Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 4 shownotes – World War IV & Google Translate Diplomacy

Main bar at the Regatta HotelVenue: Regatta Hotel, Brisbane

Drinks of choice:

  • Kaner – Yenda Hell from New South Wales, Australia
  • Amby – The Stag Shiraz by St Hubert’s from Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

This episode was recorded back-to-back with episode 3’s discussion of Rinascimento and Bourse. As a result we’d already had a number of drinks. And then we drank some more. So in this episode apologies in advance as the guys get a bit pissy while discussing the wonderful world of Diplomacy. This probably explains why Amby gets rather excited when he discovers from Kaner the “Finished” button within each variant’s page. Kaner reciprocates saying he learnt about the archived maps from within any game from Amby.

Also, there is a LOT of swearing in this episode, particularly when we discuss Google Translate Diplomacy. If you don’t like this stuff, you may want to give it a miss. Occasionally there’s a slightly annoying humming sound in the podcast. Sorry but we’re not audio engineers and we’re not rolling around in a Scrooge McDuck vault of money to outsource it to someone who knows something. So please bear with it. It comes, it goes. Consider it likely a slightly annoying player in a game.

World War IV
– the mother of all variants

Kaner and Amby get into this amazing map that makes this variant one with both the most players (35 or 36 depending on the version you play), and due to the number of territories and SC’s its also often one of the longest maps to play:

  • Hats off to Tom Mulledy for creating the variant for the original 35 player variant and Tom Reinecker for the 36 player World War IV (version 6.2) variant.
  • Amby kicks things off talking about how “drool-worthy” the map is. But yet hates the game: because he never wins. Amby laments amongst the 3 different versions he’s played 6 or 7 games but has only survived once. Every other time he gets eliminated.
  • Kaner points out with the number of players understandably your odds of winning fall dramatically and your chances of getting shafted go through the roof.
  • Kaner finds the original 35 player map very “empty”, especially in the middle east. WWIV v6.2 is now overwhelmingly the most popular iteration. Even better Kaner’s World War IV Sea lanes version.
  • That said, they both agree that when you start a WWIV game, you always feel, “This is it… I’m going to conquer the world!”
  • Kaner explains why there’s the two versions between the WWIV map. Tom (User ID Tomahaha) contacted the then vDip mods about the site using an older version. Kaner then helped out with porting that map across to vDiplomacy.
  • The guys talk about the technical aspects of how the games come together on the site with two maps: a true map (with no more than 256 territories) and then a separate layer with the names and SCs on it.  But with the size of WWIV there’s an additional map to help run the variant, which is really fiddly.
  • Amby digresses about how the Regatta’s toilets disappointed him. During a quick comfort break between recordings he noticed that it didn’t have a mirrored wall for releaving yourself, as reported by the BBC on the internet. Amby thinks this could be a result of a more recent renovation done since the 2011 Brisbane flood (confirmed in this article – scroll to the bottom for the wacky picture of how the urinal used to look/work!)
  • With dunny talk out of the way, Kaner brings up the common problem in both WWIV maps of sea-based territories forming strong stalemate lines that prevented solo wins.
  • Kaner discusses his ideas of creating “overseer” zones at the heart of an original large sea territory, and then splitting the remainder of a sea territory into smaller sea territories. These overseer zones allow for fast navigation, but also play a critical part in supporting activity around them. These changes eliminate the issue in the past of too many strong sea-based stalemate lines. This is obviously good if you get sick of games with stalemate lines, but will drive you nuts if you love creating good strong stalemate lines.
  • The guys discuss though that these changes appear to have had an impact on more sea based powers like Oceania, exposing them to greater naval threats.
  • Kaner then gives his strategy about the importance of building continental strength quickly and then turning your attention to projecting naval power into the sea lanes. Amby shares his experience of doing the opposite: concentrating strongly on land-based strength but in doing so leaving himself open to naval attack, and ultimately elimination. So pay attention to Kaner’s suggested strategy!
  • That said Kaner goes on to say though that while strategy is an important component, fundamentally your relationships with players tends to be the determining factor.
  • Kaner gets into the sexy talk and discusses how winning a WWIV map would be like ten orgasms at once.
  • In WWIV the scale of the map lends itself to more than just an opening game, mid-game and end-game, with multiple opening games and mid-games.
  • Kaner recommends in the early game to create a couple of local alliances in your continental block.
  • When it comes to continental blocks the guys note that Africa and South America either quickly get their shit together, or totally fall apart. North America usually gets its act together quickly, Asia becomes a knife fight and in Europe one player usually quickly dominates.
  • Finally the guys reflect that once you’ve played WWIV there’s no way you can ever again play the World Diplomacy IX variant on webDiplomacy.

The fallen soldiers after two episodes of recording the Diplomacy Games podcastGoogle Translate Diplomacy – when you feel like an entertaining game of Diplomacy

Next after yet some more drinks the guys move onto Google Translate Diplomacy.

  • Amby mentions how with his recent efforts to learn Spanish on Duolingo, he created a forum post looking for people wanting to play a game only played in Spanish with four other players putting up their hand.
  • Amby discusses how when you’re learning a language you can obviously only call upon the words you’ve learnt, without quickly having to cheat and turn to Google Translate for help.
  • The game called Juego en español (literally “Game in Spanish”) saw ScubaSteve play fantastically, a good showing by Gunmaster G-9 and surprisingly Dr. Recommended getting knocked out early and gnomius later being eliminated.  Amby felt some players were very competent in Spanish, or hid it well. The only downside he felt as someone with very basic Spanish skills was the amount of time taken to read messages and formulate responses.
  • But it got Amby reflecting on the time vDiplomacy created a Google Translate variant and game for Diplomacy, intuitively called “The language of the country immediately after the”, although Kaner wanted to call it “The Meat Commission” as we discuss in the podcast.
  • Mapu originally suggested the idea. When discussing it originally in the forum there were a number of ideas thrown around for how this could work eg start in your language and then translate 4 or 5 times, through to Kaner’s suggestion to use something like Akuna’s Bad Translator (note: this service has changed since the original competition and is no longer offered).
  • The forum discussion then went on and ended up agreeing that you’d start with your own native language, translate it into one of three obscure languages that were within pre-World War 1 player’s borders or nearby (eg France couldn’t use French but could use Basque, Breton or Arabic – due to their colonies, England couldn’t use English but could use Welsh, Irish or Hindi – again due to colonies, Russia could use Mongolian, Belorussian or Finish etc). Then you would translate this into an agreed totally different language such as Chinese traditional or Hebrew which would then be posted to players.
  • Some of the choice postings came out after a number of translations to – major major language warning!
    • Russia: “Good ass. How do you do a good faith effort to understand? I see: ass, ass. And fuck ants. How the fuck I meant to make head or news of your poor antler philosophy, sensitive to the tale to me, almost incomprehensible thing. Let your brain and learn my native language.”
    • Russia: “Gentlemen, I want to tell you pigs and dogs fuck with.  Who is responsible for military operations in so called public official decapitation show negligence.   Check the order. Does not work correctly with his admiralship communication can lead to serious misunderstandings. And the military which eventually led to the quite amazing alternate. Who is the most unexplored areas addressed to you, will be pleased to know that dogs and pigs fuck. With has now been sent to this vast country can no longer reach the farthest abuse of this rogue force to defend, he said but the girl vest more comfortable due to better alcoholic beverages which has worked in Livonia.” 
    • Germany’s response: “What the fuck?”
    • Russia’s subsequent response: “What taekwondo beans?  I do not understand. I can assure you, as good as pigs and dogs are not understand means, you’ve taken the Latvian dog feces sticker. You have constantly bombarded me now, tell the truth between very serious misunderstanding.”
    • Italy replies: “Aaah yes, what Germany said.”
    • Later on from Germany: “Yes for some odd reason whore into my response. I do not know why. I’m just talking about above described prostitute. I will try not to fuck people over. If you are using a prostitute, prostitute themselves. Use a condom.”
    • Russia’s response: “I like your way of thinking. Austria is an obvious goal. We can work together and England will undoubtedly attempt to Norway. We can start from here, wildly prostitutes like you said. The way it is dog feces? I know my country is brown but I am not dog feces. Turkey is yellow, the colour of which is turkey shit. Worth considering.”
    • In addition there was many conversations around hiding sausages, prostitutes and catching viruses from lady boys.
  • Amby acknowledges that he and Kaner were aiming to have a fun entertaining game (no guessing from the posts above!) although some players were playing it straight down the line.
  • Amby goes on to say that he’d often check translation options between the three languages to see what worked best; either keeping it as clear as possible or as entertaining depending on what you wanted to achieve.
  • Kaner suggests his brilliant idea on having a Google Translate meets Extreme Personalities game, and seeing player’s interest in the forum. Likewise seeing from the forum whether players want to follow the same translation process used in the initial game, or do a 34 translation version
  • Amby brings up how the game often felt like the Youtube video by CDZA using Google Translate to twist the lyrics of the “Fresh Prince from Bel-Air” theme song:

  • The guys acknowledge that while they still haven’t yet had our webDiplomacy 2012 championship winners on for an interview, hopefully it’ll happen soon. Then maybe we’ll look at the Extreme Personalities in an upcoming variant.
  • Kaner also says he’d like to cover off the Sopwith variant very soon. So stay tuned!

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If you have any suggestions on what you’d like to see covered in an upcoming podcast, or something you’d like to see regularly covered, please contact us or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks to Dan Philip for his rockin’ intro to the Diplomacy Games podcast.

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