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Diplomacy

Discussion in 'The Council' started by cubsfan6506, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. Niklas

    Niklas Fully Functional GOTM Staff

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    Alright, here's my take on the game as far as I can remember it (written over the course of several days...).

    First of all, donsig calls me experienced, but that's hardly correct. This game was the third standard diplomacy game I ever played. Granted, I won the two first (links in my sig, DipNES 2 and 3), as well as a third one that was a non-standard map (BlaDipNES), but the opposition there was not overwhelming (far below the Council standards :salute: ). So I knew the basic ins and outs of the game, and had a decent idea of the various strategies of different nations, but that's still a far cry from experienced.

    Getting (or choosing) Austria was very much a challenge for me. In both the games I had played before, Austria was dead after two years. Bordering four hungry powers, you really have to be active in the diplomacy early on. And that's what I planned to be.

    My starting strategy correlated very well with donsig's. Austria and Italy share a border right from the start, a very tempting attack for less experienced players. I realized it would only be a death sentence for both teams if so much effort was spent fighting there, so my first step was to ally with Italy. That donsig was by far the most experienced player was another reason for an alliance. At that point I truly intended that alliance to last to the end (unless I could steal a solo win of course ;)). And I think it would have been a very different game if donsig hadn't done that silly first error move (which I now actually believe was an error, but didn't at the time). From that point I had a hard time fully trusting Italy.

    My second goal was to make sure there would be no fighting with Germany. I was glad to find sirdanilot approaching me with a DMZ proposal for Boh and Tyr, which was exactly what I wanted. That allowed me to focus on the east, the biggest threat.

    The way I see it, it's impossible for Austria to stay friendly with both Russia and Turkey. It may work for the first year, but after that both you and the Turks in particular run out of expansion room. Allying with Turkey against Italy at that point may work, but probably more to Turkey's advantage than Austria's. And that's assuming that Russia will be occupied elsewhere. I figured I would rather have my back against a wall, so either Russia or Turkey would be my first target. Thus my first real diplomatic effort went into fomenting trouble in the Black Sea.

    I believe Russia and Turkey early on decided on a DMZ for the Black Sea, and that didn't suit me at all. I urged Peter to move into the Black Sea, pointing out what a bad position he would be in if Russia didn't keep its word. I also approached him about the Armenia gambit, that a fleet in the Black Sea and an army in Armenia could catch Russia off guard. At the same time I approached Russia, asking him if he really trusted the Sultan regarding the Black Sea. I didn't make any specific suggestions though, since at that point I was leaning towards supporting Turkey in the war, as I (perhaps wrongly) feared Russia more in the long run.

    After the first turn, it was clear that Russia wouldn't be caught off guard. Some quick calculations showed me that if I could trick Turkey into a particular series of moves, I could be off to a really strong start. Potentially three taken SCs in the balkans, an enemy (Turkey) that wouldn't get a single SC, and an ally (Russia) that would have to defend itself the first turn, thus not outpacing me in expansion. The only tricky point was to get Peter to do the right moves. I was actually helped by the deadline there - I sent him a suggestion for moves he should take, where I would support him into Romania, and telling him that since it was so close to the deadline I had to send orders and go to bed. He would have wanted to do differently, but since I never replied to that (having gone to bed :mischief:) he had no choice but to either bite the bait or stand alone. He chose the former...

    Then came the Trieste crisis. Having started out so strong, I felt more confident, and so I violated the agreement I had with Italy over not building fleets in Venice or Trieste. I did tell donsig that I would do it, and also told him I was sure he wouldn't begrudge me that. Of course I wasn't so sure in reality, but I didn't much care at that point. Italy couldn't build a fleet in Venice anyway (had an army there) and France was off to a somewhat weak start, so it would still be better for Italy to stay allied with me (and I also had that "erroneous" first move in mind still). donsig didn't like it one bit, but his obvious opposition to my expansion only made me trust him even less. Our "alliance" was clearly never more than in name... :rolleyes: :lol:

