the advice of his seconds and also the ability to maintain profits for the crew (or points, in this case). Without maintaining the balance, the pirate captain was bound to fail, and this description of the pirate captain fits precisely your "dictator." Nevertheless, the real dictator enjoyed much greater chances of survival by dispersing the costs of his follies onto the governed through very different means, and this is hardly analogous to your "dictator," as shall be explained.

If a captain proved too demanding or unjust, and if his harsh rule was not offset by the marginal benefits (e.g. plenty of booty), then the captain would be threatened by mutiny, or if at port, desertion. In your case, mutiny is representative of people opting for another 1ic, and desertion is represented by your followers voluntarily leaving your command (or team/ship). The capability for the crew to overthrow the captain or to "vote with their feet" provided the captain the proper incentive to align his interests with his crews' interests.

The dictator faces different constraints and incentives than the pirate captain and the "dictator" of your OP. The real dictator enforces his rule by control over the military, which stomps out the incentive which would have aligned the interests of the dictator with the interests of the subjects. The dictator can simply beat down dissent with his army of goons--and usually gets away with it, more so than the pirate captain, because the costs of overthrowing a dictator are vastly greater than overthrowing one captain and his fraction of loyal mates. The dictator hides behind his armies and fortifications; the pirate captain has a gun and sword, and so did his loyal mates, and so did the dissenters.

So, the incentives of the pirate captain are analogous to your "dictator," while the incentive of the real dictator in no way matches your title. Furthermore, the difference in the means may seem irrelevant to CC, but since the costs of resisting/deserting the pirate captain are closer to your "dictator" model, then this paragraph supports the pirate captain analogy more so than the significantly costlier dictator analogy.

In regarding to teaching, the dictator, and even the benign one, can simply ignore the advice of his seconds and make his fantasies reality (only in his mind) while continuing business-as-usual with little risk of mutiny or desertion, for the people and his 2ic are bound to obey the dictator and his other goons. Saddam Hussein comes to mind. The real dictator fails to teach for his word is truth, always. If anyone says otherwise, they're executed or given an amused smile and then blatantly ignored. This in no way represents the CC "dictator," or rather the CC pirate captain.

Another difference is related to the means of generating revenue. The revenues of the dictator are extracted from his subjects while hardly any revenues (or points) are distributed to the subjects. The dictator sometimes wars with other nations and collects profit, but most of his profit is derived from his people. Does Mr. Changsha extract the points of his teammates? I dare say he doesn't. Granted, "the people" don't apply to the Changsha "dictator" model, but without the people, the dictator analogy falls apart. With the pirate captain, profit is arguably derived from the crew (in the form of a relatively lower salary, or lesser benefits, e.g. food and rum), but in all actuality the profit or points are derived from the conquering of other ships--or CC teams, if you will. In this analogy, there are no governed/people, so the analogy holds more aptly in favor of the pirate captain.

Finally, the pirate captain operates in a competitive market for labor and capital; whereas, the dictator quashes the market and monopolizes the production and distribution of practically everything within his domain. Nevertheless, you may object that your "dictator" does the very same with your team because he controls their production and plots their every move. However, this would be based on a misconception because the pirate captain acts in this very capacity--but only for his ship, i.e. his firm, or "little pocket of socialism" in the market of piracy. The pirate's firm is representative of Mr. Changsha's crew. But still you may press ahead and argue that the dictator has a "firm" which operates in a market of governments, but this would be more analogous to ConquerClub in a market of Risk-based games. With this improper analogy, it follows that the dictator would control whole swathes of CC teams, kick out AndyD and lackattack, and simply force everyone to play rigged games with him and his cronies while effectively preventing the users from easily leaving conquerclub.com.


Therefore, Mr. Changsha, you're not describing the despicable dictator for you are truly describing the commendable Pirate Captain. I imagine that you are a man like me in certain respects. One of our mutual respects may be a quest for knowledge and truth in order to improve ourselves and to willingly lend ourselves as more useful to others. If not, then at the very least, I know you spend a respectable time creating an appropriate title. If I am correct in this judgment, then I humbly recommend you switch to a more appropriate thread title.


