The Dictator

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The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:08 am

I thought long and surprisingly hard about what the title of this thread should be. I was initially tempted by 'The General', but that is of course a rank here and this thread is not about rank. I considered 'The Team Leader' and while this is a term that is actually used on CC to denote what I am writing about, it has disturbing connotations of the terrible grind of lower management, and that horrendous occupation has nothing to do with my topic at all. But as my mind wandered around my theme and I considered some of its key elements, I became increasingly convinced that 'The Dictator' was the most fitting. For I want to write about the kind of player here (of which I am one) who truly leads his team. The kind of player who, if he or she wants to, can dictate every single deploy, attack, advance and fort. The kind of player who has a team which will implicitly accept this level of direction. I suspect these kinds of players are actually very rare here. My aim in this thread is to demonstrate why this kind of player is such a rare character within this virtual existence I have always called CC Land.

Surely the first order of business for our budding Mao is to actually form their team. This might seem easy enough, but actually it is rather a challenging thing. Let me give you an example: an ambitious new player decides they want to join the ranks of the CC dictators. He invites two other players to join him, selects a suitable map and waits for the opposition to join. Over night they do and as our hero switches on CC and checks his games he finds to his horror that two moves have already been made. Things have already gone terribly, terribly wrong. Why? Because if the team wins our wannabe leader cannot claim the credit, he didn't set the opening. If the team loses, then the leader's record - and this is absolutely key - has taken a hit. Nonetheless, through the first game our man demonstrates a certain amount of domination of chat, he has proven himself at least an important voice in the team. So for the second he makes sure he is there for the opening. He writes his orders. And one of his teammates disagrees. Now what? I simply cannot doubt that CC is littered with the doomed aspirations of failed dictators. Why should anyone listen to you when you write a determinedly exact order? What do you know?

The dictator must demonstrate his ability through his record. The dictator must win, and win consistently. From the very beginning he must win his games at a rate far superior to the average AND he must make his team points. For the explicit bargain between the dictator and his followers is that he must provide profit for them. The dictator actually cares far more about his win percentages, but the followers wants points. Therefore a dictator may win 75% of 30 games and feel rather pleased with himself. But if his team make sod all points from the experience they will consider the dictator to have failed. This is one of the key reasons why it is so difficult to be a dictator. First you must actually consistently win. Always win. In my own case, how many games can I lose in a row before there is some kind of revolt (and remember I have led my team for four years)? Five? Have I built up even that much credit? Five losses will cost my team at least 100 points each. That's 100 points lost due entirely to me. I would predict that by the fifth game one of my 'seconds' would be questioning not just an order (which while incredibly rare happens occasionally) but actually the overall strategy. At that point, my role as the dictator is effectively over. I think few reading this are continuously in that position when they play team games. Only dictators must suffer it. But then dictators get to see every move played out exactly as they desire. That is, believe me, an intoxicating experience. But with that joy comes the downside of never being more than a few games from having it all disappear.

Dictators must teach. There is absolutely no way around this. None. For how can your followers play out your moves exactly if they dont know what you want? The dictator must teach his team how he or she wants them to play. When to attack 4 on 3. When to push harder than the orthodox. When to leave a 2. The team must understand what the dictator would want them to do once the dice start rolling. Orders can only be so convoluted - and the writing of orders is a key element of being a dictator - the team must be able to read the order and as the move develops adapt it in a way the dictator would approve of. The true dictator actually allows the team the freedom to make their decisions as the move develops, but the team is actually thinking in a certain way. That is due to teaching. This is incredibly tricky. And remember the record. Mistakes cost games. Lose a few in a row and you may not be a dictator anymore. Your team's mistakes may have cost the game. But more than likely those mistakes were caused by a kind of intellectual paralysis. One of the dangers of the dictator model is that the follower finds himself in some kind of horrendous mental loop. 'What would I do here? But what would the dictator do? What would the dictator want me to do?' Followers sometimes make mistakes and the cause is trying to interpret what the dictator would want. This is why teaching is so important.