    At any rate I got that second fleet, and could put a lot of pressure on Turkey from all sides. At that point something interesting happened. Peter approched me, asking what he could possibly do to convince me to let him stay in the game. I was impressed, IMO that's the mark of a strong player to do whatever possible to hang in there even when defeat seems inevitable. I quickly reassessed the situation, and realized that with Turkish aid I could do a very nice backstab on Russia, taking another three SCs that turn while Russia would be forced to two disbands. So I told Peter I would let him live if he agreed to a certain sequence of moves. I fully expected him to jump on it, what did he have to lose? I had nothing to gain from tricking him again since me and Russia could beat him down no matter what he did. But for some reason he started 'tricksying', hinting that he was considering an even better offer from Russia (which I realized wasn't possible, but I couldn't be sure if Peter and/or Paul also realized that...). I realized I couldn't trust Peter to do what I asked of him even if he were to accept my proposal, so I abandoned the idea. But a tiny shard of suspicion had festered in my mind, so I moved into Galicia (agreed DMZ) to make sure Russia wasn't trying something stupid. Of course he wasn't, and I paid for that suspicious move later in the game...

    After Turkey's demise, I had three options. Attacking Italy still seemed like the least tempting, for purely tactical reasons, and I still hoped that we could continue our alliance to the end of the game. Russia wanted us to move on Germany, so I had to choose between that and a backstab on Russia. But with the concentration of Russian troops in the south, and the total lack of German units in the east, made the choice for me. I debated telling donsig about it, but I couldn't know just how close he was to the Kaiser at that point, so I didn't. I agree though that it could have been a different game if we had known of the Italo-German plans to invade England.

    The early campaign against Germany was a success, but we quickly stalled after Berlin and Munich. Then followed a long period of diplomatic maneuvering with Italy, where we tried to make him strike the Anglo-German lock from behind. When Italy was stalling I tried to get Paul to move his fleet into the Med, but he wanted to wait and hope that donsig would still choose our side. Instead donsig moved east, taking Smyrna, urging me to attack Russia.

    The interesting point here was that I was already planning to attack Russia. When the German campaign started, my main objective was to make the Tzar move as many of his troops away from me as possible. I urged him to build fleets in Stp/nc since I knew they would be harmless against me. If Italy hadn't attacked Smyrna at that point, I would have attacked Russia on the year after, with most of the Russian forces locked up in or near Scandinavia. But donsig's attack suddenly made Paul aware of his weakness in the south, and Russian troops that had been idle in Prussia and Livonia started rolling south. I had to make a quick choice there and then: Attack Russia at an inopportune time, potentially throwing away the only ally I could actually rely on; or bite the bullet and attack Italy. I really wanted to do the second, especially after those conversations that donsig refers to. But I still hesitated, since attacking Italy from Austria is far from easy.

    The decision was to try deceit once again. I pretended to turn on Russia, and sent lots of diplomatic notes in all directions to that effect. In particular I was trying to accomplish three things, of which two succeeded. First, I wanted to ensure I could take the Ionian. On the turns prior to this I had bounced with Italy there, but for this turn I asked the King to stay out so I would be free to move my unit east. That succeeded, and I managed to claim both the Ionian and Tyrolia (both agreed DMZs), giving me the superior tactical position I needed in order to attack Italy. Second, I wanted to break the Anglo-German lock. I told the Prime Minister that I would only attack Russia if he also attacked Germany, since otherwise I would be totally without an ally. I wasn't entirely truthful there, but I didn't outright lie either. I still envisioned a potential future where I could ally with England against Russia. That never happened though, thanks to later events. In any case this also succeeded - England attacked Germany, breaking the stalemate and allowing the Austro-Russian juggernaut to start moving again. The third thing was an attempt to fool Germany into losing Kiel. But sirdanilot smelled the rat and chose to do the only possible move that would block us there. Well done. Still, with the Anglo-German lock broken, that was a temporary setback only. My biggest worry regarding this turn was that Russia wouldn't believe that I was actually siding with him. I did all I could, successfully it would turn out, to assuage his worries and make him choose to trust me.

