Son of SpeccyCon (1998)

by Stephen Agar

About half an hour ago I returned from Son of SpeccyCon, organised by the postal Diplomacy hobby’s answer to Harrison Ford, namely our very own Neil Duncan. And a very good job he did as well, finding a pretty good venue, with everything one could possibly need on hand. Neil easily managed to get three boards of Diplomacy going, with a couple of people left over who had to be content with whatever else was on offer. I did offer to share my position as Russia with Gihan (who was one of the surplus players), two units each, but my suggestion fell on deaf ears. I quite enjoyed my game, probably because it mainly consisted of being sweet-talked by Susie Horton (Turkey), but Emeric Miszti had a fairly easy run as France, so by the time a juggernaut finally got started (after a couple of false starts) it was too late. I finished just ahead of a 6 centre Turkey with a 7 centre Russia, behind an 8 centre England (Jeremy Tullett) and a 13 centre France. A very hard fought game which, had it been fought to the bitter end would probably have ended up as a 4-way draw. As it was I finished 8th out of a field of 21, just being kept out of the trophies by a certain Toby Harris who came 7th 🙂 

The full results were:

1st Paul Spurgeon 137 Pts. (Best France)
2nd Emeric Miszti 93.9 Pts.
3rd Steve Jones 93.9 Pts. (Best Italy)
4th Mark Wightman 57 Pts.
5th Dave Horton 49.3 Pts. (Best Turkey)
6th Jeremy Tullett 33.5 Pts (Best England)
7th Toby Harris 25 Pts. (Best Russia)
8th Stephen Agar 21 Pts.
9th Susie Horton 16.2 Pts.
10th Steve Cox 11.25 Pts.
Paul Barker (Best Germany – 1SC)
Chetan Radia (Best Austria – 2 SCs) 

This con did further strengthen my feeling that the disparity of the strengths of the various powers, especially in Tournament games which are inevitably fore-shortened, undoubtedly favours France when it is in the hands of a competent player. All of the three players playing France were in the top four at SpeccyCon, whereas the “best” Germany was Paul Barker with 1 centre, and the “best” Austria was Chetan Radia with 2 centres! This got me thinking about rating Tournament Games again and how difficult it all is. For me, an ideal system should: 

* Rate a 2nd place with 8 centres over a 3rd place with 9 centres;

* Rate two first places on 11 and 13 centres over a outright win and an elimination;

* Rate a 1st place with 10 centres as Germany or Austria over a 1st place with 10 centres as France 

But as yet such a system does not exist and would be unlikely to get sufficient support even if it did.