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Discourse on treaty rules

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Deacon
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Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Deacon on Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:36 pm

Since I had made some treaties with NPC states, and was disturbed that these might be completely shredded if a new player picked the position up, I asked Richard for clarification on the rules about treaties and new players. Since what he gave me seems useful to everyone, and I think everyone ought to know how the rules work, I'm going to share what was in my turn here:

Discourse on the Treaty Rules

Should a nation not comply with its treaty obligations, that nation's honour score would have a
steady downward pressure turn after turn until the matter is resolved. This inevitably means that the
nation in question will collapse in rebellion and other internal pressures eventually if the matter is
ignored. So, for example, if the Honour score was as high as 30, even so it is reasonable to assume
that in the space of three years this level will have been wiped out and disaster awaits if nothing is
done to solve the problem. That is a strong reason to comply with treaty obligations, or if you cannot
to make a comparable offer to solve the problem.

If in the meantime, to take another example, a small nation was invaded and defeated completely by
a more powerful state, in direct contravention of a treaty, then the smaller national government will
be forced into exile, but in the meantime the Honour collapse will begin, and eventually the small
state will rebel against its new master, whose armies won't be responding to orders. In other words,
the short term gain could effectively lead to a civil war and the collapse of the bigger state to the
advantage of the smaller, exiled, government of the smaller state. That is hopefully an extreme example,
but should show how the new system will work in practice and make it simply not worthwhile
deliberately breaking treaties as those who do so will end up risking losing everything, without
recourse to unrealistic use of a 'court agema' (I have in the past frequently winced when that wording
has been used by players!).

When a new player takes on a position in the game he is not technically bound by treaties made by
previous incumbents, and while by itself he will not be subject to the steady downward pressure
described above, an existing player can work this to his advantage if he deems the new player as
being unwilling to carry on with an existing treaty. This could be used as a casus belli (a legitimate
reason) for war, or for a diplomatic propaganda effort which can damage the new player’s honour.
The difference is there won’t be anything automatic about damage to a player’s honour month-in,
month-out where he has been held as having broken a treaty; with a new player it takes more visible
effort to damage his honour in such cases, but it is very much still a case of what is deemed morally
right in the eyes of your own aristocracy and/or contemporaries.

An example of a previous treaty which isn’t binding on players but which can be used to damage
someone’s honour would be the Treaty of Westphalia which was arranged decades before the start
date of the game! However it would not be reasonable for a consistent drain on a player’s honour to
take place for a perceived breach of it, and such logic also applies to player-produced treaties in
relation to a new player who didn’t sign it but where the treaty applies to his nation.


So, I take it that while you aren't technically bound by a treaty by a former player of the position, that as richard says " it is very much still a case of what is deemed morally
right in the eyes of your own aristocracy and/or contemporaries." So, even if you didn't personally sign the treaty, if the treaty was/is just and fair that you can suffer for breaching it, just not to the extent of one you wrote and signed yourself.

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:31 pm

Thank you for sharing this Deacon. The first 2 paragraphs were separately issued, but the last 2 are new to me. I know we have discussed this on the forum before, particularly in the G7 France vs England thread. We exposed various contradictory elements that needed clarification and thanks to Richard it looks as though we have it.

However, I have 3 supplementary questions arising:

1. In the 3rd paragraph it states
Deacon wrote:... an existing player can work this to his advantage if he deems the new player as being unwilling to carry on with an existing treaty.
[size=18]
What is not explicitly covered is the situation where the existing player is looking to get out of treaty obligations and expects the new player to disregard that treaty. If the new player affirms the treaty, then presumably it is still classed as binding on both players.

2. The moral justification of treaties
Deacon wrote:...very much still a case of what is deemed morally right in the eyes of your own aristocracy and/or contemporaries.
You will not be surprised if I consider this a most welcome clarification. In short, if you make a treaty, you are under a moral obligation to keep it. Pirates are subject to a different moral code, but honourable rulers should behave honourably and not break their treaties. This also means that treaties do not automatically expire after 5 years, but can have effects far beyond that.

3. What happens during the period when a position is inactive? Are we to expect the inactive position to be played as though the treaties signed by the active player are valid? I suggest so. In which case several players could have put themselves in breach of treaty over the last few months.


