The Fall of Constantinople

by André Leme-Lopes

Download Map (GIF)

Of course, all normal Diplomacy© rules apply, except when noted in these rules.

Mapboard Features

The mapboard of The fall of Constantinople represents the territories around the Aegean Sea near the middle of the fourteenth century. Here are listed everything you need to understand them.

a) Provinces

There are sea, land, and island provinces. Water provinces (islands and sea) have its name typed in italic. Land spaces have its name in normal type. The green number in land and island provinces indicates the amount of food produced by it (see Building & maintenance rules for the use of food in this game).

b) Cities (Supply Centers).

There are no SCs in Fall of Constantinople. Instead, there are 53 cities (the winner is the first power to conquer the majority of the cities, i.e., 27 cities), indicated by the circled numbers.

Each city produces a certain amount of money and manpower: the number inside the circle is the amount of money that the city produces annually, and the color of the circle represents the size of the city: the transparent circle represents a small town, size 1, producing 1 manpower/year, and a painted circle represents a major town, size 2, which produces 2 manpower/year (see 'Constantinople', below, for an exception to this rule).

Besides, cities, just as in the Machiavelli variant, are separated spaces where an army can retreat. The difference is that it won't turn into a garrison, it'll stay an army inside the city (there are no army = garrison = fleet conversions in Fall of Constantinople). You can garrison a city at any time with the 'garrison' order (see 'special orders', in the Movement & combat rules).

c) Islands.

Almost all islands in Fall of Constantinople are water spaces. The only islands that are normal land spaces are Crete - Candia (Cnd) and Canea (Can) -, Euboeia - Negroponte (Neg) -, and Rhodes (Rho).

The 'water islands' are connected to the mainland by land bridges. E.g.: Corfu (Cof), is connected to Epirus (Epi) and Arta (Art), and the Ionian Islands (IoI) are connected to Arta and Andravida (And).

Plus, all islands, 'water' and 'land' alike, MUST be besieged by a fleet. Armies alone will never succeed in a siege against an island.

d) Straits.

There is a land bridge connecting the provinces of Hellespont (Hel) and Gallipoli (Gal), and another connecting the provinces of Constantinople (Con) and Nicomedia (Nmd). Those one-coast provinces are separated, respectively, by the Dardanelles (Hellespont/Gallipoli) and the Bosphorus (Constantinople/Nicomedia) straits. Those straits connect the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean (Dardanelles) and the Black sea (Bosphorus), thought they are not separate bodies of water. E.g.: to cross from the Aegean to the Black Sea, one must move AEG -> Gal (or Hel) -> SoM -> Nmd (or Con) -> BLA.

e) Land bridges.

There are several land bridges in this game. Besides the land bridges between the islands and their adjacent land spaces (see 'islands', above), and the land bridges over the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits (see 'straits', above), there is a land bridge connecting the 'land island' of Negroponte (Neg) to the province of Thebes (The).

All land bridges are subject to special movement rules (see the Movement & combat rules).

f) Double coast provinces.

There are three double coast provinces. They are Messinia (Mes), Isthmus (Ist), and West Thrace (WTh). All these are treated as Bulgaria, Spain, and St. Petesburg in standard Diplomacy (except they all have east/west coasts and neither has north/south coasts).

g) The Corinth Channel.

There is a water channel through the Isthmus of Corinth, controlled by the city of Corinth. Thus, the province of Corinth is treated the same way as Kiel and Constantinople in standard Diplomacy. You can move fleets from the Gulf of Corinth (GoC), to the city of Corinth (Cor), and then to the Mirtoan Sea (Mir) - and, of course, the other way around.

h) Constantinople and the Long Wall.

Constantinople, founded by Constantine, the Great, is, by far, the largest city in this part of the world. Thus, it is a size 3 city, i.e., it produces 3 manpower/year.

Plus, the land frontier of Constantinople (with the East and West Thraces), is protected by the Long Wall, built in the Roman times and located about 40 miles west of the city. It provides one uncuttable support for any army standing in Constantinople against any attack from any of the Thraces. It does not provide any benefit against attacks from the sea or from the other side of the Bosphorus (Nicomedia). Also, if the territory of Constantinople isn't protected by an army, the support will be adjudicated void, and any single attack will succeed.

Sequence of Play

Each game year is divided in four phases:

1. Spring

Each spring, the new armies built are placed on the map, and the movement orders are adjudicated (at the same time - please take a look at 'Building new units' in the Building and Maintenance rules if you need clarification on the timing of these orders).

2. Summer

Each summer, the powers must maintain (or disband) their military units.

