Judge Variant List

David Norman

When the Diplomacy Judge was first written by Ken Lowe, it supported three variants: Standard, Youngstown, and Loeb9. By 1991, the number was up to twelve, and by 1996, it had passed twenty. A lot of these were fairly simple variants, including several that use the standard map and powers, and just change the starting position (e.g., Fleet Rome, Shift Left and Right).

With the introduction of Mapper, allowing games of variants to easily be mapped out by the players, and then MapMaker, allowing new variants to be coded far more quickly than before, the number of variants has increased rapidly, and has now passed forty. It is therefore getting to the stage that a lot of judge players do not know what is available. The aim of this list of variants is to let people know what is available, so that more games of different variants can be played.

Some variants are fully completed, and are available for anybody who wants to play them. Others are still being worked on, as test games show up flaws in the design, and new revisions are brought out by the author. Help testing variants is always appreciated, although it is even more important than normal that you stick with a position to the end, as the discontinuity caused by a change of players can both hide problems in the variant, and show up problems that don't really exist.

The table below is a complete list of the different Diplomacy variants that are implemented on the many computer adjudicators ("judges") throughout the world. For more information on variants or on a particular variant, check out The Pouch's Variants Page, which makes an effort to list every variant known to man. There you will find more information on the variants supported on the judges, descriptions of those that are not, and even some variants which use hand- or non-judge adjudication in combination with the judges (i.e., which are played on the judge but do not show up in the list below).

Notes on the list:

  1. This list will probably not be updated regularly. This version is current as of the release of the Winter 1997 Adjustment issue of the Diplomatic Pouch Zine (early January 1998).
  2. Each variant has a "status," which is one of the following:

