7 April 1996
Welcome to a very special issue of XENOGOGIC. Thirty years ago this month I sent out the first issue of XENOGOGIC, my first attempt at publishing and gamemastering in Diplomacy. That first mailing consisted of a single sheet, dittoed on two sides (and so poorly done it could barely be read), and announcing that I had two regular games and a couple of screwy variant games open. It cost me all of 6 cents to mail one of those first issues, and my total cost for that first mailing was less than it now costs me just to mail a single copy of one of my recent WWPDC mailings. Within two weeks I had both games filled with some of the top players in the not very large, but ever so enthusiastic hobby of that day. Friendships, and rivalries, began then that have lasted to this very day.
Who would have thought then that thirty years later this issue would be going out not only by post, but also by simultaneous publication, by email, on The Net, and on the Web to hundreds of readers in over a score of countries? Not I, for sure. There are only a handful of Dippers still around from that Golden Age of Diplomacy, and those who have survived have done so for two reasons: a continued enthusiasm for the game and hobby; and a willingness to adapt to an ever-changing hobby environment. Well, maybe not Dr. John Boardman, but he's a strange duck anyway!
I have no profound words to mark this occasion. Instead, it's business and peeriblah as usual. Whether you see this on paper, as an adjunct to The Diplomatic Pouch</a> (Contact Manus Hand at email@example.com), or in bits and pieces scattered in DIPLOMACY WORLD (Contact Doug Kent at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/DiplomacyWorld), or some of the hobby's other fine publications; I hope you will stop and ponder for a moment on a few of the things you read here. And, with luck, perhaps share a chuckle or two with me as I turn the peeriscope on our world and hobby peeriscape.
Peeriblah incarnate / aka Larry Peery may be written to at 6103 Malcolm Dr., San Diego, CA 92115, USA, or email may be addressed to email@example.com. Permission to republish is freely granted, although I would enjoy seeing any such effort.
THAT OTHER ARCHIVES!
Potentially the most important news story in the hobby in many years is that the Walt Buchanan Collection (aka as The Diplomacy Archives) has been rescued from the boonies of Indiana, and moved to the suave and urbane state of Ohio! The new custodian of Walt's collection (which covers the early years of the hobby in detail) is Jamie McQuinn (JMcQuinn@delphicom). Jamie is currently developing plans to put this treasure chest of hobby lore to work. Good for him. I'm not sure whether he plans to begin adding to the collection in the near future, or even if he will attempt to fill in the 20-25 year gap between when Walt stopped adding to it and today, but I do know every publisher in the hobby (including those on the Net) should have a contingency plan to provide a copy on disk or a hard copy of each of their publications to The Archives.
The other major hobby Archives is the one I am custodian-caretaker of. That Collection is far larger than the Buchanan one, and goes even further along in time; but it is still incomplete. At the moment it consists of some 50,000 (give or take a few thousand, depending on how many duplicates of GRAUSTARK I include) items and makes a stack about 11 stories high. These are all hard copies, by the way, with very little in the way of material on disk. Many of the oldest treasures in The Archives were done on mimeo and ditto machines and are now in poor physical condition. I know Jamie has plans to deal with this problem with his new collection I have still not made any decisions in this area. Anyway, now you know what's there and where it is.
A VIRGIN LOOKS AT DIPLOMACY WORLD
As hard as it is to believe there actually are Dippers who have never seen the hobby's flagship publication, DIPLOMACY WORLD. One of them is/was Pete Rauch (firstname.lastname@example.org) who won the contest I ran recently in The Diplomatic Pouch dealing with the ten most important spaces on the Diplomacy gameboard. Pete's prize was a bag full of back issues of DW, some of them dating back to the Jerry Jones days, some 14-15 years ago. Pete has promised a review of the issues I sent him, and it should be interesting to see what he has to say. By the way, I have many back issues from the Jones, Walker and Peery DW issues; and more recent issues by Hood and Kent are also available from them. For more info, query me at email@example.com.
