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Diplomacy Nightmare [26 Jul 2016] A board game position in which you do NOT want to find yourself.

PoorI've been playing Diplomacy for decades ... face to face, through snail mail and zines, and now online. I want to share with you an unfortunate position in which I found myself in a recent game. I was playing Germany, the black pieces. There's the game board at the left (click it to embiggen).

Yes, you see that as Germany, I am almost eliminated. The Italians are in Munich and Berlin. The French are in Holland and the Ruhr. Russia is in Denmark, and England is in the Helgoland Bight. It is not pretty. It is so not pretty that I thought it was funny. Often, in Diplomacy, you are beaten or overwhelmed by a superior neighbor, or an opposing alliance. It is not often that four of the remaining six great powers circle in to bicker over the last dregs of your empire!

What made this losing position fun, however, was that none of the vultures circling my last unit wanted the others to have me. So in turns, the powers surrounding me supported me in order to keep me away from another vulture. In that way, I survived for another five years as a single dot propped up by others. That's the balance of power for ya! :-)

Eventually Russia destroyed England and circled around, not only eating me up but winning the game. Click here for the entire history of the game , titled DNP1517 on the USAK server. And you can click here for a graphical representation of the game's progress.

The nice thing about email Diplomacy is that games move faster. You can start and finish a game in half a year, or less. It's possible to run many game simultaneously in a kind of virtual tournament. This game was one of a number of games in such an online tournament. I played seven games in this event, one as each of the Great Powers of Europe around 1900 ... England, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Russia, and Turkey. I actually won my game as Turkey in DNP1509.

In the 2013 DNP tournament, I came in tied for 26th place out of 35; that featured one 3-way draw and six losses. In the 2014 DNP Tournament, I tied for 18th out of 33 players; I had two three-way ties and 5 losses. Finally, in this year's 2015 DNP Tournament, I had a solo win, a three-way tie, and five losses. I'll update this post when the final ranking are released. I'm encouraged by the upward trend!

Aug. 20, 2016 update: The tournament for 2015 is done, and I tied for ninth! My best performance yet! With Tournament Director Martin Moore's kind permission, his report on the entire tournament is below:

The Dipsters 2015 No-Press Tournament is now complete. And the winner is...

Ron Poet, with three solos and a 3-way draw, for a total of 980 points. Congratulations to Ron! And there's an interesting story behind his entry: Ron was not in the tournament at the start. He sent in a registration form, but it apparently got lost in the ether and I never received it. This didn't become clear until the tournament had already started, so he volunteered to be a replacement player.

Early in the tournament, Millis Miller had to withdraw for health reasons, and Ron took over active positions in all of his games. (If you're concerned, Millis's health subsequently improved.) The Dipsters tournament policy has always been that replacement players would be eligible for the championship only if they actively played all seven powers in the tournament -- and that was the case here.

This was a solo-heavy tournament (the second one in a row). Out of 33 games, there were 21 solos by 17 different players -- which means that a majority of the players had at least one solo. There was also one 2-way draw, nine 3-way draws, and two 4-way draws.

There was at least one solo by every power. As usual, France was the strongest power, but the order after that was somewhat unusual. Austria, traditionally among the weakest powers, was in clear second place; while Russia, which had been doing extremely poorly in our recent tournaments, had a very respectable performance. The full results by power:

France: 1625 points (6 solos, 7 3WD, 1 4WD, 19 losses)
Austria: 575 points (4 solos, 1 2WD, 4 3WD, 1 4WD, 23 losses)
Germany: 330 points (4 solos, 3 3WD, 2 4WD, 24 losses)
Russia: -300 points (3 solos, 3 3WD, 27 losses)
Turkey: -335 points (2 solos, 5 3WD, 1 4WD, 25 losses)
England: -930 points (1 solo, 3 3WD, 2 4WD, 27 losses)
Italy: -965 points (1 solo, 1 2WD, 2 3WD, 1 4WD, 28 losses)

The individual results:

Place Player Results Score
1 Ron Poet WWW3LLL 980
2 Steve Ray WW33LLL 700
3 David Norman WW3LLLL 560
4 Charles Welsh W3334LL 525
5 John Quarto-vonTivadar W33LLLL 280
5 Robin Walters W33LLLL 280
7 Keith Schneider W34LLLL 245
8 Dov Kass W2LLLLL 210
9 Markus Kastenbauer W3LLLLL 140
9 Michael "Cayzle" Alterio W3LLLLL 140
9 Bruno Tizon W3LLLLL 140
12 Jason Whitby W4LLLLL 105
13 Derrick Scholl 233LLLL 70
14 Mike Yatchman WLLLLLL 0
14 Dave Kleiman WLLLLLL 0
14 Mike Amery WLLLLLL 0
14 Bruce Williams WLLLLLL 0
14 Kai Kröhnke WLLLLLL 0
19 Ben Goldsmith 33LLLLL -140
19 Christian Dreyer 33LLLLL -140
21 Gian Paolo Costantino 34LLLLL -175
21 Michael Carter 34LLLLL -175
21 Rocky Rochford 34LLLLL -175
24 Andrew Brierley 3LLLLLL -280
24 Gilles Marion 3LLLLLL -280
24 Dan Dimitrovski 3LLLLLL -280
27 Paolo Dupont 4LLLLLL -315
27 Arto Hakkarainen 4LLLLLL -315
29 Eric Hunter LLLLLLL -420
29 James Geluso LLLLLLL -420
29 Pete Wyatt LLLLLLL -420
29 Scott Ellis LLLLLLL -420
29 Brian Burkhart LLLLLLL -420

Notes: Ron Poet replaced Millis Miller in all 7 games. Brian Burkhart was ejected for excessive lateness; Andy Tomlinson replaced him for one game.

And now for some awards...

The Give Peace a Chance award (most draws with no solos) goes to Derrick Scholl, with three draws. Honorable mention to Charlie Welsh, who had even more draws (four) but also had a solo.

The Victory or Death award (most solos with no draws) goes to five players: Mike Yatchman, Dave Kleiman, Mike Amery, Bruce Williams, and Kai Kröhnke, who all had one solo and 6 losses. We could also call this the "Breaking Even the Hard Way" award.

The Care Bears award goes to Dov Kass and Derrick Scholl in dnp1506, who played to an AI 2-way without ever trying to stab each other, as far as I could tell.

The Big Muddle award goes to the players in dnp1531 -- who were all still on the board in 1913!

And finally, the Maxwell Smart (Missed it by THAT Much) award to Michael Carter in dnp1525, who just missed a solo by not attacking Norway in Fall 1914 -- admittedly an unlikely place for Austria to attack.

You can see the results of all games on the tournament web page at (I'll update the header with the final standings at some point in the near future.) As always, let me know if there are any errors in your results. Thanks to everyone for playing, and I hope to see you in DNP16; registration will open in a few weeks.


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