Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 84 – Interview with Edi Birsan

Venue: Brisbane Brewing Co., Brisbane

Drinks of choice:

Kaner:  My Shout stout from Brisbane Brewing Co.

Amby: Tropical XPA and Walker west coast IPA from Brisbane Brewing Co.


We catchup with legend of the game, Edi Birsan, around so, so much about Diplomacy. Your head will spin! Plus the guys discuss their virtual WDC experience and webDip 2020 World Cup.

Brisbane Brewing CoIntro

  • The guys introduce today’s venue and location before discussing their drinks (0 mins 10 secs)

Interview with Edi Birsan

  • They start introducing the interview with Edi Birsan (3 mins 40 secs)
  • Amby asks Edi how he got started in the game in the 1960’s (4 mins 40 secs)
  • Amby reflects on Edi’s response about psychologists using the game to build resilience. Edi gives some further detail and touches on Kissinger playing Diplomacy and integration of schools in South Africa using Diplomacy (12 mins)
  • Edi discusses the importance of younger people being open to the game during formative learning and intervening with a player about their behavior (16 mins)
  • He discusses his mantra about Diplomacy (18 mins 15 secs)
  • He talks about using the game as a tool for learning about trust (20 mins 30 secs)
  • Note: around this point someone in Amby’s neighborhood starts noisy gardening – takes about 20 mins for Amby to Google how to fix/mute it
  • Amby asks about how Edi was able to find players for his first game and playing postal (23 mins)
  • Edi discusses how Diplomacy helped him talk and negotiate in some of his first jobs (28 mins)
  • Amby asks where the game sits in popularity/awareness now, compared to previous decades. Edi discusses how word about the game got out early on and goes onto discuss tournaments (28 mins 45 secs)
  • He asks about how Diplomacy game style has changed over time (34 mins 30 secs)
  • They talk about virtual games, introducing video but what you’d miss out (40 mins 40 secs)
  • Kaner asks about Edi’s advice for playing well. Edi discusses understanding player’s motivations (44 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks Edi about the first time he came up with Lepanto opening (48 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby asks how the Lepanto opening got its name. You can read Edi’s article on the Lepanto here (55 mins 45 secs)
  • Edi talks about his interactions with Allan Calhamer (57 mins 45 secs)
  • He discusses how Calhamer didn’t design for stalemate lines, draws, game culture and balance of power (1 hr 2 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks Edi about his personal experience with politics and how Diplomacy helped him (1 hr 8 mins 15 secs)
  • He reflects on the current situation in American politics and brings it around to the game (1 hr 14 mins)
  • They start wrapping the interview up, with Edi reflecting on his Diplomacy experience in Australia and when the pandemic is over, where are you going to go in the world for the game (1 hr 23 mins)
  • The guys come back after the interview and reflect on it (1 hr 25 mins 20 secs)
  • They talk about the Lepanto and Amby’s ill-fated opening of Germany attacking Russia in spring 1901 (1 hr 29 mins)

News and chat

  • The guys discuss the current Covid restrictions and short lockdown in Brisbane (1 hr 38 mins 45 secs)
  • Their efforts to get the numbers for a face to face game continue to be an issue with people still a little freaky about Covid locally (1 hr 41 mins)
  • They talk about state border restrictions and Amby discusses the Australian Lamb Board’s annual Australia Day video – which beautifully explains the current situation in Australia, fast forwarded to 2031 (1 hr 42 mins 15 secs)

Kaner’s Virtual World Diplomacy Classic experience

  • We move onto the recent Virtual WDC and discuss how the guys went (1 hr 44 mins 15 secs)
  • Kaner blames Amby on missing a game (1 hr 45 mins)
  • Amby discusses his games, particularly his second game (1 hr 47 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner talks about his experience with technology and interface for his first virtual game (1 hr 54 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby discusses his technical troubles and how to better use airpods when communicating on Discord (1 hr 58 mins 15 secs)
  • Kaner talks a little more about his games (2 hrs 0 mins 30 secs)
  • They talk about match ending times and how it impacts propensity to stab (2 hrs 2 mins 15 secs)

WebDip 2020 World Cup

  • The guys talk about their Democracy Sausages team and how they’re going (2 hrs 3 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby reflects on the high calibre of the players and talking about future gameplay (2 hrs 5 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner talks about how he’s preferring gunboat now when he’s playing online (2 hrs 8 mins)

Wrapping it up

  • The guys plan ending this recording, and next episodes to record (2 hrs 10 mins 30 secs)
  • They finish the episode up (2 hrs 13 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, plus you get extra podcast episodes!

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

Thanks as always to Dr Dan aka “The General” for his rockin’ intro tune.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *