by “Big Boy”
Having played postal diplomacy for a number of years and been relatively successful, I thought it would pass on a few tips.
On the letter writing front.
1. Write regularly to most of the players in the game. Not writing is a good way to encourage antagonism
2. Be honest most of the time and keep your lies to when you need to stab. If you always lie no one believes you when you tell the truth.
3. Some players like the correspondence rather than doing well in the game. You should recognise these players and reciprocate.
4. If you are writing on the computer and using `word’ could I suggest using ‘Auto Correct’. This tool enables you to write letters quicker. What it does is correct miss spelt words but I also use it to write words and sentences, e.g. I type in ‘tyf and the computer corrects this to ‘Thank you for your letter of ‘. There is no limit to the short cuts, provided you remember the codes.
5. Email is wonderful for the last minute change of direction provided your ally opens your email and you are not left looking silly because you thought they’d got that most important change of tact.
6. Hand write some of your letters.
7. The use of the phone at the right time is also a good technique. However, I know of one player who immediately stabs someone who rings him up.
8. The words ‘could I suggest’ are most subtle and can be most productive in both diplomacy and in business.
On the game playing side my tips are as follows:
1. There are a number of key provinces on the board that have a greater control than they first appear to have. These are not necessarily the ones with supply centres. Examples of these are NTH; Tyr; ION; York; BAL; BLA; Ukr, Gas. Obviously they are not always important should the play be in other parts of the board but recognising the important provinces and occupying it before the defensive situation arises, can be crucial.
2. Move your units. A unit that moves can do the work of two. Self standoffs, cutting support, the scissors and the schizophrenic support are a wonderful innovative menu of possible orders. Richard Sharp’s book on diplomacy, details them in chapter 3.
3. Study the board every move and satisfy yourself you have not missed an opportunity for good manoeuvre. A lot can be achieved with few resources.
4. Never give up! Bob Kendrick who is sadly not with us anymore, was down to two centres in 1908 playing Germany and managed to win the game.
These are just a few tips that oil the wheels of the game to your advantage. Richard Sharp’s book published in 1978 is full of treasure.
It could be said that I have got into the top 20 out of the 350 currently playing. I would like to remain anonymous because others may not think me a good player. Also diplomacy players love to be lion killers even if it means their own downfall, but I don’t like to consider myself a lion. I just enjoy the game.