Diplomacy in Norway

edited by Frank Johansen

The earliest recollections of Diplomacy in Norway, we have from Geir Aaslid:

We were a group of gamers all engaged in a group called DNS Directing (a bunch of students responsible for anything technical at the “Chateau Neuf” theater.) We set up our own game club in Uranienborg Str. 11, meeting once a week. We also recruited regular students. After a couple of years, we were told by the SF-fan, HC Nilsen, that there was another group of weirdoes like us in “Anaria” (game club). We contacted Johannes H. Berg and the club Ares was founded.

Besides me, the most active members of the “Directing group”, were Arne Løkketangen, Knut Aarvig and Dag Tønnesen. This was in the period 1975 – 1978. Among other things, we played Kingmaker, Diplomacy (the English edition by Gibson Games) and D&D. It was difficult to gather as many as 7 since the gaming community was very small (three of us often played 2 powers each, keeping Italy neutral). We played more frequently as our numbers increased .

For a long time, Diplomacy and Junta have been my favorite games. Dip appealed to me because of the mathematical quality of the game, as well as the communication with the other players. After tournaments at GothCon, I’d be just as exhausted as when passing a university exam!!!

In the late 70s, Diplomacy was played a lot by Go players. They were the first to arrange PBM (play by mail) games. In December 1976, Jan Nordgreen went to England to participate in a Go tournament. He returned with a set of Diplomacy. Nordgreen was one of the very first Go players in Norway and he made a major effort to promote that game in our country. After tracking him down (to the Cayman Islands!), he shares the following:

In December 1976 I went to England to play a Go Christmas tourney in the London Go Centre, lead by Stuart Dowsey (who earlier had worked with Ishi Press in Japan) and David Mitchel. I visited a gaming exhibition in London (read about it in the magazine Games & Puzzles) where, among other things, David Wells demonstrated his invention Guerilla. I also visited a Shogi club while in London. In a Cambridge gaming club (probably at the university), I saw Diplomacy for the first time. By then, I’d most likely already read about it in Games & Puzzles. I didn’t play, but I was struck by how fascinated the players were by the game. I probably stayed two months in England.”

Upon his return in February, Jan started a fanzine for Go players under the name “Spilt Melk” (spilt milk – SM) and was Editor in Chief for most of the issues. In July 1977 the first Diplomacy 
PBM-game was launched. It’s unclear if this was run in the zine or in a subzine, but reference is found to information published in SM 4 and 5. It was a single game, no tournament. No articles on strategy, but results and “propaganda”. The game continues to SM 18, when Lars Valle (Turkey) is decleared to be the winner. Interest for the game must have been high, as the game publisher “NW Damm og Søn AS” had been contacted about the possibilities for a Norwegian edition of Diplomacy. Arrangements were also made to order a large number of game sets from England.

The first Go Summer Camp was arranged on Åkerøya (an island) outside Lillesand. Diplomacy was played among other games. Knut Roll-Lund, an active Go player, recounts:

None played Dip as a main hobby. The Kristiansand players were very enthusiastic and played various games, but Go was the main activity. We were the complete opposite of the Chess Association, as we enjoyed all kind of different games. We even played them during Go-meetings and the Norwegian Championships on Åkerøya.

Yet another PBM-game starts in 
SM 22 (October). Unfortunately, “Spilt Melk” folds after No. 23 when Jan Nordgreen moves abroad. The game was probably never completed. At least not as PBM.

We know relatively little about Diplomacy in the gaming community during these years. Geir Aaslid, later the proprietor of “Spillspesialisten” (gaming shop) in Pilestredet, shares the following:

It was my responsibility to acquire new games for our club. We either bought them by mail-order from SPI in the US or by going to London once a year, filling up the suitcase. “Tronsmo” was the first shop to sell this kind of games in Oslo. Two of the role players (Egil Stenseth and Johnny Axelsson) were importing the games and they got “Tronsmo” to sell them in the years 1980-82. Unfortunately, no one at “Tronsmo” knew anything about games so they quickly gave up.

From 1983 I imported games through my own company “AEH Hobby”. We contacted Avalon Hill and made an agreement to represent them in Norway. Something we did until AH was sold. From June 1985 the company turned into a shop under the name “Spillspesialisten”. We purchased from AH through England and from 1985 we sold 30 – 60 sets of Diplomacy a year.

