Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 75 – Interview with Harry Turtledove

Venue: Alfred & Constance, Brisbane

Drinks of choice:

Kaner:  Alfie house lager and Hornets IPA from Black Hops Brewery

Amby: Tatachilla shiraz from McLaren Vale, South Australia


The guys interview renown alternate history author Harry Turtledove about his love of the game Diplomacy, Amby laments his Liberty Cup gameplay, more Media Wars chat and a Declaration of War experiment.

Interview with Harry Turtledove

  • Harry TurtledoveThe guys introduce the show to new listeners as they may be Harry Turtledove fans. Harry is a renown alternate history author (0 mins 10 secs)
  • Amby and Kaner give a super quick crash course on what the game Diplomacy is all about (1 min 45 secs)
  • The interview starts with the guys welcoming Harry to the show and ask how he got into writing alternate history (3 mins)
  • Kaner asks about one of the characters in Harry’s Supervolcano trilogy playing Diplomacy with his friends, and what his experience is with the game Diplomacy (8 mins)
  • Amby asks about Harry’s thoughts on taking the role of different players. Harry discusses the perspectives you take in the game and how that compares in novel writing looking through the lens of other players (12 mins)
  • Harry discusses how he still plays the game when he can. They discuss the different between D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) and Diplomacy (15 mins)
  • Kaner asks if Harry has a favorite country to play on the Diplomacy board (17 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner enquires about whether Harry’s played any Diplomacy tournaments (20 mins 45 secs)
  • They touch on online and app play due to limitations caused by Covid-19 (23 mins)
  • Amby asks what would happen if Harry took a manuscript to a publisher in 2014 where the storyline reflects the current 2020 situation, what would be his publisher’s take (24 mins)
  • Amby asks what happens next in such a story (25 mins)
  • They ask about Harry’s perspective on Diplomacy variants (26 mins 30 secs)
  • Harry introduces a new book he’s co-authored coming out in September 2020, “And the Last Trump Shall Sound” with James Morrow and Cat Rambo (28 mins 40 secs)
  • He discusses a baseball card simulation game he also likes playing (31 mins 50 secs)
  • Amby asks about the process Harry follows in producing novels and where he gets his story inspirations from (34 mins 20 secs)
  • Harry provides his pitch to his readers about the game Diplomacy (40 mins)
  • They guys wrap up the interview (42 mins)
  • Other books by Harry that the guys recommend: WorldWar series (Kaner) and The Guns of the South (Amby)

For Harry fans (post interview)

  • Amby asks Kaner whether he thought he’d ever interview Harry. Kaner talks about his first book of Harry’s that he read  (42 mins 30 secs)
  • They let readers of Harry know where you can play the game Diplomacy if they’re intrigued (43 mins 20 secs):

Diplomacy chat

  • Alfred & ConstanceThe guys get onto the “normal” part of the show with where they are and their drinks (46 mins)
  • They let Harry Turtledove fans know how the show format works. They celebrate the podcast now entering its 4th year and 75th episode (48 mins 30 secs)

Once Bitten, Twice Die – Amby’s Liberty Cup experience

  • Kaner asks Amby about his game involvement in Philadelphia’s Liberty Cup. Amby was just in Round 2 and gives a hat tip to Advait based just up the road in Singapore who was going hard core for the tournament (49 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby explains he drew Germany and how two other players in his Boston Massacre game – MaxVax and Jason Mastbaum – were also in this game  (53 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby discusses his opening and why things didn’t work out as he’d planned (55 mins 20 secs)

  • Amby explains why a happy balance is needed between being too Carebear and going full on (1 hr 1 mins)


  • Kaner has a bit of a robot moment, Amby has a helpful suggestion on whether any Diplomacy players are connected in the university space to make this happen (1 hr 2 mins 15 secs)
  • Kaner says he’ll look into it, but makes no promises [sounds like a Diplomacy player right folks?] (1 hr 5 mins 40 secs)

