A Visit to the Asylum
Hello, my name is Henry. I'm a diplomat. Oh, I don't mean that I work for the
government or anything, I mean that I play Diplomacy. And, if I may say so for
myself, I'm rather good at it.
You may wonder what I'm doing in a place like this. Well, I'm visiting an
acquaintance. The world championship is coming up you see and I'd heard a rumor
that he'd be out in time to attend. Perhaps I ought to give you a little
background. There have been a lot of rumors floating around lately, and it's
probably time that someone set the record straight.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when we got together for a friendly game
one weekend. As always, he drew Turkey. Somehow this always happens. Doesn't
matter if he draws first or last, he ends up Turkey. More annoyingly, he always
wins as Turkey. He's a decent player mind you, but he's just not that good. Give
him Germany or France and he'll bobble his share, but give him Turkey and his
neighbors turn into simpering idiots, every guess goes his way, and alliances
against him fall apart over the smallest detail, one even collapsed over an
argument about who's pencil it was between them!
Well, not this time. I knew he'd draw Turkey at the worlds, and I'd been
preparing ever since last year. Now it was time to put those preparations to the
Things started out as normal. The poor Austrian was from Slovakia. He was
still trying to locate just where his homeland was on the map when his last unit
was removed from the board. Italy only had to make a small break in his stride
to avoid the backswing of the door from Milos's exit and he was gone as well.
That old familiar self-satisfied gloat started to spread across his face and you
could see that he was already anticipating the win and his chance to gloat. Oh
yes, he ALWAYS gloated. I had prepared France well however, and as the fleets
began to move south, that gloat began to fade, then it turned to a look of
aggrieved fury, sort of the look you figure the Lord had when Adam took a bite
out of the apple.
He took France aside and if you'd seen a picture out of context, you'd have
thought it was someone chastising a puppy who had just made a mess. He knew it
wasn't the puppy's fault, he just didn't know better, and if he could only
explain it to him, he'd understand and do the right thing. Then, as the
awareness came across him that this puppy was doing it on purpose, the air began
to blister with his comments. To give him his due, he had a certain artistry
with his words, a mastery of invective worthy of respect.
It was a battle of epic proportions, and it all came down to the wire. One
last set of moves and it was stalemate or a Turkish win. We worked through the
orders and the grin returned. First he began to chuckle, then it was a chortle,
then he positively began to cackle with glee. He capered and cavorted growing
louder by the moment, so that it was a fair bit before the French player's quiet
protestations could be heard. Finally, it sunk in to him that someone was
debating his conquest.
"What?!?" he demanded.
"I just don't see it" replied the Frenchman.
"You don't see what?," he intoned?
"Well, I don't see how you've won..."
He leaped toward the table and stabbed out a finger, "Right there, I took
Brest...WHERE'S MY ARMY? Gascony took Brest, WHERE'S MY ARMY?! Okay, look at the
orders, WHERE ARE THE ORDERS?" he yelled, his voice rising to a shriek at the
The Frenchman tried to explain to him how he'd gotten bean dip on the orders,
and maybe some of the pieces, and well, you can't really blame a dog for loving
bean dip can you? He never made it through the explanation though as he finally
snapped. Only gibberish was coming out by the time they came to bring him here
for a rest.
Anyway, that's why he's here. I'd heard a rumor that he was much better and
would be discharged soon, so I dropped in to see. What, oh how's he doing? Well,
I don't think he's going to be out any time soon. That's him you heard screaming
a little while ago. Actually he seemed to be doing pretty well when we first got
here, we had a pretty reasonable conversation for a while. I guess it's partly
my fault, I should have remember that association might have brought back bad
memories. You see, I was feeding my friend here his favorite snack, these little
pressed tidbits, just about the size of a Diplomacy piece. He really loves them
with a bit of bean dip on them. Well, he noticed me doing that and gave a kind
of a shake, then he bent down to the floor and said "You, you cost me that game,
you know! What's your name anyway?" Then he read his tag and sort of gagged. He
straightened up, looked at me with his eyes practically spinning, gasped out
"you... you" and collapsed.
They gave him some tranquilizers and led him away. The doctor said it might
be a couple of months before they'll even allow him vistors again. Gave little
Pavlov here and me quite a start I'll tell you.
Reprinted from Diplomacy World 82