FAQ ABOUT WDC VI
If you have questions about this July's ORIGINS/DIPCON/WORLD DIPCON in Columbus, Ohio check out my FAQ About WDCVI in The Diplomatic Pouch. You'll find all the info you need there, or info on how to get it.
WDC VI UPDATE
Now that winter is over, at least for most of us, a young Dipper's interest should be turning to DIPCON. It's only three months away, and that's not long if you are coming from overseas. I have heard from players in Australia, England, France, Sweden, and Germany who are planning to attend. France is sending the current world champion, as well as several of its top players. The Swedes will be sending a team that includes some of their best.
America's reaction is, not surprisingly, to send Edi Birsan, perhaps the greatest Diplomacy player of all time. Edi, who owns a game company, isn't going to Columbus for ORIGINS, the premier commercial gaming trade show. He's going because "I haven't played any Diplomacy in a while." That's a bit like Atilla the Hun saying he hasn't destroyed any cities lately, so he's off to sack Rome. Edi, who goes back to the very beginning of the postal and FTF hobbies, is one of the few DIPCON originals still around. He invented the Lepanto Opening, among others. He's also one of the few people to win PBM games playing every one of the Great Powers Course, the Europeans don't think that Edi's the greatest --- but most of them weren't even born when Edi started playing and winning.
I have just checked with some of the site adjacent hotels in Columbus and they still have rooms available, but I wouldn't wait too long to make a reservation. If you get one of the postcards from ORIGINS advertising the event, be sure to read the fine print carefully. You'll note, for instance, that the Courtyard by Marriott offers a double room for $74 a night. However, when you add in taxes the price rises to $84.65, plus $6.00 for self-parking or $10 for valet parking per night. Figure about $50 per person, per night, shared for a close to the site hotel; half that for a room out of the area. I figure 20,000 gamers will be chasing 2,000 hotel rooms, so if you get a good price for a good location, that's worth a dot or two. Ah, sorry, Henri! I will shortly have an update available on hostel and university housing for those Interested in that. Housing or housing with some meals will run $20 to $40 for one, per night, at the hostel or university. If you are coming to WDC VI from overseas be sure you contact me ASAP for info on discounted admission, inexpensive housing, etc. If you act quickly I may be able to get you some good airfares as well. Northwest Orient Airlines, and others as well, have just announced a fare war for summer travel. Bargains are out there, if you look and act now. If you are from overseas contact WDCVI@aol.com. If you are in North America contact BDReiff@aol.com.
HERE WE GO, BEGGING AGAIN (WATCH OUT FOR JIM BURGESS!)
As part of the American effort to bring WDC VI to Columbus this summer, I promised the Paris meeting last winter that we would do two things: 1) Provide housing, eats, and run of the house privileges for their champion coming to America (they would provide transportation); and 2) We would send our champion this year to next year's WDC site (which will be determined in Columbus) and, as a quid pro quo, they would provide housing, eats, etc. I made this commitment personally and I intend to follow up on it. I believed then and I believe now that such a commitment, carried over from event to event is a vital part of any WDC event. Without this kind of commitment the event and the title are meaningless. However, I could use a bit of help from the hobby in carrying it out this year, and for 1997. Since DIPCON and WDC VI are getting no financial support from the host event, or even any of the registration monies; and the American hobby, unlike some of the European ones seems unwilling or unable to attract any corporate support; I don't expect any help from them. So I'm turning to you.