3. Autumn

Each autumn (or fall), the new fleets built during last winter are placed on the map, and the movement orders are adjudicated (at the same time - please take a look at 'Building new units' in the Building and Maintenance rules if you need clarification on the timing of these orders).

4. Winter

The GM will account cities and provinces lost and won, make the necessary adjustments, and the powers will build, maintain, or disband their military units.

Building & Maintenance

a) Adjustments

After the autumn turn (see Sequence of play), the GM will count the cities and provinces each power possess. Then, he will distribute the amount of money (£), manpower (M), and food (F) generated for that year (money and manpower are generated by cities, food is generated by every land and island province).

Beyond the amount generated by its cities and provinces, some powers will receive some extra money, food, and manpower from its sovereign kingdoms to pursue war and increase their territories. The Ottomans and the Empire of Constantinople, since their territories are entirely contained in the map, did not receive anything beyond the amount generated from their cities and provinces. The other powers receive goods as follows: Aragon receives 10£/1M/1F, Genoa receives 28£, the Hospitallers receives 9£/6M/10F, Naples receives 5£/1M/1F, and Venice receives 27£.

After the total available for each power is announced by the GM, the players proceed to write their build and maintenance orders (simultaneous).

You can stock money and food year after year, but if you do not use all your manpower to build new units, the remaining manpower will be lost (there were safes and silos in the middle ages, but there wasn't any kind of organised conscription system).

b) Maintaining existing units

Together with the build expenses, each power must maintain its military units. To maintain an army, you need to expend 1£/1M, and to maintain a fleet, you need to expend 2£. But beware! The maintenance expenses will take place BEFORE buildings. If you expend all your money to maintain units, you'll see yourself impeded to build new ones (it is necessary to write express orders to indicate which units will be disbanded. Else, the GM will consider that all units will be maintained and will discount money and manpower for all of then, disbanding those that cannot be maintained by your treasury).

Besides, after every complete movement turn (with its builds, conflicts, and retreats), your soldiers will need fresh supplies. So, you must feed them! Every summer and winter, a unit of food will be discounted for every army and/or fleet each power possess. If you do not have the necessary amount to feed your troops, they will rebel and change to neutral status. I.e., they will hold every turn, and will pillage the province they are every season in order to survive (see 'special orders', below). A rebel army cannot receive support from other powers, and will disband if dislodged. You can choose the rebelling armies by stating which armies will not receive food. This is a simple order that the GM will ask if you haven't the necessary amount of food to feed all your units.

Food can be bought from the 'bank' (the GM) by 3£ per unit of food. You just need to write 'buy X food from the bank' with your spring/autumn orders (where X is the amount of food you intend to buy). You can also buy food from other players. The price must be agreed between the players. Instead of writing 'buy X food from the bank', you just need to order 'buy X food from POWER by Y£'. The selling power must write 'sell X food to POWER by Y£' in its orders, for the transfer of food to succeed. Beware, the amounts written by the seller and the buyer must be equal. If the amounts are different, the sale will not be successful.

c) Building new units

To create new military units, you must pay the necessary amount of money (£) and manpower (M).

You can build armies for £3/M2, fleets for £5/M1, or, if you're short in manpower, you can contract a mercenary army for £9 (there were no mercenary fleets). You write your build orders, just as in standard Diplomacy, at the end of the year (winter turn - see Sequence of play). Then, the armies will be built (i.e., will appear) at the beginning of the spring turn (you can issue move orders for new armies in the turn they appear). The fleets, which take longer to build, will only appear at the beginning of the autumn turn (you also can issue move orders for new fleets in the turn they appear).

All units are created inside the cities, i.e., they're initially garrisoned. So, no movement order can dislodge your build. But a siege can! You can't build into a besieged city. Your order will not be accepted by the GM, and the money won't be spent. If the city is besieged after the build order was written, the units commanded will appear in the appointed season as usual. But notice that if the city is besieged in the spring, it may fall to the enemy before the autumn turn (see 'special orders', in the Movement and combat rules). Then, your fleets WILL appear in the autumn as usual, but they will be CAPTURED by the enemy who conquered the city. Your expensive fleets will show up with the enemy flag!

The game begins in the winter/1354. In this first winter, all units created, fleets and armies alike, will appear in the next spring OUTSIDE its cities.

Movement & Combat

a) Multiple units

The Multiplicity Plus rules (by Richard Walkerdine and Stephen Agar) are used in Fall of Constantinople, except where they conflict with the rules given here. Besides, there are a few differences in the mechanics of the multiple units themselves, which are explained below (the number in parentheses refer to the Multiplicity Plus' rule number):

(2) A multiple unit may not distribute its supports into different spaces and will always support with its full strength (unless some of the components of the multiple unit are ordered to move).