The dictator must set the opening. It is probably his most important role. The advantage of the dictator model is in the consistency of the opening. The good dictator should have worked out rounds 1 and 2 after the first two moves. To be a dictator you must have this capacity. And you must get it right and near enough always. Losses will always come in close mid.games, there is often nothing the dictator can do about that. But losses due to an incorrect opening? That is terminal. All dictators get the opening wrong occasionally. Get it wrong consistently and you won't be a dictator for long. Frankly, that is how you actually lose 5 in a row.

The dictator must of course follow every move. I find this to be incredibly tiring. I am quite incapable of leading more than 4 games at a time and am most comfortable with 2. The dictator must make sure that his orders are on time. The dictator must make sure there are no mistakes. The dictator might well have to be online when a tricky move is played to actually direct it roll by roll. The dictator must do so without demeaning his teammate. The dictator must be omnipresent. Consider how often you have effectively gone missing in a game. You play your turn and that's it. The dictator can never be so lax. The dictator must be there when the game is going horribly wrong. He must motivate his troops. He must be there to make the decision to 'go banzai'. He must commiserate his teammates when things go wrong and when they make mistakes. And he must ruthelessly cut them if they make too many.

Which neatly leads us on to another key aspect of being a dictator. Team management. What is the right combination of individuals for a game? Personally I have grown to prefer a system involving 'seconds' and 'thirds'. My current seconds are manwiththeplan and spazzattack. My thirds? potager1 and spoongod. The second has the role of the advisor. He is often active in chat, making suggestions and trying to spot things the dictator may have missed. Interestingly revolt, when it finally comes, will be from one of the seconds. The seconds actually have the strategic ability to lead a team. Their role is massively important if only because they provide just enough pressure to keep the dictator on his toes. The third should be in general quiet on strategic matters and concentrate on playing their move perfectly. I am a firm believer that 3 active players simply doesn't work within the dictator model. Frankly, it makes the team seem like far too much of a democracy.

Finally, the dictator must care about being a dictator more than rank. How can I lead my team to enduring profit if I am some bloated 3000 plus player? I suspect a better player than I could. Sadly I am not that talented. I keep myself under 2500 and from that score I can make my team points. It is far more important to me to get that buzz of watching my ideas get played out, than to sit on the first page. For as time has passed, my team's ranks have improved. They are now majors and captains, rather than sergeants and lieutenants. As their scores have improved mine have had to fall, to keep our ventures profitable.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby annevee on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:12 am

What an amazing piece of writing! As a SoC recruit and rookie, I can only marginally grasp the enormity of your essay here, but the way you have with words has totally bowled me over. I will avidly follow anything else you have to say - on any subject!
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Re: The Dictator

Postby maasman on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:41 am

I do enjoy your posts changsta and I'm glad you're back on here writing them. Do you feel that the dictator is the correct path for team dominance, or do you think a more strategy by committee given that everyone knows what they're doing would work better? Obviously the committee would require a strong enough leader to not get muddled in debate, and this would also require the correct group of people, something no different than your main approach.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby jimboston on Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:03 pm

Question... if you have this kind of Team, and you play this kind of game regularly...

How is this "fun" for the people under you?

Yes... they may win more... so if someone derives all his/her fun from victory and points... then it would make sense for this sort of person to join your team.

I have played Team games with people who have tried to dictate my every move. It wasn't fun.
(Though partially this was due to the Map... which required I do nothing but build troops for umpteen turns, and then hand them over to the "dictator".)
(It was a little more fun on a map like World 2.0.)

I am always open to suggestions and collaboration when playing a Team game... but I don't want to be micromanaged.

I suggest that CC would be better-off without these followers... and instead letting you play as Players 1-4 (or 1-2 or 1-3) in a Team game against four other people.

