Pouch Deposits

Guest Editor and the Readership

Welcome to the Spring 1997 Movement Issue Pouch Deposits (and sorry for the delay in getting them out).

Manus generally throws out a topic of dicussion for the next issue in the Pouch Deposits. Because I had to leave town unexpectedly, I knew I wouldn't get the Deposits done by the time the issue went to press, so I included a description of the topic of discussion for the next issue in the About the Pouch column. Take a look there, if you haven't already.

And now, without further delay, here are this issue's Pouch Deposits

Simon Szykman

Mail Received Concerning
The Discussion Topic Presented in the Last Issue
(Spring stabs vs. Fall stabs)

From Hanz Johansson (hanz@ts.umu.se)

Regarding stabs:

My rule of thumb regarding stabs are easy. In spring stab for position and in the fall stab for centers. Because this is also the most obvious disregarding this rule is also smart (hm..being a dippie player is hard, isn't it?)

Classical spring stabs are MAO-IRI as France, Mun-Bur as Germany, Sev-BLA and Ank-BLA as Russia or Turkey. I seldom make a spring stab unless the stab gives me a center in the fall and almost never if the person I stab is likely to receive a build in the fall even if I stab him.

Since spring stabs are easier to forgive I like to make positional advances toward my ally in the spring and then retreat in the fall. If you motivate your small spring stab with that you had recieved evil news regarding your allys plan and just wanted to protect yorurself your moves will be forgiven. My experience is that the trust you loose from the stab is gained tenfold from your unconditional retreat.

Regarding stabs in general it is important to understand why you make the stab. To stab someone just because you might gain a center is not very smart. If you just stab to gain a center you will have to stab all the time and will soon find that you have made your ally a enemy and in the long term gained nothing. Remember one important thing - when you stab a ally you might gain a center or two but you also gain something less pleasant, his anger. You can count on him using his remaining untits to hurt you and this might prove to be devastating.

As I see it there are several diffrent reaosons for and stab, for example: The big game winning stab - This stab is the best since its goal is to take a solo victory. Not stabing when a victory is certain is to me not only bad play but defies the purpose of the game. Diplomacy is a hard game and not playing to ones full potential is short of cheating.

The stupid stab - Unfortunatly too common. This is a stab that have no chance of success or its success is extremly temporary.

The probing stab - See earlier in the article. A stab to gain trust instead of centers or position.

The Illusion of a stab - Sometime you might fool the others into thinking that you and your ally has broken up and one make a fake stab on the other. If you and your ally want to change centers this might be done by faking these stab that really arn't a stab.

The sensible stab - A well, planned, timed and executed stab. Lovely.

A perfect stab is wonderful to make and horrible to recieve but stabs are vital to the game. Not stabbing leads to predictive and boring play. Remember - Paranoia is a way of life.

From Kevin Ames (kjames1@ccgate.hac.com)

In response to the mailbag question I have a Russian anecdote.

The game began with a Turkish-Austrian war (big surprise), France went anti-Italian from the start and England and Germany were doing some petty squabbling. The most annoying thing to me, the Russian, was the strong German-French non-aggression pact that to the end-game never broke.

As Russia I was doing extremely well at working Turkey and Austria against each other and away from me. While growing in scandinavia and fighting off the Germans by working the English against him.

However I was in such good graces with Turkey, without actually helping him, that once he owned Greece and Bulgaria he had situated A Bul, A Con, A Alb, F Gre, F Aeg in the Fall of 1902. I had worked this out with Italy, who was afraid of Turkey, especially since Italy wasn't even holding his own against France and Austria believed him when Turkey told him he was going after Italy. I had F Rum, A Mos, and A Gal and I built A Sev. Since it was an army Turkey didn't even bat an eyebrow but when the spring came, I convinced him to move F Aeg - Ion, F Gre - Adr, A Bul - Gre and A Con - Bul and I moved F Rum - Bla, A Sev - Arm, and A Mos - Sev thereby guaranteeing both Smyrna and Ankara in the Fall with two armies. Poor Turkey ended up in Greece being supported by France and Myself against the other.

BTW I did end up winning that game by taking all of Austria and most of Germany before the French could.

From John Young (john.young@canada.cdev.com)

As the season to stab; its better to stab in the fall because spring is a season of celebrating renewal and you don't want to ruin such a joyful time for another player.

