A PBEM Tournament Survey

Matt Shields

A few months ago, I started searching in earnest for an organized Diplomacy Convention in my area. Much to my dismay, I found that there seems to be surprisingly little going on anywhere within 1000 miles of where I live (and unfortunately, I'd have some difficulty convincing my wife to schedule our vacations around Diplomacy Tournaments!). Around about the same time, I was playing in a little 7 person, 7 game mini-tournament over a judge. That experience got me seriously wondering why it is that I've never seen anyone run a real Diplomacy tournament over e-mail.

Well, I could imagine some logistical difficulties with it, but nothing that couldn't be dealt with. The biggest question in my mind was exactly what kind of a format would be most popular, and draw the most participants. I figured that the best way to find out would be to write up a little survey, and see what players had to say.

So far, I've been pleased with the response I've gotten to it, but I couldn't imagine that I would have an adequate idea of what the Diplomacy community thinks, until I'd sent it in to The Pouch!

Below you will find the survey which I have written to help evaluate the feasibility of forming a PBEM (Play By E-Mail) Diplomacy tournament, to be played over a judge. If you could spare five minutes to answer these ten questions, it would be greatly appreciated.

1. Have you ever participated in any Diplomacy tournament, of any kind?
If yes, please describe it.
2. How interested would you be in playing in a PBEM Diplomacy tournament where the games are of the standard variety, and allow white and partial press?
If you would only play under certain circumstances, please describe them below:
3. Is there any variation of the above settings (either press settings, or map variants) in which you would be more likely to play?
If yes, please describe the preferred variant settings:
4. Assuming the above settings, how long do you believe deadline should be? days
5. What do you believe is the maximum number of games that a player should be required to compete in simultaneously? games
6. Which of the following formats do you prefer:
All players should play in an equal, predetermined number of games, against random opponents.
All players should play in an equal, predetermined number of games, but game placement in later games should be based on performance in earlier games such that players who perform well will play each other, and players who perform poorly will play each other.
Players who perform poorly in earlier games should be eliminated, and players who perform better should play additional games against each other.
7. If you chose to eliminate players during the tournament (the final option given in question 6), what do you believe is the minimum number of games that a player should be allowed to participate in before being eliminated? games
8. Again, if you chose the final option in question 6, what is the maximum number of games that a player should be required to complete before being declared to have won? games
9. Which of the following do you most closely agree with:
All games should be played in English
Players should inform the tournament director of the languages which they speak, and he should attempt to group players in games together based on the languages they are comfortable speaking.
Language should not be a consideration at all.
All games should be NoPress to eliminate this problem.
10. Do you wish to be placed on a mailing list to receive results of this survey, and other information regarding the formation of a PBEM Diplomacy Tournament?
If yes, please give your e-mail address:

Matt Shields
If you wish to e-mail feedback on this article to the author, click on the letter above. If that does not work, feel free to use the "Dear DP..." mail interface.