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A Weekly Threat Assessment of the Diplomacy Community

DBN Deadline

DBN has just released their newest episode of DBN Deadline, with news from all over the world of Diplomacy. David Hood covers the recent tournaments and interviews Joe and Lori Wheeler. The feature story is about Diplomacy in the classroom. Watch it here.

The Cold War Begins Again!

The third season of the Nexus Cold War Tournament will soon begin. The variant pits NATO and the USSR against each other in a struggle for global domination. You can prepare with our extensive strategy resources, then sign up (sign ups close on Feb 20th) for the tournament on the Nexus discord.

DBNI Invitational

The first round of the DBNI invitational is in the books, and was a massive success. In the first four game played last weekend, there were two solo victories, one Italian and one English. 

Check out all the exciting action in two separate livestreams here and here. Be sure to tune in on February 20th at both 2:00pm and 10:00pm EST for the second round, with a final board to crown the champion of DBNI on the following weekend.
New Editor Position
Last year we brought on 3 editors who took over writing the copy for each issue.  They have done a great job.  We are looking to add 2 people to become content editors.  They would be in charge of helping to plan out future issues and colloborating with our copy editors.  Click here for more info. 
Anatomy of a Top-Ranked Player (Part #3)
Diplomacy Serial offers proven players a chance to share thoughts that are just too big for one issue. This third article (check out the first article and the second article) of a four part series features Village Idiot, a top 10 player on playdiplomacy and webDiplomacy and multi-time finalist in Nexus and the ODC, as he dissects the anatomy of a top ranked player.

In the previous article, Village Idiot writes that all top players act on their 'spidey-sense'. They treat their allies as equals; an alliance is an investment in the top player's future. They also champion their needs, doing this while remaining in their ally's good graces.
6) They Value Trust as a Precious Currency
Diplomacy is a game where it’s very hard to avoid lying forever. However, trust is currency in this game; do not spend it frivolously. 
Once one player’s confidence in another is damaged, it's often strained (or gone) for the remainder of the game—so be very sparing with overt lies that will catch up with you, or blatant betrayals that leave a bruise of resentment. Far too often, I see players playing too aggressively and too fast, creating a counterproductive mid-game in which nobody is willing to work with them. The Hanged Man (Top 10 veteran WebDiplomacy/The Masters 2013 Tournament  champion) is extremely talented with managing the commodity of trustworthiness, which affords him a lot of diplomatic influence, which gets him extremely far in his games almost every time. People know he uses his lies very sparingly which makes him appealing as an ally choice. By the way, you can weaponize this concept against your competitors; you should seize almost any opportunity to discredit your competitors. UmbleTheHeep (former #1 Nexus player/Creator of ‘The Briefing’) was highly skilled at damaging an adversary's trust-ability and reputation through his persuasive ability, which allowed him to control perceptions and narratives within his games.
7) They are Thick-Skinned
The best players are the ones who know how to roll with the punches and put the right face on tough situations. Regardless of how ugly a stab is, you may still have use for that person later on—so avoid burning down bridges beyond repair if you can. Your bitter enemy today might be a mutually-ideal ally later in the game.
It would definitely be a shame to let hard feelings stand in the way of opportunity.  Octavious (former #1 Ranked WebDiplomacy / Online Diplomacy Championship 2013 winner) is a very aggressive and ambitious player, yet also one of the most reserved and gracious. He often responds to getting stabbed with a tip of his hat, the closest I ever got to a reaction from him was “My righteous and entirely justified fury is tempered by how well that turned out :)”. This type of playstyle makes it very easy to maintain a viable dialog throughout hardship, which serves him very well in his games. This takes some judgement, as while there are some players who appreciate the good-sport spirit there are others who see this as a free pass to stab whenever they want without consequence—in which case friendly-but-firm is often the best approach. 

8) They Play Smarter, not Harder

Not every gain must come through brute force. As the old saying goes: “war is the ultimate failure of diplomacy.” Many players fail to consider this aspect of the game and default to aggression over negotiation. Rather than spending three rounds trying to fight your way into the one space you need to have any opportunity, a "trade" with your neighbor might be the better and quicker way to resolve this. Or perhaps you can offer support against an enemy that's been threatening that neighbor as an exchange. There may be many other incentives you can propose. I see games lost as players fight over high-effort low-gain disputes while other participants run around grabbing all the "low-hanging fruit." Keep the big picture in mind. Consider all options of how to get to your goal. Seek out economical ways to get what you need. Strong players value efficiency.

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This issue was brought to you by the Minnesota Diplomacy Club. Thank you for the support!
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