by B. M. Powell
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My name is Baron Powell and I'm the designer of 1900. 1900 is very similar to conventional Diplomacy, only it's better (if I do say so myself). What primarily distinguishes 1900 from Diplomacy is the map, which shows Europe and the entire northern coast of Africa at the turn of the century. There are also some unit changes and one major rule change. These are discussed below.
MAP CHANGES. The map is changed as follows:
- There are now 39 SCs. The Great Powers control 25 at game-start: Britain, France, Germany, and Russia have 4 SCs each and Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Turkey have 3 SCs each. The remaining 14 SCs are neutral at game-start.
- Morocco is separated from North Africa and is a neutral SC.
- What's left of North Africa is split into two spaces: Algeria and Southern Algeria. Algeria is a French SC
- The Tyrrhenian Sea touches Algeria (where it doesn't touch North Africa in Diplomacy).
- Tunisia (Tunis on the Diplomacy map) is no longer a SC.
- Libya is represented by two spaces: Tripolitania, a neutral SC, and Cyrenacia.
- Egypt appears on the map and is a British SC
- Syria has been renamed Damascus and is a Turkish SC. At the same time, Smyrna has been renamed Konya and is no longer a Turkish SC.
- Two additional Turkish spaces appear on the map, Palestine and Hejaz. Both border British Egypt.
- A new neutral space, Arabia, is sandwiched in between Damascus, Palestine, and Hejaz.
- Turkey controls a large territory in the Balkans called Macedonia. Macedonia has two coasts, east and west, and touches no less than eight other spaces. Albania no longer exists.
- Moscow is split into two spaces: Moscow and Siberia.
- Trieste is split into two spaces: Trieste and Bosnia.
- Vienna no longer touches Galicia. Instead, Budapest now touches Bohemia.
- Venice is no longer a SC and it is renamed Venetia.
- A new space, Milan, is an Italian SC.
- Tuscany no longer exists. Rome now borders both Piedmont and Milan.
- A Gibraltar space is added. Gibraltar divides the south coast of Spain in two (i.e., Spain now has three coasts: north, east, and west). Gibraltar is a sea space for convoy purposes, but an army can move there from either Morocco or Spain, and prevent a fleet from entering.
- Ruhr is renamed Cologne and is a German SC.
- A new space, Alsace, separates French Burgundy from German Cologne and Munich.
- Holland is renamed Netherlands.
- Switzerland is a neutral SC.
- Mid-Atlantic Ocean borders Ireland.
UNIT CHANGES. Unit changes are as follows:
- Austria-Hungary starts with an army in Trieste instead of a fleet.
- Britain starts with four units: F London, F Edinburgh, F Gibraltar, and F Egypt. Note that Liverpool is still a SC, but the army that starts there in Diplomacy is gone. At the same time, note that Gibraltar is not a SC.
- France starts with four units: A Paris, F Brest, A Marseilles, and A Algeria.
- Germany starts with four units: A Berlin, A Cologne, F Kiel, and A Munich.
- The Italian army that started in Venice in Diplomacy now starts in Milan.
- The Turkish army that started in Smyrna in Diplomacy now starts in Damascus.
RULE CHANGES. I didn't want to make dramatic changes to Diplomacy's basic rules. With the few exceptions discussed below, the rules for Diplomacy apply to 1900 as well. In all but one case, the rule changes represent little more than minor revisions to account for the new map. The one major exception involves a series of rules that I call the "Suez Canal Rules" or SCR. This set of rules dramatically increases the need for all of the Great Powers to talk to each other from the beginning of the game, an end state I definitely hoped to achieve.
The minor rule changes go as follows:
- If a Great Power gains control of 18 SCs, the game ends and the player controlling that Great Power is declared the winner. With 39 SCs, though, it is now possible for two Great Powers to get 18 SCs on the same game-turn. Should this happen, the player representing the Great Power with the most SCs is the winner. If the two Great Powers each control the same number of SCs, play continues until one Great Power controls at least 18 SCs and that Great Power controls more SCs than any other Great Power.
- Iceland, Ireland, and Switzerland are now passable.
- Movement between Clyde and Ireland is allowed. This is true even though an enemy fleet is in the North Atlantic Ocean. A convoy is not required to move an army between Clyde and Ireland.
- Army movement is allowed between Gibraltar and Morocco. No convoy is required in this case. Gibraltar is considered a sea space for convoy purposes.
- Building in Africa is prohibited. All building occurs in home SCs as in Diplomacy.
The Suez Canal Rules go like this:
- A fleet may move from Egypt to Hejaz and vice-versa.
- Movement between Egypt or Hejaz and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean is allowed. It is assumed the unit travels around the southern tip of Africa. A unit that moves in this manner does so at half strength. This means that a unit adjacent to Egypt or Hejaz succeeds in moving there if opposed only by a fleet moving from the Mid-Atlantic Ocean and a fleet adjacent to the Mid-Atlantic Ocean succeeds in moving there if opposed only by a fleet moving from Egypt or Hejaz.
- A fleet in Egypt or Hejaz cannot support a unit holding in or moving to the Mid-Atlantic Ocean. This is true even though the fleet in Egypt or Hejaz can itself move to the Mid-Atlantic Ocean. Likewise, a fleet in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean cannot support a unit holding in or moving to Egypt or Hejaz.
- A fleet moving from Egypt or Hejaz to the Mid-Atlantic Ocean does not cut support being provided by a fleet already in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean unless the attack results in F Mid-Atlantic Ocean being dislodged. The opposite is equally true.
- F Mid-Atlantic Ocean can convoy an army from or to Egypt or Hejaz. An army convoyed from Egypt or Hejaz attacks its destination space at full strength. An army convoyed to Egypt or Hejaz attacks Egypt or Hejaz at half strength.
- If two units may retreat only to Egypt or Hejaz, or the Mid-Atlantic Ocean, and one of them must travel around the southern tip of Africa, the unit that does not travel around southern Africa may retreat while the other unit is disbanded. Similarly, if two units are retreating to Egypt or Hejaz, or the Mid-Atlantic Ocean, and one of them must travel around the southern tip of Africa, the unit that does not travel around southern Africa may retreat while the other unit is disbanded.
So, there you have it. As you can see, 1900 is, at heart, just like the game of Diplomacy that we have all come to know and love. The map, unit, and rule changes do, however, alter the dynamics of how the Great Powers interact with each other. Once you've played, I think you'll agree that it was well worth your time. In fact, I expect you'll be so impressed with 1900 that you may have a tough time going back to conventional Diplomacy.
A Gamers' Guide to 1900 (PDF format) is also available to help players understand the variant.
I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to contact me at VonPowell@aol.com.