Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 35 shownotes – Interview with a Newbie: The General talks about learning Diplomacy the hard way

Isles LaneVenue: Isle’s Lane, Brisbane.

Drinks of choice:

Kaner – El Calavera Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout from Ballistic Beer in Brisbane, Australia

Amby – Mother’s Milk Shiraz from the Barossa and d’Arenberg The Anthropocene Epoch Mencia from McLaren Vale, Australia

The General – The Bent Spoke IPA from Canberra, Australia (although the guys misidentify it on tape as being from Newstead in Brisbane)

What is the experience of learning Diplomacy like for a newbie? The guys interview The General about his trials and tribulations in the steep learning curve of getting your head around the game of Diplomacy.


  • This is the first ever three way face to face episode, introducing Dip newbie “The General” and their drinks (0 mins 30 secs)

Interview with a newbie: chat with The General

  • The General discusses his two games he’s signed up for (3 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby asks about how the communication is going. The General talks about being in a public press game. Kaner talks about the Diplomacy Archives and opening moves and strategies (5 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner confuses The General with Dip opening strategy names such as the Lepanto (8 mins 45 secs)
  • The guys talk about building trust though bounces (11 mins 30 secs)
  • The General discusses the most critical decision: what to call himself. Kaner and Amby cover old ground about how they got their player names (12 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner offers a “special prize” for anyone who guesses that the 406 stands for in Kaner’s player name (kaner406) (15 mins)
  • They discuss why The General signed up for vDip rather than the other Dip sites (16 mins 30 secs)
  • While talking The General’s first turn ticks over… only to find out he’s misordered. Kaner talks about how to check your moves (18 mins)
  • Kaner explains self supporting neutral units and how they work on a board (20 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby’s rule number 1: take shit, ideally from neutrals (22 mins)
  • Kaner talks about the interactive map feature before they walk brass tacks on The General’s approach (23 mins)
  • Kaner then explores some of the features around vDip – and a recommendation for Oli with some changed default settings  (32 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby suggests an automated feature that could be sent via PM or email for anyone new signing up to the site (36 mins)
  • They talk friendship groups, avoiding meta gaming and fake accounts (37 mins)
  • Next up they talk the differences between public press, normal press, grey press and gunboat (40 mins)
  • The General asks about how things vary between the opening and the mid-game (46 mins)
  • Kaner talks about how to suggest intentions to players in gunboat games eg support holds, support moves (49 mins)
  • Kaner discusses his “crab shell” strategy in gunboat games (51 mins)
  • Amby switches his wine up to the d’Arenberg The Anthropocene Epoch Mencia from McLaren Vale, Australia before talking food (54 mins)
  • Kaner gets back to talking about the mid-game (56 mins 20 secs)
  • They discuss unit transformation options (58 mins 30 secs)
  • Next up its drunken joke time (1 hr 1 min 30 secs)
  • The General changes beers and starts drinking the same stout as Kaner (1 hr 4 mins 30 secs)
  • They get back to Dip talk, discussing broader strategy (1 hr 5 mins 20 secs)
  • The General proposes how the game would be great if it took into account geography and weather. The guys talk about the role of unpassable territory due to mountains/deserts/jungle, mountain passes in Rinascimento, how rivers are implemented, (1 hr 6 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner shows The General how to check past games for a variant and how players approached the board. They talk about how they use this feature from time to time and then spend some time unpacking how Diplomacy is like Risks’ older brother who drinks scotch (1 hr 8 mins)
  • Amby introduces the concept of stalemate lines to The General (1 hr 20 mins)
  • They proceed onto discussing in the process the Divided States variant and the nature of creating variants (1 hr 22 mins)
  • Kaner touches on the upcoming World DipCon in DC (1 hr 25 mins 40 secs)
  • The General asks about how the guys usually construct their podcasts and what they normally talk about (1 hr 26 mins 30 secs)
  • Just when they guys think they’ve wrapped up the episode, they rewind and add an addendum where the General discusses how he assumed the rules of Risk were equally applied to Diplomacy, which created his misorder. They talk about how starting in the hobby can be a steep learning curve (1 hr 29 mins 30 secs)
  • They talk a little again about openings on the Classic board and how to interpret a player’s intentions under gunboat conditions (1 hr 31 mins)
  • The General asks about whether there’s a book about Diplomacy. Amby talks about it on Amazon, the Calhamer estate auction of the original boards and the different language versions of Diplomacy online (1 hr 34 mins)
  • They then wrap it up (1 hr 36 mins)

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