EOG Reports from the Advisors in "backseat"

Table of Contents

EOG report from Eric G. Scharf
Jurgen Pohl, advisor to Germany
Waid Here, advisor to Turkey (and to everyone else)
EOG report from Rob Vollman
Jean-Luc Picard, advisor to France
General Zarg, advisor to Turkey
EOG report from Tom Koutsky
Lord Lansdowne, Advisor to England
Le Monde, Advisor to France
EOG report from Conrad Minshall
Risa Shadouvian (aka Shad), advisor to Russia
Comment from Rob Vollman
Comment from Timothy Ferguson
EOG report from Jeff Jones
Zoltan Karolyi, Graf von Marroszek, advisor to Austria
Anneke Liebling, advisor to Austria
Finnish State Radio, advisor to Russia
Rob Vollman replies to Turkey
EOG report from Timothy Ferguson
Cardinal Richelieu, advisor to France
Cardinal Mazarin, advisor to Italy
The cast of characters also included advisors who did not submit EOG reports:
Katharina Allimoza, advisor to Italy; Col. Rustov, Advisor to Russia; ME STOP, advisor to Russia; an anonymous magyar noble, advisor to Austria; Prince Carlos, advisor to Italy.

Broadcast message from [[email protected] as] Observer in 'backseat':

End of Game Statement - Jurgen Pohl & Waid Here

by Eric G. Scharf

Yup, like the header says, both Deputy Reichskanzler Pohl and Waid Here were authored by the same guy. I was tempted to maintain the schizophrenic facade and write two seperate EOGS, but that probably wouldn't impress anyone (other than myself, of course).

First off, I'd like to offer my sympathy and admiration for the guys who actually had to *play* through all our blather. If I were in the same situation, I'd've probably ignored the advisers and treated it like a no-press game, except that I hate no-press, so I'm not sure what I'd've done. I'm especially impressed by the players who actually tried to follow our advice. The image of England and Germany laboring to publically orchestrate the invasion of France while everyone knows that such an invasion requires poor French guesswork will remain with me for a long time.

Of course, I wouldn't have enjoyed this game nearly so much had there not been similarly vociferous advisers. Lansdowne and Jean-Luc, in particular, had great influence on both the course of the game and on the level of banter. Shadouvian (your Tsar needed you badly!), Katy, Anneke, Cardinals Richelieu & Mazarin (the Ren & Stimpy of 'backseat'), the defiant editors of Le Monde, even General Zarg and the anonymous Magyar made this game more fun than some of the games in which I'm an actual player.

Some background: Jurgen Pohl is the name of the father of one of my friends, and is a genuine German citizen. Jurgen was the second of my personae; I chose to advise Turkey and Simon "assigned" me to Germany. Past players in my games will recognize the verbiage and slimy tone in Jurgen; he's closer to my "normal" playing style (of course, I will probably completely alter my style after this game; recreational schizophrenia is fun!). Concluding the Scandinavian Treaty while stiff-arming the French advisors (having conflicting voices in the French government helped here; comparisons to contemporary real world politics are left as an exercise for the reader) was a personal victory; locking Germany into a slow-growth strategy with English allies was less so. The Austro-Italian alliance was inevitable; I like to think Jurgy helped delay its potency from the opening until the midgame. Of course, the inconsistency in Russia's voice prevented anyone from ever really severing the Berlin-St.Petersburg axis, and I knew that so long as Jurgy was more consistent, the Tsar would have little alternative to keeping the faith. Lansdowne's resurgence actually made it easier, as I *knew* Jurgy's monologue was slipping towards Ribbentrop, and Lansdowne's conservatism would impart the appearance of moderation (comparisons to two-party politics in the age of mass media are left as an exercise for the reader).

The single greatest achievment for Jurgy was seducing Italy to attack Austria. That Italy was played by Paul Myers, whom in previous games I've both allied with and stabbed, is an unexpected pleasure. I'm most proud of this because I feel it truly expanded the options open to My Kaiser; Germany could either stab Russia and ally with Italy or rely on the poor communications between the Austrian and Italian advisors to prevent a reconciliation after the stab. I'd like to laud Katy in this affair, who was truly a beacon of wisdom (and, therefore, my dire foe). Fortunately for My Kaiser, her voice was unheeded.

After it became apparent that France was permanently beyond the reach of negotiation (I don't blame him a bit) and that Russia was content to trust My Kaiser, I let Jurgy stay quiet, because I knew his comments would only restrict My Kaiser and constantly remind everyone of just how big Germany was. Which gave me more time for...

