game Types & Variants

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game Types & Variants

Postby rick.leeds » 25 Sep 2010, 19:09

The following is copied directly from the Rules Tab: Variant Rules, just for the convenience of having it on the Forum too. Thanks to Pedros for the work :)

On the “Create new game” page (under the Games tab) you will find many options available when you are first putting together the details of a new game. Apart from the Regular Classic game, they are available only to premium members (and are one of the main reasons many people decide to pay for premium membership). This page explains how these variations work. It is important to remember that, unless stated here, all the usual rules of Diplomacy, and all House Rules, apply. All of the variations described below take place on the standard game map, and unless specifically mentioned the starting positions are as usual.

Any of the other variations mentioned here can be played as ‘Speed games’, ‘Live games’, and ‘Fog of War games’. There are also ‘Stuff Happens games’ which can be played with a regular communication game (not Gunboat or PPO). These features are described last, together with a note on the enormous variety of very different variants played by some premium members in the ‘Forum Games’ section of the Forum.

game types

1. The ‘Regular’ game is the one we are used to, where you know exactly who is playing which country, and you can send them messages in the game.

2. ‘anonymous Players’ games are just that – the players are anonymous. Revealing your participation in the game beforehand is absolutely forbidden. There will be no indication from the game as to who is playing, and swapping information with another player before the game so that you two know that each other is playing (unfair on the others), or any communication with another players outside the game. is therefore also forbidden. If you are playing an anonymous players game you should not reveal your identity in any other way, such as posting comments about the game on the Forum.

3. ‘anonymous Countries’ games conceal who is playing which country, but not who is participating in the game. Once again, there will be no indication in the game as to who is playing which country, and players must not indicate which country they are playing outside the game in any way such as on the Forum. However participation is not confidential.

4. ‘Public Press Only’ games are anonymous, and the above rules apply. But in this case there are no private messages in the game; all communication must be public, through the Shoutbox. Obviously this makes a huge difference to the diplomacy you can engage in.

5. Finally, ‘Gunboat’ games have no messages at all, not even public ones. In these games it is even more important than usual to keep an eye on the moves other players order – often a player will order a support for another countries unit in order to suggest an alliance or a possible future move.


Any of these variants can be played as any of the game Types above.

1. Again, the ‘Classic’ game is the basic one, with the usual map and starting positions. 2. ‘Fleet Rome’ has the usual starting set-up, except that (as its name implies) Italy starts with a fleet in Rome instead of an army. This gives Italy some additional options both in diplomacy and early moves.

3. ‘Winter 1900’ takes the Fleet Rome idea further. The map starts empty of units, and the game begins with a Build phase for 1900 in which all players can choose which units to place in their usual supply centres. In this variant, the initial Build phase is the double-length one. So, if for instance you’ve always wishes that that Russian fleet in St Petersburg started on the north coast instead of the south, this is the variant for you!

4. ‘Build anywhere’ goes back to the standard starting positions, but, again as its name implies, future builds can be made in any vacant supply centre which you control at the time. So that reinforcements can be brought to the key areas much more quickly than usual.

5. Age of Empires is rather different. It starts with an empty board and a build phase, but in this variant you begin with only one supply centre, in your national capital (London, Berlin, etc). It is also a Build Anywhere variant, and allows you to decide to build from a completely different base from usual (Italy, for instance, could decide to aim for a set of supply centres around the edge of the Western Mediterranean rather than the land of Italy; whether they could get away with that, of course, is for him or her to decide!) Because this variant started out from the idea of early nations beginning to grow, it begins in 1900 BC rather than AD, and the years count downwards – confusing at first!)

6. Now for something completely different – Chaos. In this variant, each player starts with 3 supply centres, but they are scattered completely at random across the 34 centres on the map. It is up to you to work out a way of dealing with the problems this causes, and to negotiate or fight your way to a manageable empire! There is an initial Winter 1900 building phase, and the game is again Build Anywhere.

Other features

1. ‘Speed games’ do not mean that the game necessarily races through at breakneck speed (that’s reserve for Live Games, below!) They are designed to cut out the lengthy wait when everybody has finished their negotiating and entered their moves, and the deadline is still hours or even days away. As soon as you are satisfied with your orders you tick the ‘Finalize orders’ box under the Orders tab. When everybody has ticked theirs, then the deadline will be brought forward and the phase ends. (If you change your mind before this happens, you can still alter your orders, which are then not finalized until you tick the box again).

2. ‘Fog of war’ alters the whole character of the game. You can only see the territories which your pieces are in, and those next to them, and any territories you control. The rest of the map is covered in a grey fog. The only Order History is for your own country orders, and it is simply the orders and their resolutions; no maps.

3. ‘Stuff Happens’ is another addition that will work with the games where normal communication takes place, but not with GUNBOAT or PPO. In this game, strange events may take place... but you won't know what until there is a report about it. Reports will appear in either the Pubic Press box, or in your messages. In this variant you have an extra message folder called "Intelligence". You can't reply to these messages, but they tell you about any of the stuff that may have happened.

4. ‘Live games’ are the nearest thing to online face-to-face Diplomacy. All seven players are online throughout the game, which will last a set number of hours, and turns last only ten minutes. This feature recreates some of the manic frenzy of the face-to-face game across the board! If you want to play one of these games there is a strict procedure laid down to make sure that 7 players are signed up and all are ready to go at the start time – you will find the details in the Forum at Rules for Playing Live Games. Details of forthcoming live games will be found in the same part of the Forum Live Games section and as you become better known on the site you are likely to receive private invitations as well.

Forum Games

Also within the Forum you will find a whole set of very different games, usually played with different maps; sometimes with the same rules as usual, 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. See Forum Games section


Finally we should mention tournaments, which are organised regularly for premium players. There are straight tournaments with the classic game, Chaos and gunboat tournaments, an ongoing Diplomacy league, and even a tournament for pairs of players playing as a team in the same game (something which would not be remotely allowed normally on the site; the games have to be non-ranking and cleared by a Moderator!) See Tournaments section
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