As always, I enjoy our discussions.
-BigBallinStalin


Well, I chose the title 'the dictator' on the basis of to what exent the leader of a team dictates the plays in a game. I actually agree with you that overall (in terms of the relationship between players) the team leader might well have more in common with the leader of some sort of gang, than the leader of a nation. However, this thread is about control of a strategic game and as I feel 'dictate' is the best word to describe what a genuine team leader does - though remember that I rejected that term due to my disdain for lower management - then 'the dictator' seemed the most apt. I would also point out that other contributors have been able to comfortably use the term, though Fruitcake felt compelled to introduce his 'benign dicator' (a distinction I basically reject) in an effort to express his own meaning as well as possible. Further, 'The Pirate Captain' while certainly evocative might have actually confused the message of this thread most terminally, leading to the surely horrendous prospect of various armchair generals trying to decide whether Blitzaholic had more in common with Long John Silver or Jack Sparrow. While this would surely trump the general quality of a GD thread these days, I am still unwilling for my own thread to degenerate in this fashion.... ;)
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Robinette on Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:59 am

I continue to be fascinated and intrigued by the dynamics of this thing you call team games...
I have even joined a team tournament thing to get a better feel for it...
Although, after reading this thread I can see that these 2v2 must have far less depth to them than trips & quads.


As for the terms being bantered about... dictator, captain, pirate, and others...
these bring to mind a framed print my daughter has in her bathroom which looks like this:

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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:37 am

There are players on Conquer Club who are actually far more powerful than 'mere' dictators. Or for that matter generally influential players like Denise. These are the players who manage the clan wars. They, to a greater or lesser extent, decide the combinations of players for numerous games at a time. During a clan war, they might well be monitoring 16 games or more and no doubt in some cases offering advice. It seems to be that we need yet another category of player, we need a term that can describe the kind of player who not only leads his own teams, but is able to influence others teams he is not directly involved in. This kind of player is, I would suggest, very rare indeed.

Is it possible to categorise the various kinds of team players with regards to influence? Well one can always try. So, in ascending order...

1. Random player in an equally random team. Such a player will lack the ability to either control his teammate's tactics or strategy. He is even unable to ensure that his own efforts (forts etc.) will culminate in a desired result.

2. Third under the guiding influence of a dictator. Neither responsible for either the general strategy of the team or even their own tactical moves. Able to suggest strategies that will at least be considered (unlike the poor random), but in practice will rarely do so. On the other hand, the player will be recognized as competent by the cc-world, for the ability to play out orders exactly and make battlefield decisions that will fit the dictator's wishes, is no small thing.

3. Low to mid. ranking reputation in a democratic collective. While this player is in control of their own moves, their capacity to actually influence the collective is more than likely not all that great. In effect this kind of player will still be following orders, for any good move is part of a wider plan. Nonetheless, this player should have more freedom to decide their general tactics than our third. Actually quite a close thing between the two.

4. Second under a dictator. Often able to actually direct a round or two or more, for if the second has the ear of the dictator, their exact strategy can be played out. This is most often seen when things have got sticky and the dictator is looking for ideas. On the other hand, whole games may go by with the second offering little more than tactical suggestions.

5. High ranking reputation in a democratic collective. While our high ranking democrat has control of their own tactics, and will surely have a strong influence on strategy, I am of the view that he or she is still competing with at least one other very strong voice. In a quads for example, it seems to me that such a player would actually see a great divergence from what they would ideally like to see, even within one round. Therefore, while their influence is greater than the second, there would surely be times when the second would leave a bigger footprint on the game. Nonetheless, no.5 has more influence.

6. The dictator. Much has already been said, but I would just reiterate that the dictator has almost complete control over both strategy and tactics, only relatively helpless once the dice are rolling for his teammates, though even then a dictator will often make his presence felt for key moves.

7. The warlord (surely acceptable BBS?) A player of superlative influence. Directing the composition of teams, watching all games his clan are involved in and influential enough to be able to offer strategies to numerous other dictators and high rankers as games are ongoing, these are the now the creme of the cc- crop. How many are there? 10?
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Re: The Dictator

Postby AndyDufresne on Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:32 pm

Ahoy.

I like the idea of Pirate Captain analogy, Argh, it was worth the read.


