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Game Options

The classic board game with a full suite of features are available to all players for free at PlayDiplomacy, and there is a wider selection of variants for premium members as a “thank you” for supporting the site. This page provides a summary of different game options and key features with links to more detailed information in the forum. For more details on playing on site, check out the Information forum and post a question there if it has not already been answered.

Choosing Games to Join

Users come to PlayDiplomacy with a wide range of experience and expectations regarding the game and even languages they use, and pick-up games on the site reflect that diversity. Many games include titles or descriptions that will give you an idea about the kind of game being sought. PlayDiplomacy is the largest and most active Diplomacy site in the world and has games for all tastes.

As you are looking for games to play, please don’t join any game if you do not intend to play until the end. As a rough rule of thumb, you can expect a game to last as many months as the orders deadline is days long (i.e. a game with 12-hour orders will last a few weeks, a game with 3-day orders will last about three months, etc.)

Ambassadors only games, ranked games, games with longer deadlines, and games that are advertised in the Find a Game forum, especially password protected games, tend to have more serious players and to be more competitive.

After finishing at least one game (ranked or not ranked, game-start or replacement position) without surrendering, you may be eligible to join the Classicists, a club dedicated to respectful, high-reliability players. Apply by posting in the Classicists’ Applications forum and become eligible for their games.

In addition to “new” games which are starting up, “active” games have surrendered positions. Consider taking a replacement position in an active game as a favor for your fellow gamers. If just a third of our players picked up an active position for every new game they started, every surrendered spot would get filled.

Basic Game Features

Game Types (“Stats”)

There are four basic game types. “Ranked” and “not ranked” games are identical except in one respect; only the results of ranked games are included in the site’s rating system. Note: not ranked games are used in determining player class.

“Friends” games are also excluded from the site’s rating system, and in addition, they are exempt from the player class system and many house rules, including rules regarding meta-gaming. These are intended to be games for people that know each other and can police their own games.

“Schools” games introduce an extra participant in the game, the “teacher”, who does not control a power but can communicate with the players, sees all messages in the game, and can moderate public press. Schools games are excluded from the rating and player class systems and are exempt from many house rules.

Draws

Voting for draws can be conducted by “open ballot”, each voter and their vote is identified in public press when cast, or “secret ballot”, where only pass/fail for a draw proposal is indicated in the “Status” drop-down box. In an open ballot game, the proposer automatically votes for the draw proposed, while in a secret ballot game he need not. Secret ballots tend to provide for more competitive games, especially in a non-DIAS setting. Draw proposals expire at the end of the first full orders phase after they are proposed.

Draws include all survivors (“DIAS”) requires that all powers still controlling an SC be included in any draw proposal. If this option is not selected (a “non-DIAS” game), then draws may be called that exclude powers still in play, however, the draw vote must still be unanimous among all the players still in the game. Note: surrendered powers never stop a draw from passing and are never included in any draw, even if they hold SCs and even if they were included in the draw proposal.

Solo-only games have no draw functionality at all. Ranked games may never be played solo-only.

Deadlines and Finalizing

The length of deadlines can be set individually for each type of phase. By default, if all players with orders for a phase finalize, the deadline expires early and the phase is resolved immediately. If the “fixed deadlines” option is selected, then all phases run their full time limit.

Finalizing is always optional. If a player does not finalize, the system will use the last orders entered to adjudicate the phase.

Games with finalize orders and surrendered powers proceed as follows: during the phase in which a power surrenders, the turn will not process if the surrendered country is not finalized, and the deadline will run its full length. In subsequent phases, if all of the active powers with orders due finalize, the phase will process. If no active power has orders due, then the phase will process when any power finalizes.

“No Weekend” provides an exception to standard deadlines. If a deadline will fall from midnight Friday through midnight Sunday, then it will automatically be extended to a time chosen at random on Monday. Note: the weekend is based on GMT +1. If all players finalize during the weekend period, the deadline will still expire early and the phase will resolve immediately.

Reliability Options

“Ambassadors Only” games have restricted access. All users are divided into two player classes, “diplomat” or “ambassador”, based on their history of surrenders and NMRs. (“Star ambassador” is an honorific; it is functionally identical to “ambassador”.)  “Ambassadors Only” games restrict entry to that class of player, providing for an automated way to play games with higher reliability players.

“NMR Protect” games reset if a player NMRs in the first phase of the game. The offending player is auto-surrendered and the game will return to waiting for players. All messages are saved and are available once the game re-starts (at the beginning of the first phase) after a replacement player joins.

Shorthanded Games

In 6- and 5-player games, Italy or Italy & Germany are in CD for the duration of the game. In 4- and 3-player games, players control between one and three powers each, and victory is achieved when a single power (not a single player) controls 18 SCs. 2-player games follow house rules that differ from the rulebook. Italy is impassable in 1901 and reverts to CD thereafter for the duration of the game. The victory condition for a two-player game is to control 24 SCs aggregated across all the powers under a player’s control.

Shorthanded games may not be ranked and are never included in the player class calculations.

Passwords

Some games are created with passwords restricting who may join. These may be invitationals or open games advertised in the forum. In ranked and not ranked games, the password is only effective at the start of the game. Should a player leave the game, anyone can take the position in replacement. In friends and schools games, the password is in force for the duration of the game.