Waid Here was my first instinct when I saw the variant proposed. A friend of mine, who shall remain (mercifully) nameless, used to use the pseudonym "WAID Here" when we played Diplomacy on a local BBS. I believe it stands for "What Am I Doing Here?". My friend made a specialty out of extremely garrulous demeanor, ad hominem attacks, slurs on players' manhoods, and general irreverence. We killed him everytime. I always wanted to see how he'd fare in a no-partial game, and so I jumped up and asked to play Turkey (foolishly thinking that it would take the longest to eliminate). Unfortunately, the Sultan must have decided that Waid was too annoying to have any tactical sense, and my advice was ignored. I didn't even have any consistent competition as Turkey's advisor. Sure enough, the Tsar was pissed off (it didn't help that, at the same time, as Jurgy I was demilitarizing Russia's northern front), and the Sultan reaped the whirlwind. Almost the fastest elimination of Turkey I've ever seen.

Of course, now that I was freed from obligations to any one power, I was free to advise them all. I was also exempt from most rules of decorum, and so I could lampoon every attempt at the self-important posturing required by this variant. Combined with Pohl-Lansdowne vaudeville routine, I had to restrain myself from too-obvious setups. I only indulged myself once: when Jurgen reneged on a promise he made to Katy and Waid challenged him to a duel. After that, I stuck to one-liners, sparing no one. When the Anglo-German forces bogged down in France for three straight years, it would have been fatally out of character for Waid not to encourage Germany to stab England. Even though Jurgy usually gave sound tactical advice, I decided that he would have been too proud of his Scandinavian EGR pact to actively suggest the stab. Also, in this way, the Kaiser could hear a convincing case for the stab made in public, yet Jurgy could retain what little of his credibility remained.

In the end, Waid performed that role of the loudmouth kibitzer who walks by the board and repeats the obvious. While most games don't specify it in their house rules, I suspect that an observer acting like Waid would be kicked out in short order (exempting those games deliberately so designed, of course). In FTF, such behavior could result in physical ejection. Yet there's something to be said for Waid-like commentary, beyond the simple comic relief. Waid always pointed out the Emperor's lack of clothes. In PBEM Dip especially, players often decide on a policy without hearing a lucid argument made for alternatives. Waid holds the status quo to account. I suppose a case could be made that games played without such commentary are "impure," in that local ignorance allows inferior strategy to succeed where it otherwise might not have. However, if I ever bamboozle my fellow players (perish the thought!), you won't find me clamoring for a "disinterested party" to offer his opinion.

Finally, I take no small amount of pleasure in noting that the victor, My Kaiser, was Aaron Townsend, who I brutally stabbed and helped eliminate in game 'bauer'. While the credit for the victory surely goes to Aaron, I hope that Jurgy's efforts in 'backseat' in some way defray any animosity he might still hold towards me.

Probably not.

Eric G. Scharf
[email protected]
"Hypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-wracking vice that any man can pursue; it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit. It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practiced at spare moments; it is a wholetime job." -- W. Somerset Maugham

Broadcast message from [[email protected] as] Observer in 'backseat':

Hello, it's me.

In this game you knew me as Jean-Luc Picard, and those of you who paid attention know that I am better known as "King Rob" ... or just "Rob Vollman" if you prefer.

I was also General Zarg. Hmph, go figure.

And Mr. Le President - I did stick around until the end. But I soon became "bored" because ... well there wasn't much to say.

But I did sit back and read all the press, watch the moves, and (from time to time) say something funny.

It's been so long since I actually had to think and diplome ... I hardly remember the game ...

Thanks to all. Questions and comments are welcome. ([email protected], preferably)

King Rob Jean-Luc Picard General Zarg

Broadcast message from [[email protected] as] Observer in 'backseat':

End of Game Statement from Lord Lansdowne and Le Monde

Tom Koutsky ([email protected])

From my perspective, at least, the most interesting part about these EOG statements is the revelation as to who the advisors were. I had suspected the Jurgen/Waid link for awhile, but as Pohl seemed to drop out and Waid still churning, I began to doubt it. I do agree that Eric did the finest advising job of us all.

Honest -- I entered the game with the intention of screwing over England. How I would precisely do that was uncertain, but I figured it would be fun to see if I could use the "advisor" position to box in a power into a conflict he (or she) did not want to enter. And thus, Lord Lansdowne, the somewhat incompetent but responsive and active advisor was born.

