Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 5 shownotes – 2012 WebDiplomacy World Cup Championship interview

Brew in Lower Burnett Lane, BrisbaneVenue: Brew, Brisbane

Drinks of choice:

  • Kaner – Four Pines Pale Ale from Sydney, Australia
  • Amby – Don Ramon Tempranillo from Campo De Borja, Spain

The guys after quibbling about what episode this is, start talking about how Kaner’s new hipster beard is a clever ploy based on Diplomacy principles to get his wife to allow him to keep his moustache.

For any new listeners, Kaner and Amby get together and record these in a bar for a bit of atmosphere. So power on past our usual chit-chat as it doesn’t take long to get into Diplomacy talk:

  • Kaner gives an update on the Bourse game that has now started (see podcast episode 3 about the Bourse variant) and how he’s finding his GM role really interesting. Amby explains how he’s making the same mistakes again. (3 mins 20 seconds)
  • Amby then goes on to talk about a Who Controls America game to coincide with the 2016 election. According to the game result, its actually the Republicans, Corporate America and the Underworld who really control America. (6 mins 30 seconds)
  • This gets Kaner talking about the election discussions in the webDip forum. (7 mins 45 seconds)
  • Amby discusses how he feels he’s in too many games at the moment, but it’s nothing compared to the effort Kaner’s had to put in to GM the Bourse game (10 mins 45 seconds)
  • The guys then start discussing various strategies players can employ in speculating on Bourse currencies (13 minutes 20 seconds)
  • Amby mentions that while he tried getting a Google Translate game up on vDiplomacy with so many special rules games happening, no one seems to be signing up. Kaner suggests giving it a crack on webDip before Amby reminds him it probably wouldn’t have a good chance due to the 2016 webDip World Cup starting up (16 mins 30 seconds)
  • Speaking of which Amby announces he’s participating in this under Team Eurovision – listen to find out why that name! (16 mins 50 seconds)

2012 WebDiplomacy World Cup Championship interview

  • Kaner brings up how Amby’s technology failed in recording the 2012 webDip World Cup championship, but Amby came up with an alternative anyway (18 mins 10 seconds)
  • Kaner says he plans to put the interview up on Youtube and put some images into it to make it easier to understand (21 mins 30 seconds)
  • Amby then kicks off his interview with Goldfinger0303 (Austria), JECE (Russia) and Leif Syverson (Germany) (24 mins 35 seconds):
  • What kept these guys going for 104 game years (26 mins 15 seconds)
  • JECE explains what the previous record was (27 mins 50 seconds)
  • Leif and JECE discuss the impact of Italy leaving the game (31 mins 30 seconds)
  • Leif discusses his approach to dominating the board as Germany in the 1940’s (32 minutes 50 seconds)
  • The guys then go onto discuss the change in dynamic with TheHangedMan coming in as the Italian replacement (34 minutes 20 seconds)
  • Leif and Goldfinger discuss their victory conditions (38 mins 40 seconds)
  • The guys discuss how the tournament worked (40 mins 30 seconds)
  • We go on to discuss the 2016 webDiplomacy World Cup and how it varies to the 2012 tournament  (43 mins 10 seconds)
  • To what extent the guys stopped playing other games during the championship (47 mins 30 seconds)
  • What strategies the guys employed in the championship final (48 minutes)
  • The impact of Leif’s NMR and real life (50 mins 45 seconds)
  • Lessons on communicating in a public press game… and how the guys broke the messaging system of webDip! (51 mins 45 seconds)
  • Final thoughts from the three players (53 mins 05 seconds)
  • We return back to Kaner and Amby and what our hosts took away from the interview (1 hour 1 min 20 seconds)
  • How Russia’s strategy to balance the stalemate line blew away Kaner and Amby, and how you can apply that thinking to other Diplomacy variant boards (1 hour 4 mins)
  • The guys encourage you to drop by the shownotes for Episode 5 and leave your comments (1 hour 6 mins 30 seconds)

Useful info:

Kaner’s Youtube video of the game animated season after season:

And don’t forget to also check out (as mentioned in the interview) captainmeme’s incredible analysis of the highs and lows of each player’s game.

