From DipWiki

Created by: Andy Schwarz and Vincent Mous


Variant Description:

1) The rules of "standard" Diplomacy are valid, unless specifically replaced or amended by these rules

2) All references in the "standard" rules to specific powers, provinces, locations, and seasons do not apply to "Classical." The standard map is replaced by the "Classical" variant map.

3) The game begins in Spring 273 B.C. Because years before 1 A.D. count backwards, Spring 273 B.C. is followed by Fall 273 B.C., Winter 273 B.C., and then Spring 272 B.C. However, for the purposes of Judge play, the game is counted in years since the death of Alexander the Great (to allow time to move forward and fit the Judge program). Thus 273 B.C. is noted as Year 50, and 272 B.C. is Year 51, etc.

4) There are 35 supply centers on the board. The winner is the power which holds 18 or more supply centers during an adjustment phase.

5) There are 5 great powers. The starting units are as follows:

A Pella
F Cassandreia
F Kallatis
F Carthage
F Panormus
F Leptis Magna
A Thebes
F Alexandria
F Memphis
A Brundisium
A Roma
F Cumae
A Antioch
A Damascus
F Tyre

Classical start.gif

      • Please note that MACEDON is abbreviated with an "A" to avoid

conflict with the MASTER of the game. ***

6) A power may build in any vacant supply center it owns during an adjustment phase, assuming at least one of the original SCs of that power is owned by that power: thus while there are permanent "home centers," as long as you own one, all owned centers act like home centers. For example, Carthage may build in Syracuse if (1) it is vacant, (2) Carthage owns it and (3) Carthage is eligible for a build and (4) Carthage still owns at least one of: Panormus, Carthage, or Leptis Magna.


7) All Coastal provinces are assumed to have only one coast. Thus, for example, a fleet can enter Athens from Euboea and exit to Corinth the following turn. The same holds for Fleets entering Sinai from Memphis and proceeding to Petra (and vice versa), and for Agrigentum as well.

Note, however, that two neighboring coastal provinces, may not necessarily be adjacent for the purposes of sea travel. For example. Etruria and Cisalpina are both coastal provinces, but they do not touch on a water border, and thus a fleet in Etruria may not move to Cisalpina or vice versa.

7a) The Nile is navigable up to Thebes. Once in Thebes, a fleet may move to the Sinai, Sea of Reeds, or Nubian Desert via "portage" (this is just a regular move order. i.e. a "portage" from Thebes to Nubian Desert is just F Thebes- Nubian Desert, with no special indication that the fleet may have had to be lifted across a stretch of desert) Note, however, F Thebes cannot move to Libya, for the same reasons that F Cis-Etr is not allowed.

7b) The Rhodes space in southeastern Asia Minor consists of the island of Rhodes proper and the mainland province of Caria which Rhodes controlled. They are one province despite being separated by water.

Thus, for example, a unit entering Rhodes from the Sea of Alexander may move to Pergamum in the following season (and vice versa). Note however, that the Lycian Sea and the Cretan Sea ARE adjacent (as are Lycian and Kos), despite this unusual land province.

8) The games has several land bridges, designed to improve interaction among the five powers. These connect the following land provinces:

  • Mauretania Saguntum
  • Kyrnos Sardo
  • Cumae Mamertines
  • Brundisium Epirus
  • Bithynia Thrace
  • Thrace Troy
  • Chersonesus Tanais
  • Corinth Delphi

Note that Rhodes also has a land bridge indicated, but its special nature is defined by rule 7b above.

8a) Units (army or fleet) in a province with a land bridge may move to the opposite shore at full strength. In addition, a unit in such a province may give support to a unit on the other side, or support a move into the space across the bridge, also at full strength, regardless of the presence of a fleet in the waters between the land bridges.


R: Brundisium-Epirus. A: Pella-Epirus.
result: both bounce.

R: Dalmatia-Epirus, Brundisium s Dalmatia-Epirus. A: Pella-Epirus.
result: Dalmatia-Epirus succeeds.

R: Brundisium S Epirus, Epirus H. A: Pella-Epirus, Delphi S Pella-Epirus.
result: Epirus holds, Pella bounces.

8b) None of these land bridges precludes movement across the sea spaces they cross. For example, an army moving from Thrace to Troy will not impede a fleet moving from Propontis to Lesbos. In addition, these land bridges do not prevent convoys, so an army in Bithynia may convoy via Propontis and Lesbos to Pergamum, or even, should the need arise, directly across the Propontis to Thrace (this might be used to swap two units which would otherwise bounce).

9) Generally, land locations can be abbreviated by the first three letters. The one exception is Sarmatia, abbreviated as Srm to avoid a conflicts with Sardo, Sar. Ignore the word "The" when abbreviating.

Sea space abbreviations are a bit more complicated. Three-word sea spaces, like Bay of Pelusium and the Magna Grecian Sea are abbreviated by their initials, e.g., BoP and MGS. Sea spaces beginning with Sinus are abbreviated S plus the first two letters of the second word, e.g., Sinus Ligusticum is abbreviated SLi. Similarly, sea spaces beginning with Mare are abbreviated M plus the first two letters of the second word, e.g., Mare Adriaticum is abbreviated MAd. Other Sea Spaces are abbreviated by the first two letters of their first name and S, such as Antigonid Sea (AnS) or Messenian Gulf (MeG). In a few cases, such as Maeotis Palus, the first three letters will suffice (Mae). Finally, the Syrtis Major and Syrtis Minor are abbreviated SMa and SMi respectively.