I had always intended to advise France and held my tongue for the first few years, as she was already spoken for. By the time Le Monde was born, my idea there was to see if I could broker some kind of Franch-English agreement that would, again, keep England just as boxed into a continental war as before. Eventually, I wanted to see a French stab of England. Lansdowne would then have been revealed in a Le Monde special report to have been all along a French sympathizer.

Why did I pick on poor England and dispatch Lansdowne to its "aid"? Well, most (FTF) games of diplomacy I played seemed to end up with a successful England, either solo victory or involved in a two or three-way draw. So I wanted to see something different.

The best laid plans...Of course, only part of my plan worked. And not as I expected. Once England got embroiled into the continental conflict against France, England showed no inclination to protect himself against Germany at all. I was absolutely amazed that England placed orders in lock-step with what Pohl and Lansdowne agreed to -- I agree with le President that this was a fun part of the game. I commend le President for his always on-point orders, but I admit that I myself did not believe that England and Germany would follow everything Pohl and Lansdowne said.

By the time we had done the "Belgium shuffle" and Pohl offered to sail a fleet into the North Sea, I had Lansdowne accept this proposal, just to see if England would finally do something else. Well, as you know it, the Kreigsmarine set sail and it was obvious to all that the German stab of England was inevitable.

At the same time, I was trying to use Le Monde to broker a French-English attack upon Germany, but I think I started too late. By the time Le Monde gained any credibility, it was clear that Germany had England by the you-know-whats.

My original plan sullied and France under continuous attack, I took on the role of listful watcher. The spell of Lansdowne representing Russia was a bit fun, and I enjoyed using the Lansdowne character to poke fun at ex-President Carter. But I admit that the judge problems of the last few months caused me to lose a bit of interest.

Here's a few questions I'd like to have answered by advisors/powers:

1. How influential was Lansdowne to England's decision-making? In the absence of the Scandinavian Treaty (negotiated between Lansdowne, Pohl and Shadouvian), would England have made a big attempt at Scandinavia?

2. What are the other advisor/observer pairings? Would Simon let us know?

For this second question, here are my guesses:

Anneke and Katy were always one Shadouvian and Richelieu were one and the same the rest were independents

I enjoyed this game immensely and think the variant has a great deal of merit. As a relative new-comer to e-mail diplomacy, it was good for me to get used to using the judge and the style of play and press. I learned a lot and I thank you all.

Thanks especially to Simon, who thought this up and did a fine job GMing the game. And thanks to the powers -- moves were on time and I believe no abandonments!

Best regards and thanks again
Tom Koutsky
Lord Lansdowne
Le Monde
[email protected]

Broadcast message from [[email protected] as] Observer in 'backseat':

Simon says "Backseat". Backseat?! Oh yeah. It was six months ago so I'd entirely forgotten.

I had great fun in my two game years as "Risa Shadouvian". My approach was to try to speak to and influence all 7 rulers, rather than speaking just to the Russian ruler and the other advisors. Unfortunately I got terribly overcomitted about then... and of the major items Risa was much the easiest to drop.

From my experience with those 1st 2 game years I'd say this is a great variant! If another game of it is ever played I'd love to be one of the 7 major powers and experience what that side plays like.

I had two ideas for variations on this variant. It might be cool to permit some sort of private communication between an advisor and the major power. That communication could be unrestricted, or one-way, or limited to one letter every 2 game years... or whatever. My other idea is to combine "Backseat Driver" with my "Bourse" - so the observer/advisors would also be buying and selling currencies. With either idea there would be many details to be ironed out.

Conrad Minshall
(alias Risa Shadouvian, advisor to Russia)

Broadcast message from [[email protected] as] Observer in 'backseat':

Why is everyone so surprised about the Jurgen/Waid connection? I figured that one out in 1902!

I, too, fell victim to the Shad/Richelieu combo. And as far as the Monde/Lansdowne, I must confess, I didn't know. But that's understandable because I really didn't care either.

How many people knew of the Picard/Zarg connection?


Broadcast message from [[email protected] as] Observer in 'backseat':

Dear all, missive from the Vatican Council, to test if I have the password correct.

On Wed, 19 Apr 1995, Diplomacy Adjudicator wrote:

> Broadcast message from Observer in 'backseat':
> Why is everyone so surprised about the Jurgen/Waid connection? I
> figured that one out in 1902!
> I, too, fell victim to the Shad/Richelieu combo.

This is inaccurate.

> And as far as the > Monde/Lansdowne, I must confess, I didn't know. But that's understandable
> because I really didn't care either.
> How many people knew of the Picard/Zarg connection?
> Jean-Luc

Not me, I thought Le Monde was Picard, that is, I thought he was Chief Editor.

