The learning curve for tactics in Diplomacy is steep, but (thankfully) short. New players make mistakes when ordering their units. One thing that many people aren’t used to is all of the pieces moving at once. Thinking about how to adjudicate simultaneous moves takes a different intuition, but you will all get it with a little practice. In the meantime, I encourage you to ask me or use the Orders Solver if you have any questions about tricky adjudications.
One bit of advice: if you feel you could use some practice with tactics, find a friend to play some 2-player games. They aren’t the most interesting version of Dip, but they can be played very quickly. Use 1 day turns and finalize and you can get several moves done in a day. Another is to play some “gunboat” games, a variant of Diplomacy where there is no messaging between powers. A few of these kinds of games will get you thinking clearly about tactics.
Beyond the basics of avoiding errors, there are a few tactical tricks to learn. Fortunately, I don’t have to write a lecture on tactics because it has been done for me in the articles in optional reading below.
I will be honest, I think these articles can be both boring and hard to grasp when you are just starting out. Once the mechanics of ordering units and simultaneous adjudication is natural, then they become more accessible. I hope if you take a look at these now, they will start to be of some value, but do bookmark and come back to them again until all the content becomes second nature to you. Every intermediate player should have mastered all of the concepts listed.
(Exception: convoy paradox articles are of near-zero practical value. Read them only if you find it interesting. The PlayDip adjudicator orders the convoying army to hold in event of a paradox – that is all you need to know.)
***** OPTIONAL READING *****
In addition to the discussion on tactics in the Gamers’ Guide, here are two more good articles that review the classic tactical techniques of the game.
Read these and learn the:
* Scissors cut
* Self-attack for self-defense
* Forward retreat
* Intentional retreat
* Fast retreat home
* Convoyed leapfrog attack
and then some.