Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 39 shownotes – Interview with Nathan Barnes & Eric Mead from DiplomacyCast

Venue: T.S. McHugh’s, Seattle & Little Big House, Brisbane.

Drinks of choice:


Nathan – Gin soda with a splash of tonic

Eric – Pinot Noir from Oregon; Bushmills whiskey and soda on the rocks

Amby – Charles & Charles, cabineret syrah; Washington Hills cabernet; tequila, soda water & lime


Kaner – Balter XPA from Balter Brewing Company, Queensland

Amby – Rightbank shiraz from Margaret River, Western Australia


Amby visits Seattle and interviews the hosts of the podcast DiplomacyCast, Eric Mead & Nathan Barnes in Seattle. They talk about what happened to their show, their thoughts on why face-to-face Diplomacy rocks and their variant suggestions. Plus Kaner discusses his efforts to get a face-to-face community started in Brisbane and Dip news.


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

Interview with Nathan Barnes & Eric Mead from DiplomacyCast

  • Amby introduces Nathan and Eric in what is planned to be a joint podcast (5 mins 30 secs)
  • Eric explains what happened technically to the site for a little while (6 mins 10 secs)
  • Nathan talks about the Seattle Diplomacy scene. Amby reflects how the size of Seattle & Brisbane are about the same, but the community of players’ size is radically different. They talk about what you need to do to create a strong community in a local area  (9 mins 20 secs)
  • They discuss how the 50th DipCon (the North American championship) is scheduled in Seattle for 2019 (11 mins 20 secs)
  • They go onto a bit more detail about the hard work needed to create a local community (13 mins)
  • Nathan reflects on his first games with Diplomacy, his initial online play before moved back to face-to-face with tournaments (18 mins)
  • Eric then discusses his first Diplomacy experiences (19 mins 55 secs)
  • They talk about why they no longer player online. Nathan says its due to the core nugget of interpersonal relationships being only achievable in face-to-face games. Eric says he no longer plays online as he found it sucked up too much of his time (22 mins 20 secs)
  • Nathan says he did enjoy the challenge of “pick up” games (taking over a CD’ed position) (26 mins 20 secs)
  • They talk about the high you get playing face-to-face (28 mins 20 secs)
  • They discuss “tells” in face-to-face and how the dynamics are different to online (29 mins 30 sec)
  • Eric talks about how a competitive face-to-face game forces more decisive decision making and considerate of longer-term strategy (34 mins)
  • Nathan discusses how its worth playing a tournament at least once (35 mins 45 secs)
  • They do recognize though that some of the best Dip players are online players (37 mins 30 secs)
  • Nathan puts forward the importance of having a nimble plan, Eric talks about listening to your gut on unit placement (39 mins 30 secs)
  • Nathan also discusses how face-to-face uses far more means to work out what is going on in the game with both body language and who is talking to who (41 mins 15 secs)
  • Amby asks how the guys use their Diplomacy skills in their careers and day-to-day dealings (43 mins 30 secs)
  • Nathan explains the key thing Diplomacy teaches you, which Eric describes as a “super power” (47 mins)
  • Eric explains what happens when players only think about their own agenda & the importance of empathy (51 mins)
  • Amby asks about what happened to the DiplomacyCast podcast while Eric & Nathan explain why they wanted a second Diplomacy podcast to happen. Eric goes into the detail for why the show is having a break (52 mins 45 secs)
  • Eric and Nathan discuss what they enjoyed most from their podcast… their April Fools shows (1 hr 7 mins)
  • They then discuss the shows they are most proud of (1 hr 15 mins 15 secs)
  • Amby learns all about how America is different to Australia when it comes to shift changes, tipping and voting (1 hr 18 mins 40 secs)
  • Amby asks what impact did running the podcast have on how other players treated them (1 hr 19 mins 45 secs)
  • Nathan discusses Seattle street life during a smoke break (1 hr 23 mins 30 secs)
  • Nathan asks Amby what he gets out of playing Diplomacy online (1 hr 25 mins 30 secs)
  • They discuss the dichotomy of players introduced to the game either love it or hate it (1 hr 27 mins)
  • Amby discusses how he likes the challenge and deciding when to stab (1 hr 28 mins)
  • Amby introduces the Divided States variant to the guys – a game with 50 players (1 hr 30 mins)
  • Eric discusses his life long dream – a life size real-time Chaos game… on a basketball court (1 hr 31 mins 40 secs)
  • Eric & Nathan ask Amby why he plays variants (1 hr 38 mins 15 secs)
  • They ask about whether Amby has ever played 1900 – Amby answers by discussing the PlayDip Tournament of Time and the games 1812 Overture and Dissolution (a variant based on the breakup of the Soviet Union (1 hr 40 mins)
  • Eric and Nathan talk about their own variant they created: Diplomacy Winks (1 hr 42 mins 20 secs)
  • Nathan discusses his Roulette variant (1 hr 48 mins)
  • After listening to the way Roulette works, Amby discusses the Versailles variant where you control one main known country and one smaller secret country (1 hr 51 mins)
  • Eric introduces his other variant concept: God Diplomacy (1 hr 54 mins)
  • Nathan explains face-to-face players don’t really care too much about variants, as fundamentally they don’t care about the board (2 hrs 0 mins)
  • They discuss how much better it is for online players turning up to face-to-face games with a plan are so much better than non-committal players, which tends to occur in online games. (2 hrs 0 mins)
  • Nathan and Eric give their final pitch to give a tournament a chance, if for nothing else but the chance of an intense “high” (2 hrs 6 mins)
  • Eric recommends their Jim O’Kelly episode that outlines what you need to do to build a local community (2 hrs  9 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby gives his thoughts on using digital marketing to target people interested in Diplomacy (2 hrs 10 mins 30 secs)
  • They talk about teachers who introduce Diplomacy to students and how they can create slow-burn players for the future (2 hrs 12 mins 30 secs)
  • They discuss how the game better suits non-gamers, and how it is less about winning and more about playing. Nathan suggests getting psychologists into the hobby before discussing how the game develops your skills for the office (2 hrs 15 mins)
  • They wrap things up, with Nathan and Eric calling for new podcast ideas… beyond Diplomacy (2 hrs 20 mins)

