The Editor and the Readership
There are a few more items this time than there have been for quite a while!
Unfortunately, many of the messages in the Editor's Inbox were time-sensitive advertising for various tournaments (Whipping, WDC, and many others). While they may have made it into the Pouch's Upcoming Conventions section, the long interval between issues means that they didn't make it into the Zine itself. For that, I again offer my profound apologies.
However, there are still plenty of items that aren't as time-sensitive! Here they are…
Some thoughts on Edi Birsan and the misorders at the Russian tourney:
One possibility is to have a more liberal house rule that reads something like "An order, no matter how poor, that allows for only one reasonable interpretation (excluding the possibility of an intentional miss-order) is to be allowed."
I’m of the opinion that a player that has only a couple of tournament games under their belt should be allowed some leeway with their orders. For them there should be a mercy rule however there should also be a limit on it — maybe something like you can have one misorder changed per game as long as the intent is clear. Something like F (Con) – Bul is not clear and could be a shifty stab or the player could just choose to be an opportunist that can be called in whatever direction the other orders dictate, whereas A(Boh) –Ven is a reasonable typo for a noobie to make. The main thing is that it is spelt out that the TD has the power to decide who will get the benefit of the doubt and why before the game starts, and it should never be applied to anyone who has played more than a couple of tournaments as a deliberate misorder is a valid and well used tactic. That said I would like a rule also introduced that if this ruling will ever cost me a centre then it should be thrown in the bin and I should be given a formal apology.
As I said to Nick, I thought his article on Austria in A&E was fantastic. It was in my mind the best, by far, of the A&E articles that have been written. His Sultan Slayer strategy is intriguing. I should consider the options the Sultan can pursue if it appears Austria is after him.
I have a few comments regarding some of the issues you brought up.
Re 5. Voting: I agree, I like the card system much better than the pieces in the box. It solves the most egregous problems of the 'old' system, but I don't think it is perfect. I thought I'd offer up a potential houserule to cover the situation and wonder if it has ever been applied.
"If the TD perceives any impropriety in the casting of the votes, then the outcome is automatically declared to be that the draw fails."
While we're on the subject of draw votes, I feel I may as well throw out there another idea I've never seen used in practice, and I think I first heard this one from Andrew Goff: You vote simultaneously, then when all votes are cast, they are all revealed.
Re Time Issues: In a couple of places, you mention abuse of the clock. And from other reports I've heard of WDC, I hear that this was a serious issue at the tournament. I do not understand why these issues are allowed to continue happenning, since they have been solved. The solution is simple, instigate a central clock (and drop dead timing). In almost every tournament I've been to that doesn't use a central clock, there have been clock abuses, and I estimate that about half of my games under such conditions have had some unpleasantness attached to them as a result of time issues. In tournaments with a central clock, such issues simply do not occur (and as a bonus, the games finish in a reasonable amount of time).
Thanks for the comments.
Voting — openly has been tried often and generally has not been favored I personally like it a lot. It is a matter of player preference in the game culture.
Time issues — The time abuse was generally not the matter of taking more time than was allowed, but of forcing time to be used when you knew there was a time deadline. The case at WDC was that the rule was that you could not play in two games at once. So if your game did not end then you could not play in the next round. The result was that people were trying to hold others hostage by dragging the game out so that they could not play in the next round.
The usual response is to have a fixed time deadline, combined with the equivalent of a central clock which may be run at each table. The problem that you see in a central clock game is that people drag out adjudications and decisions on building and retreats as well as calling for votes on the clock that chew up time.
In short, some players will try to stress the system what ever it is, no matter what you do it seems that there are those who forget the first rule of games:
We play games to have fun and make it fun for others.
I have not had a time issue, EVER, in my past tournaments. This was the first time it had ever occurred. The reason was that some people insisted that there be 4 rounds available, but also that the rounds not start until Thursday night.
I use an unlimited time format, with each round scheduled to start 24 hours following the previous round. This precludes a Sunday round, and allows players to play the game as Calhamer intended, with no externally imposed time constraints. The game ends when all players involved agree that it is over, or someone wins.
With 4 rounds, and not starting on Wednesday evening, I had to go with Thgursday night, Friday night, Saturday morning, and Saturday night. There was still plenty of time to play a game, but a few players dragged their games out deliberately to impact the following rounds.
I also try to fill all boards, so if there is not an even '7' then I delay the start to try to find the needed players, before asking players to bow out, or drop the last players who checked in for the round. I delayed the start of a round to fill the last board, and it ended up allowing a player on a deliberately delayed board to make it into the next round, defeating the intent of the delay tactics. My personal opinion is that kind of delay tactic is poor sportsmanship, and I should not have allowed it. I had not anticipated it, since I had never experienced it EVER before in any tournament I had run, and I had been running tournaments for decades, several times each year.
I have decided to solve the problem for future tournaments by NEVER scheduling rounds with different times between rounds.
I have played under Central Clock and Drop-dead time limits. I hate it, and will not play under those conditions, nor will I ever run a tournament using those terms.
I've been fascinated about the paradox in Diplomacy ever since I read Simon and Manus' article. I don't think that the solutions proposed are really good, especially I don't like the idea that an attack's ability to cut a support depends on what the supporting unit is supporting. And so I'll once again come with my suggestion to solve the paradox. It is simply this:
"If a convoyed army attacks a space that is occupied by another unit, it is first determined whether the convoy is possible without taking the convoyed attack into consideration. If there are several convoyed attacks of this kind, the possibility of these convoys are determined without any of these attacks. Afterwards, the possible convoyed attacks are added, and the results are determined as usual."
I have another new rule I would like to suggest after following the discussion in the Zine. It is:
"A beleaguered convoy cannot succeed, if any of the attacks on the convoying fleet regarded separately would dislodge the fleet."
I will leave it at that, but if you want any examples to illustrate what I mean, don't hesitate to contact me.
It's been a long time coming, but I finally bit the bullet this afternoon and pulled together the first issue of Fungus Down Under. Your comments, thoughts, idle musings and ranting emails would be much appreciated for publication in the next edition! Put "Fungus" somewhere in the subject line so I can filter them to trash...I mean, the special folder I've made up.
Ahem. I'm off to the pub!
Editor's Note: This message was accompanied by a PDF file attachment, which was (of course!) the first issue of Fungus Down Under. The five pages of this all-color PDF include articles and letters from past Pouch Zine contributors and many other stars of the hobby: such as Rob Stephenson, Jérémie Lefrançois, Thorin Munro, and others. It also contains material about the upcoming WDC 2011, which (as you of course know!) is to be held in Sydney, Australia. If you'd like to read it, click here to launch the PDF in a separate window.
Editor's Note: This message was also addressed to Toby Harris of The Dutch Fungus and Douglas Kent of Diplomacy World.
I receive Diplomacy Zines from all 3 of y'all, and thought I'd pass along a couple of local-ish Dip Forums that could use such grand prose as you provide: