These Rules will also be posted on the Variant Rules section under the Game tab.
UPDATED 14/11/2011 to reflect upgrade to shorthanded functionality.
UPDATED 01/08/2012 to reflect a deviation from the rules for 2-handed play.
Rules for PlayDiplomacy Short-Handed games (<7 players)
The intent of the new variant is to allow groups of friends to play, even if they cannot find 7 players. Obviously, many people use PlayDiplomacy to solve exactly this problem – advertising the game to get others to make up the 7. However, sometimes groups of friends or family want to have a ‘private’ game of only people in their own circle. Short-handed games solve this need. For instance, if a parent wants to teach their child to play, a 2-player game may be ideal. However, even experienced Diplomacy players might like the different challenges of the short-handed games, because the dynamics and strategy change significantly – and in 2-4 player games players may even control more than one country! Or perhaps experienced players want a change of pace, and just want to play shorthanded for fun.
We have implemented the rules for short-handed games based on the Avalon Hill (4th Edition) rules, as can be found on this site. As might be expected, anything less than the seven players the game is designed for tends to unbalance the game, but these rules try their best to counter this, and in fact offer a number of intriguing twists to straight Diplomacy.
Games of 5 or 6 players – these games are very similar to normal. The only difference is that in the 6 player game Italy is in Civil Disorder for the length of the game, and in the 5 player game both Italy and Germany are in Civil Disorder. These countries will never be auto-surrendered, although of course they may be conquered (or even supported!). All their units will hold, and the countries will always accept any draw offer proposed. All retreats for these countries are replaced by destroys.
Games of 2, 3 or 4 players – these games are quite different. The prime difference is that players may control more than one country. The ‘sides’ in these games are as follows:
4-player game: England; Austria and France; Italy and Russia; Germany and Turkey.
3-player game: England and Germany and Austria; Italy and Russia; France and Turkey.
2-player game: England/Russia/France; Germany/Austria/Turkey; Italy special.
Builds / destroys in 2-4 player games are calculated on a country by country basis, and are NOT aggregated by player. So as an example, a player controlling France and Turkey might have a French build and a Turkish destroy. These both have to be done – they do not offset each other. Victory conditions for the 3 and 4 player games are as normal but based on a SINGLE country, not all the countries played by the player. So if England and Germany and Austria reach 18 centres, this means nothing. The game is won when Germany (for example) reaches 18.
The 2 player game is quite different. For a start, there are special rules governing Italy. In Year 1, Italy is Neutral. This means it acts as if it is in Civil Disorder, but also that all Italian territory is out of bounds. Once the Fall moves have finished in Year 1, including any retreats, Italian territory can now be entered but Italy remains in Civil Disorder throughout the game. Victory conditions are no longer on a single country basis; instead, the winner is the first player to control a total aggregate of 24 centres regardless of country.
EDITED: 01/08/12 - changed to reflect deviation from rules, putting Italy into Civil Disorder after year 1.
Multi-country mechanics (2-4 player games)
When playing multiple countries, all countries are operated from one login. The game display will inform you which countries you control, and you will be able to submit orders for all these countries. Messaging is slightly different. When you send a message to another player, you only need to specify one country that player controls and the message will get through – you do not need to tick all the countries. When you receive a message, the text of the message will explain that it has come from “Italy and Russia” for example; this helps to avoid confusion when you receive a message from Italy discussing the fate of Sweden! However, the messages you receive from a player will always be stored in only ONE country record in the message display – the first one. This will be the same throughout the game. So for example if you get a message from “Germany and Italy” then it will be stored in the German message archive, as will every message you receive from that player.
Note that this 'each country independent' philosophy has an important implication. If a player controls Italy and Russia, for instance, and an Italian unit displaces a Russian unit, this will happen. Whereas in normal Diplomacy games you cannot dislodge your own country, in multi-country games one of your countries CAN dislodge one of your other countries.
The following restrictions apply:
- All short-handed games MUST be Friends or Norank games (not Rank)
- Short-handed games are all Classic variants; selection of sides may be Random or First Come/First Served
- FoW and NMR Protect are supported for 5-6 player games, but not 2-4 player games
- In the 2 player game, no replacements are allowed following a surrender; the game will finish at the next phase following a surrender, with the survivor winning