From 1983 I delivered games to book shops around the country. I.e. “Tanum” in Oslo and Brun’s Bookshop in Trondheim. The problem was that shops didn’t have people who knew anything about games, but Diplomacy was one of the easier products to sell.

In 1984, ARCON was organized for the first time. Since this first start, the organizer has been the game club ARES, headed by Johannes H. Berg Jr. (the great ARCON-general). ARCON is generally recognized as being the largest Convention in Scandinavia. Berg tells us the following:

DIP was certainly played in “proto-Ares” from 1979-81, and as far as I remember, in one of the two groups which formed this community in 1979 – the Directing group in U 11.

In 1984 the publisher “Grøndahl & Søn Forlag AS” released “The World of Games” by Tor Edvin Dahl. The book contains a description of Diplomacy. In the author’s opinion, Diplomacy is the best board game developed in the 20th century!

1985 – 87
In 1985 Borger Borgersen played his first game of Diplomacy in the gaming club “Hexagon” (Trondheim). For about a decade, starting in the late 80s till 1998, Borger was the focal point of the first organized Diplomacy community in Norway. In 2000 he was the first to be appointed an Honorary Member of the NDA. In his own words:

“I played Dip for the first time during a Hexagon meeting in 85. At that time Hexagon met at the home of Egil Moe in Trondheim. I had already played a game of Machiavelli, where I was crushed as France when Tim Fjeldli as Milan bribed all my armies. I swore revenge and was duly rewarded in Diplomacy. I liked the concept of Dip much better than Machiavelli and I preferred the former. Most players in Trondheim preferred Machiavelli as it included pestilence, hunger and money.”

” In the Trondheim community the following were known as good Diplomacy players: Tim Fjeldli (now Torvatn), Harald Torvatn, Hans Torvatn, Jon Venbakken (he later moved to Oslo and joined Ares), Egil Moe (founder of Hexagon). Hans Torvatn won an Arcon Diplomacy tournament in the mid 80s. This is the first tournament I can remember.”

“I think we had two rounds, qualification and final. There was no particular scoring system. The winners and some of the best 2nd ranked qualified. Especially, I remember that the organizer was criticized for his selection of 2nd ranked players. He had no system and was quite impulsive. The players wanted SC-count to decide, while the TD based it on which power scored higher. So the 2nd ranked player with the fewest SCs actually qualified since he had the best result for a particular power (i.e. Italy).”

“In short, this was typical of the usual anarchy to be experienced at Arcon :-). I was determined to have clear rules, known to the players in advance, if I would ever organize a tournament. After moving to Oslo, I took over the Diplomacy tournaments at Arcon and ran the event until 1996. It was challenging, but a lot of fun.”

“The best Dip players in Oslo during the 80s: Geir Aaslid (active since the early 80s), Are Garnåsjordet, Helge Nesøen, Øyvind Wormnes, Asle Olufsen, Hans Thoresen, Øystein Arnesen. Geir Aaslid was the first really good player. Geir’s nature as a player was made for games like Diplomacy. He was a master at manipulating other people.”

At this time Geir Aaslid was organizing Diplomacy as play-by-mail (PBM) games. He recruited players from his game shop in Pilestredet:

In the period 1985-87 I organized a few Diplomacy-by-mail games. Borger Borgersen and Malcolm Smith were among the participants. After a while I got to busy to be in charge of this activity.

In this period “Bohemian Rhapsody” was sent out of Norway. This fanzine was produced by Malcolm Smith, a British expatriate working for Alcatel Norway. This was not a Norwegian zine, but an English zine that moved around Europe with its editor. However, Malcolm maintained contact with the Norwegian gaming community through Aaslid and Berg.

Borgersen, who had participated in Aaslid’s PBM games, was inspired to start up as a game master. He shares the following:

“I realized the potential of PBM Diplomacy and put up a poster at Arcon 5. There was enough interest to start 2 games. I believe this was around 1988. Interest continued to grow as players recruited their friends. After a while, many players wanted to know how the other games were going and that became the foundation for a fanzine. At first, the fanzine was called “Diplomacybulletinen”, but was renamed “The Backstabber” after a naming contest.”

At the very end of the 80s, the “backstabbers” had become dominant:

“The backstabbers was the nick name of those who subscribed to “The Backstabber”. That is, those who engaged in PBM. As they got much more practice than other players, the logic outcome was that they also started dominating FtF tournaments (first and foremost at Arcon).”

