A discussion on the Hexwar forum prompts this musing --why cheat?
Any Ty Bomba game that involved an element of hidden information usually carries the warning that social science research shows that anyone will cheat if they perceive the stakes are high enough.
I'm not entirely sure this is true. I suppose anybody who refused to cheat would just, by definition, not believe the stakes are high enough. Yet we do have plenty of examples of people maintaining their honor at great cost, so I am not entirely on board. Still, I will admit that most of us would cheat under certain high stakes circumstances. And cheating at casinos, for example, seems pretty easy to understand.
But it's hard to imagine that a game played for pleasure could achieve the status of "high stakes." Yet clearly it does. I just can't figure out what those stakes must be. If it's ego, then surely that ego must feel empty because the cheater knows he's just a fraud. Or can self-delusion protect the ego from that?
I've never been one to worry overmuch about Ws and Ls. I used to track them for a while and under certain conditions it can be useful knowledge that may help improve the quality of one's play. But as a general rule it doesn't mean very much. If i have a 24-4 record in a game does that mean I am a good player or does it just mean I'm careful to select weak opponents? Can't tell unless you examine many factors.
The bottom line is that cheating only makes sense if you care an awful lot about winning and THAT only makes sense if you're willing to play under controlled conditions that give the games meaning. The allegation is that Hexwar's die rolling program is either flawed or can be manipulated. I don't know which it is, if either. But what is the point of winning that way? There's no money and very little fame involved. it's not the World Series of Poker. It's only even known to a hundred or so hardcore wargamers. Winning a trophy at the WBC is a much bigger deal.
I hope some resolution to the issue can be found, because it does threaten the trust needed to keep the site going.