C-Diplo scoring system

The C-Diplo scoring system was invented in the French Hobby and it is a simplistic system. That’s not to say anything negative about the French Hobby, just in case you were able to imply that it does. Sometimes, simple is good.


What is the C-Diplo scoring system?

The “C” in the title gives the game away. It is based on each game being worth 100 points.

  • A solo is worth 100 pts. Everyone else scores 0.

If the game ends in a draw, points are awarded such that:

  • Each player scores points equal to the number of SCs held at the end of the game.
  • Topping the Board (finishing on the highest number of SCs at the end of the game) earns 38pts; finishing in 2nd place earns 14 pts, finishing in 3rd place earns 7 pts. When positions are tied, the points are averaged between the players.
  • All players score 1pt for playing.

The system is designed so that a solo is clearly better than finishing a game with a draw.

In a drawn game, the best result is to Top the Board on 17 SCs, obviously, scoring 56 pts; the worst result which still results in Topping the Board (finishing on 6 SCs) scores 45 pts.

If two players finish on a 2-way split (17SCs each), each player will score [(38+14)/2] + 17 + 1 = 44pts. The worst score for 2 players finishing is equal top is: [(38+14)/2] + 6 + 1 = 33 pts.

If three players finish on a 3-way tie at the top of the board, each player will score at best [(38+14+7)/3] + 11 + 1 = 32 pts (rounded-up). The worst score for this is [(38+14+7)/3] + 6 + 1 = 27pts

You can see that the worst possible result for Topping the Board is better than the best possible result for a 2-way tie. This seems harsh but if the game finishes on 17-17, no player has Topped the Board.

1. What is the C-Diplo system designed to do?

It is purely a tournament scoring system. It aims to differentiate between players across the whole tournament rather than in a single game. If you tie in a game, you get the same number of points.

It rewards SC count, but also game management. The best players will look to keep a balance in the game, based on SC count, until as late as possible. At the end of the game, position is more important than SC count, in that the points awarded for the top three positions outweigh the number of SCs held, often.

C-Diplo was also designed to be used in short games. The European Hobby tends to end tournament games early, and this could be as early as 1907! This means gaining a high number of SCs would be less likely and so position is more important.

I suppose C-Diplo is more about SC management than pure SC count.

2. Is the system effective in differentiating between players/results?

Across the whole tournament, yes. Slight numbers in SCs held, will likely make a difference, and when players finish on the exact number of SCs held across all games, then positional points will be the difference.

3. What are the objectives when playing to the system?

Well, to solo. That’s the main objectives.

If we accept, however, that a solo isn’t very likely in many tournament games, then the aim is to manage the number of SCs you and your opponents have, not just about collecting as many SCs as possible. Of course, in general the more SCs you hold, the better, but it is more about playing for position at the end of the game.

For instance, if I finish in first place on 9 SCs, I earn 48 points. There could be three players tied on 8 SCs behind me, they would score 16 points each: [(14+7)/3] + 8 + 1. That makes my one SC lead three times more successful than a 3-way tie in second place on just one SC less than me! If two players tied for second on 8 SCs – [(14+7)/2] + 8 + 1 – they score either 19.5 or 20 points (depending on whether the scores are rounded-up or not), which means that I’m better than twice as successful as they are.

4. Are the objectives consistent with the design of Diplomacy?

No, they aren’t.

Once more we go to the old article by Allan B Calhamer, “Objectives Other Than Winning“, as well as the rules.

The objective of the game is to solo and, while this is the main objective of the C-Diplo scoring system, realistically – especially with the short games it was designed to for – the solo is highly unlikely (unless someone throws the game to you).

Where C-Diplo differs, as with Detour98F, is that it is about SC management and playing for position – the draw isn’t important. If you survive to the end of the game, it’s about what position you finish the game in and how many SCs you hold.

Playing to stop the solo is important but, again, with short games it isn’t really a consideration, unless someone hits 9 or 10 SCs by, say, 1904. I suppose that it could even be better – in the long run – to throw the game to someone else if it means that you still finish well across the tournament as a whole. Not so much in a structure that ends without a final but, if you’re playing to reach a final game, then doing this may well eliminate other players and see you progress.

5. Overall, is the system a ‘good’ system?

It’s intriguing, or I find it so. It isn’t just about SC count but more about managing SCs and grabbing that last SC off a near rival to improve position. This sets it apart from a lot of other SCS systems.

The level of differentiation is adequate, across the whole tournament, although there will be ties at the lower end of the rankings.

The fact that draws aren’t important of themselves removes the secondary objective from the design of the game, though, in favour of styles of play which don’t really belong in Diplomacy, whether they are SC count, SC management or positional play.


Published by Mal Arky

I'm a Diplomacy nut... if you haven't guessed. I write about the game Diplomacy, mainly as played online on websites, such as Playdiplomacy, webDiplomacy and Backstabbr. I write books on Diplomacy, too. First one to be published soon!

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