The Editor and the Readership
In this installment, we received a complimentary letter from our Illustrious Founder, as well as several reader comments on past articles.
As always, we encourage you to write even more. Let us know what parts of the Pouch you like, what we could improve, and what other items you'd like to see. We want your input!
Frank Mayer got a hold of me and convinced me to take a few minutes to check up on the torch I dropped and see how well it is being carried now. Impressed and pleased are two words that don't come near to expressing my happiness at what I found. Well done, everyone, and continued apologies for the way you've had to go it alone for this long while. I'm real glad you are there while I have made myself too busy elsewhere. But I keep telling myself and everyone… someone with my name really needs to return to Diplomacy.
And that someone will. Don't give up on me, guys. I'm here. It's just all too infrequently lately you have heard me say those famous words,
Stab you soon,
Hi Heath, Charles,
Nice job on the Spring 2007 Retreat Issue there, I enjoyed the read. You've been pretty busy by the sound of things, so that's an editing job well done! Congratulations on landing your new job too.
Secondly Charles, Hello. Here's wishing you the best of luck in your new role. Not that you'll need any luck of course!
Hi – in the course of researching something unrelated via Google, I’ve come across this link to an article in your archive in which I am mentioned:
The mention in question places me as a player in a game at DipCon 1967, Portland, Oregon, in company with Larry and Rod Walker.
Unfortunately Larry’s memories are flawed. I attended exactly two DipCons in my life: 1973 (Chicago) and 1976 (Lake Geneva). Not only was I not involved in the '67 Con, I have never in my life been in Portland, Oregon, nor for that matter anywhere in the state of Oregon. On this basis I do wonder just how much of the rest of that article holds any water…
Conrad von Metzke
Editor's Note: Conrad, who is a hobby legend, was kind enough to do the First Games column for this issue. Be sure to have a look!
I would like to expand a little on Charles' article on the Milan variant, in particular his reference to fashionista002, which he said should have been an Italian solo. I was France in that game, the other side of the two-way draw with Italy, and I can say that the result was a fair reflection of the game. Certainly Italy had the chance to stab for a solo, as did I earlier on.
The interesting point is that the variant gives France an extra alliance option. In the standard game I find France is quite dismissive of Italy, even contemptuous. In Milan you have to take Italy seriously, and that brings opportunities as well as threats. In fashionista002 Italy and France explored the possibilities of an IF alliance and found that it worked very well. I enjoyed the variant and would reccommend it even to those who love playing France in the standard game.
This is regarding your article on the Milan variant.
Back when I played, I was somewhat of an Italy specialist. My first strategic rule for playing Italy was the following: If England will take StP early, then you must make sure Turkey is eliminated before France.
The reasoning is the following. There are usually four naval powers in the game, England, France, Italy, and Turkey. After one has been eliminated, being the middle one is bad. If England does not have StP, then Russia or Germany can help distract England for you. If England has StP, then Russia can do nothing, as StP is easy to hold, and Germany probably not only has no fleets but also no way to pull off a quick stab of England.
In contrast, France does not have a similar problem because it is much harder for Turkey to hold bul/rum/sev than it is for England to hold Nwy/Swe/StP. Turkey can be distracted by land; England cannot. France also has a drawing advantage in that spa/por are always necessary to stalemate lines.
I think Italy is weak in Diplomacy primarily because it is too easy for England to take and hold stp, and secondarily because it is too easy for France to hold bur. Germany is also negatively affected by both, but it can do something about at least one of them early in the game. Milan does fix the problem with bur, but not the one with StP.
Just while writing this, I have been thinking about ways to give Russia more offensive influence in Scandinavia, but i can't think of any good ways. Defensively though something can be done; perhaps a good way of helping Italy would be to add a new space (Urals (?)) bordering StP, Mos, Sev, and possibly Arm. (Attaching Urals to Armenia would loosen up both the Russian and Turkish positions, and I'm not sure whether that is good or not.)