This Glossary includes adaptions from “Diplomacy A-Z”, by Mark Nelson, et. al., and the “Diplomacy FAQ”, by Diplomat.
AAR or after action report – an essay written by a player (or observer) about a game, usually in a discussion with the other players of that game. Players may give motivations for particular actions, descriptions of special tricks, their impressions of other players, or a history of their performance. Such a statement may be cathartic, permitting the player to get the game “behind” them.
ABC – see Calhamer, Allan B.
action – the activity that your units can be made to perform through an order, i.e. hold, move, support, or convoy.
adjudicate – the process whereby software or a human GM processes orders and determines the results of a phase.
admin – a member of the PlayDip administration with substantial authority and software permissions to affect games, the Forum, and the site. See also mod.
ALA or anti-leader alliance – an alliance of most or all the remaining powers in a game to stop the current center leader from winning by either forcing a draw by forming a stalemate line or pushing the leader down in center count.
AM or Ancient Mediterranean – a Diplomacy map variant for five players. See also the Game Options page.
Anschluss – Richard Sharp’s strategic notion that Germany should strive to keep Austria strong based on the theory Germany is far less likely to win if Austria is eliminated early in the game. Although it takes its name from the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in March 1938, Anschluss is generally regarded as essentially a pro-Austrian strategy, with Germany using diplomatic leverage to discourage other powers, in particular Russia (with the threat of standing him out of Swe) and Italy (with the threat of using A Mun to defend Austria), from attacking his ally. Classically it entails opening Kie-Den, Ber-Kie, Mun Hold, though there are many variants.
AoE or Age of Empires – a Diplomacy rule variant with each power starting with one home center. See also the Game Options page.
arranged bounce or agreed standoff (or other variations) – an agreement whereby two powers attack a province with equal force. This may be done as a tactical procedure to keep a third party from entering or to keep a buffer zone open between the powers.
auto-destroy – when a dislodged unit has no legal retreat, the PlayDip system immediately removes the unit without waiting for a retreats phase.
auto-disband – when a power in CD is required to disband a unit in a builds phase, the PlayDip system automatically chooses the unit based on the following priorities 1) farthest from a home center, 2) fleets before armies, 3) alphabetical order of the province the unit.
auto-surrender – when a player NMRs in two consecutive orders phases, PlayDip automatically removes him from the game. Generally considered extremely poor gamesmanship.
beleaguered garrison – a unit left in a province in which a bounce occurred. A unit is not dislodged unless another unit enters its province. Thus, if two or more attacks of equal strength target the same province, any of which alone would have dislodged a unit there, yet none of which succeeds because the attacks bounce, the attacked unit is not dislodged.
Calhamer, Allan B. (1931-2013) – the inventor of Diplomacy, he studied at Harvard and graduated cum laude in 1953. After extensive play-testing beginning while he attended Harvard Law School in 1954, he self-published Diplomacy in 1959 before GRI began took over manufacturing and distribution in 1960. He remained an influential voice in the hobby for decades, writing many articles on the game, participating in each revision to the rulebook, and attending several Diplomacy conventions.
carebear (also care bear) – (1) (pejorative) a player who does not play to win, but instead makes game-long alliances seeking to draw and will not stab an ally even with ample opportunity. (2) a player that seeks primarily to avoid elimination and may not value winning significantly (or at all) more than drawing, favors enduring alliances, and avoids deception or breaking agreements. See also cutthroat.
CD or civil disorder – the state of a power without orders or without a player controlling it. Units belonging to a power in CD hold in an orders phase, dislodged units are destroyed in a retreats phase, and builds are waived and auto-disband rules are followed in a builds phase.
Chaos – (1) a Diplomacy rule variant with every SC as a different power controlled by a different player, totaling 34 players with one center each; (2) a PlayDip house rule variant, where each of the seven players start with three SCs randomly distributed across the board. See also the Game Options page.
coastal crawl – an illegal procedure whereby two units (usually both fleets) attempt to exchange places by virtue of the fact that the destination coast of one is different from the origin coast of the other, e.g. F Spa nc-Por, F Por-Spa sc. This is illegal under all versions of the rules (though it is allowed in some variants not supported at PlayDip.)
comms – communications. Messages between powers in a game.
conceded draw – a draw not including all survivors for which all the surviving players agree.
convoy paradox – a set of orders including convoys which under the rulebook have no or multiple possible adjudications. These are of nearly zero practical significance (because convoy paradoxes are extremely unlikely) but a headache for programing adjudicators. See also Szykman rule.
cut – to render the support order of another power’s unit ineffective by attacking it.
cutthroat – (1) a player who plays to win. (2) a player that values winning substantially more than drawing, plays dynamically (i.e. will stab and change allies) and uses deception. See also carebear.
