Openings Revisited

A Look at How Things Get Started

Dann Fuller

Quick: What's the most frequently used opening in Standard Diplomacy, regardless of press? [Answer below.] A while back, Mark Nelson started a series of articles on how the various powers started their quests for world domination. (The first of those articles can be found here.)

Unfortunately for us, Mark was besieged by the virus die-hard dippers call "real life." It was a serious enough case that Mark had to step down as Openings Custodian, and also was unable to finish his series of articles.

Last October, I found the articles that he snuck out before the virus struck, and was intrigued by them. Wondering what happened to the series, as well as the Openings Custodian and the stats in general, I set about finding out. After contacting Mark, I learned about the virus, and asked about filling his shoes as a new Openings Custodian.

There isn't really an official OC anymore, but I do receive all judge openings from Judges whose JK's point their "openings mail-to" at the openings mail list, and many (probably all) that are still errantly directed at Mark (and my thanks to him for sending them on). I've decided to pick up where he left off, cataloging the openings used, and so on. My interest is limited mostly to Standard, specifically the difference between games in which you can speak to individual powers, and those which you cannot. I do log all openings, but there aren't really enough of almost all variants to warrant a statistical review.

My goal is to make this an ongoing project, much like Mark planned. There are five issues of The Pouch in a year, and my plan currently is:

Spring Movement: An overview of previous year stats. Total games, types, possibly breakdowns of opening by power.
Spring Retreat: An in-depth look at Austria and England from the previous year.
Fall Movement: An in-depth look at France and Germany from the previous year.
Fall Retreat: An in-depth look at Italy and Turkey from the previous year.
Winter Adjustment: An in-depth look at Russia from the previous year.

And then we start all over again....

I don't yet have a full battery of 1997 stats, but Mark is doing a great job of getting me the data as fast as he can. I hope to have all the data well before the next issue, and I can start on schedule then. There'll be no full overview for 1997, unless I decide to make the next article a big one. Maybe it'll depend on response to the idea.

That's it for the intro. I want to quickly thank everyone who's helped get this rolling again. Manus, Mark, Kevin Roust, and Danny Loeb, were the biggest help, for suggestions, data gathering, and getting me on the openings list. Hopefully, you'll all enjoy the articles, as they come. I welcome any suggestions you might have, be it on the data gathered, or what you'd like to see in the stats when I put them up.

Answer to Intro Question: Turkey (Con-Bul, Smy-Con, Ank-Bla)
Dann Fuller

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