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Re: The Dictator

Postby BigBallinStalin on Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:37 pm

Mr Changsha wrote:
Well, I chose the title 'the dictator' on the basis of to what exent the leader of a team dictates the plays in a game. I actually agree with you that overall (in terms of the relationship between players) the team leader might well have more in common with the leader of some sort of gang, than the leader of a nation. However, this thread is about control of a strategic game and as I feel 'dictate' is the best word to describe what a genuine team leader does - though remember that I rejected that term due to my disdain for lower management - then 'the dictator' seemed the most apt. I would also point out that other contributors have been able to comfortably use the term, though Fruitcake felt compelled to introduce his 'benign dicator' (a distinction I basically reject) in an effort to express his own meaning as well as possible. Further, 'The Pirate Captain' while certainly evocative might have actually confused the message of this thread most terminally, leading to the surely horrendous prospect of various armchair generals trying to decide whether Blitzaholic had more in common with Long John Silver or Jack Sparrow. While this would surely trump the general quality of a GD thread these days, I am still unwilling for my own thread to degenerate in this fashion.... ;)


:lol: Very well. Carry on!



"Warlord"?

Eh, <cringes>, yeah, okay, Mr. Dicktator. :P


(Warlord, Lord of War, it's pretty good in that sense. I thought of "Demigod," but it might be more than they deserve, and it doesn't sound martial enough to me. They could be perceived as the demigods of young, male prostitutes, and we wouldn't want to soil their reputations like that. But maybe they would like to soil themselves in that manner, but who am I to judge?)
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Re: The Dictator

Postby catnipdreams on Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:25 pm

Mr Changsha, thank you for this thread. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts, and the varied responses your words elicited.

The dictator - a true leader, who can, if desired, dictate every move to the most minute detail, with complete cooperation and acceptance by the rest of the team... How rare is this type of player on CC?

In my experience, extremely rare. And an absolute joy (for me) to play with when I have been fortunate enough to find such a leader. However, the dictator must be a player of extraordinary strategic skill, with the ability to visualize outcomes several turns (and rounds) ahead. Communication is also key, as you have said. It is almost impossible to dictate every nuance of a turn, so the rest of the team must understand the plan, to fit their moves seamlessly into the whole. I don't see this as micromanagement; I see this as creating a masterpiece of fine art, with my contribution being small brushstrokes here and there, adding to and building upon the brushstrokes of my teammates, the organic whole of our joint creation being shaped and directed by the dictator. My enjoyment is derived from being a part of this creation, a part of a well played game, of seeing something unfold that I may not have been capable of creating on my own. Points and rank are (almost) irrelevant to me. The joy of thinking, feeling, being in the flow of the game, seeing the strategy unfold, is what keeps me here. Winning the game is nice, but poor dice can destroy any game. I accept this, and would not look askance at a dictator's less than perfect win record if it was due to the vagaries of the dice.

I also see players on a spectrum, or bell curve; the dictator is at the extreme end of the curve. Many people I play with fit somewhere between evenly balanced 50% alpha/50% beta, and the 100% alpha/dictator end of the spectrum. I am fortunate to team with top players; I can't actually think of anyone I team with regularly who is more beta than alpha. I don't know if this is because of the select group of people I team with, or if this is representative of the type of people who are drawn to CC. (Assuming there is an equal distribution of alpha and beta tendencies among a large random sample of people.)

The strategy for most of my team games is generally arrived at on a cooperative basis, with each player contributing ideas, and the best idea being selected for a given turn. This works well when all players on the team contribute frequently to team chat, are somewhat equally knowledgeable about strategy, and when individual egos can be kept in check. In practice, this is somewhat more challenging than it should be, and when a wanna-be dictator is added to the mix, disastrous. The entire team must have respect for the dictator, must clearly agree that the dictator's strategic vision is either equal to or superior to their own strategic vision, and must be able to willingly and wholeheartedly follow the dictator's lead. I don't know anyone who would follow a dictator simply because they want to be led by an alpha/dom. The relationship must be there, the respect for the dictator's superior strategy must be there. I am not actually all that convinced that the alpha/beta mix of an individual's personality affects the relationship with the dictator. I have seen very alpha personalities follow the lead of a dictator, because the alpha recognized the superior strategic vision of the dictator. Perhaps cooperation with a dictator is based more on the recognition of superior strategy, and the mature willingness to accept another's lead in this situation?

You describe the experience of being a successful dictator as "intoxicating"... Is this because you have controlled the actions of others, or is this because you have organized a group of individual efforts into a harmonious whole? There is imo a world of difference between having an obedient slave obey your every command, vs. a valued member of an orchestra, that you lead/control as the conductor.