(6) Support given by a multiple unit is entirely cut if it is attacked. It doesn't matter what is the size of the attacker.

(10) If the failure of any component of the A/F to split means that the resulting A/F at sea would be unseaworthy, then the armies in excess to the fleets in the resulting multiple unit must be disbanded. If the A/F where a multinational unit, then the power owning the remaining fleets chooses which armies are disbanded (1 choice for each fleet owned). If the owner of the fleer fails to choose the army to be disbanded, then the GM will disband one army from each power until the unit is seaworthy again.

E.g.: Genoese 1A/2F & Venetian 2A are left in the Aegean after a conflict (let's suppose that a Venetian army tried to disembark but where bounced, and a Venetian fleet successfully left the unit). One army must be disbanded for the remaining unit to be seaworthy. Genoa, as the owner of the fleet, has the word on which army will be disbanded.


b) Land bridges

A land bridge can be crossed by any number of armies without the need of fleets if the defending side does not hold the province with a fleet. If it does, even superior army numbers won't dislodge it. If the crossing force possess fleets, it must possess at least the same number of fleets as the defending side. The defending side can reinforce (by supporting or moving into the menaced province) itself with another fleet to stop the crossing (if the support cames from an army, it will not stop the crossing).

In short, the movements are adjudicated normally, but if conflict occurs, the number of fleets involved are compared. If the invading force possess less fleets (moving or supporting) than the defending force has (holding, moving, or supporting), the land bridge can not be crossed.

E.g.: The Ottomans took Phocaea (Pho) and wants to press Genoa further by taking Mytilene (Myt) as well. There is a 2A/1F Ottoman force in Phocaea, and Genoa holds Mytilene with a single fleet. The Ottoman force, although it is not seaworthy, can cross the land bridge and will dislodge the defending Genoa fleet. But suppose there are also another Genoese fleet (1F) in Chios (Chi). If Genoa uses this fleet to support Mytilene, then the crossing isn't allowed and the Ottoman, despite its superior numbers, will not take the Genoese island.


c) Special orders

i. Besiege

The heart of medieval warfare is the siege. Most of the medieval battles were sieges. To represent this, in Fall of Constantinople, to conquer a city, you have to besiege it. The siege is a special order ('B' or 'besieges') that works similar to the Machiavelli© variant. The difference is that you have to besiege for just one season to succeed.

ii. Garrison

To protect your cities against sieges, you can garrison them. Each city can garrison armies or fleets (if it is a port - only ports can garrison fleets) limited by its size: small towns, size 1, can garrison 1 unit, be it an army or a fleet; major towns, size 2, can garrison 2 units, in any combination of armies and fleets (remember, Constantinople is a size 3 city, so it can garrison 3 units, armies and fleets alike - see 'Constantinople', in the Mapboard features). To garrison a city, you use the garrison order. It is a simple move order. The unit in the province enters the city (or the unit in the city leaves it to the province). And it can be written in any intelligible way.

E.g. to enter a city: 'F Rhodes enters city', '3A Niš garrisons city', '2A Athens -> Athens' (if the 2A is outside the city), '2A/1F Otranto -> city', etc.

E.g. to leave a city: 'F Rhodes leaves city', '3A Niš ungarrisons city', '2F city of Kos -> island of Kos', '2A Athens -> Athens' (if the 2A is inside the city), '2A/1F city -> Otranto', etc.

A city garrisoned by an army (or a fleet) takes longer to successfully besiege. For each unit inside the city, the siege needs to last one season more. So, Constantinople garrisoned by three units (it is a size 3 city, remember?) will take two entire years to successfully besiege.

iii. Pillage

The pillage order is used to wreck havoc in an about-to-be-lost province. It can also be used to generate immediate food and/or money. If the unit is inside a city, it will pillage the city for money. Else it will pillage the countryside (the province) and take food instead (the citizens will shut the doors of the city). The pillaging unit, thus, will not move. At the end of the turn, the amount of food generated by the province (or the amount of money generated by the city) is added to the power pillaging the space. The pillaged city (or province) won't produce any money (or food) in the next winter. The pillage order can be cut as an ordinary support order (if the pillaging unit is inside the city, it will not count as a garrison - the whole unit is pillaging the town).


- Alphabetical Index of Variants - Variants by Subject - Variants by No. of Players - ARDA Classification
Variant Articles - Variant Descriptions - Variant Bank PolicyAdvice for Designers - Regular Diplomacy Rules