I spoke about a part one to this article before Knavecon 7 and here it is. Let’s start with the holy grail, the granddaddy, the big cheese, the ayatollah of Rock and rolla!
Diplomacy or Dip to people who want to sound like they know how to play is the quintessential game of deal making and back stabbing. It’s not IF you’ll be betrayed by your most loyal ally it’s WHEN. you’re no longer a gaming debutante after you play Diplomacy. You’ll remember your first game for life.
Do onto others before they do onto you. Lesson to learn is when doing onto others just make sure they can never do back onto you again. At least in this game. We can deal with the next game another time
The term meta game could have been invented for Diplomacy. You may win this game but your card is marked for the next one and the ones after that. Diplomacy is like the black pudding industry. It requires constant fresh blood. At least if you want to win again.
So how does it all work? Well it’s Very simple. You start the game as one of seven powers (did I mention it’s seven player?) in Europe in 1900. You control three units (either navies or armies) on a map of forty or so locations. All you do is write down a set of orders to move your guys. That’s it. Three orders. Trick is everyone playing does the same SECRETLY so you don’t know what everyone else is up to until all orders are in and the turn happens. Turn happens might better be worded as the results are imposed on you. Yes it’s that simple, but and this is the big but (and I cannot lie) it’s the discussions and deals cut before the orders are submitted that make this game.
Players can assist each other in attacks against others but remember you can’t trust them. They may SAY they’re going to assist but when it comes to order time they may have lied. May. YOU may have lied. You may have told the truth to lure them into a warm cocoon of friendship. I’m your friend I’m going to help you. Look at the monkey look at the monkey. Sorry about attacking you last turn buddy it was an oversight we can be friends again, Germany hates you.
I’ve known players to quit games of diplomacy because they become a bit paranoid. They thought everyone else were talking about them. (They were). I’ve seen a lot of underhand behind the scenes work done to gain advantage in a game (I may or may not have done some of this myself). The game gives you back what you put in and it’s all about the players.
More so than every other game there are no friends just greasy rungs on your ladder. This game is a hard lesson in life (some people are still bitching about being “educated” by me some twenty years later). This is a game that should be taught in school. Once a year for your entire educational career and then well after that too. This is the tai chai of gaming and if you haven’t played this game you really need to get your socks on and try it. Not everyone will like it. Not everyone will get it. But those who do will look at things in a different way. Your so called friends, your job, the world around you, your weak weak self.
There are umpteen resources out there to play this game. Don’t bother against AIs except to learn. Face to face. Online. Email. You can play it by smoke signals I’m sure. I’ve hosted many many fine games of diplomacy (I even won a game once). Have a Google. Talk to me. I’ll get you in a game. It’s worth the effort. It’s life changing
I’m Victor Gannon, this is Diplomacy and you need to play this game before you die