The beginning of The Backstabber was the most fun as the zine was new and the enthusiasm among the players was great. Moreover, the number of subscriptions continually increased. At the peek, I had 10-15 games running simultaneously.”

After a while, we also started playing variants. Our main inspiration was the Swedish fanzine Lepanto 4-ever. The editor, Per Westling, attended Arcon right before we started our own PBM games and he joined a game I was GMing. Just after, he was inspired by an English fanzine to start “Lepanto 4-ever”. In turn, I was influenced by Lepanto 4-ever so it was natural that I started variants when Per Westling did. So the source was England and it spread to Norway via Sweden.”

In the same period, a few Norwegians started participating in tournaments abroad. First of all, in Sweden and Denmark. Borgersen shares the following:

“I believe, Jon Venbakken and I were the first to play Diplomacy internationally. We attended Gothcon in Gothenburg, Vikingcon in Copenhagen and LinCon in Linkøping. This started sometime in the late 80s and we continued until the backstabbers became the dominating force around 1994.”

“We attended Vikingcon 2 times, if my memory doesn’t fail me, and placed well both times. We both made the final the first year, but had to pull out since our return ferry departed before the game was over. The second time, I (as Russia) was attacked by all the Danes after taking 20 SCs in 8 years during the qualification.”

“We also did well at Gothcon. The first few years, Norwegians won practically all the board game events. Hexagon and Ares arranged joint tours to Gothcon and this way 15-20 Norwegians participated each year. This was real fun during an otherwise boring Easter vacation. I can’t recall who won Diplomacy, but I think the Torvatn clan (Tim, Hans and Harald) had the best results.”

“Only Jon and I played Diplomacy at LinCon. The car was full of Norwegians, but the others were role playing. We did reasonably well. Maybe one of us made the final board, but that’s about it.”

Geir Aaslid tells us the following about the same period:

“Regarding Con-gaming in Sweden and Denmark, I was very much part of it.”

“I was on the only trip down to Viking-Con in Copenhagen to play Diplomacy. You could only sign on as an individual and not play as a group on one board (as a certain Trondheim clan used to do). Borger was the only one to make the final, and this turned out to be one of the most incredible incidents I’ve ever witnessed.”

“The Danes certainly didn’t like having a foreigner on their final board. While Borger was out negotiating with one of the players, I was surprised to see that both Danish spectators and the TD (!!!) volunteered advice on how to kill Borger. After this experience, most of us lost interest in attending Viking-Con.”

“Goth-Con has had a good Diplomacy tourney for many years now. I’ve participated 5 or 6 times and I’ve won the first prize on four occasions. One or two of these were triple-tourneys with Civ and Junta included. As a rule, the local players were busy organizing, and as a result there were many Norwegians among the winners.”

The hardest Dip game at GothCon was in one of the triple-tourneys. At the table were: 3 from Trondheim (who played as a team to make one of them the winner), 2 Swedes (who disliked the Trondheim-style as undiplomatic play), as well as Arne Garnåsjordet and myself. Are had already won Civ. So to take it all I had not only to win, but I had to make sure that Are placed 7th. At the start it seemed hopeless as I drew Italy and Are France, but it all ended well…

ARCON 6: 1. Tore A. Godager.

GothCon 91: Jon Venbakken places second. The Final is won by Roland Isaksson.
ARCON 7: 1. Jon Sagberg.
Scandinavian Fanzine Poll: “The Backstabber” is ranked 5th in the first and last Scandinavian poll (in 1992 it becomes a pure Swedish poll). At this time there are 9 zines in Scandinavia, of which 2 are Norwegian. From a total of 37 votes, 7 are from Norway.

ARCON 8: 1. Anders S. Amundsen. (A: 13 SC) 2. Ingvar Kjøl 3. Heikki Holmås.
X.Con 2: in Hønefoss. 1. Trond Botnen (A: Solo) 2. Atle M. Kjøsen 3. Fredrik Ørlyng.
HexCon 9: 1. Heikki Holmås (F: 8) 2. Anders Færden 3. Borger Borgersen.

