Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Diplomacy - Who's In?

Again with the Diplomacy!  Last Friday’s post garnered a lot of comments in a short period of time, and it was terrific to hear so many great stories about this game that many of us have a love/hate relationship with.   I hope to answer your comments shortly.  They all made me quite nostalgic and I went and pulled my original copy off the shelf.

 

It’s a little stained and battered in a few places, but not bad for it’s forty+ years and the sight of that board and artwork still gives me a bit of a shiver.

So here’s the deal.

Who’s in for a blind email game?

I’ll act as the referee and the point of contact.  

I’ll take names via email, mad padre (at) gmail (dot) com.   Let me know your three preferences for the country you want to play in descending order.  If I have more than seven players, I’’ll do my best to figure out who plays what.  You have until this Saturday night at midnight EST to get in on this.

All diplomacy will go through me.   Turns will be two weeks calendar time.   Moves, updates, and snide comments will be posted regularly on this blog.

If you don’t know the rules, the original ones are here although the 2000 Avalon Hill Rules are clearer and have a bunch of play examples.  and a bunch of other resources, including maps, here.

Come on, you know you want to!

Cheers,

Michael 

19 comments:

  1. Can I play the Americans? Enter the game Year 8 or so?

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  2. Ah, Diplomacy. The game for seven people who hate each other. I think the last time I played this was by post(!) in the late 1980s. What the hell, count me in!

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    1. Well, they don't have to hate each other at the start...

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    2. You're in, Tim, and glad to have you. I've emailed you.

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  3. Yes, I want to, but I don't own a copy of the game. Are there rules and game-aids available on line?

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    1. Hi Thomas:
      I just put some links into the post. I've pencilled you in - please email me to confirm that you still want the seat at the table. M

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  4. Blast me I think I do. I don't own the game nor have I ever played it would that be a problem?

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    1. There's a good chap. I put some links into the original post to give you access to the rules and maps, that's pretty much all you need to get going.
      I've pencilled you in - email me (madpadre@gmail.com) to confirm that you want the seat.
      M

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    2. If I may make a suggestion, Michael: given Mr Audin France or Russia - one of the corner countries at any rate. They are the easiest to play for the inexperienced.
      Cheers,
      Ion

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  5. Michael - When would you like to know? I've never played, and need to ponder the links you've given before I can decide.

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    1. Hello Edwin: I've got you on the list for now. Take a few days to decide and get back to me by Saturday, how does that sound?

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  6. Michael

    I'm in. I'll play any nation.
    Cheers
    Pd

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  7. Okay Mike, you've snagged me. If there's still room, I'm in too.

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  8. How many do you have in so far, Michael? I don't have the game - I haven't looked at a Diplomacy board these twenty years and more - but I think I have a copy of the rule set somewhere in the house. I'll join in if I may and there's room. Any nation, I guess. I suggested earlier that 'newbies' get a corner country (France or Russia are favorite, but consider England and Turkey too, just to random things up). Mind you, those who claim 'newbie' status might be sneaky types with vast experience looking to pull a fast one.
    Cheers,
    Ion

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  9. Sadly we have our seven, but Peter, Dai and Ion, I have you on a waiting list in case of drop outs or, possibly, a second game to start a bit later.

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  10. You enquired in response to one of my comments last time about how I would compare Chess and Diplomacy. Intriguing question! Possibly the biggest difference is as you suggest: in Chess, you're on your own looking for the best move you can find in each given position. Strategy - the placement of pieces and pawns, and planning - is as important as tactics: how the pieces and pawns work together to realize a plan. Plans may be long or short term.

    Entirely lacking in Chess (unless you're playing a consultation game, four handed, or any of the other multiplayer variants) is the cooperative aspect of Diplomacy. No Diplomacy nation can survive alone (If it could, that would be my style of play, right there. Probably.). For the winner to have won, he would have required help along the way, and of course, he would have had to reciprocate sufficiently to retain that cooperation until the time came to sever ties. As in Chess, the timing can be crucial. I've seen players who are absolutely pants at timing their surprise coups (stabs).

    In Chess, the interaction of the pieces and pawns is what the game is all about. In Diplomacy, it is the interaction between the players. But you do have to pay attention to the interaction of the military elements on the board as well, even though they are't capable of much: move one space, or attack one space or support one space. All units are equally powerful; equally mobile. When there is a fight, 'majority rules' - two to one always wins. But there will be lots of occasions in which you need a help of an ally to get your two to one, or to cut the support of an enemy.

    My point is that in Diplomacy, not only do you have to figure out what the enemy might do in response to something you might do, but what he might have in mind on his own account. I don't believe it is possible to 'see' with much accuracy any more than a season ahead - even predicting what will happen in the current season is problematic. In chess, a sufficiently forcing sequence can be 'seen' several moves deep ten or a dozen moves if the opponent's choices are sufficiently constrained for so long. I have found in certain types of end games I can 'see' much further than that - not the exact moves or sequence of moves - but pretty accurately how the game will go, the options available to both sides, and where it will end. One knows that any departure from the foreseen direction will end the game sooner.

    But you do in Diplomacy have to see pretty clearly what each country can do, especially you have to attend what can happen on your borders, and especially if you have cause to apprehend your neighbours getting a bit stroppy. But you never really know for sure what anyone will do, and what the upshot will be.

    Finally, I have found it best for one's peace of mind not to worry overmuch about winning the game. After all, excepting multiple victories, one begins the game with a one-in-seven chance of victory. In all the Diplomacy games I've played so far, I'm well ahead of the game. I can therefore afford to be philosophical about the cynical, conniving, back-stabbing, renegade rogues who infest the stately centres of government in Europe...

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  11. I have discovered someone has invented a modern version, set in Europe and the Near East in 1995. Its author originally added air forces to the game, but found that as they didn't really add much to the game, dispensed with them and went back to the original rules.

    It's a bigger game: 10 'great powers', with, in general. more home bases. Spain, Poland and Egypt get 3 home bases, England, France, Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Turkey get 4 home bases; Russia gets 5. One of England's is Gibraltar, which I think would have a considerable influence on events in Western Europe! Although its author mentions reasons for excluding Iran as a 'great power', I'd be inclined to include it. It remains as a neutral territory in this game.

    The author had some concerns about its geopolitical versimilitude, I think, but the way things are looking, such a scenario is starting to look vaguely plausible. The EU is looking distinctly wobbly, and it would not surprise me if within a few years the value of NATO to anyone but the United States will begin seriously to be called into question. It has already been suggested that the political responses to the crises facing the global economies are opening the door wide to extreme right and left wing socio-political movements. And look how many secessionist national movements have occurred world-wide over the last 20 years! Some have succeeded, others failed, still more are on-going.

    In the world envisaged by this version, the US is out of the picture - presumably abnegated its role and responsibilities as an 'exceptional' nation and superpower, and thus reverted to its former 'isolationism', NATO, the EU, and all free trade agreements have been dissolved, and the UN and its instruments are moribund.

    Only problem: you would need to find 10 players. It has been played on-line, though.
    Cheers,
    Ion

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