These 3 points may well have significant implications in Game 7.

The Treaty of Ghent between France, Spain, UDP and Flanders is the obvious first flashpoint. It makes a great deal of sense for both France and Spain to stand by the ToG, and if the new player for France was to affirm that treaty, then Spain would be hit in honour terms by breaking it. Spain may already have broken the treaty if he has not paid the latest dowry installment to France. As the dowry is payable for a further 35 years, I have always contended that the treaty lasts that long. Sanctions for breaking the treaty are contained within the treaty itself, so there is clearly a very interesting decision for the new player for France to make. The declaration of war by UDP on France is not in itself a breach of the ToG - that depends purely on how the war is conducted.

The Treaties between France and England. Without repeating much of the France vs England thread, it appears RJC was not free to break his treaty with France once France became inactive. However, now there is a new player for France, the choice as to treaty performance again lies with France rather than RJC. Similarly in the case of King James: as the Jacobite player joined before the new player for France, the decision on the level of support to be provided to the Jacobites rests with France.

The clarification certainly seems to require new players to respect the diplomatic balance and treaties of a game they join. That is, to me, very welcome and should help players decide on what they intend to do when they take over.

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Deacon on Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:55 am

>The clarification certainly seems to require new players to respect the diplomatic balance and treaties of a game they join. That is, to me, very welcome and should help players decide on what they intend to do when they take over.<<

I think this was my key takeaway. That if you've acted reasonably and honourably, that a new player can't just arrive and throw that all out the window without consequence.

I think if they could, game 7 would be a farce. And if you act in good faith in making treaties with people, that even if they change positions you can still cause consequences to those who break existing treaties.

I think the out is mostly for treaties that really probably should have never been signed in the first place. But if it was a reasonable treaty, then you can get slammed for breaking it even if you are a new player.

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Guest on Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:05 am

I guess the debate won't end over what is a reasonable treaty so there will always be some flexibility. In 1919 Versailles was considered perfectly reasonable by the allies, but not by Germany: does this mean that Germany was justified in breaking it? An extreme example and out of period, but perhaps that is the point. We are told elsewhere in the old rules for Court Agema that players tend to go for annihilation whereas historically conflicts were settled only when delegates were less demanding (i.e. reached a more reasonable settlement).

In G7 this was why despite the objections of some observers, had England accepted my original terms they would have ended the war quickly and guaranteed their independence, bouncing back economically in a relatively short period. The eventual terms agreed with King James were better still for England, but still unnacceptable to those observers who had subsequently become so wrapped up in their propaganda that they really didn't care about anything other than their own crusade against France. Their own actions subsequently proved this to be true.

It is interesting that RJC seemed to understand that the French terms were reasonable and was able to make a deal based on them where previous English rulers had not. He had trouble selling that deal to the English people, so did they judge it to be unreasonable? Possibly, but he didn't seem to try very hard to convince them of the merits of those terms given they had been exposed to years of propaganda. Did this prompt his reversal of position and ultimately lead to the death of KJ? RJC may well have asked for the same clarification as you received, but interpreted 'reasonable' in a different way. This certainly seems to be the substance of his statements on the forum and in the newspapers. What he perhaps should have realised though, is that murdering a King was even more dishonourable than standing by an unpopular treaty, so if he acted to save his honour then he had no chance. Of course now the new King James is requiring far more harsh terms from England than I ever did as France, and arguably has a much stronger moral case for imposing them.

I always maintained that France was fighting not simply for dredgers or even for the Jacobites, but the principle that a King's word should be kept. England repeatedly broke its word so had to be punished. This was not well understood or accepted by my enemies, though it was understood by my nobles who expected nothing less. In the eyes of my nobles I should have used the opportunity to permanently cripple England rather than simply subdue them. In their eyes I should have imposed much more draconian (unreasonable) terms on them despite my reservations about the wisdom of such a move. The Austrian war was precisely the same principle, though there the offense to France was even greater and consequently the penalty to be extracted from Austria should also be greater, proportional not just to the nature of the act, but the resources of the offending state. In 1919 France sought to protect herself from Germany by denying Germany a chunk of industrial capacity which would put Germany at a disadvantage if she attacked France again. Because Austria so blatantly broke its treaty with France within months of signing it, the only protection for France would be to apply the same principle that was applied in 1919. Without that any peace is likely to be over within months. Would a peace any more lenient be regarded as 'unreasonable' by French nobles? In both cases France was the wronged party, so in the eyes of French nobles, quite possibly!

