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The podcast about playing the online game Diplomacy and its variants. Visit DiplomacyGames.com for more info.

January 25, 2017

1 vs 1 (Part 2), directions for Diplomacy sites & “Africa” variant

The guys pick up discussion on 1 vs 1 games following last episode's technical difficulties and look at the Cold War and Duo games they're playing against each other. Then its an unexpected journey down the rabbit hole of recent events at webDiplomacy before discussing how Diplomacy sites could better structure themselves for longevity. Then Kaner talks about his recent "Africa" variant game. Enjoy!

  • Amby does a mea culpa on why last episode had so many technical difficulties (2 mins)

1 vs 1 variants - part 2

  • The guys discuss how they've been playing against each other in two 1v1 games: Cold War and Duo. In the Cold War game Amby as the USSR convincingly beat Amby as the USA (3 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner discusses the battlefronts for the Panama Canal, Europe and around Australia and Indonesia. Amby reminds Kaner how its important to familiarise yourself with each variants special rules (4 mins)
  • In Cold War there are in fact land bridges between Australia-Indonesia and Indonesia-Philippines (5 mins)
  • Kaner discusses he made a few misorders and was taken by surprise when Amby convoyed into Alaska (5 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby discusses how the map used is a very different perspective of the Earth and can be confusing in Europe on which territories are connected (6 mins 20 secs)
  • Set just before the Cuban Missile Crisis, to achieve game balance this variant by Safari misses out on historical accuracy eg East and West Germany, Japan, Saigon and Alaska start as neutrals (7 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby discusses his thoughts on maybe how the map could be improved for better historical accuracy, before Kaner points out how it'd probably detrimentally impact gameplay (8 mins 30 secs)
  • The guys talk about their cut and thrust experience before wrapping up the end-game (14 mins)
  • They go onto discuss how there never was a dull moment with this variant with many offensive opportunities available. Kaner gives his thoughts on playing the variant with victory conditions requiring taking all the SC's (15 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby discusses his thoughts of a bigger Cold War game set around 1983 on the WWIV map, aiming for gameplay balance while maintaining historical accuracy. Amby talks about how in Dip there's a proxy between cities and military strength. In real-life there would've been more territory controlled by the west this could give them too much of an advantage.  They both give their ideas on how to balance this out with guerilla units for the initial opening year (17 mins 30 secs)
  • The guys then move onto their Duo game with Amby discussing how he's really enjoyed this game with each of them taking the lead at various times. That said Kaner suggests he doesn't have high hopes and can see himself being flanked in the west (23 mins)
  • Kaner gives his thoughts on the territory naming and how they don't necessarily intuitively match up between the map abbreviations and their names in the drop down order menu (25 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby chastises Kaner for his piss weak excuse about mis-ordering (26 mins 30 secs)
  • Following on from last episode's interview with Devonian and the concept of "lanes of attack", Amby discusses how he now comprehends his argument (27 mins 20 secs)
  • The guys give their final thoughts on the Cold War and Duo maps, and the special rules in Duo (28 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby concludes how much he likes the Duo map as he felt constantly on his toes, meanwhile Kaner slams it (30 mins 30 secs)
  • The guys agree to take a break from 1 vs 1 games for a bit, due to their over-commitments (32 mins)
  • After discussing their recent games together, the guys touch on their Mate Against Mate game and that they should've held off on that variant on the podcast until Australia Day (26 January.) Amby gives a big thumbs up to the Australia Day ad for the Australian Lamb Corporation who've cleverly branded lamb as being the food of choice on this public holiday (33 mins 40 secs)

Goings on at webDip

  • Kaner mentions that webDiplomacy are removing Known World 901 after only a short gig - and Duo as a result will never be ported across for the same reason. The standing armies and transform orders are apparently an issue with the way the code works and its potential impact on the official php Diplomacy code  (35 mins 20 secs)
  • Kaner goes onto explain that Oli's "hacking" of the code for vDip has created some issues at webDip (36 mins 50 secs)
  • Amby calls Kaner out as a webDip lurker (38 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby confirms how his team members in the 2016 webDip championship have lost all their games and are now well and truly out (38 mins 50 secs)
  • The guys talk about the 1 vs 1 webDip tournament and mention Ezio has thrown down the gauntlet against Devonian for Round 4, to see who'll take on bozotheclown (presumably bozo) in Round 5 (40 mins)
  • Kaner explains how the Challonge system works in this tournament (all rounds must finish before the next round commences) (43 mins)
  • The guys at webDip are attempting to crowdsource additional funds for making technical changes to the site (45 mins 15 secs)