You also say that you firmly believe that 3 active players simply do not work within the dictator model.

What is your definition of an active player? How does that player blend with the team? Does that player want a vote in the final result, and have a hissy fit if the play moves in a different direction? That would indeed be disruptive, and likely would lead to frustration for everyone. However, I am a great believer in getting as much input as possible for a given turn. We are all human, even dictators, and you have already acknowledged the value of an active, involved second in command. I think that all players, including the dictator, should be involved in the discussion about a move. Teaching/learning can occur if there is a large difference in strategic ability, catching errors can occur if there is a greater uniformity of skill level. The ultimate authority is the dictator, but why not have the dictator evolve and grow as well, perhaps learning something from the (seemingly) basic question asked by the most beta of teammates?

I respectfully disagree that dictators inherently take responsibility away from the team members. When playing on a team with a dictator, one can certainly simply "take orders" and play mindlessly, but why do that? I guess that could be the player who is only interested in points. That to me is sleepwalking through the CC experience in a near coma. I am 100% agreeable to following the lead of a dictator that I have decided to allow to dictate to me, however, I take responsibility for my moves. Unless I am exhausted or rushed for time, I always look at move strategy, and make my own comments as I see fit. I could care less if the move is done my way or another way, as long as the move is done the "best" way. Perhaps this is why I am fine with playing on a team with a dictator - I have no ego need to be in charge. Does this make me a beta/sub? Perhaps, perhaps not. Perhaps I have not actually played on a team with a true dictator, having simply encountered super strong alphas?

Fascinating subject - I hope more folks add constructively to this thread!
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:23 am

catnipdreams wrote:Mr Changsha, thank you for this thread. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts, and the varied responses your words elicited.

The dictator - a true leader, who can, if desired, dictate every move to the most minute detail, with complete cooperation and acceptance by the rest of the team... How rare is this type of player on CC?

In my experience, extremely rare. And an absolute joy (for me) to play with when I have been fortunate enough to find such a leader. However, the dictator must be a player of extraordinary strategic skill, with the ability to visualize outcomes several turns (and rounds) ahead. Communication is also key, as you have said. It is almost impossible to dictate every nuance of a turn, so the rest of the team must understand the plan, to fit their moves seamlessly into the whole. I don't see this as micromanagement; I see this as creating a masterpiece of fine art, with my contribution being small brushstrokes here and there, adding to and building upon the brushstrokes of my teammates, the organic whole of our joint creation being shaped and directed by the dictator. My enjoyment is derived from being a part of this creation, a part of a well played game, of seeing something unfold that I may not have been capable of creating on my own. Points and rank are (almost) irrelevant to me. The joy of thinking, feeling, being in the flow of the game, seeing the strategy unfold, is what keeps me here. Winning the game is nice, but poor dice can destroy any game. I accept this, and would not look askance at a dictator's less than perfect win record if it was due to the vagaries of the dice.

I also see players on a spectrum, or bell curve; the dictator is at the extreme end of the curve. Many people I play with fit somewhere between evenly balanced 50% alpha/50% beta, and the 100% alpha/dictator end of the spectrum. I am fortunate to team with top players; I can't actually think of anyone I team with regularly who is more beta than alpha. I don't know if this is because of the select group of people I team with, or if this is representative of the type of people who are drawn to CC. (Assuming there is an equal distribution of alpha and beta tendencies among a large random sample of people.)

The strategy for most of my team games is generally arrived at on a cooperative basis, with each player contributing ideas, and the best idea being selected for a given turn. This works well when all players on the team contribute frequently to team chat, are somewhat equally knowledgeable about strategy, and when individual egos can be kept in check. In practice, this is somewhat more challenging than it should be, and when a wanna-be dictator is added to the mix, disastrous. The entire team must have respect for the dictator, must clearly agree that the dictator's strategic vision is either equal to or superior to their own strategic vision, and must be able to willingly and wholeheartedly follow the dictator's lead. I don't know anyone who would follow a dictator simply because they want to be led by an alpha/dom. The relationship must be there, the respect for the dictator's superior strategy must be there. I am not actually all that convinced that the alpha/beta mix of an individual's personality affects the relationship with the dictator. I have seen very alpha personalities follow the lead of a dictator, because the alpha recognized the superior strategic vision of the dictator. Perhaps cooperation with a dictator is based more on the recognition of superior strategy, and the mature willingness to accept another's lead in this situation?