I will be very interested to see how the clarification of the rules affects the negotiating positions of various rulers.


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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Stuart Bailey on Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:42 pm

Page 35 of the core rule book "A treaty naturally lapses after 2-5 years (decided randomly) after which date the treaty is not enforceable, unless a date is specified in the treaty itself. Thus after three years a signatory to the document may risk breaking it and not suffer any penalties.......but on the other hand.....! Plus the rule that all treaties are null and void when a government changes has always been clear enough to me.

Have attacked on 5 years plus one month and also on a change of Govt (when new Governments maiden speach was distinctly anti me) but never had the nerve to go earlier being fairly sure if agema was using a 4 sided dice to fix if a treaty was valid for 2,3,4 or 5 years my dice would be stuck on 4.

If you have treaties which never end or even fixed period treaties which are binding on new player:

a) The game is going to get very stactic and boreing with new players in particular stuck with the decisions of previous governments which they dont agree with dont want to support. The position would not really become yours for years. Realistic perhaps but a good gaming experience?

b) I also feel this rule cheers hinders players going for a diplomatic stitch up where you protect borders by signing a 5 year non aggression pact with A a 3 year one with B and attack C. With intention to attack B after 3 years and A after 5.

Its a real blow to the master plan when A has a change of Govt and your border is only guarded by one man and his dog! Cue frantic diplomacy in Capital of A which makes new player feel ........this is a interesting game.

However, it has to be said that when taking on a new position it is sometimes good diplomacy and a friendly guesture to offer to re-sign some of the old treaties and I do know several players who view new governments who do not re-sign as deeply suspect if not down right unfriendly.......even as a cause for war.

Of course a new government can declare war on who ever it likes and for what ever reason since no treaty stops it. But many players like to produce a "just cause" first. Personally, not something I have ever been that bothered by plunder and the fact that he is French/Turkish/Austrian/Russian etc has always been good enough for me. But violation of some treaty signed by Father/Brother/Prime Minister and an insult to the National Honour works well.

In G7 for example the change of French Government means that the French Treaties with England to end the Anglo-French War, The French Mutual defence pact with Russia and the French Treaty with Spain, Flanders, UDP? are all null and void and the new French Government is free to ignore the Swedish attack on Russia, re-start the war with England or dig out French Claims to Flanders and the Throne of Spain.

Of course if Russia or the Jacobites starts pleading for help in public calling on old friendships and all that the new French Government may feel some pressure on its honour to act. Likewise if Spain/Flanders keep dowry payments taking over Flanders may look like French Bullying while if they just ignore it as a defunct treaty the new French Government can probably sale it to its Nobles as "just cause" for war.

Here we may however be entering the tricky world of practicality V principal. The new French Government probably has good, just and valid reasons (by its own lights) to declare war on Englang (again), Sweden, Spain, Flanders and probably Bavaria as well. But since its already fighting the UDP & Austria how many of these "just causes" will it actually want to use? Bit of a tricky one for the new government of France and a lot more interesting than if it was stuck with boreing old treaties.

RJC can make as much fuss and show as he likes .......but that treaty under the rules is not valid. Ditto the Treaty of Ghent only in this case I suspect the Spanish chucked it in the bin with rather more pleasure. Now we just have to see who's nerve breaks first? Will the Lilly Banners, The Cross of St George or the Red & Gold of Spain strike first?

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Deacon on Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:28 am

Stuart Bailey wrote:Page 35 of the core rule book "A treaty naturally lapses after 2-5 years (decided randomly) after which date the treaty is not enforceable, unless a date is specified in the treaty itself. Thus after three years a signatory to the document may risk breaking it and not suffer any penalties.......but on the other hand.....! Plus the rule that all treaties are null and void when a government changes has always been clear enough to me.

You must have a very old copy of the rules. I got mine a couple of years ago and this isn't in it.