Down the Dip site ownership rabbit hole 

  • Amby builds off the crowdsourcing post at webDip to talk a little about his personal thoughts and concerns about vDip. As the site is owned by Oli and he's been absent the past 12 months (aside from a brief appearance to get the 1600 variant up and running), Amby poses the question: what if Oli's real life commitments saw vDip drop off the internet? (47 mins 50 secs)
  • For example if the domain name registration wasn't kept up to date, expired and got grabbed by a cyber squatter, losing the whole playing community (48 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner mentions how exactly this happened to the Italian online Diplomacy site and has just recently happened to the face-to-face Diplomacy podcast, DiplomacyCast  (49 mins)
  • Amby discusses how about a year ago he PMed a number of "old school" players about how to mitigate this risk for vDip (51 mins 15 secs)
  • In addition, Amby discusses the risk of the rights holder of the Diplomacy board game strongly enforcing intellectual property, or if a player did something adverse in real life against another player, what would be the legal impact on the vDip site owner. Amby flags in his personal view thoughts on mitigating personal liability risks to Dip site owners with possible changes to the structure of legal ownership for sites  (52 mins 30 secs)
  • The guys flag they need to get another update from ATinCan and captainmeme on the proposed development site. They throw down the gauntlet that if ATinCan comes to Brisbane, the guys will buy him drinks all night  (55 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby and Kaner discuss "getting their shit together" in attending an Australian based Dip tournament this year, possibly PoppyCon (56 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner mentions why Oli may be reluctant to look at moving things around a little.  (57 mins 30 secs)
  • The guys talk about the idea of structuring site ownership as a not-for-profit organisation to eliminate the personal risk to the site owner(s). This could make it more possible to push boundaries for other variant ideas that have some IP clouds around them eg fan based maps for Westeros, Lord of the Rings, etc (58 mins)
  • Amby asks Kaner about his thoughts on what could happen in this space. Kaner flags a similar donation idea so people could voluntarily contribute and a backup facility could be put in place in case the webserver goes down. Amby asks what players think - send us a comment from the web site or PM us (1 hour 0 mins)
  • Kaner says he values the political discussions in the webDip forums  (1 hour 2 mins 15 secs)
  • Amby discusses fan creations broadly across the internet and provided its not being done for profit, the risk can be better managed (1 hr 5 mins)

What the Doctor Recommended

Game wraps - Rinascimento

  • We initially didn't plan to talk about the "Welcome back" Rinascimento game for drano (technically called Pizza, Pasta and Popes), but started chatting anyway. Kaner drew Sienna (good luck there!) while Amby scored Venezia, the big kid on the block. See our earlier episode on this variant if you don't know much about Rinascimento (1 hour 9 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner talks about his attempts to work with Firenze unsuccessfully and is bummed he'll likely be the first one out, and France is likely to survive year one (1 hour 11 mins)
  • When asked by Amby about what France and Savoia are up to, Kaner comes up with his stunning strategic assessment of the situation (1 hour 11 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby discusses Leif's smooth talking style in staying in as France, before giving a big hat tip to RUFFHAUS' negotiation skills in grabbing 4 SCs in the first year with his 4 fleets  (1 hour 12 mins 20 secs)
  • The guys discuss what left-field strategies Kaner could follow to survive and stay in the game ( 1 hour 13 mins)

African variant

  • Kaner starts talking about his recent African game "The ghost and the darkness" including special intro music (1 hour 14 mins 30 secs)
  • In this game Kaner took part in a three-way draw between himself as Ethiopia, Dr Recommended as Morocco and trip as Madagascar (1 hour 18 mins 20 secs)
  • This variant was created by Tristan. Incidentally we didn't mention in our earlier discussion that Cold War was created by Firehawk and Safari and Duo by Frank Hegermann (1 hour 18 mins 30 secs)
  • "Africa" is an eight player variant. Its essentially a map of Africa with each state as a territory with a random sprinkling of SC's (1 hour 19 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby thinks Tristan would a good call with blocking out the Arabian peninsula as inaccessible territory and a number of navigable rivers. Amby gives a random thumbs up to the bar for their second Beastie Boys song. Then he proceeds to pay out on Kaner's territory pronunciations before getting tongue-tied himself. But back to the variant which has a number of neutrals (poo brown in colour) that begin with standing armies (1 hour 21 mins)
  • The guys point out that this variant appears to be unbalanced as Morocco and Madagascar significantly out-perform other players in the statistics (1 hour 25 mins)
  • Kaner talks about his overall strategy in this game to be part of the three way draw and the critical role of the Rift Valley region on the map (1 hour 26 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby discusses how he's surprised Egypt doesn't perform better.  This was a gunboat game and Kaner goes onto explain how he thinks it would be a better map to play with normal press (1 hour 29 mins)
  • Kaner describes a large convoy attempt in autumn 2016 which Kaner interpreted as a subtle gunboat communication for players to pull their heads in against a strong Morocco. Amby blows Kaner's idea away as a fuck up, before he back-peddles seeing the logic in Kaner's argument (1 hour 31 mins)
  • As a result of the draw Kaner went up 50 points, but still missed out making the Top 100 in the vDip Hall of Fame (1 hour 36 mins 45 secs)

Other stuff

  • Amby recommends after all their drinks that they both hold off on putting in Duo orders until the next day when they're more sober (1 hour 40 mins 45 secs)

Venue: Brooklyn Standard, Brisbane

Drinks of choice:

  • Kaner - Hopsmith IPA by Akasha Brewing from New South Wales, Australia
  • Amby - Zitta Union Street shiraz from the Barossa Valley, South Australia

Don't forget if you're enjoying the podcast please hop onto iTunes and give us a rating and a review so we can get the Diplomacy message out.

If you have any suggestions on what you'd like to see covered in an upcoming podcast, or something you'd like to see regularly covered, please contact us or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks to Dan Philip for his rockin' intro to the Diplomacy Games podcast.

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