What's the joy to you in being able to dictate or control others??? If you could instead play all Team roles yourself you would never fear a coup... and would have the satisfaction of beating not one opponent, but 2, 3, or 4 "heads". Surely that would be more fun.

(... um... so how can I join your Team?)
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:27 pm

jimboston wrote:Question... if you have this kind of Team, and you play this kind of game regularly...

How is this "fun" for the people under you?

Yes... they may win more... so if someone derives all his/her fun from victory and points... then it would make sense for this sort of person to join your team.

I have played Team games with people who have tried to dictate my every move. It wasn't fun.
(Though partially this was due to the Map... which required I do nothing but build troops for umpteen turns, and then hand them over to the "dictator".)
(It was a little more fun on a map like World 2.0.)

I am always open to suggestions and collaboration when playing a Team game... but I don't want to be micromanaged.

I suggest that CC would be better-off without these followers... and instead letting you play as Players 1-4 (or 1-2 or 1-3) in a Team game against four other people.

What's the joy to you in being able to dictate or control others??? If you could instead play all Team roles yourself you would never fear a coup... and would have the satisfaction of beating not one opponent, but 2, 3, or 4 "heads". Surely that would be more fun.

(... um... so how can I join your Team?)


With regards to the general thrust of your post, may I just say that the OP is a rather murky mix between my own personal experience and my perception of the circumstances other dictators operate under. In my own case, my teams are composed of real-life friends and family (with a few honorable exceptions). I think this point is quite key with regards to your enjoyment issue. My friends and I chat about moves on the phone or in cafes and bars. Chatting about Risk is obviously the third most enjoyable thing in this world after sex and drunk-sex. And of course I always take the opinions of my friends seriously. But the opening is my preserve, my teams are always quiet at this moment. And I do have the final say on every move. So I certainly am a dictator, but I think one who is lucky enough to have a team that is happy for me to be one.

The enjoyment issue IN GENERAL that you bring up is hugely relevant. I have led players from outside my real-life existence, and I have been led as well. So I have some experience of these things. You effectively ask the question 'Why should anyone enjoy being micromanaged?' so this is my answer:

1. They want to learn. This is a fine motivation for joining a dictator though I would just say that the obvious problem here is that one they have learned they are liable to bugger off afterwards.
2. They have a naturally submissive character. Some people enjoy being led, they love reading well-crafted orders and trying their best to please the dictator.
3. They enjoy the dictator's style of play. I have always been of the view that the best dictators have a real philosophy of the game. This is often what attracts people to play with them. It is also enjoyable to try and fit your own game to someone else's philosophy.
4. They want to focus exclusively on playing their turns, within the orders they are given, to perfection. This is actually no easy thing.
5. Points.

Your final point concerned why the dictator wants to control other people. As you said, wouldn't I be happier to just have control of all the armies directly? I think you miss the enjoyment for the dictator of writing orders. There is a real art to this you know, making your orders well-written and pleasant to read, styling them for each individual player (for different players require different kinds of orders), not making them too convoluted. But also the real joy of being a dictator comes from thinking about the game deeply, writing your orders and then trusting your team can play them out perfectly.

My final point though concerns you. Your rank and the fact that you are obviously smart (from your writing) makes you the cc-equivalent of gold dust for the kind of dictator who does want to have a personal high score. If you are genuinely interested in playing team games you should find a dictator, you should become the 'third' (and just concentrate on playing your moves to perfection) and you should learn. Accept that some do know more about this game than you, don't rile up against orders from afar. Find a top player, stay as quiet as a mouse and play out that player's orders as well as you can. You might find that you enjoy it. There is honor in being the third in a trips team. It is an important role.
Last edited by Mr Changsha on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:39 pm

maasman wrote:I do enjoy your posts changsta and I'm glad you're back on here writing them. Do you feel that the dictator is the correct path for team dominance, or do you think a more strategy by committee given that everyone knows what they're doing would work better? Obviously the committee would require a strong enough leader to not get muddled in debate, and this would also require the correct group of people, something no different than your main approach.


