Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 27 shownotes – Interview with Technostar about “Divided States”

Venue: Buffalo Bar, Brisbane.

Drinks of choice:

Kaner – Five Seeds Cider from some random location in Australia

Amby – Marty’s Block Tempranillo¬† from the Margaret River, Western Australia

The guys interview Technostar, creator of the “Divided States” variant and discuss their in-game experience with it so far.


Interview with Techostar, creator of “Divided States

  • Kaner starts giving a bit of an intro about the interview with Technostar (8 mins)
  • Amby welcomes Technostar and asks him about him getting into Diplomacy and what he likes most about the game (0 mins 25 secs)
  • Amby asks about Technostar’s gameplay philosophy (3 mins 50 secs)
  • Kaner asks about Technostar’s strong position in his WWIV sealanes game – World-Amazing (5 mins)
  • Techostar explains how being at school helps him play a lot of games, but has the difficulty of his school blocking vDip! (6 mins 20 secs)
  • Kaner asks about Technostar’s love of larger maps and how that led him toward developing the Divided States variant and map. Technostar and Kaner discuss a WWIV game they’re both playing in (8 mins)
  • Kaner discusses the geography of the map and why Technostar arranged it that way (11 mins 30 secs)
  • They go onto talk about the rapid speed that two games of Divided States filled up (that’s 100 playing slots!) – they talk about the United States of Insanity game that they’re all in (13 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby asks about NMR’s, while Technostar introduces how the build phases works for the starting phase if a player NMRs and their position isn’t filled (15 mins 45 secs)
  • Kaner discusses the coding and asks about the program used to create the map and whether Techno is insane for taking on a project of this magnitude. Techno touches on a “gotcha” about when creating the map files and how indexed mode works to ensure it can be run on php Diplomacy servers (18 mins 10 secs)
  • Techo goes onto discussing how he had to cut down on the number of territories and how we redrew the map again to further improve the balance (20 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner asks Techno on his thoughts on the initial opening moves in the current games (22 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby laments his bad start before discussing the mysteries of the Four Corner Alliance and Technostar’s involvement in this as a player. He discusses the fear of large local players Texas and California and creating a block to prevent their growth (23 mins 15 secs)
  • Amby discusses his ongoing stabbing relationship with Dr Recommended. Technostar talks about a similar challenging relationship he seems to have with Mr Finkelmeyer (28 mins)
  • Kaner interjects, as an East Coast player (Connecticut), he discusses how he had no idea about the West Coast action going on and the Four Corners Alliance. Techno describes how he was inspired by some of the colors on the Monopoly board to inform his decisions on state colors (29 mins)
  • Kaner asks about how Technostar ended up deciding on creating a Divided States variant and the inspirations behind: the 2016 election, alternate history and a Civilization V map he created (31 mins 40 secs)
  • Amby asks about why Technostar didn’t decide to start initially with a small variant map to see what he thought of variant development. Techno touches on New World Order being a bigger map than Divided States – a variant created by Tom Rheinecker – before they discuss the rule challenges behind that map that would make it impossibble to make web based without a very deep php skillset (33 mins 20 secs)
  • Kaner asks Technostar on his advice for budding variant developers, including creating his own test server (36 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby enquires if Technostar could turn back time would there be anything he’d change. Techno answers how he could’ve easily saved 3 months by doing something differently (39 mins)
  • Kaner asks Techno his thoughts on Divided States moving to webDip or playDip (40 mins 40 secs)
  • Next its on to Techno’s views of variant developers using his map to create new variant versions. They go onto discuss a 1 vs 1 Red State vs Blue State civil war map and the challenges of setting orders for 100+ units each turn. Techno also talks about an idea he has on layering state names on top of the map or a compiled list of each territory abbreviation to its correct name (42 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks if Techo had more time and turned his attention to a new variant what he’d do. Techno discusses getting a better php knowledge and porting across New World Order (48 mins)
  • Technostar mentions a fun fact about drawing a map location where he was staying during his summer vacation. Techno talks about how Amby’s Mate Against Mate variant acted as a bit of an inspiration for Divided States and how he used its non-occupied SCs in the variant (49 mins)
  • Kaner asks about the prospect of Fog of War on the map (54 mins)
  • Technostar asks Kaner about whether a new Bourse game could happen soon. Kaner runs with the idea and decides to make it happen, possibly on a War War IV sealanes map (59 mins)
  • They get back onto Divided States and bounce around a bit on the design considerations of the map (1 hour 8 mins)
  • Techno lets loose with his views about American state flags, a few bugs that have been picked up and his hopeful career path (1 hour 14 mins 45 secs)

The guys return from the interview, but with all the editing and Amby’s crap maths, we haven’t worried about the timestamps for this next section. It goes about 30 mins. If you made it this far, power on!


  • The guys discuss what they learnt from the interview. Kaner reflects that they’re technologically incompetent compared to the kids these days. Amby loves the parallel between his school banning vDip and his work banning all Dip sites.
  • Then its onto reflecting on Technostar giving his thumbs up to the map and code being available for anyone to repurpose and create new variant versions. They then discuss though the potential headache of a 1 vs 1 Divided States game with 100+ orders needed each turn
  • The guys go onto talk about their experience to date in their Divided States games – Divided States of ‘Murica and United States of Insanity¬†before mentioning their Divided States gunboat game has just started
  • Then Kaner and Amby become introspective about whether they are a bad influence
  • Bourse 2018 – the great Bourse Challenge – is discussed by Kaner

And thanks as always to Dan Philip for his rockin’ intro to the Diplomacy Games podcast. And don’t forget you can now donate to the show (better audio, or more drunk episodes) by going to our Patreon page.

1 thought on “Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 27 shownotes – Interview with Technostar about “Divided States””

  1. Great podcast and GREAT work by technostar. Great variant idea and execution.

    I especially like how you took Connecticut and Indiana colors from Monopoly.

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