RegnCon 1: 1. Magnus Alvestad (R: 11 SC) 2. Bård Lilleeng 3. Heikki Holmås.
WinCon 2: in Arendal. 1. Ingvar Kjøl (E: 10) 2. Tore Godager 3. Borger Borgersen.
ARCON 9: 1. Anders Brenna (F: 12) 2. Inge Kjøl 3. Tore Godager.
HexCon 10: 1. Tore Godager (E: 13) 2. Inge Kjøl 3. Borger Borgersen.

A new Norwegian fanzine is launched around 1993. It was called “Ad Arma” and was edited by Tron Erling Nerbo from Vestnes, close to Molde. “Ad Arma” was primarily based on simpler games as United, but did also run one or two Diplomacy games. This fanzine lasted but a few years.

This is the first year Norwegians participate in international championships.
EDC II: In May, EDC is hosted in Linkøping and several Backstabbers participate. Fredrik Ørlyng (Best Austria) places 9th and Heikki Holmås 11th out of a total of 104. The Frenchman Xavier Blanchot becomes the European Champion.
WDC IV: Was held in Birmingham. Heikki Holmås places 23rd and Anders Færden 38th of 94 participants. Yet again, a Frenchman wins – Pascal Montagne.
UppCon: In September, Sigurd Eskeland (Best France) was the first Norwegian to win a foreign championship title, becoming the Swedish Champion of the year. Borger Borgersen takes 3rd place. Anders S. Amundsen got the “Best Austria” title (10 SC).
GothCon: Heikki Holmås places 5th after being eliminated in the final.
ARCON 10: Hosted the Norwegian NDC which was won by Heikki Holmås.
HexCon 11: 1. Anders S. Amundsen.
LøgnCon I: 1. Trond Botnen (“LieCon” was a pure DipCon. It was organized only 2 times.)

At this time, the Norwegian hobby starts organizing in a more formal manner. The reason was that the Norwegian hobby needed a formal organization to apply for the EDC IV at EDC III in Cirenchester February 1995. The Norwegian Diplomacy Association (NDA) was founded at a meeting during ARCON in June. NDA then officially applied to organize the 1996 EDC.

After considerable success the year before, 10 Norwegians departed for EDC III in Cirenchester, Great Britain.
EDC III: Inge Kjøl becomes the European Champion and “Best Italy”! Borger Borgersen takes 5th and “Best Tactician”. Sigurd Eskeland places 8th (“Best Turkey”). After the first couple of rounds, there were practically only Norwegians among the top ranked players. Other Norwegian results: 10. Lars Roger Moe, 13. Carl Fredrik Lødding, 29. Trond Botnen. ARCON and NDA were awarded EDC of the coming year.
GothCon: hosted the Swedish NDC. Sigurd Eskeland places 4th and Heikki Holmås 5th.
ARCON 11: hosted the NDC. The Swedes get revenge for the loss of their own title the previous year by placing 1st, 3rd and 4th. Magnus Selhammar wins the title, while Tore Godager places 2nd. With a total of 72 participants, this is probably the largest Norwegian tournament ever. Other titles: Karl Stengård (Swe) – “Best Negotiator” and Sigurd Eskeland – “Best Tactician”.
WDC V: is held in Paris. Sigurd Eskeland was the best non-Francophile player at 8th place. Inge Kjøl and Borger Borgersen place 22nd and 23rd out of the 95 participants. Bruno-Andre Giraudon (Fr) wins the title.
RegnCon 3: won by Martin Størkson.
LøgnCon II: won by Tore Godager.
HexCon 12: 1. Borger Borgersen.
Diplomacy Cupen: 1. Heikki Holmås. 2. Sigurd Eskeland.

This was the last great year for Norwegian FtF-Diplomacy, hosting EDC IV at ARCON. Borgersen has shared the following characterizations of the best Norwegian players in the mid-90s.:

Inge Kjøl

Inge Kjøl (started out carefully, but became better and better the more he won. At the end, before retiring, he was invincible. Tactically good, and diplomatically very good. Inge won a lot because he was more aggressive than the rest of us. He took more chances and succeeded.)

Sigurd Eskeland

Sigurd Eskeland (a bit naive in the beginning, but very eager and he came to understand the nuances of the game. Maybe the most prolific player and the one with the biggest winning potential. At the top of his career, he always scored very well. He learnt a lot from the Swedes (stabbing, etc). Because of this, he always had some aces up his sleeve compared with the rest of the Norwegians. Sigurd became an excellent tactician).

