World War I Diplomacy

by John Boardman

The Diplomacy board reproduces the political arrangements of 1914, the beginning of the First World War between the Entente Powers England, France, and Russia, and the Central Powers Germany, Austria- Hungary, and Turkey. Italy, though aligned by treaty with the latter group, was induced by generous amounts of British money and even more generous promises of post-war annexations, to come in on the side of the Entente Powers. 

The origin and subsequent history of the war suggested a variation on Diplomacy that might more accurately represent the fighting of that war. Accordingly, I have put together the following rules for a two-man game between the Entente Powers (EP) and the Central Powers (CP). 

1. Play begins with the "fall 1914" moves. The following powers and neutral territories may be entered in "fall 1914": all powers except Italy, Belgium, North Africa, Tunis, Albania, and Serbia. 

2. Just before the "spring 1915" moves, a coin shall be flipped to determine to which side Italy shall belong. Italy's first moves will be "spring 1915". In a postal game, the assignment of side for Italy shall be sent out with the "winter 1914" builds. 

3. Spain, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark are permanently closed, as is Switzerland. Fleets may pass directly between the Baltic Sea and the Skagerrak. No seas are closed. 

4. No moves may be made into the following territories prior to the indicated game date: Italy: "spring 1915", Bulgaria: "fall 1915", Portugal: "spring 1916", Rumania: "fall 1916", Greece: "spring 1917". 

5. After the "spring 1917" move, Russia shall be in a state of "civil disorder" as defined by the rule book for the remainder of the game. 

6. After the "fall 1917" move and each subsequent "fall" move for the remainder of the war, a new EP army shall be established in one of these four supply centres: Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, or Brest -provided that no CP fleet sits on the route between the centre and America. Thus a CP fleet in the Mid-Atlantic would prevent establishment of an EP army in Brest unless a potential route, such as North Atlantic to Irish Sea to English Channel to Brest were open. 

7. The first player to gain a 2/3 majority of all pieces on the board, or to occupy all enemy capitals, wins. 

8. With the above exceptions, the rules of Diplomacy apply.


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