Note: due to the various technical constraints (and user error by Amby) the interview was recorded in Mono rather than Stereo. And because we’re such cheap bastards and edit this on freeware, the whole track had to be stepped down to Mono. So apologies if it doesn’t sound as good as our other episodes.

Don’t forget if you’re enjoying the podcast please hop onto iTunes and give us a rating and a review so we can get the Diplomacy message out.

If you have any suggestions on what you’d like to see covered in an upcoming podcast, or something you’d like to see regularly covered, please contact us or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks to Dan Philip for his rockin’ intro to the Diplomacy Games podcast.

5 thoughts on “Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 5 shownotes – 2012 WebDiplomacy World Cup Championship interview”

  1. I don’t have any disagreement with the opinions stated, so no need for rebuttal. I do have some thoughts, if I can remember them.

    First, hat tip to my former teammate Mujus, who was the original Italy and played the first seventy-odd years of the game. That already exceeded the previous record for longest game. Mujus committed 3+ years of real life to the game, and simply reached the point of exhaustion (indeed, he no longer is active here). He brought Italy back from one SC to a viable position for me to take over. At that point, California already had used two subs and the TD was AWOL. As noted on the podcast, the remaining players were agreeable to Mujus (semi-anon, but by then everyone knew he was Italy) being replaced by an unspecified teammate rather than picking up a stranger off the street and throwing him into this historic game.

    I agree the chief contributors to the extraordinary length of the game were (1) the fact that it was the last WC game and tournament-determinative; (2) the remarkable resolve of the players to commit to their individual win situation as the only acceptable outcome; (3) the variety and inconsistency of the players’ individual win situations; and (4) the public press nature.

    My team California had the tournament lead with only the PP game to go. As long as JECE/Russia/Iberia did not solo, we were going to win the tournament (JECE said on the podcast that he also needed Italy eliminated, which I had not figured out). While I was playing, I thought a solo by goldfinger0303/Russia/Mid-Atlantic also might win the tournament for his team. I thought a solo by Leif Syverson/Germany/Texas was a “safe” result that would still result in a California tournament win, but I wasn’t actually sure which team was playing Germany. That was more inference from the in-game chatter by the other players. Because of all that, my main goal (and Mujus’ before me) was to have the game end in a draw. If it had to be a solo, it needed to be a German solo. The interesting wrinkle was that Italy did not have to survive. Therefore, a RGA 3wd was an acceptable outcome for me. It was unusual trying to play for a result that did not have to include my survival.

    When I joined in the 1970s, I identified JECE/Russia as my nemesis. He was the holdout on prior draws because he would only accept a Russian solo outcome. Therefore, my main strategy was to undermine Russia both in terms of board position and socially on the global press. If Russia were eliminated, I thought the game would end as a GAI draw. Once there were only three powers left, I thought the players were strong enough that any two should be able to stop the third from a solo.

    On the board, I tried to counter JECE’s strategy of maintaining control over Scandinavia and Anatolia. I tried to create conditions where I could encourage Germany to take Russia out in the north. If JECE ever lost StP, I thought his solo aspirations would be over. I also tried to create conditions where I could encourage Austria to take Russia out in Anatolia, or more likely split it with me.

    I kept control of Austria by making sure he never built fleets. One time he tried to slip a fleet build in. It didn’t hurt the joint AI position on the board, but it incrementally increased his potential for a solo. In a normal game, I might have been irritated but would have continued working with him. Because of the tournament format/win condition, I instead threw everything at him to make sure that it was clear he would never solo, even if I died in the process (since a 3wd excluding Italy was acceptable). Austria couldn’t make progress against me without exposing himself to Russia, and eventually he had to disband his fleets. With no fleets, he was no solo threat and I controlled the entire Med.

    Gibraltar was a key location. One of Germany’s solo pushes came when I was playing. Because I controlled the Med, I had the ability to hold Gibraltar and shut Germany out, or conversely to let him into the Med to allow the solo. That gave me leverage against Austria and Russia, since a German solo was an acceptable outcome for me and not them.

    Despite the fact that I only needed the game to end in a draw, and not even necessarily including me, I almost soloed. Germany and I were working together smoothly toward the elimination of Russia and we had a peaceful, stable arrangement around the English island. I don’t remember if Leif NMR’d or we had a miscommunication, but the result was that my fleets around the island got into an advantageous position that I didn’t intend. I was able to use that advantage to stab Germany and storm the Atlantic, eventually getting up to 16 centers. I thought it would be an exciting finish to the historic game if I could solo, but I wasn’t able to pull it off.

