Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 38 shownotes – Interview with Andrew Goff, WDC 2018 winner & small variants

Venue: Boom Boom Room, Brisbane.

Drinks of choice:

Kaner – 150 Lashes Pale Ale from James Squire, New South Wales

Amby – Terrazas de los Andes, Malbec from Argentina


Amby interviews Andrew Goff, winner of the 2018 World Diplomacy Championship in Washington DC. The guys then discuss Andrew’s advice before talking about current games and playing small variant maps.


  • The guys introduce the show, their drinks and the venue (0 mins 10 secs)

Interview with Andrew Goff

Warning it sounds like the audio dropped off in a couple of spots in the recording for a few seconds. Amby went back to the original audio and it sounds like it was when recorded. No idea why. Sorry folks!!!

  • Kaner and Amby start discussing the prelude to the interview with Andrew Goff, World Diplomacy Champion for 2018 (5 mins)
  • The interview begins with Andrew setting the scene for where he currently is (6 mins)
  • Andrew talks about the tournament, the experience and how it compared with previous tournaments (6 mins 45 secs)
  • He discusses the benefit of having a round off during the tournament (9 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks about the greatest challenge Andrew had during the tournament – Doug Moore’s gameplay during the rounds (10 mins)
  • Andrew discusses surprises through the tournament – especially the online players turning up to face-to-face tournaments, and how face-to-face players are increasingly changing their styles (14 mins)
  • Amby asks about the evolution of gameplay in the last few years (16 mins 15 secs)
  • Andrew talks about game theory and broader strategy in the game (17 mins 45 secs)
  • Andrew discusses diversity in the game – with more younger players and women coming into Diplomacy (19 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby asks about other’s game play when it comes to excellent stabs (21 mins)
  • They discuss the top board and how things were different on that board compared to the preliminary rounds (22 mins 45 secs)
  • Andrew talks about the process for selecting the countries to play on the top board (the Paris Method) and his experience playing England – his least favorite country to play (25 mins)
  • You can view the top board for WDC on Backstabbr. Andrew discusses the thinking behind Liverpool holding, and why he wanted to be the first player stabbed in the west (26 mins 45 secs)
  • At this top level Andrew discusses the nature of avoiding being the top target, and cultural differences if you present yourself strong (30 mins)
  • The time limit and its impact on gameplay (31 mins 30 secs)
  • They talk about the end of the game (35 mins)
  • Amby asks about Andrew’s plans to defend his championship in 2019 in Marseilles (39 mins)
  • Amby asks about plans for an Australian based tournament in the future. Andrew challenges Amby to get things happening in Brisbane (40 mins 20 secs)
  • They wrap up the interview (43 mins)


  • Kaner and Amby return and talk about the interview. Amby asks Kaner about his thoughts on Andrew’s insights (43 mins 30 secs)
  • They talk about a more strategic style of gameplay (44 mins)
  • Kaner loves the generalisation from Andrew about what works on Americans and wonders if its true (46 mins)
  • Amby brings up how online players are increasingly getting into face-to-face (47 mins 20 secs)
  • They talk about both going to the March 2019 Australian championships (48 mins 15 secs)
  • Next they talk about putting on a Brisbane based game in the Australian winter of 2019.. Amby discusses the WebDiplomacy Forum thread about some Australian-New Zealand online players playing together (49 mins)
  • Kaner reflects how the time limit impacts the gameplay. Amby suggests a cheeky way Kaner can boost his ranking (51 mins 20 secs)