You describe the experience of being a successful dictator as "intoxicating"... Is this because you have controlled the actions of others, or is this because you have organized a group of individual efforts into a harmonious whole? There is imo a world of difference between having an obedient slave obey your every command, vs. a valued member of an orchestra, that you lead/control as the conductor.

You also say that you firmly believe that 3 active players simply do not work within the dictator model.

What is your definition of an active player? How does that player blend with the team? Does that player want a vote in the final result, and have a hissy fit if the play moves in a different direction? That would indeed be disruptive, and likely would lead to frustration for everyone. However, I am a great believer in getting as much input as possible for a given turn. We are all human, even dictators, and you have already acknowledged the value of an active, involved second in command. I think that all players, including the dictator, should be involved in the discussion about a move. Teaching/learning can occur if there is a large difference in strategic ability, catching errors can occur if there is a greater uniformity of skill level. The ultimate authority is the dictator, but why not have the dictator evolve and grow as well, perhaps learning something from the (seemingly) basic question asked by the most beta of teammates?

I respectfully disagree that dictators inherently take responsibility away from the team members. When playing on a team with a dictator, one can certainly simply "take orders" and play mindlessly, but why do that? I guess that could be the player who is only interested in points. That to me is sleepwalking through the CC experience in a near coma. I am 100% agreeable to following the lead of a dictator that I have decided to allow to dictate to me, however, I take responsibility for my moves. Unless I am exhausted or rushed for time, I always look at move strategy, and make my own comments as I see fit. I could care less if the move is done my way or another way, as long as the move is done the "best" way. Perhaps this is why I am fine with playing on a team with a dictator - I have no ego need to be in charge. Does this make me a beta/sub? Perhaps, perhaps not. Perhaps I have not actually played on a team with a true dictator, having simply encountered super strong alphas?

Fascinating subject - I hope more folks add constructively to this thread!


Is it the raw power I find so intoxicatIng? The opportunity to lead intelligent people into battle with the capacity to intervene in even the most microscopic of decisions? Is it that basic alpha drive for dominance that drives me? Absolutely not. I get no pleasure from the actual ordering around of my friends. I think this is actually proven by the simple fact that I have kept this team together for four years. If I really did get pleasure from bossing them all about like my minions, would anyone think they would have continued to enjoy playing on my team? Of course not.

My team knows that what I find so intoxicating is seeing my strategic vision played out. Few things make me happier and I am extremely lucky to be able to say that I have friends nice enough to help me do that. Your first main paragraph describes that feeling perfectly. Those times in the mid.game when things are looking a bit tricky, and one is able to see 6 moves ahead to prosecute the situation (dice willing), and the orders are written, the moves are played to perfection, and the scene one visualized has transpired...that is intoxication.

As I have written, I see communication is absolutely key. I need to discuss my moves. So many of my best plans have been formed when in conversation. Ideas are thrown out, analysed minutely and finally I will come to a decision. I find it is at these moments that I can most often see furthest into a game. Therefore, my second is most often living close by. The advantage of being able to sit down over a coffee and dissect a move...I am far less of player away from my regular team for that reason.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Crazyirishman on Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:33 pm

So in essence Mr C, you enjoy playing the trips game and seeing it play out as if you were red, blue, and green, making it a more complicated type of 1v1, just with more nuances and possibilities than a regular 1v1 (assuming the other team has a dictator as well).
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Re: The Dictator

Postby MudPuppy on Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:14 pm

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Re: The Dictator

Postby AndyDufresne on Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:01 pm

Crazyirishman wrote:So in essence Mr C, you enjoy playing the trips game and seeing it play out as if you were red, blue, and green, making it a more complicated type of 1v1, just with more nuances and possibilities than a regular 1v1 (assuming the other team has a dictator as well).

I am not sure if this is the case for Mr. C, but I am curious if he would get the same feelings from playing in a '1vs1 Team Game' I.E. where say 1 person controls '3 in-game team players' and the other person controls the other '3 in-game team players.' Since this isn't yet a feature (though I keep wanting to see it!), it might be hard to gauge.


