A SAMPLE DIPLOMACY TEACHING SCRIPT

By Edi Birsan


This is Europe as it was in 1901, a time of power; deceit, lies and well, some things have not changed much. Each of the 7 players in the game will take control of one of the major countries at the time:
The United Kingdom (represented by England), France, Germany, Italy, Austro-Hungary or Austria for short, Russian and the Ottoman Empire: simply called Turkey.
The game turn is divided into two phases per year starting in 1901, a Spring and a Fall move. This being Europe, no one wants to work in the summer and the winter is too cold and miserable to do anything.

Within each season there will be a negotiation period and then an issuing of orders with their adjudication.

During negotiations you can shout out loud, discuss things in private or communicate with hand signals (rude or otherwise) as you feel. You are not bound by anything you say or do with another person (but keep it legal). You can lie, make up rumors, make half true accusations, search for weapons of mass deception or anything else that governments normally disavow any knowledge of. You may try to listen to other people's conversations, read their lips (or other parts of their anatomy) and generally make a spectacle or a stealth observer of behavior as you wish.

However, when negotiations are over and you have to issue orders to your units in secret, these you are bound to. After all you are paying these guys in the army and fleets that represent your military power backing up your diplomatic skills and they have to do what you tell them.

All the orders written in secret are revealed together and adjudicated together.

When the game is being adjudicated or adjustments: retreats, builds and disbands are done, there is no discussion. These are serious moments after all.

The map is divided into over 70 different provinces all of which are named.

You cannot move a piece to a place that is not named on the map. For example Iceland over here, we all know it is there, but they really do not want to be visited by any armies or fleets so they requested not to be named. If only in times of real war it was that easy.

There are 34 supply centers on the map.

They are designated by these rather dull looking black dots. Their proper name is "Centers" but the youngsters around here like to call them dots for some reason. No imagination in youth these days.

To win the game you need to convince everyone you have won or control 18 supply centers at the end of a Fall move to force recognition of that fact.

Players will have 3 home supply centers except for Russia, which is a big country with big problems that has 4 home centers. For every supply center you own, you can have one piece on the board.

You own a center if you previous owned it and no one has taken it from you or if at the end of the Fall move adjudication you have a piece on the supply center. Remember that if you move into a new center in the Spring move and then out in the Fall you do not own it; it is sort of like musical chairs with the music stopping every Fall move to see who is still sitting on a chair.

If at the end of the Fall adjudication you own more supply centers than you have pieces on the board, then REJOICE and you can build up to that number by ordering units built in your unoccupied original owned home supply centers. In the sad occasion that you have less supply centers than you have pieces on the board you must disband units.

Like move orders, the adjustments are issued in secret and revealed at the same time and adjustments made at the same time. There are only two types of pieces: Armies and Fleets. In different sets there are cannons and battleship pieces to represent this or squat blocks and long thin blocks.

Armies may be in any land province while Fleets can be in any water province or any land province that has a coast on a named water province. The fleets are considered to have a Marine type force component that allows them to control coastal provinces much in the same way that Armies can traditionally control a province.

Only one piece may be in a province at any given time.

You issue orders to all of your pieces each turn.

Units are identified with the province that they start in and while there are official abbreviations for use in written orders it is not recommended especially for those under 21 as this may be your only chance to learn to spell Mediterranean. If you must use abbreviations most common are the official ones found on the sample map or by taking the first 3 letters of the province with the exception of NOR as everything in the Northwest begins with NOR (North Sea, North Atlantic, Norway, Norwegian and even North Africa *which is not in the North West -just testing - see the official abbreviations or spell it out and be kind to yourself and fellow players.

Your pieces can only be ordered to do ONE of these things in a turn:

MOVE directly to an adjacent space that the piece is allowed to be in; Armies moving from land space to land space, and Fleets moving either along the coasts (such as from Belgium to Holland) or from the coast to the adjacent water provinces (Kiel to Baltic) or from one water province to an adjacent province (Mid Atlantic to Western Mediterranean)

MOVE by convoy if an army, from one coastal place to another coastal place by a chain of convoying fleets SUPPORT A DEFENDER the unit gives up its right to move in order to add to the defense of an adjacent piece (not to an empty province - no ghosts in this world) in a province that you could have moved to and where that defender is not moving.

SUPPORT A MOVER to a province that the supporter could move to

CONVOY can be done by a fleet to try to take an army piece from one coastal province of the fleet to another coastal province of the fleet or where the fleet is in a chain of fleets that make a convoy of an army from one coastal province to another.

HOLD: if you absolutely have no idea where to move to or who to support, then you can simply order the unit to HOLD (BORE----ING!) But sometimes everyone enjoys a day off.

Adjudications of these orders is the mechanics of the game and they follow a few simple rules: You cannot directly switch places unless moving by convoy. So Army Venice cannot move to Trieste while Fleet or Army Trieste moves to Venice. Too much confusion at border control!

All pieces have the same equal value of strength of 1. So a German Army is equal to a British Fleet, which is equal to an Italian Army and a Russian Fleet, despite the historic perceptions and biases to the contrary. After all the name of the game is DIPLOMACY not military history simulation 101!

If two or more units try to move into the same province at the same time then they bounce. German Army Munich to Burgundy (How rude)
French Army Paris to Burgundy

As they both are of equal value they bounce and go back to where they came from. This can cause a whole chain reaction of bounces so if the Germans had ordered

Army Berlin to Munich
Army Munich to Burgundy
And the last unit is bounced, and then it goes back to where it came from and bounces Berlin back from where it came from. (Quite embarrassing at times.)

