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A Weekly Threat Assessment of the Diplomacy Community

New DBN Cooking Show

The Diplomacy Broadcast Network is proud to announce a new show "Cooking with Tanya Grill." In each episode Tanya will take an inexperienced guest and show them how to properly filet all types of meat. The solo participant will surely be mesmorized by Tanya's mastery of the culinary arts.
Welcoming our Italian Overlords!

Recently uncovered documents from the founding of Nexus have revealed a startling conspiracy by several prominent Nexus leaders and organizers.

Apparently, the entire Nexus experiment was begun so that Italian players can dominate their counterparts in the English language. This helps explain the Italians' recent run of successes. More concerning is that many Italians have filled high level positions in the Nexus hierarchy with their predecessors having suspiciously gone silent. By publishing time, Nexus had released a press statement: "Tutte le trattative devono essere in italiano; tu americano PezdeMer. Benvenuto al nostro schow."
New Diplomacy Book!

Umbletheheep and Brother Bored have pooled their knowledge to write a book detailing how to win a Diplomacy tournament. In a generous act of benevolence, they have decided to make this book free to Briefing readers for a limited time. Download the ebook now and set yourself up for glorious success.

WebDip Upgrades Bots

After their recent success with integrating artificial intelligence bots into games, webDiplomacy has decided to take things to the next level and had the bots train and learn from some of the "stars" of the Diplomacy community.

The results have been surprising:
  1. Tommy Anderson Bot corrupted his own code and is now useless.
  2. Conq Bot somehow has acquired the use of language and now prattles on incessantly. He has been deactivated.
  3. Ed Sullivan Bot occasionally will make dramatic 6 center shared board top finishes but usually stalemates himself.
  4. Peter McNamara Bot...no change detected. 
Zach Moore has become well known in Diplomacy circles for his expert analysis, tactics, and predictions. This was recently seen when he correctly picked Russ Dennis to win the DBNI tournament. His latest prediction may seem far-fetched, but Diplomacy aficionados will recognize its brilliance.  
Tanking for the Draught: 0.08 Reasons Why Bryan Pravel is Quietly Building a World Championship Worthy Resume
Can losing really be the best way to win? Professional sports franchises have increasingly grappled with that theory over the past decade with mixed results. The Cleveland Browns strategically lost game after game for two decades, but the end product is hard to argue with: they now have a very handsome quarterback. Further east, however, the Philadelphia 76ers took tanking to an extreme, hoarding high draft picks for years, but all they have to show for it is Joel Embiid, a tall guy who is notorious for being less handsome than divisional rival Jayson Tatum.

With such conflicting evidence, how can we possibly adapt this strategy to high-level Diplomacy with any confidence? Enter Bryan Pravel, a man who oozes confidence out of his head in the form of luscious hair that is so eye-catching, DBN co-host Brandon Fogel looks bald by comparison (on that subject, a fun trick: if you cover up Bryan’s face with your hand and then look at the stream, you will be able to see Brandon’s long, braided hair. Once you uncover Bryan; however, Brandon looks bald again. Kind of a Laurel and Yanny situation).
For years, Bryan enjoyed measures of success within Chicago’s “Windy City Weasels” Diplomacy club, but never enough to put him within striking distance of a championship. In professional sports, we call that the “mediocrity treadmill”, but in Diplomacy it has always been known as the “meritocracy windmill”, because you’re just good enough to be blown off the board. The Chicago media was relentless, deriding him on talk radio as “Mr. 8th Place” and “Dyin’ Bryan”. Suffice to say, it didn’t take a global pandemic for Bryan to realize that he desperately needed a shot in the arm.

So there I sat, interviewing Mr. Pravel before the Broadcaster Brawl, when he said something that took me aback:

Bryan: “I’m going to lose the game on purpose”
Zach: “Why would you do that?”
Bryan: “Draft position”
Zach: “What?! There’s no draft in Diplomacy!”
Bryan: “No, I said ‘draught position’. I’m going to get the best seat at the bar after the game”

And that’s exactly what he did. Succumbing to an AIR so that he could raise his BAC. After the game, he was the life of the party. Two IPA’s deep and nowhere near ready to sleep, Bryan showed up to the postgame chat and mingled with his competitors, cracking jokes and getting on everybody’s good side after they had collectively spent 6 hours stabbing each other. Bryan’s reputation was clean as a whistle, the only blood on his knife coming from a little bit of bloody mary that he spilled while laughing at Ed Sullivan’s DBN coverage (Ed did a great job hosting the show all by himself, proving that there are some solo opportunities even he won’t blow).