Stuart Bailey wrote:
If you have treaties which never end or even fixed period treaties which are binding on new player:

a) The game is going to get very stactic and boreing with new players in particular stuck with the decisions of previous governments which they dont agree with dont want to support. The position would not really become yours for years. Realistic perhaps but a good gaming experience?

Look at the flip side. If any change of government totally negates a treaty, then you have anarchy in the game. There's no point in making any agreements since they can be shredded in a moment. You can't consider game 7 without considering the treaties that have been signed. To throw them out entirely without consequence makes game history meaningless. I think the rules as Richard laid them out to me seem reasonable and middle of the road. No, a new player isn't fully bound, but they're expected to act 'honourably' as defined by Richard in context, and can't just throw everything up in the air and start over. Any game reached the point it is for a reason. If you ignore those reasons, then this isn't a historical simulation at all. It's just a war game with some flash.

Stuart Bailey wrote:
b) I also feel this rule cheers hinders players going for a diplomatic stitch up where you protect borders by signing a 5 year non aggression pact with A a 3 year one with B and attack C. With intention to attack B after 3 years and A after 5.

Its a real blow to the master plan when A has a change of Govt and your border is only guarded by one man and his dog! Cue frantic diplomacy in Capital of A which makes new player feel ........this is a interesting game.

However, it has to be said that when taking on a new position it is sometimes good diplomacy and a friendly guesture to offer to re-sign some of the old treaties and I do know several players who view new governments who do not re-sign as deeply suspect if not down right unfriendly.......even as a cause for war.

Which is the point Richard made in his comments, that failure to live up to your previous treaty obligations have real consequences in game even if you repudiate them.


Stuart Bailey wrote:
In G7 for example the change of French Government means that the French Treaties with England to end the Anglo-French War, The French Mutual defence pact with Russia and the French Treaty with Spain, Flanders, UDP? are all null and void and the new French Government is free to ignore the Swedish attack on Russia, re-start the war with England or dig out French Claims to Flanders and the Throne of Spain.


Which is why you need to be able to be able to call a player out for not following existing treaties. I think if you can't, the game can rapidly become a farce with nation's changing sides and positions without any real reason.

For the same reason, following this logic a new player could claim that since they're a new player they're not bound by the treaty of westphalia, etc, etc. If the game is to have integrity, you can't just jettison game history.

Stuart Bailey wrote:
RJC can make as much fuss and show as he likes .......but that treaty under the rules is not valid. Ditto the Treaty of Ghent only in this case I suspect the Spanish chucked it in the bin with rather more pleasure. Now we just have to see who's nerve breaks first? Will the Lilly Banners, The Cross of St George or the Red & Gold of Spain strike first?

Richard said that the honour damage isn't automatic, but that you could certainly suffer for failing to live up to previous treaty obligations even if you didn't sign the treaty provided. I'd also point out that the Spanish player hasn't changed. He doesn't get a free pass just because France's player changed. If he wants to renegotiate the treaty, now would be a good time, I'd imagine. If not, France can at least attack him for failing to honour the obligations he committed to.

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Guest on Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:53 am

Stuart and Deacon – both of you make some valid points.

Stuart is correct that in the original rule book (5th edition), page 31 in my copy, it does indeed state that “A treaty naturally lapses after 2-5 years (decided randomly) after which date the treaty is not enforceable, unless a date is specified in the treaty itself. Thus after three years a signatory to the document may risk breaking it and not suffer any penalties … but on the other hand …!” However, this rule was designed in the days of Court Agema.

This is significant. At that time the only risk in breaking a treaty was to be hauled before Court Agema. As Court Agema no longer exists, there is no longer a black and white 5 year cut-off. Further on in the original rules it also states “what is NOT written in [a treaty] can sometimes be as important as what is included.” “Moral arguments, relative strength of your armed forces etc can all be used as reasons to further your cause.” So it is quite clear that the context of the treaty and the historically expected standards of honour among players in 1700 play a major factor in any Court decision.


The clarification Richard provided began with the phrase “should a nation not comply with its treaty obligations …” This is really the key to understanding what has changed.

Stuart contends that if the treaty lapses or is not binding any more then so does the obligation. This exposes the fundamentally different view which some players have compared to others and what has made G7 in particular such a battle of principle.

