(Brief hits from around the hobby)

From Michael Boutot

Dipworld is just finishing up the latest ten-team tourney, while we try to find a middle ground between being extremely strict on dedication and the wide-open approach of some sites/Judges. Our extensive stats DB helps. Just finished my 1000th GM turn counting only DipWorld games (10x or more, counting all) and I think there is a place DipWorld in the Diplomacy community.

Variants & small tourneys continue to draw people, and hand adjudicated games still have a place. With the fire having gone out of Cat23, a further union of the two major Yahoo sites clearly needs to be contemplated. There are the same folks in every Cat game, yet fewer and fewer, on top of which Ray's going to shut down the server next year. There are challenges which I think DipWorld can help solve.

Paradox Diplomacy Computer Game ends productions

The Swedish computer game developer known for its success with Iron Hearts, Europa Universalis, Victoria, Crusader Kings etc., obtained the license to do a Diplomacy computer game, which was released last September. After the third patch was released in December, it completed its production run. However, there are releases being made in non-English languages, including Russian, in which there was a sale of several thousand games.

One of the major weaknesses of the Paradox system was a combination of a poor A.I., and their complete dependence on running games only in Real Time and only through their own Metaserver (which had numerous problems in itself, including that with the initial release of the game you could not get to the metaserver unless you found and downloaded patch 1.1; and then it was very slow until you got to patch 1.2; and finally you needed to wait till patch 1.3 to get the ability to communicate directly with other players in standard text rather then using their limited ‘graphic language’ icon communicator). This crippled their meta service play from the start. However, if you are up to it, you can get to their Diplomacy forum at: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=295

We believe that this is the third attempt at a Diplomacy Computer game, all of which have been failures in terms of serving the hobby at large. Nevertheless it continues to get the concept of the Diplomacy game out there, and at last count about a hundred people were recruited from there to the mainstream hobby, though the sticking factor is unknown. It was a great opportunity that simply missed its target by aiming in the wrong direction.

Europe: General

After several hard steps forwards and backwards, the European face-to-face hobby has established a Charter for its organization. Amongst other things, they have taken responsibility for the EDC (European Diplomacy Championship), and have called for the creation of a European Diplomacy Vacation convention where the games will be held in a social setting rather than a tournament structure.

They are working on their own web site. Currently the European hobby has its own list-server for mostly face to face discussions at Grandprix-chat@yahoogroups.com.

North America: General

The NADF has restarted a new web site (the paradoxical qualities in that sentence are astonishing) with Bill Blackmer as the web master. David Maletsky has taken over the duties of writing ‘This week in review,’ and Buz Eddy is still running his Masterpoint and chess style rating system, which he has decided to keep out of the public realm, but also has his Special Features news at: http://www.diplom.org/NADF. Buz is going to be concentrating on running the Dragonflight Diplomacy events.

Shlomi Yaakobovich

The Israeli hobby has been quite idle in the last year or so, which is probably my fault for not pushing anymore. No one has taken over yet, so I suppose we need to wait for the next generation. The official site is at: http://www.diplomacy.org.il, but it hasn't been updated for a long time. The only semi-Israeli activity is the Judge I maintain, which allows Hebrew games, but there hasn't been such a game for over a year, too. It's all quite disappointing, I know...

(Editor's note: If anyone out there wants to help the Israeli hobby get active, let us know; we'll put you in touch with someone)

Mediterranean Grand Prix

Just as there are continental collections of face-to-face tournaments to be ranked together for the determination of a ‘champion’ (See Bismark Cup, Grand Prix, European Grand Prix), there is a series of regional linked tournaments; in the US there is the East Coast Swing and the West Coast Swaggle, and in Europe there is the French Championships and the Italian championships. Now there is a collection of 4 events in the Mediterranean at Cannes-Marseilles-Milan-San Marino calling itself the GP Mediterranean: http://www.cleosolutions.com/diplo/med.htm

The current listing after two events has forty-two people, with Gwen Maggi, David Cleopadre and Leonardo Quirini in the top three spots.

Future Issues

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Edi Birsan

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