Blood Game Etiquette
*hefty grunt as I climb up on my soap box*
This is a page that is long overdue in Stellar Crisis. Many people hold the The Guide to Stellar Crisis Etiquette as a guide to how to conduct your empire honorably in the heat of interstellar battles and mass species xenocide. As a general rule, I adhere to these guidelines and would hope that others do as well, however, there are two major exceptions to some of these rules. First, these guidelines were written before the advent of surrender and draw options that are common now. Secondly, many of these rules do not apply in a blood game. Finally there are some new guidelines that need to be discussed dealing directly with blood and cutthroat games. Most of all, I am tired of the name calling, crying, the whining and moaning that goes on, when I go to war with an trading partner - Or when I explore, and find some ones Home World while at trade, because they were to lazy to engineer themselves off.- And worst of all, the demands from some empire a third my size, that I should draw the game with them in the end, because they were "kind" enough to trade with me the whole game, therefore it would somehow be in my best interest in future games, to not nuke them and win the game.
Rules of Conduct
The draw option is for deadlocks,
it is not a replacement for allying out in Bloods
Never go into a blood game with a prearranged agreement with another empire(s) to nuke everyone but each other, before fighting.
Again, its is always unfair to have an agreement outside the game, which no one else in the game is aware of. This also includes outside sources of communication when broadcast is the only in game communication available. Emails or making deals in outside games is not fair.
You should not give up the
chance to win the game, for the opportunity to merely nuke another player
Don't cave in or allow another empire to invade/nuke you uncontested
Be proud and defiant in a blood game. If there are more players than you and the other empire, you owe it to the other players in the game to keep fighting. Broadcast the position of the enemy who is attacking you to the other players. Let them know that the player has a huge fleet on one front and is vulnerable to attack on another. Threaten the players, that if they don't help, this guy is going to be huge and crush them one by one if they don't harass him. Close off links, make them fight for every planet and every opened and explored link. Destroy their sciences if you can't touch their fleet, try to counter attack and take out a couple of their planets the same time they roll into your Home World. You can easily throw the game to your attacker if you don't give some level of resistance.
These tactics are unfair to other players in the game, and as long as you are still alive, there still is a chance... I was once in a game where the empire attacking me was nuked by another empire, right as he moved in to my Home World
Never allow another empire in the same game to make your updates for you!
You would think that this would be obvious, but I have had an empire update for another in a blood game twice. Once it was a very respected empire on Lysator. In an ally game, it is not that uncommon to ask an ally to update for you while you are on vacation, indisposed, in a coma ect. This is fine. It would be a problem if you asked your friend, who was in the same game but who wasn't part of the alliance, however. The person making the updates would have knowledge of all the information on the absentee players maps, including Home Worlds of other empires, builders, closed or hidden links and so on. This is information that he could not of known with his own empire alone. The same goes for bloods. You can gain map info, plus for a week or so, you can do the equivalent of double emping. You also don't have to worry about the other empire you are controlling attacking you for a period of time. It also creates a dilemma for the person doing the updating. Is it O.K. to use this information to attack the empire he was updating, when the other player returns? Most players would not, which means they don't feel right attacking that empire for the rest of the game. It's all in all unfair for others in the game.
Diplomacy in Blood Games
Aw.. now the touchy subject! There are two types of bloods, one is the type that doesn't allow for any diplomatic settings at all, and the other type allows for truce and trade, sometimes known as cutthroats. We will talk about both in turn.
There is Diplomacy in Every Game
There certainly is less chatter in blood games, and it is allot easier to be antisocial, however, all good blood gamers know there is a certain level of required cooperation in order to win. Sometimes it is unspoken, two smaller emps will team up on a bigger emp because they know it is in their best interest to do so, two emps back to back involved in conflicts on opposite fronts will not attack each other w/o even a word. In Games where broadcast is the only option, planet naming is frequently away of laying down plots, and every once in a while, when an empire is just dominating the game, a call will be made over the broadcast. "Hey! Stormer is huge! If we don't all gang up on him right away, we're done for!"
Trade Does not Equal Alliance! Backstabbing is only in Allied Games
This is by far the biggest problem in Blood Games. Eventually, unless you want to break the first rule of conduct and draw the game, everyone is going to have to fight. Trade is a great way to enforce temporary truces and to get an econ edge if you are in the middle of the map. It also allows you to fight a larger enemy together. In an allied game it is considered uncouth to go to trade with someone who you plan to go to war with, then take advantage of it, through exploration, colonization of trading partners systems, ect. In a blood game, it should be expected, because everyone is going to war eventually! There are ways to counteract friendly exploration and colonization of planets that belong to you. Use them! If I meet you in a blood game, we go to trade, then I explore the bejeepers out of you and colonize your planets, you have no one to blame but yourself. First, you should never agree to truce unless it is in your best interest, engineer off links you don't want explored i.e. your Home World and go to war with anyone who is using truce to colonize and explore you. Sometimes you can do the same to them... One of the best ways to counteract a trading partner exploring you, is to explore every inch of his territory, they will be less likely to pick a fight with you, when they know that you know where their home world is also!.