    Variant Status Judges Description
    Standard Stable All Standard Diplomacy. This is the game originally designed by Allan Calhamer in the 1950's, and is still the most commonly played variant on the judges. The copyright is owned by Hasbro.
    Chaos Stable All Played on a standard map, this is a 34 player variant, with each power starting with just one supply centre. The game starts with a build phase, so that players can decide whether to start with an army or a fleet.
    Britain Stable All The standard map is modified slightly, so that all six home provinces in England are supply centres. England starts with six armies, and so must persuade somebody to convoy him out of his home before he can do anything.
    1898 Stable All On a standard map, each of the standard powers starts with only one of their home centres owned, and only one unit. They must then capture their other home centres before they can build on them.
    Crowded Stable All The standard map is modified slightly, so that there is a 35th supply centre in Ruhr. Four new powers are then added in Scandinavia, The Lowlands, Iberia (including Tunis) and The Balkans. This leaves no neutral supply centres.
    Fleet_Rome Stable All This is the standard variant, except that Italy starts with a fleet in Rome instaed of an army.
    Shift_Right Stable All On the standard map, each of the standard powers start in somebody else's home supply centres, and must make their way home before they can build any new units. Germany and Turkey start in each others home centres, and the other five powers rotate their starting positions two places anti-clockwise around Germany.
    Shift_Left Stable All On the standard map, each of the standard powers start in somebody elses home supply centres, and must make their way home before they can build any new units. Germany and Turkey start in each others home centres, and the other five powers rotate their starting positions two places clockwise around Germany.
    Wraparound Stable All The standard map is modified, so that the Top and Bottom edges touch, as do the Left and Right edges. Units can freely move from the Atlantic into Eastern Russia and Turkey, and from St. Petersburg into Syria and vice-versa. A couple of extra provinces and supply centres are also added, to balence the game.
    Wraparound2 Playtesting USTR This is a slight modification on the original Wraparound variant. Instead of St. Petersburg touching the Nothern Edge of the board, and allowing wraparound moves into Syria, instead the Barents Sea touches the Eastern edge, and so allows wraparound moves into the North Atlantic. This is intended to help Russia keep StP more easily, and to allow Turkey and Russia to send fleets into the Atlantic.
    Milan Stable All The standard map is modified around Italy. The supply centre in Venice is moved to a new province, Milan, so that it is no longer next to any other home supply centres. The rest of Italy is also redesigned, and the border between Italy and France is widened, to allow Italy to head West more easily.
    Rootz Stable All On the standard map, a cut is made from the edge of the board to Switzerland. This cut is then opened up, and a second board with the same cut is connected to it. This creates a double sized 14 player map, which as you move around Switzerland, you go Bur1 to Mar1 to Pie2 to Tyr2 to Mun2 to Bur2 to Mar2 to Pie1 to Tyr1 to Mun1 to Bur1. The variant is often played with seven players, each controlling two powers.
    Layered Playtesting USTR Two standard maps are placed one on top of the other, and each player controls the same power on each map. All units may move as normal on a single board, or they may move from any province on one map to the same province on the other map.
    Loeb9 Stable All A nine player variant on a map similar to the standard map. The seven standard powers are involved, as are Norway and Spain. Extra supply centres are added in Spain, Ireland and Eastern Germany to balence the game out.
    Chromatic Stable All The map of Italy, from Venice and the Adriatic in the East to the Tyrrhenian Sea and Tunis in the West, is cut out of the standard map. Five copies of it are then made, and are arranged around Switzerland, which is now a supply centre. Each player then plays one of the five Italies in a perfectly balenced game.
    Youngstown Stable All The standard map is altered a bit, and is also extended to include the whole of Asia and more of North Africa. Three extra powers are added in India, China and Japan. Russia is given two extra units, and several of the standard powers have one extra unit, including Italy in Ethiopia, and England and France in colonial South East Asia. There are also off-board boxes which allow units to circumnavigate the board from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and around Africa into the Indian Ocean.
    Pure Stable All Seven powers play on a map which has only seven provinces. Every province is next to every other province, and so all powers are equally adjacent.
    Future Playtesting CAWA Seven powers play on a ring of land containing only seven supply centres. Each starts with an army, but once they gain a build, they can build either a fleet, to sail off and capture Atlantis, or a space fleet, to fly off and capture Alpha-Centuri, both of which are also supply centres.
    Aberration Stable All The variant of powers that didn't make it. Each of the powers in this variant could have been one of the great powers of Diplomacy, except that history dealt them a bad hand. The crutial battle that would have made them the great power was lost, and the then enemy is now the great power instead. Played on a map of Europe, it is a nine player variant.
    Asia Stable All A seven player variant on a map of Asia, stretching from Warsaw and the Baltic Coast in the West, to Japan and North-West Australia in the East. While it claims to be balenced, experience has shown that this is not the case.
    Asia2 Awaiting
    CAWA Following an article in the Diplomatic Pouch about the problems with the Asia Variant, this is an attempt to even it up.
    Modern Stable All A modernised version of the Standard Diplomacy board this map extends slighly further east and south than the standard Diplomacy map, and contains the 10 great powers of today. Originally this variant was designed to include aircraft units, but these were removed when the game was added to the judges, and the variant plays just as well with or without them.