It may be the PBS Syndrome, but I've noticed in recent years that nobody seems willing to donate just for a good cause. They've got to get something out of it; whether it's their name on a building, a scoreboard, a golf tournament, or a freebie. So, here's my pitch. You donate and I'll match your contribution in back issues of DW for you, provided you pay the postage (at express mail rates domestic or foreign) or pick up the magazines at WDC in Columbus. Here's how it works. You send me $20 for the fund, and $3 for postage and I'll stuff an envelope with $20 worth of back issues of DW, and send them off; or you can pick them up in Columbus and I'll put the whole $23 toward the fund. Back issues are from $4-$10 in value, older or rarer ones being worth more obviously. For a $200 donation I'll give you a copy of every back issue I have multiples of. That's a good deal. You can request specific issues and I'll honor those as I can. No guarantees, however. If you are interested in Anthologies, I have an even simpler idea. You donate $100 to the fund and I'll give you the Anthology volume of your choice, subject to availability. For what's available and details contact me at WDCVI@aol.com.
A RESPONSE TO A QUESTION FROM ROLAND ISAKSSON
Roland (firstname.lastname@example.org) is planning on bringing a Swedish team to WDC VI. He told me that they will have two weeks in America: one week for Columbus and one week to see another American city. He asked me which city I would recommend to them, and why. It wasn't as easy a question to answer as I thought it would be, especially since I don't know what the interests of the Swedes are, or how they will be travelling. Having a car is almost mandatory in the USA, unless you plan to spend the week in one major city (or resort). Travelling by bus or train isn't a good option for such a short period of time. Given those limitations, here are my suggestions:
[Editor's note: In addition to the San Diego link provided above, Yahoo has information links for all the cities listed. Just do a search by city name.]
DIPPING THROUGH THE TULIPS WITH BERRY!
The Diplomacy hobby in the Netherlands has never been very large; but over the years it has produced some outstanding players, publications, and events, including the first ever EURO DIPCON.
Things have been quiet in the Netherlands lately, but perhaps that is about to change. A new Dip zine, THE BLUESMOBILE, has been announced by Berry Renken, who can be reached on the internet at: email@example.com He has openings for two games, one using American style season breaks and one using the British system. If you don't understand the difference, perhaps you should sign up for both. There is no gamefee, but he's looking for reliable players. Who isn't? Anyway, it sounds fun if you're an email Dipper. Drop him a line and tell him I sent you.
WHAT'S A VIKING DOING IN EGYPT, ANYWAY?
As I write this I am thinking about the Cunard Viking liner that just ran aground somewhere off Egypt's coast. Ever since Cunard announced they were putting the line and its ships up for sale they've had nothing but problems with their boats. Last month it was one that had engine failure in the Pacific. Sigh...
Anyway, don't let that deter you if you are planning on visiting Europe this summer (as some 9 million Americans plan to do, I hear). Why not plan to attend the EURO DIPCON championship in Oslo the weekend before WDC in Columbus? It's not as crazy an idea as it sounds, if you haven't maxed out your credit cards. For info on that contact Borger.Borgersen@snett.telenor.no. It would be nice to have a few good American Dippers show up at a European event for a change.
And while we're in Scandinavia, there are a number of good PBM Diplomacy (and other gaming) publications put out by them. One of my favorites is Per Westling's LEPANTO 4-EVER. He has lots of Dip and variant openings. His gamemastering is impecable, as is his English. He looks like a Swede should, unlike most of them who look like Belorussians after a weekend at a Chernoybl health spa. In fact, he only has one fault --- he's a bridge player. Contact him at Per.Westling@bms.se and ask for a copy of issue XLIII; which has a lot of reviews of other Scandinavian pubs; and the next one; which may, or may not, contain some of my recent effort, LEPANTO 2-MUCH.
Hard as it is to believe the WWPDC (Worldwide Postal Diplomacy Championship) is four years old this month! And it is only in 1902. Whether the WWPDC will be remembered as a monument to my determination or my stupidity is still undecided. [Editor's note: and we thought our real-real-time game DipPouch with one game year per calendar year was bad!] However, the event is under way. If you aren't familiar with it, the WWPDC consists of 7 regular Diplomacy games being played by mail (although about half of the participants have email access). There are seven teams playing in the event and each team consists of seven players and from zero to two stand-bys. The teams are from the United States, Austria, Sweden, France, Italy, the Commonwealth, and one polygot group from all over. Here's a report on the situation at the end of 1901.
