DixieCon We Have A Problem....

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DixieCon We Have A Problem....

Postby Pootleflump » 17 Jun 2022, 13:22

It took a few weeks for me to get my head around writing this.

I've also agonised over whether to publish it or not.

Also discussed with the TD.

https://lauren-lloyd.com/2022/06/21/dixiecon-we-have-a-problem-or-do-we/
Last edited by Pootleflump on 21 Jun 2022, 23:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DixieCon We Have A Problem....

Postby V » 17 Jun 2022, 14:53

Pootleflump wrote:It took a few weeks for me to get my head around writing this.

I've also agonised over whether to publish it or not.

Also discussed with the TD.

https://lauren-lloyd.com/2022/06/17/dixiecon-we-have-a-problem-or-do-we/


Read with great interest & little surprise (sadly).

45 years back I discovered a club that played Diplomacy at University, amongst other war game type stuff.
Played there just once (even though I won easily as a comparably experienced player, since aged 12).
Horrible cliquey experience.
Same University. Bridge club. This time I had played since aged 10. Played there only the once.
Same experience again.

It’s not a “diversity” issue. I’m white, male, stockbroker father, Grammar school, suburbs, etc.
I decided long ago that games of the ilk of Diplomacy & Bridge only work F2F if organised with carefully selected participants that you already know, either as players or from other walks of life.
Not a bunch of random strangers. Especially those that have known each other “for ever”.
Never quite puzzled out why, but it’s always the same. Online Diplomacy has been in comparison an unexpectedly refreshing experience.
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Re: DixieCon We Have A Problem....

Postby gamerhood » 17 Jun 2022, 20:30

I'm glad Pootleflump posted her thoughts even though I'm dismayed she did not enjoy her experience at my tournament. As I've told her directly, I'm sorry we let her down and while I don't think we've had this serious of a problem in past years, I will do my dead level best to make sure something similar does not happen again.
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Re: DixieCon We Have A Problem....

Postby Pete the Great » 18 Jun 2022, 01:02

Sorry you had a bad experience on your first visit to the states Pootle. I attended 3 cons back in the 80's and I don't remrmber playing Dip once. One guy brought a 8' by 4' Circus Maximus board with minitures, which was a blast. One year I played 3 strait games of Civ (AH version) with a sleep period betwern 2 and 3. Steve and Linda Courtemanche brought the beta version of Eurorails to test and one year Brice Lindsay had a hockey card game and election board game that were interesting. Other than having played by mail or subscribing to their zines I didn't know a soul. Maybe the people in Vt and NY are more welcoming to strangers or maybe it was the time period. Don't give up hope, were not all bad on this side of the pond.
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Re: DixieCon We Have A Problem....

Postby GameKat » 18 Jun 2022, 01:27

Pete the Great wrote:Sorry you had a bad experience on your first visit to the states Pootle. I attended 3 cons back in the 80's and I don't remrmber playing Dip once. One guy brought a 8' by 4' Circus Maximus board with minitures, which was a blast. One year I played 3 strait games of Civ (AH version) with a sleep period betwern 2 and 3. Steve and Linda Courtemanche brought the beta version of Eurorails to test and one year Brice Lindsay had a hockey card game and election board game that were interesting. Other than having played by mail or subscribing to their zines I didn't know a soul. Maybe the people in Vt and NY are more welcoming to strangers or maybe it was the time period. Don't give up hope, were not all bad on this side of the pond.


Having spent roughly half my life on each side of the Atlantic, I'd say on balance the left side is more welcoming of new faces by a country mile.

I think part of the issue here is that the nature of Dip produces some fairly odd interpersonal dynamics, that are likely amplified in long-running, live tournaments. The game is driven by trust carefully built and then frequently destroyed. I imagine many of us have played in environments in which pregame planning is based largely on "X and Y always ally" and "A & B loathe each other." Some of the most bizarre episodes in the history of the hobby have included brutal feuds (think fanzine wars), and frankly some pretty non-congenial behavior. Not to mention the ongoing issue of some members of the hobby crossing lines in their negotiations (which seems to have been pushed more to the online realm these days).

I'd also suggest that there is an element within the hobby that is quite happy to preserve cliques, either because they like being a big fish in a small pond, or simply because it's comfortable. Fortunately there are folks like David Hood and many others who work extremely hard to help the hobby grow. The entire crew at DBN, as well as content creators such as CaptainMeme, FloridaMan and many others, are doing the hobby a great service in this regard. Unfortunately, there are some less resilient than PootleFlump who, on having a bad experience, will decide Dip is not for them.

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Re: DixieCon We Have A Problem....

Postby gamerhood » 18 Jun 2022, 05:23

Pete the Great, I attend some 80s Cons myself, I think you mean Bruce Linsey and the election game was Campaign Trail. I still have a copy of that one and play it occasionally. I absolutely remember learning Circus Maximus on the "big set" at the 1987 Dipcon in Madison, WI.
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Re: DixieCon We Have A Problem....

Postby Pete the Great » 18 Jun 2022, 13:46

Yes Bruce Lindsey - I hate typos.

I played the big Circus Maximus at Brux Con/ Tomato Con hosted at Paul Gardners house in Vt (publisher of dip zine Not NewYork) and co-hosted by Bruce Lindsey (author of "Once Upon a Deadline", which was a great reference on how to publish a dip zine)
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Re: DixieCon We Have A Problem....

Postby gsmx » 22 Jun 2022, 19:34

Awesome insight, thanks Pootle for sharing this!

I’ve had exactly one game of FTF experience and I can relate to some of the things you experienced. I was fortunate enough to have some help in getting introductions by some online players I knew who had already made the cross-over, but still a lot of the tournament felt like I was crashing somebody else’s high school reunion. Social times were spent with people mostly catching up with old friends and games were guilty of familiarity bias.

And I get it. Players like playing with known commodities and people like reminiscing with old friends. I heard the same advice you did, get a few under your belt and you’ll be welcomed in, and I had the same thoughts about the time and money commitment making that easier said then done. It’s a pretty big barrier to have to invest a lot of time and cash on flights before you reach the threshold where the fun starts kicking in and where you’re finally able to be taken serious in a game that you can build alliances. I feel extremely lucky that I have a tournament that takes place in my home city so at least for me the barrier is lower as I don’t see myself travelling for this anytime soon. I also think we’re starting to see more and more players starting to crossover from the online world and vice versa which is starting to improve odds of running into a familiar name better.

I’m hitting Cascadia in a couple weeks as my first ‘full weekend’ FTF tournament so we’ll see how it goes. If not good then we’ll form ourselves a support group and trash talk those damn FTF elitists. YOU HEAR ME CASCADIA! Let me win or feel the wrath of me and Pootle!!
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