Diplomacy Games podcast: Episode 66 – Playing to win: interview with kevdog8, rannjohnson & Dr Recommended

Venue: At home

Drinks of choice:

Kaner – XXXX Bitter from Brisbane

Amby -Young Henry’s Newtown Australian Pale Ale from Sydney


With Coronavirus still rolling, the guys interview kevdog8, rannjohnson and Dr Recommended on Amby’s soloed Undivided States game – the biggest SC count of all time. Plus lots of current games discussed. As much fun as you can have at home during self-isolation!


  • The guys introduce the show from home with all pubs still closed due to Coronavirus. They discuss their drinks and Kaner’s doomsday drinking den (0 mins 10 secs)
  • Amby talks working from home and Diplomacy. Kaner gives his take (2 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby asks what Kaner’s been up to Diplomacy wise. Kaner discusses his new Diplomacy white board inspired from the Diplomacy Briefing (5 mins 40 secs)

Kaner's Diplomacy whiteboard





















  • Amby puts on some tunes with DJ Luter One (8 mins 55 secs)

Undivided States interview

  • Kaner talks about the Youtube video he’s made of the Undivided States map (below). You can also see each map as the game turns progressed on vDip. Amby (who soloed as New York) gives his thoughts on the video (11 mins 20 secs)
  • Kaner asks what were the songs Amby listened to while playing the game. They were:

The Last Night of the Proms version of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture:

Little River Band’s Playing to Win (after Amby started thinking he had a chance of soloing):

  • They start to introduce the interview with the final players in Undivided States:  kevdog8 (Kentucky), rannjohnson (Florida) and Dr Recommended (Montana). ingebot was also in the final group of players (Hawaii) but wanted to put his post game analysis into a global message: (13 mins 50 secs)

Ok, so here’s my thoughts on much of the game. I took over as Hawaii that had just killed California and took control of Southern half of the west coast North america. My main opponent off the bat was Texas, with an Arizona in between acting as a buffer state, and a stalemate lasted for quite a while until I launched an invasion of Mexico from two fronts, at which point I was also able to gather enough resources to kill off Arizona. With a bit of luck in northern New Mexico, as well as a very unfortunately timed NMR from Texas, this helped me breakthrough. Florida, who until then was sort of an ally against Texas, suddenly attacked me instead, not that I blame them, it’s what I would have done if our mutual target suddenly collapsed and the spoils mostly went to the other party. As Texas shrunk further and became more compact, I decided it wasn’t worth it to continue grinding down Texas, and turned my attention North to kill Idaho and Alaska, mostly to kill Alaska since it was clear they won’t be going to hold back expanding New York, and thereby hold the northern straits in my hands, with killing my longtime ally Idaho more of an add-on thing (the success of this may have been part of why I attacked Florida with the add-on of Montana later). Florida and I made up to fight Kentucky together, I simply to defend AMR and in my mind didn’t view it as aggression. During this time I also supported both Montana and Colorado to counter Kentucky. Therefore, in my calculus, myself+Florida+Colorado+Montana = coalition to stop Kentucky. As New York grew, however, this calculus changed, and given Kentucky and New York were allied, I decided that instead of trying to fight that alliance directly, why not act in a way that helps one part of the alliance in order to weaken the alliance. This led to my decision in Spring 2060 to launch an offensive along my entire front to kill Montana, Colorado and Florida to help Kentucky grow. After that, things became a slow grind, as my expectations didn’t pan out, Kentucky failed to grow significantly, and as New York grew closer to the solo I sort of lost the will to fight, a few seasons I even forgot to enter moves around Alaska since entering moves for this game became part of my “daily routine” instead of a fun thing to do, I basically even stopped looking at what had happened the previous season since I no longer cared and I wouldn’t have mattered or be “news” anyways, just New York slowly growing. In a way, I’m glad this game was over because the last 20 odd years of it was “suffering” for me. Sometimes I would attack Florida again, and then make peace again, just so I would have something interesting to attempt, since preventing New York from soloing was increasingly remote.

