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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.

« First ‹ Previous Replies 11 - 20 of 219 Next › Last »
fiero600 wrote
at 2:26 PM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
OMG MOD FIGHT!
Vermont wrote
at 2:49 PM, Thursday October 22, 2009 EDT
Dude, you don't talk about mod fight club.
the brain wrote
at 2:47 AM, Friday October 23, 2009 EDT
Good post, although I have to agree with 'the full monte's concern. I can even add to it that if in his example purples most strategically sound move is NOT to attack yellow but some other colour (regardless of a flag), simply making that move can fool others in believing purple is respecting yellows flag and the others may counter, even if purple tells in chat that he won't respect it (in some future turn).

Two additional notes of my own about the post:
- Flagging is ambiguously used as both 'vflagging' and putting up an 'actual flag'.
- In rule #3, 'early' is relative. Lots of people shout about that a vflag shouldn't be accepted before round X, which is totally invalid as a rule of thumb. Because this is a game of chance, round 8 for a certain game can be similar to round 4 in another. Therefore instead 'early' in terms of rounds, it would have mean 'early' in the state of the game (who has how many lands/stacks where on the board), which can't really be measured as such.

Personally I love flagging to the people who flagged to the apparent leader, for the sake of the ambiguity in it. And then I'll try to pick fights for either 1st or 3rd and the likes (instead of flagging to the leader and fighting 2nd or 3rd against a slightly weaker opponent). Most people will actually let you get away with stuff like that.
m477 wrote
at 6:01 PM, Saturday October 24, 2009 EDT
tl;dr x 10
lololol
MadWilly wrote
at 7:25 AM, Monday October 26, 2009 EDT
@skrum: if you'd be ok with german as chat language i'm willing to type in grammatically proper german every game.
How about that resolution?
skrumgaer wrote
at 9:31 AM, Monday October 26, 2009 EDT
Madwilly:

My username may be germanic, but I ignore chats in german since I don't understand them. Checking the little flag box will help.
DJohnson wrote
at 8:46 AM, Tuesday October 27, 2009 EDT
The Johnson approves.
jonascherry wrote
at 11:15 AM, Tuesday October 27, 2009 EDT
This is great. I will change my ways vermont
MadWilly wrote
at 11:31 AM, Tuesday October 27, 2009 EDT
@skrum: pardon me for camouflaging my irony that hard. 1st your username resembles to something german only when you look at it from an english point of view
2nd I was pointing towards the pity of trying to establish proper english grammatics with an international community with a minority actually able to speak and spell proper english let alone being ones first language.
Hence i suggestest my mothertongue as lingua franca so i could douche about german grammar in game terms.For i feel really discriminated by them being in improper english so i can't bitch about them.

MW
skrumgaer wrote
at 3:22 PM, Tuesday October 27, 2009 EDT
MadWilly:

If you want to be understood in a foreign language the burden is on you to make the correct communication.
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