Do you keep your word because it is the honourable thing to do, expected by historical conventions of the time? Do you keep your word because your predecessor did?

or …

Do you keep your word with other rulers because you are going to be punished if you break it? If you don’t keep your word, then what happens?

Stuart has argued very strongly that if nothing happens then you are free to break your word. But the clarification shows that there are still penalties for acting in this way. Why? To maintain historical continuity for all players without which the game descends into farce. So there is an underlying requirement for players to keep their word whether a treaty is signed or not. That obligation does not disappear when players change, though the GM may decide that there are mitigating factors which may remove any penalties.

Both Deacon and Stuart seem to accept that war can be declared without a just cause, so arguing over how many just causes there need to be or the validity of those just causes interesting thought it is, doesn’t seem to progress our understanding of the clarification of the rules.

In respect of the treaties themselves I suggest it depends on what the individual treaty says and the type of treaty it is. The idea that all treaties end after 5 years irrespective of the content of those treaties and the intention of players beyond that period is false because it introduces various absurdities. For example, the Ottomans bought Mauritius off France in 1701. If the treaty which allowed this to happen automatically ended in 1706, then is France allowed to occupy Mauritius and kick the Ottomans out? Under Stuart’s black and white interpretation of the rule, then the answer would appear to be ‘yes’. Similarly if France had changed player in 1704, then would the new player be entitled to reoccupy Mauritius at that point? Clearly this kind of interpretation of the 5 year rule simply doesn’t work as Deacon has illustrated, and consequently I don’t think it can be considered in isolation as Stuart hopes. If it was then no player could make any kind of lasting agreement with another player. As the purpose of the rules is to create a game environment in which such agreements are possible, Stuart's interpretation collapses in absurdity!

In respect of the Treaty of Ghent the inclusion of dates mean it is clearly binding until 1741 when the last dowry payment is to be made. If the new player for France wishes to renegotiate it, then that is his choice. In respect of the other treaties between France/England/Jacobites, then again the option to renegotiate appears to lie with the newest player, i.e. France. From his statements in the Herald it appears he intends to follow the position I established as the player who created these treaties, and my interpretation. He does not have to be bound by this, but at least appears to be following the rule clarification we are discussing and respecting game history. Only time and the invisible hand of the GM will determine who is right.

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Guest on Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:05 pm

Stuart Bailey wrote:
In G7 for example the French Mutual defence pact with Russia and the French Treaty with Spain, Flanders, UDP? are all null and void and the new French Government is free to ignore the Swedish attack on Russia, re-start the war with England or dig out French Claims to Flanders and the Throne of Spain. Of course if Russia or the Jacobites starts pleading for help in public calling on old friendships and all that the new French Government may feel some pressure on its honour to act.

In respect of the French/Russian agreement, those terms were secret. You are assuming that it is a simple defence pact. The treaties I agreed were very carefully written and usually allow for a great deal of flexibility in terms of help required. It does not automatically follow that because Sweden attacks Russia, France is required to declare war on Sweden. Such matters require an understanding of the text. It is always difficult to try to draw conclusions from the text of treaties you have not seen and are not party to and to then extrapolate scenarios based upon your expectation of the consequential behaviour of players.

One of the most striking things in G7 has been the high level of mutual trust shared between France and Spain despite the actions of Austria. Just because Leopold broke his treaty does not mean Spain will. Similarly, just because Spain has now recognised King James there is little evidence that Leopold will follow his lead. Treaties are just one element of developing game relationships: letters and how players act are other factors. Over the last few months players have shown an almost unbelieveable capacity for changing sides and nobody knows if this will continue.
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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Jason on Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:14 am

There is an issue here, for players taking over a vacant role, whose responsibility is it to supply the new player with copies of relevant treaties, so they know the risk of breaching it?

Is it Richard's? That could be an admin nightmare for him!

Is it other existing players? Could be the least complicated...but could a dishonest player falsify a treaty or chose not to pass them along as it was no longer to their advantage?

Is it the new player? Do they have to contact everyone and ask? A bit complicated as you can't always be sure when new in a game of the political geography.