CYOC – Create Your Own Country. A play-by-forum game not related to Diplomacy.
deadlock – a game where the players cannot agree to a draw yet no power can advance. Such games may be forced to end a GM or mod in an imposed draw. Generally three years without SC changes is the minimum indicator of a deadlocked game. The purpose of imposed draws is to stop one side playing with no other strategy than waiting for an NMR and to end perpetual games.
DIAS or draws include all survivors – the rulebook provides that all players that have units on the board share equally in a draw, regardless of the number of SCs each controls. The rule is designed to increase competitiveness by giving small powers a large incentive to keep fighting and force a draw. Non-DIAS games provide for conceded draws. See also conceded draw.
Dip – (1) the game of Diplomacy. (2) to play Diplomacy.
DipCon – the original Diplomacy convention and first FtF Diplomacy tournament. Today it is the North American championship FtF tournament and draws participants from around the world. DipCon moves to a different convention each year as different Diplomacy clubs bid to host the event.
diplomatic framework – the player-specific, human elements in a game, including the alliances formed and the players’ styles of play and communication, biases, objectives, personalities, etc.
Dipper – a Diplomacy player.
DMZ – demilitarized zone. An agreement where two (or sometimes more) powers may not move units into a specified province.
dot – an SC. The term comes from FtF play as SCs are identified by a black dot on the board.
dot farm – (1) a power unable to adequately defend itself that begins a downward spiral of losing SCs, e.g. “Austria has become a dot farm for Russia.” (2) (pejorative) a bad player that will lose his SCs, e.g. “Great job, dot farm.”
DVFG – former name for the Play-by-Forum Diplomacy Variant forum.
EoG or end-of-game statement – see AAR
Fog or FoW – Fog of War, a Diplomacy rule variant limiting visibility of the board. See also the Game Options page.
forward retreat – (1) see friendly attack. (2) any retreat where the unit moves forward into (or behind!) an opponent’s line rather than backward.
friendly attack – a tactical procedure whereby an ally's unit is dislodged, permitting a retreat after the orders phase, often forward or onto a supply center. The possibility of using this tactic is a good reason to retain small powers rather than wiping them out.
FtF, F2F, or face-to-face – playing Diplomacy in person. The original format for Diplomacy, it differs significantly from remote play for the speed at which turns progress (and hence at which negotiations must be conducted, decisions made, and orders written), the importance of tone of voice, body language, and the ability to observe (and sometimes overhear) other powers communicate, the generally social nature of the game with players who have played with each other before, and the fact that games are usually curtailed on account of time.
GM or gamemaster – the individual that runs and adjudicates a game.
Gunboat – (1) a variant with anonymous players and no messaging. See also the Game Options page. (2) (pejorative) used to describe a player that does not communicate in a regular game, e.g. “He is gunboating through this game”
HOTW – History of the World. A play-by-forum game not related to Diplomacy.
intentional retreat – see friendly attack.
invitational – a password protected game where the creator sends private invitations to other users to populate the game. See also pick-up game and open.
IRC or internet relay chat – the protocol supporting the PlayDip Chat tab.
Judge – (1) aka KL Judge or Ken Lowe Judge. The first widely-used automated adjudicator and PBEM system written by Ken Lowe at the University of Washington. The first game on the Judge was played in 1987. The Judge quickly became the standard for PBEM play, largely supplanting human GMd games, but also enabled significant growth in the number remote Diplomacy games. Beginning in 1992, the Judge code was run at multiple sites and maintained collectively by Dip hobbyists. Nearly all PBEM Diplomacy was played on the Judges by the mid-90s and it remained the dominant platform well into the 2000s. (2) the KL Judge and any of its successors including nJudge and DPJudge. (3) see adjudicate.