    I don’t think the WC format came across clearly on the podcast. To me, it sounded like there was one prior game needed to get to the final round. There was one preliminary round (group stage, which goldfinger0303 did say). But the preliminary round was made up of two full press games, two gunboat games, and one public press game. The teams’ composite scores from all of those preliminary games dictated who made it into the final round. The final round then repeated the same array of games. So by the time the PP game was the last of the tournament, there had been 15 games played in the preliminary round (of which each Final team played in 5) and four completed games in the Final round (of which each Final played in all).

    Lastly, ghug is like Gollum, creeping around in his rainy Seattle cave of bitterness and dreaming about the Precious who got away. Someday he’ll bite my finger off as he falls into the volcano.

    1. The Hanged Man: ‘If I can remember is key’, ha ha.

      Looking back at analysis I sent my teammates on 20 December 2012 (the constant communication with teammates is one of many distinguishing features of the game we couldn’t get to in the podcast), at least by late 1917 it was already clear that any Russian win would grab Iberia the tournamnet win. I made a mistake in the podcast. So no, I didn’t need to eliminate you:

      I haven’t checked those numbers myself to see if they add up. But as you can see, my game is the only one left and we can only win the World Cup if I win it (438 points). If I manage to get my game down to a 2-way draw (227 points), we will fall short by over 100 points and come in 2nd place. Because Kompole of the Balkans was eliminated in my game, Iberia will come in 2nd place the moment I agree to any draw of the game (the minimum 71 points we would get from a 6-way draw would put us above the Balkans).

      The only two teams that can still win the world cup are “California I” and Iberia; the Californians have a distinct advantage. Even so, overall this is good news! In the last (and first) edition of the World Cup, we finished 3rd. San Diego (the old California I) had finished 5th in the last World Cup.

      The Hanged Man: As for the World Cup format, I agree that we didn’t explain it very well. By two games we meant that each individual player in the Finals has only played one game.

      The Ambassador: Very interesting editing (interesting maybe just because I haven’t been interviewed before, ha ha). Apart from having to recreate some of the questions you asked us, I notice you also shaved on content slightly and rearraned the order of some of the questions/responses. I appreciate the effort you put into making the podcast more cohesive and logical. The intro and concluding remarks you made with kaner406 also added to the interview. The sound quality actually came out pretty good to my ears.

  2. By the way, a few useful resources from CaptainMeme’s January post on reddit:

    The previous record-holder:
    http://www.floc.net/observer/USTR/vgnp4127/vgnp4127.pdf

    An awesome graph CaptainMeme put together of SC count over time (unfortunately, it cuts off in 2001, the same year the imgur album you already included cuts off):
    http://i.imgur.com/AuWfubP.png

    A quote (also based on 2001 calculations, not end-game calculations, but should be easy enough to update):
    “Every Supply Center on the board has changed hands at least once. Ankara has been taken the least, it’s been held by Russia for the 76 years since he took it from its original owner, Turkey, in 1925. Rumania has been taken the most, it’s been conquered an astonishing 26 times. Most SCs have been taken around 11 times, but in particularly contested places (like the Balkans and Scandinavia) the average is much higher.”

    The graph showing the Calhamer Index for the game (also appears to cut off in 2001)
    http://i.imgur.com/CSiRoAW.png

  3. Keep ’em coming! I’d love to hear even just a 30-second segment each episode of you guys reading from a list of player names, just for pronunciation gold. I really enjoyed hearing from other players like Leif, goldfinger, and JECE. I know it adds logistical complications, but hearing many perspectives is very interesting to me.

  4. Amby had the pronunciation right, and then you guys corrected it. It’s Leif (leaf) Syverson (like Alan Iverson, but with the preceding S). Despite the fact I was the victim (accidental target of opportunity?) this go around, I agree with the good doc, any time you guys attempt pronunciation, we are in for a treat!

    Many thanks to both of you for having us on, and thanks to THM for his reply and thoughts.

    I’ll have to look into that Calhamer Index, I hadn’t seen that before. I’m always interested in metrics and stats and what value they can play when informing decision making in game.

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