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Friday, 18 August 2017 12:41

Get out of the box

What up Weasels? I wrote an article for Diplomacy World that I figured I'd pass around. Please note that at the time of writing, i was winning the league standings. Dammit, Brandon...

 

For the full mag, click here. 

 

 

Get Out of the Box: 10 Ways to Take Your Game to the Next Level

 

First, I should introduce myself. I’m Jake Trotta, a new member of the hobby and the Minister of Public Information (or “Speaky Weasel”) for the Windy City Weasels. Our club goals are to grow the hobby and develop championship caliber players. Both objectives require players to learn and develop their game, so I’d like to share a bit about my own development in the hopes that it may help other future players (and Weasels) with theirs. After winning my first tournament, I went through a very difficult 6-month plateau in the hobby. I wanted to get better and tried to improve at the 3 aspects of the game (negotiation, strategy, tactics). I was reading articles, playing gunboat games, getting a lot of games in. But the results weren’t matching my effort level. I lost the league lead, got slammed at WDC, wasn’t enjoying the game as much, and was certainly less fun to play with. After getting eliminated first in our club title game, the Weasel Royale, I asked another player on the board where I was going wrong. “You’re just not having fun anymore,” he told me. That moment made me realize something—a fourth (and perhaps most important) dimension to the game. Attitude. What mentality am I bringing to the board? How is that impacting my negotiation? Strategy? Tactics? If I don’t establish a defined, constructive relationship between myself and the board, it is, by necessity, going to be very difficult to establish constructive relationships with my boardmates. That realization changed the way I evaluate the board, my game, and myself, sparking a rapid period of growth. The following are a set of 10 insights that helped break me out of that mental box.

1) You are the only common thread on every board you’ll ever play

Let’s start with a blindingly obvious one. There’s so much that is out of your control in a Diplomacy game— openings alone have thousands of possible combinations—but the one thing you do control is yourself. Fortunately, you are also going to be involved in every board you’ll ever play. This means your focus should always be on you, developing yourself for future games. On every board, your primary objective should obviously be to win. But after that, your goal should be to LEARN—what may feel like defeat today is the bedrock of tomorrow’s victory.

2) It’s Always Your Fault

There is a danger when we do not share the same opinion as someone to blame them for our troubles. If they don’t do it my way, they must be wrong. But that is a cop out. Wishing someone else was better at Diplomacy will never make me better at Diplomacy. Diplomacy is a game of collaboration. In order to collaborate, we need to win others over to our way of thinking, or find a means to make their way of thinking work for us. Therefore, no matter which route we tried to take, the failure is our fault. So blame yourself! If you weren’t able to get on the same page with another player, evaluate your own responsibility in that after the game. You can always improve your negotiation, but you’ll never get the chance if you’re not willing to meet the other person where they are. Don’t reject their stance—move yours to take advantage of it.

3) But, don’t blame yourself if you don’t win, cause Dip ain’t fair and winning ain’t everything

Diplomacy does not always, or perhaps not even often, reward the player who performed best. You can’t force a victory in a Diplomacy board. Even solos involve someone else messing up. So in the majority of games, the rest of the board has to agree on who the victor is. Since it is impossible to control the result of the game, there will be times where you played better than anyone on the board and don’t top, and times you top when your play didn’t merit victory. Your objective is to play well enough to win and improve. Better to commend yourself for strong play that gave you a shot to win than to celebrate a win you didn’t really earn.

Hit the jump for 7 (7!) more ways to elevate your game

Published in The Wise Old Weasel
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 05:51

A 5 Minute Diplomacy Guide

TEACHING DIPLOMACY

A Five-Minute Teaching Guide.

 

Players: there are 7 players in the game, one for each of the major powers in Europe in 1901: 

              England/France/Germany/Italy/Austria/Russia/Turkey

 

Turns are divided: Spring and Fall with the game starting in Spring 1901.

 

Players discuss their plans for their pieces privately at the beginning of the Spring and Fall moves.

 

You are not bound by anything you say or do with another player.

 

Players secretly write down their orders for their pieces and then they are revealed and adjudicated simultaneously.

 

Abbreviations in order writing are listed on the conference map with S for Support and C for Convoy.   When writing a support for a piece to move you have write where the target piece is moving to.

 

There is no discussion when players have to retreat or make adjustments to their positions.

 

The map is divided into different named spaces.

 

Spaces can be all water, all land or coastal.

 

Split Coasts exist in St. Petersburg, Bulgaria and Spain. A fleet in those spaces must be on one coast or another.

 

There are 34 supply centers on the map (stars/dots) scattered in 60+ named spaces.

 

To win you need 18 supply centers at the end of a Fall move.

 

Players start with 3 or 4 supply centers; these are your home centers in one of 7 Great Powers.

 

Two piece types are: Army and Fleet.

 

For every supply center you own at the end of the Fall you may have one piece on the board.

 

If you are short of pieces you build new ones in unoccupied home centers.

 

If you have more pieces than supply centers you must reduce your pieces to equal the number of supply centers.

 

Each piece has equal strength so it moves with a force of 1 plus 1 for each of its supports.

 

An Army may move or give support for another piece to move into or hold an adjacent land or coastal province.

 

A Fleet may move or give support for another piece to move into or hold an adjacent water or coastal province.

 

Only one piece may be in a space at any time.

 

You may move all or some of your pieces each turn.

 

Your piece may only do one thing in any turn:

 

 

MOVE 

to an adjacent space or be convoyed from a coastal province to a coastal province Fleets in split coasts may only move to adjacent coastal or water spaces.

SUPPORT 

to defend another adjacent piece in place if you could have moved there and it is not moving.

SUPPORT 

a specific piece to attack another space that your unit could move to; fleets in split coasts may only support moves into a space that they could have moved on.

CONVOY

if a fleet, you can assist in convoying an army.

HOLD

(also called Stand) in place doing nothing.

 

A piece moves only one space at a time to an adjacent space unless you are an Army being convoyed.

 

No switching. Units ordered to each other's space do NOT switch positions unless one is being convoyed.

 

When giving support you are adding your force to the mover on, or the holder of, a space.

 

You may support other people’s pieces.

 

Bounce: if units of equal support try to move to an unoccupied space then they BOUNCE and no one gets in.

 

Supports are CUT by a piece moving on the supporter from other than the space that the support is directed at. 

 

To force someone out of a space requires that you have greater force than the piece that is holding the space plus all of its supports to Hold. A move with one support and a hold with one support bounce. 

 

Cut supports do not count for the determination of who has the most force.

 

A convoy is a move of an army in a coastal province to another by a fleet or a chain of fleets in adjacent water spaces

 

A fleet in a coastal province may not convoy.

 

You cannot dislodge or cut support of one of your own units. No ‘friendly fire.’

 

Units forced out of their space are dislodged and must retreat to an adjacent space.

 

You may not retreat to a space that was the site of a Bounce.

 

You may not retreat via a convoy.

 

If you cannot retreat or decide not to retreat, the piece is disbanded.

 

A piece that is dislodged has no effect on the space from which the mover came that dislodged it.

 

A convoying fleet that is dislodged disrupts the convoy and the convoy does not take place.

 

Oddities: Kiel and Constantinople have a single coast due to their waterways (Kiel Canal/Bosphorus). Denmark is a coastal province that connects with Sweden so armies can go between them but does not divide itself or the Swedish coast in two. As a coastal province you may not convoy through Denmark, Kiel or Constantinople.

 

Published in Static Content

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