About The Diplomatic Pouch

Manus Hand, Publisher

The Sealion, the Witches, and the Wardrobe

Who wouldn't want to have a Diplomatic Pouch T-Shirt? Or a mousepad? Or a sweatshirt? Well, they're now available. Just head for the order form (I mean it -- you can thank me later) and you'll be able to get yourself all decked out!

The merchandise is being Hand-made (by me and my wife), so the price has no allowances for middlemen. The cost of this stuff is extremely reasonable, for one very good reason: I want everyone in the Diplomacy hobby to have a closet full of Pouch attire.

And when you see the stuff, you'll want a closet full too. Because it's nice stuff! I mean, real nice! Some of you have already ordered and received your gear, so you know what I mean. This is professional quality stuff. It's not just a cheap-o iron-on, flake-off-when-you-wash-it deal. I'm not kidding; this is top-notch.

I've designed some shirts for you to choose from (take a look at the order form page), but feel free to send in a custom design as well. Not that my designs aren't great (they are!) but you may have an inside Diplomacy joke you want expressed, or a favorite move you want shown. Immortalize your favorite winning stab by e-mailing a map of that Fall move you'll never forget. If my excellent designs aren't exactly what you're after, your own design certainly is, so send it to me.

Either way, we'll make you a walking billboard for the Diplomacy hobby.

Section News

A couple of the Pouch sections have seen some movement since the last issue. Matt Shields has joined Tim Richardson in the Face-to-Face section, and has taken on the responsibility of coordinating publication of rankings for the face-to-face community. In North America, results are fed to The Pouch through Buz Eddy's American Diplomacy Ratings, and Buz has been working with Matt to get everything the North American player needs.

If you're outside North America, be sure to make Matt aware, if he's not already, of your own local, national, and continental results and rankings.

There has also been a resurgence of talk about doing the "o" word to the North American hobby. I know there's a bunch of anti-organization folk out there, but I don't think I'm talking about anything too scary. Just establishing a communication focal point for the various local and regional tournament scenes, to allow them to work together in some kind of affiliation.

The Diplomatic Corps is currently being organized world-wide with just that idea of provding a network of players and tournament directors who can demonstrate the game to new players and direct players to local games. It will also provide a focus for prize support from Hasbro and others as well as use membership fees to help players at regional and the World Dipcon. For more information contact Edi Birsan.

Elsewhere around The Pouch, the Postal Section's new leader, Stephen Agar, has ambitious plans for a major rehaul and conversion. We're all looking forward to it here, and we think it will provide even better, more organized service to the hobby. The Showcase has grown by a game or two (and is always looking for more) and I've been informed that there will also be some extensive additions to the E-Mail section, especially to support the non-judge players out there.

A Couple of Little Things...

  1. Between the last issue and this one, the Pouch's game queues broke 1000 games started!

  2. I read in the news that 6% of Internet users suffer from some form of addiction to it. The worst thing about this is that it means 94% of the people online haven't yet discovered Diplomacy and The Pouch. Come on, people -- let's get those numbers up!

If You Build It, They Will Come...

This will probably be the last issue of The Pouch to hit the Web before Hasbro Interactive's Diplomacy product hits the shelves, with The Pouch, as the official home page of the hobby, mentioned in the in-box literature. Which means that this may be the first issue of The Pouch Zine to be read by the hordes of new players that we all hope will join us.

So, for those reading this before the influx of new blood, I will just say that we already have a tremendous worldwide hobby here. For a community of backstabbing, conniving knaves, you sure are nice people. I'm sure I don't need to exhort you to help the new players and show them how strong a hobby they are joining. It will just happen.

And for those of you reading this after the new blood hits the water, first of all, welcome to the Diplomacy hobby! We here at The Diplomatic Pouch are here to help you with whatever questions and needs you may have. Just roam The Pouch to see what is here for you. Join the face-to-face crowd by playing with a local club or organization or joining or getting up an informal game. Attend the regional, Continental and World Championships tournaments as they happen. Subscribe to and play games in any number of the e-mail and snail-mail 'zines that your fellow hobbyists produce. Join the huge play-by-email and play-by-Web communities. And finally, because I'm famous for this....

Get involved! (Now, here comes the part I'm famous for....)

In fact, one of the easiest ways to get involved is by submitting articles for publication in the next issue of The Pouch Zine.

On Issue Promptness and Thickness

Late again. Sorry, everyone. And, if you look at the collection of articles, you'd wonder why this issue is late (because it's not an especially large collection).

In addition to editing after the deadline, I spent a lot of time trying to wring articles out of people, once I realized that this issue wouldn't be as thick as previous Fall Movement issues. Traditionally (I believe), the Fall Movement phase is one of the largest issues of the year. Not this one, though. Let's see some more contribution, folks!

I know, part of the fault lies with me for using up my whole stockpile of articles in the last issue. And you won't see an article by me in this issue either (though I have a good Diplomatic excuse, as you'll read about in the next issue). But really, it's up to the readership (that's you) to get articles to me.

The next issue is due to be "Weblished" (I coined that word, so if it catches on, I get the credit) on 31 October. That's pretty soon, so get on the stick.

What We Do Have

This issue might be a bit lighter than previous Fall Movement issues, but not for lack of quality. You'll find articles on two variants (Crystal Ball and the first in a series on Machiavelli), and a continuation of David Hertzman's game theory discussion. David Cohen brings some ancient words to the modern Diplomat, and John Quarto-vonTivadar tells us about a couple recent tournaments. Eric Pederson takes on the Conan Doyle inheritance by laying out a murder mystery for Holmes that can only be solved using some lovely retrograde analysis of a Diplomacy position, and Simon Szykman gives us a further update on his "risk-taking" experiment.

What's On Tap For Next Issue

Not much, if I don't get some articles from the readership. As it stands, I have one article for the next issue. Paul Windsor, whose Caissic analysis of a no-press game concludes this issue, has submitted an excellent article on the game map that is slated for F1999R. Apart from that, nothing.

However, there are grand plans for F1999R. As a small group of you know, I have spent a lot of time recently on a hobby project that I plan to unveil with an article next issue. John Quarto-vonTivadar has requested space in F1999R [now pushed on John's request to a future issue -Ed.] for a similar and related announcement. Simon and I will go toe-to-toe debating a question of overwhelming importance that really no one cares about (except us Diplomats, and that's all that counts, anyway).

So I started out saying that not much is on tap, then I followed with a paragraph listing a whole lot of stuff planned for the next issue. Which is it? It's both, which means there is no reason not to send in an article. (There never is such a reason, in fact.) Please do!

Speaking of Paul Windsor

Everyone's favorite Caissic Analyst reported that his ability to contribute his high-quality articles is currently somewhat diminished due to the fact that his wife recently suffered a mild coronary embolism. Obviously, Paul is devoting the bulk of his time to caring for her. The good news is that she is recovering very well, and there is no major cause for concern, but the thoughts of the hobby worldwide are with Paul and his wife.

On With the Show

That's about all I have, so feel free and encouraged to devour the rest of the articles.

Enjoy The Pouch!

Manus Hand

If you wish to e-mail feedback on this article to the author, click on the letter above. If that does not work, feel free to use the "Dear DP..." mail interface.