Pouch Deposits

The Editor and the Readership

Permit me to quote from my last installment of the Pouch Deposits column:
"...hoping that I can return to the original idea of this column, as a forum for discussion on a specific topic as well as the location for reader comments on published articles -- I'm going to take another shot at asking you all to comment on something...."
After this quotation, I proceeded to give a way excellent topic for discussion (when and why to waive builds).

Now, allow me to quote the text of the responses I received. Here they are:

Yes, that's right. There wasn't a blessed one. And so, knowing that it will be a lot like tossing you into the briar patch, your punishment this issue is that I'm not going to present a new topic for conversation.

Instead, I'm going to stay with the topic I presented last time until I get at least one correspondent on it, which will prove to me that The Pouch readers (I know from the Webserver statistics that there are thousands of you) do actually read this column. So go back and read last issue's Deposits column to see the full text of my solicitation for your input, and then cheer up an unhappy man by sending me your comments on build waiving. Please.

If you'll notice, this current issue is banking on an active readership. In his Master Class article this time, Jamie Dreier asks for you to play a position against the average player. To do so will involve you pushing a button or two on that keyboard of yours and sending e-mail. Sherlock Holmes returns this issue, and challenges you to solve a mystery. His solution is not given, in the further hope that you will be encouraged to use that e-mail capability you have but have been neglecting to use vis-a-vis The Pouch. So don't let the magazine down. If you're a Diplomacy hobbyist, prove it!

Okay, enough yelling and screaming at you. (Well, at least I hope I've yelled and screamed enough to prompt you to action.) Now let's take a brief look at some of the mail we did get here at The Pouch.

Manus Hand

Mail Received Concerning
Articles in the Previous Issue of The Magazine

Mail Concerning The Pouch's
Expansion and New Layout

[Editor's note: Praise for The Pouch was one department in which you readers were not quiet. We received commendations and compliments too numerous to mention, but I'll give you some excerpts from a couple of the messages.]

From Cal White (diplomat@idirect.com)

I just finished looking at the Pouch and I must say I am very impressed. I think you guys have the exact right formula for a Webzine. The idea of keeping the pages that need constant updating separate is a good one, as is the idea of not going back to each issue once it's out. As a matter of personal taste, I thought the article selection could have used a bit more variety or "fannishness." Possibly a little bit about each of the members of the DP Council. Most of what was there was nuts 'n' boltz Dip stuff. Not that I'd eliminate any of that, mind you, as I'm sure that's what 95% of your audience is looking for, but maybe a bit more about the people involved in the hobby. Maybe some bio's of you and your associates or interviews with some e-mail BNF's (Big Name Fans) would add a touch of personality.

Anyway, take care and keep up the good work!

[Editor's response: Good idea, Cal, and The Pouch will indeed try to at least resurrect its "Interview" series. Also, the DP Council have planned since the beginning to publish some autobiographical information. We just haven't found time. Anyone wishing to volunteer to assist in bolstering these aspects of the Zine is more than welcome!]

From Jim Burgess (burgess@world.std.com)

I love the new layout. It looks great and thanks to you and your entire team! I also appreciated being listed with the postal diplomacy szines.

More generally, I think your decision to separate out the demo game was an excellent one and your continuing wide ranging subject matter is a strength. I'd be happy to assist you with anything you need with the Dip Pouch, particularly (if no one else comes forward) helping with the information in the postal diplomacy area.

[Editor's note: I haven't followed up with Jim yet on his offer to become the leader of the Postal section. However, just the fact that I chose to quote his letter here proves that I haven't forgotten it! Thanks, Jim!]

From Dave Kleiman (dkleiman@iquest.net)

Congrats on a very fine product. I think the organization changes made to Dip Pouch were very much needed for the hobby and will highly endorse them. I intend to use the URL for the Online Resources section as my referral for those who ask me for assistance.

Let me know if there is anything else I could to help.

[Editor's note: The Pouch may soon move to free space offered by Dave, where more functionality may be possible. Also, Dave has offered to begin contributing to the Zine. Thanks, Dave!]

From Jamie McQuinn (jmcquinn@delphi.com)

I took a look at the new DP. Fabulous! Being primarily a PBMer, I really appreciate that you are also attempting to provide info to that audience.

From Doug Kent (73567.1414@compuserve.com)

The new page format looks great! I'll give it a nice fat plug in the next DW, and make sure it is listed prominantly in the DW Web Page.

If you want to do a paragraph or two on the new page for DW yourself , feel more than welcome. If you don't get to it, I'll write it up myself.

[Editor's note: I didn't get to it. Too busy resting.]

Mail Concerning Larry Peery's
Location, Location, Location Article
in the Fall Retreat Issue

A late entry from Nate Johnston (natej@virginia.edu)

The top ten spaces I would pick in my list of the top strategic property on the board are as follows:
  1. Munich: adjacent to four empires and at the crux of most stalemate lines, this space is a must for just about anyone to win except maybe a strong Turkish naval power or British naval power.
  2. North Sea: Whoever controls this space, and can hold it, controls the northern seas. If any of the four northern powers can hold it and keep it, they have a good chance of winning. If britain loses it permanently, there is no chance of winning for Britain.
  3. Livonia: I have found that in games where one power reaches the main stalemate line (NaF-Pie-Tyr-Boh-Sil-Liv-Fin) from the south, and before a stalemate line can be erected by the northern powers, this is the place where a breakthrough usually happens. If Turkey can get a unit into Livonia as Russia collapses, then he can take StP in all probability, and will be in an advantage when the stalemate lines form: he might even achieve Sweden. It's happened three times in my expierence.
  4. Burgundy: Probably everyone who responded listed this one. It's critical to controlling France, and and it's importance has usually come for me in the beginning game, though.
  5. Serbia: I once, as Austria, was left with one army, in Serbia. I later went on to be the second-finishing player, because the triumphant Russian enlisted me, and after I took a few SCs, I had armies in his rear in the balkans. Serbia borders on more SCs than any other land space.
  6. Mid-Atlantic: The person that controls this space has a good chance of not dying quickly. This space plays the same role for France as the North Sea does for britain.
  7. Silesia: important for both [Editor's note: Nate's message ended prematurely at this point. Darn. I was enjoying reading it.]

From Larry Peery (peeriblah@aol.com)

Peter Rauch's entry was the prize winner, mostly for the "Dan Peery" faux pas. Once Peter sends me his snail mail address and a list of any issues of Diplomacy World which he already has, I will send him his prize.

Mail Concerning Simon Szykman's
No-Press article

From Peter Lund (etxjpll@etxb.ericsson.se)

I agree that you should be allowed to enter any order as long as it follows the syntax so the computer can interpret the order. The judge should not reject a order based on any kind of tests of the "logic" in orders that are syntactically correct.

But what it may do and I think it should do, to help beginners in Diplomacy, is to send out a warning message, when it discovers that an order isn't possible to perform.

This way you can intentionally send messages to other powers in a non-press game.

Mail Concerning Manus Hand's
Payola Diplomacy article

From Danny Loeb (loeb@delanet.com)

In your Payola article, you mention Payola Tic-Tac-Toe. Using the theory of Richman games developed by Propp, Lazarus, Ullman, and myself, I can tell you that this is a forced win for the first player. If you doubt me, let me play against you. I go first.

[Editor's note: Danny and I began to play, but never finished. I think I would have beaten him. (smile)]

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