Juggernaut – an alliance between Russia and Turkey which is very potent when successfully performed and not countered by the other powers on the board. One of the most feared and best known alliance options.
kingmaker – a player that threatens to help another player win the game. Usually used in the mid- or endgame when a power is facing two others that are well ahead. May be used as a pejorative if the player is no longer trying to draw, but merely helping another player to solo.
Lepanto – proposed by Edi Birsan, this is the first and most famous named opening. The opening is classically anti-Turkish, presumes Italian-Austrian alliance, and consists of four turns of orders. Spring 1901 sees F Nap-Ion and A Rom-Apu, followed by F Ion c Nap-Tun in the Fall with a build of F Nap. In Spring 1902, F Nap-Ion, F Ion-EMd, and finally in the Fall, F Ion & EMd c Tun-Syr (or Smy), completing the set piece opening attack. The Lepanto takes its name from the sixteenth century battle of Lepanto in which an Austro-Italian fleet defeated the Turks. Many variations on the classic Lepanto have been developed.
live game – games played on site with 15 minute orders deadlines and 5 minutes for retreats and builds. See also the Game Options page.
meta-gaming – (1) linking decisions or negotiations in a game to outside considerations, including relationships outside the game, prior, concurrent, or future games, etc. Team play, cross-game play, and out-of-game play whether between allies or enemies all constitute meta-gaming. (2) in tournament play, “playing” the scoring system and making in-game decisions in a manner that players would not ordinarily. Similarly used to refer players that “play” the site rating system.
mod or moderator – a volunteer that assists the PlayDip administration in administering games and the Forum, assisting users, and enforcing site rules.
MSL or Main Stalemate Line – The stalemate line that bisects the classic map running from the southwest corner to the northeast corner of the board. The MSL divides the board into 17 SCs on each side and can be held simultaneously from both sides. Crossing or holding the MSL tends to be a central struggle in most games.
multi-account – a violation of site rules where a user accesses two or more accounts in the same game.
multiple account – a violation of site rules where a user maintains two or more accounts.
mutual support – a tactical procedure where one unit supports a second which in turn supports the first. Mutual supports provide either unit a defensive strength of two provided only one of them is attacked.
NMR or no moves received – when no orders are inputted by a player or sent to a GM, resulting in the power being played falling into CD.
noob, newb, newbie (other variations) – if you need to ask...
open game – typically a password protected game where the creator posts the game info in the Find a Game forum and extends open invitations to users to populate the game. See also invitational & pick-up game.
OPO or odd power out – a single power opposing a 2-power alliance, especially in the opening within its triangle. See also triangle
phase – (1) the PlayDip house definition: a discrete period of the game for which orders are due and adjudicated, i.e. orders, retreats, or builds. (2) the rulebook definition (for FtF play): there are up to nine phases in a two turn game-year where different activities take place.
phpBB – the open-source internet forum package used to provide the PlayDip Forum
pick-up game – a game without a password where players join merely by finding the game using the site’s Join Game page.
PM or private message – aka forum message, a message sent through the Forum email system.
PPO or Public Press Only – aka Wilson (as in Woodrow Wilson), an anonymous Diplomacy variant that only allows public communication. See also the Game Options page.
press – (1) a phenomenon of the remote hobby (though not unknown in FtF play, courtesy of blackboards, notepads, etc.), press consists of “open letters” from players which may be signed or anonymous. Press may be used to influence or discuss the game, tell jokes or stories, start arguments (“press wars”) and generally entertain if the game itself gets boring. Press at PlayDip is supported through the Public Press window. (2) any message (public or private) sent in a PBEM or web-based game.
province – a named space on the board where a piece can move. Water, coastal and land spaces are all called provinces.
