Hitch-hiker!

By Nicholas Whyte

 

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1.    This game uses the standard rules and board of Diplomacy except where altered below. 

2.    The board will contain the following additional provinces, all of which will be supply centres at the start of the game:

Abbr.

Adjacent Provinces

Ulster

Uls

NAO, IRI, Lei, Cnt

Munster

Mst

NAO, IRI, Lei, Cnt

Connaught

Cnt

NAO, Uls, Mst, Lei

Leinster

Lei

IRI, Uls, Mst, Cnt

Sardinia

Sar

GOL, TYS, WMS

Iceland

Ice

NAO, NWG

Switzerland

Swi

Bur, Mar, Mun, Pie, Tyr

Free City of Danzig

Dan

Pru, BAL

Southern Crimea

Cri

Sev, BLA

Cyprus

Cyp

EMS

Note that both Prussia and Sevastopol now possess an east coast and a west coast. 

3.    The Winter 1900 rule is used: Players may dispose their units as they see fit in Winter 1900, the first season of the game. Thus England may opt to begin with three fleets, three armies, three Magrathean bubble-cars, or any combination. Failure to send in orders for Winter 1900 will result in the standard set-up for each player, with F(Sev)(wc) in the case of Russia, or 6 Vogon destructor ships in the case of the Vogon player. 

4.    In a normal build season, any player except the Hitch-hiker may build a Magrathean bubble-car in the normal way. This unit, abbreviated (M), has an unlimited range but has only half strength for attacks, cannot give support, and doesn't affect the ownership of any supply centre it may occupy in a Winter season. It does, however, cut support fully. 

5.    There are two extra players besides the normal seven in Diplomacy: they are the Hitch-hiker and the Vogon. 

6.    The Hitch-hiker: The Hitch-hiker begins the game with four supply centres, Uls, Mst, Let and Grit, and four units placed at random on the board. He may only build Hitch-hiker units (and consequently may not order in Winter 1900), but may do so in any centre he controls in a Winter season. Two or more Hitch-hiker units may occupy the same province, but they may not share a province with another unit. The Hitch-hiker unit (abbreviated (H)) may only move by ordering a unit in an adjacent province (including Vogon destructor ships) to transport the Hitch-hiker to any province adjacent to the second unit. This over-rides the unit's original order. The Hitch-hiker a move may still fail, but it may be supported by other Hitch-hikers and by other players' units(voluntarily). Hitch-hikers retreat normally. Hitch-hikers may not end a move in a sea space. 

Example of Hitch-hiking: French F(MA0) L H(Bre)-NA0.

("L" is short for "gives a lift to'") 

7.    The Vogons: The Vogon player has the option of building Vogon destructor ships (abbreviated (V)) as well as armies, fleets, or Magrathean bubble-cars. Vogon destructor ships can move on land or sea and they move after normal units, Hitch-hiking and bubble-cars, but before wandering units and re retreats. They have the following effects on supply centres and other units: 

a)      Attempting to enter a Vogon-proof supply centre results in the destruction of the Vogon destructor ship and a randomly determined unit adjacent to it.

b)      Entering a supply centre that is not Vogon-proof will result in the destruction of that supply-centre for the remainder of the game - it counts as an ordinary land province.

c)      Entering a space occupied by another unit results in the destruction of both the Vogon destructor ship and that unit.

d)    Hitch-hikers are Vogon-proof (as in a)) and Vogon destructor ships that have been re-ordered by the Hitch-hiker cannot carry out their original orders. The Vogon player's original home supply centres are Sar, Ice, Swi, Dan, Cri and Cyp and all are Vogon-proof. Vogons may move out of Vogon-proof centres without problems. Any -player may make any owned supply centre Vogon-proof by giving up a build to do so. This will be recorded as an "NBO" in the game report and the identity of the new Vogon-proof centre will not be revealed unless entered by a Vogon destructor ship. Vogon destructor ships may support each other's moves, but as this will not change the outcome of any move it's really a bit futi1e. 

8.    Two special units are already on the board at the start of the game, to wit Marvin, the Paranoid Android, and Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Galaxy. They move after normal moves and The Vogons, but before retreats. They start the game in non-supply centres chosen at random and may move on sea as well as land. 

9.    Marvin the Paranoid Android: If Marvin moves into the same space as any other unit, it will retreat at double strength. His movements are controlled by majority player vote, one vote per surviving player. Other units will refuse to move to a province occupied by Marvin at the beginning of the turn. 

10.   Zaphod Beeblebrox: Zaphod Beeblebrox moves at random, but his subsequent actions are controlled by player vote in the same way, unless he has moved into an unoccupied province, in which case he remains inactive. If he has moved into an occupied province, he will take one of the following courses of action: 

a)    take permanent command of the unit he shares the province with, ordering it to move entirely at random each season thereafter; or

b)    share a Pan-Galactic GargIe Blaster with the unit, resulting in the unit's inability to move next turn; or

c)    give the unit a pair of Joonjanta sunglasses, making it incapable of moving to a province containing an enemy unit unless it spends a normal movement turn taking them off. 

      If Zaphod enters an owned supply centre he renders it ownerless (i.e. neutral) until it can be retaken. The effects of his presence will not be noticed until the next turn. 

11.      Neither Vogon destructor ship orders nor votes for Marvin and Zaphod may be made conditional on previous events, although retreats may. Ties in votes will be split at random; the voting figures will not be revealed. 

12.       Units moving or retreating into a province occupied by Zaphod have only themselves to blame. Units moving into Vogon ships will never get to move, or even stand, again, i.e. will be totally destroyed.

This variant was first published in Coolnac No.3.


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