Heikki Holmås

Heikki Holmås (an extremely good diplomat and fine tactician. Heikki would have done well internationally if he had had the time to participate. His charisma would have spun the foreign experts around his little finger. At the Norwegian scene he became a little to smart so his charisma stopped working. The rest of us, could usually stop him while there still was time. Put him on a board with 6 players who don’t know him. Then he’s unbeatable.)

Trond Botnen

Trond Botnen (a cunning fox without weaknesses. As a former chess player, Trond was superb tactically. He was also very good at diplomacy. Trond’s problem was that we were all aware of the hidden agenda behind his proposals. This made us treat him with natural skepticism. He could strike hard even when, seemingly, under control. He’s a player you can never ignore. Even with 1 SC he would fight on to the bitter end. He would often salvage a good score after being far behind.)

Anders Færden

Anders Færden (a player who almost always managed to qualify for the final in the tournaments he participated in. Anders was a fine all-round player. It was always a pleasure to play him as you knew he would not make illogical stabs. This was both an advantage and a disadvantage. A stab is more likely to succeed when it’s unexpected. That’s why he seldom “won”, but as a good alliance player he always scored well.)

Fredrik Ørlyng

Fredrik Ørlyng (young and therefore easy to underestimate. He didn’t have any particular strengths so people would never gang up on him. He was good at making alliances with inexperienced players by presenting the experienced players as threats. Tactically, you could beat him one on one, but if he had gained friends he was a difficult opponent. Could have become very good if he had continued as an “adult”.)

Tore Godager

Tore A. Godager (a chaos player, who made life hard for expert players. Easy to underestimate and then, the game was lost.)

Jon Sagberg

Jon Sagberg (a peculiar player. He often fell out with people during the game, but still he managed to end up at the top.)

A. S. Amundsen

Anders Schrøder Amundsen (a real “kick-ass” player.)

Lars Roger Moe (a good all-round player who always did well.)

Øystein Flø (a priest and very capable Diplomacy player. He could have gone far if job and family commitments hadn’t stopped him from playing FtF. Only played PBM.)

Rune Kaalhus (a Norwegian residing in Sweden. He was a novice at LinCon in 1994, but later he became a feared PBM player.)

Borger Borgersen

Borger Borgersen last, but not least! Trond Botnen describes him in the following manner:

Borger’s greatest problem as an FtF-player was his reputation as Godfather (“Don Borgo Borgosi?”) for the Norwegian diplomacy hobby during the Backstabber period. The prospects of taking his scalp always inspired to extra effort. Not unlike playing soccer against Rosenborg or Manchester United. Despite this, Borger usually ranked among the best when he took a break from GMing games for others. Personally, I met him for the first time in my very first game of Diplomacy at ARCON during the 80s. That game was probably characteristic for his playing style. He was a solid alliance player throughout the game. Until the last season, when he stabbed to win with 11 SCs to my 10. In negotiations, Borger was full of initiative and creativity. He usually took the initiative promoting his own proposals and plan – and he rarely stabbed without reason. A good strategist and brilliant tactician – and a steadfast ally as long as it was in his own interest. When it was no longer in his interest, he wouldn’t tickle his ally’s back – the tip of the dagger would come out through the chest.

SydCon: For now, the last Swedish Championship with Norwegian participants:
6. Sigurd Eskeland (Best Italy), 8. Anders Færden, 20. Tore Godager and 31. Inge Kjøl of 58 participants. The Norwegian team places 2nd of 7.

ARCON 12: hosted EDC IV (report in English). Inge Kjøl becomes the first (and so far the only) to win the European Championship twice. Sigurd Eskeland secures a Norwegian double win. As TD, Borger Borgersen, delivers a very well organized event. “Norway 1” wins the team competition.

RegnCon: is won by Erik Klette.

NOTR: In August, this Norwegian judge is established by Rune C. H. Gabrielsen.
Rannestad Convention: is drafted by Anund Rannestad and other active GMs at the time. The purpose of “RC” was to reduce the high rate of drop-outs from judge games. Even today (2001), there are GMs conducting games under “RC” rules. However, closed groups as the Vermont Group seems to be more successful at providing the hobby with “dedicated” games.