I am interested to see if any player from the 'all high-ranking democratic ideal' kind of teams will stop by and give their views on this. The kind of teams who often say 'we play silently'. Personally I have always felt that the weakness of those teams might well be in the consistency of the opening, the ability to form up destructive chained stacks in the early game and the capacity to abandon orthodoxy when it is required. For sometimes it is.

You however postulated on the committee-led team. In my view that is far from the ideal and you actually brought up the reason why. Either teams play effectively silently and react on the basis of the previous move, or a dictator sets the plays. Three or even four players all giving their ideas between moves seems to be to be a recipe for confusion. As you yourself said, there would be the need for a chairman-style figure to arbitrate. But who sets the opening move? The guy who has the first turn? So many teams I play against have an unfocused round 1. This is directly due to the issue we are writing about here.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Denise on Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:50 am

Interesting and funny stuff, Mr Changsha! I enjoy your posts. It seems a long time since the forum has been worth reading or posting in.

I suppose I've played on certain teams that would qualify as an 'all high-ranking democracy'. However, in my experience, these aren't silent games. I agree with you that a silent game would be inferior for the reasons you said, and because a strategist type player will look at a game and plan several moves ahead so if there are 3 or 4 players doing this silently then there isn't a consensus or common goals for the game. Dubs might be an exception to this, with a long time and completely trusted teammate.

So much of my style of play depends on who I am teaming with. I very easily fit into your kind of team as a second if I believe 'the dictator' is a better player than I am, or at least as good, and if my ideas and suggestions are seriously considered and sometimes adopted. Even the best players and team leaders need accountability and good teammates provide that. I love the strategic element of the game so I can't picture myself playing a silent role, though I do agree that a teammate who can play their advised turns consistently without errors and variation to what's been proposed is rare, and that it's not an easy thing to do.

In the democratic game with quality teammates it is often whoever gets to the game first, who will point out the nuances of the game and talk about what they'd like to see done. Then, each in turn will give their take before any opening move is made, even if it's only to agree with what's been said. Throughout the game, each player will talk about both his turn and make suggestions for her teammates turns. This is a good way to get lots of ideas and to narrow down which is the best move to make. It sometimes takes compromise but often it doesn't, as long as the team remains open minded to the possibility that their idea might not be the best one. So I disagree with you that this kind of team would necessarily lead to confusion and a losing game. Why do you think lots of ideas and a discussion and reached consensus for the best move would be the wrong approach? For you and other dictator players like you maybe it doesn't work, but it works for the right team.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby jimboston on Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:05 am

Mr Changsha wrote:
My final point though concerns you. Your rank and the fact that you are obviously smart (from your writing) makes you the cc-equivalent of gold dust for the kind of dictator who does want to have a personal high score. If you are genuinely interested in playing team games you should find a dictator, you should become the 'third' (and just concentrate on playing your moves to perfection) and you should learn. Accept that some do know more about this game than you, don't rile up against orders from afar. Find a top player, stay as quiet as a mouse and play out that player's orders as well as you can. You might find that you enjoy it. There is honor in being the third in a trips team. It is an important role.


Open to trying it... you or any high ranking Dictator wanna send me an invite for a game or two?
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Re: The Dictator

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:37 pm

jimboston wrote:Question... if you have this kind of Team, and you play this kind of game regularly...

How is this "fun" for the people under you?

Yes... they may win more... so if someone derives all his/her fun from victory and points... then it would make sense for this sort of person to join your team.

I have played Team games with people who have tried to dictate my every move. It wasn't fun.
(Though partially this was due to the Map... which required I do nothing but build troops for umpteen turns, and then hand them over to the "dictator".)
(It was a little more fun on a map like World 2.0.)

I am always open to suggestions and collaboration when playing a Team game... but I don't want to be micromanaged.

