This summary of the rules for the
classic game is adapted from “Teaching Diplomacy: A 5 Minute Teaching Guide” by
Edi Birsan. It covers almost all of the rules of the
game. If you have questions, the complete
rulebook is online and there are several Quick Guides in
the Forum which go over the most common trouble spots.
The Map, Units, & Object of the Game
Seven players represent the
major powers of pre-WWI Europe: Austria (red), England (orange), France (dark
blue), Germany (beige), Italy (green), Russia (purple), and Turkey (light
map is divided into named “provinces”. There are three types of provinces:
inland, coastal and water.
are two types of units, “armies” and “fleets”. Armies can move (or retreat) to
inland and coastal provinces, fleets to coastal and water provinces.
one unit can be in a province at a time.
All units have the same
strength, a force of 1.
Units combine their force with
“support” orders. In conflicts, the unit with the most combined force wins.
There are 34 “supply centers” (provinces marked with stars). Powers
start with 3 or 4 supply centers, their “home centers”.
win, a power must control 18 supply centers. If all the players still in
the game agree, a game can end with survivors sharing equally in a draw.
Sequence of Play
Each “game-year” proceeds through five phases: Spring Orders &
Retreats and Fall Orders, Retreats, & Builds. Retreats and builds phases
are skipped if no player has orders to be made. The
game starts with Spring 1901 Orders and ends when
there is a winner or a draw is declared.
Players communicate 1-on-1 or in groups using the messaging systems
during any phase of the game.
11. Orders are entered secretly for each phase
and revealed and resolved for all of the powers simultaneously at the end of
12. You may give orders to all of your
units. Units may be ordered to do one of the following:
Hold in place.
Move to an adjacent province. Armies in a
coastal province may move to a non-adjacent coastal province if convoyed.
Fleets in a coastal province may only move to provinces adjacent to the
Support. A unit holds, adding its force to
another unit. A unit can only support an action in an adjacent province to
which it could have moved.
Convoy. A fleet in a water province holds,
convoying an army. (A fleet in a coastal province cannot convoy.) Convoys can
be by one or a chain of fleets. The first fleet must be adjacent the moving
army, each fleet in the chain must be adjacent the prior, and the last fleet must
be adjacent the destination.
13. You may support and convoy another power’s
A unit ordered to move cannot
be supported to hold. A unit ordered to hold,
support, or convoy may be supported to hold.
15. If units of equal force move to the same
province, they “bounce” and neither advances. If one of the units has greater
force, it advances.
16. Units ordered to each other's province with
equal force bounce and do not switch places (unless one is being
convoyed.) Three (or more) units can rotate positions.
17. A unit with a move order that is bounced
retains a force of 1 to defend against an attack in the province where it
started the phase.
18. A unit can only be forced out of its province
(“dislodged”) with greater force than the unit plus all of its support to hold.
For example, a unit moving with two supports versus a unit holding with one
support, a force of 3 vs. 2, dislodges the holding
19. Support is “cut” if the supporting unit is
attacked from any province except the one where support is being given. Cut
support is not added to the force of another unit.
20. Dislodged units have no effect on the
province where the unit dislodged it came from. Support orders from
dislodged units are always cut.
21. A dislodged unit can still cut support
or cause a bounce in a different province from the one where the unit that
dislodged it came from.
22. You cannot dislodge or cut support of your
If there is a unit in a province
where a bounce occurred, it is not dislodged.
24. If a fleet with a convoy order is dislodged,
the convoy is “disrupted” and the army being convoyed does not move. Attacking
without dislodging a fleet in a convoy has no effect.
25. A dislodged unit must either retreat to a
vacant province where it could have moved or be destroyed. Armies may not
retreat via a convoy.
26. Units may not retreat to a province where
there was a bounce or from where the attack came.
27. If there is no legal retreat for a dislodged
unit, it is automatically destroyed. If two units try to retreat to the same
province, they are both destroyed.
28. You gain control of supply centers by
occupying them after the Fall retreat phase. They are
yours until another power gains control of them.
29. For every supply center you control, you may
have one unit on the board. During the Fall Builds phase, if you are short
units, you may build new ones in unoccupied home centers, while
if you have too many units, you must disband the excess.
32. Bulgaria, St. Petersburg, and Spain have
split coasts. A fleet moving to those provinces must select which coast it will
move to and can only move on to other provinces adjacent that coast. However, the
fleet occupies the entire province for all other purposes. Accordingly, a
fleet cannot switch provinces with a second fleet moving to a different coast,
and a fleet can receive support from a second fleet that is adjacent
to the province yet not adjacent to the coast the first fleet is on. The Quick
Guide on Coasts provides helpful examples to clarify
33. Constantinople, Denmark and Kiel do not have
split coasts. They have inland waterways that fleets may use to move to
adjacent provinces. You may not convoy through these (or any other) coastal
34. Denmark connects with Sweden and armies can
move between them, though Sweden does not have a split coast.
35. The Baltic Sea is not adjacent to the
Helgoland Bight, North Sea, or Skagerrak. Fleets cannot move between them in
one step but must move through an adjacent province (e.g. Denmark) first. The
Aegean and Black Seas are not adjacent. North Africa and Spain are not adjacent.
If you still have rules questions, check
out the Rules Questions forum. Most common questions
are already answered. If not, users will answer posted questions, usually