Although 1996 seemingly was the very peek for the Norwegian hobby, decline had started even before the Oslo EDC. Borgersen explains how and why:

In the beginning, the Backstabbers where those who primarily played PBM Diplomacy, while others played FtF. After a while, Bacstabbers played both. Due to the higher degree of experience, they dominated tournaments completely.

An unfortunate side effect was that the Backstabbers already were acquainted through PBM games and previous tournaments. As a result, they formed alliances during the qualifying rounds at tournaments. They claimed it was easier to ally with someone whose style of play they already knew as opposed to the unknown players. So you didn’t need more than two Backstabbers at a table before it was very clear who would dominate the game. As long as the two with the higher ranking qualified for the semi-final (and later the final) they had no reason to trick each other.

So new Dip players faced a major obstacle. They played the “normal” way (frequently shifting alliances) and by the time they understood who were the real threats in the game, the Backstabbers were in full control. After a while, inexperienced players tired of this and stopped signing up for Dip at Arcon. Then we got a new problem. You would all the time meet the same players at Con after Con (other Backstabbers, that is). Thus, most of the ecxitement was lost. It might be fun to be stabbed by Trond Botnen once or twice, but after the 10th game you get bored.

So the success of the Backstabbers had become the greatest threat against the future of the Diplomacy hobby. The Backstabbers knocked out all the novices and this put an efficient end to recruitment. At the end only Backstabbers remained and they got tired of each other. In short, this is how the Diplomacy community of Norway collapsed. We, who were part of it, understood only too late what we were doing.

Next time an attempt is made to build up a Dip community, one should focus on recruitment and not so much on tournaments. Give the novices a chance to become good. On the other hand, one can understand that the good players thought it was great fun to win tournaments and that they did all in their power to succeed. The Backstabbers could discuss their clever plans for hours, without thought for the possibility that their “victims” would be efficiently cured from ever trying Diplomacy again.

Magic the Gathering only speeded up the process. This game became very popular among several of the good Dip players. WotC was smart to arrange tournaments with trips to the US as prizes. This was something Diplomacy could not match. So many Dip players happily defected to Magic. To be successful at Magic, you needed to play and trade cards practically every day. As a result, there was little time for other games.

A little later, Magic introduced money prizes and then it was even more difficult to save the lost souls.

I don’t think Dip was more affected by this than other games. About every board and role playing game experienced a downturn after the great success of Magic.

WDC VII: is held in Gothenburg. As the only Norwegian participant, Borger placed 3rd and is on the winning team with two Americans.
RegnCon: 1. Ronny Eftevåg. This should have been the NDC, but it was cancelled as there were not enough players even for one board in the first round. At the last day of RegnCon, there is finally enough for one board which was won by Eftevåg.

Bjørn T. Sund

In this period, Bjørn Tore Sund was very active in the PBEM hobby. For two years (until May 1997), he was caretaker of the international opening list for Judge games. He was also an active player and finished his career with a total of 28 judge games and a decent JDPR (ranking). In September of this year, he won the first ever game to be hosted on USTR. The game, also called ‘USTR’, was an invitational for prominent people within the PBEM hobby. Bjørn Tore soloed as England in 1916 against the very well known names of Vincent Mous, David Kovar, Klas Forsberg, Dave Kleiman and Andy Schwarz. Bjørn Tore’s best result in FtF-play, is probably his 9th place from EDC IV in Oslo. (He helped organize this event by producing web pages with information and a sign-up form.) He was also the organizer of the cancelled NDC at RegnCon 97. In 2000 he was named an honorary member of the NDA.

No. 55 of “The Backstabber” was issued in January. This turns out to be the last issue of the fanzine. Borgersen recounts why the zine folded:

The highlight of the Backstabbers was when we managed to send 10 players to the 1995 EDC in Cirenchester, England. So from this point of top interest in the zine, it took only 15 months for interest to drop to almost zero.

I tried to keep interest in Diplomacy up through the fanzine, but in spring 1997 I understood that it was irreversible. I felt this acutely when I was the only Norwegian to attend the Gothenburg WDC. A unique opportunity for Norwegians to attend a WDC, but no one wanted to go. Gothenburg is only 300 km away, so distance was no excuse.

The Backstabber lived for another 6 months so I could end several ongoing PBM games. In January 1998, it all came to an end.

In March 1998, the NOTR judge is closed after several months of “technical” problems.