Corona chat

  • Amby reflects on Covid’s impact to the waistline (1 hr 7 mins)
  • He then talks about the uncomfortableness of shoes (1 hr 8 mins 20 secs)
  • They gave a local Queensland update on the pandemic (1 hr 9 mins 20 secs)

Media Wars game

  • Kaner asks about Amby’s Media Wars game against 6 other players involved in Diplomacy media channels (1 hr 12 mins 50 secs)
  • Kaner discusses Legendary Tactics’ video on the game and the nature of players (1 hr 15 mins 15 secs)

  • Amby starts reflecting on his position in the game as Turkey (1 hr 17 mins)
  • They discuss Umble’s Diplomacy Briefing recruiting “journalists” for his newsletter (1 hr 20 mins 40 secs)

Shout out

  • Amby gives a shout out to Hal Schild who he’s played against and has a cousin/family connection in Australia who runs a vineyard with Schild Estate. Amby gives it a big thumbs up (1 hr 21 mins 30 secs)

Kaner’s Renovatio games/Where’s Kaner?

  • Amby gives the feedback from listeners about which player Kaner is in Game 2 he discussed last episode (1 hr 23 mins 20 secs)
  • Kaner gives some further updates on his games (1 hr 26 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby reflects on the amazing shapes on this map (1 hr 27 mins 45 secs)

Kaner's boxy map

  • He then talks about his other games and how he’s going (1 hr 30 mins 15 secs)
  • He’s now been killed off as Lithuania in is Game 1 (1 hr 31 mins 15 secs)

More Diplomacy chat

  • Kaner tries to make Amby talk about his ranking plunge (1 hr 32 mins 20 secs)
  • Kaner mentions Known World 901 is now available on the Conspiracy app, but then puts a bit of a rocket up them for a lack of attribution for variant developers like David E. Cohen who created the game (1 hr 34 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby reflects on his penchant of listening to particular music when he plays his games – see the Very Superstitious episode of playing the 1812 Overture in his Divided States win (1 hr 42 mins 45 secs)
  • He discusses how he’s really got into on Spotify a Diplomacy playlist put together by barnaby_rowe which has the traditional music of the 7 players in a Classic Diplomacy game (1 hr 43 mins)
  • Amby gives a shout out to Laurie Edwards for joining us on Patreon with over 6 hours of extra bonus content (1 hr 49 mins)
  • They start wrapping up the show… kind of (1 hr 52 mins 30 secs)

Declaration of War game

  • After recording the normal show and then the Patreon show, there were two things Amby had forgotten to speak about (1 hr 52 mins 40 secs)
  • Amby suggests having on vDip a “Declaration of War” game where you can only attack another player if you declare war on them a turn in advance. The idea is to more accurately represent the way WW1 really worked. Due to the complexities of some players not honoring the system the game would need a GM. Kaner points out some of the messiness potentially involved (1 hr 53 mins 15 secs)
  • [The first game is now up and running with an expanded – and much clearer – rule set. You can also read if you’re interested the run up conversations in the forum thread]
  • Amby reflects on RUFFHAUS’ Game of Thrones analogy about him being all excited at the start but can’t be bothered ruling/following through (1 hr 57 mins)

Latest Cloak and Dagger game

  • Amby’s in a new Modern Europe anonymous game in GMan’s Cloak and Dagger series. Amby discusses the nature of some player’s communication style pissing him off (1 hr 58 mins 45 secs)
  • He reflects a little where some players follow through, others that haven’t and then those who stab and then you make up (2 hrs 2 mins 45 secs)
  • Kaner gives his views on the Modern Europe variant map (2 hr 3 mins 30 secs)
  • The guys alcohol consumption is starting to show as Kaner discusses a thought experiment (2 hr 7 mins)
  • They wrap up the show and give the game Diplomacy a shout out for any Harry Turtledove fans who made it all the way to the end of the podcast (2 hrs 11 mins 30 secs)


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.

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