Northern Ireland Diplomacy

by Paul D. Kenny; 1988

This variant has been taken from the Absolute website.


  1. The rules of Avalon Hill's Diplomacy will apply unless otherwise ruled below. This is a map varient.
  2. There are seven powers; The British, the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA), the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), Ulster Defense Association (UDA), Ulster Volunteers Force (UVF), Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), and Eire.
  3. The following names are to be considered equivalent: English, British, or Brit; PIRA, Provisional IRA and Provo (IRA) {the "Provos,"}; OIRA and Official (IRA), {"The Stickies"}; Republic of Ireland and Eire; province Bangor and Holywood.
The starting positions:

UVF: A- Londonderry, A- Coleraine, A- Antrim

UDA: A- Shankill, A- Holywood, A- Downpatrick

Provo: A- Falls, A- Armagh, A- Andersontown

Official: A- Derry, A- Bogside, A- Strabane

INLA: A- Enniskillen, A- Omagh

Eire: F- Dublin, A- Drogheda, F- Donegal

British: F- London, F- Liverpool, A- Belfast, A- Larne

TIME A) Game starts in SPRING 1970. B) The way the seasons are handled is optional. OPTION 1: There is a spring season, a fall season, and a build season. OPTION 2: BLITZ MOVE! Spring season= Fall retreats, builds/losses, spring moves. Fall season= Spring retreats, Fall moves.

NOT ADJACENT: Dublin does not border St. George Channel.

RIVERS: Provinces adjacent to River are considered coastal provinces as far as Fleets are concerned. Armies may cross rivers with no penalty.

BUILDS: New units may be built in any center under that player's control, except for America. Any player can build fleets in his controlled coastal supply center.

YELLOW JOURNALISM: This was meant to be a Black Press game.

VICTORY: To win the game a single power must have 14 supply centers.

Recommended colors: British-dark blue; INLA-red; UDA-white; UVF-black; OIRA-yellow; PIRA-light blue; Eire-green.

designer notes:

This is the first variant I ever actually completed (I have a lot I've started.) The original idea to make this variant came from Tom Swider who said if I had a lot of knowledge on something then go ahead and make a variant on it. As a game, the variant Balkan Wars III had a big influence on developing this game, as both situations seemed alike. It also made for a quicker play as a game rather than a long drawn out stalemate. As a subject matter, I have found the subject interesting in the same light as most of us are interested in an auto accident. We are horrified by it but we want to know what happened. I have found that most of my fellow Americans know very little about what is going on in Northern Ireland. Well, this game won't teach you much, but it is a small step. Most are not aware of any other combatant other than the Provisional Irish Republican Army and the British Army, nor that there are actually two IRAs.

The rules are meant to keep this game simple. Situations are still represented in abstraction. Although America is a free center, when taken, it is not conquered by a power. The American center is there to provide more strength to the power that invests the effort to gain American support. In other words, if the British take America, they have succeeded in convincing the Yanks into not only cutting support for the Irish, but also in helping the Empire. If an Irish player has control of the American center, then American opinion is in that player's favor.

After running this game a couple of times, I favor the Black press and Blitz Move option. But I now wish I had named Holywood ->BANGOR.

The British player can be eliminated. This doesn't mean that the U.K. had been conquered, but that British public opinion is so fed up with the war that the British pull out of Northern Ireland. Continued support by the English supply centers represent support by those parties who reside there. Likewise, if any Irish power finds itself eliminated, it will probably mean they have been neutralized... at least for a while.

A historical background on all the positions.

More notes: Please read Brief historical Background.


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