Final update: 1 day to go

It’s time. It’s here and it’s happening. W. D. C. 2017.

We have got 12 full boards of Diplomacy players from all over the world and it is going to be something ELSE. We are not just going to have a good time. We are going to have a great time. We might even have the great time. As in, the greatest time ever! And someone… someone is going to win the World Championships. Oh yes.

Need to knows

The first need to know is my phone number. It is on the email I have sent to every registered player. If you want to talk to me, any time, for any reason, call it. I will answer it. Put this number in your phone now. Do it now. Seriously. You may need it.

The second need to know is our hashtag – #WorldDipCon2017 – start using it! More on this below.

(There is free wifi in St John’s College. Everyone registered for the tournament has a wifi logon waiting for them at the Porter’s Lodge in College. So there is no excuse not to social media)

The rules for the tournament and breakdown of the rounds etc are here:

There are a couple of changes. I have shifted the start time for the Sunday round a little bit later. I have changed the way the powers are allocated on the top board to the most modern method. I have put in the time for the hobby meet, where the next WDC is decided – that is going to happen on Saturday morning, first thing. I hope there is a bid!

Where to go

St John’s College is found on a road called St Giles, postcode OX1 3JP. You are free to come and go out of the college at all times. The front gate is open I think 7am to 11pm, if it is shut for some reason then buzz the buzzer and the porters will let you in.

Parking is a challenge.

We will be playing in a few different locations around the college, just for a bit of variety. However, each day roll call will occur in the Prestwich and Larkin rooms, which are in Thomas White Quad.

Here is a confusing map of the college.

It has almost the right arrows on it. We are actually at #13 on the map. Follow the arrows and you’ll be in the right place. more or less. .

From the front gate you go like this: Exit Front Quad through the tunnel to the left (past the Chapel). You’re then in North Quad. Exit North Quad through the tunnel in the far right corner (past the Bursary). You’re then in Thomas White Quad. Face right when you exit the tunnel and the Prestwich and Larkin Rooms are on the opposite side of the quadrangle to you.

Thursday night

If you are joining us for the Gala Dinner, please meet in the St John’s College Canterbury Quad at 6pm for drinks. As I have said I expect a wide range of outfits, from tuxedos to shorts – whatever you are wearing, please try to look nice.

If you are joining us for the alternative curry dinner, that will be happening at Majliss Curry House, 110 Cowley Road. This is a good 20 minute walk from St John’s. The good news about that walk is that it goes past many of the best sights in Oxford! The curry is from 7.45 – you can meet us at the restaurant or join us at the Eagle and Child pub (right opposite St John’s College) before 7.15 and we’ll stroll down from there.

Social media

(Courtesy my social media consultant, Conrad Woodring!) Let’s face it. Everyone that couldn’t make it to WDC this year is totally gutted and wishes they could attend. Our friends, family and enemies are going to be sitting at home all weekend waiting with bated breath for the results to come out. There may even be some crying. To help them feel like they are part of the action, we are going to be posting live updates to our Facebook page and to twitter, and we want every attendee to join us!

This weekend we will be using the hashtag:


We will be updating on Twitter live all weekend (and a bit on facebook too). Funny quotes, photos, videos are all equally welcome. In order to make sure our friends don’t miss any of our updates, it would be good to tag the following in your updates:

@FTFdiplomacy   @NADipFed  @WindyCityWeasel  @DiplomacyWorld

A few words about conduct

Diplomacy is a passionate game. Passions rise. People get angry and upset and say stupid things. People also hold grudges and it can get personal. This is all part of the rich mix that makes up our beautiful and wonderful hobby. If you are especially delicate or easily offended, this is not the game for you. If you foil someone’s plans, you can reasonably expect them to call you a horrible, stupid idiot for the remainder of the game and maybe do quite a lot of swearing.

However, some conduct is not acceptable and I want to make that crystal clear to all participants. In particular at WDC 2017 there can be no:

DISCRIMINATORY language or behavior against players based on their sex, age, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality or any other personal characteristic

INTIMIDATING behavior and language which implies physical danger or threats of physical violence

HARRASSMENT: persistent, repetitive and unwanted offensive language or behavior intended to disturb or upset, in particular that which does not respond to a request to desist

BRIBERY: overt financial incentive or significant incentive in kind to influence gameplay, extending also to a ban on gambling on the tournament

I am the Tournament Director and my decisions are absolute. I have the discretionary right to administer tournament-based penalties for infringements of these and other rules. These can range from an official caution – to warn against repeat offences – or outright penalties including cancellation of orders, docking of points, disqualification from a round, or ejection from the tournament.

A few words about the tournament and timings

You cannot play until you have signed in with me for the first time. You can sign in with me at any time from Thursday onwards. On Thursday I will be hanging around College mostly; on Friday I will be at breakfast in the Great Hall in the morning and then in the Prestwich and Larkin rooms after that. As part of the sign in process I will ask you to provide a mobile phone number (except if you don’t possess one). If I am expecting you for a round but you are not present at roll call, I will phone you. If you don’t answer, I will strongly consider leaving you out of that round. So please leave your phones on. It is important.