I've only played a few games with Dictator types, and I recall just not being very fond of the gameplay. It was more like the math homework I never wanted to really do when I was young lad, so I tend to kind of line up with JimBoston.

Denise wrote:In the democratic game with quality teammates it is often whoever gets to the game first, who will point out the nuances of the game and talk about what they'd like to see done. Then, each in turn will give their take before any opening move is made, even if it's only to agree with what's been said. Throughout the game, each player will talk about both his turn and make suggestions for her teammates turns. This is a good way to get lots of ideas and to narrow down which is the best move to make. It sometimes takes compromise but often it doesn't, as long as the team remains open minded to the possibility that their idea might not be the best one.

This is sort of how my current regular team functions I'd say. I think one of us will evaluate the board and kind of take a lead in suggesting ideas, but we're all pretty open to alternate strategies and suggestions for another's turns. And it can vary from game to game.


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Re: The Dictator

Postby Fruitcake on Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:07 pm

Mr Changsha wrote:
maasman wrote:I do enjoy your posts changsta and I'm glad you're back on here writing them. Do you feel that the dictator is the correct path for team dominance, or do you think a more strategy by committee given that everyone knows what they're doing would work better? Obviously the committee would require a strong enough leader to not get muddled in debate, and this would also require the correct group of people, something no different than your main approach.


I am interested to see if any player from the 'all high-ranking democratic ideal' kind of teams will stop by and give their views on this. The kind of teams who often say 'we play silently'. Personally I have always felt that the weakness of those teams might well be in the consistency of the opening, the ability to form up destructive chained stacks in the early game and the capacity to abandon orthodoxy when it is required. For sometimes it is.

You however postulated on the committee-led team. In my view that is far from the ideal and you actually brought up the reason why. Either teams play effectively silently and react on the basis of the previous move, or a dictator sets the plays. Three or even four players all giving their ideas between moves seems to be to be a recipe for confusion. As you yourself said, there would be the need for a chairman-style figure to arbitrate. But who sets the opening move? The guy who has the first turn? So many teams I play against have an unfocused round 1. This is directly due to the issue we are writing about here.


I agree with Mr C on this point. As so often, cc can reflect real life in more ways than are obvious. In any team there has to be some one who is comfortable with decision making and is relaxed with carrying the can if everything goes pear shaped. The issue, as in real life, is that often, there are false dictators who will talk the talk, but don't walk the walk when things get tough. As for decision by committee??? Yer avin a larf.

Having given my opinion on the previous point, I want to take this a stage further. Often, the Dictator will also be the person who can turn a game round when it looks shaky. This person will have the capability of seeing more facets of the situation than pretty much everyone else. However, it is often at this point, the 2ic (second in command for those with no military background or knowledge) will show their real worth, pointing out the weak points in a plan of action. This brings huge benefits it that it allows the Dictator to then review the possibilities freed from the confines of worrying whether they have managed to think it all through to the best advantage. Once again, as is often found in real life, the Dictator will have that clever chap/female by their side who is (often) actually cleverer that them, but it is the Dictator who can, often through force of character, take those good thoughts and ideas and ensure they are put into action in the best possible way for all concerned. Which brings me neatly to the next point I want to make. As, once again, in real life, the true Dictator knows when to stamp their authority but also knows when to look to that vital 2ic for advice, thoughts and feedback. I actually prefer to call this personality the 'benign Dictator'. I am fully cognisant of the ultimate downfalls of the pure Dictator types I have seen on cc. One last point about my 'benign Dictator'. This character will always be aware that others may not see what they see, and will often be asked why they have made a certain decision. As in real life, it is that skill of explanation, teaching if you will, that marks them out as the real deal.

It is also of great interest when two 'benign Dictators' get together. I have seen this at work in a triples game. The human interaction, even through this medium, is startlingly akin to real life...once more. This developed to the point that the third member of the team, a Sergeant, (the other 2 were Generals) popped a note in asking if wine and refreshments were required while discussion took place between the other two (very respectfully) as to the best play. The game was won in a trice, unsurprisingly. The Sergeant admitted to having difficulty understanding the logic behind certain moves but stated that he had learnt a huge amount by just being 'on the team'.

