VARIANT DESIGN

By Lewis Pulsipher

From Diplomacy World #20

Transcribed by Marvelous Melinda Holley

 

It seems that an international Diplomacy activity of any sort is hard to organize successfully.  The first Variant Design Competition suffered because only North Americans entered.  Having moved across the water, I tried again from the European side; this time there were entries from theNetherlands, Belgium (including one Pole), Denmark/Switzerland (but he is English), Northern Ireland and Canada – but not from the USA or the island of Great Britain!  There were no entries in the SF/F category.  John Lipscomb of Canada won in the historical category with his ANCIENT EMPIRES II (no relation to John Boyer’s game).  Nicky Palmer of England won the simple variant category with his entries printed here.  Michael Liesnard won the open category with his QUEST FOR THE RUNIC CHIP, which will appear here next issue.  (Note: I have had trouble distributing the prizes because I’ve lost contact with Nicky Palmer.  Anybody know where he is?)

Thanks to all who entered or contributed prizes.

 

 

 

PACIFIST DIPLOMACY

Nicky Palmer

 

1.      Rules as standard DIPLOMACY except where stated.

2.      In every year in which a player neither gains a center from, or loses one to, another player, an intra unit can be built in any home center.  Such units are referred to as “bonus units” and are marked with an asterisk, e.g. F* Kie-Hol.  Bonus units reflect extra economic strength for powers not interested in major territorial changes.

3.      In every year in which the condition in Rule 2 is not satisfied, the player loses one bonus unit (his choice).  When all bonus units have been lost this has no effect – losses are not saved up, and a “year of peace” will again generate a bonus unit.

4.      Bonus units are built and removed in Winter.  Removals cannot replace or be replaced by regular removals – the two types of unit are accounted for separately.  Bonus builds can be saved up.

5.      Victory is by overall majority of centers, not units.

 

COMMENT: The purpose of this variant is to add a new alternative strategy:  holding back (except for neutral conquest) and building up forces for a big offensive later.  Not, perhaps, pure pacificism! – but an intriguing alternative to non-stop attack.  Secondary virtue:  gives hope to 1- and 2-unit powers who may have a better chance of avoiding center changes than the “superpowers”.

 

 

 

 

SHADOW WORLDS

Nicky Palmer

 

1.      Rules as standard DIPLOMACY except where stated.

2.      Each player has the same country in two simultaneous games, “A” and “B”.

3.      Before the Winter adjustments in the simultaneous games, each player lists the centers he owns in either game, counting his home centers only double if owned in both games; all non-home centers only count once even if held in both games.  Thus if Italy owns: (A) Ven, Rom, Nap, Tri, Mar; (B) Ven, Tri, Nap, Vie, Tun, he is counted a holding 9 centers: 2x (Tri, Nap) + Rom, Tun, Mar, Tri, Vie – not 10 as it would be if Tri were counted twice.

4.      These centers may be divide each year between the two games as the player wishes; in the example, if Italy had 6 units in “A” and 2 in “B”, he could build 1 in either game – or disband a unit in one game and build two in the other, or cut his losses and go down to zero in “B” and build three in “A”.  (Note that this would not preclude his rebuilding in “B” in a later year, if his build centers had not yet been captured.)  Play continues on both boards until one player has all 34 centers in his control list (not necessarily all on the same board).  If two achieve this simultaneously, the result is a draw.  For a shorter game, substitute 18 for 34.

 

COMMENT:  The fastest growth is achieved by stabbing in opposite directions in the “shadow worlds” – but this risks alienating one’s allies in each!  Added to this tricky strategic problem are various tactical twists: when to strip one board to the benefit of the other, and the balanced growth vs. alternating drives on each board.  Note that one can win even if wiped out on one board – but only just, but completely conquering the other.


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