    A few turns later saw Austria and Russia in a clearly dominant position, with 2/3 of the total SCs between us. The only thing to note during this time is that I totally screwed up my tactical advantage, severely and stupidly underestimating donsig. He could see my coming move from miles away, and managed to force-disband my navy that might have been able to give him trouble in the west. I would have been so much better off if I had chosen the unconventional approach there. I later managed to reclaim the advantage, thanks to the armies coming around north of Switzerland.

    At this point I decided to myself that I wouldn't go for a solo win after all. Me and Paul had cooperated so well, and had been so successful, that sharing the win actually seemed more appealing to me than to steal a solo win, regardless of how prestigious that would be in this company. I meant to bring this up with Paul, but I kept putting it off (I blame COTM43)...

    And then he attacked me. No, the Russian attack on Bulgaria was not another constructed ruse. I totally didn't see that coming, I was beyond suspicion at that point. Suddenly what had seemed like a cruise to an easy 2-way win now looked like a death struggle for survival and revenge. But I still realized my best (only!) chance to actually still win was to convince Paul that we should still cooperate. I tried a combination of some guilt-tripping, and a dose of (sincere) threat thrown in, and it worked! I still wasn't sure that he wasn't just fooling me, but I had little to lose so I made no threatening moves against him on that turn after. I'm relieved to see it worked.

    Had Russia persisted in its attack on me, I would (like I told Paul) have done everything in my power to make Italy win the game. It may not have worked, but I would have tried, abandoning everything in the west to block Paul in the east until donsig had recovered. I'm glad I didn't have to try it though. And I'm glad I seem to have made such a scary impression on Paul that he didn't think he could beat me. :D

    When donsig brought up the idea to end the game in a 2-way draw, I was mostly relieved. At that point it would have been very very hard for me to make any kind of comeback against Russia, so a 2-way draw was my best hope. After the backstab I no longer felt I truly wanted to share the win, but I took what I could get. ;)

    All in all I had a lot of fun with this game. It's a pity it moved so slow at times, but overall it was a very enjoyable experience. The challenge was much greater than in the games I played before, you lot are much better players overall. Now who's up for a rematch...? :mischief:


    Btw, I this posted after the first turn, and promised I would spell it out after the game ended:
    Perfect = Germany, who got DMZ agreements with Austria and Russia, and was helped by England and France fighting so it could get three SCs on the first turn. Strong defense = Russia, Futile offense = Turkey, see my discussion above. Attempted deceit = Italy, already then I didn't trust him. Weak = France and England. France and England fighting on the first turn is almost as bad for them as Italy and Austria fighting would be.
     
  2. Paul#42

    Paul#42 flyball chaser

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    My first real Diplo-game - the other two I played were way beyond anything I would call strategy or diplomacy. We did not even know about DMZs. :D
    And it was on board - a completely different game where one can see any backstab miles in advance.

    Russia I chose to have some save sides - I hate being surrounded by trouble. And starting with four armies I liked also.
    I trusted my diplomatic innocence would help me fight any distrust against mighty Russia.
    After we had set up the start I was browsing the internet for Russian opening strategies. I was shocked about the mass of strategy articles :eek:
    Had I known this was about to take size and effort of a scientific essay... :rolleyes:

    I started out to be everybody's darling. The Archduke was really exerted, always showing me the plans of our common neighbours. :D
    He also impressed me with detailed analysis of the agreements I had taken - from looking at the map. :wow:
    With Germany, England and Turkey we had made quick agreements over DMZ - hey that was easy. I was really willing to be content with my share of the balkans...
    With Italy I had agreed that we would be together against the Archduke one day, France never replied to my diplomatic note...
    Everthing was set for a real nice peaceful Russia. :jesus:

    But then the Sultan really annoyed me on the very first turn. :gripe:
    Not only he entered the black sea on the very first chance, he also entered Armenia (which I had forgotten / not known to request as DMZ)!
    Suddenly I was in severe danger of losing Sevastopol - and thus the whole game. I did not feel I was handling the situation well and I really was at the Archduke's mercy. :shifty:
    And especially I was not thinking that I played the one strong defense.
    The Archduke did not let me down and injected a great portion of trust in his eastern friend in this situation. :pat:

