Since 2005

Fun traditions and fierce competition In the Chicagoland Area

An online resource for Diplomacy Strategies

using Sum of Squares Scoring


facts about us

#Season 14

Our Diplomacy league is the most active in North America. We average more than two league games per month in addition to Tournament play. We score all of our games using the Sum of Squares scoring system, and each player's best three scores count toward the season standings. We are known for our fierce competition, strong traditions, upstanding character and trustworthiness, and the propensity for Turkey to open to Armenia.


Friday, 10 November 2017 10:31

...Progress is optional

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

As the saying goes, change is inevitable; progress is optional. We're pleased to report that your Sneak just made a change that we believe represents progress.

For the first time since League Play was established in Season 4 (2008-09), we've changed the formula for calculating cumulative scores. Fret not! We'll continue to score games using the greatest of all scoring systems, the Sum of Squares. (We adopted that change in Season 6, 2010-11.) However, effective immediately, we will no longer count only your top three scores. For Season 13 (and hopefully beyond), #AllScoresMatter.

By a vote of 4-2 on November 8, the Sneak adopted the Make All Scores Matter Act (MIASMA), which established the following formula for calculating cumulative scores:

Sum of Top 3 Scores +

Sum of leftover scores


Greater of 2 or count of leftover games
= Cumulative Score

Our intent with this change is to:

  1. Reward consistently strong play.
  2. Reinforce a style of play that makes the entire hobby respect the Weasel: That is, the tenacious pursuit of your best possible score.
  3. Recognize that our commitments to the game and the hobby vary.

Note that a perfect score is now 400 and requires five solos in five games, since the minimum divisor for the average portion of the cumulative score is two.

Note also that players who can play frequently will continue to carry the advantage of having more opportunities to improve their package of top 3 scores. But now those opportunities will come with some risk. Their leftover average could decline. Exciting, right?

Questions? Comment below, and we'll answer them.


Read 2443 times Last modified on Sunday, 18 August 2019 10:03


# Pete McNamara 2017-11-14 00:15
Is the expectation that this will increase or reduce metagaming? I'm fine either way, just curious as to whether the sneak is trying to encourage or discourage metagaming.

Does this reward players who play 10+ games a year or does it help the occaisional player?

Most importantly, what's the rational for the change?

# Jake Trotta 2017-11-14 12:30
Quoting Pete McNamara:

Most importantly, what's the rational for the change?


Hey Pete! Thanks for the question, think I can speak to this.

The motive behind the change was that under the current system (top 3 only), there was no cost to a player for metagaming or targeting. They could throw away their result to keep another player's score down on an individual board.

By introducing average as a component of the system, EVERY game now matters, which increases the cost of metagaming.

While metagaming will always be part of any league or tournament, this will ideally cut down on a type of metagaming that the Sneak decided was problematic for the hobby.

For your last question, who this helps, I don't think the answer is as clear. The new system rewards players who play well on every board, regardless of how often they play. The goal is to make every player compete for every dot on every board. The only player style this change might harm is your boom-bust types (think myself or Christian Kline).

Does that help?
# Pete McNamara 2017-11-14 17:57
Thanks - appreciate the perspective - Pete
# Jim O'Kelley 2017-11-16 16:19
Does this reward players who play 10+ games a year or does it help the occaisional player?
This is tough question to answer.

We spent a lot of time deliberating on this change and weighing conflicting interests.

For example, we want to provide a soft landing for new players, and we want to provide infrequent players with the standalone experience they're seeking. But, we can accommodate those players when they're ready to play because we have a core of players who are motivated to play a lot by the league. When you've got players who want to play 15, 20 games a year, it's much easier to fill boards for players who can't play as often as they'd like.

The problem is when you're motivated by the standings, you can't really check that at the door.

The only way to eliminate standings-based meta-gaming is to eliminate the standings. As an organizer, I don't like that idea. When it comes to filling boards, the standings have been much more helpful than harmful. Certainly we could field more exhibitions--league games that don't count for score--if players want that, but there's just no way we play 44 games last year without the games that count.

So, we definitely were sensitive to any change that could discourage frequent play. But to get back to your question, I don't think the change favors either group.

Frequent players still will have more opportunities to improve their package of top three scores, but starting with the sixth game, every time they sit down at the table, there's a chance their score could decline. As for occasional players, the change raises the "entry point" from three to five games, which is no reward for them.

So, I'd say that the change is a good, hard-fought compromise, and I believe that it will accomplish the three things I mentioned in the original post.

By averaging scores that fall outside the top three, we'll:

* Reward players who score consistently well and/or are tough outs.

* Encourage players to play the game they're in rather than the standings. (And here, maybe all we accomplish is forcing players who are going to play the league in a rational, intelligent way, to think about in-game actions that had become no-brainers. That's something.)

* Reduce the disadvantage to players who can't play as often as they'd like by attaching a potential cost to frequent play.
# Chris Kelly 2017-11-19 20:22
Out of curiosity, I calculated the effect of this scoring system on last year's standings. Assuming I got the math right, the differences are mostly minor (official ranking in parentheses):

1. Brandon Fogel (1) 212.62
2. Jake Trotta (2) 204.21
3. Jim O'Kelley (3) 132.87
4. Brian Shelden (4) 130.42
5. Matt Sundstrom (6) 123.70
6. Mick Johnson (5) 120.07
7. Chris Kelly (10) 114.60
8. Christian Kline (7) 114.21
9. Bryan Pravel (8) 112.28
10. Ali Adib (9) 110.53
# Jim O'Kelley 2017-11-20 08:39
the differences are mostly minor
Well, easy for you to say. Christian would possibly disagree.

Of course, in applying the scoring change retroactively, we can't account for how it might have changed a player's approach to games. That said, redefining success was not our goal when we set out to change the formula for cumulative scoring.
+1 # Jim O'Kelley 2017-11-20 09:44
Christian would possibly disagree.
... In fairness, Christian will always disagree.
# Chris Martin 2017-12-22 10:01
Quoting Jim O'Kelley:
Christian would possibly disagree.

... In fairness, Christian will always disagree.
The only thing missing here is Christian chiming in saying "No I wouldn't!"
+1 # Bryan Pravel 2017-11-21 13:59
Averaging would definitely have changed the way I played last year. I can't say I would have had higher scores, but all I needed was 2 more points to get into the top 7. I would have definitely tried to get my average up by two points.

You have no rights to post comments

Who's Online

We have 2286 guests and no members online


To request an account, contact us at