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The Briefing

A Weekly Threat Assessment of the Diplomacy Community

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Diplomacy News To Use

David Hood at DBN presents a gunboat-load of interviews and content. Following a rundown of current Diplomacy action, a panel of experts including Tanya Gill, Steve Houge, and a member of Legendary Tactics analyze lessons from the growing database of openings for tournament play.
Nexus DIplomacy
Double Solo in Nexus Gunboat
The 2020 Nexus Gunboat tournament has come to a close, with user EVR1022 crushing their way to the top with one 17 center draw and two solos. Read their secrets in our Champion's Corner.
Thanks to Superstition, EVR1022, Babbo Natale, Corvidknight, Shakeszoola and PezDeMer for organizing and executing a wonderful tournament!
Diplomacy Games
Diplomacy Games Podcast, eCarnage and WDC

The Diplomacy Games duo is back at it! This week they released their 78th episode, where they interview Dave Metalisky about eCarnage, look ahead to WDC, speak about the Media Wars game, and talk about developing variants and drawing maps!
Champion's Corner
The Champions Corner is where recent tournament winners share a specific move or strategy that helped them emerge victorious.
 
For this issue we welcome EVR1022, winner of the recent Nexus Gunboat Tournament. 

I'm relatively new to the game of Diplomacy. My background in strategy games comes from many years playing chess, a game where long-term thinking is crucial to success. While my inexperience limits the amount of helpful advice I can offer, I'll do my best to provide some useful tips.

Develop a sense of timing

Deciding when to launch an attack against a rival is one of the more challenging aspects of Diplomacy. Time it right, and your attack may cut through their position like butter. Time it wrong, and you may find your own position collapsing. Recognizing these moments is easy in hindsight, but very difficult during the game.

Identifying an opportunity to strike requires careful examination of the board, and not just from your own perspective! Get inside the head of each opponent. Figure out what they want to accomplish and what risks they are willing to take. How does this player feel about their neighbors? What opportunities are they looking for? Will their momentum carry them in the same direction as last turn, or is this a pivot point? Are the ingredients for a successful strike present?

Take a couple of minutes to examine the position below, and try to anticipate in which direction each power will focus their efforts in Spring 1907. Afterwards, I'll provide some context.

Who Should Stab?

France just entered the Mediterranean, no doubt drawing Italy's attention. Germany recently conquered Sweden and St. Petersburg, while preparing to push further into Russian territory. Austria might look for an opportunity to dot Italy out of spite, while Turkey no doubt had visions of rapid expansion with France and Germany commanding the attention of their neighbors.

I played France in this position. Germany and I dismantled England together, and spent the majority of 1906 signaling each other and re-positioning our units. A Mediterranean campaign would likely find some success. However, two factors caused me to balk at that course. First, Germany was likely to make more rapid progress against Russia and Austria. Second, those German Fleets can only get so far out of play. A few years down the road when my Fleets are engaged against Italy a stab would become extremely appealing. 

I concluded that a preemptive strike was the best play, relying on the chaos in the East to prevent any organized resistance from that direction. I hoped that Germany's momentum towards Russia would aid my attack. How did it work out? I launched my attack in Spring 1907, and reached 18 SCs by Winter 1909.

Determine what matters most

In any given position there are many important factors. However, something I learned from playing chess is to constantly ask myself, 'What matters most?' Boiling the position down to a couple key strategic elements can help you cut through the chaos and find the right path forward. Try to envision how the position will develop over the next two or three seasons and figure out where your units need to be.

Consider this position from the Finals:

I played as Italy, and was the front-runner. However, after France and Germany conquered the English homeland they turned their attention toward me. Facing pressure from all angles, victory remained uncertain. The area around Venice and Trieste was under fire. France was starting to attack Tunis. Moreover, Germany had a clear path for growth in the North, and France moving into the Mediterranean might open up opportunities for a German stab.

Yet, none of these factors were what mattered most.

The key to victory was my uncontested control of Turkey and the potential to occupy the Black Sea. If I could reposition F Bul/sc and get an Army into Bulgaria then my position would become less like Italy and more like a well-developed Turkey. However, because of factors mentioned previously, accomplishing this required sacrifices. This was the position three seasons later after Spring 1908:

I lost both Venice and Tunis to realize my goals. Trieste went down in the Fall. However, control over the Black Sea enabled me to take both Rumania and Sevastopol. Moreover, with my power base located in the Southeast corner, the tenuous Franco-German alliance had few targets to attack. This gave them every opportunity to turn against each other, which happened in Fall 1908. With France and Germany distracted and my position solidified, I expanded from 10 SCs to 17 without much difficulty over the next few years.

My three tournament games can be found below:

Preliminary Game 1 (France, solo)

Preliminary Game 2 (Austria, solo)

Final Board (Italy, 17 SCs)

October

November

December

  • 18th-20th - Virtual World Classic - Email TD

January 

  • 🆕 TBA - Cascadia (Canada) - Email TD

February

October

November
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