The next World Diplomacy Championship will be held at CarnageCon in 2022, and Brandon Fogel will have an enormous target on his back only partially obscured by his long, unkempt, thick braided hair. The target on Siobhan’s back is fully restored after it faded a bit during vWDC. Chris Brand has been gallivanting around collecting targets for his back during his little press tour with Legendary Tactics. Ditto for Doug Moore. Adam Silverman? Are you kidding? The target on his back has a target on its back. And guess who all of them, including every DBN viewer who witnessed that bloodbath, will want to ally with to defeat these scary players? That’s right folks, it’s the man with the best draught position: Bryan Pravel.

After all, that’s how world championships have always been won. Not by tactics or strategy or wit and guile, but by sliding a bud light lime across the bar to Edi Birsan with a little note inside of it reading “Mun-Sil”. So raise your glass to Mr. Pravel, the presumptive 2022 Diplomacy World Champion.
This past year has seen many new players and new strategies in Diplomacy. One particular player that has risen up the ranks is Maxim Popov. In this article, he gives a fresh take on how he plays Italy to Morgante Pell's Austria.
Why Italy Should Give Austria Venice in 1901
Recently, Austria has commonly lent Italy Trieste in 1901. This is a mutually beneficial choice, providing Italy with their much-needed fifth center and solidifying the AI alliance. It even allows Italy to make a Fall 1901 move to the Aegean to get a fast start on Turkey. However, while this is a strong choice, this is not the optimal move for AI domination. 
The rarely-seen lending of Venice to Austria in 1901 has even stronger results. There are a few reasons for this to prove such a powerful move. A stab on either party by the other is far more difficult from this position, strengthening the alliance significantly. If the AI elects for Austria to get six centers, they are in a dominant position against Russia, while if they prefer to give Italy Greece, they can move quickly against the Turk.

Venice is known to be a challenging center for Italy to defend. Its position near multiple other nations, as well as the major stalemate line, leads everyone to commonly gun for it. Germany moves into Tyrolia in their opening moves a staggering 82% of the time, forcing Italy to defend Venice or risk a German Naples in 1902. If Venice is given to the Austrians, Germany is no longer a threat. Likewise, French moves to Piedmont and Tuscany are no longer terrible threats to Italian integrity. Nearly as important is the defense against Turkey. With Bryan Pravel’s stellar performance in the DBN Broadcaster Brawl, the Windy City Weasels have expanded upon the Sundstrum opening to include an early attack on Venice by sneaking an army there via Trieste. This style of Turkish play is expected to quickly take over the FTF hobby at large. 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Austrian Duke cannot take Venice if they already have it. There is no more need to fear a hedgehog opening or even an Austrian army in Tyrolia as they can no longer do you any harm. Overall, ceding Venice results in a much safer Italian game.

Former world champion and Italian master Chris Brand stresses the need to find the next dot after Tunis for Italy to be successful. While Tunis is an obvious fourth center, Trieste, Greece, Smyrna, Marseilles, and Spain can all be difficult to gain. However, Venice can be acquired with ease. The only thing that needs to happen for Venice to be the next dot is to lose it in the first place, and ceding it to Austria works splendidly. This results in easily getting the center after Tunis in 02.

Astute players will realize that this can be taken one step further. If Italy agrees to give up Rome and Venice, the former being taken in 1902, they can get their subsequent two centers after Tunis without any problem. Once you have this next center or two, no one will be able to stop you.

Perhaps the most useful part of ceding Venice to Austria is confusing the rest of the board. If they have no idea what is going on, that means you are not alone, and thus you are on an even playing field. This is a tactic perfected by none other than Chris Brand himself, showing that it is particularly effective when playing Italy. The Diplomacy Broadcast Network has declared him master of the “what the duck move.”

This is no small feat when players such as John Jamison, Jason Mastbaum, and Morgante Pell roam the scene. Employing this tactic, you can keep your opponents on their toes and force them to reconsider their life choices.
Ultimately, letting Austria into Venice in 1901 opens up many possibilities for both players, with the Italian having a moderate advantage. It is an incredibly powerful opening and has resulted in a solo for AI every time I have seen it used. With those kinds of results, it is the next thing that will rock the Diplomacy scene.

This issue was brought to you by Henry Kissinger. Thanks for the support!
A special thank you to Titus Groen for his amazing Photoshop skills and Lady Razor for his drawings.
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