Every week The Briefing publishes a roundup of Diplomacy events and innovative tactics from across the hobby. A regular feature is our Champion’s Corner, where we invite a recent tournament winner to share a move, attitude, or strategy that aided their victory. Here we collect the 17 winners of 2020 and the lessons that drove these champions to glory.
Cascadia Open: Siobhan Nolen
Siobhan talks about the successes of San Francisco residents in Canadian tournaments, the benefits of trusting Edi Birsan, and how sobriety can influence your play. She also gives some excellent advice on what to do when your ally insists on something you find unacceptable.
Nexus' Season 3: Powa
Powa recommends never stabbing only to scratch, and taking the emotional temperature of an alliance. Make sure you prepare and plan for the stab aftermath, taking account of both your future pieces and your future alliances.
MaccCon 3: dib
dib talks about their path to discovering Diplomacy. Their tournament win marks the last live game in our list. They held their Turkey to four centers until the final turn, when their allies in the East got so fed up with a Western Triple, they vaulted dib right to a shared board top and the tournament victory.
CoronaCon: Conrad Woodring
Conrad walked away victorious from CoronaCon, the first of many online diplomacy conventions this year. They talk about the oldest Diplomacy advice, there is no advice. But seriously, try to play to your strengths, and try to be fun to play with. You never know what player will end up being the kingmaker.
BPA's 2020 Online Tournament: Jeff Hayman
Jeff walks us through understanding player motivations in this tournament where they accomplished a legendary triple solo. They point out if you’re able to understand the motivation and play style of the players surrounding you, you can weather suboptimal tactics and still emerge victorious.
Nexus' Season 4: PezDeMer
PezDeMer talks through playing on a board full of sharks and general principles, like favoring attack over defense. Finally, they get concrete about setting up a Western Triple, and trimming members until it’s a Western Whatever Power You’re Playing.
Boston Massacre: Tanya Gill
Tanya talks about playing Diplomacy in a pandemic, and how it changed the tournament scene. They work through having fun while playing, and how their work on improving Austrian play paid off big time in the Massacre, jumping from 10, to 16, then vaulting past winning right into having 20 magnificent centers.
Liberty Cup: Tommy Anderson
Tommy recounts their path to playing, then focuses on communication and seizing opportunities. Their second round victory highlights the art of patching things up if an opportunity walks by (like Germany opening against Russia), and the fine balance of working well, but not too well, with someone.
Nexus Cold War Tournament: Umbletheheep
The Briefing founder Umbletheheep makes a duel appearance as champion of this Cold War variant tournament. He talks about the importance of physically understanding the board and tailoring your builds, and how creativity and flexibility lead to tactical victory.
Weasel Moot: John Anderson
John discusses their final board, the Paris selection method, and the subtle signals players give off when they’re preparing to stab Germany. Their article works through balancing interests and direction on every corner of the board, and keeping your zone of control free from curious and wandering neighbors.
Nexus Gunboat: EVR1022
EVR1022 double soloed and talks gunboats tactics with chess style Diplomacy puzzles in this article. They consider timing, and recommend checking in with yourself regularly to determine what's most important for your position.
webDiplomacy’s ODC Tournament: Brumark
Brumarks talks about managing expectations and finding common ground as the path to tournament success. They argue that half the battle is understanding how to make your allies happy, and that understanding player motivation can lead to unexpected allies.
Tempest in a Teapot: Andrei Gribakov
Andrei gives his perspective as a newer player who ended up winning a tournament. He had three main goals for victory: (1) find a strong ally immediately; (2) make myself indispensable; and (3) be patient. He also goes into depth on some strategies from each of virtual games.
Carnage: Bill Hackenbracht
Bill’s impressive win over a strong field comes down to being an all around nice guy or at the very least not being a “duck” (editor’s substitution). He also encourages understanding the scoring system.
Play Diplomacy Super Pastis: Badger1991
The Super Pastis tournament is based on the scoring system of the same name. Badger won an impressive final with an Italian board top, and in his article he discusses the importance of managing relations with France so you can have quick growth in the east.
vDiplomacy’s Around the World: Eber Condrell
This tournament on vDiplomacy is unique in that all the players compete on 6 different maps such as Africa, Australia, Asia, South America, Europe and North America. This brings out a different skill set. Eber details his effective use of vassal powers that helped him come out on top.
Virtual World Diplomacy Classic (vWDC): Morgante Pell
The vWDC tournament was the largest of the 2020 season which makes Morgante Pell’s win on the top board all the more impressive. In his article, he explains how he used BATNA to approach his negotiations and establish win conditions.
Thanks for checking out our Champion’s Corner list! Please subscribe for weekly Diplomacy updates, if you liked what you read and want to hear from future champions. Also, sign up for future tournaments to seize your chance to contribute!