During the summer, Frank Johansen recruits a Team Norway of 8 players to participate in the “World Masters” (WM) E-mail Diplomacy tournament. This turns out to become the largest Diplomacy tournament ever organized and achieves status as a de facto PBEM World Championship. The Norwegian team is ranked in the very top throughout, but finally ends 11th of the 79 teams. 2 Norwegians qualified for the semi-final to be played individually. The team members started discussing a resurrection of the NDA.

The NDA was reestablished in February. Frank Johansen, as primus motor of the WM-team, was elected Secretary General. The association sets up a web site and secures the domain name ‘diplomacy.no’. In May, the NDA is registered in the Register for Legal Entities under the Norwegian Ministry of Justice. This year, two teams are formed for participation in the “World Masters”.

ARCON 2000: 1. Bjørn Berdal. 2. Frank Johansen/Atle M. Kjøsen.
Frank Johansen won a round of Machiavelli.
WDC X: Frank Johansen participated in the Baltimore WDC as the only Scandinavian. The highlight was a “near solo” as Turkey in the 3rd round. It ends at 17 SCs in a 3-way draw (the “Best Turkey” title goes to a 15 SC Turkey, but in a 2-way draw). Frank placed 23rd of a total of 141 participants.
E-mail WM: the 1999 semi-finals are concluded. Frank Johansen and Lars Ruben Hirsch placed 9th and 12th of the unprecedented total of 553 participants.
RegnCon 8: was won by Håvard Njå. The tournament had 14 participants and was organized by NDF (TD: Asbjørn Myklebust). This was the first FtF-tournament in Norway since 1996.
HexCon 17: failed to attract enough players for a full board, but Erlend Janbu won a 3-player variant.

Although members mostly engage in PBEM, the new association succeeded in organizing tournaments at both ARCON and RegnCon. The NDA sponsored prizes at both events. The NDA failed to hold a general assembly, but otherwise the “administration” functioned well. Bergen had the most active FtF-scene, as Diplomacy is played on a regular basis in the Student Gaming Association.
RegnCon 8.5: An “in-between” gathering. Won by Raymond Kristiansen. (Only 1 board.)
ARCON 17: The new NDA organized the tournament for the first time. 3 rounds, 4 boards and a total of 18 participants. Sigurd Eskeland won by a clear margin. In addition to Sigurd, Heikki Holmås also made a “come-back” in a game outside competition. Leif Kjetil Tviberg was the TD for the largest tourney in Norway since the 1996 EDC.
Norwegian PBEM Championship: was organized by the NDA. This two round tournament had 14 participants. The final was won by Thomas Romstad.
WDC XI: Erlend Janbu was our only participant in the Paris WDC. In the final round he took the “Best Russia” title. He placed 38th of 117 participants.
E-mail WM: Norway I and Norway II placed 5th and 21st of 65 teams. Four Norwegians qualified for the individual semi-final.
RegnCon 9: was assigned as the official NDC by NDA. Håvard Njå won for the second time and became Norwegian Champion of the year. As Arcon, this tournament had exactly 18 participants over 3 rounds and 4 boards. Ronny Eftevåg represented the NDA as TD. In addition to the standard games of the tournament, one round of Modern Diplomacy was organized by Thomas Breivik.
HexCon 18: finally succeeded in attracting enough players for a full board (though, no tournament). The game was won by Erlend Janbu.



 E-mail interviews with Borger Borgersen and Geir Aaslid.

Tore A. Godager dug up results from old issues of “The Backstabber”.

Bjørn Tore Sund, Johannes H. Berg jr., Trond Botnen and Ronny Eftevåg contributed some information.

Information about the “Go”-period is collected from Go in Norway. Jan Nordgreen, Knut Roll-Lund and Morten D. Skogen shared information. Jpg-files from “Spilt Melk”, and the text from “Spillenes Verden” were provided by Knut Roll-Lund.

Tor Edvin Dahl has permitted reproduction of the chapter from “Spillenes Verden”.

Information about “Ad Arma” was found in “DIPLOMACY AtoZ Version 4.x” by Mark Nelson.

Information about “Bohemian Rhapsody” is from “The History of the UK Diplomacy Zine Poll (Part 3 -1986-1988)” by Stephen Agar.

Some results are gathered from the web sites of the “Diplomatic Pouch” and the “Swedish Diplomacy Association”.

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