No More Long Waits for Replacements

By Joe Brennan

The designer of Diplomacy knew that people would quit. It's human nature. But the civil disorder rules cause the neighbours of an abandoned country to grow too quickly. So the EP rules require a human replacement before the game can continue. But this means you may have to wait weeks for a replacement to volunteer to take on the country that is surrounded by hungry wolves. And if a player can come in and turn the situation around, is that fair to the players who played so well that they caused another player to lose hope and give up? Surely, if the loser had stayed on, the wolves would have eaten their victim.

(And is it true that a replacement doesn't get any points for winning? -Saw something somewhere that gave me that opinion, but couldn't find it again when I went looking for it, supporting the need for a single location that gives all the links to everything, everywhere.)

So, here's an option that can be voted on at the start of any game. (Actually, the EP rules could be adjusted to take this on as standard, but it should at least be an option accepted by the EP for ratings.)

  1. In the event of a country being abandoned, and a replacement not appearing within the time of one game turn, the GM is to broadcast moves for the abandoned country, whereupon the players then have the normal time allocation in which to send press to each other and send their moves to the Judge. (The players have already had their turn, but will have to renegotiate and change orders due to the changed circumstances.)

  2. When the Judge publishes the results, the GM must again broadcast moves for the abandoned player ASAP, and continue to do so each turn until a replacement is found or the country is annihilated. Shock, horror, the GM must be impartial! And still is - read on.

  3. The GM must broadcast moves which comply with the following guidelines

    In other words, the GM should broadcast moves in keeping with the behaviour of a country under attack. The GM's priority is to defend the nation while awaiting a replacement, but the ability of the GM is obviously impaired due to the enforced early broadcast of the abandoned country's moves.

  4. The GM may not send press for the abandoned player. Press may be received, however. For example, Austria is abandoned after attacks from Italy and Turkey. Russia asks the GM for Austrian assistance in the next turn against Turkey. So long as Austrian SC's are not going to be lost due to the support, Austrian units could, at the start of the next phase, be ordered to support a Russian attack into an adjacent Turkish area.

    The major advantage of such an option is to keep the game going. You can still take on a replacement, but you also can continue to attack the country without it being a total walkover. I've noticed that a lot of players order moves along these priorities anyhow. Some players, just to spite their aggressor(s), do a shooting star, handing all their SC's over to an ally ASAP. Well, that's damaging the game balance at least as harshly as what occurs under the old Civil Disorder rules in the book (XIV.3,4), for which the EP rules tried to find a more reasonable solution.

    I think that the EP rules are great, but only when you can get a replacement. But with this option, the problems created by quitters are greatly lessened. No insufferable time delays. Less chance of shooting stars (I'd rather them quit and have the GM give decent defensive moves than see all the hard work of a good player go to waste as a loser gives SC's to an undeserving sycophant). The wolves can continue their feast, but at a much slower rate than what would have occurred under the original rules. The game continues...

What do you think?

Does it have a chance?
Joe Brennan

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