The Dictator

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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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Re: The Dictator

Postby Commander62890 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:19 pm

I've never played with a dictator. Or, if I have, he wasn't dictatorial in my game with him and/or I saw his commentary as "advice" and played the turn the way I thought it should be played. In truth, I've never really had an experience in which I saw one player as the dictator, because every nuance of every turn was never described by one player in any of my games. Like I said, even if it had been so, I would certainly have reserved the right to deviate from whatever plan said dictator gave me, without consulting him first. And I truly believe that that would give us the best chance of winning.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby BigBallinStalin on Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:34 pm

Mr Changsha wrote:
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.


At this point in your reasoning, an idea came to mind:

Is it possible that the historic role of your authoritarianism leads to outcomes such as the three viable empires?

For example, when you let the reins free, the players lead themselves to an outcome which might (usually) be restricted to the "three viable empires" outcome because they are used to being led by the Glorious Dictator. In other words, since they have developed within the authoritarian institution (institution = rules of the game*), they may have yet to develop a compensating/substitutable institution; therefore, they will lead themselves to this outcome.

*(please read this if you wish to clarify my meaning).

As a contrary example, players from the "oligarchic" style in my usual games typically lend support to 1 or 2 players in a quad, and 1 (sometimes 2) in a trips. Based on our historic experiences within an oligarchic institution, we "naturally" lead ourselves into an outcome. By "oligarchic," I mean that at least two of our players make most of the shots and input most of the information, while the third and/or fourth insert significantly less feedback and tend to play a subordinate role.


With this in mind:
Mr Changsha wrote: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.


This is complicated because regardless of the map and styles, the underlying problem is that you are flipping political institutions within one game. If the other players are not used to the significant loss of your decision-making, then within the new institution of "independent play," they may lead themselves to undesirable outcomes.

For example, in our trips game, had you explicitly called for independent play, I would have allowed the oligarchical method to flourish (however, in that game, it would've likely developed into a tripartite on relatively equal political power, i.e. authority to make shots). In turn, this may have resulted in the problem of conflicting goals without any means of adjudication because we three have yet to develop a substitutable institution which would resolve our problems and make us profitable. In other words, we may have problems because we lack the ability to self-organize for many reasons.

Because of the potential for this problem, within my oligarchical model, I implement a different form of order by attempting to play a more passive role, offer suggestions, receive feedback, and allow for the naturally occurring/spontaneous order to arise from this process. This different form of order is similar to the theory of spontaneous order, which is order that emerges not from human design but from human interaction. (It's like "unintended order," in a sense).


In conclusion, based on my previous explanations and premises up to this point, your plan of "independent play" may lead to unintended consequences and frustrated outcomes--given that your teammates have yet to accustom themselves with a more oligarchical institution or spontaneous order-style of play. The answer you seek may lie in allowing the spontaneous order to emerge from the temporarily relieved, political institution of dictatorship.

Through trial-and-error (and loss of points), your independent play method may lead to better outcomes in the long-run because the players are allowed to adjust to the new institutional framework. Within the realm of spontaneous order, they may "unintentionally" develop a new institution which would profitably compensate for the loss of your temporarily relieved dictatorial institution. The question is: as a Kirznerian entrepreneur*, are you willing to forego the short-term loss of points for the perceived gains in the long-run?

Kirzner and his model of the entrepreneur:
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Mr Changsha wrote: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?


With spontaneous order, any newly created institution may be possible, so this approach (after much trial-and-error) may allow for a highly adaptable and unpredictable team--as observed from the other team. With your team, you'll intuitively know the means which generate the ends (e.g. deceptive play, strategy A but not strategy B for this round, strategy C for that round, etc.).

But there is this problem which has riddled history. Dictatorial institutions or top-down approaches tend to destroy many of the possible avenues of discovery through spontaneous order. In other words, imposed order often overrides and ruins the benefits of spontaneous order. If you can resolve this problem while implementing a top-down/dictatorial approach, then you may be on your way to winning a Nobel Prize.


Mr Changsha wrote: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?


My above style of play is nascent, so it's difficult for me to precisely answer your questions...

Feedback from us may be helpful, but future knowledge is best revealed through trial-and-error and re-adjustment through time with you and your own teammates. Why?