Declare war before opening links you have seen trading partners close, or links they ask you not to open
This is one of the few do nots... especially in a 3.0 game, where once the home world is found, your life is over. If you are at trade with someone, and they suddenly gate in an engineer right next to the closed link to your Homeworld... its over. The following turn they will open the link, and you will downgrade to truce, but still not be able to destroy the engineer. The second update you will be at war, but they will have explored the link beyond. The next turn or two, expect to see a huge fleet hovering over your home world. If you are going to explore for unexplored links in a trading partners systems you should go to war first.
However there have been times where I was hunting for an enemy near a trading partners borders and accidentally opened and explored his Home World. Unfortunately, he got upset and started whining, after I explored the link. If he had asked me not to open nor explore the link, I would not of done it.( Well, OK, at least not then : ) If this happens to you, at least warn the other empire not to explore the link, maybe to even close it up. If they can't afford to go to war with you just yet, they may oblige.
Don't be Loyal to a Fault
Just because you and another empire have been at trade or had an unwritten non-aggression pact, does not mean that you have to lose to prove you are loyal, honorable, or keep your word. I have had all kinds of empires tell me crap like this, when I declared war as they were about to run away with the game. Of course they want me to be loyal. In exchange for my faithful service, they may of nuke me last, instead of second to last. Don't be a chump, play to win. Honor and loyalty belongs in allied games only. On the other hand, if you do make an agreement with someone and then immediately turn on them...they will never trust you again.You can keep your word in blood games as long as you don't promise to stick with your 'buddy' for the whole game. Still, it is not backstabbing unless your allied. On the other hand, if you have been at trade, with another empire the whole game, you manage to grow to gigantic proportions, while they sit in a corner and do who knows what. After everyone but them is nuked, should you draw out with them? That is obviously their hope. I don't for this reason, if I have played a great game and conquered everyone in the game except this one tiny empire, should I not be awarded the win? I think it is unfair to ask an empire to exchange the win and the last nuke for a measly draw. I don't draw out to smaller empires and I don't expect larger empires to draw out to me.
I believe that allying out is one of the worst features of the game. When I first started out at MKII, this how a typical ally game would go. The empires would meet up and start to ally, then to ally with each other's allies. When they hit a critical number, usually half the people in the game. they would fight whomever they met, regardless if the empire was in a corner and was not able to meet anyone else. If one of the allies of the "alliance" couldn't nuke that person on their own, the other allies would send along ships and double, triple even more the solitary empires that hadn't yet met and joined the 'cliche'. Many times in a 10 player game, there would be 5 empires allied with each other, fighting any other empire they found, regardless if the remaining 5 had a chance yet to meet each other for communication, trade and shared HQ settings. Often one or two of the 5 would be idling from the onset, so the game was very unfair. After nuking half the players in the game, The alliance would win and repeat the same tactic in another game. This is when I stopped playing alliance games. Other times, whining would be heard on the airwaves, and then all 10 players, minus any idlers would all meet, hold hands and ally out, everyone getting an easy, uncontested and unearned win.
This kind of play makes the win loss stats meaningless and completely spoiled the competitionon of the game and the fun for players like me. Fortunately no one else has duplicated the flaw of MKII by allowing a setting above alliance, shared HQ that allows allies to share exploration and stargate to each others systems. On Lugdunum I have had some good battles in ally games but still there are several games when everyone wants to ally out instead of actually playing a game.
Having a draw option in a game is a great idea, but should only be available in grudge games and ally games Allowing players to draw in a blood game gives rise to a new kind of 'alliance' where 2 or more blood players can team up to clear a map then draw the game so they don't have to nuke each other. This ruins the purpose of a blood game, which is, it is O.K. to have truces in the game, but sooner or later, you will have to fight everyone in the game. If you are friendly with your neighbor, in order to fight a bigger empire thats your common enemy, as soon as he is dispatched, it is war again. In multiplayer game, draw should be the way to end a game prematurely. Ahmagedon is introducing the team concept. Basically you know who is on your side and who isn't and you have to work as a team to dispatch another team, this is a great idea. As far as I understand, there is no allying out in these games, only draws if all the players agree to it. This is the way it should be.
Click here for Agt the Walkers opinions on similar topics
Why Play Blood Games?
Why would a stat loving player jump into a game where there are as many as 8-10 other empires, and only one empire can win? Statistically speaking, you would lose 7 out of 8 times in an 8 player game, a record of 10 and 80 does not seem very flashy compared to a record 60 and 20 of an alliance game player, where many games end in an ally out.
The odds are not that bad
It's all about the Nukes
Some Player just want to nuke Everyone
Jumpgates mandate either a change
in etiquette or the way you play the game
So everyone, the next time you play
stormer or another empire like me, these are the guidelines we follow
in bloods. If we explore your home world at any time in a 3.0 game because
you didn't feel like engineering it off, the 5 day forecast for your home
world will be something like this: