Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 19 shownotes – Variant talk & interview with Alex Ronke / nopunin10did from PlayDip

Podcast refreshmentsVenue: Sonny’s House of Blues, Brisbane

Drinks of choice:

Kaner – Young Henry’s Natural Lager from New South Wales
Amby – El Hurricane pinot noir from the Barossa Valley, South Australia

The guys keep the drinking going and the Dip talk rolling with variant ideas and interview Alex Ronke/nopunin10did from Play Dip, creator of the 1812 Overture and Dissolution variants and talk exciting development news.


  • The penny drops for Amby after Kaner’s initial rambling start to the podcast  (15 secs)
  • They provide an intro about the interview of this episode with Alex Ronke, who goes by the pseudonym on PlayDip of nopunin10did (3 mins)
  • But before that the guys go on a tangent about Game of Thrones and RUFFHAUS’ naming of various vDip players’ equivalent if they were GoT characters, and ask him to do an update of Dip players and GoT characters  (4 mins)
  • They talk about whether they should make an effort to go to a face-to-face tournament in Australia later this year (8 mins)
  • Amby starts talking Bourse, even though the discussion is a little dated now due to the time delay between recording and getting the podcast out. Kaner says he’s a slack bastard for NMRing (10 mins 30 secs)
  • Then its on to discussion about the actual map of Known World 901 and Amby hearing even more nations on the map and their SC’s mentioned in the podcast “The Lesser Bonapartes” and the real life expansion of Axum and also Samarkand capital of the Timurid empire. Check out Google Images to see what Samarkand looks like (13 mins)

Variant ideas

  • Amby’s got into another podcast called “Our Fake History” which had an episode on Ninjas which got him thinking about a new variant set on a modified Sengoku map called “Ninjas vs Samurai.” (23 mins)
  • Kaner gets taken in by a fake concert poster (34 mins)
  • Amby then starts discussing his idea of a variant Century series, where the map is based on real life borders every 100 years eg building on the 901 map, having a 1001 map, a 1101 map etc. Kaner discusses how he has a program that shows this for every six months. But you can also get a feel oft this on Youtube (36 mins)


  • Kaner briefly discusses how he wants to make a variant based on the Khmer Empire in southeast Asia (38 mins)
  • The guys talk about the release of the Napoleonic variant at the Russian site, Diplomail. They talk about the challenge of a map with no neutral SCs. Kaner reckons if the variant was made available elsewhere it would get a good following. They guys discuss the play test of the map on the Diplomail dev server – Kaner as Naples NMR’ed and Amby played the Ottomans. Sweden won the game – congrats to Anglichanka who soloed (39 mins)
  • Amby then start talking about a PlayDip play by forum game “Dissolution” that he’s currently playing and how he’s going (45 mins)