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:20 pm

Perhaps when a treaty is agreed the participants could (if they all agree) publish it in the herald? As was the case with RKL's treaties re. King James and France.

Personally I try to avoid treaties and go on trust. If a player wants to invade you he'll generally find a way if he's clever or sneaky enough (as I've found out too many times over the years).

I just feel that when the game evloves into arguments in the Herald over who did or didn't do what it becomes more of a game of budding lawyers rather than fun.

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by J Flower on Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:39 pm

There has been some mention in the thread of the Treaty of Westphalia.

I wonder how long is the treaty considered valid. It appears to be at the very foundation of the European part of the Game.

However If France / Sweden attack and occupy parts of the HRE are they breaking the treaty they are gaurenteeing?

How many invasions/wars within The the area of the treaty are required so that is no longer relevant. In some games there are constant wars between members of the HRE, at which point does history move on so that the treaty is no longer in force.

I would imagine in most Games the treaty has been broken or ignored so many times that it can no longer be considered relevant.

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:48 pm

I think you're both right (Jason/Albreda) in that the administration of treaties can become a nightmare which turns the game into one of petty point scoring. However, it need not be if a little common sense is used.

For private treaties between 2 nations there is normally no need to make anything public. The existing player should have kept a copy of the treaty and it is surely good manners to send a copy to the new player when he joins. It always used to be the case that treaties were submitted in triplicate: copies for each player and for Agema's central records. I'm not sure whether this is still the case, but there is always the possibility that it is. Consequently, I the risks of a dishonest player trying to falsify a treaty are that Agema will check its own records and strongly penalise the dishonesty.

For treaties affecting more than one player then it seems to be normal practice to publish the final and agreed version of these. So there is little doubt what was agreed and a public record always helps. In addition, such treaties can always be published on the forum by players who are prepared to look back through published records.

If it will help the new player for France I am happy to provide details of all treaties France signed during my time, though most of these have already appeared on the France vs England thread over the years.

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:59 pm

albreda wrote:When the game evolves into arguments in the Herald over who did or didn't do what it becomes more of a game of budding lawyers rather than fun.

A fair point, but I'm not sure what can be done about it. In G7 anti-French propaganda was a major weapon. It is always possible to meet propaganda with more propaganda, but it is more honest and constructive to rely on quoting treaties. Both sides needed to sway the opinions of those in the Imperial Diet. Similarly in England, RJC and King James will both need to convince Parliament at some point of the merits of their case.

It appears that if you do controversial things then arguments will get heated and the more likely it is that those players who thrive on the niceties of legal argument will fill the newspaper with their views. After all, in 1700, lawyers were paid by the word Laughing

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by J Flower on Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:21 pm

I think the old method of doing treaties in triplicate was a good one, although I can also imagine it was a logistic nightmare filing and keeping them upto date.

There was of course also at one time the choice of going to court Agema, to settle your disputes, although this option has now been removed.

Another option is to attempt to find a Neutral party to act as mediator for the dispute. I have seen this work a couple of times in Game.

When it is all worked out the mediator published his proposal, it then became legally binding on all parties, one of the treaties that was negotiated in this way was also able to survive a number of governmental changes and was still enforcable.

I think once players start to get too personal then Richard is quite within his rights to start knocking down Honour scores, as a way of warning people that they are behaving out of period.

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:29 pm

J Flower wrote:I wonder how long is the [Treaty of Westphalia] considered valid. It appears to be at the very foundation of the European part of the Game. However If France / Sweden attack and occupy parts of the HRE are they breaking the treaty they are guaranteeing? How many invasions/wars within The the area of the treaty are required so that is no longer relevant. In some games there are constant wars between members of the HRE, at which point does history move on so that the treaty is no longer in force. I would imagine in most Games the treaty has been broken or ignored so many times that it can no longer be considered relevant.

Two very valid points.

I suggest that the Treaty of Westphalia is good until it is replaced by something different for the reasons Jason identifies: it is part of the constitution of so many states. If those constitutions change or are amended by a formal treaty between states in the HRE, then the in-game treaty should over-ride the pre-game treaty. Over time the Treaty of Westphalia should become less relevant, but only as the players agree to make it so.

