Stabbing Made Easy
stab is an integral part of the game of Diplomacy. Used properly, it can make a
good player into a great player. Used improperly, it will doom a player to
indecision and botched win opportunities. Therefore, every Diplomacy player
needs to know when and how to properly make use of the stab.
I get into the intricacies of the stab there are a few things that need to be
said. My definition of a stab is when one partner of an alliance attacks another
player of that alliance in such an overwhelming manner so as to either win the
game outright or remove the stabbed player from presenting any serious
opposition in the future. Thus, the stab is a very powerful weapon open to much
properly use the stab a player must know when and how to use it. As pointed out
in the definition, there are two situations where the stab can be best utilised.
The situation where the stab will produce a guaranteed win (assuming that the
other player does not have the foresight to block the attempted stab) is the
most obvious case. Once the stab is successfully pulled off it is too late for
the victim or the other players to retaliate. The game is over and the desired
definite side effect of such a tactic must be considered. The stab will produce
enemies if anything will and this must be taken into consideration for future
games. Once the stab concludes the game every effort should be made by the
stabber to console the victim and explain the reason for the stab in a logical
way. This may not make up for the stab in the eye of the victim, but it may help
dull the pain.
second situation where a stab can be useful is in the opening stages of the
game. Here a stab can quickly cripple a neighbouring power. If done correctly
this allows the stabbing player an avenue of quick expansion while the other
players are locked in slow battles of attrition. This special use of the stab is
known as the blitz.
to discuss when not to use a stab. A stab should not be attempted on an ally in
the mid-game stage. Progress towards the win will not be aided if only two or
three centres will be gained and the ally's position against opposing powers
will be lost. In the long run this will usually decrease the stabber's chances
of winning -- which, of course, is just the opposite of the desired results.
it is not wise to spread the news of the impending stab to the other players in
the game. Someone is always more than happy to pass this information on to the
intended victim. At the same time it is a bad idea to telegraph the stab by
moving units to strange positions just prior to the stab. This has got to make
the ally nervous and probably will tip off the player to the coming attack.
is one more thing that must be said on stabs. Every player when in the position
to make a successful stab must individually weigh the consequences of this
action against the potential gains. There are times and places where it may be
better to go with an alliance to the end. Excess stabbing can lead to a bad
reputation and this factor must be placed in the analysis before the decision is
made to stab or not. Only then can a player have the best of both worlds