Common misconceptions about the current flagging system.
Posted By: Vermont at 9:20 AM, Wednesday November 19, 2014 EST
I've noticed that a good deal of the frustration with the game and with other players is consistently due to misunderstandings of the flagging system. This becomes pretty evident when you take a look at players' review pages and a large majority of the negative, and even positive comments, deal with flagging.

The initial flagging system was introduced solely as a way to help the game end faster. It was a simple checkbox, not related to place. When all players other than the one in first checked this box the game would end and each player would receive place based on their current position.

Incidentally, this system led to 'ninja flagging,' where a player would wait for everyone else to have their flag up and then quickly over-expand and then flag themselves, ending the game. They would then finish much higher than they should have otherwise. This led to some fun games as people would watch and try to respond, but it also cause some frustration. Anyone who uses 'ninja flagging' in regards to the current system is using the term incorrectly.

I bring this up because the current flagging system was introduced specifically to address the ninja flagging 'problem.' Some players that play in both systems find the old system preferable, some do not. To each their own; I don't think Ryan will be changing it back anytime soon.

The issue we have now is that flags are grossly misunderstood. You see people all the time expecting that when their flag is up they will not be attacked and thus they feel you did not "honor" or "respect" their flag if you attack them. This completely erroneous assumption has lead to a great deal of complaining, frustration, and negative review leaving.

Here are the flagging facts:
1. If you flag to someone, they have the complete right to still attack you, and often should. There is nothing 'dishonorable' about it. They may need to expand to fight for a higher position and your flag should not stop them from expanding to do so. They may want to earn more dom points - it is their right to do so as they have clearly earned a stronger position. Flags are ONLY there to help the game end faster; they are not magic invincibility potions to protect you when you otherwise should die.

2. People who over-expand and then throw up a flag should frequently be attacked. Just because you put up a flag does not mean that you can foolishly over-expand and leave little stacks lying about and expect to keep them. Again, a flag is not a magic invincibility potion that protects you from attack - it's just there to help the game end faster. You'll often see people over expand recklessly throw up a flag and have it 'respected' and thus earning a position higher than they should have gotten. Good strategy on their part if they think they can get away with it, but poor form on the other players' part to let them do so. Keep in mind that that over-expanding player is taking dominance points away from the other players when they do this as well; frequently from the person who is in the best position to take their smaller stacks.

3. An early flag is essentially a truce offer. If a player verbally flags in round two, it's a safe assumption that those two players are effectively truced and will not be hindering each other's play. The other players on the board need to actively counter this or will almost always end up losing to these two players. This is not very different from being observant and countering two players who says things like "I'm cool" or "how about we be friendly." If you don't fight this behavior when possible, those players will win. You will see some people that ignore or even purposefully attack early verbal flags. This is a reasonable solution to this problem. They're probably flagging early because they are weak, so take the land and dominance points if you are in a position to do so.

In review:
Flagging Rule #1 - Flagging to someone does not mean they cannot and often should not attack you.

Flagging Rule #2 - Players who recklessly over-expand and then flag for defense should often be attacked.

Flagging Rule #3 - An early verbal flag is often an effective truce offer.

I will state the most important part again: flagging was only introduced to help the game end faster. Your flag DOES NOT prevent you from being attacked - it is not what it was designed to do.

Replies 1 - 10 of 217 Next › Last »
hcdug wrote
at 8:30 AM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
Great summation Verm. I hope newer players read this. I think with a clearer understanding and evaluation of others play, gameplay will be greatly improved.

Happy Rolling
V.V.V wrote
at 9:02 AM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
I give this my personal seal of approval. Good work Verms.
GreGGwar wrote
at 9:17 AM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
+ 1
the full monte wrote
at 9:24 AM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
wonderful summary, verms.

i would add to flagging rule #3 the exception that IF the flag is respected, then it is a truce. this month, i have noticed a larger number of people trying to drum up 5v2 counters as soon as someone offers a vflag in an early round.

the problem is that sometimes you never know if the stronger dude will or will not accept that vflag. lets say yellow overexpands and vflags to purple, who has a big stack next to him. keep in mind, purple's turn doesnt happen until 5 other people's turns go by. during that time, some manipulative hero convinces everyone that purple and yellow are truced because yellow vflagged. (honestly i have seen this play out many many times). no matter what purp says in chat, no one trusts him, and by the time it gets to his turn, he is facing a 5v2 counter to a nonexistent truce. originally, he could even have been planning on attacking yellow for the free land. however, even if he does so now, the 5 wont disband, and will still give him as low as possible. this seemingly forces him into accepting yellows vflag, and trying to make-do fighting 2v5 instead of 1v6.

its a sucky sucky situation. but i think it can be cleared up a little (just a little) if people read your summary, and if they understand that rule 3 only implies a truce IF on the stronger color's next turn, he does not attack the weaker vflagger.

anyways, it requires an insane amount of chatboxing to successfully deny that you are respecting someones weak vflag. in this case actions dont mean much. tricky situation.
MadHat_Sam wrote
at 10:28 AM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
This is why people wanted Verms for mod, logic and thoughtfulness.
Vermont wrote
at 10:33 AM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
monte, I see your point and I edited my post to clear that up a bit.

(Yes, I said EDITED my post. Being a mod rocks.)
speciale528 wrote
at 11:30 AM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
Rule 1 implies that flaggin to someone doesnt mean u cant attack him afterwards too. I think that should be added.

But that may already be obvious for those who never had any problems in takin the flag for what it is.

skrumgaer wrote
at 12:18 PM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
Flagging is not a transitive verb. It doesn't take an object. It means "I am satisfied with a place not better than n in the normal situation where somebody flagged higher does not lag out". If someone says "I flag to x", that should be interpreted as "I don't know a transitive verb from a nontranstive one but I want a truce with x."
Gurgi wrote
at 1:12 PM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
thanks for the "in review"
Vermont wrote
at 1:14 PM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
skrum, game terminology often differs from proper grammatical English. Vflag is not a word at all, let alone an improperly used one, for example, but people know what it means.

I'm not sure you're either helping or simplifying the conversation by playing grammar police.
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