If you are arriving in Oxford in time for the Friday morning round, and you think you might arrive too late for roll call at 9.30am, you must inform me in advance or call me in case of unavoidable delay. I will do my best to accommodate you.

Similarly, if you are arriving in Oxford in time for the Friday night round, and you think you might arrive too late for roll call at 6.30pm, you must inform me in advance or call me in case of unavoidable delay. I will do my best to accommodate you but if you are going to arrive after 7.45pm it is very likely that you will not get a game that night.

Some games will be starting late on Friday and Saturday night. There will be people who arrived on time ready to play, who may be drawn on these boards. Apologies if that inconveniences you – your game will be starting later, so expect it. It may happen.

The Team Tournament is on Sunday this year. I will be accepting team submissions from first thing on Friday morning. By Saturday, I will be pressing all of you to put teams together (who haven’t) and to submit them to me that day. Teams who have people on their submitted team, who then miss the Sunday round because of oversleeping and hangovers will be penalized in creative ways.

Some of you have expressed a preference about what round you wish to skip. I will not hold you to this, so you can change your mind. There is a very small chance I may ask some of you to change your plans and skip a different round. I just wanted to warn you of that in advance.

A few words about the rules

We will be going by the latest edition of the rules of Diplomacy.

In all cases of adjudication, common sense will apply. I am the Tournament Director and my decision is absolute and final. You can request me to intervene and make a decision about something controversial on your boards – however if I think you are doing this spuriously to waste time, I will be displeased and may do something about that. To be clear – an adjudication by me is not a legitimate diplomatic avenue to exploit for you. However, I will be happy to make swift rulings on genuine questions and ambiguities.

As a general rule, in the case of disputed orders, I will allow orders where the intention of the order is clear and unambiguous, and I will provide advice to the writer for the future. Please be aware that this is an international tournament and some province abbreviations vary from language to language. This is fine. I strongly advise that you never write “Nor” as a destination.

In terms of the nitty gritty, I do *not* require the country of a third-party support order to be specified. I do *not* require a coast to be specified where there is only one legal alternative (although I advise you write one as it is good practice). I do *not* consider the following orders “A Edi – “; “A Edi S”; “A Edi C” or just “A Edi” to be a hold order, I consider it to be null. I *do* consider the following example misorders “A Edi – S”; or “A Edi – Jk” to be a hold order. (This is an important distinction if you have ordered the same unit twice). Unwanted convoys are *not* allowed (this relates to an arcane way of doing something incredibly dodgy and I’d be happy to explain when I see you). In terms of convoy paradoxes, I do *not* believe an army unit being convoyed by “Fleet x” can cut a support against “Fleet x”.

A few words about the scoring system

Manorcox is new but I am quite certain it is the greatest Diplomacy scoring system ever invented and much better than all others ever thought of. So you all can stop talking about this issue now it’s settled. K?

OK maybe just a hint of sarcasm there. What is definitely true is that Manorcox is the system we are using. The theoretical justification for it is that it measures “nearness to a win”. People ask me how to play well in it – and the answer is:

  • Get lots of centres
  • Top the board
  • Try to stop other individuals from having lots of centres

From an individual perspective, the highest score you can score for one round is 85 – that’s a solo. The next best score is 74.31 – that’s for a 17 in a 17-4-4-3-3-3-0. Similarly, the 17 in a 17-7-7-3 is 72.58, so pretty darn close. By contrast the 17 in a 17-16-1 only gets 61.10, which is obviously a lot less. And the 17 in a 17-17 gets only 50.00 points.

Another point to note is that your games are not zero sum. Any given game could dish out between 85 and 114 points because of the bonus 10 points for board-topping and the bonus shrapnel points for eliminated powers.

A few words about your orders and the deadlines

Each room will have a timer clock *copyright the magnificent David Norman* which clearly counts down to the season deadline *copyright the magnificent David Norman’s magnificent sister*. Each board will have a cardboard box, clearly marked as your board’s cardboard box. Before the deadline, put your orders in the box. Simple. Once the deadline hits zero, if you have not already put orders in the box, you must stop writing immediately and place your orders in the box immediately.

Can you open the order box and get your orders out and change them? Yes, on some rare occasions you can do that if you wish. It is frowned upon but you can do it. If you are doing it too much then you will lose your privilege to do that. If you are found to be opening the box in order to look at other people’s orders inside, then that is a serious offence.

Of course the deadlines in this tournament are pretty fast. So, there will be times when people miss the deadline. That is something that happens and I expect boards to put pressure on players to submit their orders on time. Frequent, consistent or deliberate late play will get a caution and then penalties thereafter. I will be the judge of what constitutes frequent, deliberate or consistent late play.

And finally

See you soon folks. Looking forward to it like you wouldn’t actually, seriously believe.


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