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Diplomacy is a strategic board game created by Allan B Calhamer in 1954 and released commercially in 1959. Set in Europe just before the beginning of World War I , Diplomacy is played by seven or fewer players, each controlling the armed forces of either Austria-Hungary, England, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, or Turkey. Each player aims to move their units - and defeat those of others - to win possession of a majority of strategic cities and provinces marked as "supply centers" on the map; these supply centers allow players who control them to produce more units.

Background And History:

Diplomacy was the first commercially published game to be played by mail; only chess, which is in the public domain, saw significant postal play earlier. Diplomacy was also the first commercially published game to generate an active hobby with amateur fanzines; only science-fiction/fantasy and comics fandom saw fanzines earlier. Competitive face-to-face Diplomacy tournaments have been held since the 1970s. Play of Diplomacy by e-mail has been widespread since the early 1990s. The rules allow for games with two to seven players, closing parts of the standard board and giving additional world powers to players, but these are used only in casual play, and are not considered standard Diplomacy in tournament, postal, or most forms of online play.

Diplomacy has been published in the United States by Games Research, Avalon Hill, and Hasbro; the name is currently a registered trademark of Hasbro's Avalon Hill division. Diplomacy has also been licensed to various companies for publication in other countries. Diplomacy is also played on the world wide web, adjudicated by computer or by a human gamesmaster.

Basic setting and overview

The Standard board is a map of Europe divided into the seven powers of the game, further divided into fifty-six land regions and nineteen sea regions, including portions of the Middle East and North Africa. The regions on the board are named after the general regions (e.g. "Bohemia") or countries (e.g. "Serbia"); some regions are named according to the early 20th century European diplomatic language and differ from modern usage, e.g. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is referred to as England, and Tunisia is called "Tunis" on some boards.[citation needed] Thirty-four of the land regions contain supply centers, corresponding to major centers of industry or commerce (e.g. "Vienna", "Rome"); this includes several home supply centers controlled at the start of the game, named after capital cities of the time (e.g. "Constantinople," "Berlin"). The number of supply centers a player controls determines the total number of armies and fleets a player may have on the board, and as players gain and lose control of different centers, they may build and must remove units accordingly.

All players other than England and Russia begin the game with two armies and one naval fleet; England starts with two fleets and one army, and Russia starts with two armies and two fleets. Only one unit at a time may occupy a given map region. Balancing units to supply center counts is done after each gameyear (two seasons of play: Spring and Fall). At the beginning of the game, there are twelve "neutral" (unoccupied) supply centers; these are all typically captured within the first few moves. Further allocation of supply centers becomes zero sum, with any gains in a player's resources coming at the expense of a rival.

Game Play:

Diplomacy is turn-based — the game begins in the year 1901, with each year divided into two turns: "Spring" and "Fall" turns. Each turn is further divided into negotiation and movement phases, followed by an end-of-year phase after the Fall turn.

Negotiation phase

In the negotiation phase, players use any verbal means necessary amongst each other to form alliances, or some other form of arrangement, with one another. Such arrangements may be made public knowledge or kept secret. Since players are not bound to anything they say during this period, and thus no agreements of any sort are enforceable, communication and trust are unusually important for a strategy game; players must forge alliances with opponents and observe them to ensure their trustworthiness; at the same time, they must convince others of their own trustworthiness while making plans to turn on their allies when others least expect it.

Movement phase

After the negotiation period, players write secret orders for each unit; these orders are revealed and executed simultaneously. Units can move from their location to an adjacent space, support adjacent units in holding an area in the event of an attack, do nothing or assist in attacking an occupied area. In addition, fleets may transport armies from one coast square to another. One fleet per sea space traversed is required if multiple bodies of water are to be traversed. Armies may only occupy land regions, and fleets may only occupy sea regions and land regions that border the sea. Only one unit may occupy a square; if multiple units are ordered to move to the same square, only the unit with the most support moves there (if two or more units have the same highest support, no units ordered to that square move).

During an attack, the greatest concentration of force is always victorious; if the forces are equal a standoff results and the units remain in their original positions. If a supporting unit is attacked (except by the unit against which the support is directed), its support is nullified, which allows units to affect the outcome of conflicts in regions not directly adjacent.


After each Fall move, newly-acquired supply centers become owned by the occupying player, and each power's supply center total is recalculated; players with fewer supply centers than units on the board must disband units, while players with more supply centers than units on the board are entitled to build units in their Home centers (supply centers contolled at the start of the game). Players controlling no supply centers are eliminated from the game, and if a player controls 18 of the 34 supply centers, that person is declared the winner. Players may also agree to a draw.

See Also: Email Diplomacy and French page Fr:Diplomatie

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