Risk-Taking Experiment

Simon Szykman

I'm doing a little experiment to find out the relationship between risk-taking and expertise in Diplomacy. In this experiment, you will be shown a Diplomacy map and the accompanying situation in a game in progress will be described. All you need to do is answer five questions on a scale from 1 to 5 and submit the form. Your participation will take very little time and will be much appreciated.

Below is a map illustrating a game in progress. The scenario is as follows: You are currently playing France. You have been allied with Germany since the beginning of the game and are succeeding in eliminating England together. Italy has been allied with Turkey since the beginning of the game. Italy moved quickly to take out Austria, with some Turkish land support, while Turkey went straight for Russia.

The Winter 1903 builds have just taken place and 1904 is about to begin. In 1903, Italy indicated that he was planning on attacking Turkey saying that now was the best time since Turkey was only going to grow at Russia's expense and would have nowhere to go but through Italy after that. In the Winter builds, you built a fleet in Marseilles feeling that building anything else would make France too appealing a target for an Italian attack, despite Italy's stated intention. Italy built a fleet in Rome, not Naples. He had told you that he was going to be building in Rome so that he wouldn't alert Turkey about his plans to attack Turkey.

If Italy is setting up to attack you, you could be in serious trouble (even with the Fleet in Marseilles) unless you divert other units towards the South to defend. However, doing so could slow your forward progress against England, and could also give Germany a better opportunity to stab you. And, of course, if Italy actually is planning on moving against Turkey, your defensive response could be seen by Italy as threatening, inhibiting his plan to attack Turkey.

The map appears below. The brief questions follow the map.

1. On a scale from 1 to 5, please rate the likelihood that Italy is setting up to attack you.

1 very likely
2 somewhat likely
3 not sure either way
4 somewhat unlikely
5 very unlikely

2. On a scale from 1 to 5, please rate the likelihood that Italy is setting up to attack Turkey.

1 very likely
2 somewhat likely
3 not sure either way
4 somewhat unlikely
5 very unlikely

3. On a scale from 1 to 5, indicate to what extent your Spring orders would attempt to defend against a possible Italian attack.

These are obviously not the only possibilities, but given the following choices, which would you select? Also note that your reply to this question may be correlated with the reply to the previous question but it need not be. You might believe Italy's claim about his peaceful intention but defend yourself just in case, or you may suspect that Italy could attack you but choose to take a risk by not defending since defending could slow your progress against England or dissuade Italy from attacking Turkey.)

1 you will set up as strong a defense as you possibly can and/or set up for your own offensive action against Italy
2 you will set up a moderate defense but will leave behind a number units to continue your attack against England
3 you will move some of your units into a defensive position which may or may not be adequate against an immediate Italian attack but will make you a much less attractive target if Italy doesn't attack right away
4 you will make a token defensive move just to let Italy know you are watching him
5 you will take no further defensive action beyond your having just built a fleet in Marseilles

4. On a scale from 1 to 5, please rate yourself as a player where 1 is a novice and 5 is an expert.

1 novice
2 novediate
3 intermediate
4 interpert
5 expert

5. On a scale from 1 to 5, please rate your style of gameplay where 1 is most conservative and 5 is a risk-taker.

1 most conservative
2 somewhat conservative
3 neutral
4 small risk-taker
5 large risk-taker

Comments: Please provide any comments about your replies in the space below (what about the scenario or map influenced your reply to questions 1 and 2, and what reasoning led to your reply to question 3).

Thanks very much for your input! Look for a summary of the results in the next issue of The Pouch.

Simon Szykman
(simon@diplom.org)
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