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Unfortunate implications and coalltion war treaty chess

I feel the need to comment on this issue due to this possibly being the most egregious case of treaty chess I have seen in some time.

Treaty chess is the cynical exploitation of treaties built around trust, common interest and friendship between two or more alliances in order to negate the ability of an alliance to receive assistance from their allies. This can take two forms:

1) Chain-baiting.

Chain-baiting is the result of an alliance having a treaty or treaties that make it extremely inconvenient to directly attack, thus triggering all manner of defensive treaties. The treaty-chess player instructs an alliance or alliances to attack the desired targets less well connected allies in order to compel the target alliance to "take the bait" and attack the bait alliance. Due to agreements made prior to the war, this relieves obligations of defense due to non-chaining clauses, opposing coalitions, or whatnot.

2) Treaty Conflicts.

The second and more commonly used exploitation of treaties in treaty chess is to get alliances to counter or attack a target alliance where the attacking alliance has treaties which are also held by the target alliance, therefore making it impossible for the target alliance's allies to defend them without violating their treaty with the attacking alliance.

The first instance I find more acceptable than the second, as the target in the first instance, their allies should recognize what is going on and defend their ally regardless. The second instance I have long considered to be an abuse, and alliances should not agree to be used in that way.

The rationale for treaty chess and the arguments as to why treaty chess is ok that I have heard largely involve the treaty web, and how offensive action is inherently more difficult than defensive action (due to there being a hell of a lot more mutual defense clauses than optional aggression clauses) but ultimately treaty chess involves exploiting the ties that bind alliances together for cynical ends. This goes both ways. Not defending an ally because they are obvious bait does not diminish the fact that they are still your ally, and they signed their treaty in good faith with you.

Treaty chess is the ultimate dehumanizing element of coalition warfare, it reduces your alliance down to a NS value and a treaty list. Alliances that do not contest being exploited or sacrificed for treaty chess abandon their sovereignty in exchange for better odds for "the coalition", but where will the coalition be when the war is over? Your coalition partner today ordering you to hit your ally's ally instead of defending your own ally is your enemy tomorrow, who rejoices at your diminished state, fewer allies, and damaged credibility.



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Unless you're one of the 5 or so AA's that are typically the target or initiator of global (treaty chain) wars, it's just sloppy FP to be signing the bare minimum of treaties to ensure your safety. If you're alliance X who's under 3 mil NS and you have treaties to multiple spheres, there is almost no chance that things are going to break down so that all of those spheres follow you into battle. You're going to be following them into battle, and so you damn well better make sure that they're not likely to be fighting each other. Not only will this save you the huge headache of figuring out which side you're on (or god forbid, fighting for both), but it will eliminate any reason for someone to specifically target/not target you to draw/not draw in a part of the web that otherwise wouldn't be drawn in

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Okay, and? Why exactly are we opposed to alliances doing whatever they can to win at a minimum cost to themselves? They don't exactly hand out trophies for Pyrrhic victories.

Alliances that get into the habit of finessing wars in this fashion tend not to get very many willing participants in their future campaigns

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Good post. I am personally not a fan of coalitions, in fact I usually oppose them. It is excessively difficult to walk the fine line of upholding the spirit your treaties while also serving the interests of coalition partners...unless you are lucky enough to have all your allies on the same side. The messed up thing is, not participating in a coalition can potentially wreck your alliance, and your allies. However, I'd still rather everyone just honor their treaties and let the chips fall.

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Good post. I am personally not a fan of coalitions, in fact I usually oppose them. It is excessively difficult to walk the fine line of upholding the spirit your treaties while also serving the interests of coalition partners.

The main problem is that coalitions and treaty partners are now different. Yes people have been playing treaty chess since the start of CN. But in the past the treaty game WAS the coalition. You and your friends were in a coalition and tried to adopt others, everyone else was building a different coalition.

There is something wrong with whats become of the treaty game. I really liked Ogadens point that its dehumanizing the alliances into statistics. Its somehow become normal that the only clean line we can split the treat web across will likely place your alliance in a coalition with allies you barely like, and enemies who you'd rather fight beside. This ruins the sense of political fervor that often marked some previous wars.

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"Treaty chess" and tighter coalition warfare are a byproduct of the limited shared interest of not losing (or losing as badly) by controlling the unfolding of the war and responding to the other side's attempt to exercise such control.

As with anything political alliances that participate in coalitions and cooperate with them should evaluate what is asked of them and determine whether or not such requests are reasonable or serve their best interest. As others have said, one has no real obligation to a coalition, its an open political association, but failing to collaborate (and simply "letting the chips fall as they may") might also make your participation mechanical and predictable such that the opposition in turn gains the opportunity to control your involvement.

There may be a fine line between following a sound strategy and being a pawn, but refusing to participate in the politics of war doesn't necessarily safeguard you from either.

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...ultimately treaty chess involves exploiting the ties that bind alliances together for cynical ends.

Oggie, I think the line quoted above is where your argument really falls apart. You miss (or misunderstand) the obvious truth, and that is that treaties are political instruments. You do not need a treaty to "do the right thing." You do not need a treaty to be "friends." As individuals, we enter into friendships with other individuals for emotional and deeply personal reasons. We enter into treaties between large groups of disparate individuals to secure strategic advantage.

The idea that every member of INT is friends with every member of ODN, for example, is absurd. As an alliance, we have certain shared goals, and we each see a particular advantage in binding ourselves in a contract. That's why there are different classes of treaties (NAP, ODP, MDP, etc.), and that is why alliances often negotiate on the verbiage of those agreements.

