Last Man Standing

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Last Man Standing

Postby woelpad » 30 Apr 2018, 17:29

I know that there are quite a few readers of the Diplomatic Pouch Zine on these forums. I also know that a good many of you like to solve puzzles. I can't tell if these are the same crowd, but I can only hope that the overlap between the two will be increasing :)

I have been publishing a series of puzzles in the Zine, called Last Man Standing. These are all based on the same premise: Reduce the board to a single unit in 4 game years using nothing but the standard Diplomacy rules. You are given the map at the end of the third or fourth year, and your task is to reconstruct the whole game. This is explained in further detail in the Roll Call article, recommended reading for anyone remotely interested in LMS.

Each issue you're presented with two new puzzles and the solutions for the puzzles in the previous issue. The last issue for the first time had a different map. I still have a good number of puzzles under cover, both on standard and other maps, but this looks like a good time to ask for your feedback.

So tell me, how do you like these puzzles? Are they fun? Are they challenging? Do they make you a better tactician? What can be done to improve them? Thoughts and suggestions welcome.
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Re: Last Man Standing

Postby Woolgie » 30 Apr 2018, 23:13

Very impressive idea, and certainly something I’d never imagined. I enjoy a good puzzle and have just about worked my way through one of them (taking over an hour). You definitely need a good grasp of diplomacy rules.

I look forward to attempting some more. Good work.
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Re: Last Man Standing

Postby woelpad » 01 May 2018, 07:19

Thanks. It's one of those things that seem impossible until proven true. And although the map wasn't designed with this purpose in mind, it just happens to be just compact enough compared to the number of starting units and distribution thereof to allow the same type of outcome to occur in about any part of the map. Even for me it's a process of discovery, rather than invention.

Other than the rules you also need to know the province adjacencies. If you're trying to solve this mentally, you might discover some blindspots in your mental representation of the map, such as: "Oh, I never noticed that you could move from Bohemia to Galicia, but not to Piedmont." Having only a few pieces to work with, at one point or another all these connections become important.

Does it require to have a good grasp of the rules and the province adjacencies or does it teach you to get a good grasp of them? In chess you're not expected to be an expert of the game in order to attempt checkmate problems. But you gradually become better at them as you practice, and as a bonus improve your endgame and reading skills. The same could be true here.
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