Here's a Power by Power over-view of the current situation
at the end of 1901 (games are listed in order from 1 to 7):
Austria: 5, 5, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5
England: 5, 4, 4, 3, 4, 4, 4
France: 3, 6, 5, 5, 5, 4, 3
Germany: 4, 4, 4, 5, 3, 5, 5
Italy: 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 4
Russia: 5, 4, 6, 4, 6, 6, 6
Turkey: 4, 4, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4
The numbers represent the number of supply centers held. Each Power seems to be having one poor game, and each team also seems to be having one poor game, although the two don't always coincide.
Here's a team standings over-view: (first number is the number of units
on the board at the end of 1901, second number is the number of centers held at the end of 1901):
If you would like to follow the action, you can subscribe to all the game reports and the event newsletter. Contact me at: WWPDC@aol.com for more info.
WOMEN AND DIP! (IS IT REALLY BETTER THE SECOND TIME AROUND?)
One of my first projects when I took over DW back in 1985 was to do an all women's issue. Kathy Byrne Caruso, one of the top female Dippers of her day, helped out with that project. I was thinking about that project a few days ago while working on a new women in Dip feature (more on that below). That led to another thought, and that leads to another contest! All Dip publishers are encouraged to reprint this contest in their zines. Submissions may be sent by regular or email, but must be in English. Humor is particularly welcomed! The deadline for entries is 1 July The prize will be, surprise, a bag of back issues of DW!! Now, here's the question. Who is the best female Dipper you have ever played with? Why? Or, what woman that you have known would have been a great Dipper? Why? And yes, you can use famous female historical figures if you wish. Entries can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or the postal address given above.
MICHAEL HOOD VISIT
One of the secrets to being any good in Diplomacy, as a player or as a hobbyist, is that you have to genuinely like people. I know there are a few people in the hobby who don't like people. I've never understood that. Why do they bother? Anyway, if you do like people and enjoy meeting them this is a great hobby. One of my joys in running the WWPDC has been the opportunity it has given me to meet Dippers from all over the world. In just the last week or so I have had letters, email, and phone calls from Dippers in ten different countries. It doesn't surprise me any more to come home and find messages from five or six countries on the computer (and that's not counting those damn ads!). Still, when you get to meet someone FTF for the first time, especially from a foreign country, that is always special. That's one of the big appeals of WDC, I believe. Anyway, in recent months I've been lucky enough to meet two of the members of the Commonwealth team, Brendan Whyte (email@example.com) and Michael Hood (MHood@fcl.corp.co.nz), both from New Zealand. Brendan is here for a term, supposedly going to school. He seems to be spending most of his time proving, on the Net, that some Kiwis have absolutely no sense of humor. Michael, on the other hand, was here for just a few days, on business. Some business! I only had a few hours to enjoy his company, but he was a perfect living example of what the Golden Age of Dip was and is. He started playing Diplomacy some 25 years ago, and he's still at it. He is obviously the kind of person who enjoys people, and he certainly seems to enjoy the game. He's also one of the few people in the hobby
I have met who can out peeriblah me!
ANOTHER CRAZY PEERIDEA FOR A VARIANT
Here's an idea for
a Diplomacy variant, especially if you like Monopoly and crossword puzzles
as well. It's a simple idea, see if you can make something out of it. The idea came to me while reading a Reuters report on expensive commercial
real estate on a street by street basis. Here's a list of the world's most
1) New York's Fifth Ave.
2) New York's 57th Street.
3) Tokyo's Ginza.
4) New York's Madison Ave. and 69th St.
4) San Francisco's Post and Stockton Streets.
6) Paris' Champs Elysee.
7) Geneva's Rue de Rhone.
8) Paris' Place Vendome.
9) London's Bond Street.
10) Singapore's Orchard Road.
11) Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California.
11) Rome's Via Conditti
My idea would be to construct a square (or hex) matrix laying out these streets as in a crossword puzzle. Where the streets cross each other would be supply centers, etc. etc. Well, you do get it, don't you?