From Alexander K. ("Smiley") Woo (Alexander.K.Woo@williams.edu)

This remains the only successful major stab I ever made, as well as my only solo win. I was playing Germany. I stabbed England. At the beginning of 1908, England owned (Bel, Edi, Lon, Lvp). After 1908, England owned (Bre, Edi, Lon, Lvp). I will let the judge output (taken from the history) tell the rest. (Note that I had to make sure France would order a par - pic; if i remember correctly, i told him that i might support the move.)

This stab illustrates a couple points about Fall stabs. First of all, a Fall stab usually does not gain many SCs but rather sets up for the next year. (I convoyed to both Lon and Edi in 1909.) A Fall stab frequently does not force a disband, but rather limits the builds that the stabbee will get from gains in another theatre. This way, the stabbee has moved his units away from his home SCs, without getting any builds to defend them. Occasionally, one may even set up a Fall stab when the stabbee will have a build, if the build will still be insufficient for putting up a defense.

Another advantage to this type of Fall stab is that the units of the stabbee are likely to be tangled up with those of his (former) enemy, and this may take some time to disentangle, especially if there is a lack of trust between them.

Date: Tue Nov 22 21:02:11 1994 (785556131)
Subject: Diplomacy results 'swift' F1908M

Movement results for Fall of 1908. (swift.032)

Austria: Army Serbia SUPPORT Army Rumania. (*cut*)
Austria: Army Trieste SUPPORT Army Serbia. (*cut, dislodged*)
Austria: Army Vienna -> Bohemia.
Austria: Army Rumania SUPPORT Army Serbia. (*cut, dislodged*)
Austria: Army Budapest SUPPORT Army Rumania. (*cut*)

England: Fleet Gascony SUPPORT Fleet English Channel -> Mid-Atlantic Ocean.
England: Fleet Brest SUPPORT Fleet English Channel -> Mid-Atlantic Ocean.
England: Army Picardy -> Paris. (*bounce*)
England: Fleet English Channel -> Mid-Atlantic Ocean.

France: Army Paris -> Picardy. (*bounce*)
France: Fleet Portugal SUPPORT Fleet Spain (south coast) -> Mid-Atlantic Ocean.
France: Fleet Spain (south coast) -> Mid-Atlantic Ocean. (*bounce*)

Germany: Army Burgundy -> Belgium.
Germany: Army St Petersburg SUPPORT Army Warsaw -> Moscow.
Germany: Fleet Holland -> North Sea.
Germany: Army Warsaw -> Moscow.
Germany: Army Prussia -> Warsaw.
Germany: Army Galicia -> Budapest. (*bounce*)
Germany: Army Tyrolia -> Vienna.
Germany: Army Munich -> Ruhr.
Germany: Army Ruhr -> Holland.

Italy: Army Rome -> Venice.
Italy: Army Venice -> Trieste.
Italy: Fleet Ionian Sea HOLD.
Italy: Fleet Adriatic Sea SUPPORT Army Venice -> Trieste.

Russia: Army Moscow HOLD. (*dislodged*)

Turkey: Army Sevastopol SUPPORT Fleet Black Sea -> Rumania.
Turkey: Fleet Aegean Sea -> Bulgaria (south coast). (*bounce*)
Turkey: Army Bulgaria -> Serbia. (*bounce*)
Turkey: Fleet Greece SUPPORT Fleet Aegean Sea -> Bulgaria (south coast).
Turkey: Fleet Black Sea -> Rumania.

The following units were dislodged:

The Austrian Army in Trieste can retreat to Tyrolia or Albania.
The Austrian Army in Rumania can retreat to Ukraine.
The Russian Army in Moscow can retreat to Livonia or Ukraine.

The next phase of 'swift' will be Retreats for Fall of 1908.
The deadline for orders will be Tue Dec 6 23:30:00 EST.

Mail Received in Response to our Request
for Translation of a Japanese Writing about The Pouch

From Bruce Duewer (beduewer@eos.ncsu.edu)

My brother is a Japanese minor, so I showed him the link. Here's his reply to me:

> Play by Email's masterpiece can be called Deipuromashii
> [Diplomacy, the English word was written phonetically in Japanese]. In
> the first place, the next Great War of Europe [word to smudged to read]
> happened in the diplomacy, war board game. The board game's true form is
> intermost secret [literally heart main point or heart secrecy: this word
> is hard to translate] (in Japan this is sold by Hobby Japan). Each
> individual makes his own next move and sends it by E-mail. The
> consequences of the battles will be returned. Let's start doing it.