Play-by-Forum Games

In addition to automatically adjudicated games, in the Play-by-Forum Diplomacy Variants forum you will find a variety of different games with human GMs, usually played with different maps, sometimes with the same rules, but often including some very different features which are described in the introductory posts for the individual games. There are different historical games (colonial Asia, early Britain, the whole world), games which bring in wider political or economic features, Lord of the Rings and other fiction-based games, and many others. In addition, in the Other Play-by-Forum Games forum games not necessarily related to Diplomacy are played.

Premium Options

Additional Game Types

“Live games” are the closest thing to face-to-face Dip the web has to offer. Players are online throughout the game, which will last a predetermined number of hours, with fifteen minutes for orders and five minutes for retreats and builds. Games either end as an imposed draw once the live period ends or may continue as a normal game with new deadlines. Games are organized in the Live Games forum as well as in the chatbox on the home page.

In all types of anonymous games, players must not reveal their participation in the forum or other means outside of the game. Once a game has started, players may choose to claim a particular identity using in-game messaging (if available) but there will be no way to verify such claims until the game ends. “Anonymous Players” games are completely anonymous, whereas in “Anonymous Countries” games, players may know who is playing in the game, but not who is playing which power.

“Public Press Only” games are also anonymous, but in this case only public communication through the shoutbox is allowed. “Gunboat” games are again anonymous and have no messaging at all. Often players will “communicate” in Gunboat with support or other orders and with draw proposals.

If a player in an anonymous game wishes to advertise for a replacement or a substitute, anonymous accounts for posting in the forum can be used for that purpose.

Rules Variants

“Fleet Rome” is identical to the classic game with one change; Italy starts with a fleet in Rome instead of an army.

“Winter 1900” begins the game with a builds phase before Spring 1901 allowing all the powers to choose their initial units in their home centers. In this variant, the initial builds phase is double-length.

“Build Anywhere” is identical to the classic game with one change; powers may build new units in any controlled, vacant SC rather than only home centers.

“Age of Empires” incorporates both Winter 1900 and Build Anywhere rules, and in addition, each power begins with only one home center (e.g. Vie, Lon, Par, Ber, Rom, Mos, and Con on the classic map). The game begins in 1900 BC rather than AD, and the years count downwards – confusing at first!

“Chaos” is a house variant that scatters each players’ starting three supply centers at random across the 34 centers on the map. Winter 1900 and Build Anywhere rules are included.

“Fog of War” restricts what can be seen on the map to the provinces in which your pieces located, adjacent provinces, and any SCs you control. The rest of the map is covered in a gray fog. There is no order history and no list of the outcome of orders. If you receive e-mails telling you that phases have changed, then the e-mail will give you a record of your orders.

“Stuff Happens” is a house variant where at random points events occur that affect the game. There are no defined events list. If stuff happens, it is communicated to players through a correspondent.

Map Variants

“Ancient Mediterranean” is a 5-player variant with players controlling Carthage, Egypt, Greece, Persia, and Rome. At two points on the map that are 4-way joins between provinces allowing movement between all of them. The Nile is an inland waterway allowing fleets to travel as far as Bayuda. The Baleares is a special province that can be occupied by armies and fleets and through which convoys are allowed (unlike coastal provinces).

“Milan” is played on a map very similar to the classic game except for changes to northern Italy. The Italian home centers are Milan (army), Rome (army) and Naples (fleet). Short-handed games are also supported on Milan.

“1900” includes significant changes to the map and rules. Ireland and Iceland are both passable and armies can cross from Clyde to Ireland (even if an enemy fleet is in the North Atlantic!). Switzerland is passable and a neutral supply center. England and France start with units in North Africa, although they are not home centers and builds are not allowed there. England also starts with a fleet in Gibraltar which is not an SC, rather than Liverpool (which is)!

There are 39 SCs in total, and 18 SCs are required for victory.  If two powers control 18 SCs in the same year, the power with the greater number is the winner; if there is a tie, the game continues.

The “Suez Canal rules” provide that units may move between Mid-Atlantic Ocean and either Egypt or Hejaz. (The Red Sea is not passable.) Fleets rounding Africa arrive with a strength of only one-half, but if they have support, a supremacy of one-half is sufficient to win a battle. Armies convoyed from east to west around Africa attack at full strength, while armies convoyed west to east have half-strength. Fleets may retreat around Africa, but if a local fleet retreats to the same province, the local fleet takes the space and the other is destroyed.

The "Russian Emergency Measures rules” provide that if at any time Russia does not control all of its home centers (but still controls at least one) it can build one unit more than its SC count, and during this time Russia is allowed to build in Siberia.  If Russia subsequently regains all four home centers, or loses its last, this bonus ends and Russia must regularize its unit count in the next builds phase. Note: REM does NOT apply in any game including the Build Anywhere rule.

You will find the designer’s detailed explanation of these slightly complicated rules in the 1900 article at DipWiki.

 “Versailles” is a 7-player game with 14 powers, each player controlling one major power and one minor power which is secretly assigned. Majors and their minors communicate and operate independently. The board is set in 1930s Europe and has 43 SCs. Victory is achieved when a player controls 22 SCs aggregated across both powers.

The “Liberation rule” provides that if a power conquers a home supply center of its partner, the SC is liberated and reverts to the ownership of the original power.

Tournaments

Tournaments of a variety of styles are organized regularly for premium members. Details of current and past events are in the Tournaments forum.