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A Weekly Threat Assessment of the Diplomacy Community

Virtual Diplomacy League Champion Crowned

The year long Virtual Diplomacy League culminated in a championship game this week. Tanya Gill took home yet another major victory this season with an 11 center Germany. All the action was caught by DBN, including a tactics recap and post game interview.
Also check out The Diplomats coverage of the event from the perspective of five of the players on the top board. Thanks to the Tournament Commissioner Zach Moore, GMs Markus Zjilstra, Hunter Katcher, Tommy Anderson, Peter McNamara, Jorge Zhang, and Dave Maletsky and technical team Brandon Fogel and Bryan Pravel for a wonderful full year of Diplomacy.
New Deadline News!

The January issue of Deadline News just dropped! This episode covers all the most recent tournament, features interviews with Diplomacy celebrities, and an interview about the challenges and tribulations associated with starting your own Diplomacy Club.
Diplomacy Games Interviews Edi Birsan
The Diplomacy Games podcast is out with their eighty-fourth episode, where they interview hobby legend Edi Birsan about the history of Diplomacy, and the Lepanto opening. They also talk about their experiences in the VItrual WDC, and more!

Diplomacy Serial offers proven players a chance to share thoughts that are just too big for one issue.

This four part series features Village Idiot, a top 10 player on 
playdiplomacy and webDiplomacy and finalist in Nexus and the ODC, dissecting the anatomy of a top rated player.


Introduction

Playing online Diplomacy for nearly 10 years, I find my greatest enjoyment lately comes from migrating around the different Diplomacy communities to seek out new unfamiliar elite players. The thrill of the high-level game is a part of this, but even more so I am drawn towards interactions with exceptional players as I find them to be the most fascinating people. I love to talk Diplomacy with like-minded players, and I get captivated in learning about their game psyche. Top players come in different packages with different secrets to success, yet there tends to be some DNA common to them all. Allow me to be your metaphorical DNA sequencer and share with you some of these common characteristics.

1) They are the Voice in the Room

Elite players are, almost without exception, SUPER chatty individuals. This tendency is usually the first telltale sign of a great player in anonymous games

It’s hard to imagine a quiet player who consistently solos. You're not going to solo very many press games using a gunboat mindset; you need to be in constant communication building alliances, negotiating treaties, gathering information, influencing people to do what you want them to do,

and (when necessary) spreading propaganda. There's a relationship-building aspect to the game. The better players understand this aspect, and typically invest in crafting and promoting their likability factor. I notice top players often like to put in extra effort to be entertaining—whether it’s drafting a limerick, or being a source of humour, or having deep personal level conversations that forge connections with players. Strong players appreciate that some matches are decided based on likeability; sometimes a losing or angered player decides to throw their support behind the player they like best (or dislike least). Building relationships and persuading others in a way that doesn’t come across as insincere or pushy takes time and finesse. I’ve noticed that many top players have careers in oratory-based fields, such as law, clergy, sales, or politics. I’m sure this is no coincidence. Anybody who has encountered Conq (#1 player PlayDiplomacy, #1 player Nexus, WDC Finalist) is familiar with him being the perpetual friendly, eloquent and empathetic voice in everyone’s ear—which has been known to create Pied-Piper-like influence over players’ actions.

2) They are Students of the Board

We might call this the 7-player chess aspect of Diplomacy. To consistently succeed, you need to understand the board itself extremely well and have a sense for what your opponents are planning to do.

You need to have the capacity to plan and predict a few moves ahead. Smart players realize that it's not about where you are in the Spring, it's about where you will be in the Fall.

They factor into their plans not just their moves, but the ripple effects created by those moves that will last far into the future. The best way I've found to sharpen this skill is by playing two-player games, gunboat games, or WebDiplomacy’s latest bots games. These variants remove some (or all) of the “diplomacy” aspect of the game so that you can focus on perfecting board mechanics. Try to work out what moves you would do if you were in your enemies’ shoes—then reverse-engineer your own moves as a counter to your enemies’ likely moves. swordsman3003 (*Top 10 gunboat at WebDiplomacy/BrotherBored.com blogger/ODC finalist) has many amazing extremely detailed articles and journals on this subject and CaptainMeme (Creator of DiploStrats YouTube channel/WebDip Mod/Nexus Finalist) had even done his university dissertation on stalemate lines.

January

 February

March

January

March
This issue was brought to you by Bryan Pravel. Thank you for the support!
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