DipCon – An Alternative
By Lew Pulsipher
From Diplomacy World #26
At DipCon XIII the Diplomacy' tournament included 8 boards in the first round, while at Origins '80, 112 people pre-registered for the Dip tournament and 103 played the first round. Ever since the DipCon became an activity for more than a few hard-core players, beginning with the 1972 Con in Chicago, every tournament has consisted of 7 to 14 or 15 boards, even though attendance at the accompanying wargame convention has risen from a few hundred to over 4,000. It appears that a "natural" maximum for a FTF Diptourney is about 120 players, and on the other hand, I think any large wargaming convention will attract at least 50 people to a Diptourney if it holds one.
Some years ago the sentiment in favor of regional DipCons for those who can't make the national DipCon was strong, but nothing came of it. Now, with more large wargame conventions around to host regional DipCons, it appears feasible to arrange a system of regional Diplomacy tournaments with the winners to playoff (by mail) for a National Title of some sort. Naturally some people don't reckon that "championships" are worth much, and I must admit that I am one. Nonetheless, only by encouraging FTF competition will we ever see this hobby grow to the kind of maturity and stability one sees in bridge or chess "fandom". I won't go into the question of whether it is better to struggle along in a small group of about 1,300 players, if that, or to attempt to expand the appeal of organized Diplomacy play. Those who prefer the latter, however, should think about starting regional DipCons.
Another advantage of regular regional DipCons is that there would always be several regional Cons available to bid for the national DipCon, combining their regional with the national. This would avoid the problem seen this year, when not one acceptable bid for next year was presented to the DipCon Society. The Midwest regional con could take place at Michicon or GenCon, the Eastern con at the Philadelphia con (which has also been Origins in the past two years), the Pacific con at one of the larger wargaming cons out there. I believe there are several wargaming cons in Texas which could host a southwest regional DipCon, and GenCon South in Florida might host a southern regional if there are enough players down here to maintain interest.