Broadcast message from [[email protected] as] Observer in 'backseat':

End-of-Game Statement in 'backseat'

Jeff Jones, appearing as...
Zoltan Karolyi, Graf von Marroszek
Anneke Liebling
Finnish State Radio

What a long strange trip it's been. First of all, thanks to Simon for the excellent idea of the backseat variant, and for keeping the game going through many judge problems. Thanks too to all the players and my fellow advisors for a good game.

My recollections of the early years may be a bit spotty, but here goes. I chose to advise Austria because it's one of my favorite countries to play, and I wanted to see how someone else handled it. I didn't press for a strong alliance with any of AUstria's neighbors at first, because (for better or worse) I tend to be more reactive than proactive in setting up alliances, and I didn't want to promise the Archduke to anything that he didn't want to do. As it turns out, this may have weakened our position more than anything.

Although I made friendly noises at Turkey early on, I knew that AT alliances rarely work, and I wanted most of all to find a peaceful resolution with Russia and Italy. If Russia had made a strong case for an ART triple, I would have gone along with it, but once Russian armies rolled into Galicia, I was lucky to find a sympathetic ear from Katy.

SOmewhere along the line, too, I dropped old Zoltan in favor of Katy, who was much less pompous and easier to roleplay. I do like the idea of Katy and Anneke sitting down in some Viennese coffeehouse to decide the future of Central Europe. Too bad she's dead now...

Once we were locked in stalemate with Russia in the east, while Germany continued to make slow progress in the west, I figured the game was up. But it's a bit hard to say in that situation "I think we should pal up with Russia and attack Italy now." That only invites an Italian stab, and the Russian is hardly likely to take you at his word...so, as usual, Austria ends up between a rock and a hard place.

I suppose I wasn't totally surprised when Italy finally pulled the knife out, but I was disappointed. If we had stuck together, we might have been able to put a crack in the RG alliance and change the balance of the game. As it was, Italy got nothing but grief for his mistake, Russia got a few SC's but no win, and Germany laughed all the way to the banks of the Danube. Toward the end, there just didn't seem much to say; at least I found out that I was right this time, which is a novelty for me.

Finnish State Radio was also my creation - I'm a shortwave listener - but it seemed way too cumbersome to repeat, and would have been pretty blatantly pro-Austrian in any event. Interesting metaphor, bad execution.

Once again, thanks to Simon and to everyone who participated. It's been fun.

Zoltan Karolyi, Graf von Marroszek (diplomat, composer, and gymnastics coach)

Anneke Liebling, Girl Friday of the Austrian Foreign Ministry

Jeff Jones # N4VMD # [email protected] # http://www.ipst.edu/~jjones/home.html
Information Specialist, Inst. of Paper Sci. & Tech., Atlanta GA
I don't speak for IPST, nor they for me. Trust me, it's better this way.
"The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great
reliability; and something is bound to come of it."
Vannevar Bush, "As We May Think", _Atlantic Monthly_ 1945.

Broadcast message from [[email protected] as] Observer in 'backseat':

Insane? Arrrrrrggghh ... could an insane man win the annual advisor's tennis match? I think not!

Yes, I was approached by Simon to help out Turkey. I tried, but by the time I got there, it was all over. I gave it a shot, but in the end all there was time left for was to squeeze a few jokes in.

General Zarg

Broadcast message from [[email protected] as] Master in 'backseat':

The following EOG report was sent to me by Timothy Ferguson ([email protected]) and was broadcast by me. -Simon

EOG for the Vatican and the Catholic Supremacist League.

I chose, very early, to play both Cardinals, Richelieu and Mazarin. My original goal was to contstruct a three-way alliance between Germany, France and England, as I have never seen one in practice, but since that appeared impossible, I thought to try instead to encourage the relatively rare FI alliance.

Early on, I arguged with myself, mostly for its entertainment value. This had the useful effect of fooling certain people as to my continued presence. Time constraints cut in, partway through the game, so I allowed Richelieu to be withdrawn back to Italy, then, later, after posting a few "Has anyone seen Richelieu?" messages, I also retired Mazarin. I tried to get back into the game later, but my suggestions were unworkable, as my attention to strategic and diplomatic detail had lapsed over the interim.

I thank all players, especially Lucutous, who I really think should have offered to assimilate Germany, at least once.

Thanks also to Simon. I really enjoyed this variant and would gladly play a rematch.

Timothy Ferguson, Cardinal.

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