Around the grounds

  • Kaner starts discussing his Heptarchy IV game Hep Bros (54 mins)
  • Amby references the History of England podcast he’s listening to, where he’s currently up to the War of the Roses, and how it could be applied to the HeptarchyIV board (56 mins)
  • They look at the stats for the variant and find its not very balanced at all (58 mins)
  • Amby starts discussing one of his recent games (Salt air and Blood) that he won on the North Sea Wars variant designed by sqrg – a four player variant with some weird whacky rules around the North Sea which connect to economic supply centres. He then goes onto discuss the funny rule where once your unit takes an economic SC, you can’t move it back into the Central North Sea (60 mins)
  • He then goes onto discuss his gameplay needed to win the game (1 hr 4 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby then talks about the normal Dip gameplay that also happened on the board (1 hr 7 mins 20 secs)
  • They then look at the stats for the variant (1 hr 9 mins)
  • After some more drinks, the guys go onto discuss their game they played together: Ver-Dunny, using the variant 843: Treaty of Verdun created by Milan Mach. Kaner makes an initial incorrect guess on which player Amby was, although Amby picked Kaner correctly (the game was anonymous.) Respect to the 3rd player in the game, lydiia. This was an anonymous, gunboat game (1 hr 10 mins 15 secs)
  • Kaner-Amby argy-bargy aside, they both agree this was a great map and variant and offered a lot of opportunity as a 3 player map (1 hr 15 mins)
  • They check the stats for the variant finding solos are frequent but the split between all three players is incredibly close, showing a highly balanced map, which would be great for a tournament map (1 hr 16 mins)
  • Amby talks about he’s on a roll with 3 solos, bouncing up from 100 in the vDip Top 100 up to the 50’s (1 hr 19 mins)
  • Kaner asks Amby’s thoughts on the 4 player South America map (1 hr 19 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby brings up another game he’s involved in, the 5 player variant Manifest Destiny, created by Morg and coded by Enriador. Kaner doesn’t some aesthetics like the covered wagon icons and the blue used for the USA. Amby discusses the gameplay and map (while maintaining the anonymity of the game). Amby gives Kaner a history lesson about the Republic of Texas. Amby asks our Texan diplomacy players to get in touch to correct anything we got wrong – NOTE: since this podcast was recorded the game has actually ended – Amby was playing Mexico if you care to check the result (1 hr 20 mins)
  • Kaner says the map reminds him a bit of the variant Imperium (based on the German invasions of Rome) (1 hr 27 mins)
  • In preparation for his trip to Italy, Amby has been relistening to the History of Rome podcast and has got all excited again about his variant creation idea based around the Crisis of the Third Century (scroll down half way down for previous discussion about this in episode 22). The variant has Roman civil wars, barbarians and the Antonine plague – Amby later checked at it was actually the Cyprian plague. He goes onto discuss maybe having it based around the Fall of the Tetrarchy when there were four competing Roman emperors (1 hr 28 mins)
  • Kaner starts talking jibberish about the variant Fubar with the main player – and totally overpowered – Fatflap. They look into the variant which is totally WTF. Amby curses sqrg – making a great variant with North Sea Wars and then making something as bizarre as Fubar (1 hr 30 mins)
  • Kaner brings up the South America four player variant by Joe Janbu, and ported across to online Dip by Oliver Auth (1 hr 35 mins 45 secs)
  • More drinks arrive and the guys talk about the bank vaults and bathroom in the Boom Boom Room. Amby says he’ll put up photos of them, but then when the guys left they forgot! Hopefully a couple of days after the podcast goes live he’ll get some photos (1 hr 39 mins)
  • They get back to Diplomacy and talk about Amby’s non-rated 5 day constant NMRing Imperial game. He talks about his current gameplay as Russia and his thinking when he decided to stab China – a further NOTE: due to the number of people in the Boom Boom Room the guys started talking really loud to make sure they were recorded. So unlike previous Amby advice to turn the podcast up, this time you might need to turn it down! (1 hr 42 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby then gives an anonymous update for his Divided States game (1 hr 49 mins)
  • Kaner brings up the discussion about having a Newspaper game – a grey press public posting. In this variant you can pretend to be another country without anyone knowing who it really is. Check out the grey press fog of war Classic Newspaper game thread on vDip to learn more  (1 hr 51 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby mentions the previous By Jingo game as an example of how it works (1 hr 55 mins)
  • Amby talks about his world tour with the bank’s money. He mentions there will hopefully one more podcast in mid-November, but then radio silence until January when Amby gets back. While he’s away Amby is planning to organise a few interviews while he’s away (1 hr 58 mins 15 secs)
  • The guys wrap up (2 hrs 2 mins 30 secs)


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