Interview with Alex Ronke / nopunin10did from PlayDip

  • The guys introduce our interview. Alex who goes by the screen name nopunin10did at PlayDip has created both the Dissolution and 1812 Overture variants as well as helping out Baron von Powell on 1900 and The Two Towers. The guys foreshadow that there’s some really exciting stuff toward the end of the interview  (51 mins)
  • Alex starts by giving a little background about his Dip journey and how Baron von Powell’s 1900 got him into PlayDip variants (52 mins)
  • He describes how he likes turning on and off various PlayDip rules, especially the Age of Empires option and Fog of War (54 mins 30 secs)
  • He goes on to discuss his views on what is the greatest Dip variant (56 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks Alex about explaining the Dissolution variant, how non-playing characters work and we take a flashback to the 1990’s (59 mins)
  • Alex goes on to explain that the game Amby is in is the first time the variant has been played (1 hr 13 mins)
  • Amby asks about what possible changes to the map or rules may be incorporated into the variant after its first run (1 hr 15 mins)
  • Alex talks about the system he put in place for a simulated foreign relations grid vs a more complicated system of favors and Diplomacy points for non-player characters (1 hr 18 mins)
  • Alex explains what he has learnt along the way when it comes to variant creation and discusses 1812 Overture and balance (1 hr 23 mins)
  • Amby asks about the GMing role of a game and what time commitment is needed (1 hr 31 mins)
  • Apologies for an audio quality breakup around 41 mins 45 secs, but it only takes a moment to pass
  • Amby gives Alex a big thumbs up on the graphical quality of Alex’s maps and asks about automating any of his variants (1 hr 35 mins 30 secs)
  • Then Alex drops a bomb shell on his side project plans for moving 1900 to the vDip/webDip platform and improving the way the core php code works for Diplomacy so coding hacks for variants aren’t the default way of solving problems (1 hr 36 mins)
  • He gives an example of how be cleaning up the code it will allow rules initially intended for variants to be implemented, such as Ancient Mediterranean’s rules around the Balearic Islands (1 hr 43 mins)
  • Alex discusses how he’s already been talking to Oli about how he may be able to contribute to vDip with his coding improvements (1 hr 48 mins)
  • Kaner discusses Alex’s plans to change the core code to be more user friendly and really likes his thought processes with variant development. Plus he’s been talking to Oli  (1 hr 50 mins)
  • The guys then start wrapping things up and introduce the idea of listeners shouting a round of drinks rather than rating and reviewing the podcast (1 hr 52 mins)

Don’t forget if you’re enjoying the podcast please hop onto iTunes and give us a rating and a review so we can get the Diplomacy message out.

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.

1 thought on “Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 19 shownotes – Variant talk & interview with Alex Ronke / nopunin10did from PlayDip”

  1. Kaner and Amby,

    You guys really bring a great technical depth (as well as the actual drama of the games you are in) which is exactly the kind of thing I look for.  

    You talk about the game mechanics and the behind-the-scene coding and a bit of the inter-website rivalries, but you fairly talk up all of them.

    It’s great you avoid trash-talk or put downs of the other websites.  I like that – you open my eyes to lots of new ones and how they relate.  Everyone has their preferences, and they can change.  

    You guys do great talking about all aspects of the hobby.  It’s so great when I listen and think to myself, “what’s the coding or management process like” and then you quite literally describe it.  Spot on!

    Also, as a fan, I have also Googled every bar you go to, so I can visualize the exotic [at least by American standards] locales and the types of adult beverages you have.  LOVE that!  You don’t talk that enough.   I always search out new beers from around the world and many of yours are now on my list. 

    What I desperately wish is that you would add is just one simple thing:  Give us “mentally thirsty” fans some real tasting notes.  Here’s what I mean:  You guys are “exotic” because you are Australian and as far from where I live in DC as one can get.  An example of I’m looking for with beer or wine, but beer as the main example:

    “Kaner’s selection today is ‘Kangaroo Kolsh XXXX’ of Perth, which has a clear hoppy flavor, golden yellow color like a wallaby’s hungover eyes, with notes of fresh bread and barley, but reminds one of the sad and perilous situation of a beleagured Austria bouncing Russia in Galacia, Turkey in Greece and Italians in Triest when it’s only Fall 1901….”

    I’m trying to tie the in the flavour of a fine Australian beer, with the actual taste, and a bit of Diplomacy to boot.  Amby’s wine could be described for example as “delicious as strawberries from Melbourne and a good stab late in ‘Known World’ whilst the wine’s color retains the blood red hue of the back of your former ally.”

    …Just something to give those of us in our cars laughing our way home …..the true look, feel, depth and taste if you will of our two favorite podcasters in Australia.  The background sounds of the bars are great as well – don’t lose those!

    More jokes too, especially after a few drinks.   They rock.

    The double episode recording process works well too as Amby’s use of the F-word goes up by 38% by my count in the latter, alcohol-fueled, second episodes.

    And I love the interviews.  The disguised voice on Carebear was hilarious.  All yours guests have been right on the mark.  Seriously.

    Keep up the great work.

    vDip and webDip jason4747

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