Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 61 – Interview with Erik van Mechelen

Venue: Hotel Carrington, Brisbane

Drinks of choice:

Kaner – Young Henry’s cider and Young Henry’s pale ale from Sydney

Amby – Saltram’s shiraz from the Barossa


The guys interview Erik van Mechelen from the Minnesota Diplomacy Club & host of the Diplomacy Podcast. Plus lots of around the grounds, drinking & openings for newbies.


  • Carrington Hotel, BrisbaneThe guys introduce the show, their drinks and the venue (0 mins 10 secs)
  • Amby talks wine and getting fat (2 mins 50 secs)

Interview with Erik van Mechelen from the MN Diplomacy Club and the Diplomacy Podcast

  • Kaner starts introducing this episode’s interview with Erik van Mechelen from the Minnesota Diplomacy Club, creates the Diplomacy Podcast and writes books on Diplomacy¬†(4 mins 35 secs)
  • The interview starts with Erik, how he got into the game (6 mins 40 secs)
  • They talk about getting involved in the local Minnesota Diplomacy scene (9 mins)
  • Kaner asks about the migration of the Diplomacy culture from Chicago to Minnesota. Erik talks about scoring systems (14 mins 45 secs)
  • They talk about giving back to the Diplomacy community (17 mins 50 secs)
  • Kaner discusses the dynamics of the game of Diplomacy (19 mins 50 secs)
  • Amby asks about why new players turn up to a face to face game, and how do you retain players (20 mins 30 secs)
  • They discuss getting a player base and creating a tournament (26 mins 45 secs)
  • Kaner discusses his Thai experience getting players involved before asking about the Janus scoring system (27 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner asks about using the game of Diplomacy in an educational setting (32 mins)
  • Kaner asks about why Erik created his own Diplomacy podcast (35 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks about Erik’s work writing a Diplomacy book. Erik reflects on Andrew’s Goff’s writing style in the Italian Renaissance in Diplomacy World. Erik talks about his Diplomacy: Conversations with Barbosa and How to Win at Diplomacy (37 mins 50 secs)
  • Kaner asks if Erik has ever played any Diplomacy variants (42 mins)
  • Kaner asks about favorite country to play (45 mins 40 secs)
  • Amby reflects on planned fun openings that quickly become default openings once negotiations start (46 mins 40 secs)
  • Kaner asks about the logistics of games in Minnesota. Erik talks about his upcoming tournaments (52 mins 10 secs)
  • Amby asks Erik how to get involved in Minnesota and where to listen to Diplomacy Podcast before wrapping it up (54 mins 10 secs)
  • The guys return and give their thoughts on the interview (56 mins 15 secs)

Diplomacy chat

  • They talk about going to Melbourne for their upcoming tournament (1 hr 0 mins)
  • Kaner asks about using Meetup to promote the game in Brisbane (1 hr 1 mins 20 secs)
  • They return to post-interview chat (1 hr 3 mins)
  • The guys get their creative juices going about the Europa Renovatio variant (1 hr 6 mins)
  • Amby talks about the Kill Lithuania and also Scotland game dominated by Denmark <this has since finished and was soloed by Agnaar as Denmark> (1 hr 8 mins)

Solo in Europa Renovatio





















  • Kaner grabs some more drinks (1 hr 13 mins)

Around the grounds

  • Kaner talks about one of his Renovatio Europa games, Silent Europe and Tiemcen’s raiding behind Scottish lines. Kaner discusses the nature of aiming for clusters of SCs (1 hr 15 mins)
  • Amby discusses trying to work out what’s going on a board he’s on and paranoia caused by a single player (1 hr 24 mins)
  • Amby discusses listening to the History of Byzantium podcast and whether the Renovatio Europa map needs to be altered so Constantinople doesn’t fall so easily to better reflect reality (1 hr 28 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby talks about his DMOL shirt and hot weather before Kaner talks about a variant idea (1 hr 34 mins 20 secs)
  • Kaner talks about his fog of war Classic game where he killed off Amby (1 hr 37 mins)
  • Amby complains about being defeated in game after game after game, most recently as Ukraine in A Modern Pickle (1 hr 42 mins)
  • He’s even getting shafted in the 1812 Overture game on Discord GM’ed by nopunin10did (1 hr 45 mins)

Newbie Openings

  • The guys return after ordering drinks and a snack. Amby reflects on an American Gridiron game on TV and how cold it looks (1 hr 54 mins)
  • They kick off the Newbie segment on Openings by starting with playing as England. Kaner makes Amby a generous offer (1 hr 56 mins 15 secs)
  • Next up is a discussion on opening as Turkey (2 hrs 2 mins 50 secs)
  • The guys discuss German openings and the Western Triple (2 hrs 6 mins 15 secs)
  • Italy follows, and they reflect on the Modern Italy strategy discussed by Erik (2 hrs 10 mins)
  • Onto Austrian openings (2 hrs 13 mins 45 secs)
  • France is up next (2 hrs 18 mins 30 secs)
  • Last but not least are Russia’s openings (2 hrs 21 mins 15 secs)
  • They try to make sense of the Gridiron game (2 hrs 27 mins 50 secs)
  • They guys start wrapping up the newbie segment and the show (2 hrs 29 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 aka “The General” for his rockin’ intro tune.

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