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A Weekly Threat Assessment of the Diplomacy Community

PoppyCon Resumes Face To Face Diplomacy

Congratulations to Jamal Blakkarly who emerged victorious with a big 16 center Turkey in the second round of the three round tournament.
The victory was determined by less than 1/8 of a center. Check out the final results hereA big thank you to Andrew Goff for organizing, and for Mel and Matt Call for hosting the event.
vGUD Con 2021 Upholds Virtual Diplomacy

The second GUD Con was a virtual affair with another extremely close result. Morgante Pell tied Christorpher Ward on points and took the tournament by edging ahead on the supply center count. Thanks to Jorge Zhang for organizing and hosting. See the full results!

Virtual Whipping Approaches

Whipping, the longest running American tournament held along the banks of the Pacific Ocean, returns this year. Hosted on Discord and Backstabbr, the tournament kicks off at 8 a.m. on April 10th. Register here.

Diplomacy World Release

The 153rd issue of Diplomacy World is out! It features an extensive search for the worst variant, interviews about DBN, Carnage scoring discussions, and an analysis of the Virtual Wold Diplomacy Classic. Read up, then consider contributing to the next issue, out in July!

The Champions Corner is where recent tournament winners share a specific move or strategy that they believe helped them to emerge victorious.
 
For this issue, we welcome the victor of GUDCon, Morgante Pell
.

Topping a board or winning a tournament rarely involves a straightforward linear path, but my route to winning GUD Con was filled with even more twists and turns than usual.

The first surprise was that I played at all. I hadn’t signed up, but when I awoke from a leisurely slumber on Saturday I found Jorge Zhang looking for extra players to fill out a board and heartily jumped in (without even brewing my morning tea). This first game proceeded splendidly, with the lucky assignment of France. Germany and I quickly formed a solid alliance and proceeded to take out England, followed by me flooding the Mediterranean with fleets to occupy Italy. I was up to 12 centers and had a clear path to a solo by stabbing Germany.

Hello Germany, Just Checking In

As I plunged the dagger into my ally, the second surprise struck: I couldn’t do it. Though many consider me a ruthless player, I couldn’t summon the aggression to carry off the solo. After a few turns, my assault quickly faltered and I proposed a draw.

Thinking I wouldn’t be playing the next day, I offered my German ally a very favorable deal where we together split 79 points.

The third surprise came when I ended up playing again. Much to my chagrin, I drew Italy facing down my erstwhile ally from Saturday (Christopher Ward) in Turkey—who was definitely not going to make the mistake of trusting me again. We were quickly locked into an AI vs RT conflict which lasted until Austria decided to stab me.

This fourth surprise—the dreaded RAT—posed an immediate threat to my survival in the game and chances in the tournament. I had to do some quick negotiation with Turkey to point out that it would be impossible for me to stab him with his fleets protecting his flanks.

I showed how there were far more gains to be made from attacking Austria and that I (quite truthfully) wanted to help him top. He was sold.

Together with Russia, we quickly occupied Austria (who wisely saw his oncoming doom and retreated to form a defense as “New Germany”) and prepared to sweep westwards. However, the West saw the threat of our alliance and quickly formed a stalemate line. After some tactical skirmishes, we proposed a draw which would give Wardie 1 more point than me and presumably a tie for first place in the tournament.

There was one more surprise though: Jorge had foreseen this possibility and included a tiebreaker in the rules. Despite my best efforts and numerous twists along the way, the tiebreaker handed me the tournament win—something which is starting to become a pattern for me.

Our Second Fiddle feature brings us those who came oh so close to victory. Here they relive their moment of agony and share with us what they could have done better to secure the crown.

For this issue, we welcome Christopher Ward who came in second at GUDCon.

Round One saw me in Germany. I allied with Morgante Pell in France to go after England  whose misorder allowed Russia into Norway.

My game was hampered by an Italian who was fixated on sending a string of armies north with the curious goal of dying in Finland. I stabbed Russia in 1905, taking Norway and Sweden, and I started getting nervous about a stab from Morgante. I was playing catch-up and he smelled a solo opportunity. I quickly lost Venice, Holland and Norway, but Morgante pledged to share points evenly between us if the solo was somehow stopped.

