Seeing is Believing (rd21)
by Eric Brosius
Use the standard rules for Diplomacy, except as follows:
1. A Gamemaster must run the game and adjudicate the moves.
2. When reporting the results of a move, the GM never reports the orders submitted, but only the resulting position. Players may disclose their orders to one another, but need not tell the truth.
3. After a Spring or Fall move, the GM lists all dislodged units, but does not list their legal retreat areas. A dislodged unit's owner must indicate a retreat area as usual. If the retreat chosen is not legal, the unit is annihilated. The GM then lists the new positions after retreats and before the next turn is played.
4. Winter builds are played as usual; the GM lists the positions of all new units built.
These rules are written for a FTF game with a GM. Postal GMs can combine seasons using conditional orders. If seasons are combined, orders for a season may be made conditional on the position on the board at the conclusion of any preceding season (but not on the orders for a preceding season, which the player would not know). This will work with either the American or the European system.
The GM must take extra care to avoid errors, since the players cannot usually detect them.
This variant gives players more latitude in negotiations; if a move fails you may be able to deny making it. If my stab fails, you may not know, and I can try again later. Of course, one can deduce quite a bit from the positions alone, especially near your own units, but questions will often remain. (I suppose another advantage is that the game will take up less space in a 'zine!)