Referring right back to the point about 'how many games can be lost before the questioning may begin', once again, one only has to look to real life to see the reflection of this. A good CEO, General etc. will always know that there is a chance things may go wrong. The key is in the ability to have a complete grasp of risk awareness. Only by having this skill (being able to weigh up the odds from all the information in front of them, often including input from that 2ic) can a benign Dictator ensure those occasions are rare enough that the loyalty they enjoy remains strong. Conversely, the pure Dictator will rely totally on themselves, not seeing that by not paying heed to advice from well chosen quarters they are ultimately sowing the seeds of their own destruction.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:11 pm

Fruitcake wrote:
Mr Changsha wrote:
maasman wrote:I do enjoy your posts changsta and I'm glad you're back on here writing them. Do you feel that the dictator is the correct path for team dominance, or do you think a more strategy by committee given that everyone knows what they're doing would work better? Obviously the committee would require a strong enough leader to not get muddled in debate, and this would also require the correct group of people, something no different than your main approach.


I am interested to see if any player from the 'all high-ranking democratic ideal' kind of teams will stop by and give their views on this. The kind of teams who often say 'we play silently'. Personally I have always felt that the weakness of those teams might well be in the consistency of the opening, the ability to form up destructive chained stacks in the early game and the capacity to abandon orthodoxy when it is required. For sometimes it is.

You however postulated on the committee-led team. In my view that is far from the ideal and you actually brought up the reason why. Either teams play effectively silently and react on the basis of the previous move, or a dictator sets the plays. Three or even four players all giving their ideas between moves seems to be to be a recipe for confusion. As you yourself said, there would be the need for a chairman-style figure to arbitrate. But who sets the opening move? The guy who has the first turn? So many teams I play against have an unfocused round 1. This is directly due to the issue we are writing about here.


I agree with Mr C on this point. As so often, cc can reflect real life in more ways than are obvious. In any team there has to be some one who is comfortable with decision making and is relaxed with carrying the can if everything goes pear shaped. The issue, as in real life, is that often, there are false dictators who will talk the talk, but don't walk the walk when things get tough. As for decision by committee??? Yer avin a larf.

Having given my opinion on the previous point, I want to take this a stage further. Often, the Dictator will also be the person who can turn a game round when it looks shaky. This person will have the capability of seeing more facets of the situation than pretty much everyone else. However, it is often at this point, the 2ic (second in command for those with no military background or knowledge) will show their real worth, pointing out the weak points in a plan of action. This brings huge benefits it that it allows the Dictator to then review the possibilities freed from the confines of worrying whether they have managed to think it all through to the best advantage. Once again, as is often found in real life, the Dictator will have that clever chap/female by their side who is (often) actually cleverer that them, but it is the Dictator who can, often through force of character, take those good thoughts and ideas and ensure they are put into action in the best possible way for all concerned. Which brings me neatly to the next point I want to make. As, once again, in real life, the true Dictator knows when to stamp their authority but also knows when to look to that vital 2ic for advice, thoughts and feedback. I actually prefer to call this personality the 'benign Dictator'. I am fully cognisant of the ultimate downfalls of the pure Dictator types I have seen on cc. One last point about my 'benign Dictator'. This character will always be aware that others may not see what they see, and will often be asked why they have made a certain decision. As in real life, it is that skill of explanation, teaching if you will, that marks them out as the real deal.

It is also of great interest when two 'benign Dictators' get together. I have seen this at work in a triples game. The human interaction, even through this medium, is startlingly akin to real life...once more. This developed to the point that the third member of the team, a Sergeant, (the other 2 were Generals) popped a note in asking if wine and refreshments were required while discussion took place between the other two (very respectfully) as to the best play. The game was won in a trice, unsurprisingly. The Sergeant admitted to having difficulty understanding the logic behind certain moves but stated that he had learnt a huge amount by just being 'on the team'.