A correct guess in the north, and Turkish pressure in the south made the solo a little less likely, so we settled on a 40-39-7-7-7 points distribution.

I went into Round Two in second place, one point behind Morgante, who wasn’t due to play again. The other board had seen an AIR alliance take 33 points a piece, so I would likely need another good score if I was to do the unthinkable and win this thing. At least Morgante, wouldn’t be playing, though, so I only had to match the best of the 33 Club.

We were initially a couple short for a second board, but, like the day before, Jorge found the extra players, and, like the day before, one of them was Morgante. Oh bother.

I wondered if there still might be an opportunity to ensure a safe passage into the midgame for us both - if we were to be neighbours in the west again, for example.

Nope. I’m Turkey. Oh crumbs.

And Morgante? Italy. Oh dear.

Turkey and Italy - perhaps the most natural of enemies on the board. The success of any potential IT would be dependent on aggression towards our respective neighbours.

On my northern border was Jaromir Sulja. Jaromir has featured in 4 of my 8 vFTF games, and I feel we have built something of a rapport, but he too had stabbed me in our previous game together.

Russia and Austria both told me that they had arranged a DMZ in Galicia - this made me nervous about a potential AR, in which case Morgante would be my man.

My priority was to ensure an AIR didn’t form to take me out before I made it to the midgame. Even better if I could get Austria to attack Italy!

Austria broke the Galician DMZ agreement, and Italy failed to move against them. Still, I felt the need to hedge my bets at the start of the game.

In Fall 02, I decided to commit to the RT. Meanwhile, Germany was getting better growth from the Anglo-Saxon alliance, France was down to 3 dots, and Germany and Russia were up to 7. I went down to 3 when the Italians took Bulgaria with Austrian help in Fall 03.

In Fall 04, I finally managed to persuade Austria to turn on Italy, and Russia to allow him to do so. The Germans were now a thorn in Italy’s side, but it was Russia who picked up Bulgaria - not Austria as I had expected. This meant further imbalance in our alliance. Russia was now on 9 dots to my 3. Austria had recovered from his early struggles, and it was Morgante and me who were on the back foot.

Winter 04 saw an army build in Sevastopol. I feared my game was over and I demanded that Russia send the new army away from me.

Everything changed in Fall 05. Morgante and Jaromir wanted an attack on Austria. A move set was arranged whereby I would take Greece by force. I was on board until Austria spoke to me towards the end of the turn. Russia’s size was a problem for both of us, so we supported Greece into Russian Bulgaria, while I followed up into Greece.

Everything changes in 1905

The IT was finally realised in Spring 1906, and I went after Sevastopol, allowing Austria to believe we were allied against a has-been Russian, but then turned on the Austrian, and two triple alliances started to emerge. By the end of 1908, I was the board leader.

Austria was then kicked out of their homeland, and became the New Germany, as the German was brutally dispatched in the west, and the stalemate line began to form.

Morgante and I discussed potential draw proposals and decided that I would get one more point so we finished the tournament level on points.

The end of the game was essentially a tactical exercise - the real drama was in the draw negotiations. 21-20-20-20-10-9 was proposed by the east. This was ultimately rejected by the west, but not before Spring 11 adjudicated and the west lost the Tyrrhenian Sea, and much of their bargaining power to boot!

Little did we know the meta-negotiations on the other board, and had the first proposal been agreed, then Rony Mordinov would have won the tournament.

We considered that the outcome of the other board - a fairly short game - was that nobody had time to attain a really big score, but that it would likely be a round number, say 30 points. If this was the case, we felt we needed to clear 64. We finally agreed on 26-25-18-17-7-7, so Morgante and I were tied on 65 points.

Only when Jorge was ceremonially announcing the final results, did it occur to me that there might be some sort of tie-breaker.

There I was, dreaming of some sort of hand-in-hand skipping across the finish line to shared glory, only for those dreams to be shattered by the hammer of Round One dot-counts

And so it came to be that I am left holding this tiny violin, dear reader, instead of basking in the glory of my first tournament win.

April

 May

April

This issue was brought to you by Mike Walsh. Thank you for the support!
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