PureDip – A subset of games that excludes limited communication games (gunboat and PPO) and rule variants (e.g. Build Anywhere, Fog of War, etc.) but includes all map variants including 1900 and Versailles.
quick retreat or rapid retreat home (other variations) – a tactical procedure for responding to an unexpected invasion or realignment of alliances and/or strategy. Typically a unit not occupying a supply center and too far from a home center to reach it speedily is dislodged, usually by an ally in the fall, and the player disbands it rather than order a retreat. In Fall Builds, a replacement can be raised in a home center, thus effectively swapping a distant unit for one at home and perhaps changing unit type as well.
race, race for victory, race to 18 (other variations) – a tactical situation or an alliance agreement in which the dominate powers are not in direct conflict with each other but are attempting to be the first to reach 18 centers. Competition is not so much between military as diplomatic power, as each tries to manipulate the board's alliance structures so that the other power faces the most determined opposition.
rating shield – a mechanism in the site’s rating system to encourage users to join active games as a replacement. A user’s rating shield becomes “charged” upon starting a new game. (If it is already charged, starting a new game has no effect.) If a player with a charged rating shield enters an active game, the shield becomes “drained”, but the results from that active game can only raise and never lower the user’s rating (provided the player does not surrender).
replacement – a player who has taken over a surrendered position.
retreat off-the-board – When a dislodged unit is voluntarily destroyed rather than retreated to an available province.
scissors - A tactical procedure for cutting support whereby a self-standoff is ordered in a province occupied by an enemy unit. As a unit cannot cut the support of an attack against itself, attacking an enemy unit from two provinces is a way to guarantee that enemy unit cannot offer support.
self-attack – a tactical procedure whereby a power moves to and/or supports an attack on its own unit. As self-dislodgement is impossible, this is done in case the targeted unit is also attacked by an enemy with equal or lesser force, causing a bounce.
self-bounce or self-standoff – a tactical procedure whereby a power orders two units with equal force to the same province with the intention that they bounce and neither moves, providing a method for two units to defend three provinces.
shield – see rating shield.
shoutbox – the Public Press message window.
solo – a game ending with one player winning.
solo-only – (1) a philosophy of play which only values a solo and all other results are equal. (2) a house game setting that does not provide any mechanism for voting for draws.
stab – (1) an unprovoked, surprise attack on an ally. (2) any attack on another power.
stalemate line – a set of units and orders forming a defense which cannot be broken or circumvented by the opposition. Stalemate lines consist of 17 or fewer units and the number of units needed must be equal to or less than the number of SCs behind the line formed. See also Main Stalemate Line.
stop-the-leader alliance – see ALA.
substitute – a player taking over a power for a portion of the game at the request and for the benefit of the original player. Players may only substitute for one power in any given game and may not substitute for any player they have a current or pending game with. Except for NMRs the substitute incurs, all results of the game for Rating and Player Class purposes are applied to the original player not the substitute.
Szykman rule – a common house rule employed by PlayDip for the resolution of convoy paradoxes. It holds that in the event of a paradox, all convoys are cancelled in the core paradox only.
tempi – a tactical concept referring to the speed and efficiency of movement of pieces.
TPTB – the powers that be. Refers without specificity to the PlayDip admins and mods.
triple – any alliance of three powers, several of which are named, e.g. AIRhead (Austria-Italy-Russia), Central Triple (Austria-Germany-Italy), Western Triple (England-France-Germany), etc. Triples have the natural advantage of having more force to bring to bear on targets, but tend to require more diplomatic effort to keep working and may engender a large counter-alliance.
triangle – a three-power relationship defined by the geography of the board. The classic board is said to have two primary triangles: the Eastern Triangle of Austria-Russia-Turkey and the Western Triangle of England-France-Germany.
turn – all of the phases of a season, e.g. the Spring Turn consists of Spring Orders and Retreats. There are two turns per game-year in the classic game.
unwanted support or unexpected support – a tactical procedure of ordering support for an enemy unit in the hopes of foiling a self-bounce and causing one of the enemy units to advance, leaving a province open.
variant – a game based on Diplomacy, which changes the rules, the board, or both. A huge number of variants have been proposed and played by Dip hobbyists over the years. PlayDip supports several through the game site and many more are run by the Play-by-Forum Diplomacy Variants GMs.
VC, victory conditions, or victory criteria – the set of conditions under which a victory in a game is achieved, e.g. controlling 18 SCs in classic Diplomacy. Some variants have different VC or even different VC for different powers.
WDC or World DipCon – The annual world championship FtF tournament. It may be co-hosted with DipCon or EDC or a separate event.
Western Triple – England-France-Germany alliance. See also triple.