Total Diplomacy Risk Game Strategies

How to Make Sure Your Opponent will Follow Through with The Deal?

By Ehsan Honary :::: Saturday, May 19, 2007

:: Article Rating :: Psychology, Diplomacy, Strategy, Negotiation

My father said: "You must never try to make all the money that's in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won't have many deals."

Jean Paul Getty

After a lot of diplomacy and propaganda, you manage to get your opponent to the negotiation table. You make fantastic moves in the negotiation and manage to convince him to make a deal with you. So far you are very happy with the results. However, there is one issue left. How do you make sure that your Risk opponent will commit to what he just promised? Surely, after all the hard work, you don't want to see all your efforts going to waste. What should you say or do to put him under pressure, so that even the thought of quitting on you does not occur to him?

The 'follow through technique' can help you to achieve just this. This technique is universal and can be applied not just to Risk game, but also other everyday situations. What you need to do is to make sure, that your opponent feels comfortable and obliged to carry on with the deal. You need to create a moral dilemma for him. You should make him feel that he will loose sleep if he breaks the deal with you.

The following techniques can help you to achieve this:

  • Make it moral. If he is morally obliged to carry out the tasks, the chances are high that he will not quit. Show him how important it is to you. Let him know how bad it could get for you if he doesn't carry out his commitment. If you may end up in trouble as a result of his lack of commitment, then don't keep it to yourself. The more he knows about the harm he may make to you, the better. A person who doesn't follow a deal may be ignorant to the fact that how important this may be to you.
  • Verbal commitment.  Get your opponent to review the deal in his own words. There are many benefits for this. It is easier for him to remember the details since he is formulating the words himself. You can also see it from his point of view. This is a great opportunity to see if he has missed any of the details of the agreement (intentionally or unintentionally). You have an opportunity to correct them before it is too late. This is critical in a Risk game. Players tend to be vague when it comes to terms of the deals they make.
  • Make it physical. Follow the verbal commitment with physical commitment. Sense of touch is incredibly powerful. When you make an agreement, always try to take advantage of natural emotions and evolutionary habits of humans. Touch usually creates a sense of friendship and brings the two sides closer. Once you made an agreement, follow it with a handshake. Make sure you look into your opponent's eyes. Eye contact is also quite influential and creates a sense of commitment. If you are playing Risk board game, physical contact is easy. If you are playing online Risk, you need to simulate the physical handshake by appropriate gestures such as smileys
  • Put relationships on the line. Breaking commitments are much harder if the cost of breaking is high. By increasing this cost, you can reduce the likelihood of deal-breaking. For example, you can make it personal and put your relationship on the line. Your opponent now has to risk loosing the current relationship with you which could be too dear for him. Of course, this is a double edged sword. It can also backfire on you. If you put the relationship on the line and he breaks the deal, you can't count on him anymore. If you carry on with him, there is absolutely no way you can tell if he is going to commit anything since he has broken a deal before and is much more likely to do it again.
  • Setup a deadline.There is nothing better than a sense of urgency when you want to get something done. Agree to a deadline and make sure that he agrees to it. If you make a deal with no deadline, he may simply put the task aside until it is completely forgotten. Instead, if you have a deadline, you always have an excuse to chase him or remind him that you are expecting something from him at a particular time. In a Risk game, a deadline can be set in a few turns. Alternatively it could be based on events. An event can be set to when only certain number of Risk players are left in the game.
  • Go through the details. If you have made a deal with someone, it would be quite unfortunate if he doesn't know how to carry it out. Make sure you go through all the details and agree to them. That way, there wont be any misunderstanding between you. When someone wants to break a deal, he will look for any excuse he can get his hand on. Don't give any to him. Make what you want from him cristal clear.

Deal making should be considered in your overall Risk game strategy. Making a deal, breaking a deal and the potential risks associated with making deals should be aligned with your ultimate goal. You should only get involved in deals when you know you can afford the risk.