PIGEONS OF THE WORLD --- SHIT!
What with all the news about mad cows and TB pigs (Who would have thought that all it would take to drive the Royals off the front pages of the London tabloids would be a few mad cows and TB pigs?), you may have missed the flock of stories about the world's pigeons problems lately.
Both Paris and Venice have reported major problems caused by an over-population of pigeons lately, including some dieased ones. One proposed solution was to catch them and send them to Brussels, Belgium, where pigeons are considered a culinary delicacy. That got the animal activists in a uproar, of course.
Now we hear that the pigeons in Trafalgar Square are disappearing at an alarming rate, apparently being bird-napped by pigeon-snatchers, who are scooping up the birds 40 at a time and taking them off in a large box At first authorities thought they were being used for races, but now suspicions are centered on London's Greek community, where pigeons are considered a delicacy.
Don't worry, we'll be keeping an eye, carefully, on this story.
THE PEERY LINE
It may be difficult, even impossible, for some of you to believe but I have actually been busy writing about something more important than Diplomacy. What subject could that be, you may ask? Me, of course. Well, not just me, but my family. The Peerys have established an on line home page (actually several of them) devoted to the Peery family. My contribution isn't quite done. When it is, I'll let you know.
Here's a preview of some of the things I'm working on at the moment You may find them in upcoming issues of DW (next issue due out in a few weeks, right Doug?), or in TDP (latest issue just out), in LEPANTO, in DIPSOMANIA (Jef Bryant at firstname.lastname@example.org). Alas, you won't see them in PERELANDRA, because PJ's (email@example.com) folded it (again). But don't worry, I'd bet PJ's weight in potatoes that he'll be back
WOMEN DIPPERS FOR REAL!
I mentioned women Dippers up above, and your mind probably went right to the gaming table. However, there is another brand of woman dipper --- the real one. I remember the first woman diplomat I ever met, Eleanor Roosevelt. Then it was Shirley Temple Black (and who was that Norwegian making a big deal out of woman movie star as president?); both cameo roles on the world's diplomatic stage. Not any more. Women have taken stage center on the world's diplomatic front. Jeane Kirkpatrick started the trend, I suppose, and now we have Madeleine Albright at the UN, when's she's home. And have you noticed that she looks better in combat boots than most women do in heels? Coming down the pike is a rather fascinating look at three women diplomats who have or are shaping our world of real time, on-line diplomacy. We have a native-born Brit representing the United States in Paris, Pamela Harriman. We have a native-born Brit representing the Empire to the world, Lady Thatcher. And we have Madeleine, representing the liberated woman to the world! Anybody want to guess where Madeleine was born? They're all different in substance and style, but we'll be discussing diplomacy with them. Stay tuned.
WHO IS VINTON CERF AND WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
If anyone is interested I have an interview with Mr. Cerf for publication. If you don't know who he is, you'd better find out. Fast. Icons disappear fast in this hobby.
PEERY ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
No, that wasn't me on the cover of TIME magazine's 4 March issue but, yes, that was me inside on page 72.
And yes, that was Mike Collins (Mike_Collins@npi.co.uk) showing off his latest suit of armor, on the cover of the March issue of US NAVAL INSTITUTE PROCEEDINGS.
Europeans have never been crazy about American style football, and even less interested in America's national pastime, baseball. Obviously, because it's too cerebral a sport for them. That may be changing soon, however, as the San Diego Padres have just re-signed their "most improved team/manager", Bruce Bochy, who just happens to be from France. Who would have thought?
30 YEAR WRAP UP
So, after 30 years in the hobby what advice do I have to give to Berry Renken and those who will come after him? It's simple. Don't try to read it all, learn it all, do it all, go everywhere, or please everybody. I know. I have. Instead; sample, dabble, find a cause or two, and leave yourself room to grow. You, and the hobby, will be the better for it.
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