  • The interview begins with kevdog8, rannjohnson and Dr Recommended. Amby rambles a little before asking kevdog (Kentucky) about his relationship with Amby (New York) (14 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks rann (Florida) about his take on North Carolina’s collapse (18 mins 15 secs)
  • They discuss the back and forth stabbing routine by New York and then Hawaii against Florida  (19 mins 20 secs)
  • Amby discusses with Dr Recommended (Montana) about where he saw the greatest threat was coming from (20 mins 50 secs)
  • Amby asks Doc about his thoughts on the Swiss cheese process New York made of him (22 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby discusses Kaner’s advice that if took out Doc’s final SC in the fall of his final set of moves to solo, Doc would survive. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case (24 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks the guys whether they listened to the episodes and whether they worked out which player Amby was (27 mins 15 secs)
  • Spring 2078Kaner discusses Spring 2078 and Amby’s concerns that Hawaii was inviting Kentucky into his supply centers (29 mins)
  • Amby discusses his concerns that Hawaii was throwing Kentucky the solo, to force New York to draw. They also discuss who had put in draw commands (it was a hidden draw games) (31 mins 15 secs)
  • They discuss what aspects of their strategy would they have changed (33 mins)
  • Kaner mentions Amby being in a similar situation with a fleet log-jam near Alaska, similar to what was discussed around the Straits of Florida (38 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby asks if the game wasn’t gunboat would the game more likely end in a draw (39 mins 30 secs)
  • They discuss the points bump you get coming 1st, 2nd or 3rd on such a big map (40 mins 30 secs)
  • They talk about what elements of Technostar’s Divided States map do they like and what if anything would they change (42 mins 20 secs)
  • Kaner asks their thoughts on the sealanes (44 mins 45 secs)
  • Kaner asks about the idea of being able to convoy on rivers whether that would change the dynamics of the board (46 mins)
  • Kaner – as a non-American – asks about the guys thoughts about the geography of the map (46 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby asks about the pronunciation of Arkansas. Kaner asks why it isn’t pronounced Ar-Kansas (49 mins 40 secs)
  • Kaner asks about early in the game eg spring 2025, whether the guys would’ve predicted certain players to make it to the end (50 mins 45 secs)
  • Amby asks if any players felt they got a lucky break in the game (52 mins 45 secs)
  • Kaner and Amby begin to wrap up the interview (56 mins 30 secs)
  • The guys return. Amby’s dog – a lagotto romagnolo – starts barking (57 mins 35 secs)
  • Kaner asks Amby his thoughts on the interview (59 mins 30 secs)

Around the grounds

  • Amby discusses a “Big Hitters” game he’s proposed at vDip for people with 2000+ vDip points (1 hr 2 mins)
  • Amby’s Cry God for Harry! game has just finished in a 9 way draw. It was an anonymous game and the guys can now advise who they played as: Amby played as England and Kaner as Genoa (1 hr 6 mins)

Final Cry God for Harry map





















  • They discuss CCR’s writing style (as the Golden Horde) (1 hr 8 mins 30 secs)
  • Amby mentions he created the game title as he wanted to recreate Shakespeare’s Henry V and the English victories over France, only to find MAK (France) was a great ally. They go onto discuss Tanteno’s position as Switzerland in the middle and various alliances (1 hr 10 mins 15 secs)
  • Kaner ponders what brought the Golden Horde to put in a draw (1 hr 14 mins 15 secs)
  • Amby briefly discusses his one-time plans to try to get to Jerusalem on crusade (1 hr 16 mins 30 secs)
  • After some more drinks, Kaner asks Amby if he’s going to join any large games (1 hr 20 mins)
  • They discuss Kaner’s EU IV game, but they give a more high level overview of the game (1 hr 21 mins 30 secs)

Kaner's EUIV game





















Kaner's Silent Europe Diplomacy game





















  • They discuss the changes in the game over time, including a brief Scottish attempt in 1585/1590 to create a kingdom in the Holy Land (despite losing all other SCs) (1 hr 35 mins)
  • They talk about ideas for what players should be doing (1 hr 42 mins)
  • Kaner asks Amby about his Discord Order of the Dragon game. He’s playing as the Golden Horde and just stabbed his ally Lithuania. He talks about the bizarre rules and how different it is to a standard classic game: neutrals you can marry, thralls, vassal states, marrying your heirs to other players’ heirs, dynasties being killed off if their heirs are killed (1 hr 43 mins 30 secs)

Order of the Dragon Diplomacy map























  • Kaner asks about the broken love hearts on the board (Arges – southern part of modern day Rumania and Novgorod – modern day St P). Amby talks about the unit placement and territory border headaches (1 hr 46 mins 15 secs)
  • Kaner asks why Amby has two heirs (1 hr 55 mins 45 secs)
  • Kaner’s head starts hurting but gives credit to Alex Ronke for the variant’s creation (2 hrs 1 min)
  • The guys wrap up the show (2 hrs 2 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.


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