Please note these abbreviations:

Mare Internum MIn
Minoan Sea MiS
Antioch Ant
Antigonid Sea AnS
Sardo Sar
Sarmatia Srm
Syrtis Major SMa
Syrtis Minor SMi
Barcid Sea BaS
Baleares Bal
The Fetters Fet
The Mamertines Mam

Historical Background:

Typically, the history of the ancient Mediterranean is written in two halves, a Greek and Roman split, with events in Greece taking center-stage until the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. Then the focus shifts west. First we head backwards in time to the early days of Rome. The narrative pushes forward to the last decades of the 4th century B.C. again, to the point of Alexander's death, when the Romans take on the Samnites for control of the Italian peninsula south of the Po.

Soon after the Roman victory over Samnium, Carthage looms as a rival to Rome and the next hundred years or so are spent on the three Punic Wars, with passing discussion of things Greek. Mention is made here and there of the "Diadochi" (Successor) Kingdoms formed by Alexander's generals in Macedon, Egypt and Syria, for example when Macedon allies with Carthage during the second Punic War, or when Egypt chooses neutrality throughout. But for the most part, general histories act as if the Greek world stood still and waited for Rome to come calling, whereupon these corrupt kingdoms succumbed, one by one, to the virile power of the Roman Republic. Or so some of the more pro-Roman historians would have us believe. Conveniently, at about the time of the shift to Imperial rule, Rome has managed to conquer the Hellenistic east and the history of these eastern kingdoms is taken up again, now as part of Imperial Rome.

But in 323 B.C., when Alexander died in Babylon, he was preparing (among many things) to sail west and conquer Sicily. His death, and the subsequent wars dividing Alexander's legacy left the Sicilian Greeks independent until Rome and Carthage contested control, starting in 264 B.C.. But in 273 B.C, nine years before the First Punic War broke out, Rome and Egypt formed an alliance of friendship, partially out of fear of a Carthaginian-Syrian pact. In theory, Carthage and Rome were allied as well against the threat from Syracuse and Epirus. And thus the 3 way eastern struggle and the one-on-one between Carthage and Rome can be seen as a five- way struggle for power in a single Classical Mediterranean world, breaking away from the traditional approach to classical history, and considering whether more aggressive intervention from the East might have thwarted Rome before the defeat of Carthage.

Case in point: in 282, Rome went to war with Taras (Tarentum in Latin, modern day Taranto), a Greek city-state in the "in step" of the Italian boot. The Romans had entered the "Sinus Tarentinus" in violation of a treaty with Taras, and in response, Taras declared war and asked King Pyrrhus of Epirus, a relative of Alexander the Great (on his mother's side), to serve as general. Pyrrhus (aided by various Greek leaders) invaded Italy with a professional army using Macedonian phalanx tactics. With a much smaller army, Pyrrhus managed to defeat the Romans at Heraclea. Had Pyrrhus had more strength to follow up on this and the subsequent victory at Ausculum, perhaps Rome would have become part of the periphery of states around the Hellenistic kingdoms, rather than the eventual master. Instead, with his eponymous pyrrhic victory, Pyrrhus was worn down and eventually left Greek Italy to its Roman fate.

Classical Diplomacy is set in 273 B.C, 50 years after the death of Alexander the Great. This is just after the Romans have secured control of all of Italy south of the Po, and in the very year in which Rome and Egypt signed their first pact of friendship. Carthage, which rules the major western Mediterranean islands, southern Spain and northern Africa, is still nominally Rome's ally, having joined to fight the common enemy of Pyrrhus. Carthage and Greece share a long history of trade relations.

After 50 years of struggle, the successor states to Alexander have hammered out a compromise of coexistence: Macedon is to be ruled by the family of Demetrius Poliorcetes (City-Conqueror), son of Antigonus Monopthalmus (One-Eyed), one of Alexander's generals. Egypt remains in the hands of the House of Ptolemy (another of Alexander's generals), and the vast lands formerly ruled by the Persians from Asia Minor to the Indus Valley, fall to The House of Seleucus, yet another Alexandrine general (Seleucus was Alexander's cavalry commander).

The city-states of Greece and western Asia Minor, who chafed under Macedonian rule, have broken free into autonomous leagues. The Greek colonies in Sicily and at the far reaches of the Black Sea and Western Mediterranean remain free. But they are kept safe only by the mutual jealousy of their larger neighbors, none of whom wish to yield to another in fear of being out-positioned.

Five well-balanced powers face each other across the Mediterranean. Can you manipulate your allies and crush your foes to control the known world?

The Classical Mediterranean Diplomacy variant follows the most of the rules as standard Diplomacy with a modified map. The game was designed to allow a balanced, yet asymmetric five-player variant for the same level of intrigue and interaction as standard Diplomacy when 7 players aren't available.

The variant was designed by Vincent Mous and Andy Schwarz. Playtesters and kibitzers included Benjamin Winkler, Charlie Eldred, Toby Tyrrell, Eric Coffey, Nate Kaiser, Jon Fetter, Manus Hand and Nate Johnson, David Schmid, Wes Makin, Eric Person, James Mixon, Brian Burkhart, Paul Ang, and John Quarto von Tivador. Many more people helped bring this game to reality, and special thanks should be given to Kevin Roust and David Norman for their tireless efforts.