by Alan Mennel

The Dipsters Group

I started the Dipsters Group in 2005 with a number of my best playing friends from the Vermont Group. Like the Vermont Group, we stand for fair play and no abandonment but we want to take that concept further by stressing timely play as well.

Since September of 2005, we have existed as a playing community with the goal of creating challenging online Diplomacy games where players of similar skill levels could play each other with an emphasis on timely, fair, and enjoyable play.

Aside from the wonderful people in our group, at the heart of the Dipsters Group are the four Special Rules in all of our game listings.

When read, these rules appear very Draconian but in practice they are not for they hardly ever need to be enforced. It may be just the great people in our group or it may be that these "rules with teeth" encourage a wonderful development in human nature: when faced with very real and severe penalties such as ejection for lateness, people often become exceptionally considerate of others.

The result is that our games always proceed with no unnecessary delays and usually are very well matched and fun to play. In fact, it is normal for a Dipsters game to finish with a total of only one or two late order submissions throughout the entire game.

Although we have concluded 78 fast-paced Dipsters Group games in the past year, we have ejected only one player for lateness from those 546 player positions...not even 2/10 of one percent.

In a little more than a year, we have grown to a modestly sized but vibrant playing group. I am proud to say that we number among our members five Ken-Lowe Judge-Keepers, a number of people who have made major contributions to the online Diplomacy hobby, and many great players with JDPRs ranging from 678 to 2150.

We pride ourselves on offering fast-paced and competitive games for players of all skill levels. I am just as excited to create games specifically for our players with JDPRs under 1100 as I am to create games for our players with JDPRs in the 1300 to1700 and above range.

We always offer to our members a number of open games of various types. http://www.floc.net/observer.py?login=dipster&page=login

In addition, we are always happy to create invitational games and comments-type games for our members. We also maintain three comments-type observation sites. We are currently running our annual No-Press Tournament for our membership and hope to offer a Full-Press Tournament shortly as well.

To join the Dipsters Group, you must have:

If you fulfill the requirements above and are interested, just go to our site and apply: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Dipsters

We will also bend the admission requirements just a little if one of our members sponsors you. Although past performance is an excellent predictor of the future, we are truly more interested in how a player chooses to manage himself once he or she is in our group.

Diplomacy Direct

My second best idea ever (after marrying my wife) is Diplomacy Direct.

For so long, the Diplomatic Pouch has provided a wonderful service to online Diplomacy players with its Internet Judge Game Queue System but the players have not always returned that kindness. It is common knowledge that abandonment and late order submissions have plagued most online public games for many years.

Realizing that public games could be a frustrating ordeal for new players, I thought why not trade that frustration for an enjoyable experience by creating a private playing group, similar to Dipsters, for deserving new players. So, Diplomacy Direct was born as a community of like-minded new players who are committed to timely, fair, and enjoyable play.

Unlike normal "newbie" public games, Diplomacy Direct games are only being offered to players with a record of a high ontime ratio and no abandonment so Diplomacy Direct games always proceed with no unnecessary delays and are usually a great deal of fun to play.

Diplomacy Direct is envisioned as a temporary community for new players, a fast track into the hobby. The idea is that players in Diplomacy Direct will play their fast-paced, competitive games, become experienced, and then move on to more advanced groups such as Dipsters within 2 years.

Diplomacy Direct also offers its members many benefits:

In order to join Diplomacy Direct, one of our public game GMs should recommend you but we may consider you for a provisional membership if you have:

If you fulfill the requirements above and are interested, just go to our site and apply: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/DiplomacyDirect/

Alan Mennel

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