    We devided Turkey, I did not hesitate to take out the regretful Sultan because I remembered in a game like this mercy is going to haunt you - just as I had experienced in Baseball several times when we had let an already defeated opponent back in the game due to fairness just to get into real late inning troubles... :rolleyes:

    At that stage the Sultan supplied me with his complete negotiation with the archduke to show his treachery. I was impressed (although I had expected similar - this is a game of treachery and deceiption after all) and decided to be carefull and try to counter every hidden Austrian threat - inconspicuously. The Archduke had aroused my suspicion by moving into DMZ galicia and later by moving an army to Budapest unnecessarily. I was alerted.

    The situation those days: Italy, Austria and Russia where peaceful - but Germany was deserted! :woohoo:
    Had I planned better I would have seen that our offense would come to a halt in Berlin and Kiel was a lost case. I also had thought that an opponent without own SCs was as dead as a dodo. I then would have delayed my attack again and again...Maybe the Archduke would have chosen a different aim... :shifty:
    I was really surprised that Germany could still defend himself well - little I knew about the topology of Diplomacy's Europe.

    At that stage I was really trying hard to convince Italy to attack England rather than Austria. My southern flank was wide open and I did not want to attack the Archduke now. England and Germany would make me pay, I was sure. But the King insisted on a war against Austria. Those were the days when I read the rules about draws. But The German Kaiser annoyed me with an impudent attempt to make peace. He demanded too much for my taste and his language was not appropriate to the situation. I guess that's right the language of German Kaisers back in the old days (good role play!) - that's why they went down...
    And suddenly the Italian King attacked me, trying to convince me to go against Austria. :nono: I did not want to ally with somebody who attacks me to direct me elsewhere. Only now I know he really saved my ass...

    In that situation I once again felt deceived, I had built big trust on the King and was planning to work together with him - but not yet ;)
    This only brought Austria and Russia closer to each other in a stagnant game, a sure draw.
    In this stage I was quite disappointed with the game. I had little time, felt haunted by deadlines, negotiation fell short, I was disappointed by my sense for loyalty, hindering me to change sides which I consider an important part of the game. I felt that this caused several players to lose interest in the game, primarily the Italian King.

    Austrian diplomacy then broke the game wide open again, Germany was hit hard by England and resistance was shrinking quickly, Russian and Austrian forces made quick progress. I still wonder how the Archduke achieved that because I had trouble to even get shortest notes from the Prime Minister. :(
    I already thought he was so distrustful after my assault on Germany that I was really convinced I could not make peace with England or Germany in this game. This meant I could just stay allied with my Austrian friend.

    But despite his earlier backstab I still had sympathy for the King and always looked for surprise chances to backstab the Archduke. King donsig had conjured me to do so, he would do anything to prevent the treacherous Archduke from winning. So I knew I had not much time but I had to make sure the war in the north was won and Germany defeated before I engaged in the south.

    That situation came - I was under time pressure (RL, SGotm, Cotm43, turn player in MTDG...) as always lately and launched a premature attack on the Archduke (no chance to prepare a mature attack inconspicuously), with a late message to the Italian King in hope for his support. The support I missed, we had little gain, even less than the archduke in deserted france so he still got two builds while we got one. Still the momentum was slightly on Russian side, Austria was still fighting Italy and Russia, England was distracted by Italy's struggle to stay alive.


    I was really uncertain if I should play on. I rated mine a winning position, in contrast to the Archduke's threat to bring the King against Russia, I was quite sure the King would still fight Austria to make Russia win the game. Still it would mean quite some moves without my mentor's advice. I had benefited from and relied so much on the Archduke's advice that I had little faith in my own tactical excellence... :blush:
    On top of that I still suffered RL time problems, Cotm43 has already been sacrificed, SGotm is unconscious and tiem consuming MTDG my only iron in the fire :D.
    Third reason: I was also willing to give credit to the Archduke for being my mentor in this game. He was really delivering masterpieces of diplomatic arts almost every single turn. :bowdown: I did not want to make him pay for being trustful to at least one partner :lol:
    He also was the most active player in this game and deserved credit for that.

