Diplomacy 2014 – Now over to our raving reporter….

As promised our Diplomacy Expert* Handsome Bob has his say about what’s been happing so far in Diplomacy ….


They came, they saw, they confused the hell out of everybody.

Apologies for the delay in writing a commentary on this game, I was intercepted on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan and was waylaid temporarily.

In the interests of full disclosure, I haven’t been privy to any of the correspondence between the players so any assumptions I make (however illogical, captain) are based on what I see on the board.

That having been said, after Turn 1 I was confident I could call the game:  Turkey had bottled it; Russia and Austria would make significant inroads; Italy would meander around the Med while keeping a close eye on Austria just in case he got naughty and any two of England, France and Germany would work together to screw over the third.

Turn 2 brought a quick and surprising revision: Turkey and Russia played Austria like a Stradivarius; Italy meandered into Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest; France plundered all and sundry and Germany and England seemed to stalemate with neither making any significant gains.  And Germany had some Eyetie spear-brandishing in his southern heartland.

After Turn 3 I just went to bed with a wet towel wrapped around my head, weeping profusely and wondering how the game had gotten so schizophrenic and screwed up.

Let’s summarise:

England: now has two units on mainland Europe at the expense of handing Norway over to the Tsar as a kind of a Christmas freebie.  Unfortunately, one is a fleet so can only wander up and down the coast.  The one in Holland will have Kaiser Drax looking over one of his shoulders while he contorts himself into knots while simultaneously looking over the other shoulder at the Italian unit in Berlin.  The fleet in the North Sea is ideally positioned to support and convoy with little or no interference.

France: showed all the instincts (actually paranoia) of the typical Diplomacy player by not trusting England not to do the dirty, duly convoying his army in Spain back to Brest ‘just in case’.  The move into the Med would suggest that Italy might need to develop a taste for Brie and Escargot before too much longer.

Italy: Ballsy, ballsy, ballsy.  Not happy with just sashaying into Munich, he then advances to Berlin when the nasty Hun descended upon him, thus getting a valuable build and forcing Drax to investigate a career as a circus contortionist (cf England above).  Can Germany kick him out?  More to the point, can he do it before Austria decides to join in the fun to be had at Oktoberfest?

Austria: having seemingly been shafted by the Turkey/Russia juggernaut, he took his hiding like a man and, sensing weakness, decided to take out his frustration on the now-vulnerable Hun.  As to whether he can do anything before the forces massing on his Eastern borders decide to invade is another matter.  However there may be a story yet to be told there (see Turkey below).

Germany – ahem (stifles giggles): trussed up like a submissive and waiting for the whip to crack, can Kaiser Drax rescue his once proud nation or will his people be force to live on a diet of pasta and Verdi?  One thing’s for sure, he needs help – and it looks like his only hope, one Obi Wan Kenobi, is busy elsewhere.  But if anyone can rescue the situation, smooth-talking, I’ll-sell-you-my-firstborn-in-return-for-support-into-Berlin Drax is your man.  We’ll be watching the German space (while it’s still in existence) with interest.

Turkey: looked doomed after Turn 1 due to indecisiveness, ended Turn 2 with a build (after crawling into the Tsar’s boudoir in Moscow) and now looks like he could be mounting an interesting offensive on his former friend (or is he? It could all be smoke and mirrors and judicious use of sneaky convoys).

Russia: currently the bookies favourite.  Two builds, control of Scandinavia (pretty much unopposed) a fleet in the Baltic and moving West with a vengeance.  Maybe he too wants a slice of the German schnitzel or the Austrian whatever they eat there.  Or has he spread himself too thinly? Tsar Paul is too canny a player to get caught out like that.

I am hugely looking forward to Turn 4 but am making no predictions as to what will happen.  After three turns, I’m not getting caught out again.

Have at it gents!!

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