Pure Diplomacy

A four-player game on a conventional map but without units: provinces are gained by Diplomacy only. Created and brought to site by kininvie. GM: Palin.

Pure Diplomacy

Postby kininvie » 02 Jan 2011, 04:33

This is an idea for a variant - or maybe a version - of Diplomacy, which gets rid of the military units. Everything therefore depends on negotiation. There are no build or retreat phases. Only order phases - and each is the same.

The fundamental rule is that where two (or more) provinces combine to claim a third province, then they gain it. There is no defence, unless two (or more) other provinces equally combine to claim the third, in which case there is a bounce. Sea spaces count as provinces.

You cannot claim a province you already own.

Four players start on the conventional map. Each has a a province adjacent to each of the other colours, plus one which is isolated. See below for possible starting positions.

Orders can have only two possible forms:
Province X CLAIMS Province Y FOR (Colour)
(Colour) GIVES Province Y TO (Colour)

On each turn, players may put in a CLAIM order for every province they own, where there is an adjacent province they do not own. On each turn, each player may also write ONE and ONE ONLY, 'give' order whose object must be a province they own. The 'give' order cannot be refused by the recipient.

To succeed, the CLAIM orders must be identical:
e.g. Blue orders: A CLAIMS B FOR BLUE & Red orders: C CLAIMS B FOR BLUE = B is now owned by BLUE
Blue orders: A CLAIMS B FOR BLUE & Red orders: C CLAIMS B FOR RED = Claim fails.

Where a greater number than two provinces are claiming a third, the majority of matching orders wins. This can be used for stabbing purposes.
e.g Blue promises a province to his neighbour Green, but intends Red to have it instead.
Blue orders: A claims B FOR Red
C claims B for Red
Green orders: D claims B for Green = Red now owns B. Note - Red does not have to be anywhere nearby for this to succeed.

The game ends when one player owns a majority of provinces. Draws between players are allowed. If the idea ever gets off the ground, a finish after a set number of years (ten?) would serve to show up problems.

Here's a possible starting map: Any comments or thoughts?

Pure Diplomacy.png
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Last edited by kininvie on 02 Jan 2011, 13:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pure Diplomacy

Postby arthae » 02 Jan 2011, 05:49

So the give orders are an option, not required correct? This sounds interesting.
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Re: Pure Diplomacy

Postby kininvie » 02 Jan 2011, 13:20

Yes, the GIVE order is entirely optional. The idea behind it is that it is a way to use provinces as a bargaining chip - possibly to discomfort enemies or to help allies. Using it creatively could also help to engineer a stab. At the moment I'm reluctant to have more than one GIVE order per turn, but the number could be varied, obviously.

The starting positions are a bit like those in chaos games - where supporting a neighbour may lead to instant extinction on the following move, but where the alternative of doing nothing is not really an option. It would be possible for a player to lose three of his four provinces on the second move - the isolated provinces guard against an immediate elimination, but a player in such a position is effectively powerless until he gets a neighbour.

It may turn out that some positions in the corners of the map can be locked down and become impossible to break into. In which case the GIVE order might have to be modified in some way.....but it's difficult to see such positions until the map has been played.
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Re: Pure Diplomacy

Postby chrisman39 » 02 Jan 2011, 16:37

I like it, seems like it would be more diplomacy based if you can't survive without a neighbor helping you. I think that a test game, as you said, would probably be needed, because if red has province A, and blue has province B, and province C is only touching A and B, and neither red nor blue has support to take the other province, and Blue and Red are at war, then neither would want to give up a province that could support into their province. A very interesting idea!
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Re: Pure Diplomacy

Postby Palin » 02 Jan 2011, 19:33

It is a really interesting idea. I think a test game (or even two) should be needed to show any lack of balance in the game.
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Re: Pure Diplomacy

Postby Pedros » 18 Jan 2011, 15:09

Very interesting. Scares me rigid!

Can I clarify the rules? You can only claim an adjacent province, and one claim, even if unopposed, doesn't succeed? Right? So:

Blue orders: A claims B FOR Red
C claims B for Red
Green orders: D claims B for Green = Red now owns B. Note - Red does not have to be anywhere nearby for this to succeed.

but:-
players may put in a CLAIM order for every province they own, where there is an adjacent province they do not own

which suggests that claims must be for an adjacent province. Confused!

And the give order - the province immediately changes colour, is it? What happens if a given province is claimed by two provinces on behalf of somebody else?

Finally the map - Ireland's a passable neutral is it? Or should it be black?

And purple seems to have a big initial advantage - two provinces adjacent to Venice, and a third not all that far away. Nobody else has two close together.
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Re: Pure Diplomacy

Postby kininvie » 19 Jan 2011, 02:18

Pedros:

Inevitably the rules are tentative...

But yes, in order for a province to fall - or change colour - two matching claims for that province must be made by adjacent provinces. BUT those claims can be made in favour of another player who is NOT adjacent

This does not conflict with the rule that you may put in a claim for every province you own where there is an adjacent unowned province - just that not all of them would necessarily succeed. OTOH I can envisage situations where you could use that ability to provide the equivalent of unwanted support.

Good point about the 'Give' order. I think the way round that is to resolve claims before gives. It's logical that a successful claim by two provinces can't be thwarted by a single 'give' order.

Map: I had Ireland as a province (passable does not really apply)

You are right about purple's advantage. If we ever get to play a game of this, I'll set up the starting positions with rather more care - they were just chosen to illustrate the basic idea.

I'm also not sure how the sea spaces will play. ION, ENG, and NTH could turn into hotly disputed areas and change colour every turn!

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Re: Pure Diplomacy

Postby Pedros » 19 Jan 2011, 11:45

Thanks k. Can't think of anything else. Yet! :roll:
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Re: Pure Diplomacy

Postby King Teraniar » 26 Jan 2011, 16:59

Looks incredible. If it ever picks up, I would play.
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Re: Pure Diplomacy

Postby kininvie » 26 Jan 2011, 23:30

Well, once I have finished GMing 1600 & Baltic, we'll give it a test run, if enough people think it is worth trying...

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