The art of saying ‘nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.

The Diplomatic Pouch is the web home of the Allen B. Calhamer-designed board game, Diplomacy.

Introduction To Diplomacy

Diplomacy, or Dip, is a seven-person board game that roughly simulates the balance of power that existed just before WWI. Each player is a country, in charge of armies and fleets. The goal is to control half+1 of the territory on the board. There is no element of chance, and the only tool is, as implied by the name: negotiations, promises, deals, betrayals and revenge.
The game has a 7.1 rating at BoardGameGeek.

The 4th edition rulebook is available online from Avalon Hill (PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions
Diplomacy in a nutshell

• What sets Diplomacy apart from most other games is that you not only are allowed to lie and manipulate, but even expected to do so. There are different customs and traditions for what’s allowed and what’s not, but breaking promises and dishonouring alliances are standard in all Diplomacy games. You can for instance promise to help another player to defend a land region, but break your promise and help a third player to attack the very land region you promised to help defend. This is called “stabbing” in Diplomacy jargon.

Some Dip humor: The Coast Of Moscow

None of us was surprised when Russia ordered the raise of a Fleet in Moscow; but we were when he insisted it were legal. In the ensuing discussion Russia indicated further that he intended to move the Fleet coastwise to Sevastopol; and then, on the understanding that Sevastopol had only one coast, to move it on to Rumania, the Black Sea, or Armenia.

At least it became clear what he was up to. Congestion in the Don River Shipyards being what it was, he hoped to raise fleets twice as fast as usual for his southern frontier, by building them in Moscow.

I think the Northern powers rather approved of the idea. Austria-Hungary was dubious; Turkey, aghast.

Online, The Game Of Diplomacy, by Richard Sharp. Another magazine, Diplomacy World.

If you can’t gather up six victims suckers friends to play with (or you’re interested in remaining friends with them), try the online judges/adjudicator programs at DPJudge, PlayDiplomacy, DiplomaticCorp, or webDiplomacy for play-by-email.

  1. Diplomacy, despite some flaws, is one of the great games of all time. The only modern board game I would put on its level is Titan. It’s also amazingly well-suited to email play, given that it was invented 60 years ago.

    For some reason, though, the heyday of online Diplomacy feels like it was about 15 years ago. There are still apps and websites out there, but that sense of community where lots of people took it super seriously and spent hours a day writing press seems to have faded. Maybe it’s because everything online moves a lot faster these days.

    My favorite two online Diplomacy memories:
    – As France, completely playing everyone to the point where I was basically writing their orders for them, then in one season giving Austria and Italy hyperspecific suggestions against each other than resulted in them completely clearing out of 4 cities as I waltzed in. It then turned into me vs everyone in a seeming stalemate, until I tweaked Russia, who had been a wild card all game, into blowing things up. I cannot justify or even estimate the number of hours over the course of a year that I wasted on this game.
    – As Russia, spending the whole game (maybe six months) in an enjoyable verbal tussle with Turkey, both of us cheerfully stabbing each other, ending up in a three-way tie, and then finding out that he was a real-life friend of mine. (In these games, people’s identities are hidden.)

  2. Diplomacy is a game I actually had to stop playing with friends. I’m still genuinely bitter about a backstab from a decade ago.

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