Discussion about the interview

  • Kaner and Amby return to talk about the interview (2 hrs 21 mins 20 secs)
  • They discuss Nathan and Eric’s variant ideas – focusing on the Chaos concept (2 hrs 22 mins 30 secs)

Kaner is trying to create a face-to-face community in Brisbane

  • Kaner brought together some Warhammer games & Mrs Kaner to play a face-to-face game… and they had a blast! (2 hrs 23 mins 40 secs)
  • The guys discuss their thoughts further on getting a local community going (2 hrs 26 mins)
  • Amby asks Kaner how he explained how the game works (2 hrs 28 mins)

Amby and Kaner are going to a tournament

  • Amby and Kaner plan to go to the Melbourne Open, a face-to-face tournament planned for mid March (2 hrs 33 mins 20 secs)

Online Diplomacy news

  • DemonOverlord is organising the 2019 championship and is calling for players across the different Diplomacy sites (2 hrs 34 mins 45 secs)
  • Interactive maps have now been coded by Tobi for all variants at vDip to make it easier to submit orders (2 hrs 36 mins 20 secs)
  • New ezine editions are now out for Diplomacy World and Diplomacy Pouch – which includes our interview with Andrew Goff (2 hrs 38 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby gives a belated apology for the gap in episodes, and congratulates Murcanic for winning the 1066 Tournament (2 hrs 40 mins)
  • The guys wrap up the episode (2 hrs 42 mins)

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 you can donate at Patreon. Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe so you get the latest Diplomacy Games episodes straight to your phone!

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