Pouch Deposits

The Editor and the Readership

We have quite a few letters this time round — comments on recent articles, a suggestion regarding the Pouch's future, and an important announcement about a rules change for the Ambition & Empire variant.

Mail Received Concerning
On Metagaming

From Bryan Thexton (bethexton@yahoo.com):

Dear Editor,

I appreciate the effort that Mr. Babcock has put into this, both the house rules and the article. I absolutely agree that house rules making this clearly off-side are a very good idea, and I hope the opinion that meta-gaming is not good play becomes pervasive.

I should probably note here that I was that "one in seven" player in one of the XP series games mentioned in the article. I'd more often played in gunboat games, and I admit I had rather assumed that the whole point of non-gunboat was to allow JDPR (judged game history on floc.net) investigation and consequent meta-gaming. In that particular game I did far more meta-gaming than I'd done in the past, using one player's judge record in an effort to paint him in a certain light and thereby rally his neighbors for a quick mugging before he could get rolling.

I'll say this for that tactic: it worked in a tactical sense. I took part in a three-way draw, and probably had a shot at a solo if I'd cared to go for it. However it was clear a few years in that the early meta-gaming had taken a good chunk of the fun out of the game for a lot of the players, and in turn that took a lot of the fun out of the game for me too. When I could have made a bid for a solo I just didn't care enough to go for it, and I preferred to settle for a fairly quick three-way draw.

After that experience I wouldn't use judge history as part of my diplomacy again, but I did not feel that I could in good conscience advise anyone else to not do it; it seemed like it would be hypocrisy to say "It worked for me, but don't you do it." At least, I couldn't advise against it without rules or a consensus that this was not fair play. Now it seems that on at least one judge there is a rule against it, and hopefully this article will help to build that community consensus too.

In short, despite having had some success in part through what this is targeting, I heartily endorse it.

Mail Received Concerning the Diplomatic Pouch Archives

From Philip Murphy (trekkypj@hotmail.com):

Dear Editor,

First of all, I'm glad to see the Pouch is ticking over nicely. I've greatly enjoyed recent issues and who knows, I may send an article to you soon. :)

Secondly, I was wondering, since a lot of zines being produced are now being made available in PDF format . as well as HTML, I was wondering if there's any plans to archive the Pouch in pdf format or similar, and deposit (hur hur) it with the various dip zine archives?

The pouch is a great resource, and one which in fifty years I'd like to show the young whippersnappers with a fossillised DVD or hardcopy of the Pouch's old issues. With the great work that's been done with other old zines by Doug Kent and Stephen Agar in scanning and archiving old dippy zines, it'd be nice to see something similar for the Pouch, especially with the tendency of servers to die without warning .... I've had that experience. *sad face*

Keep up the excellent work! It's well appreciated.

Editor's response: Thanks for the kind words! And if you'd care to write another article (hint, hint!) it would be more than welcome.

I don't think there's much point in converting the Zine to PDF, since it's already in HTML — I think Doug at Diplomacy World archives old issues in PDF mostly because it's easier to scan the paper issues of DW than retype them all as HTML. I suppose it also preserves the authentic look, but I suspect the scanning is the main thing.

In any case, Millis does backup the server his home every day in case of disaster. However, since he is the only person (so far as I know) who has access to those backups, perhaps we do need to look into extra failsafe measures.

Mail Received Concerning
The Ambition & Empire Variant

From Baron Powell(VonPowell@aol.com):

I'm not sure if everyone is aware of this (since my brain seems to have turned into a leaky tub), but Jeff and I recently made a small (and we don't know how significant) change to the A&E rules. Specifically, the change involves the 3rd Home Supply Center Rule. Previously, the first SC captured by a 2-SC Power that wasn't a reconquest of a Home SC automatically became that Power's 3rd Home SC. Now, a 2-SC Power can build in any open SC it controls at game-start or controls as of the Fall turn. Should it build in a conquest, that particular SC becomes the Power's 3rd Home SC and any future builds are limited to that particular SC and the original Home SCs.

Thus, if Poland & Saxony takes both Baden-Wuerttemberg and Koenigsberg in Fall 1763, the 3rd Home SC would become the space, BaW or Kon, that Poland & Saxony built in first. If the Polish & Saxon Player never built in either BaW or Kon, but did eventually build in Vienna (obviously a good game for Poland & Saxony), Vie would permanently become the 3rd Home SC even though it was taken after both BaW and Kon.

If you're curious, this change was suggested to us by Manus Hand. Manus came to us with this idea because it was necessary to accommodate A&E on the DPJudge. Jeff and I actually like Manus' version of the 3rd Home SC rule better than our own. Now, we need to incorporate the change into the rules (Jeff and I have agreed on the wording) and see that it is posted to both the DipPouch and DipWiki.

Mail Received Concerning
The AllStars 1900 Demo Game

From John Wiens(john.d.wiens@us.pwc.com):

Dear Editor,

I'm sending you a copy of an email I sent to Chris concerning the 1900 All Stars, in particular, the Russian build.

I'm responding to the comment about Russia not building in Sev, and I don't believe that it is necessarily indicative of Russia backing off of Turkey. Rather, given that Russia has only one build, the northern army is simply a higher priority. If England, Austria-Hungary and Russia coordinate well and press the attack, they can knock Turkey out with what is on hand. Consider:
Egy - Pal
EMe S Egy-Pal

This move is guaranteed as long as the Italian fleet does not intervene. This could be accomplished diplomatically by promising Italy Greece as their share.
Ser - Mac
Bul S Ser - Mac

Greece by itself cannot prevent this move, and if Con helps keep the Austrians out, it loses any chance of defending Dam from Britain.
Rum - Bla
Ukr - Rum

A Turkish move Bla - Sev is pointless, as the fleet is isolated and will be dislodged in Fall by the 2 Russian units.

In any case, Greece is isolated and unable to do anything useful, and Turkey cannot defend both Con and Dam. They will almost surely lose one SC in 1901, two if Italy joins the kill. Even if Italy does not get Greece, the army will be so isolated as to effectively be lost to Turkey.

The only hope Turkey has is if Italy intervenes strongly on his behalf. The problem with that is that, other than Egypt, there is little growth for Italy in helping Turkey, and Italy should be justly cautious of antagonizing the strong B-F alliance.

Thanks for the great write-up so far, and I look forward to the continuation of the game.

Well, there you have it. Another Deposits column. Yep, it sure is.