Because the spontaneous order method allows for an increased availability of knowledge/information which is dispersed at various levels among all players in your team. Knowledge/information is dependent on the "particular circumstances of time and place." So, a priori we cannot offer you universal/precise answers which may be applicable for your future decision-making because your future decisions depend on particular circumstances. In order to allow for a more robust set of opportunities, you may have to marginally relinquish your control and over time allow for new institutions to develop, so that you and your teammates can adapt more readily to the changing circumstances.

Nevertheless, your dictatorial method may distort the incentives through which players would have otherwise offered information. In other words, if my words won't mean much--or if my words may mean much but you will do what you want anyway, then I face a non-profitable endeavor, i.e. I may as well keep quiet. Your dictatorial institution may not be allowing for this avenue that reveals more information.

Finally, there is another fundamental problem. Some portion of knowledge within each individual cannot be formalized, thus cannot be expressed explicitly through a language like English. However, this knowledge can be revealed through the "language" of prices which emerge from the interactions of individuals coordinating and conflicting with their different means and ends within any market. How can you implement a price mechanism within a game? lol i dunno. Again, here lies another path to your Nobel Prize.


To compare this to the real world, it may be similar to me asking the federal government to relinquish almost all authority and allow for the interaction of individuals and city-states to pursue various avenues of discovery based on their own incentives and exchanges of information. This competitive approach of different plans would reveal the relative costs and benefits of these plans, from which others can learn, modify, and then implement new and better plans. This very game we play and this conversation of different plans/approaches for winning is exemplary of this. Spontaneous order is all around us, for who knew that your response could lead to my particular response? I didn't; it just happened!

I hope that this long-winded post is useful.


(I can't take credit, where credit is due, so here's a reading list):
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Re: The Dictator

Postby BigBallinStalin on Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:47 pm

thegreekdog wrote: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.


But in some circumstances, you possess relevant knowledge which may be extremely useful for the team and which no one but you possess; however, since you feel inferior to the superior's "expertise," you'll fail to act on the incentive to disseminate such knowledge (of course, there are many other reasons/incentives too).

The last 3-4 paragraphs in this deal with the above in more detail.
Last edited by BigBallinStalin on Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Dictator

Postby BigBallinStalin on Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:52 pm

Mr Changsha wrote: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'.


<checks Changsha's medal count; checks own medal count>


I got SOOO many more medals than you!
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Re: The Dictator

Postby Mr Changsha on Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:55 pm

Another interesting aspect to all this is the extent to which the dictator should have a superiority with regards to strategy over his teammates. In general, you will find dictators playing with players of obviously less experience or accomplishment. This of course makes sense, for as this thread has without doubt shown, players with a keen regard for their own strategic talents are often not willing (though I must say I personally have no problem with it) to follow orders in game after 'grinding' game.

So the dictator model without question has this weakness. When I face a new map (Japan) an extremely high quality team and an opening to consider I am alone in trying to formulate a plan. Other teams have three quality individuals analysing the play. Yet dictators accept this inherent weakness to maximize the coordination of the team's play. I know that sometimes I have won games where my strategy may actually have been flawed, but my ability to move troops and set deploys so that three armies are really and truly just one..has won the day.

This thread has actually inspired me to consider more carefully how my teams operate. Should I have more confidence in my teammates to think strategically? Should I try to add in more experienced players (bigballinstalin is beginning to feature on my roster)? Can I relax my grip on strategy to an extent? Yet can I still keep the ability to DICTATE when I so choose? If my team is given more freedom to play as they see, will they accept orders later? Might I destroy my team by granting more autonomy?

This thread has taught me that the dictator model in of itself is not ideal. What I achieve in superb coordination I lose in that I am but one man, sometimes I am disinterested for a day or two, sometimes I do make mistakes that cost games. So i have decided to experiment with still dictating round 1 (as I am convinced of the value of a fully coordinated opening), but then leaving my team to play independently from then on...and only dictating if I am absolutely convinced I must.

However, I still reserve the right to dictate. I believe there are times when teams need central control and I am not giving up that right. But I intend to do it far less and am interested to see how my team plays under these new conditions.

So...two new models:

Mr Changsha
Manwiththeplan (autonomous)
Bigballinstalin (autonomous)

Mr Changsha
Manwiththeplan (autonomous)
Spazzattack (under control)
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