The intent of the Europe 1615 variant is to simulate the historical conflicts of the early 17th century Europe. These conflicts were characterized by shifting alliances between various states, raised mercenary armies, and larger-than-life leaders who financed their armies and agendas. The politics was complex. There was religious contention between Protestants and Catholics, and a dynastic feud between the Hapsburgs and Bourbons over control of Europe. To establish this setting and have the right mechanics to give it life, I borrowed concepts from excellent variants like Ambition and Empire by B. M. Powell and Jeff Kase, Payola by Manus Hand and John Woolley, and a distant relative of Diplomacy called Origins of World War One by Jim Dunnigan. The details of the game are described at this link.
So, what makes this variant different? Well, in standard Diplomacy you capture those neutral states to expand. In Europe 1615, you're encouraged to protect those states, establish authority over them, and use their units for tactical purposes. You mobilize against the states that your opponents are protecting, and each power has certain "interests" attached to the various states as reflected in the scoring system. This is harder to execute than the standard “grab and grow”. Therefore, the strategies you formulate will be more involved, and the negotiations more methodical.
Please, have a look at it. Presently, I’m recruiting for a play-testing session at http://www.diplomaticcorp.com/, under Open Games (select Games > Open Games in the main menu). I guarantee that seasoned Diplomacy players will find this variant challenging!
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