Pouch Deposits

The Editor and the Readership

This issue, we have people writing us about articles from the (relatively) distant past, as well as more recent issues.

Mail Received Concerning
What Every Young Tyrant Should Know

From brutus@wbhsi.net (brutus@wbhsi.net):

Dear Editor:

I've read "What Every Young Tyrant Shouls Know" Part II.

Where is part I?

That article was actually published long before my time. However, I rather strongly suspect that by Part I, author Bruce Duewer was referring to his Machiavelli article in the preceding issue: Machiavelli — State of the Art of the State. Perhaps he can write and confirm this? (Better yet, Bruce, write Part III for the W2008A issue!)

I'll also mention that since you're interested in Machiavelli, be sure to have a look at last issue's "Crash Course" article, too!

Mail Received Concerning
Eliminating the Paradox in Diplomacy

From Rod Stubbs (stubbsrod@hotmail.com):

To the authors,

I am pretty new to the Diplomacy world, so I offer my comments with some caution (but not too much!).

The most obvious solution to the paradox does not seem to have been discussed. I can't imagine you guys missing it altogether, but I wonder if your eagerness to contain the circumstances and effect of the paradox curtailed your interest in other approaches and the following idea may not have seen the attention it deserved.

I propose that rule 4:

"A standoff does not dislodge a unit already in the province where the standoff took place"

…be rescinded and, for clarity, something like the following rule be adopted instead:

"Where a unit lies in a province that is attacked by forces of greater strength, the unit is dislodged, even where those forces standoff"

This rule does not result in a nonsensical outcome, and is simple to understand and implement.

This rule would see application more much more frequently than the paradox that is was designed to address, which at first may seem undesirable. However, perhaps this rule was actually always needed and desirable. Why was Rule 4 introduced by Allan Calhamer anyway ???

While I recognize that this is just a game and I share your reluctance to call upon 'real world experience' to resolve these matters, the loose parallelism of Diplomacy to real world conflict is a principal attraction of the game. Put simply, it seems a nonsense that an insufficiently supported force in a province that lies between a fiery and supported exchange between two or more other parties would be able to maintain its position — in the middle of the battle — unaffected. It seems sensible that the beleaguered force would be required to retire. Further, given the balanced contest between the other two parties, it is reasonable for the contested province to remain unoccupied at the end of the exchange. If the beleaguered force was unable to retire, then it should be destroyed.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter.

From the Editor:

The Beleaguered Garrison rule ("Since dislodgement occurs only when another piece enters the space in question, it follows that if two equally well supported units attack the same space, thus standing each other off, a unit already in that space is not dislodged.") has been a standard rule of the game for a very long time, since the 1971 edition of the rules at the very least. So it seems unlikely that it will be changed at this late date.

The rules for the 2000 edition (the year after the article appeared) state explicitly that "A convoyed Army does not cut the support of a unit supporting an attack against one of the Fleets necessary for the Army to convoy." However, it isn't clear to me whether this means that the paradox has been resolved.

I invite our readers to send in their own opinions! --Ed.

From the Publisher:

This article has generated, by far, the greatest response of any article ever published by the Zine. I dare say not a month goes by without me receiving a communication about this article. When Simon and I wrote it, I don't think we knew that we would be still receiving mail about it nine years later. Keep 'em coming, everyone!

As for the "beleaguered garrisons get dislodged" idea proposed here by Rod, the DPjudge can easily be enhanced to enforce such a rule as an option if anyone wishes to try this proposal out. As you probably know, the DPjudge already supports a number of other rule tweaks and it would likely not be difficult for me to have it behave this way if a specific rule is used in a game. I offer to make this enhancement, and begin supporting this non-standard rule if anyone wishes me to do so in order that they can try this idea out and see what, if any, difference it makes in play. Contact me at manus@diplomatic-pouch.com if you'd like to run such a game. --Pub.

Mail Received Concerning
The Bohemian Crusher: A Neglected Italian Opening

From Bryan Thexton (bethexton@yahoo.com):

This is in reply to "The Bohemian Crusher."

By chance in one experience with Italy I opened as described for 1901. Then I decided for whatever reason I forget now that I did not want to attack Austria in 1902 — I might have suspected a juggernaut, but I don't remember.

I then realized another advantage of having an army in Bohemia: it borders Galicia and Silesia, two very key pieces of real estate! From Bohemia you can have a lot of influence on eastern battles, battles for which Italy is usually only an observer. You can:

In short I agree that moving to Bohemia can be potent, but the attack on Austria is only the beginning of the possibilities!

One warning however. Moving to Bohemia will upset Germany and Austria all the more for its surprise value, which can cause harm to your diplomatic relations out of proportion to the threat you are offering from there. So be ready with plenty of diplomatic cover.

Well, there you have it. Another Deposits column. Yep, it sure is.