A Compilation of Simple Diplomacy Variants
of simple rule changes have been used, either individually or grouped with
several others in variants. The more common ones have been independently devised
several times. The following list does not include all such variants, but does
include all the common changes. In order to save space the most condensed
presentation possible is used.
variants may be played with any board, but most have been devised with the
standard 7-player board in mind. They may be used individually, as the only
change in an otherwise standard game, or several may be combined. In some cases
several numbered variations are listed under one heading. Unless otherwise
stated, each of these is a separate rule that may be used without the others.
Caution must be used when combining rules: employing too many at once, or using
incompatible variations, can result in a dull or unplayable game. With
experience players will learn to foresee the repercussions of possible
are descriptions in standard prose rather than formal rules, again to save
space, and some may seem unclear. Usually this apparent problem will disappear
upon later readings; If not, it is probably because either possible
interpretation is valid, depending on how participants choose beforehand to
play. In fact, several of the rules are nothing more than misinterpretations of
the first published Diplomacy rulebook, now replaced by the clearer 1971
version. Inexperienced players may feel lost among the plethora of variations.
OF THE GUARD. A fleet and an army of the same country may exchange positions as
long as each move will other-wise succeed. Example: F Pie-Mar, A Mar-Pie.
As Changing of the Guard except that units of any type and nation may
participate as long as both agree in writing.
CRAWL. A fleet may move from a coast of a double-coasted province to another
coastal space, while another fleet in that coastal space moves to the other
coast of the double-coasted province. Example: F Spa(sc)-Por, F Por-Spa(nc).
1. A fleet in a coastal space (e.g. Bel) may convoy. 2. All units may convoy.
Example: A Bre, F ENG and F Wal C A Par-Lpl. 3. An army is disbanded if its
convoy is disrupted. 4. Any attack on a fleet, even if it is not dislodged,
disrupts its convoy. 5. Alternate convoy routes may be ordered in case one route
is disrupted. 6. A fleet convoying an army of another country may disband it. 7.
Fleets may carry armies "piggy-back" by forming army/fleets (A/Fs). 8.
An army may board a fleet in a sea space from a coastal space, the fleet may
move, and the army may disembark it to a coastal space, all in one season.
These act as normal fleets except that a sub may move in a "subspace"
under a normal sea space as well as on the surface, and it may not convoy.
MOVEMENT/RAILROADS. A land unit may move any number of spaces within its home
country (or, within its own territories) in one move-season provided it does not
begin its move adjacent to an enemy unit and takes part in no conflict. (See
Cavalry or armour move two spaces per move-season, the first adjudicated before
other units move. Fleets may move in the same way when in sea (not coastal)
spaces. Orders for both segments are written at the same time as orders for
Each player may have one invisible unit. Only he (and the gamesmaster) knows
where that unit is, though other players may deduce its presence from its effect
on a conflict. A player may let one unit become visible in order to make another
MESSENGER. Orders originate from a single source, the commander or king, who may move as an army or fleet. The orders themselves move, either alone or carried by messenger units (one per supply centre owned), to destinations which may be either spaces or specific units. A unit may move only when it is in the same space as an order, following that order. That mechanics can be very complex, with several ways to accomplish the basic idea.
At the cost of half a supply centre of support, a space may be fortified. This
gives the space an intrinsic defence of one, cumulative with any unit(s)
occupying the space. The fortifications are destroyed when the space is occupied
by an enemy unit.
AND SUPPORT. 1. If a unit is ordered to move, it gives up its gives to hold its
space, and a single unsupported attack is enough to dislodge it if its move
fails. 2. There is no support! (Do not use 2 without 1, or a dull stalemate will
result.) 3. A unit may only support units of other countries, not its own. 4. A
unit may support in place another unit that is ordered to move. If the move
fails, then the unit is still supported in its original space. Example: A
Gal-War, A Bud S A Gal H; then a two-unit strength attack on Gal fails. 5. A
Unit may be ordered to give up its right to a space; then a single unsupported
attack is sufficient to dislodge it, but its support (assuming it is ordered to
support) is not cut even if it is dislodged. 6. A unit nay not support a unit
which has been ordered to give support. Example: If A Vie S A Bul-Gal, A Tri
cannot Support A Vie.
1. A unit is never permitted to disband when a legal retreat is possible. 2.
When a retreating unit disbands it may not be rebuilt the following Winter,
leaving the country one unit short the next year (unless it has lost a centre).
3. A unit automatically disbands when dislodged, i.e., no retreats are allowed.
4. A unit may only hold, not move or give support, in the move-season following
its retreat. 5. A unit may not retreat to a space adjacent to another player's
unit. 6. A retreating unit may be convoyed. (This can make it desirable to be
forced to retreat).
UNITS. 1. Each country is allowed a double strength army or fleet, as though it
was permanently accompanied by a Leader. The unit must be specified at the start
of the game. 2. Units may combine to form units of double, triple, and so on,
strength, and later break down into smaller units again. 3. More than one unit
of a single player may occupy a space. 4. As 3, but there is a limit to the
total number of units that may occupy any one space. There may be separate
limits for armies and fleets.
POWER. Each centre is worth four supply points. Armies and fleets require three
points for support, air units four points. An air unit may fly up to four spaces
altogether. It may support an attack on or defence in the space it is bombing.
Any number may bomb a single space. An air unit may not capture a space.
Paratroops may be added.
OF THE CUTTING OF SUPPORT. A unit may not cut support (Rule X) If its Origin
space is attacked. Example: Austria A Bud-Gal, A Vie S A Tyr-Tri; and Russia A
Gal-Vie. Vie's Support is valid because Bud cuts the cut by Gal. Cutting may be
carried even further.
WEAPONS. Each centre is worth three supply points per year. Armies and fleets
require two supply points per year for support. A nuclear weapon requires three
supply points in the year it is built only. All units in a space struck by a
nuclear weapon are destroyed and any centre therein is eliminated for a season,
that is, if struck in Fall it is not counted in Winter. A unit may not retreat
to a land space that was bombed in the same season. Nuclear weapons may not move
and are captured if the space in which one is built is occupied by another
player. Range is unlimited. Alternatively, weapons may move as armies or fleets
but may only strike an adjacent space, determined after movement. (A
"neutron bomb" would destroy units but not a supply centre).
ARMIES. A player may use one supply centre to support a guerrilla army, which is
built in a minor country supply centre owned by another player and not more than
three spaces from one of the building player's regular units. Any centre
occupied by a guerrilla army after the season in which it is built becomes
unowned (as Spring Raid below). A guerrilla army has no combat strength In
itself it may be supported if it does not move. It may not capture any centre or
move into the home territory of any player. No player may have more than one
guerrilla army at a time.
OWNERSHIP. 1. A player may loan a supply centre to another to supply a unit, but
may rescind the loan at any time, forcing the former recipient to find new
supplies the next Winter for the unit Supported by the loan. Centres may be
given outright as well. Occupation of the centre by the recipient is not
required. 2. The owner and the Occupier of a centre may agree that the former
retains ownership. 3. Centres may be captured in any season, not just Fall. 4.
When a player occupies another's centre in Spring but not in Fall, the centre is
unowned and must be captured again in Fall as usual. (Known as "Spring
A player may build in every open centre in his home country each Winter. He may
have as many real units as supply centres. The remainder are fake units which
are destroyed when attacked and may not affect conflict, though they may be
ordered to support as a decoy. A gamesmaster is required.
A unit occupying a centre may choose to devastate it (probably just before
leaving). It is not counted as a centre in the following Winter.
1. When a player's supply centre count in Winter decreases, he must remove two
units for every centre of decrease. The next Winter he may build back to centre
strength as usual. 2. The reverse of 1: for each centre of increase the player
gains an extra unit for that year only.
A player may disband a unit at any time, whether retreating or not.
1. Units need never be removed for lack of centres to supply them. 2. A player
may build a unit in each of his home centres regardless of his supply centre
holdings. (If used without counterbalancing rules, a stalemate will result.)
ONLY LIVE ONCE. When a retreating unit is disbanded, voluntarily or not, it may
never be rebuilt. The country will have one unit fewer than its supply centre
count for the remainder of the came.
LINES. Each Winter each unit must trace a contiguous line of spaces to the
centre supplying it (or, to an uncaptured space in its home country), which have
been captured by that unit's country or which arc designated friendly by the
owner. Capture takes place in any season for supply purposes. If the supply line
cannot be traced, the unit is disbanded but still counts against that country's
unit total for that Winter.
1. Before Spring 1901 players build in their home centres, which are all vacant
to begin with. (Known as "Winter 1900") 2. Units may be built in any
centre a player owns, not just his home centres, subject to other normal
restrictions. 3. A player may build in his home centre even If another player
owns it, provided he is otherwise entitled to a build. 4. Units may be built in
any home space, not just centre spaces.
SUPPLY VALUE. Each land space has its own supply point value, for example one per non-centre neutral space, two per non-centre home space, four per neutral centre space, six per home centre space. A supply point value is required to supply a unit, say six or seven per unit in this case.