    Credits also deserve cubsfan and Peter Grimes for their effort to administer the game :thanks:

    I really enjoyed the game at times - although I had to realize this is not my game. I'm way too straight to play such a game the way it should be played. A game with seven Pauls would be the most boring game you'll ever see :lol:

    Nevertheless thanks to all participants and lurkers.
     
  3. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    Very interesting comments so far. First I want to say I did have great fun in this game and want to thank all who played and all who helped administer it. Thanks!

    That bad order early in the game was truly just a boneheaded mis-write. It's amazing how it's effects lasted throughout the game. I suspected the diplomatic pouches traveling between Austria and Italy that so irritated me were having the same effect on Niklas. I think I submitted three sets of orders that season, everyone moving another green fleet back towards the Med. By the time I took Smyrna I was just desperate to get a war going between Austria and Russia. Niklas didn't trust me so I figured I'd just go ahead and attack Russia. If Austria didn't trust me then he never would. Once England left the Western Alliance the most I could hope for (I thought) was part of a three way draw helping to hold a stalemate line somewhere (anywhere). With Russia and Austria so tightly allied and so thouroughly past the stalemate lines that seemed like a very dim hope.

    Had I had a strong Russia with Austria threatening to throw the game to Italy and Italy saying he'd do what ever needed to be done to keep Austria from winning, I don't think I would have taken the two way draw. :mischief:
     
  4. Paul#42

    Paul#42 flyball chaser

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    :lol: That's why I presented three other reasons why I accepted the draw. I knew there would be people calling me chicken... ;)
     
  5. dl123654

    dl123654 King

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    This was my first game, had a bad start from lack of diplomacy and not knowing the rules too well. By the time France was almost gone Italy's fleets were making me nervious and I had the feeling I would be next.

    When the Germany/Russia war started, I had to choose a side, both sides were pushing me to help them. I choose Germany for two reasons, Germany was weaker and attacking them there wasn't to much to gain, after which Russia would come after me. The other reason Italy had their fleets near me and they wanted me to help Germany.

    So I helped Germany for an unknown number of boring turns. During which I went from unemployed to a 14 hour work day which severly limiting my time I could watch this game. Italy decided to send their fleets to "help" with my blockade even when I was able to hold it myself I saw another backstab coming.

    So I got on the phone with Austria and arranged me attacking Germany if they would attack Russia, it seemed like the perfect plan except I had never dealt with Austria in this game and didn't know they would betray that deal. At that point Germany lines failed and I was left out there with no friends left and I wouldn't have lasted much longer.

    Had fun with this game but I don't think Diplomacy is for me, too much talk, not enough activity.
     
  6. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    Well, dl, you were right to be worried about the Italian fleets. :D
     
  7. sirdanilot

    sirdanilot BBcode owns in sigs!

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    Ah, it's over!

    I'm not going to get as detailed as Niklas (wow, I don't think I've ever seen such a large post on CFC :wow: I read it all though!). Anyway, first I was just doubting wether to attack France or England, as normal, and I talked a bit with England and France and Italy. I also got DMZs with both Russia and Austria. I really focused on the west, the biggest (and maybe my only) mistake in this game.

    My plan was to convince England that we were going to attack France together, and to convince France we were going to attack England together! Great, isn't it? :) Anyway, the former became true, with Italy's help.

    I also had worked out with Italy that we were going to attack England together after France was gone. Nothing like that ever happened, though.

    We had France destroyed in no time, but meanwhile, I forgot to look at the other side of the map. And then the moves came... uh-oh.

    That is the most important thing I learned this game: don't forget to look back! I think Germany is not really my playing style anyway, I prefer Turkey. I'm going to have a shot at playing with England, too. Nicely tucked away in a corner. :)

    I immediately started talking to Italy and England, and told italy that the plan to attack England was over. This is also a nice thing I learned: do not try to attack Germany from the east!. You'll hit a stalemate line. Me and England had this stalemate line for a couple of turns.