    Colonial Stable All The second variant to be released by Avalon Hill. It is set in Asia, and includes both Asian powers (Japan, China, Russia, Turkey), and colonial powers (England, France and Holland). It is purposely not balenced, but this does not appear to cause too much of a problem with the variant, although some of the weaker powers are rather unlikely to get an outright win. The optional rules for this variant have not yet been coded into the judge, although this is currently being worked on.
    Hundred Stable,
    becoming obsolete
    once H31 and
    H32 are
    All Following the observation that a lot of players are happy to settle for a three way draw, and so get very little practice at playing a dynamic end-game, this three player variant throws the players almost immediately into a dynamic end-game. Set in the Hundred Years war, the game is fought out between England, France and Burgundy. With each power starting with four or five centres, and only nine centres required to win, the game can often be over in three or four years, making it ideal for real-time games.
    Hundred3 Obsolete USTR, USSF Based on the Hundred Variant, this contains improvements to try and remove easy stalemate lines, and make the game more dynamic.
    H31 Awaiting
    USTR, USSF A slight modification from Hundred3, it is recommended that this variant is played, rather than Hundred or Hundred3.
    H32 Awaiting
    USSF A slight modification from Hundred3, it is recommended that this variant is played, rather than Hundred or Hundred3. Following playtesting, opinion is split as to whether H31 or H32 is the better version, and so both will be distributed at some point in the future.
    1410 Obsolete USSF, CAWA An attempt to apply the principles of the 1898 variant to Hundred, this variant did not work, and will be removed from the judges at some point in the future.
    Empire Obsolete CAWA, USTR Based in modern North and Central America, this variant follows the fall of the US and Canadian governments, and the fragmentation of their countries. Ten powers fight to retake control of the continent. This is the third test version of the variant, and has now been superceeded. The first two versions, which were played on the CAWA judge and are now also obsolete, were called MoUSNA [for "Modern U.S. and North America"] and NAModern [for "North American Modern"].
    Empire2 Obsolete USTR The second test version of the "Fall of the American Empire" variant, it is much more balenced than the first version, due to the movement of neutral supply centres, borders, and a couple of the powers.
    Empire3 Playtesting USTR The third version of the Empire variant, this is only slightly changed from the second version. Current playtesting is suggesting that there will be one more minor change before this becomes the final version.
    Heptarchy Obsolete USTR Based in Britain in the Seventh Century, this seven player variant is looking fairly promising, although currently a couple of the powers are fairly weak (especially Scotland). This version of the Variant is now obsolete
    Heptarchy3 Playtesting USTR The third version of the Heptarchy Variant. Initial playtesting has shown that this is much better balenced than the original version.
    Classicb Obsolete USCT The second version of the Classical Variant, this is a five player variant set around the Mediterranean in the third Century B.C. This version is now obsolete.
    Classicc Obsolete USCT The third version of the Classical Variant. This version is now obsolete.
    Classicd Obsolete USCT The fourth version of the Classical Variant. This version is now obsolete.
    Classice Obsolete USCT The fifth version of the Classical Variant. This version is now obsolete.
    Classical Awaiting
    USCT, USSF The sixth version of the Classical Variant. Playtesting has shown that problems with the earlier development versions have all been resolved, and this is the final version.
    African Obsolete USTR A six player variant set in Africa. The game appears to be fairly well balenced - in the first playtest, the powers which the players thought would be the strongest ended up with the worst result. The author of the variant has asked that only the revised version of this variant is played, and so this version is now obsolete.
    African2 Initial Testing USTR The revised version of the African variant, this version clears up a couple of minor ambiguities on the map, and changes one start position.
    Mediterranean1 Playtesting USTR The first version of a Mediterranean variant, this is currently in playtesting, and some serious problems with stalemate lines are showing up.
    Civil_war1 Playtesting USTR The first version of a three player variant set in the American Civil war.
    Crisis Playtesting USSF A variant based around the Crisis of Rome. Initial reaction has been good, but the map is not quite balenced yet. This variant uses the innovative concept of starting the game with each player having one unit, but no supply centre, and has to capture a centre in the first year in order to stay in the game.
    Sail_Ho Playtesting USTR A four player variant which contains more sea than most, this variant is designed to encourage convoying.
    1720 Playtesting USTR A nine player variant set 200 years before Standard Diplomacy, but in a very similar area of the world.
    Abstraction2 Initial Testing USTR A great favorite of many players, this variant is played on a map which covers much the same area as Standard Diplomacy, but contains more provinces, and each of the standard powers starts with an extra supply centre. It does not play as well on the judge, due to the Army/Fleet rules having not been implemented.
    Balkan1 Playtesting USTR Set in the Balkans, this is a seven player variant which starts with no neutral supply centres.
    South_East_Asia1 Initial Testing USTR Set in South East Asia, this seven player variant stretches from Southern China in the North-West to North-West Australia in the South-East.
    Machiavelli Stable All Not so much a variant, as a different game based on Diplomacy, this introduces money and all the things that go with it, including bribery and corruption, taxes, paying for units, etc. Work is currently going on to implement Machiavelli 2, which will include all the changes Avalon Hill have made in later versions of this game.
    1847 Playtesting DEAC Germany in the year 1848 ('Deutscher Bund'), it is played between Austria, Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse, Prussia, Saxony
    Karibik Playtesting DEAC The Carribean in the beginning of our century, it is played between Brasil, Columbia, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, USA, Venezuela
    StarTrek Playtesting DEAC Diplomacy at the Final Frontier!

    David Norman

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