[Editor's response: Thanks to Bruce and his brother Trent!]

Mail Received About the Hobby Awards

From Vince Mous (vim2@rocketmail.com)

I just read your article about the Pouch and the hobby in general and wholeheartedly agree that we should have email Awards. Actually, we already have something similar with the 'Hall of Fame', 'Diplomacy Skill Index' and now the 'Modern Hall of Fame' for my Modern variant. Along with the invitational games in which the best players of each game play, these already give the players something to strive for. Perhaps there should be a more tangible reward such as a plaque, or something, but as this is an Online hobby, perhaps an online 'plaque' at the Pouch would be sufficient.

But we could use awards for other things, such as 'Award for Special Contribution to PBEM/Judge Diplomacy' (could be several), 'Best Judge', 'Best GM', 'Rookie of the Year', 'Best Dip Web Page', 'Best EZine', 'Best Judge Modification', 'Best Pouch Article', and... 'Best (New) Judge Variant?' :-)

The Modern HoF 1996 Award goes to Erik Stensland as the best player of 1996, so if you make an Awards page, let me know and I'll give you the appropriate link.

I'd also like to nominate David Norman for 'Special Contribution' for developing both mapper for windows, which is invaluable for playing judge dip (whoever wrote mapit should also be nominated), and now the mapmaker program. I'd also like to nominate Nick Fitzpatrick for the same category for running the HoF all these years, and helping with the judge code etc... If you need more names I can keep on going! :-)

[Editor's response: My own personal view is that any PBEM Hobby awards should not be run by The Pouch, as there would be too much of a conflict of interest. That's not to say that people from the Pouch can't be involved with the awards, but simply that they shouldn't be specifically associated with The Pouch. What I'd love to see is a small group of people getting together to decide on a set of awards, a nomination procedure, and a judging procedure. If any readers are interested in getting involved, post a message to r.g.d. with a call for participation on an awards committee. I'd love to see something together in time to have a set of 1997 PBEM Hobby Awards.]

Mail Received with Kind Words
About the Pouch

From Jamie McQuinn (jmcquinn@delphi.com)

I've been looking at the new stuff you guys have done at DP and I think its terrific. The registration forms and the queue are pretty cool.

One question: What have you and Simon done, or thought about preservation of the DP html, cgi, etc. files? What would happen if you were to disappear from the Earth, or suffer a stroke and not give a shit about Dip any more. Are the source files being archived somewhere else that Simon or someone else could access?

When a project gets to be this size, and of this much importance to a community, preparation must be made so that it is not dependent on one person for survival.

(BTW, I'm not volunteering to do any of this, mind you, just wondering if this is an issue you have considered. As a librarian, I am always thinking about the preservation issues.)

[Editor's response: If anything happens to one of us, the other will most definitely keep The Pouch going. Not give a shit about Diplomacy? Never! If something happens to both of us, we've made arrangements for all the files to be copied onto tape, have the originals deleted, and have the tapes buried with us. We're going to take it all with us, and if we can't have it nobody can :-)

More seriously, we are always looking for people to join the DP Council, and the more responsibility people want to take on, the more help it is to us. We'd be thrilled to have somebody with enough interest to be able to take on the reins should it be necessary.]

From Dan Stamey (dstamey@per3.golden.csc.com)

Outstanding is all I can say! I thoroughly enjoyed reading the articles about DipCon. Man, what I wouldn't do to play people at the top of the Dip world! I know that I'd probably get my butt kicked, but it would be so much fun finding out where I would stand against these guys! I am rarely eliminated in PBEM Dip, but I realize that FTF is a whole different creature.

[Editor's response: That it is! Watch for an extensive report on this year's World DipCon coming in the S1997R Issue of The Pouch.]

From Jim Comas (newton@inlink.com)

The Pouch is great. It had everything I needed and more to get started in PBEM Diplomacy.

From John Young (john.young@canada.cdev.com)

Congratulations on a great issue of the zine. As a relative newbie I have found that it contains information of considerable utility.

In the immortal words of Diplomacy Legend Manus Hand:

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