Micro Dip

Anything about the Diplomacy game in general.

Micro Dip

Postby Redd Dragon » 11 Mar 2020, 02:26

Greetings Backstabbers Worldwide,

I'm hoping the hive mind here can be more successful than I have been on my own with a few friends.
What I am hoping to capture is the feel of Diplomacy, in a 30 - 45 min game that is very light and transportable. It may be too much to ask to go all cards but we will see where we get.
It's been suggested that the best way to get down to this point is to start with the game as it is, and work backwards taking out pieces that don't directly impact the feeling of the game.

You may have some additional aspects that you feel are critical to the game but I'll start with this short list:
Hidden Orders which lead to Simultaneous Movement
Opportunities to cahoot and backstab
All units have the same strength
What would you add?

The next short list I think is important would be the things which you think are not necessary to the core of the game that can be easily removed:
Doesn't need to be 7 players (could be 5 or less)
Don't necessarily need 18 centers for a solo win, could be first to 6 (doubling starting power)
Doesn't need to be a board with pieces.

Maybe we can focus on filling out these lists before we jump into specifics about how the Micro Dip would work.
If you're interested in joining our Discord discussion about it let me know, otherwise, I'd love to see your comments below.
Thanks!
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Re: Micro Dip

Postby amy.frost » 11 Mar 2020, 03:09

Hey,

I found your post quite intriguing. What I mean is that your answer, in my view, would depend very much on what you mean by "feel" of Diplomacy. There are two main reasons why people play Diplomacy: one side like the negotiation element of the game. Others like the historical element. (obviously a large number of people like myself would like how both are coming together in the game)

If it is the negotiation element that you mean by "feel" of Diplomacy, rest assured that there are a ton of negotiation games out there that do that part extremely well, in a much faster, lighter, and more transportable format. To name a few of my favourites:

- The Resistance
- Cosmic Encounter
- Sheriff of Nottingham
- Cash n Guns (Second Edition)
- Lifeboats

If you want something a little bit heavier than those with a bit more historical flavour, I'd suggest

- Rising Sun

Which, at 2 hour game time, is still much lighter and portable than Diplomacy (in fact it was in part influenced by Diplomacy)

If by "feel" of Diplomacy, you mean more the historical side, my advice would be for you to try one of my favourite game of all-time:

- Memoir '44

Strong historical theme, quite simple units movements (in general) like Diplomacy, but in a 1 hour game time (I recommend you play that one as a two-player game)

I think if you want something that's exactly like Diplomacy, but faster - like you said the same game but with less centres, or lower threshold for a solo win, etc - it's going to be difficult to find, and possibly difficult to recreate. The creator of Diplomacy had already said he streamlined the game as much as he could - only 3 pieces per player, moving 1 space only per turn, etc - so not sure you'll be able to get the exact feel of Diplomacy while streamlining it even more than it had already been.

But anyway, do try the games I listed: they will give you tons of ideas I think as you try to recreate the feel of Diplomacy in a faster lighter format I think. You'll get a ton of inspirations and ideas from playing those ^_^
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Re: Micro Dip

Postby StarkAdder » 11 Mar 2020, 13:17

Another option without playing a new game might be "Diplomacy for the Road."

1) You determine which countries based on how many are playing, with the other powers becoming neutral zones (Italy is out first, then Germany, then Austria if you only have 4 players).
2) Turns are each 15 minutes long, no extensions. Players can text or PM one another during the turns, or even negotiate in person if they don't mind eavesdroppers, but they need not go to separate rooms to do so (this is an ideal way to play Diplomacy if you're all in a car or on a train or in a room that doesn't give you space for break-out sessions).
3) At the end of the turn, all assemble, submit their orders on their phone screen and then simultaneously put their smartphones down in the middle so they can't keep negotiating.
4) Each phone is picked up in succession and the orders on it are read aloud and resolved.
4) The next turn begins, and so on.
5) To keep the game to 2 hours, set a 7 or 8 turn limit.
6) At the end of the time limit, everyone votes for one player as the "best power." You cannot vote for yourself. Those votes are ADDED to each player's SC count to determine who wins (so if you piss everyone off by going for a quick solo you could still lose the game, and if you have a strong alliance but a weaker end position you might still win).

You can play on a standard Diplomacy game board, or on an online version (like the PlayDiplomacy maps) or you can make many photocopies of the Europe map, mark with colored pens the loocations of each unit after each turn, and hand out the new maps out to each player at the start of a new turn. No need for game pieces.

Please let me know what you think, and where there are holes in my idea.

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Re: Micro Dip

Postby Aeschines » 11 Mar 2020, 16:26

I’d highly recommend Coup to get the feel for betrayal and alliance!
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Re: Micro Dip

Postby amy.frost » 11 Mar 2020, 18:24

Another reason I may have missed why people like Diplomacy - beside the negotiation and historical elements I mentioned - is probably the game's main mechanic, called "area control":

Area control games often see you starting with a few units, and progressively expanding your territory, generally first into neutral areas of the board, but over time into your opponent's own territories.

Very likely the most famous area control game is Risk, although as the saying goes, those that like Diplomacy dislike Risk and those that like Risk dislike Diplomacy (as for myself I like Diplomacy...)

Risk also does suffer from the main problem as Diplomacy that, especially in Tabletop format, it takes a very long time to complete.

But if area control is what you are after, I would highly recommend:

- Small World
- Blood Rage

with Small World being, after Diplomacy, my favourite area control game (although I do know plenty of people who would rank Blood Rage higher)
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Re: Micro Dip

Postby Custer » 12 Mar 2020, 15:37

Does anyone know where I can find "Empire"? That was an old classic with tanks, ships, and airplanes.

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Re: Micro Dip

Postby amy.frost » 12 Mar 2020, 16:39

Hey Custer,

The best way to get your hand on hard to find games is:

- https://www.boardgameprices.com/
- https://boardgameprices.co.uk/
- eBay

Not sure I know the game you're talking about but I'd have a look at board game geek: https://boardgamegeek.com/

if you know roughly the year it was released it would be helpful because there are quite a lot of games that are about wars and tanks that feature the word Empire in them...

But assuming your game is rare or hard to find or out of print, if do you find it on the websites above, I'd expect it to be quite pricey...
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Re: Micro Dip

Postby Custer » 13 Mar 2020, 13:27

Thanks for the tips. I'll check those for a newer version.

It is so old its like DOS.

I found it on the web at "Classicempire". Only problem is I can't make it run on my computer. I'm challenged that way....LoL

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Re: Micro Dip

Postby Mr.E » 22 Mar 2020, 21:58

Another option could be adapting Dip into something like History of the World or Britannia.

These two games are very similar in that they involve players controlling different empires or tribes that come into the game in stages, and they involve victory points.

In these games you gain VPs by occupying certain spaces on the board. In Britannia, for instance, invaders gain points for occupying areas of the board where they settled in the British Isles.

This aspect could be adapted in Dip. Produce some cards which state that, after a given number of years, players score points based on which SCs they control. Something like 1 point for each home SC they still own, 2 pts for neighbouring SCs, 3 pts for further neutral SCs and 5 pts for owning another power's home SCs. If the SCs a power holds are, say, Italy in Trieste, add the two scores together (1+5) and divide by 2 so Italy scores 3 pts for owning Trieste.

It would need further consideration, obviously - this is just a quick off the top of my head idea. And it still needs the board and pieces. But the aspects that make it Dip and uniquely Dip in the game play stay the same.
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