Referring right back to the point about 'how many games can be lost before the questioning may begin', once again, one only has to look to real life to see the reflection of this. A good CEO, General etc. will always know that there is a chance things may go wrong. The key is in the ability to have a complete grasp of risk awareness. Only by having this skill (being able to weigh up the odds from all the information in front of them, often including input from that 2ic) can a benign Dictator ensure those occasions are rare enough that the loyalty they enjoy remains strong. Conversely, the pure Dictator will rely totally on themselves, not seeing that by not paying heed to advice from well chosen quarters they are ultimately sowing the seeds of their own destruction.


Denise and Fruitcake gave us all a lot to think about in their posts. What immediately struck me was the issue of responsibility. In most cc command structures each individual player is in the end responsible for their own moves, in that no matter the level of discussion once the 'begin turn' button is pressed you are responsible for your tactical and strategic decisions. How are these decisions reached? By a process of achieving consensus? In that case responsibility is shared. An interesting concept. Is there a wide ranging discussion, but each player must in the end decide for themselves? Of course in the dictator model (and fruitcake has now introduced these concepts of benign and true dictators) responsibility is explicitly in the hands of the dictator.

This can be seen in how both fruitcake and I write about this issue. There is an unashamed egotism (and I don't mean that in a particularly negative sense) displayed in our writing. When leading teams we 'carry the can'. We decide when to make use of 'the second', but we absolve such a person of any overall responsibility. Most importantly I think the win (or loss) is due to the dictator. I know in my games with fruitcake as a second - and I've always tried to fulfill that role properly - that I have at times had a great influence on the result. Yet I know that those wins or losses are still his preserve. He chose to make use of me, therefore it is his victory or loss. I would imagine that many would be uncomfortable in this kind of situation. Would Denise be happy as a second knowing really that no matter the level of her input her role is still FAR below the first? Personally I have no problem with it. I enjoy being the second every once in a while, it is frankly tiring being a dictator.

What's the difference between a dictator and a benign dictator? I would say that both Fruitcake and I are of the benign variety in that we are quite prepared to follow another's strategy for a round or so if it is well though out. One must assume the dictator would take it as something of an affront to have their second propose anything more than a tactic. However, I would suggest this has more to do with whether the dictator is a true alpha or actually a beta personality. If one has confidence in their intellect, then the rope can be slackened without fearing one's authority has been usurped. Nonetheless, I don't feel these distinctions between dictators and benign dictators are actually of the upmost importance. As I said, I feel they are merely related to personality type. Why? Because to me the key is about whether players have responsibility for their own moves. Both types of dictators take that responsibility away from the team. In this key element they are the same. Therefore the difference is simply between a confident and an unconfident dictator, rather than a separate command model.

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.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Crazyirishman on Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:24 am

Very well written Mr. C, I think you are on to something here greater than just a dictator personality. What would be interesting is a psycho-analysis of the types of team players on CC in general, but that would be its own article. In terms of dictatorship I can only find myself to be marginally successful due to constraints on time, game load, natural ability ect. Do I only put myself in that role in certain conditions though I may have the ability to perform dictatorship duties in other areas as well
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:40 pm

Crazyirishman wrote:Very well written Mr. C, I think you are on to something here greater than just a dictator personality. What would be interesting is a psycho-analysis of the types of team players on CC in general, but that would be its own article. In terms of dictatorship I can only find myself to be marginally successful due to constraints on time, game load, natural ability ect. Do I only put myself in that role in certain conditions though I may have the ability to perform dictatorship duties in other areas as well


I have actually written a few of these already (such as an analysis of a feudal player, an escalating standard player, the all-rounder) but they are deposited in the BpB forum. If one included all the various gaming/personality types one can find on CC - rather than just team players - one would be facing a small book. I do feel that Risk as a game needs this kind of analysis, its great strength compared to other strategy games is the emphasis on psychology rather than just raw intellect. CC does indeed mirror life. I have the vague aspiration to try and write more of these - I am intruiged by writing up 'the second' and 'the third', but as always there is always the danger that laziness intervenes in one's best laid plans..
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Denise on Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:42 am

AndyDufresne wrote:I've only played a few games with Dictator types, and I recall just not being very fond of the gameplay. It was more like the math homework I never wanted to really do when I was young lad, so I tend to kind of line up with JimBoston.


