Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 59 – Interview with Ira Hall on Diplomacy and Christian faith

Venue: The Commercial Hotel, Ipswich

Drinks of choice:

Kaner – XXXX Bitter by Castlemaine Perkins, Brisbane

Amby – 150 Lashes by James Squire and XXXX Bitter by Castlemaine Perkins, Brisbane


Kaner and Amby interview Ira Hall, a Christian pastor and Diplomacy player. The guys delve into how Christians manage the Bible’s strong stance on lying, deceit and deception while still playing Diplomacy. Plus they travel to Kaner’s stomping ground of Ipswich and discuss a heap more Diplomacy stuff.


  • Commercial Hotel, IpswichThe guys introduce the show, their drinks and the venue (0 mins 15 secs)
  • They correct the dates for the Melbourne Open tournament, which is actually 14-15 March (3 mins 45 secs)
  • Next up is confirmation of the Canetoad Classic tournament in Brisbane on 2-3 May and talk about gaming pieces. Amby discusses goal setting and his plans to attend two interstate tournaments (5 mins 15 secs)
  • Kaner talks about the 4th Nexus tournament coming up and an invitation to an 1812 Overture forum game. Kaner discusses being overly committed in 6 games (10 mins)
  • They discuss strategy vs tactics before returning to what’s involved in the 1812 variant. Note, we went into more detail about this map in an earlier episode (12 mins 45 secs)
  • The guys talk about going to Ipswich at least once a year, before providing an update on their Presidential campaign. They discuss Kaner’s latest plank allowing historical smoking in historical Federal buildings (20 mins)
  • They discuss jurisdictional responsibility when Cabinet titles are very similar. Kaner answers with a similar chicken analogy. When we’re elected if you want to be a Cabinet Secretary it’s only $3 a month by becoming a Patreon supporter (23 mins 20 secs)

Interview with Ira Hall

  • The guys provide the background to this interview with Ira Hall before jumping in (26 mins 30 secs)
  • Ira starts by discussing how he got into Diplomacy and his recent role as Alman, a playDip moderator (27 mins)
  • He discusses what he did as a Cheater Hunter at playDip and his thoughts on why some players cheat (30 mins)
  • Kaner asks about common cheating behavior (32 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby asks about how Ira felt when busting a cheater (34 mins 10 secs)
  • Amby asks about whether Ira’s played face-to-face (36 mins 10 secs)
  • The guys explore how Ira balances as a pastor the Christian Biblical teachings of not lying or being deceitful against being a Diplomacy player (38 mins 30 secs)
  • Ira discusses reputation and trustworthiness (41 mins 15 secs)
  • He talks about a number of games at playDip and the choice of language to avoid lying while maintaining a reputation (43 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks about Christians who have a literal interpretation of the Bible and their views on lying and deceiving, even in a game (48 mins 45 secs)
  • Kaner asks Ira about his advice to new, or relatively new players to the game. He discusses the importance of trying different things in your communication to someone who stabs you (56 mins)
  • Amby asks Ira about taking the solo win versus a draw (1 hr 0 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner asks about what other variants Ira enjoys (1 hr 3 mins 40 secs)
  • Amby asks Ira if there’s any other thoughts on the game (1 hr 6 mins 30 secs)
  • They wrap up the interview (1 hr 8 mins 30 secs)
  • They guys are back and give their thoughts on the interview (1 hr 10 mins)
  • Kaner discusses his more “eye for an eye” nature rather than “turning the other cheek” (1 hr 12 mins)
  • They discuss the “metagame” element of your reputation preceding you. They talk about blocking players’ whose personality clashes with yours (1 hr 16 mins 45 secs)
  • They talk about reliability and going into civil disorder (CD’ing) (1 hr 20 mins)
  • Kaner suggests checking your block lists and if you can’t remember why they pissed you off, think about unblocking them (1 hr 23 mins)

Around the grounds/variant suggestions

  • They come back and discuss the strength of the Golden Horde in the Cry God for Harry game, and discuss how the gameplay is not too different to real life history (1 hr 24 mins)
  • Amby suggests again to Technostar (the variant creator of Europa Renovatio) about whether this variant could have fog of war added (1 hr 26 mins 20 secs)
  • Kaner also has some improvement suggestions. For starters he’d like to see “sealane” overseer zones in the Sahara territories. Amby disagrees and suggests a chopped off Africa with sealanes at the “bottom” of Africa to connect the Red Sea and Atlantic but have travel slower than the current direct connection  (1 hr 27 mins 20 secs)
  • His second thought is introducing geographic boundaries to allow for mountains and passes (like in the Rinasciemnto variant) and navigable rivers that could allow convoys (1 hr 30 mins 45 secs)
  • Kaner is thinking about whether he can make these variant changes himself (1 hr 35 mins)
  • Kaner brings up their fog of war Kicking Butts game, which Amby has just been eliminated. Amby laments how many games he has been recently killed off in. He’s worried about his ranking (1 hr 36 mins 30 secs)

Newbie segment: Newbie negotiations

  • Next up is the latest installment in their newbie series, this time focusing on Negotiations (1 hr 38 mins)
  • Kaner reflects on his first Diplomacy negotiation and what approach to adopt when during negotiations. Amby discusses the common negotiation approaches from newbies (1 hr 39 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby flags that they’re about to record a new intro episode to the show. They then go onto discussing a range of common terms used in Diplomacy which newbies need to learn, starting with a bounce (1 hr 41 mins 40 secs)
  • They grab another quick drink after being interrupted by a freight train. Amby switches his beer to XXXX Bitter. They talk about old school beers in Australia. Amby tells a story about Fosters (1 hr 46 mins 45 secs)
  • They return back to newbie discussions and commonly used terms, moving onto a DMZ, a NAP and an alliance  (1 hr 48 mins 30 secs)
  • They discuss communication and developing social skills. Amby talks about keeping players in the game (1 hr 57 mins)

Celebrating 10 years of vDiplomacy

  • They discuss how vDiplomacy turns 10 years old this month. They talk about their personal highlights and all the Diplomacy variants there (1 hr 59 mins)
  • They talk about how players have come and gone during that time and its waves over time. Kaner asks Amby if he had the time, what variants would he create (2 hrs 4 mins)
  • Kaner brings up the Seattle variant that Ira discussed (2 hrs 7 mins 30 secs)

Wrapping up

  • They wrap up the show (2 hrs 8 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 or you can also shop at Amazon using our affiliate link. It costs exactly the same to you, but Amazon give us a small cut and it doesn’t cost you a cent more!

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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