Diplomacy Boardgame Trivia


By Simon Szykman

I mentioned on the previous page that I've been doing some research into the various editions of the Diplomacy boardgame. There are several non-U.S. editions of Diplomacy that I am interested in (1) getting more information about, and/or (2) obtaining via purchase or trade.

Specifically, if you have:
- any edition from any country not listed in the answer to question 6 below,
- any Australian, French, Italian, or Israeli editions,
- later (after 1963) U.K. editions from Intellectual Diversions,
- early (before 1983) U.K. editions from Gibson's Games, or
- any Canadian editions from Waddington's House of Games (not Waddington Sanders)
- and especially if you have a copy of the 1959 Calhamer edition,
I'd like to hear from you.

I hope I can find some people who would be interested in selling or trading, but I'm trying to get some information as well so if you have one of the editions listed above, please let me know even if you aren't interested in parting with it.

    The Editions

  1. Who designed the boardgame Diplomacy? (Yeah, that's an easy one but some of these may be pretty hard for most people so I thought I'd include a giveaway question to make up for it.)

    Allan B. Calhamer

  2. In what year was Diplomacy first commerially sold?

    1959. I've occasionally seen 1958 cited as the date commercially was first commercially sold. While it is true that there was a "1958 version" of Diplomacy, whose map and rules were somewhat different from what people play today, that version only existed as a prototype and was never sold (see this article by ABC himself for more information). The first commercial version (the 1959 version) had the same map as is used today, and substantially the same rules although there have been a number of revisions of the rulebook over the years.

  3. Which of the following has never been used as a material for fleet and army pieces in a commercially-sold (i.e. not homemade) Diplomacy game?

    Depends. If you are United-States-centric, cardboard has never been used. If you are talking worldwide, the answer is "none of the above," as the editions of Diplomacy published in Brazil used cardboard counters for armies and fleets.

  4. In what year was the Avalon Hill bookcase edition with plastic pieces first sold?

    I don't know. But if you said 1982, you're probably wrong. Most people associate plastic pieces with the Avalon Hill's second edition of Diplomacy, which had a revised rulebook and was released in 1982. However, there was an edition of Diplomacy sold prior to the second edition, which had the 1976 first edition rules and plastic pieces. Unfortunately, since both the box and rulebook are copyright 1976, I'm not sure when it was actually sold. If anyone knows anything more specific about dates, please let me know.

  5. Which company sold the edition of Diplomacy shown in the image below?

    Did you say Games Research, Inc. or Avalon Hill?

    Trick question... the answer is both. After well over a decade of selling Diplomacy in a dull brown box, Games Research finally redesigned the box sometime after 1974 (I don't actually know when). The box is marked with Games Research's name. When Avalon Hill acquired the rights to Diplomacy from Games Research in 1976, they either continued to make this version or, more likely, they inherited some unsold inventory of this edition which they continued to sell until they ran out. Although the box and gameboard are the same, you can tell the two editions apart by the rulebook since Avalon Hill included a rulebook with their name on it... the same one they continued to use when they published their bookcase edition.

    The Companies

  6. Name as many countries as you can in which local editions of Diplomacy have been sold. The use of the word "local" is meant to exclude countries were Avalon Hill editions were imported and sold with a translated rulebook.

    I know of ten: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.A. If you know of any that are missing from this list, please let me know.

  7. In the U.K., two different kinds of pieces have been used for fleets: flat elongated 5-sided polygons, and pieces shaped like little ships. One company sold sets with both kinds of pieces (at different points in time, not both types in one box). Name that company.

    Philmar, Ltd.

  8. Name the first company to license rights to produce and sell the game Diplomacy outside of the United States.

    Intellectual Diversions, Ltd., a company in the U.K.

  9. Name the second company to license rights to produce and sell the game Diplomacy outside of the United States.

    Waddington's House of Games, a Canadian company.

  10. Which company published editions of Diplomacy in two different languages, neither of which was English?

    Parker, which I believe was/is the European subsidiary of the U.S. company Parker Brothers, published both French and German editions of Diplomacy.

  11. Which company released a bootleged version of Diplomacy (i.e., a version of Diplomacy which was sold without having licensed the rights to the game).

    GROW Produtos Para Recreacao, Ltda., a Brazilian company, sold Diplomacy in Brazil reportedly without having licensed the rights to the game from Avalon Hill.

    Diplomacy Around the World

  12. In what year was Diplomacy first sold outside of the United States?

    1963, by Intellectual Diversions, Ltd.

  13. In which country was Diplomacy published with a bilingual rulebook?

    Canadian editions of Diplomacy have a bilingual rulebook that includes rules in both English and French.

  14. Name two countries in which three different companies from outside the United States at one time or another sold local-language editions of Diplomacy. (Note that "companies from outside the United States" is intended to exclude things like Avalon Hill editions that were exported to other countries and sold with translated rulebooks.)

    In the U.K., Diplomacy was sold by Intellectual Diversions, Ltd., by Philmar, Ltd., and by Gibson's Games. In Italy, Diplomacy was sold by Ariel, Mondadori Giochi, and by L'Editrice Giochi.

    The Variants

    Note: In this context, "variants" refers to commercially published and sold games (other than Diplomacy) that are designed around the same core mechanics of Diplomacy. In other words, this includes variants whose rules are identical to those of Diplomacy, as well as those games which may have many substantially new concepts but whose underlying mechanics are built upon those of Diplomacy.

  15. Name as many commercial Diplomacy variants as you can.

    I know of six: Ard-Ri, Classical Diplomacy, Colonial Diplomacy, Hundred, Kamakura, Machiavelli. Most Diplomacy players know of Machiavelli and Colonial Diplomacy. Classical and Hundred are popular in the PBEM community and many PBEM players have heard of them. Ard-Ri, though less known, also came out of the PBEM community and may be familiar to some people. Kamakura is definitely among the least (if not the least) well known of these games.

  16. Which commercial variants were eventually re-published with gameboards having a revised map which differed from the original one?

    Machiavelli and Colonial Diplomacy were both republished with gameboards that had a revised map.

  17. Which variants were eventually re-published in a box that differed from the original one?

    Only Machiavelli was republished in a box that differed from the original one. The box for the "revised" Colonial Diplomacy was identical to the original one.

And to find out how many different local editions of Diplomacy have been published throughout the world, come back next issue. If you care to go on the record with your guess, feel free to use the link below to email me your guess. I'll summarize peoples' guesses in the next issue as well.

Simon Szykman

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