PROHIBITIONS. Units of a particular country, or coming from a particular
direction, may not enter certain spaces until a specified date. Example: no unit
may enter a player's some country in 1901.
PLACEMENT. Before the game begins each player must place a fleet in a sea space
more than, say, three spaces from his home country, in addition to his customary
A unit in a mountain space adds one to defence against attack, though not to
support of units in other spaces whether in defence or attack.
Unusual units (cavalry, armour. double armies. etc.) may not enter forest
NEUTRALS. A neutral centre is occupied by an army in civil disorder. This army
may be of limited effectiveness, disappearing after a set number of game-years
Or after resisting a set number of unsuccessful attacks. Some neutral armies
might defend only against attacks from certain countries or from specified
DEFENCE. All centres have a permanent basic defence of one, which is added to
any unit occupying the centre but operates in favour of the owning player even
when no unit is present. This defence may alternatively be used only for home
centres, or for provinces specified by the player at gamestart.
EARTHS. Two sets are used. Each player controls the same Great Power on both
boards. Units may move between a space on one board and the same space on the
other, for example between Mun V and Mun Z or Bur Z and Bur V. Builds and
removals may be made on either board. so that a player might have five centres
on each board but eight units on one and two on the other. Victory criterion is
usually doubled to 36, but may instead be 23 centres for a shorter game.
After each move-season, or better after each Winter, each player may form one
"hyperspace" link between two spaces, and one separation of two
adjacent/linked spaces. Units may move along the linkages but may not move
between two spaces that arc separated. Linkages may be separated, and
separations re-linked. Fleets may occupy land spaces at the end of a link with a
sea space but armies may not occupy sea spaces. Example: after Spring 1901
England might link Edi and Hol and separate Hol and Ruh in preparation for
taking Hol in Fall.
EFFECTS ON SINGLE SPACES. The space effected may be determined randomly or by orders from the players. Example: each player has a number of "votes" each move-season equal to his supply centre count the previous Winter. Players vote for a space, land or sea, along with their orders. Possible effects are: 1. A space changes from land to sea, or from sea to land. 2. A space becomes a "black hole", equivalent to Switzerland. A further variation is to use the space as a free transit area so that, for example, if Mos is a "hole" an army can move from StP-Sev in one season. 3. A supply centre becomes a non-centre space, Or vice versa. 4. A centre moves from one space to another (choose an adjacent space randomly)! 5. Any units In the chosen space are immobilised and may not move or support. 6. A neutral unit, requiring no supply, is placed in the space. 7. A space is split into two Separate Spaces. 8. A space suffers from plague. Any units therein are immobilised for a game-year. The plague spreads (moves) to an adjacent space randomly each year. Other possible plagues are those which destroy units or affect supply centres. 9. A space is occupied by an invisible ghost army or fleet. Any unit entering the space must retreat to its origin and move randomly (fleeing in terror) next move season. 10. Any unit in the space is placed somewhere else randomly.
IN BASIC STRUCTURE
LIMIT. The game ends when N players remain - decide the value of N at gamestart.
The player with the largest number of units is the winner. This kind of
"time limit'' is much more interesting than the usual "stop at 6
WOODROW WILSON" VARIANT. All negotiations must be carried on aloud in the
presence of all players, that is, no secret negotiations are permitted! Related
odd versions are no negotiations allowed, or negotiations permitted only in
writing (with a time limit to prevent interminable written
OF GOVERNMENT. When all of a player's house centres are lost to others and none
is recaptured the following move season, all of his units go into civil
III. Players do not know which of the others is playing which country. Requires
or DISORGANISATION. Players must write orders for a move-season before
adjudication of the previous move season's orders. Thus players must write Fall
1901 orders and adjustments before Spring 1901 is adjudicated. Orders may not be
changed. Special rules for retreats may be necessary.
Each player writes orders for the other six countries as well as his own.
Randomly determine which set of orders is used for a country. This takes a long
time and works best with a gamesmaster so that players do not know who wrote the
Players know the location of their own units and of units in adjacent spaces,
but not any others. Another version is that all players are informed of
conflicts but not about unopposed moves Requires a gamesmaster and plenty of
SHIFT. Rather than always play two move seasons before Winter adjustments,
players play one to three move seasons according to a die roll If a gamesmaster
is available he rolls secretly: 1, 2 one move season, 3, 4 = two move seasons,
5, 6 three seasons. If there is no gamesmaster, after the first season one
player rolls a die, and a I or 2 indicates that adjustments follow immediately.
Otherwise a second move season is played, and a die rolled again: a 1, 2, or 3
Indicates that adjustments follow immediately. Otherwise a third season is
played and adjustments automatically follow.