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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:23 pm

AndyDufresne wrote:
Crazyirishman wrote:So in essence Mr C, you enjoy playing the trips game and seeing it play out as if you were red, blue, and green, making it a more complicated type of 1v1, just with more nuances and possibilities than a regular 1v1 (assuming the other team has a dictator as well).

I am not sure if this is the case for Mr. C, but I am curious if he would get the same feelings from playing in a '1vs1 Team Game' I.E. where say 1 person controls '3 in-game team players' and the other person controls the other '3 in-game team players.' Since this isn't yet a feature (though I keep wanting to see it!), it might be hard to gauge.


--Andy


I would surely play that new setting if it ever arrived (personally I doubt it will), but I would always play TEAM games as they were meant to be played. I think my words have to an extent elicited the belief that I need to, or get some enjoyment from, bossing others around..or that I see my teammates as mindless machines bending to my will and almost irrelevant to the overall result.

When the simple truth is that I believe, at least for me, that the dictator model is the most effective. My team also believe that. When I play outside my team I am looking for a dictator to lead ME. I know I've written many a thread which might not be considered a reasonable representation of my views, but in this case - hand on heart - I really do believe that this model is the most effective way to play team games. Maybe not the most enjoyable for everyone (for that depends on one's character), but surely the most effective.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby _sabotage_ on Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:10 am

I often open, attack opponents next to to go or two in a critical position and reinforce my teammate as well as the options allow. I often find new players, or in some cases, very experienced players doing some weird shit.

In team games I think a basic theory of play is needed.

Hit their player to go next.
Reinforce your teammate next to go.
Target one of their players if possible.

That's more or less it for one team against another.

If its a multi team game, I usually just need them to stop attacking so fucking much.

I often find the most difficult concept to get across is to reinforce the next in line, don't waste troops on neutral or in general, and bonuses aren't that great if your losing troops because of them. I think everyone should have basic understanding of the settings that are being played.

It's usually easiest to get your team to target a single opponent over other strategies. This often opens up sharing of troops. On the other hand, it's often as not that a player will go rogue perhaps just because you try to lead.

We choose the games we play. In a team game there should be a team not a group of individual players. As long as the person is playing a team game, I'll leave them be. But if there is 2, 3, or 4 of us just sitting there like we fishing, I will propose a plan. and I promise you that the plan might be pure and utter shit, but if executed in a coordinated prompt fashion, it could win the game.

We also choose or offer ourselves as a choice of teammate. If we join a game with a general, most of us would probably expect to take cues from him. Equally if someone much lower in rank joins you, he should hope for some advise.

In general, I would assume my opponent has the best possible team strategy and want to put forth a better one. Regardless of leadership, it requires communication, coordination and timing. Change the name to MC and you get a + 1.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:19 pm

How often do players evolve into Dictators / Pirate Captains / Master Communicators? Or is it less based on gathering experience, and more based on innate personality traits possibly developed outside of CC?


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Re: The Dictator

Postby Viceroy63 on Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:37 pm

I think that a better title for this thread would have been, "The Mark of a True Leader!"

While there are many leaders, there really are but few, True Leaders. The OP mentions many of the qualities of a TL but not all of them. For example; A TL must have a hunger for understanding that is never satisfied. The TL realizes that in helping others to gain more understanding, his/her own understanding is increase and with the increase understanding and knowledge so is the pleasure of the conquest as well. While at the same time realizing that it is not so much the conquest or end result but the Journey to that desired end where in the joy truly lies. Giving meaning to the saying, "I love it when a plan comes together!"

True leaders tend to dictate so as to show and to make their point. For while most of us only learn from our mistakes the TL learns from the errors of others as well as their correct plays. We see the logic and the flaws, the wisdom and the fallacy and hope that others can see it also. So we tend to push the correct way of doing things in the hopes that others can see the logic in what we know is true. But the fact is that the vast majority will not learn less they go through the process of loss first and then some never even learn from that. And yet it is difficult for the TL to see others learn from the costly errors of their own ways. And sometimes even more saddened when others can't learn from the correct example provided. A heart felt cause for discouragement in the soul of a TL.

Yet nothing in comparison to the onslaught of negative emotions brought on by those who can not at this time understand. So they target true leaders for early elimination thinking that they have out witted the TL when shear numbers of envious leader wannabees were the real cause of the TL's undoing. The price paid for being a TL is always a cross too heavy for a regular leader to bare. But the TL wears it well and carry's on.

