I would like to start off this article with a warning. This is not about tactics, super alliances, or a guaranteed method for winning as Germany by 1904. I will not promise to make you a better Diplomacy player (but if I do, I want some of the credit), and I will not show you any fancy opening combinations with names such as the "Llama Lepanto" or "Piccadilly Prance." Note, if anyone actually HAS named an opening combination the "Llama Lepanto," I would not be overly surprised.
So, I bet now I have everyone wondering just what the heck this article is actually about. It is about the most vital and yet most often overlooked aspect of PBEM diplomacy- press. I can already hear the gasps of shock from the great tacticians in our audience, but before everyone bails out in disgust to go read the Pouch Deposits, I ask that you, dear reader, let me explain my position.
With the exception of no press games, which have a completely different system of communication, press plays a vital role to every Diplomacy game. Alliances can only be formed through a rapport of press between two or more powers. In most of my games I do not overtly ask for alliances with other powers, but instead talk to everyone and nurture relationships with powers that I see have the same general goals as myself. Often, the other player realizes this as well, and a full fledged alliance forms. This could only be possible through the press we started off sending. Also, stabs are much more effective if you have secured Diplomatic fronts through press. An example of this is how one time I was playing France and was stabbed by a German. However, the German also lost some ground on other fronts, and so wrote a note saying how sorry he was for the stab etc. He also included a plan where he would withdraw from my territory and proposed a scheme that I thought would assure my safety. Instead, the Kaiser lent unwanted support to one of my units and marched into Paris that turn. The point of this was that even after the stab, the wily German was able to use press to his advantage.
This is meant to be an introduction to a series of 3-4 articles in which I discuss different press settings, the most creative uses of press, and various other topics that I can come up with. I would very much like all the DipPouch readers who have an interesting story (or two, or three)about press and how they used it against someone/someone used it against them to please send it to me and I will include the most interesting in future articles in this series. In my next article, I will discuss plain ol' W-P- press.
Finally, as a sidenote, I would like to explain how I got so interested in press. In my last two or three games, the level of press has been rapidly declining, and I think this may be true throughout Dipdom. I, for one, like getting and sending press to all the countries on the board, as it makes the game livelier and more fun, and I hope this series of articles will help shed some light on press and encourage some new and interesting uses. Secondly, I was hooked by a r.g.d thread about gray broadcasts, and immediately set up a gray broadcast game (tim02 on USIN) to see what this press variant is like. When the game ends I will be writing up player comments and my own thoughts about gray broadcasts in an article.
*Best wishes to all and happy dipping*
About the author: Tim Miller (not to be confused with Tim Richardson, the FTF section leader here at The Pouch, or with Ted Miller, the E-Mail section leader) is a 16 year-old high school junior from Rockville, MD (near Washington D.C.). He's been playing PBEM Diplomacy for about 9 months and he thinks it's about the best use of the 'net that he's ever found.
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