Integrity or Victory?

In today’s game of Here I Stand, I had an interesting dilemma.

I was the front-running Hapsburgs, and in my desperation for an alliance, I made a deal with the last place English. However, as the turn went on, the English ended up as the only team that could win except for myself. We were the only ones with meaningful cards left, and I would win any VP ties. In hindsight, I should have added a caveat to our deal, “I won’t play it if it comes down to you and me.”

If you agree to a card play in diplomacy, do you play it knowing that if you don’t you are guaranteed to win? At what point is winning the current game worth undermining your integrity with friends and in future games? Winning is great, but do you screw a friend out of a chance of winning just to lock up victory for yourself? Or is the breaking of deals just so common in Here I Stand that I’m just being silly? Probably. In one hand, victory and betrayal. In the other, a dice fest in which I had about a 50/50 chance of winning. What if you know you will be playing with the same group again? Is integrity worth more then? I know I remember who can be trusted . . .

I chose to keep the deal, but it wasn’t an easy choice. The play of Book of Common Prayer ended up winning the game for England after the Protestant player succeeded in rolling him to two additional VP’s. Then in the New World, he scored 1 VP on an explorer, putting him up on me by 1 VP. Granted, without England’s help, France may have won the game (England took a French key). I’m just curious if anyone else has a similar horror story. What deals have you made that ended up putting you in a similar spot? What did you do? Would you do it again?

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5 Responses to Integrity or Victory?

  1. Rick says:

    I would not have played it. I think the “I won’t play it if it allows you to beat me” is an understood term of any agreement.

    Nice job by the English on the Victory. It came down to: whoever allies with the Hapsburgs wins the game (for the French and English). Whatever the Papacy and Protestants tried to coerce us into was a fool’s errand!

  2. Joe says:

    You are probably right, and I’m about 99% sure that if roles were reversed, Mike would not have played it for me.

    That said, I really made a lot of mistakes that final turn, failing to take a single key or electorate with 11 cards. I failed to recognize that Navarre was not a port city, and therefore, should have made my spring deployement to put charles and a stack of troops there, effectively ending your chances of invading Spain. I could have also easily snatched up 2 or 3 electorates, because when I was still sitting at 5 or 6 cards, the ottoman threat was all but eliminated (except piracy maybe) and the Protestant had no cards left.

    So I played the card, and even playing it, I was probably going to win . . . after all, Mike needed luther to succeed with every reformation attempt and hit in the new world. He did just that.

  3. Matt says:

    Wow you truly are a man of honor. I think everyone in our group (about 6 plays of HiS at this point) would have held the card and gone for the win. Personally I try to mix things up. I’ve played games of Diplomacy in which I maintained an alliance with another nation for the entire game (once getting a 2-way draw as Italy along with Austria) and others in which I savagely betrayed good friends of mine (once as Turkey took four supply centers from an unsuspecting Austria in a single turn). But if given such a stark choice of keeping a deal or going for the win I think I, and the other players in our group, would take the win.

    Nice blog by the way – just ran into this.

    • Rick says:

      Thanks, Matt! Glad you checked in.

    • Joe says:

      I just want to distinguish one point: I didn’t play the card knowing I would lose, I only knew there was a chance that I could. I felt I owed him a chance at winning after he held up his part of the bargain.

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