Follow diplomacyworld on Twitter Follow diplomacyworld on Facebook 




From Diplomacy World #19

(Transcribed by Marvelous Melinda Holley)


“Oh, to be in England, now that April’s there…”  Certainly England is one of the more enjoyable countries to start off with in a game of Diplomacy.  Lots of water to protect you (mostly free from those nasty Frogs – the Krauts are generally on your side, and they were historically) and a perfect balance of fleets and armies to keep the dogs at bay.  Why, as John Bull, I’ve lasted as long as ’03 and ’04 (and even once to Spring ’05, but there were extenuating circumstances – everybody, the Gamesmaster and myself included, had forgotten that I still controlled Serbia).

Much analysis has been done concerning proper British play in the opening years.  (Fortunately, I rarely have to concern myself with middle- and end-game.)  These articles, however, have been concerned with such nebulous and vague matters as Germany’s dining habits, does Russia remember that I stabbed him for the past fourteen consecutive games?, and other intangibles.  Obviously some serious, precise mathematical dissection is required.  I have spent the last twelve years of my waking life perfecting a mathematical formula that will yield the optimum move for any given country.  This momentous finding I will now share with you:



M    n.F(x)   @ ex.(sr)-1+(2.F

  1        R                          z-2r)


M1 (where 1 varies from 1 to 3) is the combination of t he potential values for each of your starting pieces.  N is the number of opponents who have shown definite animosity toward you prior to Spring ’01 (generally I find this number to be around 6, but an N-value of 7 is not uncommon).  F(x), or f(x) if you will, is simply the area, in spare hectares, of all adjoining regions to your home country; ex is obvious as is sq-1.  Z requires more explanation, while r is nothing more than the distance from your capital to the exact center of the board.

This concise, accurate formula can be applied to any country; when we use it for England, the subject of our discussion, the result comes out to – oh, yes, I forgot to divide the entire function by p (or was it q? – no matter, p is good enough).  Anyway, the results is 4.29, certainly as astounding figure.  I would have expected no more than 3.96, or possibly even 3.57, but My God, 4.29!  Truly incredible.  From this value, the translation into the Spring opening move is superficial.


F Edi - Cly

F Lon - Yor

A Lvp - Wal


While the implications of such a move are staggering, I should perhaps explain some of the subtleties involved for the less skillful of my readers.  While A Lvp-Wal might be construed as threatening to the French player, you can point out that the two fleet moves are favorable to him.  The element of surprise can also be a very powerful tool.  When playing this opening face-to-face, the entire table is often reduced to a stunned silence.  At other times, some players have been overcome by tears (carefully disguised by peals of laughter to prevent their real fears from showing).  However, the true impact of this opening move is not revealed until the Fall of ’01, when the following move is indicated.


F ClyLvp

F Yor – Edi

A Wal – Lon


The English play has come full circle.  Not only are all supply centers adequately protected, the single army unit is stationed in London, erasing forever the perennial problem of what to do with your army in Liverpool.  While others have been madly scrambling about for loose supply centers, you alone have kept your house in order, while at the same time have offended no one (well, I once irritated France to the point of apoplexy when I accidentally knocked his only bottle of Mouton-Rothschild ’59 over Gascony, Spain, Portugal and a good portion of his tweeds, but that’s just a chance you’ll have to take).  After establishing a powerful position as demonstrated, the remainder of the game is but a matter of technique.

The one pitfall of this innovative opening is that it precludes one of my personal favorites:  F Edi-Yor, F Lon-Yor, A Lvp- Yor, affectionately known as “Yorkshire Pudding.”  While this does have much of the element of surprise, it is sadly lacking in subtlety.  However, against weaker or invalided opponents it can be utilized with effect.

Armed with the above analysis, I have no doubt that your place in the final standings of future games will change dramatically.  For that you can gratefully thank