    I really tried to have Austria and Russia attack each other, but to no avail.

    At some point, Austria came with a proposal to support me or something. I don't remember it exactly, but at the last minute, I decided to move more defensively than he told me to, and I was very happy to see that he was lying!

    It didn't lengthen my days for long though, and I was bound to be destroyed.

    turkey (peter grimes):
    Didn't talk to you a lot, toobad you were destroyed so soon.
    Austria (Niklas):
    Toobad you didn't want to attack Russia, but understandable in a way. Nicely planned assault on me!
    Russia (paul):
    The same as with austria, mostly. Do you really think I was being too rude in that peace proposal I sent you? Maybe that was because I was so proud of the stalemate line I and England had set up. But I do have to admit the self-disband and the build in Stp NC was masterful! :clap:
    Italy (donsig):
    You have been a very good ally throughout the game. Congrats.
    England (dl123andsomemorenumbers):
    You've been a very good ally aswell. The stab towards the end was inevitable. Good game.


    As for a rematch, I'd love to have one! The only problem is, I'm a bit short on time nowadays (I'm GMing a game and I'm in a tournament game) but if there is enough interest I'll probably be able to find some time for it. The GMing of a game only involves one day of stress a week anyway ;) The tournament game is however very time-consuming.
     
  8. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Retired Moderator

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    ...still haven't had time to go back through the correspondence and put together my statement. I must say, it's been great fun to read these!

    And I would love to play another game. I could Administer it, if required. I had a pretty good system down so the update only took about 30 minutes. It would be faster if I could figure out a way to preformat the jDip result report.
     
  9. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    I had an interesting thought for a second game. There is a face to face variant called Wilsonian where all payers must stay at the table throughout the game (and no note passing is allowed). The idea is that all negotiations are in the open for all to see. We could simulate that here but having all talk about the game in the game thread. No pms, etc. Might be interesting especially if we allowed lurkers to comment.

    Another one we could try is what I know as gunboat. No negotiations at all, just moves. This might be useful for those who want to practice strategy, tactics and order writing. Also takes less time.

    I'd be interested in either of these or a traditional game like last time.
     
  10. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Retired Moderator

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    I'm fine with either of those, Donsig.

    If we did Wilsonian, we'd have to make sure that no letters are written in the language of honor and heroes or other such non linguae francae ;)
     
  11. Niklas

    Niklas Fully Functional GOTM Staff

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    :lol: Well, that shouldn't be a problem, considering we're all of different nationality here anyway! :crazyeye: (except those American guys of course... )
     
  12. zyxy

    zyxy Warmongering Fool

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    If there is need for a new player, I would like to join. All variants fine.
     
  13. Aigburth

    Aigburth Sea Dog

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    You can take my seat if you wish, I think I'd prefer to watch from the sidelines for this one.

    Thanks and well played to everyone in the last game though :)
     
  14. cubsfan6506

    cubsfan6506 Got u

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    Wrong Forumn.
     
  15. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Retired Moderator

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    Aigburth - would you care to Administer?
     
  16. zyxy

    zyxy Warmongering Fool

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    Thanks Aigburth!
     
  17. sirdanilot

    sirdanilot BBcode owns in sigs!

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    Wilsonian variant sounds nice. Or else, standard like last game.

    I would be less inclined towards a gunboat game, personnaly, but if everybody feels like it I'd be up for that, aswell. It would take far less time than any standard game.
     
  18. Niklas

    Niklas Fully Functional GOTM Staff

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    So.... with everything else moving so slowly, how about we get this baby started? I count me, donsig, peter, zyxy and sirdanilot in for a Wilsonian, two more takers? Wilsonian should be much faster pace than standard, for those who thought the last one was too slow.
     
  19. sirdanilot

    sirdanilot BBcode owns in sigs!

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    Okay I'll confirm I'm in.
     
  20. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    I'm in, too - but we need two more to play.
     

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