Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 43 shownotes – Our first Face to Face Tournament

Amby's final map of the tournament

Kaner & Amby fly to play in the Melbourne Open Diplomacy tournament. They get schooled but can they come good in the end?

Intro in the airport

Venue: Brisbane Airport

Drinks of choice:

Kaner & Amby – 150 Lashes Australian pale ale by James Squire Brewery

  • The guys are recording initially at the Brisbane domestic airport waiting for their flight to the Melbourne Open face-to-face tournament (0 mins 10 secs)
  • They discuss their hopes to catch up with players outside of the games (4 mins 20 secs)
  • Kaner talks about his return to the Melbourne “big smoke” talking about growing up in rural Victoria (6 mins 15 secs)
  • Kaner discusses the recently completed Divided States game drawn 3 way’s between Technostar (Kansas – 128 units), EmpireStrikesBack (Vermont – 78 units) and Tobi1 (New Hampshire – 73 units). It’s generally considered this particular game probably had the most SCs/units controlled by a player in any Diplomacy game (7 mins 50 secs – if edited out the bing bing)
  • They introduce their beers – more One Fifty Lashes from James Squire (11 mins 15 secs)
  • Kaner discussed the player positioning on the board (11 mins 30 secs)
  • By drawing the three players all got massive boosts to their rankings on vDip (13 mins 30 secs)
  • They then move onto Amby’s Divided States game and provide a brief update (15 mins)
  • Amby then goes onto discuss an anonymous game he’s in at vDip where he was doing well but has been massively stabbed (16 mins)
  • He then discusses his games at PlayDip including his 1900 game and some of the differences for this variant (18 mins)
  • Finally Amby moves onto his Fog of War game at vDip (25 mins 45 secs)
  • Kaner brings up discussions at vDip about points and suggestions (28 mins)
  • They touch on the Russian Diplomacy site moving web address (29 mins)
  • Kaner gives a long interesting story about him and ferrets (30 mins 30 secs)
  • They grab another beer and Kaner discusses how he hates plane flights (38 mins)
  • Kaner flags the search facility at vDip has recently changed (41 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner is waiting on a Newspaper game to get going (44 mins)
  • The guys’ flight gets called but its so quiet they can’t hear the details. They wrap up this part of the show (45 mins 30 secs)

End of Day one at the Melbourne Open

Venue: Hop Sing, Melbourne

Drinks of choice:

Melissa Call – Cockfighters Ghost Pinot Gris

Everyone else – Furphy’s ale

  • Amby introduces the after-party – a table of 9 people at Hop Sing, Melbourne. 8 were players on Day 1 of the Melbourne Open tournament. Due to the size of the table the audio is  (48 mins)
  • People at the table are: Kaner, Melissa Call, Shane Cubas, Peter McNamara, Peter Novacco, Amby, Amelia, Tim Jones (ATinCan) and Brett Chatterton. Everyone is having Furphy’s ale and Melissa is having a Cockfighters Ghost Pinot Gris  (49 mins)
  • Peter is topping the board for Day 1 at 30 points, while Amby is a distant 2nd. Amby discusses the experience of playing face to face (51 mins)
  • Melissa flags how new face to face players who normally play online usually have a lot of trouble with the deadline (52 mins)
  • Amby raises the issue of misorders in face to face and spelling mistakes in orders (53 mins 30 secs)
  • They discuss how the order pace was much faster than any other tournament players had attended (54 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby learns about the importance of drafting your orders at the start of the turn rather than waiting to the end (55 mins)
  • Brett brings up Andrew Goff’s previous Flying Dutchman move in an earlier game (56 mins)
  • Amby asks about people’s learnings from the day (57 mins)
  • Kaner discusses how he managed to pull off a Key Lepanto (58 mins 30 secs)
  • Shane discusses Beer Diplomacy and its impact on the game (1 hr 0 mins)
  • Kaner talks about the stress factor of retreats and builds eating into the normal turn’s discussion time (1 hr 1 min)
  • Shane asks Amby and Kaner about their prior involvement in face to face (1 hr 2 mins)
  • They discuss who got stabbed and who stabbed well (1 hr 4 mins)
  • Tim outlines the Cricket scoring system for the tournament (1 hr 6 mins)
  • Amby and Kaner are asked what they’ll do differently and the prospect of a top board on the final day (1 hr 7 mins)
  • The group discuss the rules and what is ok and what’s pushing it too far (1 hr 8 mins)
  • Amby flags the difference in the two boards he was on with openings and alliances in the games (1 hr 11 mins)
  • Amby’s observations on the dynamics of Tim and Jamal and how they coordinated their gameplay with discussions (1 hr 17 mins)
  • The group discuss Italy’s eventually placement in Denmark (1 hr 20 mins)
  • Amby explains how the gameplay in face-to-face is often totally different to online where the communication lends itself to more dynamic moves. Kaner discusses how relationships in face-to-face games seem faster to form than online (1 hr 22 mins 30 secs)
  • The table talks about stabbing (1 hr 26 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks Amelia – as a non player – on what she’s expecting if she plays a game (1 hr 30 mins)
  • The table shares their recommendations to Amelia if she’s to play. Tim shares the best Diplomacy advice he ever received from Andrew Goff (1 hr 32 mins)
  • Mel suggests to Amelia that if she likes the game, to play some gunboat games with a 24 hour phase, to develop her skills and anticipating player moves (1 hr 35 mins)
  • Apologies as for about five minutes there are two conversations going on at the table which may sound a little confusing (1 hr 37 mins)
  • They talk about manipulation of players with Tim being asked his views (1 hr 42 mins)
  • The table wraps up its conversation, only to be followed by a brief addendum from Tim about when he realised mid-game that Amby was one of those podcast guys (1 hr 45 mins)

