The Editor and the Readership
So what do you say? Let's see a Deposits article next issue which is absolutely filled with build-waiving comments, okay? Is that too much to ask?
Stab you soon,
[Editor's response: Hallelujiah! Someone reads my writing! This is indeed a good reason to waive a build, and it applies to the standard game as well. If you're Austria and you need fleets, or if you're Russia and you want to build two fleets at the north coast of St. Petersburg, taking your builds one at a time works well.]
Second, I do want to offer one suggestion. There is an entire arena of Diplomacy that you guys are missing. In addition to FTF, PBM and PBEM/Internet, many games are being played by E-mail within the commercial online services. America On Line has a very active Diplomacy area. I've heard the other services have areas as well, though I can't speak about them personally. I've been involved in AOL games for several years and I find it the best place to play: more practical than FTF and move satisfying than Internet PBEM. If you could add something on non Internet PBEM, you'll be making what is already a great resource even more complete and useful.
Thanks for listening,
[Editor's response: We at The Pouch are certainly interested in covering all of the methods of play, and we readily acknowledge that we aren't doing as well in the coverage of some of them as we are with others. The DP Councillors are primarily Internet players, and given that our real lives are packed end to end, it's not feasible for us to supplement our knowledge base very easily. However, we would be happy to have anyone with knowledge of the different modes of play which we are neglecting out of ignorance or time constraints, step forward and help shoulder the load here. As a matter of fact, as is apparent in this issue of the Zine, a couple members of the community which Bill spoke of above have started to make their presence known by submitting articles! So it is my hope that these such failings of The Pouch will work themselves out on their own.]
We should write an article on how hard it is to get people to write articles!
Sometimes I wish I didn't have my monthly Dip zine to do, because it takes a lot out of me and I have less energy left for Diplomacy World.
[Editor's response: Hear, hear! Actually, we here at The Pouch were seriously considering going without a Spring 1996 Retreat issue. As I discussed in the "About" column, my life was busy preparing for the conference I attended, and there were no articles in evidence even up to a week before the publication date. All of a sudden, the floodgates opened (thanks, everyone!) and articles started pouring in. We're still delayed, but articles magically (at least this time) turned out to be no problem! Let's hope this continues in the future.]
2: one that dipsIs this a subtle plug for us to write more for you?
a: a worker who dips articles
[Editor's response: yes.]
[Editor's response: Credit for the amazing anagram work goes to Simon Szykman. He wrote the story and I wrapped a mystery around it. I second your congratulations to Simon for a truly incredible piece of work. Glad you liked it. Now if we could only get the readership to try their hand at solving the mystery. See this issue's installment for more clues....]
[Editor's response: Thanks (blush).]
I read with extreme care your article about "North Sea to Picardy"; you showed to every diplomat that the question is far deeper than the common player could imagine. Your arguments were clear and brought light to many unknown faces of this so underevaluated subject.
Unfortunately, in the big city of your ideas there was an awful miss, like a stellar black void in a common garden. I explain: you didn't write anything about a move so closely connected to your subject that I ask myself if you did it on purpose or not (and then why?): what about Picardy to North Sea? I think you'll feel completely confused for some time before you entirely recover after such a mistake.
The long road to perfect understanding of Diplomacy is a narrow path, but I am sure you will add this remark and keep going on the right way.
[Editor's response: Leave it to the world champion to find me out! I was keeping Pic-Nth in reserve, as a secret move which I hoped no one would see, and then I was going to pull it out of my sleeve when it was least expected; perhaps at the upcoming World DipCon, and perhaps to vanquish M. Giraudon and take the World Dip Cup from him. I guess we see why he is the World Champion. You can't get anything past him!]
[Editor's response: I'm sorry you didn't like it. The article grew out of a typo I made in a posting to rec.games.diplomacy. Perhaps you had to be there. Anyway, thanks for the comments, and -- this is for everyone now -- the best way to avoid publication of stuff you don't like is to submit for publication stuff you write yourself (hint hint).]
Yes, it's usually impossible to look ahead more than two or three turns on a tactical level. But being able to lookahead four to six years on a strategical level is an important Diplomacy skill. A good Diplomacy player should be able to say: "Italy will be eliminated or left completely impotent in three to five years according to current trends" or "France will be at 10-12 SC's in five years according to current trends." Most importantly, we use this information to check if current trends benefit us or harm us. If they benefit us, we try to preserve status quo; if they harm us, we frequently have to do something dramatic to break them.
[Editor's response: Good point, and well-said. On a strategic level, lookahead is indeed an important talent, and I completely agree that its mastery is key to becoming a better player. Indeed, I almost wonder if the acquisition of this particular skill and the proper application of the knowledge it imparts as the game goes on is the most difficult and most important game skill to learn.]