Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 51 – Interview with Nathan Barnes about DipCon 2019

Venue: Death and Taxes, Brisbane

Drinks of choice:

Kaner – Windjammer IPA by Green Beacon Brewing, Brisbane, Australia

Amby – Sh Sh Shiraz by Tscharke Wines, Barossa Valley, Australia


Death and Taxes, BrisbaneThe guys interview Nathan Barnes about DipCon 2019 in Seattle before shooting the breeze on diplomatic uniforms, face-to-face games, current online games and what exactly is the Florida Panhandle.


  • The guys introduce the show and flag today’s episode has an interview with Nathan Barnes who is coordinating the 50 year anniversary of DipCon at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle (0 mins 10 secs)
  • They discuss their drinks briefly (3 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby mentions this is the second time Nathan has been on the show, previously interviewed about their former podcast, DiplomacyCast (4 mins)

Interview with Nathan Barnes about DipCon 2019

  • The guys welcome Nathan back to the show (4 mins 30 secs)
  • Nathan talks about the upcoming DipCon which is being held 6-8 September 2019 (5 mins 30 secs)
  • Each round is going to have a different scoring system based on the different scoring systems used over the years at DipCon and one round will be a black tie themed event and recognizing the efforts of Diplomacy folks over time (7 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner asks whether Nathan has a favourite scoring system (8 mins 40 secs)
  • Amby asks about whether the tournament is exclusively for Americans or if players from other countries can attend (12 mins)
  • Kaner asks about the black tie round (13 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby discusses the photo used on the Black Tie page. Nathan discusses the Diplomatic Uniform… and swords (15 mins 30 secs)

Diplomatic uniform

  • Amby asks about the timing closeness of DipCon compared to WDC this year (19 mins)
  • Kaner asks about accomodation near DipCon before they talk Vegemite (21 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks about how Washington Athletic Club was chosen as the venue. Nathan talks about the grandeur and setting of WAC (24 mins 20 secs)
  • They discuss the impact of alcohol on the gameplay (27 mins 20 secs)
  • They discuss plans for celebrating DipCon’s 50th year and the scoring process (29 mins)
  • Amby asks if people haven’t played at a tournament, what would they expect to get out of it  (32 mins 20 secs)
  • Kaner asks what people attending should get out of it (36 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby gives Nathan an update on his progression into creating a face-to-face community (39 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks about “regulars” to tournaments (42 mins 55 secs)
  • They talk about witnessing who is talking to who and their physical responses (44 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks about the physical space being used for games and for negotiations to occur (46 mins)
  • Nathan encourages folks to sign up at https://www.dipcon2019.com/ (46 mins 50 secs)

Post interview chat

  • The guys come back from the interview and discuss their thoughts. Kaner confuses Amby before they talk snakes (49 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby plugs the Diplomacy Games Amazon affiliate account. We need 2 more American sales to keep the account going (53 mins 45 secs)
  • The Amazon page now has a Kaner & Amby’s Book Club section for whenever we’ve talked about books on the show. Amby mentions he’s reading a biography called Bismark by Alan Palmer (54 mins 40 secs)
  • They return to discuss the interview again. Kaner talks about his Diplomatic Uniform – dressed as Crocodile Dundee.

Kaners Crocodile Dundee diplomatic uniform

  • Amby talks about Australian diplomat Sir Les Patterson (56 mins 20 secs)

Ambys Sir Les Patterson diplomatic uniform

  • They talk about DipCon’s scoring system (60 mins)
  • Amby discusses the contribution of older players to the game (1 hr 3 mins)
  • Amby talks about how he plays Monopoly using his Diplomacy skills. Kaner similarly talks about using his Diplomacy skills in Settlers of Catan (1 hr 4 mins 30 secs)
  • They discuss creating a new segment of the show for new players. The guys ask listeners to provide their suggestions for what we should talk about to help inform new players. Just go to our Contact us page to provide your suggestions. Amby discusses cutting support as a potential area to discuss (1 hr 9 mins)
  • The guys discuss the upcoming second face-to-face game in Brisbane for the weekend of 14-15 September (1 hr 15 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby suggests another way of finding new players to join a local face-to-face community: using CraigsList or Gumtree, reaching out to people selling Diplomacy boards. If they are selling because they find it hard getting 7 people for a game, invite them to join your community (1 hr 16 mins 30 secs)
  • Kaner suggests promoting upcoming games through flyers at board game shops and where you’re holding the event (1 hr 18 mins)
  • Kaner reflects on Nathan’s comments about Americans wanting a scrappy game. They discuss the different cultural aspects of the game (1 hr 19 mins 20 secs)

Around the grounds

  • Kaner asks how Amby’s Google Translate game is going. Kaner quotes one of Amby’s Ron Burgundy posts. Amby actually shares what the real message was. He talks about his approach for this game after drawing Burgundy (1 hr 22 mins)
  • Amby discusses Kaner’s great idea about how to deal with their anonymous gunboat games – by talking about players still in the game, which may be them or may not be them. This episode they talk about Choose Your Weapon, starting up in Scandinavia before progressing around the board (1 hr 30 mins 45 secs)

Choose Your Weapon - Diplomacy game

  • They move onto the next Europa Renovatio game that they are both in, before Kaner talks about his other Europa game (1 hr 49 mins 45 secs)

Silent Europe - Diplomacy Game

  • Amby suggests a few tweaks to the Europa Renovatio map to create a new variant set in the 13th century with a major Mongol player (1 hr 53 mins)
  • They discuss whether this would make it unbalanced or not, and if so, what variant rules would be needed to counter this (1 hr 55 mins)
  • Kaner digresses for a moment with a history lesson for Amby (1 hr 56 mins 50 secs)
  • They go back to the variant idea and discuss different concepts for how the fog of war could work, before landing on the religious fog of war concept. They discuss how great it would be if Technostar edited his existing variant to support this new variant idea (1 hr 59 mins 50 secs)
  • Next up, its Amby’s never-ending Divided States game (2 hrs 2 mins 30 secs)

Divided States - Diplomacy Game

  • Kaner and Amby argue about what the Florida Panhandle is (2 hrs 3 mins 45 secs)

Where is the Florida Panhandle?

  • They get back to the map (2 hrs 8 mins)
  • Kaner mentions a fog of war game he’s in but doesn’t want to talk about it yet. Amby’s new Divided States game “American Funboat” has started – he may or may not be in a state with a panhandle (2 hrs 10 mins 50 secs)
  • They discuss the frequent joining and leaving of players in the pre-start Cry God for Harry, Europa Renovatio game (2 hr 12 mins 30 secs) 
  • Amby touches on his WW2 Global Boogooloo game (1937 World at War variant) (2 hrs 13 mins)

1937: A World At War - Diplomacy Game

  • Amby then turns to his USA!! Game, a War in the Americas game at PlayDip. This is a non-anon game where Amby is playing as Spain (pink) (2 hrs 16 mins)

War in the Americas - Diplomacy Game

  • Kaner gets onto a panhandle rant again (apologies there’s some audio distortion in the background – couldn’t work out how it happened/how to get rid of it) (2 hrs 17 mins 20 secs)
  • The guys wrap up (2 hrs 23 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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