Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 30 shownotes – Interview with Kestas, the “Godfather” of online Diplomacy

Bairmaid at Fritzenberger filling a growlerVenue: Fitzenberger, Brisbane.

Drinks of choice:

Kaner – No Shoes Brews’ Paradise Cit(rus)y – Saison/Farmhouse Ale from Brisbane, Queensland

Amby – Berg Rue Shiraz from Heathcote, Victoria


Today we’re going back, way back. 2004 and Kestas’ creation of the code based that got WebDip, vDip, PlayDip and many more up and running. Plus a discussion on Bourse progress and the odd tangent or two.


  • The guys discuss Anzac Day in Australia and their family connections to Australia’s military participation (0 mins 10 secs)
  • Then it’s time to discuss their drinks and Caxton Street (6 mins 45 secs)

Interview with Kestas

  • Kestas talks about playing the game and why he’s not the guy to talk strategy: rather he enjoyed building the adjudicator and forum. He discusses how the community slowly built up in the early days (16 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner asks about what issues arose during the early days of webDiplomacy (19 mins)
  • Amby asks where the first PHP diplomacy instance went live (20 mins 50 secs)
  • They discuss the rationale for why the code was made available as open source so others could download and share (22 mins 15 secs)
  • Kestas talks about when he does play Diplomacy,  how the game filled an itch when he was at university and why he doesn’t like Turkey (23 mins 15 secs)
  • Kestas gives a shout out to Alex who runs Italian Diplomacy (webDiplomacy.it), he goes onto discuss how he’s happy to be contacted by others wanting to create a new Dip server, particularly in a language other than English. He talks about the translation functionality that is used on webDiplomacy.it (25 mins 30 secs)
  • He goes onto to discuss what it feels to have his code so widely used. Kaner asks about whether Kestas would change anything if he had the chance again (27 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks about how the adjudicator and code have been used for variants beyond Classic. He asks whether Kestas considered variants in the way the code was developed (31 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks whether Kestas has chatted much with admins from Diplomacy communities online beyond webDip (34 mins)
  • Kestas discusses his recent work on the webDip forum (36 mins)
  • He describes what he enjoyed most about the recent changes he’s made to webDip and the code (39 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks about how to best mitigate the use of hacks, and developing more cleaner code. Kestas gives a big hat tip for GitHub (41 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby raises how some forum based Dip games use more than two units as the current code doesn’t support three or more unit types. He asks Kestas whether the code could be expanded to support more than two units (44 mins 30 secs)
  • Then its Kestas’ ideas on how the code and forum could be improved further, including cross-server games (49 mins 30 secs)
  • Kestas clarifies how the relationship currently works with PlayDip (53 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner asks about the old-days of webDip’s forum and how it evolved (54 mins 30 secs)
  • Everyone goes off to get a new drink before Kestas asks the guys about where the podcast came from and Kaner & Amby’s involvement in the face to face scene (58 mins 30 secs)
  • Kestas is asked about when he recognised the need to introduce moderators to the community and why multi-accounters do what they do (1 hr 1 min)
  • Kaner asks about what happens when people offer to help (1 hr 6 mins)
  • Amby asks how people can get in touch with Kestas to contribute further to the code (we won’t put it here in the notes so bots don’t spam Kestas!) They explore Kestas’ cultural heritage (1 hr 7 mins 30 secs)
  • Wrapping up Kestas thanks the WebDip donors and mentions a new server upgrade is coming  (1 hr 9 mins 30 secs)

Thoughts on the interview

  • The guys discuss what came out of the interview they were surprised to here (1 hr 12 mins 30 secs)
  • They go onto discuss multi-accounters, gaming the system and opening the kimono (1 hr 14 mins 15 secs)
  • Then they offer for anyone caught multi-accounting, or thinking of multi-accounting, what their motivations were so they can come on for an interview  (1 hr 20 mins)
  • Next up is their discussion about having more than two units in Diplomacy variants – which would allow online New World Order, Dissolution and Nuclear Diplomacy. Amby then goes to town on possible unit types (1 hr 23 mins)
  • They discuss the benefits of cross-platform tournaments (1 hr 31 mins 30 secs)


  • After a new round of drinks the guys move onto discuss growlers and chat Bourse (1 hr 32 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby explains how he missed submitting his Bourse orders and how the strategy and value approach has totally changed compared to other Bourse games. They then talk shop about the game in progress (1 hr 34 mins 15 secs)

Wrapping up

  • Amby experiences the same “tech team” family issues that Kaner recently experienced (1 hr 50 mins 40 secs)
  • Amby then talks about his firepit and how he likes burning timber and cooking meat on the flame, before he gets distracted and starts talking about the film “Spies Like Us” and wrap up (1 hr 51 mins 45 secs)

Just a reminder you can support the show by giving it 5 stars on iTunes or Stitcher. Or if you want to help improve the audio equipment (or get us more drunk during episodes) you can donate too at Patreon. Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe so you get the latest Diplomacy Games episodes straight to your phone!


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