So when Bavaria took over Wurttemburg in G7, this was against the Treaty of Westphalia, but as the states concerned both agreed there was nothing legally which could be done about it. This was certainly the view taken by France. When Prussia and Saxony wanted to merge then again there was nothing legally which could have been done about it. However, that didn't stop Leopold using his Coronation Oath to justify interfering and blocking that merger by declaring war against both Prussia and Saxony. The debate then turned legal over whether the coronation oath should be interpreted as Leopold did. As France I did not consider Leopold's intervention legal and so was under an obligation at the time to help Prussia and Saxony. And I did, by putting diplomatic pressure on both sides to come to an agreement, which they did.

The use of the Coronation Oath in this way is a key point of contention between France and Austria. Ultimately it is the justification for France declaring war on Austria (see the Herald for November 1705). France contends that Leopold has broken his Coronation Oath and the Treaty of Westphalia in several specific instances, and consequently as France, Spain and Sweden are all guarantors of the Treaty of Westphalia, are obliged to act. This is a completely separate justification for war than that claimed by Austria for her war on France. It is, of course, up to the new player for France to decide whether he will reach some kind of compromise with Austria, just as it is for Spain/Sweden to decide whether they will declare war on Austria in defence of the Treaty of Westphalia. However, whichever course of action they chose it does not invalidate the Treaty of Westphalia. In the Treaty of Westphalia itself it specifies that if there is conflict between the Treaty and the Coronation Oath, then the Treaty over-rides the Oath.

Whether a guarantor is breaking the Treaty of Westphalia by occupying part of the HRE is another interesting question. I suggest it would depend on whether the occupation was permanent. A temporary occupation in the furtherance of obligations under the ToW would not be a breach. Similarly permanent occupation of any part of the HRE which was agreed as part of a peace settlement or by negotiation between free states would not be a breach. So if Wurtemburg had not agreed to its annexation by Bavaria, and had called on France for help, France then freed Wurtemburg and in gratitude Wurtemburg agreed to become part of France, then France occupying Wurtemburg would not be a breach of the treaty. Note, there is nothing in the Treaty of Westphalia which requires the Emperor to give his consent to any such land transfers. Indeed in "Rights and Powers of the Holy Roman Emperor" in the rules the Emperor does not have the power to make decisions on behalf of individual states. So there is no doubt that such decisions can (and should) be made without reference to the Emperor. If France had simply invaded a HRE state for some other reason then it is expected that the other guarantors of the ToW would support that state against France. Which explains why there are multiple guarantors for such an important treaty.


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Basileus
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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Basileus on Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:44 pm

I believe that my dispute with Saxony was because he stated he intended to take Saxony out of the Empire. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:01 pm

Basileus wrote:I believe that my dispute with Saxony was because he stated he intended to take Saxony out of the Empire.

That is true, but as usual not the whole truth.

Saxony (and Prussia) both wanted self-determination, i.e. freedom to run their countries without interference from other HRE states, freedom to sign treaties and make agreements with countries outside the HRE, most notably France and Russia. With your determination to isolate France it was clear they could not get this within the HRE so you left them with no alternative but to withdraw. You had no need to be party to the discussions as the agreements did not concern Austria in any way. However, it was clear from letters that both considered they would be vulnerable on their own with larger and more powerful neighbours so sought closer co-operation and eventually the merging of their positions. A northern Lutheran state with powerful allies was clearly a longer term threat to Austria, and one which for perfectly understandable reasons you considered you had to do something about.

The Treaty of Westphalia clearly establishes that the authority to make decisions rests with the individual states not with the Emperor or Imperial Institutions. Of course, there is nothing to stop you or anyone else objecting to the decisions taken by other players. I objected to plenty of decisions in the game, but I did not attempt to impose my will by force and treat states of the HRE as if they were Austrian colonies. You expected (or perhaps still expect) HRE states to slavishly follow the will of the Emperor as if they are your vassals; the Treaty of Westphalia ended that kind of relationship if it ever existed. Of course, HRE states naturally want to respect their more powerful neighbour, but it is hard for them to do so with honour when you exceed your constitutional powers. And when that happens then those responsible for guaranteeing the independence of those states are obligated to bring you back into line.

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Re: Discourse on treaty rules

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