This is why a TL may appear as a dictator to most and why the TL may even lash out at others who can not, of no fault of their own, come to that same knowledge and understanding at this point in time. This is why a TL may often get more discourage than most but the desire to increase in understanding brings the TL back each day to try again for this above all, to his own self is true. And this follows the night as the day for they are slaves to no man. For the True Leader knows that if he/she is not teaching, then they are not learning. And if they are not learning then they are not really, True Leaders.

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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:21 am

Having continued to ruminate over this issue for no small amount of time, a question began to form in my mind. It concerns the employment of strategy at its most fundamental level and I intend to test it out over the next couple ofmonths.

So here it is:

Imagine my trips team is playing that standard, disorganized type of outfit I have been encountering on first nations NA. As the dictator I allow myself two options. In the first place, I can lead my team as usual..setting the plays from 'central command' and considering the overall strategic picture. Or, I can announce to my chaps (right from the beginning), "play as you feel best".

My theory is that with option 1, one of the three will become the dominant force (with possibly a second minor force and a third irrelevance). While in the second, all three will naturally create their own empires into the mid.game.

I checked through my previous wins and found that almost always one of the three players became an overwhelming dominant force. Interestingly, it was a fairly even split between the first and the second as to who became the dominant force, while the third incredibly rarely took on that role. That is important im itself. So it seems to me that the dictator model works in that sense.

But then just recently I played a trips game and was going through one of my disinterested periods. I had an incredibly light touch over the first 3 rounds. And what did I find when I finally paid attention to the game? All three players had created nice little empires for themselves.

So I speculate that the dictator model leads to a 'dominant player scenario', while the independent command is more likely to result in three viable empires.

From there, I naturally began to wonder if in some situations it would be optimal for the dictator to actually call for independent play for a couple of rounds, but still of course be able to dictate when he chose. But in what situations/styles/maps etc would option two be preferable?

This seems very complicated to me indeed.

I have always felt that one of the key principles of good strategy is unpredictability. I have numerous methods when I play standard or 8 man dubs...it is important to have this as well in trips and quads. So I am naturally attracted to a concept like this. For how can the opposition read my play if i am switching between a dictatorial model and an independent model within in the same game? Or maybe I play the first in a set as a dictator and the second using the independent command?

So, is one model more suitable than another in certain situations?

If i am playing a fellow dictator which should I use?
If I am playing on a large, medium-sized or small map?
If I am behind on round 3?
If the map is bonus-driven or territory based?
If the opposition has played me before?
If it is a new map?
If it is one I am familiar with?

Finally, what do you think of the concept of SWITCHING between models? How effective would that be?
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Re: The Dictator

Postby thegreekdog on Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:10 am

I admittedly didn't read every post here, so I caveat what I'm about to type with that.

If the ultimate goal in a team game is to win, one would assume that teammates would look to the most skilled player to direct their actions (I believe Changy referred to points as #5 on his list of five reasons for dictators, I believe points is likely numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 as well). I digress. In the real world, if one wishes to succeed in a customer or client service line of business (for example law or accounting or engineering), one necessarily defers to those who have more experience, talent, and/or skill. This is a natural occurrence if a team wishes to be successful. For example, if I am in a meeting with a client regarding the reduction of their overall tax liability through planning in order to win work from the client, I will certainly not interject my thoughts on a tax technical item when someone with more experience, talent, and skill is in the room. We are more likely to win the work if the person with the most experience, talent, and skill talks about his or her area of expertise than if I interjected my own opinion, however valid that may be. There are likely many more examples of this phenomenon in real life.

In most CC games, I will defer to other players. I'm submissive, to borrow Mr. C's term, in CC games because my expertise in that area pales in comparison to those with whom I play games. Therefore, those of you who may be offended by Mr. C's use of certain terms, which imply a lack of assertiveness, shouldn't be. When my teammate has spent more time, energy, and intellect on the play of this game, I will defer to that teammate so that we can reach our ultimate goal of winning points. And that happens in real life too.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Funkyterrance on Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:13 pm

Perhaps the reason your "subjects" don't know what to do when you leave them to their own devices is because they don't get enough chance to think for themselves. I'm really not buying this thread as much more than misplaced ego puffing and don't find it terribly insightful. Sorry.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:27 pm

Of course you are well within your rights to claim my writing is not insightful. I do not doubt for a second that much of my writing on this game fails to enthuse the majority of people who read it. I accept that happily...like so many of my threads on this game I write them because I enjoy discussing Risk.

