Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 3 shownotes – Rinascimento & Bourse

Regatta HotelVenue: Regatta Hotel, Brisbane

Drinks of choice:

  • Kaner – Dogbolter Dark Ale Reserve, Matilda Bay Brewing, Australia
  • Amby – Punter’s Corner Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coonawarra, South Australia

The guys discuss their history with the Regatta Hotel, with Amby once working in the drive-through bottleshop that no longer exists and Kaner regularly playing Backgammon there (who knew he played something other than Diplomacy!)

The Italian Renaissance variant – Rinascimento

Kaner and Amby both love this variant created by Emmanuele Ravaioli (Tadar es Darden). Here’s what they have to say about this fun filled jaunt through the Italian countryside:

  • Kaner talks about how Emmanuele got him into variant creation in the early days of vDiplomacy. Kaner discusses how he talked to Shep and Butterhead when they were playing games of Chaos and Octopus about the idea of combining the two together. After posting their thoughts in the forum Tadar offered to give him a hand, creating Kaner’s first variant Chaoctopi. Kaner briefly talks about how this variant played on the Classic map works and the rule changes it spawned for many other variants.
  • Amby brings us back to Rinascimento, talking about how he loves the look of the map and its historical setting. Kaner enjoys some of the weird rules such as Benevento’s army not being able to move, the French and Turkish players starting with units but no SC’s. Amby joins in with how access across the spine of Italy is often limited by mountain passes.
  • And the guys forget to totally mention that to win not only do you need to reach 33 SC’s but one of them must by the capital Rome. Nice work there.
  • Kaner talks about how in his experience the Papal States get sandwiched, and why his favourite country to play is Geneva with its options on land and sea and how you can work with the nearby city-state players, middle and larger powers.  Amby reflects on his one-time surprising win as Turkey.
  • Rinascimento is often recognised as one of the most unbalanced maps with mega players Venice, Naples and the Papal States, mid-size players Milan, Savoy and Firenze and micro players Sienna, Pisa, Ferrara, Turkey and France. It means smaller players really need to work hard in negotiating and working with other players to survive.
  • Kaner reminds Amby how the points scoring system for Rinascimento is different to most other games to help make things fair eg a small player who survives can get a better share of the pot than a large player who scrapes home with the SCs they began with.
  • How whoever draws the Papal States can never help themselves, behaving like the Pope.
  • The guys discuss recent discussions in the vDiplomacy forum about creating variations to the Rinascimento variant. Decima Legio has created a number of images showing how this could work. The three ideas that seem to be getting traction are:
    • Combining lesser states into more powerful states to balance things (although not historically accurate)
    • Breaking up some of the bigger states and introducing other players such as the Barbary pirates, the Spanish, etc.
    • Creating a chaos style version with everyone only having a single SC.
  • Amby shares ancient discussions with Emmanuele on why France was included on the current map.
  • Of course, for any changes to happen the new development site mentioned by Captainmeme in the last episode needs to get up and running first.
  • Amby wraps it up with an entertaining twist on the colour scheme of the “Rinascimento” logo in the top right of the map, and shout outs to TheatreVarus’ forum thread to start the conversation on improving it, Gopher27’s take on diplomacy vs tactics and great suggestions from ScubaSteve, Hirnsaege, Ruffhaus and Ingebot.

The guy's drinks: Dogbolter and Punter's CornerA variant inside a variant – Bourse Diplomacy

Next after topping up drinks, we jump into Bourse – a game that can be played just by the players on the map, or them and anyone wanting to play via the forum, or even people just in the forum:

  • Invented by Don Miller in the seventies, it essentially has two simultaneous games running: one on the map, the other offboard .
  • In the offboard game every player starts with 1000 units of currency for each of the countries on the map. So if the Bourse was being played on the Classic board each player would start with 1000 French Francs, 1000 British Pounds, 1000 German Marks, etc. At the start of the game every currency is worth the same as every other unit (all equal to $1). From there you can buy and sell currency units. You can never sell more than 500 units of any one currency each turn, but you can buy as much as you want. Obviously you need to create a cash reserve through selling currency to then buy more units of another (or multiple currencies).
  • Each sale of 100 units of a currency depreciates the value of that currency by 1 cent eg in the first turn if there’s a net over all sell off of 500 pounds (France, Germany and Austria sell 500 pounds each [-$1500], Turkey and Russia buy 500 pounds each [+$1000] and Britain and Italy don’t buy/sell pounds at all, the over all effect is a sell off of 500 pounds), the pound’s value is reduced the following turn by 5 cents, down to $0.95.
  • The same works in reverse in appreciating currency value.
  • Changes to unit values are based on buy/sell orders in sets of 100 eg an overall net purchase of 300 Francs would appreciate that currency next turn by 3 cents to $1.03. But if the overall purchase was 299 Francs it would only increase in value by 2 cents.
  • Critically when buying/selling you’re not only betting on the currency, but on the currency’s longevity on the board eg if Italy is eliminated and you hold 2000 Lira, their value drops to nothing ($0).
  • This tends to see people investing in countries who are doing well on the board. But Kaner explains on top of what decisions you’re making, everyone else is assessing the situation. He gives the example of Russia doing very well and as a result people buying up Roubles, while at the same time Germany is getting hammered by France people will be inclined to sell the Mark. This understandably drives up the value of the Rouble while the Mark’s value drops substantially.
  • Amby builds on this idea by adding a degree of deception. France in the above set of circumstances may decide to privately make peace with Germany and put in buy orders for Marks. This way France picks up the Mark at a bargain basement price, while taking the bet that making peace with Germany will see it recover and survive to the end of the game for a great return on its currency value.
  • Kaner explains that in the original Bourse, players of the Bourse don’t play on the board. That way the shenanigans above don’t happen. But with so many map variants at vDiplomacy with lots of players, Bourse is usually played with just the onboard players. The example the guys talk about is the game Boursed 901 played on the Known World map.
  • At the end of the game, every 100 units of currency you own is multiplied by the number of supply centres that country has.  Then you add these figures up and whoever has the highest figure wins.  Kaner is reminded how he in fact won Boursed 901 in the currency part of the game and second on the board.
  • Kaner also clears up Amby’s question on whether a player eliminated on the board can continue playing in the currency game; they can… and can go on to win that aspect of the game.
  • Amby talks about his gameplay in Boursed 901, trying to manipulating currencies but finding that other players – particularly Kaner – were one step ahead and manipulated currencies better. Amby explains how a strategy of spreading your portfolio risk generally won’t get you ahead in the game.
  • Kaner flags how he’s so jeered up about Bourse that he’ll propose a new game on the vDip forum. The more players interested the bigger the map will be played.
  • Amby and Kaner also discuss how many games are too many games to be committed to.
  • Amby gives a shout out to G-Man who experienced all sorts of technical problems trying to comment on the Known World 901 game discussed in Episode 1. The guys reflect on how their enthusiasm and passion is making the podcast happen, despite their piss poor technical skills.
  • Finally the guys discuss how feedback to date on recording in a pub has been surprisingly positive… listeners feel like they’re catching up with mates over a few drinks. So I guess we’ll keep our alcohol and bar themed tour for each episode!

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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