How many banana's will I need to bring to make you a willing underling? Before you name your price, keep in mind 1 banana will be deducted for every mistake you make and for every time you try to think for yourself.

In seriousness, I bet most players agree with you. It's not easy for a dictator to find his team. He must find players who are competent and willing. Most players want to be in charge of their own games, or at least have an equal say in how a game is played out. They care less for a game being played to perfection than they do for their own sense of control over their game. If these players find themselves in a game with a dictator, they become resentful and angry at him, not understanding that there is nothing wrong with how the dictator chooses to play his game. It's just not for them.

It is equally as hard to find a competent dictator, for players that do enjoy being part of a perfectly played game. Fruitcake and Mr. C have talked about some of the challenges of being a dictator, which I agree with. It takes commitment, a lot of time, and brings a lot of frustration. The dictator must also be a very good player. There is nothing more frustrating than being on a team with someone who thinks they are in charge, but can't see what the right moves are. I would much rather be on a team with players where all have an equal footing and are open minded to the possibilities. In this case, most games can be won, dice willing.

For me personally, I like variety and a steady diet of being on only one kind of team or another isn't for me. I love aspects of both. Being in charge (or on equal footing) prevents me from becoming lazy and dependent, and I do understand that thrill that comes from leading a team to victory based on my own excellent skills (in my own mind at least). ;) Being on a team with a dictator is also thrilling because there is usually stuff to learn, and it's fun to watch a perfect game being played out. It's also somewhat a relief on those rare occasions when I decide making dinner for the family should take precedence over strategizing all my ongoing games. :P

In short, I like winning. If I can be an important part of a team that is being led by a competent player, dictator or not, then that's great. If I must take on more of the responsibilities of leading or am just on a team of good players working things out together, I enjoy that too.

Mr Changsha wrote:Would Denise be happy as a second knowing really that no matter the level of her input her role is still FAR below the first?


:-s I might be more happy with it if I was flattered into thinking my role was important in it's own right, and just a little below the first. Dictators aren't the only one's with ego's, you know!
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Re: The Dictator

Postby AndyDufresne on Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:06 am

Denise wrote:
AndyDufresne wrote:I've only played a few games with Dictator types, and I recall just not being very fond of the gameplay. It was more like the math homework I never wanted to really do when I was young lad, so I tend to kind of line up with JimBoston.


How many banana's will I need to bring to make you a willing underling? Before you name your price, keep in mind 1 banana will be deducted for every mistake you make and for every time you try to think for yourself.

What is this, more math homework?!?

Denise wrote:In seriousness, I bet most players agree with you. It's not easy for a dictator to find his team. He must find players who are competent and willing. Most players want to be in charge of their own games, or at least have an equal say in how a game is played out. They care less for a game being played to perfection than they do for their own sense of control over their game. If these players find themselves in a game with a dictator, they become resentful and angry at him, not understanding that there is nothing wrong with how the dictator chooses to play his game. It's just not for them.

(Emphasis, mine)

I think you sum things up pretty eloquently.

Denise wrote:For me personally, I like variety and a steady diet of being on only one kind of team or another isn't for me. I love aspects of both. Being in charge (or on equal footing) prevents me from becoming lazy and dependent, and I do understand that thrill that comes from leading a team to victory based on my own excellent skills (in my own mind at least).


Agreed, I think it is often fun to play both roles in different games.


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