If one piece is supported in its move then it can move with a force of two:

German Army Munich to Burgundy
French Army Paris to Burgundy
French Army Marseilles Support Army Paris to Burgundy (Ah HAH! Take that!)
Then the French Army Paris is moving with a force of 2: the move and one valid support and off they go to the vineyards - no German Beer in the Burgundy Merci.

(If the Germans had already been in Burgundy, from a previous move; then the Germans would be forced out and would have to retreat from Burgundy.)

You cannot retreat to a place that is occupied, you cannot retreat to where the attack came from as that would be silly, and you cannot retreat to where there was a bounce - a battle site is so unsafe. So if everything was empty and quiet the Germans could retreat from Burgundy to Gascony, Picardy, Belgium, Ruhr and Munich. You always have the option to refuse to retreat and be disbanded, which is sometimes done to allow a new unit to be built at home at the end of the Fall move if the supply center count allows it.

You can support other people's pieces with or without their advance knowledge. So if the British had an army in Belgium in the above case they could add their support to the French Army Paris to move to Burgundy or the German Army in Burgundy to defend. The British could also have told the French and the Germans that they were going to do one of these things and then turn around and moved from Belgium to Holland or purposely miswrite their order to support the French Army Marseilles to Burgundy and claim that the French were not clear in their instructions (like any Diplomat is ever clear on anything). If units have equal valid supports from all sources then there is a big bounce and everyone holds.

You can cut or invalidate supports but not by a unit for an attack on yourself. So if: Blockquote> German Army Burgundy to Marseilles
French Army Paris to Burgundy
French Army Marseilles support Army Paris to Burgundy The French Army Marseilles support is not cut and the German would retreat.

To allow for the breaking of supports there are two rules

  1. If a piece that is issuing a support is attacked from a province other than the target province then its support is cut (invalid) as the unit must turn to face its attacker as a priority over helping its poor crying neighboring unit.
    So in the example:
    German Army Munich to Burgundy
    French Army Paris to Burgundy
    French Army Marseilles Support Army Paris to Burgundy
    If the Italians had an army in Piedmont and ordered
    Army Piedmont to Marseilles
    Then the French army there would have to face against the Piedmont unit and the two moves into Burgundy would each be at a force of one and a bounce.

  2. If a piece is dislodged then its support or move on the province from which it is dislodged is invalid (cut).
Convoy's can be a little tricky (sea sickness aside) a Fleet in a water province only, that gives up its right to move or support can do a convoy. If that fleet is moved on (attacked) then it defends the convoy and the convoy sails to its destination. A convoying fleet does not move so it can be supported in place as it protects the convoy. However if the fleet is dislodged by a supported successful attack then the convoy through that water province fails.

A convoy can have several routes and as long as one of the routes is successful then the convoy gets to the destination.

Example: Army London to Belgium
Fleet English Channel Convoys Army London to Belgium
Fleet North Sea Convoys Army London to Belgium

As long as one of the two fleets is not dislodged then the convoy goes through.

You cannot retreat via convoy.

The convoyed army makes an attack on the destination province as if it came from the sea province after testing to see if the fleet is dislodged and it cannot cut the support for an attack on one of the fleets necessary for the convoy. If the move fails then the convoy unit bounces back to its original destination.

You cannot convoy a support, the fleet at sea would have to do that directly to an adjacent province.

There are few geographic oddities on the map due to politics, Mother Nature or the envy of engineers for both of the aforementioned.

Three provinces have two different coasts: Spain is divided into a North and South Coast by those pesky Portugese. Saint Petersburg is just too big and thus has a North Coast and a South Coast. Bulgaria has a peculiar shape at this point in History giving it a South Coast an East Coast (the end of World War One resolved this problem). When Fleets are ordered to one of these provinces the coast needs to be specified if the fleet is in a position to go to both coast. For example Fleet Mid Atlantic Ocean can go to either Spain North Coast or South Coast. Personally I prefer the beaches of the South Coast, butůa Fleet in Spain North Coast can move to Gascony, which cannot be reached by a Fleet on the South Coast. Saint Petersburg is a Russian home center so if they desire to build a fleet they must specify which coast they will build on it at the time of each individual fleet build.

Remember that a Fleet, as long as it can reach either coast of a split province can support a move on to that province regardless of which coast the attack goes to.

There are two provinces that provide for extraordinary fleet movements, one by nature one by engineering feats. Constantinople has an inland waterway which we know as the Dardinelles that allows a fleet to move all along the coast of Constantinople province thus able to move from there to Ankara, the Black Sea, Bulgaria either coast, the Aegean or Smyna. The Germans were very envious of this sort of mobility so in of the 1800's they built the Kiel Canal that allows for the shifting of a Fleet in Kiel to attack Holland, Helgoland, Denmark, the Baltic, or Berlin. Denmark remains the last oddity of nature (how do they ůmake those pastries there?) The upper part of the country is made of a collection of very close islands such that an Army that occupies Denmark can move directly to Sweden. In fact they have now built a bridge at Malmo there probably wanting to collect tolls for the passage.

And those are the rules of Diplomacy.

Remember this:



Edi Birsan
(editor@diplom.org)

If you wish to e-mail feedback on this article to the author, and clicking on the envelope above does not work for you, feel free to use the "Dear DP..." mail interface.