Post-tournament wrap up at the airport

Venue: Two Johns Taphouse, Melbourne Airport

Drinks of choice:

Kaner – Pirate’s Life IPA

Amby – atnook Founders Block cabernet sauvignon from the Coonawarra


  • The final part of the show sees Kaner and Amby catching up in Melbourne Airport’s Two Johns Taphouse post-tournament. Kaner is drinking a Pirate’s Life IPA and Amby has a Katnook Founders Block cabernet sauvignon from the Coonawarra which he describes as “doesn’t taste like victory but it tastes pretty sweet”  (1 hr 47 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby announces he came 3rd in the tournament out of 18 players. Kaner came in 5th. And they both far exceeded their expectations. They guys talk about what a great time they had and how much of a buzz translating online experience into face to face (1 hr 48 mins 30 secs)
  • They talk about how online players who’ve played for a while know the rules and the game dynamics and makes it so much easier to come into the face-to-face scene (1 hr 50 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby describes the journey towards face-to-face he’s had over the past six months. Both of the guys talk about the lessons they learnt from the open mike table conversation that they implemented (1 hr 51 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner also discusses how Amby won the tournament’s “best novice” award and how face-to-face DAANZ player scoring systems work and Master points. Due to the guy’s strong performance they’ve leap-frogged straight into Intermediate ranks (1 hr 52 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner discusses the face-to-face tactics used – including “sneaky peeks” which he’d never consider previously as an online player (1 hr 55 mins)
  • Amby talks about how he worked up an alliance which knocked Andrew Goff off the board – although he was playing two boards at once, and running the tournament and wasn’t officially in the tournament so he wasn’t playing his normal game – so Amby didn’t get him at his best (1 hr 56 mins)
  • Peter McNamara came first and Melissa Call second – you can read the results online. Kaner talks about the face-to-face tactic of tying up other players’ negotiation time (1 hr 58 mins)
  • Amby talks about how he followed a tactic of supporting his allies to grab SCs to get them onboard and committed into an alliance (1 hr 59 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner discusses the speed of the games and the speed of player’s adjudication on the board (2 hrs 1 min)
  • The guys thank Andrew for organising the tournament and those like Peter who helped (2 hrs 2 mins 30 secs)
  • They talk about attending future tournaments and discuss attending WDC 2020 in Vermont (2 hrs 3 mins)
  • They finally wrap up with a story from Amby about vivid dreaming of playing Diplomacy (2 hrs 5 mins)


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

Thanks as always to Dr Dan for his rockin’ intro tune. Used it as a segment segue this time around for something different.

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