A Weekly Threat Assessment of the Diplomacy Community

2020 WeaselMoot Tournament
The 2020 WeaselMoot Tournament will be held virtually on two separate weekends, 8/29 and 9/5, with a Champions board held on 9/6. The winner of the Champions board will be bestowed with the prestigious title of 'Alpha Weasel'. 
All games with be played online on Backstabbr and streamed live by the Diplomacy Broadcast Network on Youtube. The WeaselMoot tournament will be the first North American Diplomacy Federation tournament to use the Tribute scoring systems, wherein the larger the board top, the greater the rewards. Learn more about Tribute scoring here.
Octopus' Garden Subzine
Peter Sullivan just relaunched Octopus' Garden as a subzine in Eternal Sunshine last July after a long hiatus. He was reinvigorated by the burgeoning world of virtual face to face diplomacy and is jumping back into the hobby. Sign up to play a Railway Rival game and read the latest issue. If you would like to read back issues of Octopus' Garden, go here.
Editor Search
Recently, the Briefing let everyone know that we were wanting to put together an editor team so that the Briefing would be sustainable and not a one-man show. Thankfully, 3 people have stepped forward. I’d like to welcome to the team Dave Smith (this issues editor), Lady Razor, and Marcus Nogueira. Learn more about the editors here.
Brother Bored produces some of the best modern Dip content on his blog. He is not only a great writer but an accomplished player with several noteworthy wins and is currently in the ODC Finals. In part three of this exclusive five part series, we examine the risks of the double backstab (read part 1part 2, and part 3 here). 
How to Get Away with a Double Backstab
This is part of an ongoing series about the “double backstab” stratagem. This is when you backstab your ally, then immediately create a Trojan Horse alliance with your victim in order to backstab them a second time. In this issue, I will focus on how to get away with a double backstab!

So—how do you take advantage of a player who you just betrayed?

Keep in Mind Your Primary Goal: Reconnaissance

Say whatever you think will induce your victim to reveal their moves for the coming turn. You can agree to anything, and you can offer anything—so long as your offers are convincing and necessitate that your victim move their pieces in some predictable way.

You don’t actually have to get your victim to flat-out tell you what their moves will be; if you have convinced your victim that you are ready to re-ally, then you can probably infer what your rival’s moves will be.

Dodge Their “Backstab Spider-sense”
Most Diplomacy players have a “backstab spider-sense.” To succeed with any backstab, you want to avoid tingling your victim’s backstab spider-sense. There are limitless subtle things that you might activate your rival’s anxiety that you are about to backstab them.

Indeed, if there is no plausible strategic reason for you to genuinely re-ally your victim, a canny player will know that you are just lying.

But let’s assume it is somehow possible to trick your opponent. Based on my years of experience (successfully!) playing Diplomacy, and my general knowledge of the human psyche, here are some techniques that I believe avoid the backstab spider-sense:

1. Let your victim ask for mercy. If your backstab victim asks you to re-ally, and it seems like a credible offer…take them up on it! In general, in Diplomacy, it is to your advantage to let rival players think your ideas are actually their ideas. Create a press environment where it seems like they have few options—and then wait to see if they ask you.

2. Say your stab was a mistake, or that you regret stabbing. Some players will admit that backstabbing them was a smart move…but not many. They’ll warn you how you’ll come to regret the backstab, that someone else will benefit much more than you, you’ll lose to someone else’s solo, etc. If your victim starts talking like that…why not agree? Agree that your stab was a mistake, and say that you regret attacking them. Ask your victim what they would like you to do to re-form the alliance. Don’t offer them everything or the offer will not be credible.

3. Find out if they will become your Janissary. In Diplomacy jargon, a “janissary” is a half-destroyed power that becomes the puppet of a stronger power in return for extra turns of life. This is a common strategy, so both of you could credibly agree that your former ally will now be your janissary. Then abuse your  janissary's servility to set them up for a second stab!

4. Show your rival that there is no alternative. Oftentimes, your now-betrayed ally is facing multiple enemies at once and/or has committed all their forces to a different theater of war. Show them how they have little to lose. If they pull back to fight you, they’ll lose ground everywhere else and die slowly. If they stay the course and you stab again, they’ll die quickly. But if they stay the course and you don’t stab again, then they might do O.K.

Next time, I will discuss some methods for protecting yourself against a double backstab. Thanks for reading! —BrotherBored





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