I have close friends in so-called "enemy" alliances, and there are certain people I absolutely despise in some alliances with whom INT holds strong treaties. I don't see any contradiction, cynicism, or dishonor in this.

At some point, you must be mature enough to accept that your strategic goals will not always align with those held by a friend. It doesn't diminish the friendship and it doesn't dehumanize or reduce anyone to a statistic.

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So essentially we need to abandon faux legal spinning of treaties and get back t the good old values of just beating the !@#$ out of each other.

Isn't that DBDC's war motto?

man I was about to post that finally we have a thread that isn't about DBDC and you beat me to it. /me declares war on Icewolf, consequences be damned.

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The funniest thing is the utterly pointless nature of it all, especially for any alliance that isn't one of the 5 or so that makes the plays in these global wars. We're currently in what is regarded as the "losing" side. It would make absolutely no material difference to LSF if we had entered on the "winning" side of this conflict. We'd still fight for a few months, someone else would negotiate the peace and then we'd go away and rebuild. The trick for alliances in our position is not to delude themselves that they have any skin in the game. Once you avoid that you get to do what you like for your own reasons. The machinations of the coalition leaders might as well be in Greek for all the significance they have.

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Some alliances have played non-coalition plans before. They just say "We'll defend our allies, don't hit them." I don't think it usually ends well overall, but it usually earns the non-coalition participant some "honor points", whatever those are worth on Bob.

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If one alliance leads and nobody follows, that alliance becomes a very easy target.

The treaty web is basically all about mutually assured destruction. If you don't play the game, you make yourself and your allies vulnerable without connections. If you do, you are just allowing yourself to be used by others for this kind of thing.

The treaty web is a serious problem, but you can't have one alliance "set[] the example[,]" you need many alliances to act together to really change it. But there's too much inertia to do that.

It is not a serious problem LOL

The treaty web is what keeps some small amount of stability from throwing the world into complete chaos. It is remarkable how resilient the treaty web continues to be even with a Tyrant seeking to tear it apart so he can lord over the ashes.

I'll give you a hint why: most people prefer Order.

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The funniest thing is the utterly pointless nature of it all, especially for any alliance that isn't one of the 5 or so that makes the plays in these global wars. We're currently in what is regarded as the "losing" side. It would make absolutely no material difference to LSF if we had entered on the "winning" side of this conflict. We'd still fight for a few months, someone else would negotiate the peace and then we'd go away and rebuild. The trick for alliances in our position is not to delude themselves that they have any skin in the game. Once you avoid that you get to do what you like for your own reasons. The machinations of the coalition leaders might as well be in Greek for all the significance they have.

Quoting this because it's the absolute truth.

The only thing I can add is that too many alliances sign too many treaties. Argue about what constitutes 'too many' all you like, but I think most people will agree with the basic premise.

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Quoting this because it's the absolute truth.

The only thing I can add is that too many alliances sign too many treaties. Argue about what constitutes 'too many' all you like, but I think most people will agree with the basic premise.

I don't think the problem is the amount of treaties, the problem is that they then ignore those treaties when they mean they'll have to go against the coalition strategy, I believe if everyone followed their treaties to the letter it would make for far more interesting wars.

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I don't think the problem is the amount of treaties, the problem is that they then ignore those treaties when they mean they'll have to go against the coalition strategy, I believe if everyone followed their treaties to the letter it would make for far more interesting wars.

Yes and no, you'd have some crazy fronts, but the less honest alliances would always win and that's why most don't dual-front it. But the real issue is non-chaining clauses.

If everyone followed their treaties to the letter we wouldn't have any great wars until all treaties had the non-chaining clause removed. Most treaties have non-chaining clauses that are almost always ignored. After round 1-2, everything is technically a chained treaty activation. What you have now is a less organic way for wars to spread. In the last two wars, and probably prior, coalition leadership has tried to pencil in people on potential opponents and that's why you have these odd treaty activations combined with certain alliances *#)@blocking some of their allies and trying to play both sides.

I really respect RIA just playing it straight up and I know your allies respect the hell out of you for it. But most alliances are already playing for the next great war by the time the current one breaks out. And yes, I fully admit that's ruining CN almost as much as massive PM usage on both sides (so no finger pointing here).

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I agree with Steve about people being too busy looking towards the next war to commit to the one they're fighting, I think the last great war where there wasn't some postwar agenda warping the way the war was fought was Grudge. Even as early as the Dave war I remember a lot of alliances were prepping for the Eq war even then, and pushing that agenda to get everything lined up for Eq before Dave was even over.

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I think what this war is showing is that all alliances are basically the same, behave the same way, derp missile the same way, etc. RIA, STA, etc - you could make the argument they have been consistent, but for the most part what I have the an issue with is people talking about peace mode or talking about how some alliance was getting dogpiled (like Afm posters talking about NADC) when they were apart of the derp missile on Int/ODN. It's kind of sad actually that almost every alliance has some type of blood on it's hands but tries to act like it's #&@( doesn't smell.

I don't know why so many CN OWF posters even bother to post such hypocritical garbage their own alliance did, barely a year ago. And this war has seen a pretty drastic flip-flop with who won/lost last war with who *might* win/lose this war. With maybe a half dozen alliances managing to possibly win both at the cost of some of their allies. Normally there are at least a few wars in-between these swings and that allows for members to forget their own alliance's history.

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I don't think the problem is the amount of treaties, the problem is that they then ignore those treaties when they mean they'll have to go against the coalition strategy, I believe if everyone followed their treaties to the letter it would make for far more interesting wars.

I think DBDC might attempt this if it ever presented itself. It's coming.

(Technically we tested it on umbrella during disorder but there was no official treaty at that time)

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