Octopus's Garden

Issue Eighty-Seven

27th May 2014

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HELLO, good evening and welcome to Octopus's Garden, the subzeen with its very own 7 x 7 Gunboat Diplomacy tournament. It is a subzeen to Jim Burgess' The Abyssinian Prince, which is now a subzeen to Douglas Kent's Eternal Sunshine. Produced by Peter Sullivan peter@burdonvale.co.uk. It's also available on the web at: http://www.burdonvale.co.uk/octopus/.


A natural section heading for what is intended to be an annual (in game years!) summary of the latest state of play in the 7 x 7 Gunboat Diplomacy tournament. The cool kids amongst you will, of course, not need telling that it's also, of course, the title of Tom Lehrer's final album in 1965, of his songs from the U.S. Version of That Was The Week That Was. Many people, including myself, consider Mr. Lehrer as America's finest satirist. Although even he had problems keeping up at times – after Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1973, Lehrer famously announced that he was giving up satire "due to unfair competition from reality."

The tournament as a whole is called "ANDREW JOHNSON". Games in Octopus's Garden are all named after Vice Presidents of the United States. Johnson was Abraham Lincoln's second Vice President, taking office on 4th March 1865 and then succeeding to the Presidency on 15th April 1865 after Lincoln's assassination. He was the first of only two US Presidents (so far) to be impeached in office by the House of Representatives for "high crimes and misdemeanours," although the Senate failed to find him guilty by the required two-thirds majority. (A good test of how good a US politics nerd you are is if you can correctly name the second. No, not him.)

As usual for Gunboat, most of the typical bounce points (ENG, Bur, Gal, BLA) were indeed bounced in Spring 1901, with several of these repeating in the Fall 1901 season as well. In the Winter 1901, every country got builds, except for three of the Austrias-Hungary. (Or Austria-Hungaries. No idea what the correct plural there is.) One France and one Germany got three builds.

Current supply centre counts in each game are as follows:

Player Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5 Game 6 Game 7
Player A Tur: 5 Ger: 5 Rus: 5 Eng: 4 Ita: 5 Aus: 3 Fra: 4
Player B Aus: 3 Tur: 5 Ger: 5 Rus: 6 Eng: 5 Fra: 6 Ita: 4
Player C Fra: 5 Aus: 4 Tur: 4 Ger: 5 Rus: 5 Ita: 5 Eng: 4
Player D Ita: 5 Fra: 5 Aus: 4 Tur: 4 Ger: 5 Eng: 4 Rus: 6
Player E Eng: 4 Ita: 4 Fra: 5 Aus: 5 Tur: 4 Rus: 6 Ger: 6
Player F Rus: 6 Eng: 5 Ita: 4 Fra: 5 Aus: 3 Ger: 4 Tur: 4
Player G Ger: 5 Rus: 5 Eng: 4 Ita: 3 Fra: 5 Tur: 4 Aus: 5
Neutrals 1 (Por) 1 (Ser) 3 1 (Por) 2 2 1 (Spa)
Total 34 34 34 34 34 34 34

One pleasing side-effect of running the tournament is that it has given me an opportunity/excuse to revive C'est Magnifique, the postal games zeen title that I ran from 1985 to 1994. It's now, to all intents and purposes, a warehouse zeen. Links to the first three issues of this wholly remarkable zeen are at:

Finally, a call for stand-bys. I know all of our players are enthusiastic about the tournament at the moment, and I'm sure all of them intend to stay the course. But, Real LifeTM has a way of banjaxing the best-laid plans, and I'd like to have a couple of spare players on hand in case they are needed. Stand-bys get the zeen for free (which isn't, to be honest, an especially significant incentive these days, given that everyone else does too). But, more importantly, my eternal gratitude. And, come to that, the eternal gratitude of all the other players once they eventually find out who you are at the end...

That was Octopus's Garden #87, Startling Press production number 378.

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