Al-Andalus Diplomacy (DVFG)

Game with 5 'countries' plus 3 advisors able to work for any nation. Devised by lordelindel and GMd by asudevil. Winner Zarazoga {pjkon)

Al-Andalus Diplomacy (DVFG)

Postby Aeschines » 24 Oct 2014, 00:11

Hello everyone! A year or so back (during my long hiatus from playdip) I designed a version of diplomacy called "Al-Andalus" based on the Taifa Kingdom Period in Iberian history (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taifa). I attempted to organize a face-to-face game of it that never got off the ground but I think it has a lot of potential and I wanted to see if there was interest among the DVFG crowd here on play dip.

Here is a copy of the map:
Wazir Diplomacy Unitless Map.gif
Wazir Diplomacy Unitless Map.gif (34.8 KiB) Viewed 1200 times


Al-Andalus is an 8-player variant beginning in 1080. 5 players play as Christian or Muslim Taifa "Princes" who move troops around and generally act almost as regular players of diplomacy. The other 3 players play "Wazirs" (a much cooler spelling of the classic: vizier), Jewish counselors to the Princes. The game has 27 supply centers and ends when one Prince has captured 14 centers (or in a draw). The concept behind the game was to bring to life the "power behind the throne" idea that is so common in literature and that was a dominant feature of the Taifa Period.

The rules of Al-Andalus function the same as regular diplomacy except for a few key differences - the main one being the addition of players who interact with the game but don't directly own any units (the Wazirs).

Play in Al-Andalus will look much like play in any other diplomacy game, but it is designed to substantially increase the behind-the-scenes machinations. Because the Princes who are assisted by Wazirs have a strong comparative advantage over the Princes who do not, the Wazirs' help will be in high demand. However, an unfaithful Wazir can be much more destructive than an ally who reneges. Because the Wazir can "plunder" a Prince's Taifa, forcing all of his units to hold, it may often pay to diplomacize with the power behind the throne rather than the Prince who sits on it.

The Princes:
The Princes function as regular players of diplomacy except:
    1) The Princes may issue orders to all of their units EXCEPT 1. That unit must hold.
    2) A Prince may hire a Wazir who may issue the order for that final unit, allowing the Prince to take advantage of all of their units
    3) A Prince who has hired a Wazir may, in lieu of moving during a spring or fall, attempt to arrest the Wazir - stealing half of the Wazir's Dirhams (see below) and forcing the Wazir to leave the Prince's Taifa and seek employment (or unemployment) elsewhere
    "Arrest" counters and renders ineffective a Wazir's attempt to "Plunder"

The Wazirs:
The Wazirs are the main distinction between regular diplomacy and Al-Andalus. The three Wazirs do not hold land but rather seek to win the game through wealth. Their function in the game is as follows:
    1) A Wazir may be hired by a Prince and is then present at that Prince's "Court"
    2) A Wazir at court may, every season, send in an order to one of the Prince's units (allowing the Prince to take advantage of all their units)
    3) When a Wazir is at court whenever a unit owned by their Prince holds (i.e. is issued no order) that Wazir gains 1 "Dirham"
    4) A Wazir at court may "plunder" the Taifa of their Prince, which orders all of their Prince's units to hold, preventing them all from moving and earning the Wazir 1 Dirham for each unit (this is the only way for Wazirs to give order to more than one unit a turn)
    A "plunder" action can be countered by a Prince's "arrest" action, which supersedes it
    5) A Wazir wins the game with respect to his fellow Wazirs if s/he has the most Dirhams at the conclusion of the game
    6) A Wazir wins the game with respect to the Princes if s/he has more than 3 Dirhams for every center controlled by the most powerful Prince at the conclusion of the game

In Al-Andalus instead of just convincing the Taifa of Zaragoza to betray the Castillian maybe you can convince the Castillian's Wazir, who can devastate Castille for a turn (or two!) and then come running to join you at your court.

The Taifa's:
Castille (the only Christian player, though that has no in-game effect)
Badajoz
Zaragoza
Seville
Granada

The map in 1080 (with starting units):
Wazir Diplomacy 1080.gif
Wazir Diplomacy 1080.gif (35.74 KiB) Viewed 1200 times


The reason I'm posting it here under "in development" is because I wanted to see about getting some feedback from the community, as it has never been play tested, before I move it to "seeking players".
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Re: Al-Andalus Diplomacy (DVFG)

Postby fijikilo0 » 24 Oct 2014, 02:02

Interesting twists... i dont know much about iberian history but this looks fun, with the wazirs you never know if they are with you or against you. so i suppose the princes have to tell the wazir which units are moving but not where? Otherwise the wazirs can just tell the enemies what is going on, but they still need to know which unit the prince allows them to control.
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Re: Al-Andalus Diplomacy (DVFG)

Postby Aeschines » 24 Oct 2014, 03:00

Exactly!

Because you need to coordinate with your Wazir about unit moves (so you don't accidentally give an order to the same unit) they necessarily are in on your plans. But, unlike a regular ally in diplomacy, their win-condition isn't the same as yours so it's that much harder to 'pay of them' so to speak, since you can't give them territory (or help them take it!).

And on the other hand again, the Wazir has an incentive to actually work with you because the more units you have, the greater their potential is to make money off of you (either through a plunder or just by convincing you to hold some of your units).
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Re: Al-Andalus Diplomacy (DVFG)

Postby pjkon » 02 Nov 2014, 23:06

My guess is that Wazirs will be doing a lot early game, but one the game goes on for a little while all of the big empires will prefer to always hold one unit (then a far smaller fraction of their total force) then subject themselves to the risk of getting plundered at an inconvenient time (paralyzing their entire huge force), and the Wazirs will then have nothing to do. I don't know if this is intended or not, but either way this would certainly be an interesting game to play either way.
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