But ego-puffing? This I reject. It is a simple fact that I have led my team in a certain fashion since 2008 and am therefore qualified to write about the viability of this command structure. This thread has absolutely nothing to do with how well my teams play, it is analysing the effectiveness of various structures that can be employed for team games. That my team play is some way below the top level I have never hidden, though I continue to play team games in an effort to improve. Sadly (though perhaps inevitably) the very best players tend not to share their thoughts on strategy all that much. However, I have always believed there is value in discussing the game to improve our collective understanding and while every thread of mine in this area elicits at least one comment such as yours, you will be unsurprised to know that it doesn't affect my continuing determination to write about this game at a level beyond 'look at how many medals I got'.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Robinette on Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:01 am

if there is going to be a medal for "ego-puffing", perhaps it should go to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.....


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wait wait wait... i have a better one...

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Okay,,, enough fun and games...
since i know nothing about teams games, i now return this thread back to you...
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Funkyterrance on Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:55 am

Dearest Mr.,

I myself have enjoyed a number of your threads and appreciate the fact that you take the time to formulate your ideas on here.
However...
The opening post of this thread gave me the willies. Maybe it was the overall tone that started my discomfort but it was your portrayal of the other players as mere hungry objects I found most disturbing. But perhaps this is the true mark of the dictator, to view your subjects as sheep to be forever puppeted?
But back to the point...
If not inflated ego, delusion of grandeur? These facets of dictating that you offer, while interesting and even possibly intriguing to the right person, are not nearly as profound/complex as you suggest. Is this all not ego-related?
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:48 am

Funkyterrance wrote:Dearest Mr.,

I myself have enjoyed a number of your threads and appreciate the fact that you take the time to formulate your ideas on here.
However...
The opening post of this thread gave me the willies. Maybe it was the overall tone that started my discomfort but it was your portrayal of the other players as mere hungry objects I found most disturbing. But perhaps this is the true mark of the dictator, to view your subjects as sheep to be forever puppeted?
But back to the point...
If not inflated ego, delusion of grandeur? These facets of dictating that you offer, while interesting and even possibly intriguing to the right person, are not nearly as profound/complex as you suggest. Is this all not ego-related?


Not to be too pithy about this, but everything is ego-related...

Secondly, while you are absolutely entitled to view my writing as facile junk, I hope you don't expect me to get into a 'my writing is SO insightful'...'oh no it isn't...' type of debate. I have no intention (for perfectly obvious reasons) of doing so. I take the risk that when I write these things people will respond negatively (assuming I don't want them to as I sometimes of course do), I happily accept that. However, I do expect you to argue your case better than you did in your first post.

So your posts are effectively personal attacks, designed to either get me into an argument or troll this thread in some fashion. You accuse me of 'delusions of grandeur' and no doubt having the ego the size of a medium-sized country. Ok. But what on earth do you expect me to write back with? How can I argue constructively against you if your post is limited to these kinds of attacks? You write that this issue is not as complex as I make out. Yet you make no attempt to justify that argument. My threads are designed (usually) to provoke debate. Your post is designed to offend. Ok, but don't imagine I will comment further unless you actually add something constructive to this thread beyond 'you have a big ego'.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby JBlombier on Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:55 am

In response to the OP, I've got to say that I agree. It's just that I think there are a lot more people on CC who aren't true dictators, but are a dictator from time to time.

Example: When I play a game with my clanmates on Rail Europe, quads, escalating, I kind of (in my own civilized way) demand that my ideas will be followed. This is because I'm quite certain that I have the best ideas on those settings and I win pretty much every game. But for almost every other setting, I'll be active in chat, but not dictating anyone. Simply, because I might miss something others won't and I might see things others won't. This would be your regular old discussion game, which usually goes fine as well (although with a lower win percentage).

I believe there are more specialized players here who will take a dictator-like position in a game, when they feel it is necesarry. The thrill of leading your team to victory because of the precise following of your plans is not to be underestimated. They just want to have some more relaxed games as well, where they can follow a plan and write a plan when they feel like it.
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